January1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus geneva@Matthew:1:1-17 - 42 generations. A span of some 1950 years. Peoples lives and peoples future hope in God. It is a long time preparing mankind for the Savior's entry. There has been nearly a constant steady movement towards this moment when Son becomes incarnate flesh. Things are about to take a sudden turn. The taskmaster, the Law is about to be fulfilled and the Law of Grace about to superceed it. What do we find as the faith our Lord possesses in this geneology?. 1. His faith in the Father's plan, His judgment, His timing. 2. A faith in the Holy Spirit's abilities once the Son comes into this flesh and a faith in the same when He departs. 3. A faith in His own complete submission. 4. A faith backwards to include salvation to those this life has passed, a faith present into the salvation of those with whom He will be here with for 3+ years, a faith future toward the salvation of thise who will believe based on these present men's testimony. It is a large faith that we hope to look more deeply into as this journal continues.
January2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus geneva@Matthew:1:18-25 - I notice the sequence of events surrounding Joseph and see details of the faith my Lord posseses. Joseph finds out, Joseph considers what to do, Joseph has it explained after the fact by an Angel, Joseph consents to what is already in motion. The Lord's faith seeks the consent of participating individuals. To gain that consent, at least in this instance, He proceeds before hand, creating the need for consideration and consent. Surely, He knows these people well enough to know their answer, but, it is a faith that is inclusive of other peoples needs and creates and at the same time proceeds with what must be done for the good of all mankind. In effect He is showing a faith in Joseph. He must have prepared Joseph and Mary for this consent along with everything else.
January3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus geneva@Matthew:2:1-12 MAGI - The Herods play a key role in Gospel events, their first incling of Jesus received at the hands of a band of of mystics or astronomers from likely Persia (recent captors). The appearance of this band is certainly troubling to the public in Jerusalem as well. This is not a quiet and polite announcement. Of interest is how the Spirit allowed this Herod to become aware of the occurance of the Messiah's birth with such a disturbing foriegn parade and yet snuck the parade out the backdoor so as not to reveal anymore. Our glimps into the faith of Jesus remains with His preliminary consent beforehand, knowing that He would not be received by His own, and that significant handeling/directing of the human nature was to be required of the Holy Spirit at least during the time of His infancy.
January4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:2:13-18 EGYPT - Events and situations are already beginning to form around the young child before He says or does anything; before his first steps most likely. These movements are based solely upon what He might represent to others. The faith of Jesus here is seen in what He had consented to before hand. Unlike any other religious icon Jesus came to be tested and to be proven to/by those who He came save. He would not become savior just because He declared Himself so, not because of some vision under a tree meditating on nothingness or some collection of thoughts gazing into the vastness of the night sky, but, because the Father submitted Him to our doubting suspicious manipulating tests. Anyone could portray themselves to be from God, only one could be proven starting even before He was barely conscious and absolutely powerless, totally in the hands of His Father. This is the Faith of Jesus, what He consented to. This is what makes His faith different from any other. This is what we need to find and keep within ourselves as well.
January5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:2:19-23 RETURN FROM EGYPT - The savior of the world could have grown up or even based his ministry from anywhere, Egypt, Rome, South America, etc... It was not the Father's will though; the plan was to save the world by fulfilling the promise made to Abraham and the exact details given long ago to the prophets. Joseph is not told Nazareth specifically. Unless he himself knows of the prophecy, his own fear and protective sense leads him to the fulfillment of God's prophecy. Our Lord's faith, again by previous consent, is that He has come first as and for the children of the covenant and by that then also the rest of the world. He has also come that all prophecy may be fulfilled. No other religious icon has been prophesied to such extraordinary detail and fulfilled it thus passing the test of our scrutiny. Our faith needs to be placed in exactly that!
January6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:3:1-12 THE BAPTIST JOHN - The old prophecies fulfilled are beginning to flood forth. John is now a fully reasoning and consenting adult and so is Jesus. John is sent to prepare the way for Jesus and the way is through repentance. Jesus is relying on the timing of the Father in order to kick off His active ministry. God's timing is likely based upon the Levitical shadow or type regarding the Passover Lamb and it's requirements. He is close to beginning the time of inspection. The preparations made these millenniums are many and exact, just as the requirements of the role Messiah; they are not just anything some ambitious wanna be wants them to be. Jesus is prepared to go up against every imaginative preconception (and there are many even amongst the most devoted and zealous) to achieve His Father's will. It is His faith. Is it ours?
January7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:3:13-16 BAPTISM OF JESUS - Two main keys: 1. That righteousness is not just something we are or He is or we become or He has imputed on to us, it is also a action/event/command needing to be fulfilled toward the greater whole of righteousness; 2. The reason for doing a righteous thing does not need to be known or well reasoned, suffice it for now, without a full explanation, it is proper for the two of us inclusive to do this. Not just anyone can make the second claim. It is because of the righteousness of Jesus that the act being proposed can be suffered face value for now. If it were a scoundrel asking us to do this on face value no questions asked, we would have been bamboozled. Our Lord's faith then is first in the righteousness of the Father and the Fathers plans/abilities, second that this act/event further fulfills righteousness, third that we would be able to see/sense His sum of righteousness and therefore know it is safe/proper to act upon His promptings without having to know every detail before hand. We can fulfill the righteousness He inclusively intends to act out with us. John may have plenty questions about why this had to be done later that day, theologians may have many similar questions today, it is a rather odd event. Suffice it for now Jesus has led John into doing something very righteous; like two polarities of faith met together on both men's part (He has the faith in you that you will join Him in doing it, you have the faith in him enough to follow along and get it done).
January8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:4:1-11 THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS IN THE WILDERNESS - There is more than a books worth of journaling to be done here, this is the much condensed version. The Spirit leads Jesus to a place to be examined by the devil, Jesus has given Himself into the Spirit's hands at all times (we are not told that the Spirit just dropped Him off), Satan has no power over Him at any time other than to attempt to test Him; Jesus had willingly submitted Himself to this and this is faith one. Knowing the source of this inquiry, Satan, the best strategy is always to refuse doing/showing/proving anything, being able to identify that this was Satan is made clearer as always by a. knowing/believing God's will/plan and b. days of devoted fasting and communion with Spirit/Father and c. seeking/memorizing not only scripture but the underlying principals involved; this is faith two. Some preachers make this event to sound as some monumental battle of wills and enticements. I believe this to be an event where both fighters had each other sized up before hand and that Satan was staring face to face with his ending, making sure that this one was the true one come in the flesh.
January10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:4:18-22 THE FIRST DISCIPLES - Our Lord's faith is not only in heavenly and ethereal things but, in four common fishermen (soon to be twelve common men total ). When we think about the effect/impact Jesus needed to make in the short time that He had available, the stock of well prepared/educated people to draw a team of disciples from, it is illustrative of the faith that he had in these few particular men and this sort. There were hundreds of disciples, but, there were only twelve Disciples. After His death, these are the men whose testimony would be used to spread the gospel to the entire world. How did He know that they would follow? How did He know that they would be able of heart, mind and body? Better yet, what did they see in Him? Was it not His faith in them? His faith in His Father? His faith in the redemptive plan?
January11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:4:23-25 GOING ALL ABOUT - Three important parts to Jesus' early ministry, teaching (instructing), preaching (exhort reproof convince) the gospel of the kingdom, healing (taking from) all manner of sickness/disease. These three went hand in hand. Word of Him spread throughout Syria particularly because of His work with a diversity of untreatable diseases and torments. Of these torments there is listed a descending order, the possessed, the lunatic (moon struck or moon cycled), palsied (epileptic). People from the region packed in tight around him to follow. Word traveled in the form of rumor and innuendo as much as by testimony no doubt faster and deeper than a hundred thousand watt radio antenna would today. In modern social media terms the word went viral reaching even to the hard hearts in Jerusalem. Today we have faith in broadcast mediums reaching vast masses. Jesus had the faith of one on one contact; what you see the Father doing, that you do.
January12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:1-12 BLESSED ARE - If sin is the cause of all unhappiness/dread/curse, then theses attitudes go a long way to setting things back aright. Jesus is saying that these are 'the' attitudes... be this... thus we remember them as the beatitudes. These attitudes lead first to the acceptance of a Lord and Savior and then continue after as a result. The produce is properly a spiritual happiness, but, the word happiness in English has been considerably diluted. There is a notion of joy filled contentment even in the face of adversity, a sense of virtuous imperative moral excellence and the courage to stand against the viral hostility of wickedness, the calming certainty of a future tense reunion and just reward. Blessed is not only a vision of how man will one day be, it is a image to be held by those of such deepened spiritual traits. These are all traits of putting it all into God's hands, these are all traits heavily shunned by the natural man. The flesh is at enmity with the spirit. Jesus would not have declared this had it not been His faith.
January13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:13-16 SALT AND LIGHT - Think of light as being His glory. Think of salt as being His glory. There is no other. We become vessels of that light and vessels of that salt on earth by accurately reflecting His glory. We can easily become vessels of a light trying to be hid, vessels of salt that becomes unsavory. How would we become that? Not accurately reflecting His glory. If our light shining before all men is the light of our many good works then Christ's glory is hid, others will not see it as anything other than our own works nor will He receive the praise. If our light shining before all men is the light of His glory then they see our many good works as His and correctly give Him the glory. It is the faith of Jesus that in His earthly course He Himself must accurately reflect the glory of the Father exclusively; what He see's the Father do... that He does. Many great works are accomplished from this reflective mindset plus to each and every work He rightly and perceivibly gives the Father the entire credit. Likewise, it is His faith that we too would see what Jesus is doing and do it exclusively that so that when people see Him working through us they rightfully give Him the praise. We are preordained to do these good works because they are the works of Christ in/through us. We abide in His vine, we produce His fruit.
January14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:17-20 THE LAW BY JOT AND TITTLE - The faith of our Lord is written all over this passage. First that He did not come to destroy the Law/Prophets, He came to fulfill. There is the letter of the Law and the spirit of the law. The spirit of the Law is that it was meant all along to be a vehicle to convict all men of their sin and drive men to repentance and acceptance of the remission of sins secured in the blood of the promised Christ. Christ fulfilled the spirit of the Law by proving even to the most ardent adherents of the Law their utter inability yet to escape sin (as in their adherence they broke every single one of their commandments putting Messiah to death). The relevance of the Law never ends until the sinner is brought to the point of depending solely upon the grace and righteousness of Christ. The second article of faith presented is that the righteousness that He would impute upon us believers through His death and resurrection would far exceed the assumed righteousness of even the most zealous and fanatic adherers of the Law. His faith is quite unlike any other's indeed.
January15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:21-26 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU (MURDER) - 'Okay, so this is the way you have been taught, the way that I am about to teach you is the way it needs to be taught'; this is essentially what Jesus is saying. For instance, consider murder (one of several similar considerations). The key twist is the word 'therefore' because it ties two very different thoughts (so we think) together. You are bringing your gift to the alter. You remember or become aware of another person having ought against you. What ought would another have? An ought that places you in danger of judgment/tribune/hell fire. The alter that you thought you were standing at has become the throne of a Judge, in His hands you have been delivered to stand for the sin of murder. How so? A person was kept from heaven because you religious person were angry at him without cause. A sister was kept from heaven because you made her to feel her worthless. A struggling sinner was kept from heaven because he was called or was treated like a fool. Who have you kept from heaven's gate in your own pursuit to this alter? Who soul have you damned? This is a murder beyond all murder, the murder lasting eternity; the type of murder never considered nor taught against by men. Our Lord's faith is in a much higher calling, a completely different frame of mind and self image. All men fall short. All men have done this. Where then have we repented? Where have we turned our course? Agree with thine adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him....
January16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:27-30 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU (ADULTERY) - The common teaching again falls short. It sees sin as actions and this action of adultery as mutual and consentual. Sin is of the heart however. You could cut eyes and limbs, anything would be better than nothing, but, you would still have the heart. The purpose of the law is to point us to the need for Christ, for Christ to be our fulfillment, not to provide a way for us to legislate against the flesh. One would have to legislate it in so many areas to the point where it would become sick and tired of any law and rebel against it out of spite. You cannot legislate the heart. The heart has played a trick already on us in defining adultery down to a remote and distant action. How many other other areas has it done this? It is Jesus' faith that the Law is correctly in place and can be used with the correct discernment to show us this errant heart. Remember He said 'blessed are thou'. Why? Because He 'has not come to destroy the law but fulfill it'. In what way then am I blessed? Because broken and humbled and contrite we turn to Him to be our fulfillment. It is our Lord's faith that Law and Grace (a specific grace - He Himself) work hand in hand to separate/lift men from their sin stained hearts.
January17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:31-32 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU (DIVORCE) - The common teaching again falls short, this time concerning the writ of divorce. A vow is made before God, one or both want out. Adultery has been made atleast by one as defined in the previous verses perhaps even murder regardless of whether any act has been commited (throw in false worship and lying as well). The common teaching would be to draw up a writ of divorce presumably to legally protect the helpless wife. The spiritual effect of such a teaching is that not only would sin be allowed and continued, that it would be multiplied beyond anyones narrow minded intention. Even at it's sincerest best, the heart is looking from it inside out to search what God may have meant by a commandment. The faith of Jesus is that He is looking from outside in, knowing as the Father would know the command's intention, viewing down into the effects of the heart's self fashioned faulty drive and reasoning. The allowance we cloth divorce in is the same filthy wardrobe we dress our other sins up in. If only we could see as He does the naked truth.
January18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:33-37 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU (OATHS) - This one questions tradition more than any one commandment. We are commanded not to lie or deceive surely. We are commanded to bare not false witness. The taking of an oath in a court of law may be required. Tradition in everyday religious life however held that your commitment to performing a general oath was backed and guarantied by the full weight of God or object of reverence to Him. The problem is man does not fully revere obey God and by swearing by God His name becomes associated with ones lying and deceit and manipulations. Despite even the best of intentions oaths are often left off. The oath becomes a very real form of false worship which in effect then is being encouraged by these religious traditions. God is not the guarantee of our intentions, He is the object of our obedience. It is the faith of our Lord that reverence, obedience, commitment, truthful witness and worship all need to proceed solely from a pure heart and clear conscience; a heart that need not be propped up with flowery promises or name associations. As a good teacher He must be fully aware of what is being taught and from what heart it is being taught from. As good listeners so must we.
January19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:38-42 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU (RESIST NOT INJURY) - The common teaching all revolves around an eye for an eye; equal measure retribution for personal injury. Three men's actions are given for example, one smites your cheek, one sues, one impresses you into some form of civil or royal task/service. The fuller teaching is that equal in a mans mind is not always equal. Physical retaliation for instance is not always most prudent, exceeding the eye for eye when you yourself are judged/indebted is encouraged, as is going an extra mile when pressed into some unsought service; it doesn't always mean personal injury and that it has to be resisted. Various situations differ. Eye for an eye was meant to address self empowered self righteous lynch mobs, applying it to all situations leads to a sense of victimization and entitlement. It is not always warranted and often merely continues the cycle of excess. Discretion, discernment, valor, impartiality, searching the evidence/testimony, etc... are the better forms of justice. Personal retaliation outside of normal course of law must be thought out seriously. There is an example of Jesus being smited on the cheek kjv@John:18:22-23. It is the faith of our Lord that though He would suffer personal injury He would not allow His reactions no temper/impulse to it to destroy the work and time at hand. His eyes are fixed on the prize ahead and not the violations against Him. He is asking for us to be the same.
January20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:43-48 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU (ENEMIES) - Every man determines himself his enemies. The label enemy can also be influenced by peer pressure, religious indifference, racial prejudice, false witness, etc.. What criterion then is to be used? Justice? The common teaching has become the mentality of us against them, just versus unjust. The fuller teaching is that God makes his rain to fall upon all. There is a higher calling, to love even a much proven enemy with the love of God; to see others as God sees them. If we needed any further prompting, God added a reward for such. The faith of our Lord is much the same. Though He is surrounded by the wicked and the unjust and the foolish and the hardened and the negligent and the abusive and the timid and the disbelieving and the... (you get the idea), the core of a man's heart that makes Him at enmity with God, His love yet remains all the more. It is not just for them that we should do this, it is for Him and for our own selves.
January21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:6:1-4 ALMS - For the needy receiving alms you'd think that the end result would be the same; what difference does the motivation of the giver make when the money is handed over? For the giver the difference seems to be in their personal final reward. But is it? Perhaps the true difference goes back to the earlier mention of being a shining light and salt, it is in the accurate reflection of God light. If Jesus is the fulfilment of the the law, if He has become our exceeding righteousness, if we are of truly broken and contrite and meek spirit, then alms is one tangible measurement of our sincerity and ability toward these spiritual objectives. In one manner His light is hidden and in another more secretive way the light is in full view. As much as the needy need to have our alms, they need to see it in God's light. The question may be whether God rewards us regardless of the outcome to the needy person or is the outcome all important to the reward? The faith of our Lord is in tangible things done from the proper heart making His light shown to those who need light most.
January22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:6:5-15 PRAYER - The objective of prayer, the sincerity of prayer, the secretiveness and repetition are all products of the heart. The honest heart will proceed one way, the confused or deliberate heart another. Prayer reveals much about ones image of God. Is He a candy machine? Is He a genie sworn to our three wishes? Is He close, distant, friendly acquaintance, or divine supreme? Reverence and forgiveness are brought up as key indicators. The Lords prayer reveal much about His faith, that the Father is above all, that His rule is sovereign, that He is provident, forgiving, delivering, supreme, omnipotent, glorious and eternal. How we treat others is as much of a product of how we view Him as anything other; especially along the lines of forgiveness.
January23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:6:16-18 FASTING - Purpose. Why does one fast? Jesus fasted. What reason did He have to fast. The description here of the hypocrite seems obvious, but, it's implications far reaching; there are ways unbeknownst to us (less obvious) that our reverence toward God is stained deep with hypocrisy. Some things more honest like trying to set an example or encouragement for others to emulate can easily be confiscated by lesser intentions. Some group activities set off to be more pious and grandstanding are highly contagious. Truly, I don't think many start off intending to be hypocritical, it is just that it is so natural to drift off that way. The Lord is asking us to take an inventory not only with fasting but, with all of the observances and ritual we follow. Do these things by all means, but do them from the right heart. It is the Lord's faith that religion and worship and observance like fasting are ways of putting the flesh aside momentarily in order to draw closer to the Father. Being closer is reinvigorating and strengthening when done first and foremost in the honesty and reverence deserved of the Father's honour.
January24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:6:19-24 TREASURE AND SERVICE - The Lord's faith is in a much larger vision or time reference, eternity. This life is the potting soil for something much bigger. For us to spend this present time absorbed and deeply hidden within it is to not peek out from our shell to see the breadth and scope beyond. So you do everything in this life for this life? When this life is taken away, what then do you have left? His faith from there is further expanded adding singleness of vision on top of it. The demands of this life are not trivial but they can be distracting, even re-absorbing. These daily demands are meant to mold and develop us, proof us. Only by single focus on that which is above are we kept from being buried/destroyed by the desperate things below. It is His light, shown in His faith that we are meant to grasp hold and serve.
January25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:6:25-34 NEED - There are some things within our control. There are things outside of our control. There are things that consume our time and worries that probably shouldn't that we think that we must take control that pulls us far from God. It is not that He doesn't want us to have what we truly need. It is not that He doesn't know that we need them. It is that He wants us to seek His Kingdom and righteousness first. Busy buddies and worry warts are what we are, always an excuse, always another reason, little progress or control, many things spinning further out of control, and for what? Something that He knows that we need? Something maybe that we don't need? Something that may bring further worry and desperation of control? The Lord's faith is firm, God's glory, God's Kingdom first. Once settled and firmly planted then prayer, once prayed for and trusted then patience and obedience and then a willingness to accept that if it is not His will it may not be needed.
January26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:7:1-6 JUDGEMENT - Judgement is so very closely related to hypocrisy. We are so much willing to hold others to a standard that we would never hold ourselves to. We can sniff out hypocrisy in others from a mile a way, perhaps that is because we fully expect it. Judgement cannot be avoided in our day to day lives. Most every activity and relationship encountered in a day requires some form of judgement. It is not judgment that is being forbidden here, it is the type of judgement; the most common type - Hypocrisy. One should learn to expect it from themselves and know how to look for it. We want to be judged a fair judge, one whose judgement applied first and foremost to their own-selves. Judge as one who knew his on weaknesses yet was brave enough to battle his weaknesses and to help others through theirs as well. What use is it to strive not to judge at all, neither owns-self nor others? The Lord's faith is not that we will become a bunch of passivists, it is that we will be able to judge right from wrong, truth from falsehood, help from oppression........
January27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:7:7-12 ASK SEEK KNOCK - Let's take this in context for a minute. If we were to ask for what we have already ready, what would be asking for? His Kingdom to come and Will to done on Earth as in Heaven. Our daily bread spiritually first and for our physical needs. Forgiveness of our trespasses in like measure. To be led from temptations such as judging one another from such hypocritical eyes. What does it mean to seek this? To seek it from Him? To seek Him to develop it within us? To seek as a distant wish or as daily presentable action? To hunger and thirst for His righteousness? What does it mean to knock then? It is the faith of the Lord that you have at least this in you. That you will see the need to ask. That you will search through our darkness for His light. That you will knock for the door to be opened for you. Would He really say no to this or provide something other?
January28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:7:13-14 NARROW - The narrow mind today is much frowned upon. The modern mind is conceded enough to think that anywhere it goes that there is something there for it, that a narrow mind is missing out on what ever it is that is there. What if what is there is destruction? What is the narrow mind missing out on? Many consider Jesus to be an excellent teacher on most everything but this one point. What if Jesus is not speaking from opinion but from observable fact? One would ask 'Observable from whose standpoint'? From the incarnate Son of God's! Are open minds rather too narrow to consider that the Son of God would not see it as such? To consider that He made it to be so with reason?
January29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:7:15-23 FRUITS - Two lives are examined by their fruits; a third is implied. The two are extremes but produce similar corrupt fruit, false prophets and those who presume to do the Lord's work but are not. To Jesus the equation is simple: good tree good fruit, bad tree bad fruit; no in between to consider. What in life is so stark in comparison? Spirituality! It is either born of Him or not. Does that mean that we do no wrong? No that means that He is able to produce good fruit through us as we abide in His tree. Think of all the elements discussed so far in this sermon (low and meek to self/reflecting His light/having all righteousness fulfilled in Him, convicted under the fullest sense of the law, non-hypocritical/judgmental, will be done, seeking first.... ). Is there any doubt that this tree can produce nothing other than good fruit in the big picture? The faith of our Lord sees the stark division between good and corrupt, works of flesh and of spirit, fruit born of Him versus all else that is not. He is sure of our path.
January30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:7:24-29 THESE SAYINGS OF MINE - Therefore. Therefore what? Therefore everything He has said in this sermon is something supremely wise for us to take hold and build our faith/lives upon. It is our Lord's faith that this series of sayings will make the needed spiritual difference in us. Not only will we be built up but built on solid indestructible footings, all focused and centered upon His righteous fulfillment of the righteous eternal demands of His/our Father. The difference is as radical and stark as darkness and light. The fruit of which exceeding the righteousness of the most zealous scribes and legalists. The entirety of fulfillment would still not be available to us until His death and resurrection, but, He is well on His way to providing us the reasoning and the means of the Father's plan. This one sermon is without doubt the greatest most concise and all encompassing teaching delivered by any person in human history. Well worth re-reading kjv@Matthew:5-7
January31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:1-4 I WILL - Was the leper part of the show or part of the testimony? Jesus wanted him to be healed but, did not want him to tell anybody except as required by the Law. If part of the show, such a cleansing would garner great press and recognition. If part of the testimony a man would be healed and the Law fulfilled. Strangely, as a consequence, it seems that straight/honest fulfilling of the Law would bring greater press through controversy. The faith of our Lord does not operate on human terms of what will certain people think or what result will stir from this, it operates from the center of what is right to do. If it stirs controversy amongst this or that group, fine, it is because they are unaccustomed to seeing what is right being done. If ever you have opportunity to ask our Lord if He wilt.. be prepared for Him to say yes He wills it... oh and all of the consequence that comes along with that. The man might have better asked "do you want that I should stir up the hornet's nest by you doing simply what is right?" You see the faith of our Jesus do you not?
February1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:5-13 MANY SHALL COME SIT DOWN - The Centurion was a gentile Roman captain over one hundred. When the Lord says many from the east east and west, He means to include non-Hebrews at a banquet alongside even the Jewish patriarchs. When He says I have not seen such faith in all of Israel He is pointing to the fact that amongst His own something has been left amiss, apparently with their perception and acknowledgement of His authority. An outsider is portrayed as being in the inner circle while many of the covenant children are left out in the darkness. The man's faith and perception of authority is made an example of. The faith of our Lord believes that both Jew and Gentile would be able to see and sense His authority and thus be petitioned of to be put to use for the good of others. We are not told of the servants faith, but, we do know that he was healed by the faith of another convinced of our Lord's authority.
February2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:14-17 HE TOOK AND BARE - When Jesus healed where did the sickness go? The answer may lay in the word bare. Some would say that He took it into Himself and thus bare it. Others would say that He lifted it or carried it away to some other place and thus bare it. The fact is that we do not know for certain. There is the verse that say by His stripes we are healed; those stripes generally considered to be at His scourging before the Roman soldiers; suggesting more of a payment/price paid rather than a consumption. Could these healings have been paid on a promissary note? The faith of our Lord in this regard is in the prophet Isaiah, that through him (and select others) the Father had beforehand mandated the steps to be followed by the Christ. Not only was Jesus given the ability to do so He had the mandate to follow, it was then left to His willingness and obedience to accomplish. Even if we are not sure of the where sickness, we have the what how and the why.
