May1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:14-20 KINGDOM - Jesus mentions the "kingdom of God frequently as do His Apostles kjv@STRING:kingdom+of+God. It has an importance in the message that I fear we often miss. We take the repentance and belief in the gospel and try to run only with that without placing those things in the deeper context of why they are to be done. Jesus is purposely trying to avoid the immediate political connotations that "Christ" or "Messiah" would have to the people of Israel hungry for regaining their own national determination and governance. His kingdom instead begins and ends with Him and what He must accomplish for the sake of all mankind, having done so the portion that the Father will give Him, the spoils of which that He then will divide amongst the many, the kingly role He will play when all things are finally gathered to Him. This kingdom on our part is first sought, received, entered, costly to enter, preached, inherited, rewarded, waited for, seen coming with power, revealed from out of a mystery, within us, entered with much tribulation, etc... The kingdom suggests God's governance/authority/judgment, God's economy/providence, His design and desire and know how. Repenting for anything less is repenting for more selfish reasons. Believing the gospel of salvation/redemption/remission/cleansing for anything less is believing for more selfish reasons. The faith of our Lord is in an actual kingdom that is now in Heaven, for us both there in the future and here in our hearts. It grows like a mustard seed, it is as the little children coming unto 'Me', it is of very glad tidings. It is a treasure. It is a long and determined process much like making fisherman fishers of men.
May17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:4:30-34 AS THEY WERE ABLE TO HEAR - When they were alone then He expounded. Don't you wish that they would have recorded these teachings? Saved us all a lot of trouble? That tells us two important things right off the bat. One, there is much to take in, too much for one parable/session/three year apprenticeship. Two, Jesus does not mean for just anybody to know because not everyone spiritually discerns it. Despite the huge amount of time He spent publicly/privately, I believe that it can be shown that not even the disciples discerned the message spiritually until after Pentecost. Not because it is too heavy intellectually but, because the mind always tries to discern it intellectually which leads to counterfeiting and approximation and various interpretations. It is almost as if Jesus is investing His teaching forward to the future. He is depositing into their memories knowing that these teachings will not take hold until after they become spiritual. For the moment it is a tiny seed, there is some potential/benefit, what it is though is not what it will become. There is process, there is nurturing, there is husbandry. Take the Kingdom message, He plants it now, He expounds it to those who will carry it forward after Him, they invest/devote themselves to seeking it/Him out, He infuses the seed/their efforts with Spirit, there is miraculous growth. The mind resists this, it bypasses the essential steps and determines the meaning that serves itself best, it universalizes the teaching with other teachings that it can come with on it's own. The mind wants/expects a kingdom of much different design on much different terms. Ask yourself, is this a seed of intellect, a seed of self growth and determination, or is it a seed of spirit, a seed of Heaven on Earth, ever lasting redemption? The faith of our Lord is in big plans and changes in the hearts of all men, a faith where the things of this carnal world are not much more than fertilizer for a much greater thing. That we so easily/readily confuse and contradict spiritual process even as believers by resorting to the present intellect such ethereal matters itself is every indication of the types of things Jesus is up against. The other thing to see is how several parables are meant to interact together as a whole to stimulate/compound growth and yet to protect growth from diseased carnal influences. It will be a substantial and healthy enough end product that the angelic community will be able to be mixed back into it and cohabitate with it as well.
July3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:15:21-32 SCRIPTURE FULFILLED - The best explanation of what Jesus is going through is kjv@Psalms:22 prophesied nearly 1000 years before. The details are excruciating and graphic. Essentially two horrific things are converging upon Him at once, the sins of mankind past present future being transfered upon Him as with the symbolic Levitical sacrificial lambs, because of that sin the departing/forsaking of the Father never felt by Him prior in all eternity. The physical pain must be intense no doubt, but probably the least of His grief and ill. You think about the weight of the horrid sins of man like vile mass hatred and murder, rape and pillage, the woeful sins of oppression and bondage, the perversions of lust, the passive sins of idleness and unclaimed/stolen potential, how all this adds up to a terrible nausea/dizziness throbbing within Him. To that you add the loss of Himself to His Father; He is doing this in obedience to the Father and it is a great thing, but, the Father can not be with Him at this point because of the transference. No doubt He is in prayer throughout this ordeal to try to regain focus, the madness of all men laid upon must make it exceedingly difficult, but His prayer minus the Father's hand must seem vacant. What is there left Him to cling to in amidst this torrent except the expectation of a promise? We tend to think of the real suffering of Jesus to be after death perhaps in a hell. Though possible, much of that is conjecture/secular tradition. I believe the worst of His suffering to be now (what more could be done to His soul?). The faith of our Lord continues on however. It in essence is to simply obey the Father, trust that HE will at the right time pull Him through this all. This is paying the purchase price of redemption and what a price it is. We should not forget nor under appreciate what is being laid upon Him from all angles nor underestimate the cost to Him/Father in securing the forgiveness of our immense debts. It should vibrate through every cell in our bodies giving us new and substantial spiritual life.