February3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:18-22 HOLES AND NESTS - Our lives are filled with priorities. One man believes he can set Jesus as his number one priority, Jesus asks him to consider more carefully just how much of a priority that commitment could become. Another man has Jesus as his priority but another priority temporarily becomes more the priority, Jesus asks him to reconsider. The Lord knows our hearts and our lives. He knows that they are controlled by priorities; priorities that we ourselves set. At this particular time, given His short stay, His disciples priority had to be one thing and one thing only. Even during His time here at times He worked within other peoples commitments (Peter's mother in law for instance) to make His message known. Now that His pathway for us has been paved, though we be not removed from being His disciples, neither are we to remove ourselves from our vows and obligations. The message is that we make those vows and obligation and we set those priorities; not to make those rashly or hastily or foolishly that they become a distraction from our true obligation following and serving the discipline of our Lord. Not to let those involvements become an excuse for not proceeding further in the Lord's work. Understand how much sacrifice and commitment our discipleship must at all times be. Our Lord's faith is shown in how single minded and dedicated His obligation and priority was and is.
February4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:23-27 YE OF LITTLE FAITH - A storm rages and Jesus sleeps. Were the disciples to have the faith enough to speak to the storm on their own to allow Him more sleep? Were they rather to have the faith that Jesus the Son of God Holy Redeemer was not to die in a sudden storm fierce as it was? Who brought the storm? In whose hands are is the storm controlled? Storms rage around us today, even storms of emotion and circumstance and consequence and accident. They are beyond our control. They threaten us with disaster and injury, even death. Is it not that even in death God is in control? Is there not anything not within His control? Where then is the fear? Trust the Lord, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him. Our Lord's faith is that in us (as hard as it seems for us to find) that within us there is the ability to have this certainty of mind, that He can lead us to this place of faith/trust, that our fear of Him be not displaced by the fear of the storm.
February5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:28-34 BEFORE OUR TIME - Demons have a time? We dive into the realm of the uncomfortable. Most of us have reduced this life down to a series of good and bad choices. Devils and demons are but characterizations of thought patterns/tendencies. What makes a thought pattern jump from two men into a herd of swine making them rush to their death over a cliff? The faith of our Lord knows a much larger battle with fierce and possessing entities that are just as aware of their allowance and time frame as He is. The people that watched and the people of the city that later heard about this reacted in a very troubling way. Some commentaries suggest that they were troubled by the loss of the herd. I suggest that they were troubled by there limited understanding of discomforting spiritual realities.
February6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:1-8 THAT YOU MAY KNOW... ARISE - Does Jesus actually link palsy to sin? It could be read this way. However, if so why did He not say 'that you may see that sin causes palsy and that I have the power to forgive sin'. Would He have left the man at 'good cheer' had it not been for the thoughts of blasphemy in the audience? We have a observable evidence here in being able to walk. We have an unobservable evidence here being forgiven. Could it be that this healing was meant to be testament to His power as Christ first and foremost and if Christ then the power to heal as well as the power to forgive? The audience seemed to think that God had given a power to men. The power to heal palsy by the casual forgiveness of sins? Or the power to come to a Christ who has the proven authority to do either or both? Is it easier to say forgiven or arise? Both are impossible to say if you are not Christ. The faith of our Lord is in the authorities given Him by the Father for the purposes of performing the Father's will. Not only does He believe in such, He is willing and able to demonstrate such; both observable and unobservable.
February7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:9-13 I AM NOT COME BUT - 'Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners' tells a lot about the frame of mind of the so called righteous. We are all sinners. The fact that we would not consider ourselves sinners would preclude us from inviting a savior into our home dine. The message is not so much in who Jesus ate with but, who would allow themselves to eat with Jesus. Some would feel it an honor to host the Lord, to invite as many friends and citizens along with to meet with Him, to celebrate a moment face to face with divinity; others would be disgusted and ashamed at the very notion. These are the so called righteous. There is not much one can do for these people, they feel no need for a savior. The faith of our Lord is not going to beg and plead at the door of these people for whatever tiny morsels that they are unlikely to offer. He goes where He is needed and accepted and invited. Maybe that will make them mad/embarrased enough to reconsider their indefensible position.
February8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:14-17 BUT THY DISCIPLES - Some of the remaining disciples of John the Baptist are a little behind the times now. The are struggling making the transition from 'preparing the way' to the 'I am the Way'. They are willing to follow the message of repentance, willing to follow a similar legalism to the Pharisees, but, not willing to follow the Christ. Many of us are in a similar position having done everything religious up to accepting the person of Christ. Without the person of Christ the religion of man is of no value. The person of Christ is not a patch placed on old leaky wine sack, it is an entirely new bag altogether. Neither Pharisee nor Baptist can patch the difficulties and inconsistencies of their faith, neither can we. The followers of Christ must be born from new stock; spiritual not human stock, the stock bonded together in the person of Christ. Afterwards by comparison the two stocks will have similar appearances and functions but, will be entirely different in their initiation motivation and intents. The faith of our Lord is in the new. He fulfills the old, we become His new.
February9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:18-26 THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE - It is one thing to go along with the flow against Jesus, another when presented with a deep need that you rebellion cannot negotiate and He becomes your only chance. Jairus is a ruler of the synagogue. We are not told whether he was a believer either before or after, we only know that he was for this moment. The woman with issue took it upon her own, nothing had been said about touching His garment to be healed that we are aware of. Surely many people had touched Jesus, she however believed. Had they not need or faith or initiative? Is Jesus looking for a certain type of faith? Perhaps a faith planted by the Spirit alone that becomes all one's own? A inner faith that compels a person to do the unlikely? Propels a person against the tide of the mass of commonality? The faith of our Lord does what it sees the Father do. In a crowd of many outward faiths it sees the lone inner faith as a indicator of the Father's doing and therefore does the Father's will to it in response.
February10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:27-34 SEE THAT NO MAN KNOWETH - Why wouldn't Messiah want all the press that He could get? Two blind men and a man possessed healed, never so seen in all Israel? Is it a test of these men? Are the crowds getting out ahead of Jesus and what work He really must do? Yes and yes Is it a principal He is trying to teach or a fulfillment of the Law He must follow? Yes and yes The faith of our Lord is always in view of the big picture. At His level the picture is vast, the considerations manifold yet simple. In obedience and submission to the Father He exhibits the character traits of patience and temperance and humility and spiritual alertness and knowledge and......
February11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:35-38 MOVED WITH COMPASSION - Shepherd-less sheep scattered and torn about. He was probably the only one there that day that saw it that way. There were those that may have thought that they were doing a pretty good job holding the flock together. Those that thought that they were just steps away from having it all. There were plenty of others that thought that they were protecting themselves and others from Him. What He was looking at was the result of thousands of years of the human heart bending the Law into something unrecognizable, the consequences of deceitful ambitions trying to make it right on it's own terms. He was moved with compassion. Not blame mind you, though He knew where blame laid. Compassion. Not condemnation, they were already condemned. In the midst of this sight the faith of our Lord sees a harvest of souls and laborers going out to do the harvest. We are to pray for laborers, that the Father would send them. These laborers are important in the plan. Souls are ripe! Do you see that?
February12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:10 FREELY YE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE - Twelve men sent out like sheep to the wolves. You would think that men with these powers and this kingdom message would be gladly received. Is it not time in Israel for such good news and such manifestations? Wouldn't one's own family be ecstatic? We see the depths of the sin nature, the news is not well received, in fact it is vehemently opposed. They might say that they want a sign but they are not willing to let the sign into their own household. They might say that they want God's mercy but they are more willing to forcibly escort you outside of their city. The truth is very upsetting. Always has been. Always will be. The truth exposes the heart, all of it's imaginations, all the games it would rather play. These twelve men, their hearts are barely any different. The faith of our Lord is in these twelve men. He pairs them up and sends them out with His anointing. Who is to say that they will do according to what He commands any more than we ourselves would facing such resistance. They are targets. They are being shown something that He knows all to well. The nature of man is evil to the core. Healing and deliverance and justice and the kingdom here and now, those are just words, disturbing words. Proven with an undeniable God given anointing to such human and common men, fighting words.
February13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:11:1-19 OFFENDED IN ME - What would John the Baptist have to be offended in Jesus for? In the list of things that He is doing? In the way He is going about it? In the violence the kingdom is suffering because of Him? Is it to John or to John's disciples that Jesus answers? If so they treated the prophets who gave the prophecies, how so would they treat the one who fulfills those prophecies? Offended in Jesus? No rather that we should be offended in man's nature. The faith of our Lord comes as light into the darkness and the darkness receives Him not. Not even John the re-embodiment of Elijah is fully aware apparently. How plain can it be who He is and what He is doing, yet, so hidden by the heart? So tempting to be covered over?
February14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:11:20-24 UPBRAID - How could a God of love be so uncompromising and mad? Like no other time before the Lord pours Himself out in mighty works with the intent of convincing us His deity, His power, His worthiness, our standing within His love and mercy and judgment. It is not like He hasn't poured Himself out before, for He surely has. It is that this is the time for all times that His people have looked forward to and His people will look back on as the one time He really put it all out there face to face. This is His showing of love. This is His showing of full acceptance without any compromise; His full on love sent direct and in person. And what do the people do? They attempt to explain it away however they themselves see it. They attempt to contain it in a wrapper of improbability; try to make it something it is not; something to be disrespectful of. The faith of our Lord is that enough people will take a hold. What He is willing to offer is greater than any other thing that this life/death could hold. Some will take hold seeing Him in the smallest of His expressions. Some will require His largest efforts. Only one time will He present His case in person and if that is not enough what further then can He do? He will give it time for our decision, but, at some point it will be time to take His loved/loving ones and move along.
February15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:11:25-30 GOOD IN THY SIGHT. Jesus prays to His Father. It is comforting to see that He prays for what is good in His Father's sight; disturbing that He thanks Him that the opposition of the wise and prudent is divinely intended. After all, if you cannot trust the wise and prudent who can you trust? We must first ask does He hides it or they hide it from themselves? Isn't the title wise and prudent self sought and self proclaimed? What is wise and prudent truly about intellectualizing a god of ones own making? A God for something other than what He is? God is someone not to be thought up but, someone revealed. Not revealed by the thinking up/down of the wise and prudent, revealed instead by His very presence, His expressions and mannerisms, His passions/dissatisfactions/involvements. He shows Himself. A person must accept who He is, as He has shown Himself and then so come to Him burdens and all. Like as to how He came to us, meek and lowly, we come to Him. The faith of our Lord is that this is all good in the Father's sight. Not everyone will agree, they will think themselves wise as they want to be. Not everyone will allow themselves a real glimpse, they will think themselves prudent. If they are not willing to see the God in man who now for this moment stands before them they will not see man God chose to become in order to most convincingly reveal Himself. How wise and prudent does one really need to be if not to see what is so persistently obvious?
February16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:12:1-14 LORD OF THE SABBATH - Can the Law legislate against mercy? The intent of Sabbath is for rest. Rest from mercy? How hungry were the disciples? Hungry enough for this to be considered mercy on the Lord's part? How withered was the man's hand? Not enough for him to wait till Sunday? Surely the Law cannot contradict its deepest fulfillment mercy but, our interpretation of it can. The work of mercy as long as it is indeed mercy never rests. It is the faith of our Lord that these disciples have gone too long without eating, that this man has gone too long without the use of his hand, that this fallen sheep is in too much danger, that the opportunity to provide a needed mercy is at hand, that even if it means breaking somebody else's awkward interpretation of Sabbath it is well worth Him proceeding. After all, He is the Lord of the Sabbath.
February17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:12:15-21 MY SERVANT - Matthew ties a quote from kjv@Isaiah:42:1-4 into the reasoning Jesus did not want the people to make Him known. It appears to revolve around the judgment that He intends to shew to the Gentiles and the plots that are beginning to solidify from the Jewish leaders. Israel and His covenant to them remains in His heart but, not everything He does is strictly for Israel. In a sense Israel will have to come around in the future to this understanding of revelation and in great measure the Gentile nations will be used to drive them to this conclusion. For now, everything He does, every act of mercy, every piece of indisputable logic, every revealing parable only goes to anger them all the more. Their minds are now set against Him. Jesus does not snap, does not get unruly, does not turn away, His judgment is crisp and clear and evident and victorious to all honest observers. The faith of our Lord is not only in the past and the present, but, in the future; how pieces all come together as a whole. Words and deeds are one thing. The examples He lays out another. How they all play out in the end, that is the beautiful thing; the miraculous thing that can only be done by this God's servant and the spirit place upon Him.
February17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:12:15-21 MY SERVANT PART 2 - I should not neglect to state as well that we need to see Jesus as He sees Himself, The Servant. This brief stay on earth is not about Him, it is about serving His Father's will. He is revealing the Father as never before to the future generations and to the many nations. With humility and meekness and tenderness He is showing forth a truly victorious form of judgment. His judgment could have included press and publication and mass outreach, but, instead His judgment was for the individual (here..this is your healing...do not tell) and for His disciples (go..as you have freely received). Service is not rewarded at the present time, reward is a long hard road. And so it is for The Servant; My Servant. Thus is the faith of our Lord.
February18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:12:22-37 BIND THE STRONG MAN - This passage seems to be more about the Holy Spirit than any one else. kjv@Acts:10:38 declares that Jesus was anointed fully with the Holy Spirit. Here He is saying that one strong proof of His kingdom is that the Holy Spirit casts out demons, He literally binds Satan and steals away the spoils of his house. Satan would cause division in his own kingdom if he were to do this. Men by trying to explain this as something other are in fact blaspheming the character and work of the Holy Spirit; the more serious forms of knowingly blaspheming the Spirit will not be forgiven. The logical conclusion is that the tree is either good or bad, no in between, proven by it's fruit. Judgment is given as much upon words and accusations such as these as any of our works. The faith of our Lord is in His anointing. His anointing is the Holy Spirit. Our consideration and respect for the person character and works of the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance to our salvation. Be careful then how you try to explain these things that He worked in Jesus and now the followers of Jesus away.
February19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:12:38-45 THIS GENERATION - Wait a minute...which is it? Is this a potential christ or a definite devil that they are asking for a sign from? Certain scribes? Whose kingdom is it now being divided? Be careful what you ask for a true sign demands a reciprocal action - repentance. Others have witnessed less and repented; do these certain men really know what they are asking for? We have mentioned here both an evil/adulterous generation and a wicked generation. One is seeking a undeniable proof. What would they ever do with such a truth if it meant disposing of their evil/adulterous ways? The other is accepting of the proof to the point of a cleansing, but, yet leaves the door wide open to be overcome by much more of the same. For a moment we are thinking of an individual man possessed, but, the conclusion involves a generation; this generation. The only sign offered to them is the only sign offered to us... the sign of His Resurrection. It is the faith of our Lord that this particular proof is to be timeless, ultimate and undeniable. Those that do dispute it do so for their own exaltation and peril. For the generations looking forward, the generations looking back it should be more than needed to conclude and repent to it's certain salvation. For those of this generation it is their dividing moment.
February20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:12:46-50 STANDING WITHOUT - Is Jesus saying that His mother and siblings are not doing the will of the Father at present? What were they going to tell Him? That they were being followed every where they go? That strange cults were beginning to develop outside the house regarding Mary? Was the public's curiosity making carnival acts out of their own lives? Were they projecting their own stress upon Jesus and asking Him to come home, rest, let things cool down? Were there threats circulating? It would all be conjecture, but, surely their quiet lives have been burdened as well. This lifestyle is not anything that they would have chosen themselves, at times it may have even been understandable for them to resent. Jesus is not pushing them away, He is desiring for them to come along side. He is asking them to consider the larger picture, the adoption of a great many into the brotherhood of the kingdom. The faith of our Lord regards many issues as one; it all comes down to obeying the will of God. It would be easy to be pulled aside by this problem or this concern or that wise motherly counsel. His followers must be able to follow along with Him even through the impossible and uncertain as much as is both humanly possible and spiritually empowered. Without this frame of mind we too could find ourselves outside the crowd insisting to advise Him on something that in the grand scheme of things is of little consequence.
February21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:1-23 TO THEM IT IS NOT GIVEN - As Jesus looked onto the crowded shoreline this parable was written out all over their many faces; each of these four profiles identifiable. Therefore He spoke to them in parable. Why did He speak to them in parable? Because it was not given for many of them to understand. Huh? Their hearts are fattened and their ears are heavy. People were looking to come up with it on their own without it being given by this sower. A sower plants a seed into the ground, the ground does not plant the seed itself. The ground might be willing to receive any and every other form of foreign seed but why not this one? Because it is the seed from this particular sower. Because He plants the seed expecting a very particular fruit. It is the faith of our Lord that for a few souls in this crowd that the understanding will be given, that the understanding will be tested, that the understanding will set one apart from the rest, but, that the fruit will well be worth the process it took to bring it forth.
February22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:24-30 WHILE MEN SLEPT - The Kingdom sowed but, certain men were apparently given the responsibility of watching over the field and did not. While they slept the enemy came in and planted near identical yet false seed. This parable goes hand in hand with the original Parable of the Sower. Wouldn't it be good to know that along with your personal struggle to bring forth fruit that there is a field (world) of other believers going through the same process? Wouldn't it be equally as good to know that not everyone that you would think by appearance is of the same stock? No one would know until the final fruit was harvested. It is interesting that all the enemy had to do is plant the seed and then go about his way. Are these darnel seeds subject to the same process of root and depth and parching sunlight as the wheat? Most likely. Is one required to grow the other? Apparently not. What then is the difference and how can they be identified? Not even the servants from above can tell until the final fruit is bore. Once intermingled, removing the one would uproot the other. Imagine for instance the prospects of the Protestant church if ever the Catholic Church was removed or vise versa. The faith of our Lord is in that while this did not need to happen it was going to and did happen because men do sleep. It is deceptive to say that all paths lead to God when not all seed leads to the same fruit, when not all seed is planted to the same intent by the same kingdom. While we cannot identify the measure now amongst ourselves, He certainly can when all things come to fruition.
February23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:31-35 SECRET FROM THE FOUNDATION - There may be a way to look at these parables and have them confirm what we have known all along. Jesus intends though to reveal things that have been concealed up until now and this/that parable. One must ask 'what do I understand now that until this parable was not known'? To do that one must search deeply with more than a passing glance. If the tiniest of seeds becomes a substantial tree, if the Kingdom hidden in three measures of meal raise the entire loaf, what new thing then does that mean? I think that the casual reader gets that He is talking about increase or growth here. Do they get what it is that is growing? Isn't the example of leaven also used as a analogy to spiritual corruption? Isn't the mustard seed used of the size of faith? Commentary cannot answer everything for you. Somethings simply must be searched out by one's self. To know that the true meaning is deep down into what has been concealed is an invitation into the parable. To know that parables are only opened up to the honest and sincere of reverent faith is a discipline. It is the faith of our Lord that all those that truly ask/seek/knock will find this wisdom and that this wisdom will grow out into every area and aspect of the believer's life. That the lives of believers together and united will combine throughout the world and ages to be supernaturally more than can be found in just one person.
February24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:36-43 SO SHALL IT BE - The Lord's explanation of the 'Parable of the tares' has more to do with the end of the tares than anything else. 'He that hath ears to hear, let him hear' He concludes. There is a consummation of time when the angels will be used to gather the tares for burning because they offend and do iniquity. They offend because they are moral agents of the enemy and even in their best of intentions/deeds they commit iniquity. Remember how often Jesus has spoken of no middle ground, the tree/fruit is either good or evil. Given that for so long there was little way for anyone else to tell the difference from the wheat this must come as a shock to a great many. The difference must be quite obvious in the final fruit. Many have faith in some form of His non-judgmental universal compassion, the faith of our Lord is not only in the execution of judgment but, that the judgment that He intends is entirely righteous; it is the ultimate form of compassion to those on whom it will be placed.
February25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:44-46 WHEN A MAN HATH FOUND - Is the man described here one of us or is it Him? Could be either, but, not as you might think. There is not anything that we could sell or trade to buy the kingdom of heaven ourselves. The price is not in our hands. The price has been paid however by Him. Is it so much to ask that we would not be better off now selling all that we have that is holding us back in this life for His life to live in us? He once said 'where a man's treasure is, there will be his heart'. Peter later implored 'having done all to make our calling and election sure'. There is the grace that saves us, that pays our price for us. There is the grace that we release ourselves into as a daily living sacrifice. There is the exceeding and overflowing grace that we share as a result upon others. The faith of our Lord is that He is willing to pay the price for this type of kingdom, even if it means hiding it away for the time that it takes to come up with the price. Now that He has the price, this is what He most wants to see and what He is most willing to give Himself entirely to. How about us?
February26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:47-52 GATHERED OF EVERY KIND - Ah so all paths do lead to God; God's judgment. The Kingdom of Heaven is the net drawing up all types. A division is then made between the wicked and just as performed by angels. The basis of distinction appears to be clear black and white with little guess work or inquiry. The wise scribe is one instructed in the net that aptly draws from old and new testaments to convince men to change their ways in light of this judgment beforehand. These disciples surrounding Jesus now many will be writers documenting and testifying to what they have heard and seen. We have insight into their rationale and method by understanding the net. It is because of and through the Kingdom of Heaven that this all can take place. It is the faith of our Lord that the Kingdom of Heaven is now come and is further coming, that He is the key component of this net that makes this judgment holy and right. Because of Him the believer becomes just by imputation and the non-believer becomes wicked by insolence. The differentiation is simple based on ones belief in Him.
February27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:53-58 BECAUSE OF THEIR UNBELIEF - The people of Nazareth were astonished but, not in the right way; they were astonished that the son of their well known carpenter was causing such a national disturbance. They may have even been witness or over-hearers of the burden Jesus' fame was placing on the rest of the family in these parts. Perhaps there was an embarrassment of their own. Here we see the limits of miracles, they are easy to write off, overlook or to see in the wrong light. Some would theorize that Jesus needed others to believe that He could do it in order to make a miracle happen, therefore He did few miracles during this time frame. It seems more likely that there was no point in wasting the efforts if they were just going to produce more of the same feelings of offence. Jesus limited Himself to mostly teaching, not that He didn't want to offend but, that He didn't want any progress to be set back. As always, He did what was right/given. The fact that this response from others was predicted by Isaiah (and others) should have alerted those in the know to caution or even quiet optimism. kjv@John:7:15-16 John records that Jews even marveled thinking that He was untrained. Jesus' reply was quite simple 'My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me'. The faith of our Lord is in knowing that human perception is always biased but can be swayed in some with much effort exposing falsity and truth. Others this effort merely offends. Miracles/signs can get into most doors but, not necessarily their hearts. You do what you can do with these doubters and leave it in God's patient hands for the rest.
March1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:14:13-21 LOOKING UP TO HEAVEN BLESSED - Jesus performs miracles for many individuals, for the twelve disciples specifically, and for groups large and small. After a day of many individual healings it may be easy to loose sight on the 'for whom' and 'by whom' all such things are done. Jesus looks to the heavens. The disciples offered a logical plan and conclusion. Jesus took their humane effort in this case releasing the masses to fend for themselves as an excuse for not putting their wellfare into the Father's hands, thanking Him for what they did have and asking His blessing upon that. In all it is a perfect conclusion to day filled with wonder, a time to refocus on 'whom by' and 'whom for'. It is the faith of our Lord that it is the Father and Spirit by whom these things come about. They are doing it for the Son. The Son is to stand apart from all others so that He may lead the people's hearts back to them. He stands apart because the Father and Spirit are doing for Him. This is not as much about having the power to do so as it is the power being done for Him. He in turn thanks and blesses and continues to be obedient to the course laid out.
March2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:14:22-36 COME - I doubt if Peter walked on water by any measure of his own faith as most readers would interpret. He walked by Jesus power alone. Remember that the question never was could man walk on water as well, it was 'if it is you Lord bid me to come'. It is a test of whether this appearance is Jesus Himself or a haunting spirit before him; or else where would a odd request such as this come from? So Peter sinks. Did Jesus no longer bid because of Peter's fear/doubt? In other words did Peter's faith have to meet Him half way? No I don't think so! If so then it was not all by Jesus' power. Rather, it is being shown to a frightened Peter that yes this embodiment standing impossibly before him in the midst of a fierce threatening storm Him is indeed Jesus his Lord. Then, in a somewhat humorous way, Peter is dunked into the water for having thought that anything other could come between himself and his Lord's bidding. If this is not the intended message, why then would the disciples not be practicing the next few days on the shoreline in order to build their faith to the point that they could consistently walk on water? Why then would this teaching not come back up, or others have walked? Instead, the faith of our Lord is that at some point we will realize without any doubt in any situation who (and where) He is and what He can make us to do if He bid; that nothing can come between us and that.
March3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:15:1-20 OFFENDED - The base context throughout this passage is that it is not what goes into the body that defiles but, what comes out. Lying, deceit, accusation, threats, perversity most assuredly. What is that is coming out in this case? Accusations based upon tradition, traditions based upon a heart and lips though religious far from God. How far from God? Far enough to sanction the breaking of one of the Ten Commandments honoring father and mother. Break one commandment and you've broken them all. How far? Far enough to have the gall to accuse God in the flesh of breaking a tradition of the elders. If broken by this one tradition, how many other traditions as well? What we must realize is that everything surrounding Jesus at this moment is the product of everything that mankind has been able to do up until now, God given or not. What was true in Isaiahs' age is just as true now. None are found righteous no not one. Without Christ the person this is as far as any measure of religion gets. What goes into the heart is nothing but the refuse of other defiled hearts and whatever ones defiled heart can make of that. No heart is not changed until the person-hood of the risen Christ dwells within. God is not experimenting with the right combination of things until He gets human nature right. Everything the Godhead has done up to incarnate Christ has been to show the absolute human need and dependence for Christ. What Jesus sees around Him in every direction is nothing but venomous tongues, even in His disciples. The faith of our Lord is that what He is doing at this moment, what He is about to do on His cross is exactly what is needed for mankind. In one sense He is repulsed by the utter defilement constantly exhibited by all. On the other hand His overwhelming love for those who will eventually believe and come to His light is much much greater. His being here is not by mistake. What then is our response? Are we offended also?
March4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:15:21 NOT SENT BUT - I don't think that the Lord is giving this Phoenecian gentile the brush off. There are several at least partial references to Jesus/Gospel coming to the Jew first. God in His righteous wisdom and for the sake of His covenant with Israel has foreseen the maximum benefit to the entire world will be gained through the initial and final emphasis on the lost house of Israel. In the middle of these two points is an age primarily of the Gentiles. It is because of the Jew's rejection of Christ that the Gentile is grafted into the Kingdom. Jesus signals to us herein a soon to come means of grace to all believers by drawing out of this woman a desperate but amazingly humble confession of faith. Jews should take careful note of this particular exchange. The faith of our Lord is in the entire plan for all mankind by means of a single point of injection, the rejection of the one tissue producing the antibody in the another returning in the end to immunize the fevered and rejecting tissue.
March5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:15:29-39 HOW MANY HAVE YE - Ever notice how Jesus is using whatever the disciples have available? In the days of the Exodus He brought the manna from Heaven out of nowhere; it had nothing to do with what anybody there had available. Now that He is the manna from Heaven, whatever the disciples have available He is making it work. Maybe this is the way His healing works at times as well! I think that we often skip passed the three non stop days spent by the multitude witnessing/partaking in this healing fest; that is really the true miracle, dinner is just the 'how do you top this' communion experience. Imagine being there during this time and what you would have seen. Imagine recapping these many events hillside in the calm evening air with the taste of fresh fish on the tongue. When Matthew says glorifying the God of Israel, he means glorifying! If anyone is counting back in Jerusalem, every person that is healed by Jesus is one more than any Priest there has been able to do. Wouldn't you count that as a sign? If there was to be a legitimate trial upcoming, do you not think that some of these three day thousands would be more than willing to take the stand? The faith of our Lord is in the testimonies of individual people; multitudes of individual people. Remember, He is not telling us of His successes, transformed people like you and me are. There are more details given in these accounts than Matthew could ever take note of himself, these are surely his collection of other's testimonies.
March6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:16:1-4 YE DISCERN THE FACE OF THE SKY - Is there any difference between Satan tempting Christ at the temple peak and the Pharisees/Sadducees here on ground zero? In their minds these men are simply demanding an indisputable sign, something in/from the heavens that would prove once and for all that Jesus is/isn't the Son of God. Where in their scriptures was it ever said that there would be a sign such as this given? Was it not said rather that the sign given would be that He would heal the lame and the sick, proclaim deliverence the captives, be rejected by His own....? Is not the fact that they are asking for a sign a sign in itself? Why would He not just give them/us a certain sign? What about doing so would be tempting God thereby proving that He is not the promised one? Are we certain that such a sign would even be accepted? That such a heavenly declaration would not be an immediate then eternal curse to our rebellious hearts that would go about it's own way regardless? The faith of our Lord is in His installments of faith into man. He believes in the faith we will someday have even though there is no certain and present sign. He believes that with His slow and steady and methodical pressure that the heart will be brought to see their errors of it's direction and will turn eventually to follow His. A sign if it weren't for tempting God would only scare the heart further away; destroy the process that He is using to build faith and trust and desire within us with. Besides, there are great and wondrous signs big and little all around us, if with discerning eye we were to see. Faith comes through the knowledge of the righteousness of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ kjv@2Peter:1:1
March7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:16:5-12 TAKE HEED AND BEWARE - The Disciples have forgotten to bring bread (perhaps not even five loafs) and must think that the Pharisees are going to attempt to emulate the wonder with their own bread. In their minds I think that they feel that they've let Him down. That is an issue with their faith, Jesus is able to make bread from rocks if He has to. Instead the warning was to take heed (observe/examine) and beware (be alert to/take precaution against what has been discovered) of their false doctrines. Even a little bit of their doctrine ferments and puffs up the entire loaf. Leaven is essentially the left over or reserve from a previous batch of dough. Jesus at a latter point compares bread to His own body which is given for our sins; this is His doctrine, a new dough entirely. Anything other than this above or beyond (say legalism) produces a comparative diminishment of His doctrine and a swelling of man's. Amazing how the use of one word can describe the entirety of the doctrine held by others to such a tee. Little faith is that God does not have everything well in hand and is capable of doing whatever is most needed despite our effort or lack, corrupt faith is that salvation is anything less or more than the incarnation and sacrifice of the Son of God Jesus Christ. The faith of our Lord is that we will be able to take heed and beware of such corrupting doctrine once clued into this truth. However, it will be a constant effort and struggle against. A very small amount does change everything about what should be believed. And once altered, who do we get the loaf back to it's true unleavened form?
March8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:16:13-20 WHOM AM I - The base context throughout is who Jesus is, not Peter, not the Church, everything is His, God is unchanged about not being a respecter of persons. God has revealed who Jesus is first hand to the disciples for whom Peter is often spokesman, they in turn at this point are to tell no man. The label Messiah/Christ unfortunately has a much more corrupted political meaning outside the group than Jesus wishes to draw attention to at this time. They are the very first, there was no one other to tell/reveal it to them, in this respect they are truly blessed. The foundation He has built already in them through revelation knowledge and in person witness/testimony is the Rock that He will continue to build His Church upon. The Rock is who Jesus is. The keys for Peter are the same keys as to any gospel believer/evangelist, abiding in the righteousness and knowledge of God and Son and applying all diligence toward becoming fruitful. With faith in the person of Jesus Christ and obedience to the will of Jesus Christ both heaven and earth mirror each other in the ability to bind and loose for the Kingdom sake. The faith of our Lord in who He is and what the Father is doing through Him towards us. It is the same faith He calls His gathered believers to hold and identify with. It is not to establish an intermediary papal system; it is a direct assembly/submission to Himself and His immediate Lordship alongside other like minded servants. Nothing, not even death, not even a papal version of itself, will prevail against this type of Christ infused church.
March9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:16:21-28 THINGS THAT BE OF GOD - We are at a turning point in His ministry. Up to now Christ has been working with the disciples in a way allowing the Father to fully reveal Jesus as Christ to His disciples. They began with an intellectual consent enough to follow Him and after all this time and work and experience they are now at the point they know this spiritually in their hearts. Now comes the hardest part to reveal to them where one's entire understanding and framework shifts. Even with Peter's confession of Christ he is accused of savoring the things of man; concocting a storyline that fits his comforts and earthly desire, his vision of how man might accept Jesus. Jesus instead must die for sin, all sins, the sins of all, all the sins that man is uncomfortable in acknowledging. It is a gruesome death ahead that brings forth eternal deliverance. This is the course ahead that is of God. The deliverance from sin, much like Israel's deliverance from Egypt, leaves us in a wilderness/void where new life must begin, develop, rely solely upon and carry out God's will exclussively. All that is left us in this birthing void is to bare the symbol of deliverance, His cross to the fallen world surrounding. As much as we are ambassadors of His death, we are ambassadors of His resurrection and accession, we are foreseers of His glorious return. The faith of our Lord is that as nice and pleasant as it might be not to have to go through with this, the plan from Heaven is correct, it is the only way to secure what has been design for and promised and guaranteed. In our knowing this plan however, we must face the true depth and depravity of our sins as well as the hostile even violent reactions of other sinners against it.
March10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:17:1-13 ARISE AND BE NOT AFRAID - The Disciples believed, and for at least four of them because of their belief they were granted a sign. Not just a sign but, the momentary presence and voice of God the Father. Why then only four? Why then keep it secret? To release such information would cause quite the stir; a stir amongst the other disciples, a stir amongst the public. A stir in one direction is productive, a stir in another counter productive. Egos are damaged and inflamed, issues get side tracked, importance becomes orphaned. Why then grant the sign? It has as much to do about the connection of Jesus to Moses and Elias and their where abouts in all of this. In their presence He remains the glorious object. Peter sought three tabernacles when the Father stepped in saying 'this is my Son; hear ye Him'. To contrast this glorious moment so abruptly with the road of suffering ahead is vitally important. The faith of our Lord is not just in who He is and what position He should rightfully be seen, it is in what He must do now to bring man along to a vantage point where we can see Him in that light and how much it will cost. It is a light that we are unaccustomed to. A light that makes us to drop to the ground as if dead in fear. But, by a touch of His hand and a whisper in His voice we are brought to stand and listen.
March11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:17:14-23 OH FAITHLESS AND PERVERSE GENERATION - What is the cause of this issue? The man? The child? The Disciples? The crowd? The generation! How long will they provoke? How long will He suffer them? We see the broad range of Jesus' task. It is not just the faith of any one person, it is the pool of sin from which we are all taken. We know nothing other than this. For this brief time each of us will experience what the other side of the spiritual universe is like. Why did this possession come about? Why did it go on for so long? Why when the disciples had the anointing did the anointing not work? Faith? Where do we get our faith? How do we come to believe such a powerful gift? Is it faith in the power or faith in the person that holds the power? Faith in the person for whom the disciple is an ambassador? The faith of our Lord is in light of everything that this generation represents and all the struggles that even the true followers will have even within their own faith that it all in the end works out right. That He will have to suffer this generation but a while longer.
March12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:17:24-27 - Jesus has taken for Himself an oath of poverty; anything He must put forward must be provided to Him by the Father. While He technically would not be required of the Father to pay the Temple Tax (because He actually is the Temple), He pays the tax just the same in order not to add fuel to the priest's fire. The faith of our Lord is shown in this oath of complete poverty. The utter reliance on the provisions of the Father, how and when to call for them, the knowledge as to where these provisions maybe found, all go into His definition of faith. He legally has the position of authority not to have to be required certain customary things, to rather demand such observances/taxes be paid Him, however, the course forward at this time is best served by putting what is due Him aside. Though late in the eyes of the human temple, He pays out of His sworn poverty for Himself and His disciple.
March13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:18:1-9 CONVERT AND BECOME AS - Follow the question from beginning to end; it remains 'who is the greatest'. The child is the symbol of a true believer, converted and becoming, the offender one who thinks himself greater or greatest, that he holds special rank or position there. The hands, feet and eyes aren't the cause of thinking oneself greater they are merely the means of action. The action is an attempt to trap or entice others to their point of view. Such offenses are sure to come, they were occurring even amongst His own disciples, but, woe to those by whom the offence comes. Think of what actions you might come up against that are intended to entice you into attempting to raise your position better or best in the kingdom as well, most are legalistic. When Paul addresses similar humility it is as opposed to the offences of legalism as well. Hands feet and eyes then are trying to impose legalism in many of these cases. How does best or greatest have any regard to a child who only yearns for the sense of family and belonging and safety? What type of kingdom is it where legalists only seek to out do each other and make others to behave the same? Who is the greatest is a selfish question with a unpleasant trap door. The faith of our Lord is in a kingdom comprised of family, of belonging, of inclusion, of joyful community experience. Unless one converts their way of thinking and becomes like a kingdom child in thought and action one very likely will not fit into the type of kingdom Jesus has awaiting, many may not be allowed or even permit themselves enterance therein. Like a child we have much to learn, much to be part of, and much joy to experience from our loving Father.
March14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:18:10-14 THE WILL OF YOUR FATHER - Parable part one warns against offending the child of faith. Parable part two warns against despising the child of faith whom the Son of Man goes after when he has gone astray. Offended and offender, despised and despiser, who is who? The principal can be applied in several ways. For now, let's ask the question this way: Who are typically considered the lost sheep over and over in the scriptures? How often has the larger body of believers rather despised these lost sheep and the Lord's attention to them thus becoming their greater offenders? Did Jesus not know that in the future this historically defining opposition would be so? The faith of our Lord is that it is the Father's expressed will that not one of these should perish; He has come (been sent) to save that which was lost; gentile believers are not being lost they are being grafted in. The angels over Israel rejoice exceedingly along with their Shepherd when another Jewish soul is redeemed. Whomsoever that despises them despises God's Will and shall be an offender of all.
March15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:18:15-20 THERE I AM IN THE MIDST - Within the flock there are things that can separate and drive members away. We have seen enticement/offense and then despising those gone astray and the effort made to regain them. Now we see internal trespass between two and the response to that trespass. Before either give the other up for lost there is a progression expected to include more and more witnesses to establish/settle the case. Plenty of opportunity is given for the one or both to work matters out civilly. Binding here is in the sense of legal agreement. If the two shall come to a mutually agreeable arrangement, Heaven and the Father will stand behind that; as agreement within the flock is most desired from above. It should be fairly natural for the two parties to desire/achieve this if both parties are sincere about moving forward in the name of their Lord. The picture of the flock very much describes the faith of our Lord. It is His flock, He is it's shepherd. The inner workings and resulting culture within the flock are therefore most important as it has the ability to keep souls away and drive souls out; and as this reflects directly upon His leadership. If we are truly gathered as a flock in His name then agreement amongst us, binding agreement, should be every man's pursuit and petition. If the offender or offended cannot abide by this then certainly He/they should be loosed from the flock at least until they fully repent from the hardness of their hearts. The offended party should then not despise the efforts of Christ and Christ's body to win the lost soul back else they become an offender as well.
March16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:18:21-35 BECAUSE THOU DESIREDST ME - You can imagine a man going through this life void of the sense of debt to his creator, doing as he pleased, taking what he pleased, conducting himself amongst the rest of creation just as he pleased. If anything is owed by anybody, it is owed to him for having made him work so hard to get where he is at; right?. Imagine then his surprise when his creator calls in the man's debts to Himself. How small is his grasp of the reality things when he thinks that somehow he can repay it on his own? Though the debt is forgiven him this man then continues on thinking that whatever is owed God from here on out will be extracted from what others owe to him; he won't be caught in the embarrassment of having to beg for mercy again. How small is his grasp of the reality of things again when he thinks that the small hundred pence owed him by others is anything near the amount of any future debt incurred to his creator? Instead he is incurring all the more debt. The two debts are completely dissimilar but, the principal being taught is the same; true compassion. Many today seek God to be unconditional without placing the same expectation upon themselves. Isn't that convenient? The Lord instead places one condition on compassion, it is implied by His forgiveness to you, that along the way from here on out that you proceed with the same compassion to all others that He has shown to you. That in itself is impossible to do unless we daily leave ourselves behind at the foot of His cross and pick up with His eternal burden. The faith of our Lord is that He will suffer many a horrible things in the weeks and months to come. He will suffer from the hands of those that He has most compassion for; He is the Father's direct offer of compassion. He see's this time as proving of His oath and understanding of the compassion of His Father. Not unconditional by our odd standards but, so much more effective towards the eternal.
March17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:19:1-12 LET NO MAN - The answer seems fairly simple, Let no man. There are three test given to this, one from the Pharisees trying to catch Him in a 'no right answer' dilemma, one from the Disciples thinking if it is really that tough then it would be better not to marry, one from their use of Moses making allowance for the hardness of men's heart. What is it that is so difficult about about marriage in the first place? Men's hearts. Why is it so difficult? The heart can not and will not be legislated against, it will always find reason and logical provision out. If it doesn't find a way out it will just make up a different legislation or none at all. Jesus is not trapped by either three, His statement stands above them all: What God has joined. The heart will find infidelity to be found whether married or eunuch or single. One cannot say that one form is better than the other unless one has received such personal direction from God and then it becomes a matter of personal fidelity to God. Where the Lord's answer is simple 'let no man' man's answer revealing 'but, but, but'. The faith of our Lord is in what God has joined together and to that be faithful. Man's faith is in everything else he can come up with not to remain faithful.
March18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:19:13-15 FORBID THEM NOT - People have their own ideas of what needs be. Sometimes you are thinking of giving the man space, holding the crowds back, keeping the madness under some type of control. Other times you are thinking of the predictable course ahead for a messiah, the steps that should be taken by Him. Who knows what the others are thinking, but, it could easily become a mob. As a Disciple you have His best interest at heart but, in anyway your thoughts come off to either Him or others as rebuke. People from all directions including our own selves are demanding of Him to do all sorts of things as they see fit. To the minds eye it all appears as chaos. It all doesn't seem to phase the Lord however. It takes the focus of the Lord to remind us of what is most important and that includes the children. Who would have ever thought in the midst of such an adult spectacle to bring the children up to Christ for His blessings? They should be commended. It is not just about us after all, our salvation and blessings and teachings, it is about the youngest of the kingdom and theirs. This is an embarrassing moment for the Disciples, but, a teachable moment none the less. The faith of our Lord is that they will remember this one in the times to come, to mark this one down and bring it up over and over especially when it all gets too hectic. Do not get so focused as to miss what things the Lord would have focus on. Do not forbid the children from having their time and experience with Him as well.
March19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:19:16-30 WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE - For the rich man it is his many possessions. For the criminal it is his pride. For the poor man his covetousness. For each of us there is something too hard to let go of in order to pass through the eye of the needle. It can be done, the Disciples are proof (at least 11 of them), but, even that was not by their own power; it was by God's. The rich young man approached kingdom entry by what further he needed to do. If judged by that criteria we would all be hopeless because there is always something more that we are unwilling to do, always something more that we are unwilling to give up, even more that the Law requires. However, if entry is based upon what God has done for us in Christ then there is the possibility. From that point what we are willing to have Him do through us becomes liberating. When there is nothing that we can do of our own, nothing of ours that can be given away as payment we are in a much better position of receiving His grace and therefore entry into His kingdom. These things we may be asked to leave behind after we have received His grace, but, not beforehand so as to buy into His grace. We find the faith of our Lord today displaying the perfection of the Father's grace instead of the pursuit of perfection somewhere other in man. Jesus is the evidence of the Father's grace, He Himself is in submission wholly to the goodness of that grace. This is about the Father's goodness and what the Father is able to do.
March20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:20:1-16 WHATSOEVER IS RIGHT - What is fair and just to us is largely a matter of perception. It shouldn't be that way but, it of course is. At the end of the day the first laborers hired think the master harsh and the last think that he is the greatest. The first had agreed to a penny, it was a very good day's wage. What upset them was that those that followed got the very same wage for half or quarter the work. What difference would it make if they made a very good day's wage? A wage they agreed to from hour one till the time wages were issued? The master said that he would pay each person whatever was right and he did. He was more than generous to all with his money and helped a great many unemployed people. Would you be upset that a man receiving Christ on his death bed was rewarded the same as you who had served the Lord all your life? Would you not be happy that the man was not left cold and dark and hungry? Let's take it a step further, would you be angered if a nominal believer received a certain blessing but not you? Is the blessing not His as well as the many long range reasons? Is not the kingdom His, first last and last first or what ever? The faith of our Lord is in whatsoever is right as a kingdom just as much as it is what is right for the individual. His warning is that we, being short sighted, may not see it that way. Many will be offended even though there is no cause because of their personal perception of fairness.
March21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:20:17 BETRAYED - We have known that Jesus was going to die for our sins and we have known that it had to be this way. Now we know how it is going to come about; betrayal. The opposition has had their mind set for some time now. They have had plenty opportunity, Jesus had always been able to get away. The most painful sin of it all is that He would be turned over to His people Israel for condemnation unto death by the hands of one of His own. Many have been crucified, most all scourged, even some innocent. What is more unique is the utter excess of these tortures used upon Him because of who claimed to be. What is more unique is by whom this was commissioned. In one sense this is done entirely by the sin in all men. In another sense it is done entirely by what was required by God to loosen man free from the nature of sins bondage. What is most unique in human history is determined by this standard - that it is the Son of God receiving this death sentence. The faith our Lord does not flinch from what lies ahead for Him; thankfully!
March22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:20:20-28 EVEN AS THE SON OF MAN - Christ has dramatically humbled Himself in ways that we barely comprehend from His previous state to the point where not even who sit at His future right and left hand are not in His power. He has given it all to the Father that He might minister to man and give His life for many. Few could ever say that they ministered unto Him but, that He ministered unto them. His answer settles a lot of question and dispute on both sides. As His Father ministered through Him to man, He is to continue ministering through us to man. The focus for us is to be as Him, humble to the point where it is Him working through us. Humble is not determined by standing or position or even how many possessions and effort that you and your family have volunteered into the ministry; it is an attitude and viewpoint that is pervasive through out your being. The faith of our Lord is in His Father. He submits Himself to whatever the Father wills to be, knowing that whatever is willed to be is throughly righteous because the Father is righteous. His cup is filled with the Father's will if even to death.
March23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:20:29 WHAT WILL YE - The mechanics of a crowd are always interesting. What makes a crowd behave as it does? In this case the expressed will of the multitude was for the two to hold their peace. The two are blind, this is their opportunity to regain their sight, yet the majority see them as a disturbance. The crowd may have been made up of those sympathetic to Jesus as they were following Him out of Jericho. Their intents may have been for Jesus' good and out of respect. The requests upon Jesus may have been so frequent that they had become common and distracting and keeping them from reaching their next destination. Jesus saw the event differently; not as the crowd obviously and perhaps not even as the two petitioners, but, as the Father did. We have seen so frequently that Jesus did not do things to garner more press; He forbid receivers to publicly tell. The faith of our Lord is focused much more on the present moment and the needs of the people around. The two men need their sight, the crowd needs to look beyond themselves. The impression of the truly needy should not be "oh he was too much in a hurry" or "yea she had to get somewhere" or even "should I disturb them". It should be "He was there when I needed/called" and "the first person I ever saw was the one who ever really saw through to me".
March24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:1-11 HOSANNA - kjv@Psalms:118:26 is where 'blessed is he' comes from. Hosanna is better defined as both kjv@Psalms:118:25 'save us now I beseech thee' and kjv@Psalms:118:26 'blessed is he' combined. In turn we must recall kjv@Psalms:118:27 as well 'bind the sacrifice' 'unto the horns of the alter'. If Jesus is aware of the quote that the crowd is chanting (we must assume that He does) then He would know the context of how He is to bless/save them and why it is that He has come; He is the sacrifice. kjv@Zechariah:9:9 is where the 'thy King cometh' comes from which has it's meaning continued in kjv@Zechariah:9:10 'shall speak peace to the gentiles' and 'dominion...to the ends of the earth'. While this is the time for riding the ass and colt in, this is not the time for the ends of the earth. Why not? He is to be bound to the alter first. The palm branches I believe are from the Feast of the Tabernacles, a harvest time remembrance of the Lord leading the captives out of Egypt. The symbolism is to deliverance from sin. This day's events are rich with meaning, but, He is the only one that really knows really what that meaning truly is. The faith of or Lord stands alone. Even the closest to Him know little of what He sees even at jubilant times such as these.
March25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:12-17 HOUSE OF PRAYER - Though not recorded by Matthew, John depicts this event as the second time in but a few years that Jesus has done this temple cleaning. The problem continues. Currency exchanges and selling doves (the poor man's sacrifice) were not wrong per se, they were actually needed especially this time of year due to volume. We believe that either the profit margins or inconstant arbitrary rates or the location (Court of Gentiles) or all were amiss. The temple priest surely were by now aware if not complicit in the unfair trade. A house of prayer is made a den of thieves and many more than just the vendors were involved thus giving the Temple a bad public reputation. The issue more than anything is how quickly these weed like practices reseed and take root and flourish. It leaves us to wander if in the Lords eye it is not seen the same today. How much of what we know as our "Temple" experience isn't clouded by greed and profiteering and unscrupulous religious industry? The faith of our Lord is in the access for all men to a common place of worship. A place for congregation. A place of prayer and healing. A place for the perfected praise of devoted adherents young and old alike. A place undefiled for sinners and weary souls alike to return to their most holy God. He knows that without Him it just doesn't happen on it's own; in fact He is likely to displease those to whom He has given charge.
March26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:18-22 IT SHALL BE DONE - His faith or the faith encouraged of these disciples is acting upon the fig tree. He hungers for fruit from a type of tree where there should be an over abundance. What then does this fig tree symbolize? In past parables trees, vines, wheat shafts that bare fruit have been used to illustrate faith; how it is rooted; what it is rooted along with; good tree good fruit; 30-60-100 fold; etc... Fruit has been the outgrowth of faith. We have seen good fruit and we have seen bad fruit. Now we are shown no fruit. Once support is removed from the fruitless fig tree it withers amazingly quick. The passage nearly suggests that those/some with fruitful faith have the power/responsibility to remove earthly support/continuance from the trees of those whose with fruitless faith, but at the same time they have a similar ability to move the unsurmountable obstacles to faith at the same time. Can both be asked for at the same time? That fruitless faith be ended and the voluminous task of fruitful faith begin? Too often we detach the first part of the teaching from the 'whatsoever ye shall ask'. Why then did Jesus not ask that the tree be made fruitful forever? Because only faith that abides in Him can be made to produce fruit, it is fruit that He Himself causes. The fruitless tree does not abide in Him and therefore cannot be made to bare His fruit unless made to abide in Him. Two trees perhaps within the same person and a mountain of difference between them. The faith of our Lord is shown here to hunger for one thing - fruit; good fruit, the type that the planter intended.
March27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:23-27 IN LIKE WISE - He says you can answer your own question with one word, the answer to my question will be the answer to yours. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. He waxed strong in the Spirit waiting in the desert for God's word to come. Once word was received he then preached a consistent message the repentance for the remission of sins telling the Pharisees specifically to bring fruit worthy of repentance. He preached in the spirit/words from Elijah preparing the way of the Lord. A great many were prepared by him to hear the words of the one to follow, not the elders and chief priests however, their road was paved to be hewn down like a fruitless tree, there was shown no fruits of repentance. It was a worse sin in their book for Jesus not to comply under their authority than not comply with God's. Whose authority? Well it certainly was not theirs. John had called them vipers to whom wrath was to come, urged individuals of them to flee. Where are these men now today? Where is their authority gone? It is gone. Why indeed did they not believe John then? What was there to fear from the people if they themselves were correct? The faith of our Lord is in the authority of God as proven out by the Holy Spirit. Things have been done, steps made and proven out for millennium by the Spirit to prepare these next few days, things that Jesus if a man could not have possibly prepared for himself. All the pieces now will fall together, mind you not accidentally but, quite masterfully. Had they really been concerned about proper authority they would have traced all the steps.
March28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:28 INTO THE KINGDOM BEFORE YOU - Let me try my hand at stringing the past few sections together. They are tied by the authority of the Father, the ability/responsibility of the believer who is convinced of that authority, and the message to the church and then the world for repentance as preached by John; the way of righteousness. They also have the common thread of producing fruit for a divine purpose. Let us suppose that the fig tree is the calcified/unrepentant church; John/Elijah said that Messiah would hew it down, Jesus says that if one does not doubt the Father's authority that they will have this power too. Then there is the call to go out into the vineyard and work. Here He illustrates that if you say you're going to obey the authority of the Father and don't go work the vineyard the kingdom is not yet yours. Repentance from this disobedience separates those who will receive it and those who will not. If the fig tree speaks of unrepentant/disobedient religion as a whole then it is just as likely that He is speaking of the repentant/obedient Church of the Disciples as a whole as well; this would explain the two sons, Jew and Christian (both His). This is not to say that individual members of these bodies cannot become encumbered by these tendencies also. The faith of our Lord is in this "way of righteousness". It begins with the righteousness and authority of the Father, works it's way outward through the prophets of old and the law which Jesus fulfills, continues as a call to the world at large to repentance and then obedience back to the authority of the Father thus producing the fruit in us of an overall righteousness. It is collective just as much as it is individual. The way of righteousness is righteous in every way.