July16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:2:21-40 REVEALOR - Hopefully you've noticed how much the Holy Spirit has been involved so far. The child has yet to say a word and already we know so much about Him. Notice also how the Spirit is working, through individuals, to individuals. Simeon is used to reveal further information to Mary and Joseph; how many others hear this conversation we do not know. Anna thanked God before them as a separate confirmation, she speaks of Him to all them that looked for redemption however that was surely over the course of time as few (if any) of these saints would have been present at the temple on this day. Already we have a good many in Galilee, the surrounds of Bethlehem and a very influential prophetess at the temple in Jerusalem are all aware of a strong and curious spiritual possibility. Though others may not yet be aware they have been prepared just the same. Jesus is foretold to come to reveal the hearts of men, the Spirit is shown to be the revealor of Jesus, having prepared the mission "before the face of all people". kjv@John:16:8-11 further explains the Spirit's role post accession of reproving the world of sin, sin in direct relation to our belief and treatment of Christ Jesus as revealed. To Mary the Spirit impresses that all will not go as expected, this will mean the fall and rising of many in Israel and will be for a sign spoken against, personally painful like a sword into her heart. Jesus will be? No, our reaction to Jesus will be. Mary/Joseph pay the poor man's version of the Levitical first born's redemption this day, but, will pay a much greater price through the months and years to come. The faith of Lord is in a very hard and very difficult road ahead, impossible for anyone other than the true Messiah (as need be). It will be hard for Him, hard for His parents, hard for His disciples and followers, hard for us. It will not come by the goodness of men's hearts, nor their tolerance, nor their sense of righteousness or judgment. It will come by God's grace and performance of mercy. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit...
August8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:7:36-50 SOMEWHAT TO SAY - The host of this event apparently did no see Jesus as a sinner. Pharisees as I understand were very much wanting Israel to return to its former glory becoming once again sovereign. They (at least one of them) are still toying with the idea that this Jesus may become if properly swayed this type of messiah. The event must have been open to the public or at least to those Jesus would chose to bring along and thus this woman. The thrust of the parable is that we are all sinners and that regardless of how sinful any of us perceive ourselves to be there is not one dime we can offer to our redemption. The issue is not how much we owe it is that there is nothing we have that can pay that debt. This would be important to tell such a Pharisee because he believes that being a Pharisee is more than enough when in fact like everything else we could offer payment received yet remains zero pence. The debt instead is forgiven by the creditor, the sins of both are forgiven, payment for possession will soon be accomplished in Jesus at the cross, yet only the one is accepting of the transaction that has been made. The host stumbles over whether Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. Though he'd answered correctly his understanding of the parable did not include Jesus as being the creditor. The faith of our Lord is by being a triune member of the Godhead He can act and speak as representative for the other members and at the same time His having become flesh and made to pay for our complete redemption He is also the very transaction. How is it that the debt can be forgiven and still the creditor has to pay for the repossession? Ask yourself, what good is it to forgive when the forgiven remain in bondage to another?
October20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:24:13-35 DID NOT OUR HEARTS BURN - What is effecting the disciples at this point is the same thing that effects us in our faith. 2Peter:1 would call it a faith that is being shortsighted to the point of being blind. These men have the hope that He would redeem Israel, but do not see that to redeem Israel something much bigger and broader had to be accomplished. They sense the need for redemption, but it is a smaller redemption from Rome. By means of these smaller fields of vision these hopes perceive an entirely different course of action, say the raising of an army, the winning over of several political foes, the standing against and defending Israel from the authority of Rome. But, here exactly the opposite is apparent, Rome has come out the victor. There is no wonder that they are sad and much confused. Everyone in Jerusalem is having similar conversations, each and every one based upon shortsighted hope now dying or dead. We tend to see things reduced down to our immediate needs whether it is Rome or potential divorce or recovering from addiction. We have faith indeed, but that faith has an entirely different set of expectations (shortsighted) as to how the Lord is going to perform it. It is these expectations that blind us to the person of Christ standing before us. He can be a mighty man of deed and words, however, until we see Him as the Lord that He really is and His actions as He rather intends our faith lays dormant and unfruitful; dead. The scriptures are opened up to them, the big picture becomes visible, the broad vision burns within the heart as they begin to see the revealing of the true "Arm of The Lord". Even then until He is recognized as alive and risen, the bread broken as before, that burning is incomplete. After knowing Him as risen, how could they not get up this evening and not walk the seven miles back to the others? How could they not proclaim it to all those along the road between here and there? The faith of our Lord is that we will see Him as dead but now living. And if living, then truly the Son of God. And if truly the risen Son of God, then the "Righteous Servant" spoken of throughout the prophets. And if the Promised One, then much broader in vision and scope then just this brief occupation by Rome or this occupation by the hypocritical and murderous Sanhedrin or occupation of the problems of this single day or time or lifetime. Engaged and concerned in these items? Most certainly! Lively faith however, knows His answer and performance for that are begun in and paid for by the broader course and objective of this. Many today are still talking, how many though have the big vision living faith?