March29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:33-46 MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES - Why did the Lord choose the Jews in the first place? To be husbandmen over His vineyard. What happened to the fruit of it? It was withheld, kept by them for their own purposes. Did the master not try to get the fruits back? He did, they would have nothing of it. So where are we at now? The master has sent His Son and they are days from killing Him. Why would they do that? Because they know that He is the rightful heir of the vineyard and they want it for themselves. Wait a minute...they know? Yes they know and thereby reject. We are not told how many know, but, it is enough to make useful minions of the rest. It is also suggested that this take over has been the plan since the vineyard was given over (WOW!). How could they not know with all of the prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes; do they not know their own treasured prophecies? Sure they appear to have their intellectual arguments but, in the end what it all comes down to is that they want what is His for themselves. So they perceived that He was talking about them, but, did they repent having been called out? No they sought to lay hands on Him. This changes our perspective of the faith of our Lord knowing how He sees them, knowing that He knows what they have done to those before Him, knowing that this vineyard is the Fathers and He is going to get it back. How He gets it back is what is a surprise to everyone but the Father. There is a twist in here however, the multitude still only see Him as a prophet.
March30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:1-14 MANY ARE CALLED - Of those called, there are those who refuse, there are those who make light of (some of which who strike back at the messengers), those that accept, those who come but are irreverent or ill prepared. The first thing to clarify is that we are not talking about the bride or any portion thereof rejecting Christ, these are strictly guests talked about here. The wedding is going to happen regardless and will be well attended by a most appreciative crowd kjv@Revelation:19:7-9. We are told even of bride's maids not having enough oil for the wait in their lamps having the door shut on them kjv@Matthew:25:1-10. If these people are outside of the bride then we must consider who the bride is. Some would say the Gentile Church; who then are the guests from the highways? Some would say the Raptured Church; where then would Tribulation Israel fit in? Some would say Israel and with Old Testament reasoning; but, she would have to be dressed in the righteousness of the saints kjv@Jeremiah:3:14. Israel would give cause for many of the invited to reject the invitation or run out of oil in the wait. Truth is that we may not know exactly who/what (as in institution) the bride consists, but, we know of the bridegroom. If we are merely guests it is best for us to be dressed as a reverent guest and not ourselves as a bride or a party crasher. If it is the institution instead that we are to witness then we best be reverent to the institution as well so as not the upset the groom. The faith of our Lord is in the marriage made by the Father. He has given Himself wholly and unreservedly for Her. If we see Her as tarnished or unacceptable it is very likely that we know nothing of who she is or have mis-identified Her altogether.
March31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:15-22 WHY TEMPT YE ME - Even today men seek to catch Him in a lie or contradiction, to entangle/corner Him in His talk. They present their question with flowery praise, the good lord, good prophet, good teacher, but, it is all done to disprove Him to believers or potential believers. They counsel together on the internet, in the class rooms, in the courts and temples. They come in both religious and political varieties. Strange/unlikely bed fellows intermix to come against Him. How do we know/spot them? By just that At the core they are hypocrites You will notice that the argument is over a penny, small change when it comes to the loftier things of God. With Simon kjv@Matthew:17:25-27 Jesus had made it a point that during an captivity/occupation tribute is extracted heavily from the occupied in order to lessen the burden on the true citizen. The Jews had whistled their self sovereignty away by rejecting the Lord and were now being taxed for it by their conquerers. The coin is Caesars just as they are. kjv@Luke:23:2 Jesus is accused of exactly the opposite of what He has said at least twice now. They are utter hypocrites. They puff Him up to tear Him down, they intellectually place Him in positions that they think impossible to defend when He is not in that position to begin with, they bring questions that are of little consequence to the overall debate. Render to God what is God's? They cannot, it is no longer their's to render. The faith of our Lord is in knowing that we will be met by such people. Though we give these people too much importance given their track record, though we might think they are finally coming around to see things as we do, they are constantly there and the same regardless. He believes that the truth will be proven out, the truth about Him, the truth about them.
April1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:23-33 YE DO ERR - The Sadducees dict:easton Sadducee were largely defined by their non belief in the resurrection. They attempt the same brain twister on Jesus that stupefied so many a Pharisee. Unless one knows scripture dict:naves Resurrection which points to life after death and considers God's power kjv@Jeremiah:32:17 kjv@Philippians:3:21 one is left to fall into this conundrum of false logic. As to there being no marriage in the resurrection, I believe this is a new revelation or a composite of a larger base of scriptural doctrines. The Sadducee's case seems to involve more human logic than any particular scriptural knowledge, apparently they had not thought through the logic enough to have foreseen the logical resurrection confirming answer Jesus could use to easily escape their supposed trap with. We must be careful ourselves when scripture suggests something and our logic is spent exclusively attempting to disprove it; even more so when we cherry pick single scriptures to say what they do not. The Sadducee's are gone as a power by the time of the destruction of the Temple AD70, suggesting a change of public sentiment regarding resurrection and proof of Messiah hewing down the fruitless trees of that time. The faith of our Lord is rooted deeply in scripture and the sovereign omnipotence of God. It is also in the purpose to which He created man initially for. He is and will forever be the God of the living.
April2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:34-40 THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS - When Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets kjv@Matthew:5:17 now basically He is saying that He came to love. Likewise we should love, but, without believing on Him first we find that we are unable to love to this extent. For most people love is this large nebulous puffy cloud of whatever they want it to be. How do you love God with all heart/soul/mind when you know nothing about Him, when He is merely whatever you want Him to be? Likewise, how do you love yourself and thus your neighbor without knowing the type of love God has for you? God's love very well could be shown in His law convincing us of our sin and the need for change, our inability to that of ourselves. God's love could be shown in the prophets pointing us to the single person from which that change is possible. God's love could be shown in that while we were yet sinners He sent His Son to become the propitiation for our sins. How does one love to the full extent without such blessed knowledge? Does and mom and dad truly love their dear newborn child without first knowing the actual love of God? Can a child be raised in true love having any doubt or reservation or false pretense about God's hand and doing? If not a child then how so a neighbor? And the prophets, had they not constantly told us where God was going with this, would we not have known who Jesus would be, what He would do, and where to look for Him? So a question is asked to tempt Him, a question that they probably know the same answer, love. Two opposite directions occur at the point of believing on Jesus, man's and God's. The faith of our Lord is that these two commandments properly seen and practiced will revolutionize the lives of it's adherents. His love which is the Fathers love will shine through to our love, our true love will be made to sprout. Our love separated from His love is darkness. His love separate from Jesus is imaginary.
April3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:41-46 WHAT THINK YE - Theology can fork at very interesting points leading believers in differing directions. Take the phrase "Son of David". If the Christ is only the descendant of David then he is not God incarnate; a whole world of different doctrines develop. Christ becomes just a really good really strong Jewish leader. If Christ is God in the flesh, flesh borrowed from the line of David and has to suffer and die in the flesh to redeem fallen mankind, the direction of doctrine is forced much different way. The distinction is crucial. "The Lord said unto my Lord" is the theological fork between Christianity and Judaism. From it way have two thirds of the Trinity, Incarnation, Redemption, Atonement etc... From it we also derive the second coming of Christ in order to fulfill the remainder of "leadership" prophecy. Christ however is not to be leader of just the Jews. He is not to be king of the same old untransformed sinners. It is not everything would be alright if we had a really good leader. Mankind has to be changed from the deepest core and once brought out of it's utter depravity lead to entirely new unfamiliar un thought of holly ground. No one there on this day was going to understand that. Symbolically after days of intense interrogation the inspection of the passover lamb was over. The faith of our Lord was that though no one yet understood it, what being Christ meant, they soon would. Until His resurrection everyone would continue to see Him as a Son of David and not the Son of David being God incarnate. The distinction is just as important for us today.
April4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:23:1-39 MOSES SEAT - There is a place of honor and respect given by Jesus to Moses and the seat that remains that is to be carried on by His disciples. The life of a follower is a completely different mindset however because it is focused on Christ. Righteousness now is inputed because of His sacrifice and a new life is enabled because of His resurrection. This is what the Law had been pointing us to. Without the righteousness of Christ none of this is remotely possible. The woes described of the Scribes and Pharisees are more properly woes to any man who pursues righteousness minus Christ regardless of affiliation. In a sense these men are the most zealous and ardent of all religious men, but, this is the closest men's efforts can come to the target. Take the commandment to love the Lord your God. If Christ Jesus is God's offer of righteousness and such offer is pushed aside, how can it be said God is loved? Having justified not loving God in His entirety, what else then can be justified? Are not all the commandments broken at that point? The seat still holds authority (even if held by others) especially as schoolmaster over to those who have not received Christ, but, also to those who have. Do as they bid but, not as they do. It is almost a challenge to show them how in Christ things must be done. Remember that if God did not want them in the seat, they would not be in the seat. Today, these particular affiliations are not in power, but, others just as hypocritical often are. There is a means and a purpose in the life of the believer for this. Given all of these woes and faults the Lord's command has never been to pack up and start up anew. The faith of our Lord is firm, we must follow His lead. We don't have to know why it is this way only that He see's it as such. We are challenged considerably, we grow. We do as He see's fit in the midst of such darkness, He is honored. A rebel? no. A revolutionary? Yes!
April5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:24:1-35 AS LIGHTNING OUT OF THE EAST - It will be easy to deceive a great many but, perhaps not the elect. I think we have the impression that in the end days people just don't believe in God, that intellectualism will have out grown the need for God. The end Jesus teaches is of people flocking to false Christs. We live in an age now of relativism, a necessary precursor to an day of multitudes desperately gasping for any breath or hint of messianic slight. In a sense He is prophesying the end of intellectual relativism. Given that the gospel will have reached the ends of the earth (may have already have) this is a sign of just how much the people of Earth do not want to accept Jesus and will violently oppose Him, His approaching kingdom and His devoted followers. The injection of truth into the world causes it to fester and boil as if to expel it, but, somewhere in this process God's plan is fulfilled by producing vaccinated sin immune children from Earth to inhabit eternity. As the heat and pressure are turned up to final boil many false messiahs will bubble up leading to one ultimate false Christ; a world nearly of one religion. I suppose that there will be a sense of relief, even victory. Then, however, there will be an undeniable lightning from the east. The faith of our Lord is utterly remarkable. In so few words, how could such detailed insight into human nature and God's plan be revealed? Though we have a confirming picture of this event (disturbing in how quickly it can come about) in 70 AD it is clear that 70 AD is not this event. There will be no dispute remaining when this prophecy comes about.
April6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:24:36-51 FAITHFUL AND WISE SERVANT - Two sets of eyes see the same passage differently. Some see it as an intellectual challenge to piece together all the prophetic clues and come up with a theory as to when. Other eyes see it as call to be doing the Lords work all the more for the time is not known but sudden when He will look in on His accounts. Responsibilities have been entrusted to us to immediately and diligently service. It is likely that many given these responsibilities will be found not doing so when the Lord returns because of the allowances they give themselves in the Lord's delay. The emphasis is not on knowing "when", but, it is on "what" "to what extent" we are fulfilling ordained obligations until it does happen. The servant is described as the good man of the house on watch and the ruler of the household giving meat. The faith of our Lord is in the urgent doing here and now in light of how sudden future event will happen. It is in the responsibility at hand, not so much in the exact time-frame.
April7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:25:1-13 OIL/LAMPS - I guess that I have always figured that the oil was faith; half did not have enough faith to last the wait. How then could they ask the wise maids to share fuel for their lamps? In light of the previous passage the oil more likely is the doing of the Lord's work. the fulfilling of responsibility and obligation. How then could the wise share their fulfillment with those that have carelessly disregarded such? The lamp is then faith, a container filled or emptied of oil. The Lord's work is never done, it never runs out. The only reason a lamp would not have oil is because the lamp doe not contain the sense of urgent calling and diligent obligation. Oil has also often been associated with anointment, which fits in well with this analogy. How does one run out of God's anointing unless he does not hold himself to do what he has been anointed to do? Watch therefore. Watch for His coming? Watch yourself for what you are doing in light of His coming? Anointing carries the obligation to perform. The faith of our Lord has performed and is performing it's obligations. Many of those obligations he has now delegated to us so as to test and build us up. Many will be thankful of His performance and will be awaiting His marriage so as to attend, not everyone one waiting will be able to perform their duties then because of their failure now to be ready.
April8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:25:14-30 DELIVERED UNTO THEM HIS GOODS - The picture is of the servants responsibility with the Lord's goods after He leaves. A considerable amount is given to even the least according to his particular ability. Paul explains it as "grace given" kjv@Romans:12:6 "the manifestation of Spirit given to each man to profit withal" kjv@1Corinthians:12:7 "stewards of mysteries" kjv@1Corinthians:4:1-2. Peter says "minister the same one to another as stewards of manifold grace of God" kjv@1Peter:4:10. The fact is that He has given us His goods, spiritual gifts/ability and opportunity, this with any type of investment compounds with interest. It is not usury per se, not at the expense or misuse of anybody, it is natural and beneficial growth of the Kingdom. Withal implies the common good of all as does one to another. By the one man burying the grace given and not making diligent profitable use of it, he is accusing his Lord of reaping where He has not sown, profiting on the back on others, hardness in the ways of business. He is also burying it away from the profit of the collective. His own ability has been ceased by his mis-understanding of the Lords intentions/rights and by implication his association to the larger group. What he has been given is then to be taken away and given to those whose faithfulness has been proven. The faith of our Lord is in increase. He has given His grace; the Holy Spirit and it's manifestations, spiritual gifts to be ministered one to another for to profit withal and for all. What good is such an uncommon privilege if not faithfully executed as a good steward.
April9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:25:31-46 UNTO THE LEAST OF THESE MY BRETHREN - Back up to the previous goods given the stewards to invest. Forward to the judgement of the tribes. Righteousness appears not only along the lines of individuals it appears also along lines of the human tribes. The implications are intriguing. The least of these my brethren appear in all cultures; they are the peoples Jesus identifies Himself most with. How these nations respond to the needs of these least brethren is the identifying factor that separates the nations on the right from the left. As stewards of the goods the Lord has given all tribes and nations, they are to faithfully invest such to the care of the least. It is interesting that tendencies could run so deep as to effect the judgement upon entire cultures. Men as individuals it seems can be heavily influenced by the attitude of the collective as it concerns the goods of the Lord being invested into the needs of the least. The Lord is seen either as a harsh man reaping where He has not sown or else a Lord of grace owed reinvestment toward those He would identify Himself so closely to. The faith of our Lord differs so greatly from the faith of most. What the righteous soul lacks most ahead of eternity is the judgement and clearing away of the unrighteous as a whole, nation and individual. Our's is not to presume this judgement on our own but, to be deeply conscious of it's universal need and to faithfully execute in it's stead the aid and investment required up to that. Some would ask where is the love of God? This is the love as given to us! We can draw men out from this impending judgement of nations by serving as would our Lord the needs physical/spiritual of their least.
April10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:1-5 AFTER TWO DAYS - That is it. Not any longer. Not even the chief priests and scribes are in charge of what will happen. The elders will have their part, God will use their conscious decision, but, it will come about on His timeline. Note that they think that they will have to be crafty and subtle; the consult wasn't as to whether but, as to how. The faith of our Lord is perhaps best observed at this point by kjv@Isaiah:53 which He would have been well aware of. kjv@Isaiah:53:10-11 particularly give us the sense that it is God is doing the bruising and putting Him to grief making His soul an offering for our sins. The Father will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.
April11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:6 A GOOD WORK UPON ME - Now that we are this far into the storyline and sense just how many people are daily around Jesus, let's count the number of good works done unto Him. Let's count now that one is done how many others see it as a good work. The next good work? Joseph of Arimathea and our Lord's secret acquaintance Nicodemus. Both of these good works have to do with His burial. How often today do we get caught up in what the Lord is going to do for me? How the Lord needs to go about doing my business? What the end result should look like? How I want His praise and blessing? This woman gets it. If but for a moment she is on a wave link few travel. It is not all about what we want/need things to be, it is not all about what is going on in our lives but in His. Where this woman got this perfumed oil and what she was hoping to one day do with it we just don't know. We are glad however that she decided to do what she did if even to remind us of the place we ourselves need to be in regards to our Lord. The faith of our Lord endures hardness even from His closest softest companions. These are all teachable moments. Hearts need to be taught to be softened all the more to their surroundings and to their core, locked into the present moment of the One and of others outside of themselves.
April12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:14-16 BETRAYAL PART 1 - The betrayal of Jesus by Judas came in two stages, this stage is the arrangement, the next the actual act of leading them to His whereabouts. He has opportunity still at anytime to talk himself out of this and yet does not. In fact he goes back and congregates with the others and partakes at the Lord's table. Wouldn't you like to crawl into his head for a moment to know why he has gone as far as this first stage? Many have pondered and there are all sorts of varying theory's. In some respect it is amazing that of the primary twelve over this amount of time and under this amount of pressure and scrutiny eleven now remain intact, testament to Jesus' ability as a shepherd. I think it quite natural to have many tire out, move aside, resign to the rigors of the road. Perhaps not to the level of betrayal, but at least to a level of wanting to do something else. Given all the pitfalls and enticements and ravaging wolves along the way His achievement is substantial. Where, we must ask as well, in our own walk have we also turned aside if only in small measure betraying the Lord's faith and trust or image. In the next hours Judas will be watching on with particular interest of seeing his opportunity; surely a gut wrenching yet intoxicating en-devour. There will even be awkward moments where Jesus identifies him to the others without pointing directly at him. The faith of our Lord continues even knowing what is going on behind His back. Betrayal is but one of the many painful steps up toward the cross ahead. The road itself He sees even as from the Father. The same thorny road for Him may not end even as of today.
April13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:17-30 THOU HAST SAID - The Lords supper is a monumental event for the disciples to look back on the remainder of their lives. You think back on all that they have seen and all the stories that they would have to talk about, what would be their most cherished moment of all? This would probably rate second after seeing Him resurrected/glorified. The memory would be tainted however with the undercurrent of betrayal throughout. Like when a close friend unexpectedly takes his life or is caught in a criminal affair, the shock that the others would later be left with regarding Judas and the clues that they would feel that they might have missed would be considerable. Jesus did not flush Judas out other than to Judas himself. Judas remained with the group for a good part of the evening trying to keep his cover. Some would conjure that Jesus somehow wanted him to betray Him. I rather think that Jesus was not going to stop him. The weight of the evening did not cause either man to buckle. The disciples surely, though it is undocumented, would have discussed this under current extensively in the weeks to come. The dipping could have been anyone of them at the time. The faith of our Lord is in Him being the sacrifice. The strength of our Lord is in holding true and not letting the gut wrenching emotion of this evening distract or sway Him. Satin's three previous tests were juvenile compared to these matters at hand this night. Judas's test comes after he finishes what he is about to do.
April14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:31-35 SMITE THE SHEPHERD... - I don't doubt that Peter meant what He said just as much as Jesus did. I don't think that there was any doubt the Peter was set out to prove it by the strength of his will. Much of my life has been spent attempting to do the same. Here's the problem; much of our will is nothing but pride, before the fall comes pride. Peter ignored the fact that the scattering was according to prophecy. Peter ignored the fact that there were forces at work smiting the Shepherd that the flock would have no control over. Courage never was Peter's short suit, that is why later he would be quoted kjv@2Peter:1 as saying diligently add to your virtue/valor knowledge and to knowledge temperance. It is funny that an evil dictator has no problem finding minions who'd never desert or be offended, a good Shepherd hand selects the type that will but will come right back. The faith of our Lord is in the time and effort He has invested in this core group of men. The experiences and teachings that they have received in the next few weeks will birth a new spiritual understanding and wisdom fueled by the Holy Spirit. The plan is intact and moving forward now quickly.
April15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:36-46 SORROWFUL EVEN UNTO DEATH - We should not think that these next several hours came easy for Jesus. To see Him as weak or having second thoughts while underplaying what He is up against severely misses the point. The sins of all mankind is not an easy thing to suffer for. The totality of griefs and sorrows being laid upon Him is wondrous to bare. Plus there is the additional concern for His sheep while they are scattered. He prayed the first time for and until He had certain confirmation. He prayed the second and third time confessing and bringing His other faculties into submission. All three prayers exhibit the fact that Jesus had His own will like we do. And as we, He needed at times to strengthen His connection to the Father by prayer in order to bring Himself fully into line; this was certainly one of those times. It is not a sign of weakness for either of us, it is a sign proper process and preparation (not neglecting to mention pure reverence). It is weakness when you are asked to maintain a level of prayer for the comfort of another or the group and cannot sustain that level long enough as Peter John and James those same hours; the temptation for sleep or distraction is too great. The faith of our Lord is unshaken. Faith however often requires the will and the impulse and body to submit and follow suit. Thus we have prayer. Side by side examples are pictured here, both a case study in what we need and need not do.
April16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:47-56 THUS IT MUST BE - kjv@Acts:1:16 David prophesied about the betrayal by a friend/equal/guide kjv@Psalms:41:9 kjv@Psalms:55:12-15 and the crucification kjv@Psalms:22:1-31. All this kjv@Acts:2:23 by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God as Isaiah and others reported kjv@Isaiah:53:1-12. The faith of our Lord is in the Father and the pathway Divinely reported to Him through the prophets. Jesus places a very heavy emphasis on the prophets as should we. In modern times prophecy is uncommon and near silent dry hard ground. We lack to see it's former miraculous operation and necessity in revealing divine depth. Jesus' course was laid out before Him and well written for continuous direction and confirmation. He was out to fulfill it's every word. We should now know that we have the more sure word because of the more sure word of prophecy. We should know the tremendous arm/power of the Lord revealed in the fulfillment of the prophets report kjv@Isaiah:53:1. Modern spiritualism teaches that all things are within ones power, legions of angels can be called by us as well; yet we are taught power and prudence are two separate things. What is all important is obeying God's will, much of it revealed by the prophets, if true for our savior than surely for us.
April17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:57-68 THOU HAST SAID - Imagine in a modern day court setting the judge (not the prosecutor) stacking the jury against the accused, gathering as many false witnesses as it would take, disallowing testimony for the defense, and forcing the accused into self incrementation. There would be grounds for a mistrial would there not? If Jesus is Messiah (there is evidence) would it be blasphemy for Messiah to state the obvious fact that soon the roles of judge would be reversed and He would be judging them? The chief prosecutor (who was also the judge) did not prove that Jesus was not Messiah, did not even try, for his judgement was predetermined (despised and rejected, esteemed not) and guilt was merely implied. There would be quiet a case for any defense attorney to use in the extradition proceedings to Roman authorities up to and including the physical mistreatment of the defendant if Jesus so chose. Jesus did not pursue such a course as prophesied by Isaiah, like a sheep drawn by her shearers He kept silent. There will be a proper judgement however of these proceedings and these men when the time is right. Those that smote him will be named and by the judgement by which they judged they likely could be judged as well. How is this relevant to us today? We too hold ourselves as judge and jury and prosecutor, the evidence we allow and disallow is based upon a predetermined implication of guilt. Jesus and the followers of Jesus are judged by this standard everyday and night in the high palace of public and civic opinion. The faith of our Lord is not in the legal rights He Himself has because He has forgone any such rights as sacrificial lamb. It is not in this worlds legal system (though in a negative sense it is). It is not in Peter and John outside gathering up the troops or moving legal mountains into the sea by faith. It is in His Father's plan and the report of the prophets. So must our's.
April18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:69-75 THRICE - It would be hard for any Galilean in Jerusalem to deny that He is not a follower of the accused Galilean, his speech/inflections would give him away. No one was fooled of course and the more he tried to deny it the more insistent others became. So why then did he continue? Keep in mind that he swore that he wouldn't. I feel that the sense of personal danger must have been too great. If the authorities wanted to reign in the rest of Jesus' group what better place to start than with the interogation of Peter. Torture could be used to discover the whereabouts of the remainder. The mood of the public had certainly changed as well, Peter may not have made it into the hands of the authorities if taken by the hand of the mob. Peter's testimony of what Jesus had declared could be used against Jesus as well. There is so much unknown and suspicious tide to consider. Earlier Peter had thought that he understood the pressures that would come to bare against him as a disciple of the captured Christ; he underestimated the depths that this late night could erode down into and the sentiments of the aroused mobs now gathering. There are well thought out reasons not just cowardice at work in Peter's denial. Extreme danger brings with it different angles and realities that Peter had not before considered. Jesus had considered these pressures and angles though and yet was not condemning. Peter would weep bitterly. A river would flow of embarrassment and shame and powerlessness and complete let down, but, most of all a torrent of love for the man that he had invested all his devotion and hope into. Even though we may not know the full weight of momentum behind this denial, we can certainly sympathize with it as we are just as likely or more so to do the same under lesser conditions. The faith of our Lord understands the pressures His word can bare on us just as much as He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows that what we intend to be/do for Him is rarely what comes out; and frankly He is okay with that as long as there is open repentance and progress made. The way of our lives is a constant correction. This is a real and correctable experience Peter has stepped into that will mold and shape the remainder of his life. Not many would have the guts to step into the danger so far as Peter did, it is almost as miraculous as stepping out onto the raging waters. We cannot say that what Peter ended up doing as he realized the storm set against him was right but, we can say that it was transformative; love and devotion will continue and grow. The Lord knows how to lead us from here in our bitter and broken tears to there into His secure and loving arms. This as much as anything is the trust that we must come to have in Him.
April19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:1 BLOOD MONEY - Isn't it interesting the chief priest's sudden concern the money for blood being put back into the treasury? It is as if it goes out holy and just spends an hour or two with an informant comes back and because they now have officially decided Jesus will die now it becomes contaminated blood money. Interesting the contortions the reprobate mind goes through to justify it's self. When was payment for info leading to the capture and execution of a man of miracles (possibly a prophet if not messiah), a man that you had to frame with false testimony and hung jury ever holy and just? Isn't it interesting that they bought a field to bury strangers with it? That makes it all clean and wholesome eh! Within just a few verses Peter feels his guilt, Judas feels his guilt, the chief and elders magically transform tainted money (tainted by another's guilt?) and make it whole again. So that essentially was the price Jesus was valued at, the price of a small clay quarry. The author quotes the prophet Jeremiah, though we are not actually sure were this quote is found in our canonized version. The importance still remains on the report of the prophets not being believed (as kjv@Isaiah:53:1 suggests). The Lord is silent at this point. It is not Him describing all these parts and pieces of the mob mentality. This is a collection of testimonies gathered later from insiders and onlookers that observed these events. The faith of our Lord is that by the hand of the Holy Spirit that the report of the prophets along with these collections of testimonies will be convincing and convicting and insightful to the future generations of Jews and Gentiles whom He seeks to deliver.
April20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:11-26 WHETHER OF THE TWAIN - One man washes his hands of the blood guilt and the others pour it on to their heads of themselves and their children. Blood by both is made lite of. One cannot be innocent of the blood simply by washing their hands of the matter. The fact is that matters were poorly and unjustly handled in the first place. Pilate proved coward to the pressures of the Sanhedrin. Others cannot take such minute opinion of any man's life so as to not guarantee a safe and judicious proceedings, so as to not be driven by impulse or shrewd coercion. After all Jesus had done to reveal the sinful hypocrisy and false teaching and spiritual callous blindness of the Pharisees/the Sadducee/the Scribes the make up the Sanhedrin, for the general public to be so easily intimidated and manipulated is a sin equal to that of Judas even if this had not been Christ. What then of the evidences in favor, the many and daily healings, the exorcisms, the wondrous and picturesque sermons, the miracles, the possible ties to long held prophecy, the hope of Israel? Were these possibilities no factor to them at all? The blood stains of guilt cannot be washed away. The price of guilt cannot be negotiated by the guilty parties involved. Jesus' blood is meant to redeem but, if it is not accepted as such it becomes a terrible pronouncement of guilt; guilt then, guilt today. There is a notorious thief that is given amnesty by us even at this hour. He is the embodiment of our being so easily turned and manipulated and used as a driving wedge between justice and those that must judge. Perhaps the greatest revelation of our hearts by Jesus was taught without a word. The faith of our Lord is not in the present but, in the future. It is a future ripped free from the clutches of man's continuous evil imagination and heart that is deceptive above all else. It may be a good time to review kjv@Proverbs:1:20-33 in consideration of this particular multitude and then ours.
April21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:27-31 HAIL - The accusation of King is what seems to be sticking in everyones craw. We have heard it from the Jews, from the the Governor, now we see it from the Roman guard. That Jesus has said that His Kingdom is not of this world is of little weight, they are all taking Him literally as of this moment. He was delivered into this position by the Jews on the evidence of blasphemy. For the Romans this may be more about the hatred for anything Jewish and about the disturbance. They seem well practiced at the art of mockery and quite creative in adapting common items to their purpose. For us it is a pipeline into the dynamics and mechanics of the mob mentality, the overwhelming proof of man's sinful nature. Everything that man purports himself to be and to have evolved into is contradicted and disproved by the frequent and vile occurrences such as this. Jesus had to endure such contradiction kjv@Hebrews:12:3 because such contradiction is mankind's nature. The faith of our Lord is in the role of revealer. He reveals the heart of man whole as so He does man individual. He is rejected and despised not for what miraculous things He did (those seem to be forgotten) but, for what these things reveal about us. Often He does not even have to say or do a thing to reveal us at the core, has simply to endure our action we mount against Him. Like the Roman guard, we might think that we are on top. For how much longer? Until Kingdom come?
April22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:32-44 HE TRUSTED IN GOD - King David seemed to have the clearest vision of what the Lord would have to suffer. Many of the articles he would pen into his songs at first reading would seem to point to David or else no one. But, when did David suffer these things he wrote of? Without what we see here happening unto Jesus we would have to conclude that David was near paranoid, highly over exaggerated, consumed with the pressures mounted against him, obsessed with the persecution of the wicked and the silence of a slumbering God. With Jesus we wonder what then is David somewhere in this audience that he can see these things sentenced onto Jesus by the Lord of His Lord? His descriptions are uncanny to the smallest of details; the parting of clothes, the offer of gall, the wagging of heads. Where is David? How did he see this? Who has believed his report? To whom had the arm of his Lord been revealed? While the sign above speaks the official accusation, the words on the ground heard spoken declare the actual accusation, that He trusted in God. This is apparently what one gets for trusting in such a far fetched notion as God, says even the Jews. What would it take for them to believe? For Him to save Himself and come down, but, wait... that would break the commandment of God and of the prophets. In other words, for them to believe in Jesus He would have to break every commandment and become like them. Why would God even want their belief if that is the case? David was deeply troubled by what he foresaw as were the other messianic prophets. Yet in every messianic psalm he come to the conclusion the seed - Jesus would hold true to the end and that the Father would avenge Him with all certainty. David took comfort and inspiration in that. The faith of our Lord is in His Lord the Father and in seeing the plan through to it's end. It is in the words He had had recorded long before hand to remind Himself and to tow us through the dark cloudy mist of perception and truth that we not loose sight of Him. How the Jews lost that sight, it is almost as if they were blinded for the sake of germinating this seed into the far reaches of the Gentile nations by their rejection. The more even that the report/arm of the Lord is being revealed.
April23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:45-56 MY GOD MY GOD - The gospel writers record Jesus saying seven things on the cross, Matthew records one - the most important. Few there on the scene are going to know that Jesus quotes from kjv@Psalms:22:1, but those of us that do know and are interested we should go on to read the entire chapter kjv@Psalms:22. There is a reason now that Jesus qualifies as the governor among nations deserving of all man's praises and adoration. He despised not the afflicted nor turned His face from them, the meek shall be satisfied, because that His Lord was not far from Him and saved Him from the mouth of the lion. He poured Himself out like water, His heart melted like wax, He was cast upon this will of the Father's from the womb. Now the course has been fulfilled. The full weight of sin had been transfered upon Him; because of which the Father stepped aside momentarily and was far from helping. Jesus yelled out victoriously with tremendous strength when no strength should have been left in Him. The faith of our Lord was in that He trusted in the Father and the Father did deliver Him. The weight of sin was not as great as the pain of separation and the drowning fatigue of death not so great as the defiant liberating yelp against it. Those that saw these things feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
April24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:57-61 DISCIPLES - There are twelve men (now eleven) that we use the specific title Disciple for. There are many others even in high places, even secretive that we use the more general term disciple for as well. Three are mentioned early on at the tomb burying Jesus (A forth Nicodemus reported by John). The two men in particular are members of the Sanhedrin and are thereby given consent for burial and possession of the body by Pilate. Joseph is elsewhere described as a counselor, the word having direct ties to this governing body. Pilate may have seen these men as "non consenting" to the crucification but, surely not as pupils of the convicts' teachings. Had the major disciples attempted such they would have either been detained to squelch any possible uprising or they would have brought intense criticism as to the validity of the burial should something happen to the body under his watch. In these two men Pilate would find a comfortable political solution to the awkward/crucial issue of what to do with the body. These disciples are very important to birth and history of the church, as much as any other even though they were somewhat hidden away. There is very little that we have to go on to know how much of this Jesus had prepared for or how much that he had left to come about organically or by the Spirit. My guess would be all of the above. The more obvious evidence is that He had the faith to leave it to capable hands after His departure. The faith of our Lord is in the ability of His Father and His Holy Spirit. It is in peoples and places we may not have considered friendly to our cause. It is in the emotional but thoughtful obedience and effort of some loving women fearless that would attend to Him. It is in peoples two thousand years still having access to their testimonies that will come to believe. It is in a stone being rolling away, human eyes peeking in to see an Angel sitting at the foot of uninhabited burial linens and a folded napkin. It is in four women running back to the house to tell the others in the dawn's early light. Our Lord's faith is most supreme!
April25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:62-66 THAT DECEIVER - We see the hatred or else the guilt of the priests and Pharisees turning to paranoia. As they saw it the first error was to be deceived into believing Jesus to be Christ, the last error to be deceived into believing His resurrection. If one could be deceived into either of these errors, one could be deceived into staging events and evidence to deceive others. Apparently, Pilate did not trust the Jewish temple guard either. Roman guards were already attached to the temple, so they were to be used to secure the sepulcher. So the tomb was sealed, move the stone/break the seal, and the guard was placed around it. This is the day after. The question becomes, with the evidence of the resurrection so central to the debate, why wasn't more done by either side to make sure the evidence? Given the accusation of deceit by the one and the accusation of extreme hatred and blood guilt by the other? The only one truly that could have done any better would have been Pilate and he had attempted to wash his hands of the matter. Others might feel that Jesus or the Father could have done better, but, really how much is enough? How much secured evidence does it take to make the issue convincing to ardent skeptics? Will there not always be areas of doubt? What about doubt and debate though is unhealthy? The Word of God has always been carried to the farther reaches more by its' opposition than it has its' friendly alliances. The faith of our Lord is in His read of the nature of man doing what it is going to do, the plan of God accounting for exactly that, consent and opposition to Him both carrying out His objective. Remember that He/we has thousands of years of historical insight into spreading His word ahead of this to know man's sparse obedience and coagulating opposition. He knows how to get things done.
April26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus HAIL - I would think that Jesus imagined days like today as a young man; this day and the day after the judgement. Imagine the joy that He would have actually coming to this group of women. I love how the four gospels give an unintentional sense of confusion (not contradiction) and chaos over the events simply because there would be. Much like eyewitness testimony in a court case, we are left to piecing details together into a cohesive sequence, much is happening at one time. There is confusion, excitement, joy, fear, tears, relief, reverence, fulfillment, disbelief, new belief, all the emotions that one would expect. For the angels watching upon this, they have to be busting out in heaven don't they? This isn't the end of their work by a long shot but, this resurrection is a huge piece. Jesus seems very calm and dignified about this all, still focused on the task ahead. At the same time He has to be excited about seeing and revealing His living breathing glorified self to these loyal brethren. Like a liter of young pups they will be running up quite surprised and tails a wagging, barking gleefully thrilled to see their Master. After thousands of years of preparation for this, this has to be a big moment for Him too. And it seems only fitting that the first revelation was to these women who had been and were this dawn ministering so faithfully to Him. The faith of our Lord is very much like a Shepherd, very much like a parent, very much like a master. The work is hard but, the rewards very pleasing. The work continues but, our Lord of all people has to know how big and great this accomplishment of His is today.
April27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:28:11-15 COMMONLY REPORTED - It may illustrative of what the truth is up against all of the time. The people most important outside the actual story know only what is reported. Two parties may be in cahoots together and put a third party to blame. It is reasonably cheap when you are in a position of power to disregard the facts and bend the will of the people. Who is going to know? Some one from within these two groups might confess at some point (could have in this case) but, as long as the majority holds to the deception suspicion can be redirected. How much of this has happened in the past? Who is to say; how deep into this do you really want to go? How much of this is happening now? How much of what we know to be true is rather a cover up or deception? It would drive one crazy with the manifold possibilities and puzzling conspiracies and produce nothing but isolation and seething contempt in general (the opposite of love). One would likely still be left no closer to the actual truth for having pursued this course minus Christ as well. This is the chaos surrounding truth and who is the author of chaos? Man wanted to be like gods knowing good and evil? Well here it is to know one of the vicious clinging tentacles of evil's reach, the ease at which truth/facts/evidences can be spun and commonly misreported. The faith of our Lord is fully aware of this and yet does not get side tracked by attempting to combat these tendencies directly; they are what they are. Instead, it must be felt that by sticking to the presentation of the full gospel light that these hidden things of darkness eventually will be exposed. And who is the author of such singular faith?
April28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:28:16 WITH YOU ALWAY - Over five hundred people at different points saw Jesus glorified by resurrection according to Paul kjv@1Corinthians:15:6, some present at His ascension. Of the several occasions available, Matthew focuses on a meeting in Galilee ahead of Pentecost with the eleven to close His gospel. Everyone present there appeared to worship Him, but, we are left with the observable sense that at this point there was still some intellectual doubt present in the group. I think this to be admirably honest. We know that all were later present in the upper room for the infilling of the Holy Spirit and from Church tradition/history we know that each actually did go on to pursue this great world wide commission; so the doubts must have been laid to rest somewhere from this time forward. Doubt can take several different forms. One can be in agreement with but, still have some reservation. One can be in flat out denial. One can be scientifically skeptical awaiting further/conclusive data. Seeing Jesus stand before you may not cause all doubt to be erased immediately and I believe that this is alright with Jesus, He understands it as natural as long as is is not outright unconvincable denial; everyone comes to believe at different rates. Once on-board, occasion to doubt doesn't vanish either. To know however that our Christ is always with us and that all power is given Him in heaven and earth is of great great comfort. Doubt can be caused by fear, doubt can be caused by tribulation or the sudden death of a loved one. It is in these times most of all that for us to Love God and others (which is the the whatsoever He has commanded) as He has loved us and given Himself for us (even our enemies) that our doubts subside by faithful obedience. The faith of our Lord is always of great comfort to us and He wants it to be that way. With that comfort comes the power to pursue even this Great Commission. And with the power given to Him all things are to be gathered back unto Him to which we perform our obedience. Therein is the true worship even to the end of this world!
April29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:1-8 PREPARE YE - Luke begins his gospel by tying it immediately to the report of the prophets. The prophets had foretold the series of events ahead of Christ to watch for, Malachi speaks of a messenger preparing the way, John the Baptist fills that roll. The importance of all Messianic prophecy cannot be set aside. God intentionally uses prophecy to show that it is from Him and that it has His strength and power behind it and not man's. John's message was two fold, dict:naves repentance in preparation for the immediate appearance of our Lord. Repentance in and of itself does not save, it acknowledges the necessity of Christ and makes room for the person of Christ to enter. It is the belief that Jesus Christ is the promised savior that actually saves. As an outward confirmation/confession of one's repentance and belief in the coming Messiah John instituted a baptism. John's baptism did not mean to save, only to prepare, we find Paul taking a remnant of John's disciples evangelizing the further gospel to them and baptizing with the Holy Spirit. We then have two major components listed to prepare for Christ, prophecy and repentance, God's power to make what has been said before hand happen, man's power/obligation to change course in very specific manner toward the one prophesied about: Jesus Christ. It is the faith of our Lord in advance of His coming out that these preparations have been fully made.
April30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:9-13 SPIRIT DRIVEN - The Holy Spirit is mentioned here descending upon Him, driving Him immediately into the wilderness. One action the result of an obedience the other testing for another obedience. And so He moves continuously one obedience to the next. We also have the ministry of angels and the symbol of the prophetic foundation that has been laid John the Baptist. All of these influences work together and are accounted for in Jesus. Then there are also the elements pushing against Him, the inhospitable wilderness, the danger of wild beasts and of course the probing of Satan. One other factor to consider is the voice from heaven confirming pleasure in the beloved Son. It is the faith of our Lord that because He is the Son, because He is anointed and driven of the Holy Spirit, ministered to by angels, He will continue onward in obedience to the goal at hand despite anything that would come up against Him. His faith contains a large measure of spiritual valor. So must ours, valor toward obedience.
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.
May2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:21-28 AUTHORITY - Witnesses of Jesus immediately attributed His power to some new doctrine, twice in this passage. He had shown uncommon power in His teaching and also in the exorcism of one man's demons. They weren't yet willing to attribute this to God the Father working through the incarnate Son of God. Jesus doing these things was not dependent upon their belief as is often thought (as in if everyone believes enough we can do this). It is not in trusting demons announce to everyone who He is (as shown by His rebuke). His power is exerted here in obedience to the Father for the sake of those who do/will believe and for the person possessed. The disciples may not have known about these abilities before this and it may take them some time to understand but, this authority does not come from any special doctrine, it comes from a special relationship Son to Father and a special promise made as far back as kjv@Genesis:3:15. The faith of our Lord is in the authority of the Father and the authority the Father in turn has given Him. It appears to us as authority because it is. His fame may spread but, that is not the purpose that is one of several results.
May3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:29-34 PETER'S WIFE - Not much thought ever goes into the tremendous role of Peter's wife in the early church. Her husband in a sense is stolen away. What becomes of the finances and family business while he is away? What becomes of their plans? Who is her daily companion? She is left to care for her mother and possibly raise kids (assumed) by herself. We see that the ministry frequents their house, a blessing to have him near but, extra work for her and her mom none the less. We must also consider the burden of being Peter's wife when she goes out in public. I don't know that we are ever told how she truly felt about this and the types of struggles she endured so that Peter could become the influence that he latter became. We do know that she joined him latter on and came along at least part of the time kjv@1Corinthians:9:5. I have no doubt that she loved her husband and the Lord dearly. I have no doubt that she approved very much of what the 'boys' were out doing. I wish to think knowing my Lord's sensitivity to everything/one around Him that He had private conversation(s) with her maybe out there on her porch in the sunset on other days. The faith of our Lord isn't in just what has been written for us to digest intellectually it is in the practical and personal matters that each of these things imply. As with any ministry there are people and burdens being carried by those people behind the scenes that outsiders may not ever notice. Hopefully the people that they are serving take note. Their service is just as important to the storyline as those up and out front. Their sacrifice is perhaps more than any of ours and they should know with certainty that our Lord is very much pleased and honored. I do not know if this woman lived to see her husband's death, odds are so, if not she would have sensed (or have been gently told) that this was part of the deal. And yet, she would have looked at Peter the way only a wife could and encourage him to continue with the joy of her smile and the tears of her embrace. This women and others like her should be, nay will be highly sainted. They are as much a powerful wittness to Christ as those exorcised of demons.
May4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:35-39 ALL MEN SEEK THEE - Peter leads a group of people in the pre-dawn outside Capernaum. Fame is spreading quickly and the opportunities of the new day are invigorating/intoxicating, perhaps keeping them awake; except for one thing, Jesus their miracle man is missing. There will be a great swell of people coming in from everywhere in the coming hours. People will want to be healed. People will want to be released from demons. People will want a political/religious uprising. People will want to witness miracles, but, will they want to believe in Jesus as the Son of Man? Sure all men would seek after Him, they seek after still today, what is it however that they seek of Him. Peter seeks after Jesus. What are his motives? Good I am sure but, pure? What is best? It is Peters' house that they are staying at, it is his hometown, he doesn't have to leave his wife or his front door step and the lost sheep are coming to him. I am not accusing him nor trying to read his mind, just saying He is new at this fame and miracle thing and the excitement may cloud his judgment/expectations. And the anonymous others with him, are they following Jesus or Peter? Where do they finally find Him? Where Peter's mind is racing with the many opportunities Jesus' mind is settling in worship and supplication to the Father. The settled mind seeks God's holiness, His omniscience, His righteousness, His communion, and from that reverent position receives a peaceful confident heart and direction. The faith of our Lord is not in all the opportunities to use His powers that the others might see it is in the need to maintain those powers and opportunities under will of the Father where all such blessings come. Power makes for itself plenty of opportunities, the focus of prayer makes so that the right opportunity come to light.
May5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:40-45 GO THY WAY - Lepers were outcast from the society until given inspection and clearance from the priests. The general population untrained in these matters were to comply with the law in this regard. By showing and telling the people first this man is both breaking the commandment given by Jesus who just healed him and causing the people to break the law by not segregating him until the clear signal was given. There is no doubt that he is healed. Jesus is showing respect toward the law and the rule of order. Jesus cannot be accused of stepping outside this law. He is nearly in a no win situation of either leaving a man in his leprosy, being accused of neglecting the law (which He will anyway) or having His fame spread about forcing His ministry away from the cities. Jesus of course chooses the course of most compassion. The faith of our Lord is clear even when there is no clear choice apparent, to uphold the law by being compassionate even if there is a price to pay or a negative consequence, to adapt to the situation there after as it leads you on the ground. It is a compassion not just for compassion's sake but for the law's and for what God has ahead.
May6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:2:1-12 SAW THEIR FAITH - Faith is visible. It may not always be what you'd expect to see though, at times it may appear as resourcefulness and with some of those times it may be the resourcefulness of others. In this case the oddity is that it seems like pretty destructive and dangerous faith at the expense of Peter the home owner. We are not told what it was that these men believed about Jesus other than the implication that He was the one who could heal their friend. We no nothing other the paralytic's faith. Accusation isn't always seen at first, it is more often perceived and has much to do with a man's reasoning. You can almost expect that it is hiding somewhere out in the crowded room in multiple places. Doubt that raises up to the charge of blaspheme may be easier to detect as it may show up in the eyes and faces. It may also come from knowing the men's hearts with whom you have been dealing. In Jesus' case, He would almost have to start each occasion from the presumption of the other's disbelief, even of His disciples, but, He'd be looking for every occasion to help who He could to believe. Some times an occasion may not be ideal such as the unruliness and disorderliness of these four. On the other hand it may have been the most opportune occasion given the foul reasoning filling the room air. The faith of our Lord encourages risk taking. He is honest about His surroundings but, faithful to the Father and therefore on the look out for opportunities that may even fall from the sky to engage and promote the faith of others.
May7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:2:13-17 HEARD IT - Some one has either told Jesus or He has caught the sounds in the corner of His ear that there is growing displeasure with Him eating and drinking with sinners. I don't know whether the religious elite are still holding out a chance for Him as it would be hard to deny His miraculous powers or whether they have outright given up. I do believe that there is something substantial going on culturally that modern audiences would not be attuned to; Jesus is being radical to their viewpoint. Often the best teaching is not discussed it is exposed. Jesus is not going to them and partaking in their sin, He is going out like a physician to where they are and gracefully calling them to establish the ground work of something much better. If that means eating in a room of them, then by all means. Contact with one man leads to the man inviting His circle of friends. These friends are coming to partake of their own friendships and because of their trust in their host in turn they trust in His goodness. No doubt fame precedes Him here but, even without fame the trust building process works the same; why not build upon what is already there? Other's fear the associations that may be implied, if one hangs out with sinners one must be a sinner. The faith of our Lord is not afraid of such possible negative associations, He is afraid of what may happen to these people should He not reach out. In His eyes He is a physician and physicians go where people are sick. He does not partake in their sickness, he partakes in the future fellowship that might come should He be able to win their further trust.
May8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:2:18-22 THE BRIDEGROOM - There are some key elements to consider here. There is the purpose, the occassion, the vessel and the substance. The purpose of our Lord has always been the same, to have the Father gather all things back unto Him. Along the timeline of achieving said purpose, different occassions are brought up nessecitating different vessels and substance. Take the illustration of wine. There is wine for everyday events, there is wine for very special events. Approaching the first coming of Jesus a certain container and substance was called for. Now that He has come in person with the intention to marry a new and different container and substance is required, a vessel and substance of much greater honor as the occasion has dramatically shifted. Not that anything is wrong with the old wine, it has and continues to serve the overall purpose. It is not the purpose but, is a step toward the purpose. Pouring the new wine into the old container alongside the old substance is not good for either wine for the old container will burst, both substances will pour to the ground, the overall purpose will not be forwarded. The same truth can be illustrated in the original question as to fasting. The purpose is constant and moving forward, the occasion changes nessecitating totally new attitude of feasting, the occasion is promised to change again shortly, but, for that brief moment we had a glimps of the expectation and honor of being invitees/attendees of a most heavenly marriage banquet of our Lord. Don't get confused by the changing of vessel and substance as occasions are dynamically driven by His purpose. The faith of our Lord is much larger than the finite things our minds are left to consider. He attempts to illustrate them in terms that we can identify with, really though, how much do we actually understand? Just because it is bigger than we can understand doesn't mean that it doesn't exist or is anything less. Wine/Fasting/Sabbath/Law, these are but things to get us to understand slight as that may be His big big picture.
May9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:2:23-3:6 LORD ALSO OF THE SABBATH - How frustrating it must be to ask your accusers to engage you rationally and have them not answer you. How welcome would it be to have the opposing view point stand forth and debate matters of law and truth on logical and spiritual merits. How enlightening it would have been even of our persuasion to hear learned point and counterpoint, to battle it out to wits end. We don't have that however here and up against Jesus we won't ever have it. No one in His presence had ever seen anyone teach with such authority; if you can't beat Him then you have to trap Him; get Him to beat Himself. Plucking handfuls of corn? Healing on the Sabbath? Is this really the best that you have Pharisee? He asks you. Do you not have an answer Herodian? Or does the answer that you have weaken your position? The public's perception of your position? Jesus is angry with them. He has every right. But, anger is not going to get Him to stray off course. He will walk the mine field that you've laid out by rising above it. The faith of our Lord is that in every other thing that He is Lord over, He is also Lord of the Sabbath. He is our Sabbath literally; our peace, our rest, our praise and communion. If critics acted this way in His day how likely are they to act the same in ours?
May10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:7-12 LEST THEY THRONG - Arrangements have to be made for Jesus' safety; not hostile endangerment per se but, eager/desperate. The pressing of the crowds were like those in a famine at a food distribution line where innocent people do get trampled. Perhaps the most dangerous thing is that people now presume that they can get healed simply by touching Jesus. They don't even have to converse with Him or receive His consent/action. We are told of this being true in a few cases but, not as I am aware as a general rule. With this inhibition torn down the people feel free to press in on and through and around anything or anyone that might stand in their own way. Crowd control is always a major factor as multitudes take on a illogical unpredictable dynamic all of their own. As we see with modern terrorist tactics, a crowd can even be used against itself by malcontents when excited into a stampede or incited into a riot. How odd/nightmarish it must of seemed to be packed into a tight space of sickly even demon possessed people all moving in without self prohibition toward the center. The plan was to stay close to the shoreline cutting off half of the encirclement, providing a means of retreat via small swift boat. The faith of our Lord is very bold but, certainly not stupid. The nature of men, the nature of desperation, the nature of crowds is all taken into account. Being a disciple was often like being a body guard, intense, physical, eerie, and dangerous; not the place for mere academics. The whole experience must have been becoming more and more unimaginable to them. The Lord I am sure takes that into account too.