December6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:14:1-4 BELIEVE ALSO IN ME - We (most of us) believe in God. Okay! What is it about HIM that we actually believe that was not revealed about HIM by Jesus? Let's remove the revelations of God by Jesus for a moment. We could say that God created all things. True, but why did HE create all things? We could say God loves us. True, but what does love mean? We could say that everything works according to HIS plan. True, but what then is HIS plan? You see without the revelations of Jesus we know very little about God and what we do know is largely vague and uncommitted. If the commandment is to love God with all our heart/soul/mind/strength then actually there is very little about our God (minus the revelations of Jesus) for us to sink our teeth into. Perhaps that is just the way that we want it; that we we can all have our private piece of God to imagine and not have to come to definite terms of who actually HE is and who we are in relation to that truth. Jesus here says "you believe in God", excellent, but then adds "believe also in me". Why would He add that? Because He gives a depth to our belief that goes beyond a casual non-descript acquaintance or preconception. Because of Jesus we know not only that God created, we know why, we know how, we know through whom. Because of Jesus we not only know that HE loves us, we know how His love is shown, we begin to tangibly see it's size and shape and consistency and righteous backbone; it is no longer nebulous. Because of Jesus we not only know that God exists, we know HIS will and HIS objectives, we know what HE has spent so much time setting up and developing for our redemption to occur. It was said "no one knows the Father except the Son" and "no one knows the Son except those the Father has revealed Him to". Well the Father has revealed Jesus to these men by a great many signs and wonders and life transforming experiences. Now He faces His greatest wonder/revelation of all, dying for sins of all mankind, giving His life and taking it back. These men are troubled over it and also over their futures without Him. They will not be without Him though He assures them. He goes ahead of them to prepare them a place in His Fathers house; a house of many mansions. If He goes there, He will come again to receive them. The faith of our Lord is always displayed so that others might have the hope of Him even in the times of the unknown and uncertain. It is displayed like lamp to guide their feet, like a rope to tow them through their tribulations, like a float to hold them from sinking. It is not just the warm fuzzy nebulous sensed by all, it is the certain familiarity with a eternal Godhead that is reaching out to make itself know to all the creation that will listen. Step one - believe also in Jesus!
December27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:20:10-18 MARY - What does it take to draw the purest faith out of a person? The answer may be different in every person's case. Do you see how differently the revelation of the resurrection is coming to different people.Mary hears her name called by a familiar voice and immediately she wants to touch but lo it is forbidden. Thomas hears and sees the sight but refuses to believe unless he can touch; he is allowed. Women go down and come back having the good news, travelers discuss the news with a stranger and the stranger while eating with them reveals Himself to be Jesus, yet Peter and John and others still sort through the mounting evidence but must themselves wait longer to see for themselves. Why so many approaches? Why not one big here I am revelation? My guess is that it is important to the drawing out of each person's faith.Some believe and so want to touch, but what must be drawn out is the part of that faith that has holy reverence. Others refuse to believe until they touch and suddenly reverence isn't the same immediate issue, the draw is toward that initial acceptance. Others (key individuals in this case) so want to see what the others are reporting, but must wait, drawing on that patience and a cool head. What would be most important in your faith to be drawn out at first glimpse? Perhaps by the appearance of Angels? Perhaps by the weary evening concluded by the eating together of bread and fish? Perhaps by a barrage of separate but similar eye witness reports (somewhat of an embarrassment of other's riches)? What is most needed drawn from you to start your faith off on the best foot? What is needed by the Lord to produce the faith and the irrefutable and glorious testimony He needs to ignite the new ministry of His gospel of complete salvation? I'd like to think that the events here are being properly timed and staged, that there is perfection and purpose to the righteous performance as it is being revealed. After all this is a once in an eternity event that intends to bare the entire weight of redemption.The faith of our Lord is in this exact moment and the reaction of His followers in it. He believes in this moment for their sake. He believes in this moment for our sake. This for Him is an exciting moment. This revelation moment may come in different ways to each one of us, but with purpose; the purpose of drawing out what is most needed in our faith.He said that His sheep would know His voice. His first whisper was Him perceived as a gardener to a deeply mournful and bravely seeking believer named Mary. How about yours?