May11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:13-19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:13-19 HE ORDAINED TWELVE - Of several select individuals called to Him in the mountain Jesus ordained but twelve. There is the thought that if twelve why not have fifty, if fifty why not have five hundred....? Jesus is revealing something very substantial about the divine plan at this moment. It is not that He is cutting anyone out, all men are to be discipled under Christ's tutelage and all have been sent to declare the gospel. All men have been given communion with the Lord and been granted to suffer for and as their Savior for their own and the church's edification. These twelve will now be sent two by two to preach/heal/cast out demons. A hundred more will be sent soon after, they will be gifted similar ability but not in the same sense of being ordained. What Jesus is doing is establishing order not just for now but for all the future. The situation now is developing on the ground where both the following of disciples and the following of seekers has grown beyond capabilities of the loose fit organizational structure previous. As the numbers increase and the danger increases, as the training of the select few intensifies, the time has come to make the organization more formal. Think of a small business today that grows into that next bigger level and the changes necessitated by that. In the long run this move proves most valuable to the early first century when many falsely proclaimed to be apostles that most people knew better who their Apostles were. This move even later gave second century scholars a road map to verifying and canonizing certain Apostolic epistles over a flood of lesser. There are weakness of course further out to the system as we see in the centuries leading up to the reformation as men corrupt the system but, the scriptures yet hold true as pillars even in those turbulent times. "Sola Scriptura" (only scripture) (Hebrew old with Apostolic new) becomes the protestants reforming creed lessening but, not eliminating the influence of church held traditions. I believe that the faith of our Lord is in being fully aware of the future Church that He is building and the types of problems and issues it will undergo. These issues may be healthy in that they are a constant stirring of the resolution of mens' intents and wills but, certainly less resolvable for true seekers had He not taken the steps that He just took. His declaration of these twelve gives the Holy Spirit written reinforcement/authority to conduct it's operations on a massive scale after Christ's Accession.
May12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:20-30 - The friends close to Jesus suspect the toll of this ministry on a man to be greater than it actually is on Jesus. Perhaps they are beginning to feel the wear on themselves. Jesus had just returned from a prayer filled time of reinvigoration and reorganization; did they? Jesus' daily life was filled with such moments even in the midst of such business; was theirs? Even when the day became too busy and too crowded even to eat, Jesus would spend entire nights soaking in the Fathers communion; did they? Those that oppose Jesus never seem to tire because there are so many of them coming from so many directions; an endless supply of them so that one individual never has to tire. Add to it that even for one opponent it is so much easier to portray a foe in a negative light than it is to advance the cause and work of the much better light. At this point opponents don't have to reason nor defend what they are saying, just throw it out there like a sniper then run and hide till the next. Eventually the opponent however comes to the point where He has discounted the integrity and work of the Holy Spirit to such a measure that he either passively or vigorously aligns his own self with the workings of the Devil. If the Spirit is working to establish Jesus as Messiah and you are working against that, well matters have become quiet grave for you mister junior devil. Some people might do this for a time, come to the realization of who Jesus is and then repent. For those who continue on however, repentance and salvation are far from reach. What forgiveness from damnation would one ever hope to have? This is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, not finding repentance, not allow the Spirit's work to continue inside of you. The faith of our Lord is well reasoned, though we may not allow ourselves to see it as so. Friend's think He is beside Himself, enemies think that He is an agent of Satan, neither of which can defend their statements. Not only is He in line, He does everything spiritual to keep Himself in line. Do we?
May13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:31-35 THE SAME IS MY - It could very well be that Jesus' half brothers and sisters did not see Him as the Christ yet. To them He was still only their brother. Mary His mom probably knows too well His heavenly appointment and is having difficulty with what it all means; she may have been pressured into this. It may seem harsh that He would reply to their request in this way, but, it also seems harsh that they would call Him out in front of a crowd. Some commentaries suggest that they were the "friends" or a part of those that were suggesting that He was "beside Himself". I do not believe that Jesus is discounting His physical relationship to them, He is elevating His spiritual relationship to greater humanity and thereby expressing their need to get on board believing in Him fully as their Lord and Savior. It is a difficult relationship to fathom being the half brother say of the Son of God. Few will ever have to process faith in those terms. The time is short however. They will remember His words no doubt when His death comes. Also notice the absence of His dad Joseph, by all appearances deceased. Did Joseph ever come to true spiritual faith? Did Joseph ever do the will of God? We are never told. The faith of Jesus reaches out into all the world but, is also close to home in His brothers and sisters and mom. Their entry into His kingdom is on the same exact terms as all the rest. He is not willing that any should perish but, that they come to repentance and knowledge of Christ.
May14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:4:1-20 WITHIN WITHOUT WAYWARD - This is a foundational parable that helps us to understand the rest. Principal one is that it is not given for others to receive the payload understanding of these parables; the revelation of said parable is a Jesus to sanctified believer exclusive, spiritually discerned. In fact, no man can come to it complete with out living and proving it out which requires a strong devotion to Christ. Theoretically, a class of college senors can analyze a Jesus parable and probably come to the same initial message that a believer can, maybe to another level or two, but that is as far as they can take it. Because they do not believe in Jesus it holds no further interest, any further meaning is stolen away. Many religions can be/have been formed from borrowing the superficial understandings of these parables; this is what Jesus has always strived to protect Himself from. However, by believing squarely in the righteousness of Jesus the desire will be to search out and grow into the message further. The message has to be applied into the daily life of a believer and experienced fully before the payload Jesus is revealing comes to fruition. The heart to apply oneself to it's growth is where the difficulty comes, as some believers lack the root, others lack the valor and fortitude, others lack the will to keep worldly influences weeded out. As hard as it is for believers to come to this knowledge without sincerity and endurance it is outright impossible for the insincere and academic critic. The faith of Jesus does not cast it's pearls before the swine and it cannot be counterfeited nor universalized. This is utter foolishness to the wise and learned, but, this foolishness is deliberately made to be our wisdom. Take this introductory understanding into the remaining parables and your efforts to live/grow into this word will yield plenty fruit.
May15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:4:21-25 EARS TO HEAR - If a believer and non believer arrive at the same conclusion on this parable then the parable has not accomplished its stated objective. The parable concerns all things hidden being revealed. Are you open and receiving, willing to endure and grow into such revelation? With the measure with which you hear this you will be given more. The faith of our Lord is all about an experiential process that brings His light into the darkest corners of our existence. It requires an openess and devotion few are willing to submitt themselves to, the rewards however are promised to liberating.
May16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:4:26-29 SO IS THE KINGDOM - Let's again try to recall that it is easy for believer and non believer to begin at the same point with this parable but, if the two end at the same place the believer has operated from mere carnal intellect. The true understanding is going to require the Spirit/revelation and engagement with the growth process. Ask/Seek/Knock. There are some clues however to begin with. Action in terms of self should be changed to terms of the broader Kingdom. Receiving should be changed into spreading. Analytical pre-process should be changed to trust and observance, investment and experience seed to sickle. One does not have to know how the process works for the process to work, it works regardless as it is supposed to. The faith of our Lord is not the one being depicted here as not knowing how it is going to happen, that is our faith. It is not that He will leave it all up to us to fill in the details or to nature to make this Kingdom happen. His faith is in the "Kingdom come, Thy Will be done" principal where if we obey the Will the Will will take us where He wills us to be. The commitment is our's, the details are left to Him.
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.
May18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:4:35-41 LET US PASS - Fearful and no faith tie together in this passage. This Greek "no" may also suggest the definite no, as in never or not yet faith. Intellectual consent got them into the boat. Intellectual consent assumes that everything ahead will go alright, if trouble comes up there will be time to adjust or abandon. Spiritual consent assumes that no matter what comes up against it it will be as planned, placing more faith in the master of the wind than the obvious physical tumult of the tempest. Fear is natural in either respect, it is where intellectual consent hides to when faced with something greater or more threatening/unknown comes against it's approved consent/control. Just as these men had never faced fear to this level before they had never faced faith. Note that this took place at the end of one of the most successful single days thus far of their discipleship/ministry. The faith of our Lord challenges both faith and fear to it's core and calls for some uncomfortable occassions. It rebukes not the person nor the elements but the forces stirring them toward disturbance. Peace and calm are found in the divine settling of these compulsively consuming momentums. Let us pass over to the other side!
May19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:5:1-20 GO HOME TELL - How many times has Jesus forbidden others to tell of their healing? Why is it different in this case? The situation with the citizens of Gadarenes may necessitate it. The testimony of this man may be more productive for the Kingdom than Jesus staying and stirring things up more. People often think that if they were to see a miracle that they would believe. I believe that in most cases it is not that they don't believe it is how they respond to their belief. Belief in this case has caused fear and fear has caused discomfort and discomfort has caused opposition. Belief when not tied to faith is threatening. Why did Jesus not insist on staying to work through this resistance? Efficiency! Demons retreat into the sea rather than be tormented and are swallowed up. Men retreat into businesses and idols rather than be threatened and are swallowed up. Jesus leaves them a reminder, a man that has nothing but his own personal testimony. The man is as much a testimony against them even from his home in Decapolis Syria. His testimony is honest and simple, what Jesus did for Him, how Jesus had had compassion on him. Many marveled. The faith of our Lord has every option available to it. It is not limited even to Him having to be there. The best option can change to meet the situation, but, He always is clear as to what the best option for that occasion is. No doubt there is much prayer and spiritual diligence involved in Him being prepared for these types of decisions. This report may very well be Gentile Syria's first exposure to the Gospel of Christ. Marvel may be accurate for they would not yet know that Jesus is Messiah for all mankind. In kjv@Mark:7:31 Jesus will be on the coast of this man's homeland.
May20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:5:21 NO MAN SHOULD KNOW IT - Jesus is an equal opportunity healer. The woman with the blood issue has for twelve years been considered defiled. According to the law she must not go into the Temple, she must watch and wash every where she sits, she cannot lay with her husband. Once healed she ends her time of separation with more time apart and sacrifice. The ruler of the synagogue is about as high up as one Jew can get at that time. From all public observances his hands would be as clean as ceremony and ritual and stature could get. Both have needs, both people Jesus addresses. The experience for the three together does not go without complication however. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for. It is evident that the women has strong hope as her determination presses her through the crowd that is already thronging Jesus. It is evident in the ruler as he goes against the grain of what all his peers would think regarding Jesus. It is evident in Jesus as He works His way to the ruler's house though cornered by the throng, through the tumult of the professional wailers, past the jeers of the household, despite the urgent rush minding to touching details as stopping to acknowledge the woman's faith and sharing the private moment with both the father and mother. Clearly hope comes with plenty of opposition, plenty of obstical, plenty of objection. Hope often calls to Jesus as a last resort. Many things may be suffered on the way to becoming able to place all hope upon Jesus. When Jesus says "no man should know it", it doesn't mean that no one is not going to know it. Everyone that followed Him up to the house would know, everyone that saw the woman made whole would know, everyone in the house that was ordered out would know, the few that were invited in would know. And anyone who saw the young twelve year old girl walking out to play like nothing had happened would know. Jesus is wanting these people now in the know to figure this what has happened out on their own. The faith of Jesus faces resistance everywhere He goes. It is never as simple as hoping that mankind will understand, there is every evidence that He is determined to make it so. This is evidence in face of opposition.
May21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:1-6 HE MARVELLED - What is that? Our Lord marvelled? I find it interesting even in modern contexts the depths of prejudice within ethnic or racial groups themselves. We expect to see it spill out one group onto another back and forth, but, more curiously the type that never leaves it's own doorstep; it is a wickedness all it's own. Wouldn't you think that a Nazarene would have that home boy (small pond) making it big (big pond) hero coming home pride for the celebrity fellow Nazarene? Apparently not. They can't seem to get past the fact that at one point this was their town carpenter. I speculated previously that Jesus' family had sought Him out being convinced that He was beside Himself, that they had attempted to interrupt Him to draw Him back in, that I felt that they were under much pressure back home and had over reacted. Could this be the pressure that they lived under? Pressure from their own neighbours? If the works of Jesus to this point were not enough to change any minds in Nazareth then no future works while He was there would either. It almost makes you ask why did He go back home anyway? Was it to give them a final chance? Was it to minister to His mother and siblings? Was it a brief retreat? Was it for our viewing and further understanding? Was it simply because the Father told Him to? My own faith often differs from the faith of our Lord. I expect that if I am in the place God needs me then I will see the positive results and when I don't... I probably turn over/walk away from more crops than I plant because of this. But, who says that being in the right spot at the right time produces the right results? At least right as we see it?
May22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:7-13 TWO BY TWO - It is further proof of the authenticity of Jesus that He can give portions of His anointing to others. The others would not have this power any other way but by Him giving it to them. It is not learned. It is not alchemy or potion. It is not positive thinking. That He would now trust these men is important; to trust these men in the hands of others is extreme. For those looking on it should be eye opening. The power of God is not just manifest in one but in twelve and later one hundred and later... Something is going on here that secularists should take note of, Jesus is pretty much doing whatsoever He wants despite massive resistance and the whole movement is gaining momentum exponentially. Therein lays a testimony against the scoffer; these things are being done and they are witness and yet they still disbelieve. Another side of this is that Jesus feels that there are enough believers to host these men wherever they go, they don't even need to pack a bag. Whether these are people whom He has healed or preached to we don't know; He does. For years I have thought of this as a acid test intended for the Disciples; this time I am thinking that it is more of a significant declaration of how far He has brought His sheepfold and how many others there are off camera. We are all tested and learn to depend solely on Jesus, but, at the same time it is reassuring to know our Lord has resources and people inline that we have barely considered. The faith of our Lord is manifold. He is operating on multiple planes and in multiple directions we can barely fathom. It is a most beautiful thing to behold. Wouldn't you love to hear these men recount these first time first flight stories?
May23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:14-29 AND THEREFORE - How do you explain Jesus? We see how vulnerable human reasoning in this passage. We have the reasoning King Herod, Herodias, her daughter, and others. Each have their bend. Some rationale is being bent by guilt/fear/drunken enticement/exaggerated commitments/justifying unlawful marriages. Other rationale is being bent by retribution/scheming/manipulation/deceit. Anothers' rationale is bent by the vanity of youth/sexual seduction/promiscuity and either a naivete or collusion of her mother's true intents. Others are bent by misinterpreted scripture or myth. All of this and more works against John and now Jesus. People like to think that they are free to make the right choices, that discernment and reasoning is their particular even inherent strength; it is simply not true. The carnal mind is at enmity against the spiritual, the closest it can come to being right is a counterfeit substitution of what God himself has chosen to reveal. Much of that is hidden inside parables and prophecies and large millennium wide swaths of history so that it can't be counterfeited and so that only true diligent seekers can be brought to it. In our own lives the question must be where is our rationale being bent? What sin or carnal trait is obstructing or altering the course of spiritual insight? What keeps us from true discernment of the facts and road map before us? The faith of our Lord is implied in this passage, implied that He knows what He is up against/what we are up against that He must save us from. When He contrasts light to darkness and groups all of mankind into darkness this constant bend is much of what He is talking about. Worse yet people more love this darkness more than surrendering it to His light. They continue to use the same rationale to make the same decisions and take the same actions with the same insolence and self determination and kill off the things that contradict or counteract their torturous corruptions. Somehow they justify this all as being right vaguely aware if at all of what is actually occurring. AND THEREFORE and with this bend they attempt to explain away Jesus.
May24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:30-44 GIVE YE THEM TO EAT - It is not just that Jesus took what the Disciples were able to come up with and make it to feed five thousand plus, it was when and why He did it. The Disciples had just returned from their first paired solo excursions and reported everything that had happened. Imagine the testimonies of these men! But, they were tired and needed rest. Yet five thousand other men (not counting women and children) had followed them out to the rest sight. Imagine the disappointment of these men. Did they get their rest? Little energy and barely enough food to feed themselves, what they did have Jesus was able to make more than enough for everybody. Yes. At the point where they thought they had the power to do anything settling quickly to the point of fatigue and human impossiblility, Jesus shows them who the Master still is. His strength is in divine compassion; compassion for these men, compassion for these shepherd-less crowds, compassion for fallen mankind. Divine compassion continually invigorates and supplies. The faith of our Lord is that these many men will experience this divine love from Him and come to accept the terms of it. It is not their love nor power, it is His, it is His Father's, it is the Spirit's. It is there to taste of, to sustain us, to replenish us, to be filled of, to rest assured of/in. We gather together and offer up what little we have collectively, He makes it miraculously all sufficient. Is there rest for the weary disciple and shepherd-less? Yes, in His compassion! GIVE YE THEM TO EAT.
May25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:45-56 IT IS I - Jesus is pushing the Disciples hard to understand something very important, something that they did not understand in the first pass with the loaves. There is a hardness/resistance there with them against this teaching that must be broken up. In order to do this He has them work frantically against the wind to save their own lives. The similarity to the message of the loaves is being intensified and personalized. It is a spiritual teaching remember where the Disciple is doing what he is told but, is long getting nowhere, barely maintaining the position to this point reached. How many times in the course of ministry are we found at the same point with our faith (even our lives at times) out on the line and the waves that could end it all are closing in all around us? Why was it Jesus was just going to walk on by? He wasn't, He was waiting for them to recognize Him. Up to now it had been their effort only, their fishes and loaves, but the situation before them was humanly impossible, improbable by nature and supernaturally unheard of. Had they simply asked Him to join on board and help the rowing effort it would still be their futile effort with an extra oarsman. Instead, had they called out to Jesus to rebuke the wind, do that which no man can do, their fulfillment of the task at hand would have gone much smoother. The few fish and the loaves amongst many, paddling against life threatening gail forces are all a part of obedience and serving this Lord. These are not meant to be lessons of learning defeat, they are meant to be moments of calling God to do the impossible; all in the course of obeying His will. The faith of our Lord is the faith of a master teacher. Certain lessons have to be learned, but, we find mere words often sell the lesson short. Teaching spiritual things often requires physical examples, physical experiences, even fearful adrenaline and sore amazement. If the Lord appears to you only as some ghostly spirit in these times you know that you are not recognizing Him for what He is and what Lord over all things He needs to be in your life. IT IS I.
May26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:7:1-23 HOWBEIT IN VAIN - Imagine spending the bulk of your lifetime judging others presumably on spiritual grounds by what means little to God. If the commandment of God boils down to loving God with all heart/soul/body/strength and neighbor as self, where then have the disciples broken this commandment by not ceremoniously dry washing hands to honour the elders? What would make one ever think that the two are the same unless it was a dirty heart that wanted to appear to others as if it was clean? Imagine being consumed by what went into others' bellies more than what came out of their hearts. Imagine having that be the factor that keeps you from coming to a clear and present knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Imagine that you have come all the way from Jerusalem to argue with/disprove Messiah over that. The funny thing is that even after having this explained disciples like Peter still had problems reversing this clean/unclean thought long ingrained in him later on in life. How deep are the traditions we hold? How do we still hold to them even though we understand differently? Why does such a principal teaching appear to us as a parable and not a plain principal? The faith of our Lord has to keep it's focus. He cannot allow these side issues to detour His teaching, He must vanquish them as soon as they are presented. Our focus must be spiritual and be on Him and His commandment. It can not morph into what we think is spiritual but really is not.
May27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:7:24-30 LET THE CHILDREN FIRST - I sense that Jesus has to be very careful here. He is attempting to hide temporarily from the forces in Israel meaning to shut Him down, but, at the same time He can not let His ministry to Israel get overtaken by His popularity in the Gentile borders. I think that the compassion of Christ wants to do this and many other healings. This woman is quite persistent and her faith substantial and refreshingly welcome. How does one balance momentary compassion with long term objectives? How much do political and ethnic factors play into this? Jesus by all appearances stalls, His disciples are approached according to Matthew and they in turn bring it back up to Him. He is either stretching this woman out as an example to the Hebrews of faith or He is taking such a risk that He wants to be sure that this gets examined by all for all that it is worth. It is important that the Hebrews know that He has come to them first, important for the Gentiles to know first things first but there is enough to go around. What we must be aware of are the risks and consequences that He has to manage on top of everything else He has to deal with. So how does He deal with this? He heals the daughter when the timing is right. The faith of our Lord advances and retreats, it works inside out through the circle and outside in when it needs to. It is aware of the big picture and the small picture at the same time. It makes masterful use of timing.
May28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:7:31-37 ASTONISHED BEYOND MEASURE - It is most astonishing that the deaf and impeded/mute can be healed. I guess that you'd actually have to be there to know absolutely that it was so. This case is probably of a person who spoke and heard at one time previous as they know how to speak once released. Jesus pulls the man aside though so that not many actually saw what He was going to do. Those that did see were told not to say anything about it. To me the proof these many years after is the fact that it could not be contained. Surely there are enough people that saw the before and after who even though they did not see it happening first hand had no other explanation left for it and thus were astonish and vocal about it. After all, how do you keep something like this silent, one minute he is verifiable deaf/mute judging by the reaction and the next healed and the only thing that happened in between is that Jesus pulled Him aside? So that without any words spoken anybody that knew the sequence of event was going to add it all up. Beyond measure is the other indicator to examine as there is very little that can compare to this; the blind seeing, a withered hand immediately made whole, raising of the dead. He must have charged them more than once because the more He did it the more they published it. So is this reverse psychology on His part? Or, is this something about human nature and His judgments that He is revealing to the discerning pupil? The faith of our Lord is aware of the ears and the eyes in the future that will believe or not believe based upon these written testimonies. Words are spread, interpretations corrupt, fables develop. It is important to the Gospel that Jesus makes mention of this even though the people there are going to do whatever they want with this. It is stated for the record, if not for their sake then for our sake. Anyone else speaking to another about this off record would be disobeying the Lord Almighty.
May29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:8:1-21 THREE DAYS - Lost in all the miracle and parable business is the duration of three days where a large crowd has remained glued to Jesus but having not eaten. Can you imagine anyone holding a crowds attention for that length of time overcoming even their stomachs? What brought this crowd together? What was the message? Did they sleep? Is this an assembly of repentant converts? We simply are not told much about this event but, it has to weigh into our considerations just as much as the rest of the passage. Three amazing and energizing days ended by a second feed the thousand miracles, one would have to be feeling on cloud nine. There could not be a better feeling of spiritual purpose and clarity. Enter now the warning to beware of the leaven. Are the disciples especially vulnerable to pride and corrupted religious piety? The smallest bit can raise the entire loaf. Are they vulnerable to taking their new found whisp of spirituality a direction not intended by our Lord? The heart for all of it's present glee and intention can still yet be hard and become zealous for the wrong thing. With each divine provision shown there is more left over, more that hasn't been used, showing not only abundance but a responsibility to gather and account for the remainder. It is true with bread scraps, it is true with spiritual lessons remaining to be learned. The faith of our Lord is enthralling to observe, three days/three years pass by in a flash. No doubt the Lord loves for us to experience His great mercies but, is also concerned about where we go with our faith from that. It is far easier to corrupt the meaning and direction of the whole than it is to stay grounded in the humility and correction of the continued course ahead.
May30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:8:22-26 NEITHER GO INTO TOWN - This time the man is taken outside of town, restored, told to no return back in to the town till after Jesus leaves. How long before Jesus left we don't know. Two options as I see it. One: It is almost as if the bigger miracles are exciting the crowds in ways counter productive to the ministry. Crowds stir leaders and leaders stir counter measures. Whatever the balance is between teaching and miracle and evangelism, the reaction to the miracles is becoming a major concern. Two: unrelated to the reactions of others these commands may be tests of the response those directly involved. He heals, He commands, they fail Him. If the disciples fail Him, the healed/unshackled fail Him, what are the chances that we will fail Him? It is not to discourage us that this is made known, it is to direct us to His pursuing love. If both options are at play we find a Lord of great love and great concern shepherding us, steering us away from the faults deep within us at great risk to Himself and His ministry with great oversight and insight into all the matters at hand. The faith of our Lord is immeasurable. It is hard to be puffed up with leaven when you know that you have failed and will fail but He keeps working to set you apart for His glory.
May31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:8:27-30 THAT I AM - There is a voice predicted that will prepare His way in the desert kjv@Isaiah:40:3. This is not necessarily Elijah or it can be Elijah in two roles. kjv@Luke:1:17 describes John as having the spirit of. There is also Elijah coming before the great and dreadful day of the Lord kjv@Malachi:4:5, speaking directly about the Day of Judgment kjv@Malachi:4:6 turning the hearts of the children to their fathers. kjv@Matthew:11:14 Jesus connects John to Elias if we will receive it. Since the great day (moon blood red, burning the wicked as stubble kjv@Joel:2:31) has yet to come we must conclude that Elias comes twice. If John is Elias Jesus then is not, He is the one whom will have His way prepared before Him and later the one whose Day will be great and terrible. If Elias comes twice so then does Son of Man. Jesus is aware that His disciples are struggling between what Jesus tells them and what they are hearing on the streets. In a sense Jesus is forcing them into deciding which Jesus they are going to choose to believe. This is the second time He has asked them. That there is so much talk in that day recorded is important today as the modern Jews attempt to state that Messiah is just anyone anointed with oil, as it shows that the Jews of that time expected something much more. They also have it so tightly wrapped up that prophecy can only be fulfilled in just one way and since it didn't happen their way what the Gospels/Jesus declare is just plain stupid or even blasphemous errors. The Spirit not flesh and blood will have to reveal this to a man's heart individually. While they seek to minimize the meaning of all this and contort prophecy to get there, the faith of our Lord has all of this in clear perspective. Prophecy also has one day their 'veil' being lifted.
June1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:8:31-9:1 GET THEE BEHIND ME - It is one thing for Messiah to be despised and rejected amongst His own chosen Hebrew people, is it any different for His own followers to be ashamed of where He is heading and what He must do? Isn't the effect the same? Jesus sees His life as given completely to bear our cross; He savors that because that role is from God. Our role is to savor that as well. When Peter rebukes Jesus he is not thinking of what God has for Jesus to do. Is that not rather being ashamed of Him and deny His God given course for mankind? If we do not fully see the necessity of Christ baring our sins and dieing for them on the cross are we not rather ashamed also? In our varied discourses through out the day if we are rewriting the Jesus story into something other than it truly is meant to be are we not denying Him then before men? Are we not otherwise ashamed of Him? Though baring our daily cross certainly suggests much more than this, this essential core at minimum must be picked up and followed. Jesus lived that He might die for all sin. Through Him we in our daily lives must die to sin, live towards others that His death may be for their sins as well. To not do that is to deny Him before men, to be ashamed of His mission, to not savor the things of God, to stand firmly behind Satan. Is this not worse than being blind to Him and outright rejecting Him? The faith of our Lord is in something more than intellectual consent, it is what He gave His life to/for. Our faith and life and discourse must be something very similar. What else has a man in exchange for his soul?
June2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:9:2-13 TILL RISEN - Mark is the closest thing we have to Peter's testimony other than Peter's own words in kjv@2Peter:1:16-18. We know that this was a pivotal moment in the faith of Peter and that he wants it to be a pivotal moment in ours. It comes after a time that Peter was rebuked for not savoring the things of God in regard to Jesus suffering death for the sins of all mankind. It comes after a time that we are commanded to pick our own cross and follow Him. How important is it for us to know that He is, He Himself is "The Thing" from God. To desire Him is to desire everything that He means, to God, to us. Moses and Elias stand with Him, why not then us? Peter and the select others fear sorely and know not what to say. The Father Himself declares who Jesus is. Peter tells Mark that they later questioned each other about the "rising" but only asked Jesus of Elias first coming. The faith of our Lord is also in men like Peter, men who will carry His work on, who will accurately/faithfully testify of what was said and took place and means. To have this faith He had to allow men like Peter time to process, time to grow into the faith in Him that they would need to have. It is a faith that He has in many of us in this day as well. Now that He is risen we know much more of what this glorious preview before death and rising actually meant. It is now not just a boast but a fact.
June3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:9:14-32 FAITHLESS GENERATION - Who is faithless here? The disciples who despite their anointing to do this failed having not fasted nor prayed? The man whose faith was small and asked for more? The scribes that were using the opportunity to publicly belittle the ministry? The crowds that gather to watch the knock down drag out cage match? What if it was all of them but not just any one of them individually? There is an inclusiveness in the word generation that needs to be pondered. Disciples affect a mans faith, the two affect the fanatical scribes, the three affect the crowd's temperament. Likewise, the crowd's affect the scribes which affects the man's which affect the disciple's. Could they all be part of one larger organism? Is that what a faithless generation looks like? If so, how does one escape? The faith of our Lord is that if one can believe, all things are possible. It is not just any belief, it is not the belief in the healing itself, it is the belief in the power and authority of Christ. The person and presence of Christ instills that belief and confidence. Anointing alone cannot account for everything. Prayer and fasting are both ways to refocus on the person and presence of Christ. This instills faith and helps to quiet/counter all criticism.
June4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:9:33-37 WHOSOEVER SHALL - A contrast in objective is drawn by our Lord: obtaining/deserving rank and receiving a child in Christs name. Two unrelated frames of mind involved. We serve Christ by serving others. The child is not representative of age and innocence as much as helplessness and lowly stature. Serve this person and you have served Christ, serve Christ and you have served God the Father. Serve your opinion of yourself even in helping the same child and you are still serving your opinion of yourself. The child, the helpless, the lowly are best served when received in Christs name thus serving our mutual Father. One's opinion of self and one's position butts up against other like opinions causing dispute and puts a person above or below receiving another and/or creates a ranked system of tiered implementation/execution. Jesus asks but, they hold their peace. It may be embarrassing for them to be caught red handed thinking this way; not embarrassed enough moving forward however to discontinue this line of rationale. The faith of our Lord speaks to us in real to life pictures. While others can imagine this being that or this, He wraps His arms around the unexpected answer, the one we would have never come to from our delusion. Two men, two frames of perspective/objective can receive and serve a child. Which one in doing so faithfully serves child and God? Jesus must address this ill immediately (whether they want to discuss it or not) as soon as it pops up and He must address it throughout His earthly ministry. He must address it immediately even today.
June5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:9:38-41 FORBID HIM NOT - We may have to come back to this one. I have thought about this one a lot and still am not quite sure where it leads. We know that many who had casted out demons in His name will be turned away in the end, Jesus never knowing them kjv@Matthew:7:22-23. Here we see that none of those miracle workers can lightly speak evil of Him. We know that one can have the faith to remove mountains and have not charity is nothing kjv@1Corinthians:13:2 and that whether in pretence or truth Christ being preached should be rejoiced in kjv@Philippians:1:18 . Add as well that some can propose to heal or cast out in the name of Jesus only to have it turn against them kjv@Acts:19:13-16 . It seems to suggest that if John was trying to deflect his present embarrassment by showing his protective zeal for Christ, Christ was not going to let it divert the current teaching. The teaching and correction of service over rank was pointed at the disciples. This man though he was performing miracles in Christ's name did not necessarily have everything all together. The Holy Ghost was performing miracles through him but the man would still have to come to know Jesus in his heart of hearts. Maybe he did believe and was saved, Jesus alone would know this, but, that is an issue other than what Jesus was tending to right now. Disciples need to be aware of the lesson at hand and not move the discussion elsewhere. We need also to know that the Spirit is working on multiple fronts in declaring/confirming Jesus as Christ; not everyone else is an imposter. The faith of our Lord is aware of and allows for some things that we may not consider, that we might feel compelled to defend Him from. It may be that it is better to inquire into the deeper faith of these workers as to their salvation than to criticize their not being part of our pack.
June6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:9:42-50 LITTLE ONES THAT BELIEVE IN ME - Jesus, not to be distracted, continues with child in arm "And" or furthermore. We were talking service over perceived rank, we continue one step further with anyone with rank that scandalizes/entraps to trip or stumble/entices to sin or apostasy anyone lesser, in this case a vulnerable believer. The occasion would be for a priest, a teacher, a professor, a counselor, an officer or one impersonating one, a parent grandparent or immediate relative or family friend, anyone with the implied suggestion of authority over the youth/pupil/patient/client/parishioner up to and including king or president. The daily news is filled with cases where authority has been occasion for wicked sin and perversion. How much more goes un-reported? The classrooms are filled with persuasive coercion and acidic secular proselytization. The courts and prisons are filled with horrific domestic abuses. Worst of all the Church itself for some has come to symbolize molestation and pedophilia of the most egregious offense of authority. Where is the service to God? Jesus makes absolutely clear what His judgment will be of these people; He repeats it five times worms and hell fire. For those who argue for God's unconditional compassion it needs to be understood where compassion has to surely end in order to be compassion at all. If you think about all it's possible forms, the tentacles reach everywhere. It indeed would be better that before offending the offender would cut or pluck the body part off, but, they won't. That the disease has affected the Church which Jesus set out not to be authoritative in this sense shows how far these tentacles can reach. In face of this we that remain are to have salt ourselves and peace one with another. The faith of our Lord knows the necessity of certain levels of authority but, teaches without distraction against it's selfish propagations and abuses. It is clearly a fault and tendency of all human nature, however the Church must particularly be on the guard for such offenses and mark out each and every offender without tolerance nor delay.
June7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:1-12 BUT FROM THE BEGINNING - This is a planned attack by the Pharisees. Somewhere along the way they have counseled together, decided, put out talking point directives to all that would come in contact with Jesus. These may be hired guns as well, men that are directed to seek out and trip up Jesus. It is obvious by what they are going after and the number of times that they have posed the same type questions that they believe that this is their best play. How would this be a no way out for Jesus? Is there really such unanimity amongst the sects regarding divorce and the law that all would disagree with Jesus' analysis? No, there is such hardened inflamed public sentiment about anything restricting to their personal freedoms and desires. The Pharisee have a less restrictive view of divorce and they want to make use of that to turn public opinion against Jesus and toward themselves. The same trick may have been used against John the Baptist. He told them what the law really meant, called them vipers to their face, and got in fatal trouble with the Herods for it. Why not try the same? Essentially, the hardness of the Pharisees is being used to stir or play the hardness of the people against the correct interpretation of the Law boxing Jesus into a corner. This is a much bigger test/temptation for Jesus that we today perceive. Jesus instead goes back to the beginning intention, Man, Woman, in God one flesh; hard to argue against that. If it were not for the hardness of a couples heart one or both toward the things of God they would have remained such. Now they make living together a living hell and their hearts harden all the more. If allowance had not been made in these cases the hardened would lash out all the more and take society down with them. The Law then can be used in at least two opposing ways, one as a warning against hardness or two as an easy justification for divorce. Jesus does not call them a broad of vipers, but, does make it known that the hardness of couples to the designs of God and hardness of the religious towards the true intents of the Law were not going to box Him into a place that truth can't still get out. The faith of our Lord is in the spirit of the Law as the spirit addresses the hardness of mankind complete. Without the Law we would not know our sin, knowing our sin makes us to resist and to sin all the more. Only being one with God through Jesus Christ makes us one flesh man to women and one with the spirit and design of all things.
June8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:13-16 FORBID THEM NOT - It is an encouraging sign of reverence that parents would bring children up to Jesus to be touched. That the disciples were rebuked for holding them back shows me that the event was not staged. Part of their discipleship no doubt was to hold back crowds allowing Jesus more room to operate. There must of have been a reason that they thought it best to hold back the children either for their safety or for their interruption or their encouragement of others. The parents on the other hand must have felt a let down, perhaps understanding but, still dejected. It is one form of worship to come to Jesus as an adult. It is another to encourage your children to do what you perhaps would be too shy to do yourself, actually go up to be touched. It shows an understanding of Jesus on these parent's part. The children themselves may not understand what is going on and all the oddity and controversy surrounding it. They are much more inquisitive and experiential. No doubt they sense that this man is a man of importance, He garners an interesting crowd, but, He also seems unusually friendly and approachable. That someone would wish to hold me off from Him makes me want to meet Him all the more. Perhaps I have to step around people and make my way through the tight corridors of stationary bodies but, He beacons me. And as I am touched, and my sister, and friends there with me, He speaks as if this the way all the town folk should be, brave enough to meet Him, calm enough to enjoy His gentle hand, joyful enough to look back on my parents and acknowledge that they put me up to something I genuinely enjoy. I will remember this man as the friendly important stranger I met. The faith of our Lord is that men and women of all ages can adopt the heart of a child. It is possible. The crowds grinding at Him would be a whole lot different if they were filled with truth and joy seeking adventurers. They would be different to Him and different to each other. For one thing they would allow themselves to be touched, some deeply, to the point of being reverent.
June9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:17-31 WITH MEN IMPOSSIBLE - Perhaps it was the innocent presumption and brashness of youth that made Jesus to smile, a youth talking about since he was young, a law had not yet worn down such adolescent confidence. No man can uphold the law just as no man can completely surrender to Christ unless it is God who makes him. The belief is often that riches are the blessing of obedience to God, the lack of riches the curse of disobedience. If so what reason would the rich man have to change anything that he is doing. Yet there is an emptiness or discomfort in the lad concerning eternity, perhaps the closest thing to truth he has said. Jesus counters that the true blessing is not from following the law but following Him who fulfilled the law. The riches from that extend much further into both this life and the next. Even those who have in fact given up all they have struggle to keep separated the doing it in a sense of duty to the law with reward verses doing it as an reverent response to the work of Christ regardless. Throughout the chapter there has been the theme of becoming as children. The adult mind has made entrance to heaven a needle's eye, the child's mind has few self imposed limits. The work of Christ makes the believer to perceive himself as a child, to look at her godly life through the lens of a child, the work of God makes all things even Christ work upon them possible. It does not come without persecution however. The faith of our Lord is that given the impossibility of any man coming to this themselves that it will be His Father alone that will bring this eternal salvation and all that comes with it to light. Who then can be saved? He who God makes to be saved who then follows.
June10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:32-34 WHAT THINGS SHOULD HAPPEN - It says that they were amazed and afraid as they followed behind him. They knew something big was going on. They had been told at least two times previous and now they were marching forward towards the end. The determination of Jesus ahead leads to an odd sense of reverence the Greek suggests combined with uncertainty perhaps endangered concern within them. This is not as easy as just knowing what is about to happen, it is the struggle with why, it is the wrestling with where each of us fit into that. If Jesus is gone how does the movement continue? Who takes the lead? How do they stand against the forces building and soon triumphant over Jesus? What happens with the miracles? What happens with the crowds and adulation? Are they really ready to lead? Could this not be held off until they are better prepared? Jesus is depending on them, will they be up to the task. The lessons learned along the way of it being entirely God's power, faith the size to move mountains, eyes of a child, a pearl of great value, balanced against a faithless and perverse generation, sheep without shepherds, eye of a needle, darkness and tribulation like never seen; these things must be reconciled and brought to real and living faith. It is no wonder they are afraid and resistant. The faith of our Lord stands firm. This is the way. It must be thus. This is what He had come to do. The time is now. The rest is left in the Holy Spirit's hands.
June11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:35-45 TO SIT AT MY HAND - Who will sit at Jesus' side? Not even Jesus knows. You'd think maybe Moses, maybe David, maybe Adam or Noah or Abraham or Joseph. What about Elijah or .....? You see there are a lot of people that you would think would be there long before James and John. What if it is James or John? What if is a old widowed missionary by the name of Paxton from Little Rock 2027 who more than anybody fulfilled the "servant of all" clause Jesus is talking about? You'd say I never heard of Paxton, nor Carmen from 15th century Portugal on His left side. The fact that Jesus does not know means that more than likely we will not know. That's the thing about being a servant, they are usually someone behind the scenes, someone you may have thought was a lonely old stick in the mud or an orphaned gutter dweller run over by a cart at sixteen. It could well be an assistant to someone big that everyone would have thought would be there instead. What if it was Peter's assistant Mark for writing down the words we are reading today? What if it was the Demoniac Jesus restored back on the shores of Decapolis? The faith of our Lord is that these types of honorable decisions for His followers is already being prepared for. His task is to drive onward to the cross, win the prize and spoils for all of us to partake in. The task for us is to minister to and give of ourselves enough to be in the running for "servant of all".
June12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:46-52 MADE THEE WHOLE/SAVED - kjv@Matthew:20:29-34; kjv@Luke:18:35-43 also give the same account. Mark here says "whole", Luke says "saved", Matthew omits the response noting Jesus' compassion but, he says that there are two beggars. Is there contradiction? Only if you want there to be. Why would you want there to be? So that you don't have to believe it. Is it that you believe that sight can't be restored as in a communicable eye disease? Is it that two men can't be present and one remembered in particular by Peter because of his name and perhaps as reference to those who might know him further? Is that being made whole cannot mean being saved? Is it that you think the Holy Spirit would make such an obvious mistake? There are plenty of other seeming contradictions if you want there to be. I would rather see it that the fame of Jesus was known well enough to the many beggars along the road near Jericho that some called to Him causing a disruption to the caravan of pilgrims to passover Jerusalem. The more they called out the more people tried to quiet them until finally Jesus was close enough to call at least two to where He was. They gladdly came and made petition of Him. He had compassion on them and seeing their faith was assured Himself that they were made whole/saved through the encounter. As others later read the account those who knew Peter would recognize the one name and be able to certify that he indeed could see and did remain in the faith perhaps having done or become something significant/memorable. The faith of our Lord is in the testimony that both had preceded Him and would follow Him. Where things needed to be further explained He made sure to mention, even repeat. Where things did not need but the benefit of a doubt He left it alone as a testing point. There are certainly challenging areas in our faith as there needs to be to prove our sincerity and give us room to grow, but, not one is contradiction unless one wants it to be. I would ask are you certain that you want this particular challenge to be the point your two paths split?
June13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:11:1-11 THE LORD HATH NEED - So many times we have read where the Lord was playing it low key not wanting to stir up any politics, not forcing Himself where He wasn't wanted, commanding others not to make Him known. Now something has changed. He has sequestered a colt to ride into Jerusalem ahead of time. Does that mean the the others know to add the touch of the palm branches? Are these others from the caravan that escorted Him in through Jericho? While He has spent time in Jerusalem on brief occasions, the majority of His work has been out in the cities and towns, countrysides and shorelines. This is largely a outsider movement moving into Jerusalem. The words and accounts have been streaming in causing quite the stir in His absence. Now however He seems to be taking the gloves off and calling the elite to their defences. Few in the streets probably know what this is all about, many are getting swept along with the momentum, but, surely the leaders know what this is about; this is Jesus saying bring it on. He is on their turf now, He is the rich landlord's son who has come to the wine-press to collect whom the hired hands know to be the son and wish to kill him to make this vineyard their own. Jesus is all in now and pushing every one of their sore spots. They will soon lash back at Him. The faith of our Lord will not stand down, He will stir the viper den to show all what they are really made of, this is His course long planned for even from before the creation. We should not stand down in describing it as such either.
June14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:11:12-19 DEN OF THIEVES - Was the Temple in Jerusalem really as bad off as Jesus said or was He trying to making a bigger point? My guess is that it is far worse, that the Temple courts were just the most easily identifiable manifestation to the public of the darkness that dwelt within. He knows that like the fig tree what little fruit it does bare is not given to Him and is rotten to the core not of His liking; at this point He is just finished with it. Actions like these have targeted messages higher up. If this is the second temple event of this sort the message would be that "you've had time to think this through, we are back where we left off, now what are you going to do?". Notice that it is Jesus performing the action, He is not delegating to His disciples and not encouraging His crowd or other revolutionaries to do likewise. This is between Him and those with the power to make the decisions. Theoretically they have the choice to reform their Temple system or to try to destroy Jesus. Actually however, their choice has long been made, Jesus is just calling them to make it. The faith of our Lord knows of a time to calmly teach and instruct, convey and convince, but, also a time to curse fruitless fig trees and over turn money grubbing exchange tables forcing others to act upon the decisions that they've already made. It is not ever business as normal either way. People are astonished at His doctrine because His doctrine moves forward unafraid and unimpressed by fraudulent abusive power and principality; even in the den of thieves.
June15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:11:20-26 HE SHALL HAVE WHATSOEVER - A mountain often stands between here and there. On one side of this passage there is a mountain like the fig tree, a corrupt way of religious life that bares not fruit, which has been cursed, is dried and withered yet still holds much power. On the other side of this passage stands a mountain of unforgiveness needing to be removed and tossed deep into the sea. Perhaps it is all part of the same mountain, be it a system or be it an individual trespassing the power these things have over you can be removed if only you believe in His righteousness and power to do so. So often we see the mountain as the hole that we have dug for ourselves financially or in our relationships or in our careers, health etc; what a shallow inverse mountain. Peter did not ask if he would ever be as rich as he wanted to be if he believed. Why do we contort this passage so? The fig tree represents something that is planted by the master intending to have plenteous fruit; often it symbolizes the Church or Israel. When it is contradictory it hurts His children and trespasses His will. His well intending children outside the church in turn can be just as fruitless holding hard to their unforgiveness of the trespasses against them personally or as they feel done onto their Lord. Thus it is an surmountable mountain for runaway church and injured believer and or rogue believer and injured church. To accept this, repent of this, to allow God the presumption of complete righteousness in all things and thus the power to cast aside any ill effect from such without any doubt; this is miracle producing faith. Believe that these things shall come to pass and they will at least for you. The faith of our Lord is in overcoming insurmountable mountains, in calling things not only by what they are but by what they will be. Jesus has not given up on Israel and not the Church. He has empowered accepting individuals the power to cast aside the insurmountable corrupt and unfruitful and unforgiving mass one by one and thus make the true Church and true Israel to be whole.
June16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:11:27-33 ANSWER ME - The Sanhedrin seem to be caught in a trap with both prophets. They do not answer Jesus because of what the people think of John, at the same time they are not arresting Jesus outright because of what people might think of Him. However, there are too many minds at work here for this to be their tactical blunder. They are banking that if they do not tell then He won't tell. Jesus is banking on the same. Both are banking on what will best connect with the people. Stalemate works to both's advantage. The chiefs had only to connect to the crowd of that day. Jesus had to connect with the crowd of all time. Both may have accomplished their objectives. Opinion is beginning to sway. Within the next day even some of those leaning toward Jesus will retreat and even disdain. For them the temple stunt and the rough talk about their leaders may have gone too far. You have heard the adage "winning the battle but, loosing the war"? The faith of our Lord is battling a much bigger war than just those who oppose Him. This battle He wins, all battles He wins, they are just not aware of it yet. By thwarting His will they are playing right into it.
June17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:1-12 GIVE THE VINEYARD UNTO OTHERS - The Sanhedrin knew that He had spoken of them, therefore, the first piece of the puzzle is in place; Sanhedrin = Husbandmen. We are then to gather that they knew He (Jesus) was the heir. Why did they seek to kill Him even after He said they did in fact cast the son out and kill Him? So that the vineyard would be theirs. But what about all the reports of the Prophets like kjv@Isaiah:53 , the tender plant growing before Him, the speechless lamb led to slaughter, cut off from the land of the living who ends up receiving the portion and dividing the spoils? This is all a cunningly devised fable to them. It is finally going to be their vineyard now, no more talk of an heir coming to repossess it. Only one thing yet remained between them and their stolen prize; the immediate reaction of the people still supporting Jesus and the rumors of conspiracy that would circulate for the years to come if not properly handled. What was needed was a way to spin present and future perceptions in one swoop; they chose to put Jesus through a national trial. Jesus knows this from the many prophecies, so He replants another old prophecy of the "chief cornerstone" into the public's mind to counter the spin that they are planning for the history books (He states it as if it is past tense). The vineyard long has referred to Israel by the scriptures Old and New. The husbandmen of that time were destroyed in 70 AD and the vineyard ever since have been given to assorted others; proof of this parable/prophecy being further fulfilled. Though the fruit of the vineyard can not be pressed at this time the supposition of self ownership and pretended husbandry is carried on through the traditions of the Jewish Orthodoxy. The "cornerstone" seed yet remains, the marvel to be completed upon His next coming. The faith of our Lord is that His counter measures will stick. We know of a great many Gentiles that hold true to the keeping and remembrance of the "Cornerstone" in Israel's temporary absence, and some Messianic Jews. Israel's eyes will soon be re-opened, perhaps even by the re-opening of this combination parable/prophecy/historical testimony.
June18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:13-17 RENDER TO GOD - The attempt must be to either tag Jesus with or separate Jesus from the radical political elements who see Caesar as a captor and oppressor over Israel, that see a Messiah as winning the nation back. A simple understated question at this point contains a field of land mines to navigate; people on both sides of the issues have their opinions at stake. Jesus may have somewhat conceded to their objective by entertaining their approach instead focusing on the bigger issue of what for them has not been rendered to God. He knows that they are withholding and trying to steal away what is rightfully Gods. They hold His temple, His city, His nation, His people captive and soon will hold Him prisoner as well. While their question is intended for the ears of all that are listening in, His answer is directed to these assassin's hearts. If they were to give God what is rightfully His they would first have to give reverence by repenting from their schemes and devices. How much more is that than the penny with Caesars inscription? The faith of our Lord is that while there may not be an answer to their question that will change the path to His cross, His cross can change the path of their question. His verbal reply while well principled may not be what they marvel at as much as His commitment to the road He is on.
June19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:18-27 DO YE NOT ERR - It is obvious in the scriptures that the Sadducees do not believe in the resurrection and we know from encounters with them after Jesus in Acts that they were not convinced by this argument. They come like the others to trap Jesus, to shore up their own believers for the sentencing immediately ahead by means of stark theological differentiation. This also shows us why that they can be so bold in seeking Jesus death; they do not believe that He can raise again. The raising from the dead is so central to the approach Jesus is taking that it appears as a severe weakness to those who believe it impossible. Over and over the scriptures directly speak of and confirm resurrection, from Job to Ezekiel and others, and is implied in nearly everything else said including the phrases God of Jacob, God of Abraham, etc... I do not see Old Testament evidence that men and women will not marry after the resurrection; Jesus' argument almost seems to be "who ever said that they will". As the reason for marriage is for man not to be alone and for procreation and the weakness of the flesh, resurrection then is saying that man is no longer alone and no longer procreating and no longer weak; why then would there be need for marriage. As much as the Sadducees knew about the scriptures they really knew very little. They, like others have a form of godliness but, deny the power thereof. The power of God is proven in the resurrection. The power of God is proven in that what has been sown in corruption can be raised in incorruption. The faith of our Lord is firmly in not only His own resurrection but, that from His resurrection all others will be resurrected as well; some to eternal fellowship and some to eternal contempt. If Jesus does in fact raise from the dead then they do greatly err. If He does not, then the rest of the Bible they say they believe does greatly err. I guess they error either way. How great then is that?
June20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:28-34 THOU ARE NOT FAR FROM - The two larger sides could not be any farther apart. Maybe this scribe is somewhat closer or maybe Jesus says this in jest. kjv@Matthew:22 gives us further details, that the scribe intended to tempt Him, and that he and everyone else was finally shut up by a quote from David "The LORD said unto my Lord" kjv@Matthew:22:44-45. The question or targeted ploy from the scribe had more to do with Jesus' claim of divinity and less about the greatest of commands. He believes that Jesus has confessed to His own supreme arrogance; there is none other but HE. The man's reply was discreet in the one sense, the prophet's sense that this love is desired more than sacrifice, but, not all together right if one does not allow for the prophesied Son of God into the Father's overall plan. How can one love the LORD with all of their heart/mind/strength and not love or even know what the same LORD is doing by way of His Son towards mankind's salvation? How can one be a lover of the Father and an enemy of His Son? The scribe is as close as He will ever get to the Kingdom because it stands right there before him. Jesus leaves the conversation with the one to address this with the group that sent him. The faith of our Lord has remained constant from day 1 on earth and before. He has been tested and inspected. He has been poked at and and measured up. What is there left for the others to say to Him but, "crucify Him"? "Let His God save him now"? He has passed examination. The passover Lamb must be prepared now for the sacrifice.
June21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:35-40 BEWARE OF - The teachers of the law in that day were unwilling to correct an interpretation of David's words that the common folks were glad to hear. Maybe it was not so much that the public understood/agreed to the full implications, but, they knew the parading and predatory practices of those teachers in general. How could the scribes be right on the point of interpretation and so wrong on the point of practice? they might ask. If their infamous practices were so commonly known it is more likely that their interpretations were part of a means of disguising of hiding their false practices behind. Logically, the interpretation of Messiah being a mere descendant of David (not David's current Lord) puts the scribe always in charge and in supreme necessity, for there are many descendants of David and only the learned scribe could sort a certain one out. They alone would have the power to mark Messiah out. All that the scribe has become is a desire to be in charge; in charge of doctrine, in charge of interpretation, in charge of tradition, in charge of the law, etc... I have been conjecturing that this has been a day that the Jewish elite have gone about to do all that they could to prepare the public to move forcibly against Jesus. The success that they have been able to have will soon bare out. This passage however seems to tell that the crowd was at least as skeptical if not more so of the elite trying to call the shots and yet were easily whipped into a feeding frenzy when the blood began to surface. The faith of our Lord is that we need to be aware of the same type struggles for power and misuses of power as they effect us as well. Manipulation of a crowd did not stop with the scribes. Manipulation of a crowd against the truth seems to fairly simple fare. Audiences can be glad to hear, know exactly the examples and practices that you are pointing out and still when all is said and done be moved forcibly against you. We should not be surprised by any of this, in fact, expect it from both those who exhibit such self serving practices, and those who would still rather invest themselves under them.
June22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:41-44 HE CALLED UNTO HIM - It is interesting that Jesus is allowed to be near the treasury after all that has happened the last few days. It is interesting that the disciples have to be called to Him having left Him to His own. It is interesting that not long after telling of widows that have been ripped off by the Pharisees here a widow comes giving her last farthing. We take it to symbolize the depth of her giving, which it is, but, it could mean more than that. If this is one of those widows it is her last farthing because of the oppression of the religious. The faith of our Lord that behind every farthing there is a story. Giving is important, the heart from with which one gives extreme. The reasons behind the giving and the depth under His watchful eye.
June23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:13:1-31 HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS - Many of the prophecies in the past have been repent or else. There is usually left an out. Rarely did Israel take God up on that out but, there was an out; sooner or later God would withdraw His hand. This time the prophecy is one sided; this is the only way. Two people look at the stone wall differently, one sees how great, the other sees not one stone will stand. It is not the glass half full verses half empty syndrome it is the way things must be for God to make this all right. It is widely held that man can pull this out, that it is all in his hands if he only believes, God would never allow the heavens and earth to pass, if it passes then it is all because of man. Jesus doesn't see it that way at all. As great as the temple is there is a temple that is much greater. As great as the heavens are there are greater heavens in store. As great as the earth is, it is reserved for judgment by fire. And man... man, there is something much better for the man who has been sown into corruption only to be raised in incorruption by the miraculous work of the Father through Jesus. It is all part of the divine process. Take our persecution in the name of Jesus, it is a marvelous thing that prepares us for the unimaginable glory ahead. Take our tribulation in the end times, it makes what we are to become all the much more becoming. There are oh so many questions. There are oh so many uncertainties, but, there is also one thing for certain: The faith of our Lord is that all of this now works toward all of that then in His eternal kingdom. This isn't about "do it right or don't do it it all", this is "nothing could be done more right than for this to happen". This isn't "straighten up now or I will punish you", this is "hang on tight to me and I will take you there". Not until we see these terrible but necessary things pass will we know that the end is nigh, that the earth is near to baring it's magnificent highly anticipated fruit. The only way to look down on this way of thinking is by not being on board with what God sees becoming of it.
June24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:13:32-37 TAKE HEED, WATCH AND PRAY - Sleeping seems to be the natural gravity spiritually; if nothing else you will be doing this. Something must be done to counter and reverse this momentum/tendency. The Son of man has left and given authority to His servants, this does not appear be enough. He has given His work to every man and that doesn't appear to be enough. He has commanded the porter to watch and that doesn't seem to do the trick. If the Lord had not tarried so long there would have been less chance at sleeping so long but, there would not have been the chance to be awakened as long either. So if the answer is for each man/all men to watch and to pray, what is it that each man/all men should be praying? What is it that he/they should be watching for? His coming. Consciousness. Alertness. Awakening. Being lead away from the temptation to sleep. Having the strength to persevere through it. To know the riches of His inheritance is, what is the hope of His glory. Think of all the times Paul and Peter shared what they were praying for us and how much of it had to do with the Lord's coming and what that could mean to us today. Few around you today are awakened, many are in need of constant re-awakening, if you are going to be like them you are going to be asleep just the same. You are likely to suffer plenty abuse from those who you try to awaken. That doesn't mean that you settle back to sleep. It is important that the Father approached the time frame of the end secretly. It says a lot about the trust and faithful obedience of our Lord and the faith of our biblical forefathers. The faith of our Lord knows the heart of man and how best to move it, knows that there will be only a certain amount of time before the end (great beginning), knows to trust the Father in the exact timing. It all works out in glorious fashion!
June25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:14:1-11 SHE HATH DONE WHAT SHE COULD - It can't be said that there weren't those who knew that this was the last they'd see Jesus. How much Mary of Bethany understood we are not sure but, at least enough accept this ending and to know to respectfully anoint the body for burial. Peter was willing to fight that the end not happen, others were more concerned about who would be promoted into charge should it end, others were not so sure where it was He was even going, most all could agree with Judas' complaint of her excess. It really is a somewhat sorry state of affairs concerning His disciples except for perhaps one. What is it that we are suppose to remember about this woman in memorial? That she could afford 300 pence of ointment? That she had long saved it for some proper (perhaps her own) occasion? That she had gone out earlier that day and sold something/everything of value to buy this for this specific reason? That God had worked through her to make this happen? We don't know the whole of it for sure. What we can take away from this is that something special happened for a brief moment, a deeply real connection, and that the Lord received the thoughtful and meaningful/costly act of adoration from an admiring follower without even a word. The faith of our Lord is on the look out for moments such as this, moments of connecting. There can be a crowd of intellectual diversions and hypocrisies all around Him and yet He seems quite attuned to these one on one opportunities. This Mary perhaps may be His first true convert.
June26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:14:12-31 I WILL GO BEFORE YOU - Jesus could not have made it any clearer; betrayal, Shepherd smited, sheep offended/scattered, His body given, His blood shed, soon risen, will go before you to Galilee. All of this is said on the day (dusk to dusk) of unleavened bread (remember the parables?) at the feast of passover (remember leading up to the Exodus?). The many Hebrew connections are quite intense. Having been told this in advance how could one be offended? They are still convinced that there is an alternate way that Jesus could do this that He is not considering. Would He go through with it if they all vehemently swore to stand firm swords drawn at His side? How can you conquer death when you are dead? Is man's sin and transgression really serious enough to warrant this innocent miracle worker's sacrifice? Is this really the time or can He spend another three years preparing them? Can't a man the stature of Jesus make his own choices and determine himself when his time will be? Why is Jesus so set on this one thing and not listening to the counsel of His closest friends? After all of this time do they not have a say? Has He become moon struck like His kinfolk earlier suspected? We leave now out the back door and slip out to Galilee now and....? There are a hundreds way to look at this as a why not and what if. There are a hundred ways of becoming offended that Jesus carries through with this, puts you in the position He does. So He is betrayed, do something about it now beforehand Jesus! It is not like He hasn't escaped death many times before! The faith of our Lord is not moon struck it is awe struck by the righteousness of His Father, that the Father will see this act of obedient submission as satisfying the righteous demands of judgment and mercy, that the Father will see and be pleased, that HIS righteous servant shall justify many having bare their iniquities. The prophet Isaiah long ago asked "Who hath believed our report". The answer? Not even His disciples. When it should have been clear given all this simply by His words "I WILL GO BEFORE YOU INTO GALILEE".
June27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:14:32-42 SPIRIT WILLING FLESH WEAK - Would you consider falling asleep a sin? It could be if you were in trusted to post the watch. It would be if you had been commanded to (regardless of lives depending on it or not). The spirit may be ready but the flesh is weak. So how did Jesus want the three to counter act that weakness? To pray lest they enter into temptation. Temptation? What is the temptation? The pull of the flesh. What was the pull of the flesh in this case? To sleep and to take offense. The disciples had vowed to be by His side and no doubt they fully intended it. How did Jesus know that they would scatter away tonight offended? Because He would ask them to do something spiritual that they would only be able to do having received the strength to do it from the Father by prayer. The flesh pulled them away from receiving that strength. In contrast the Lord worked through the pull of His flesh by locking Himself onto a tractor beam of prayer. The sore amazement, the heaviness over the agonizing cup He was about to drink, the wrestling of His own will would perhaps have been too much had He not asked for and received the strength from the Father by His prayers. There are a great many things we've been asked to do that we fully intend to do but, the flesh has pulled us away. Maybe not in Ten Commandment kind of ways but, in deserting our post kind of ways, in dosing off kind of ways that leaves these things mostly undone. We can resolve by our own strength to do these things but, truly it is only by the strength received by prayer. Our spirit is ready for His strength to overcome the pull of flesh, but, we have not because we ask not. Jesus did ask. Jesus was able to complete His obedience. We have the feeling that He had asked us to do something He knew we couldn't do and when we fail somehow we get offended. I heard a wise man say today that "victory is not won it is received". The faith of our Lord is that when He asks us to do something near impossible (by our own resources) in the future that we will remember His similar "up against the impossible" example and pray for the strength required lest we enter into temptation, the pull of the flesh.
June28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:14:43-52 THAT THE SCRIPTURES MAY BE FULFILLED - A man is being arrested for what? The high treasonous crime of healing thousands of citizens? Of teaching in parables? Of feeding starving people? Of trying to avoid political controversies and dissensions? Of reviving interest in the scriptures particularly the old prophecies? There is a big difference between Jesus and both the chiefs and the disciples. They are all trying to make things happen, Jesus is taking it as the Father brings it unto Him. If He took kjv@Isaiah:53 alone as His script He would know to just allow it to happen, it is in the Father's hands. Perhaps this has been His frame of mind all along. The Father presents a cripple along the road, Jesus sees it as a sign that the Father wants to heal him, Jesus reaches out in obedience. The chiefs can follow the same scriptures and determine that either this man is the Son of God or that He is purposely approximating the prophetical details trying cunningly to prove Himself Messiah. They are in the position of trying to test what the Father is doing rather than allowing it come. The disciples likewise are in the position of trying to make something happen on their own. Both are offended. The faith of our Lord is that the Father will see all this through. The script is written it just has to be acted out. Few lines are required on His characters part from here on out. Sounds simple, but, it involves Him having to sacrifice Himself completely to it.
June29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:14:53-65 I AM - We see the weakness of the Law; the rule of which is bent by man's own judgment. The greatest truth of all is judged to be blasphemy. If the question was to be asked "how do I lawfully kill this man (forget that He is Christ momentarily), and the answer that they came up with is to invite others to bare false witness/force the defendant to perjure himself and to exclude more defense minded or sympathetic ears from the inquiry, one has to assume that upholding the Law had very little to do with their proceeding. The Law became something to hide their true intents behind. Thus it is it's weakness. There must be the political calculation that they have been able to turn the swell of public support towards their cause or that they've been too lax given the situation; they are comfortable in doing this now. Here then the weakness of public sentiment is shown as the majority respects the show of power over all else even miracle and scripture. The leaders are offended to the point of slapping Him and spitting and yet are obliged enough to Roman government not to carry out the Levitical sentence of death from Deuteronomy themselves. Thus the weakness of the Sanhedrin itself is manifest. This is all a tangled corrupted mess. Jesus takes it as it is and as it comes. The heart of man is really what is on trial here and the prosecution of it is from the Father. The faith of our Lord is that His sacrifice will bring a change to all this. Change for most will not be for quite some time, but, change for a few (like the man downstairs by the servant's fireside) will be the unquenchable starting point.
June30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:14:66-72 COCK CROW TWICE - How many more times in Peter's life was he greeted by the crow of the cock? Every morning likely! Don't think that this isn't what he thought of each and every time? It could have driven another man crazy had he not relied daily on the forgiveness of His Lord/Friend. Jesus knowing that he was going to do it surely forgave him before he had even done it. It wasn't giving him permission that He told him, it was simply stating where Peter was at spiritual having yet to be fully converted. So what was the point of Peter's full conversion? Perhaps it was this very thing in light of the death and resurrection he was about to witness. We, like Peter may have spent much time alongside Jesus learning by His words and His actions, we may insist that upon trouble that we wouldn't deny Him; yet, by our disobedience or doubt in small small ways we deny Him everyday. In larger ways we deny Him by pretending to be His light in our own yet corrupted ways. Now Peter could have just said "yes I am Galilean, what Galilean doesn't know about Jesus". He could have said "this man arrested tonight I know to be a good man at heart and it is up to all God fearing people here tonight to make sure that He gets the type of trial that god fearing people deserve". Or he could have said "I am here on the family's request". Why did he not say "watch closely, He has promised to raise again in three days". It was not an accusation of Jesus having foretold this, it is a spiritual fact, evidence of a spiritual condition, a condition that He is willing to use towards the fuller conversion of all of us. There is no doubt in my mind that any of us would have answered both the Lord and these maidens the same way. It is time for us to wake to the crow of the cock as well. But not to let that destroy us, not to make us all the more self determined, but, to allow His death/resurrection/forgiveness/lordship take hold of us completely as well. The faith of our Lord is that denial is not the end, once realized and confessed it is the starting point; now He can teach you. With proper counsel, the word of God can bring us forward out of what we merely think to be right. Peter was not a perfect man even years latter; he would be the first to tell you. Peter was a man saved by the grace of God and by the full and deeper experiences of serving a risen Lord.
July1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:15:1-15 THOU SAYEST IT - It is interesting to see how an fresh set of eyes would see this case. Pilate now comes into the picture, surveys the situation, sees that the chiefs are largely driven by envy, makes his ruling. kjv@Proverbs:27:4 says "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?". Is it any surprise that from the time of Cain and Able to Jacob and his brothers to Saul and David and beyond, when it comes to religion envy rules the day? Why would a man be crucified on the charge of envy? Missing in this account are the efforts of Pilate to pawn Jesus off elsewhere. Offering a switch of venue or a switch of accused is a poor excuse for justice when the just thing to rule is that this man is innocent and that his enemies are mad with envy. But, Pilate does not, he plays it to his own personal advantage putting the judgment back into the hands of the mob. The chiefs know how to move/play this crowd, they have been preparing for this several days at least with the types of staged inquiries they had made of Jesus publicly. This skill comes with plenty of practice. We should be aware of the same. The faith of our Lord was to remain silent like a "lamb to it's shearers" as He was commanded. For us we told to take no thought for that day as the Spirit will tell us the words to say; to do as directed. Stephen was not quiet. Paul several times beaten near to death was not silent. Now that Christ has done His silence it is time for us to do His talking.
July2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:15:16-20 MOCKING HIM - It is interesting to see what each of the Gospel writers felt was important enough to the passion to leave into their condensed accounts. Mark left out the scourging which no doubt happened for it was prophesied; perhaps because it was widely known to his readers. Instead He makes sure to point out the mockery and treatment of Jesus by the Roman Praetorian Guard. This may be emphasized because Peter likely could personally attest to it or because Peter wants to bring out the level to which Christ was despised and rejected; we just don't know. It is true that we can focus too exclusively on the sufferings of Jesus and much too little on the mindsets that were inflicting such pain and humiliation. That leads us to ask why would they do this? What difference would it make to Roman guards anyway? Their boss Pilate was washing his hands cleaning from it, why not they? Why? Because that is simply human nature. There is a sense of power in it even for a grunt wanna be soldier assigned to lowly guard duty in miserable old Jerusalem. Everyone gets swept up in the current of the moment, some willing to inflict wrong when they feel it's right, when they think that they can get away with it. The faith of our Lord is willing not only to suffer wrong but, suffer it for the purpose of illustrating where we are, what stock we come from, how desperately we need His saving light. The passion is not just our judgment of Him, it is His judgment of us. If He came to fulfill the Law, the judgment of the the Law is now falling quick upon us.
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.
July4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:15:33-41 WHY HAST THOU - That Elias would be called upon to bring Jesus down from the cross shows a cockeyed fabrication of prophecy but, it shows that there were people their that still anticipated something more was about to happen. There is a portion within us that wants to say that once something dies it is dead, there is no bringing it back. Would not God the Father it follows stop short of allowing Jesus to fully die to perform some wondrous miracle upon this cross to confirm Jesus as HIS Son? Why did Jesus have to die all the way? In order for Jesus to be Lord over life He would have to conquer death, to conquer death He would have to become death, pass through it, exit triumphantly. It was sin that brought about death, He was made to be sin kjv@2Corinthians:5:21 though He knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God. His death is the proof of Him becoming our sin. His new resurrected life is proof of our becoming God's righteousness. For those that expected something else, though they were close to understanding (having a hope but not "the" hope), the darkness of that day just kept getting darker and darker until His final breath. He cries out "Why hast thou forsaken me"? Their last false hope is shattered. But, we know why He was forsaken. His death is sin's death, His life God's righteousness. The faith of our Lord goes all the way not just most of the way only to pull back. This is the cup that He had to drink, this is the baptism no one else yet could share, this is the "not my will but Thine". This then is why!
July5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:15:42-47 BOLDLY - The body of Jesus legally remains the property of Pilate at this point. I would think that there would be several interested parties at least as to the whereabouts of the corpse if not full possession of it. Joseph is taking a big chance here if he is a member of the Sanhedrin should Jesus rise the third day as it would mean that He rose or was stolen in Joseph's possession, Joseph would be in kahoots. If he is not Sanhedrin then Pilate's judgment would be called into question. We are not told what became of Joseph nor his partner in this burial Nicodemus. If not known to be believers then they are certainly outed now and with that there must have been a price to pay; how costly would be conjecture. It was a bold move indeed, a considerable honor, an obedience to the Holy Spirit who would be in charge. Perhaps someday we will get the chance to talk to these two men to find out just how bold of a move this really was. The faith of our Lord was that everything, body soul and spirit, happenings on the ground were in the Father and Spirit's capable hands. His faith puts the fates of His followers into the same hands as it always was and is and always will be. As it should be!
July6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:16 THE LORD WORKING WITH THEM - Imagine the heart that has truly been changed by the sacrifice and resurrection, cleansed by the Blood and now led by the supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ, the heart that He Himself could now work with. The goal of millenniums of preparation, establishment and work towards mankind is now working in and with man. The grace of God has done this great thing and it is now doing this on a massive one on one and collective level. The faith of our Lord has paid off big. Imagine Mary Magdalene having gone from demon possession to gratefully not having them (enough for most people) to then casting out demons and speaking in new tongues. God's grace has exceeded. Imagine Peter with all that He thought he was able to do for the Lord only to find out how little he actually could (as if he had let Him down) to being Spirit empowered and used mightily. God's grace has exceeded. Imagine all of these people touched just as deeply whom the Lord is now working, imagine them congregating and focusing on a unified working effort to reach the ends of the earth with such a great message; that the grace of God is exceeding. Imagine when we all are one day gathered up unto them and we together look upon all that the work of Christ has done (having had our preconceptions of how great a thing that must be) proclaiming that even by that measure of expectation the grace of God has exceeded. The saving and setting apart of one soul is a glorious thing. The saving and setting apart of billions? Is there such a word? The work done along the way with each of them for that setting apart and the spread to the far reaches; it is all too much and far too magnificent to ponder. With this we go forth and preach everywhere, the Lord working with us, confirming the word with signs following... HIS GRACE EXCEEDING AMEN!
July7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:1-4 IT SEEMED GOOD - Luke undertakes a considerable and detailed effort putting together two accounts a gospel and a book of acts for the audience of one man, Theophilus. Though the important man this is addressed to now may be forgotten, the effort remains as one of the best accounts of both the earthly life and ministry of Jesus and historical depictions and detailing of the early Church that followed. Luke suggests that he was aware of several others that had made similar efforts, most perhaps oral editions and some written, yet it seemed good to him for this man's sake to conduct this noble effort himself. Luke was a frequent traveling partner of the Apostle Paul and is considered an evangelist in his own right. This introduction helps us to understand how our Lord uses assorted types of individuals to perform His greater purposes. No one sets out to perform a work the size of Luke's, not even Luke. He starts out in this case by trying to help one man to know of the certainty of these things. The Holy Ghost is performing His work through the man but the man is engaged by a smaller more tangible personal desire or matter. How often do we wait to act until directed by a divine dictate (which can happen don't get me wrong) when the Lord all along is willing to work through the more tangible personal desires as well? Where do we think such desires to help others come from? If it was more of our attitude that every person we meet and associate with would be helped by knowing the certainty of these things and we therefore conducted ourselves to gathering together accounts and resources as Luke did with the intention to making known the certainties simply because it seemed good, the Spirit would likely work through us all the more as well. Believers often think of the Spirit's guidance as to "which job" or "which city" or "how can I afford this" instead of thinking "how can the faith of this other person be ministered to and built up gaining full certainty?". Isn't the Spirit more likely to work us through this before moving us to different job or city? The faith of our Lord is that (inspired by His gift grace) people are going to want to help others come to and be strengthened in the faith as well, such desire is both natural and spiritual, and He is wanting/willing to work through that type of desire also. Salvation being a gift cannot be earned by any other effort, but, sharing the certainty of our Lord's faith for the benefit of other's faith serves our savior pleasures well. It seems good because it is good; the process benefits our growth and confidence too!
July8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:5-25 THE BAPTIST - It must be noted how God is operating here with one man privately; big plans are coming to life, millenniums of preparation, Israel and mankind's redeemer, prophecies ripe and ready for the picking. There are ways that God could have made this much more public, worked within the system, flooded Israel with prophets, brought more witnesses and leaders into the game plan. God chooses to send Gabriel into the alter room alone, isolated from anyone else. The spread of the word from there is based on the public's reaction to a muted Zacharias. God seldom acts in conventional more recognizable/accepted forms. His reasons are manifold though mysterious. Add this sense to the time elapsed by generations of this plan kjv@Matthew:1, we see God working in a size and shape and scope no one fully understands or expects. The faith of our Lord challenges every man made convention and establishes a convention all its own.
July9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:26-38 NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE - We have a pattern shown to us already in this book of our (man's) common reaction to things when revealed by God; we limit things to our own field of understanding. Time after time old testament and new a man/women is dropped in on by a messenger and uniformly we behave like a doubt filled and defensive timid bird. Who will this be? How shall I know? I am but a stuttering man? My lips are unclean? These are common reactions. By just reading spirituality from a book I doubt that we realize how large and grand and unfathomable these spiritual things are. But when confronted face to face, when it is our own life and our own safety and our own well being we attempt to hide ourselves as it were in the wide open, reduce things down to the improbable or impossible. Gabriel and his crew have a difficult job dealing with the sons of men. We are always spooked. We are truly disbelieving and suspicious types. We have to be talked to in short picture like packets with constant reassurance and explanation. We are both short and blind sighted, highly imaginative and think we know much more about the larger scope than we actually know. It is natural however given our unfamiliarity with the spiritual. Mary responds better than most coming to a trust without much further struggle. God is still dealing one on one with the individual players which should be expected. The faith of our Lord knows what He is dealing with with humans. We are made in the image of God so that there is much that is recognizable, but in his present state there is something exceedingly damaged even in the best of us or introverted spiritually. By the God becoming the flesh of man He will be more recognizable and less threatening to man (perhaps too much so). It is however the way He chose so it must be the way that is best.
July10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:39-45 FROM THE LORD - The Holy Ghost speaks through Elizabeth in song. Notice that It mentions two Lords, a Lord that sends Gabriel to tell of the things that will be performed, a Lord that is the fruit of Mary's womb. David had earlier sung of a "Lord of my Lord" which points to a Father and Son, the Son existing already at that time. Apostle writers also confirm the the Son was there before creation and that all things were created by the Father through the Son for the Son and are being gathered back unto Him. It is scripturally possible then that this is the Son that made His own preparations ahead of His incarnation. At the point of Mary's conception the Lord gives Himself fully to the absolute of becoming an embryonic human. By doing so, the Lord gives Himself completely into the hands of the Father, the Holy Ghost who will guide and orchestrate, and Mary who will nurture and raise Him as a child. Mary truly is blessed among women for being willing participant in this one time event. On our Lords part it is as much of a sacrifice for the Father as He will make for us thirty three years from now. Knowing in advance our nature, our rejection and treatment of Him, yet knowing the purposes of the Father in sending Him He willingly goes. Mary willingly receives. The Holy Ghost moves forward with the announcements and revelations. The mission is on. It is the faith of our Lord that this is the moment, this is the woman, this is the aunt to carry this His messenger, this is the earthly location, this is the objective, these are the preparations that have been finalized. All of mankind will be touched by this, those that receive Him will be saved into a glorious eternity.
July11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:46-56 HE HATH HE HATH - Notice the past continuous tense in Mary's song. He hath. What has He done? Not everything yet appears to be rosey. She is carrying the God child, truly a blessing but,the circumstances of which have surely put her at odds for a short time with her fiance, longer with family perhaps, perpetually surely with her local community. We are never told of the presence of her mom and dad and must assume that they are either too far away, disowning, or no longer alive so that she decides to stay three months with Elizabeth. She was of low estate before and in the eyes of some now even lower. This does not matter to her though, it is not how she see's it. Much of what He has done for her has been for all of Israel, much of what He is doing is for all mankind. His mercy, His scattering of the proud, the exalting of them of low degree, the filling of the hungry are all continual things that He has to do. Israel deserves judgment much receives His mercy instead. Mary anticipates that the child within her has much to do with all this past present and future. He hath done, He is doing, He will do. She feels this, believes it, anticipates it, expects it even though she may not fully understand what it will mean to her and how it all will play out. The faith of our Lord is in this type of person. His mercy is on them that solidly fear Him.
July12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:57-66 FEAR CAME - It began with neighbors and cousins, it spread to all those that heard from them. It happened just as the mysteriously muted Temple priest wrote. Now you may not take notice when priest claims to have been visited by an angel. You are more likely to notice when he comes out unable to speak. You may not notice when a women passed her years has a child. You are more likely to notice when she is married to the muted priest and he claims that the angel foretold it to happen. Maybe you are not convinced until the couple name the child a non traditional name meaning "the grace and mercy of God" and suddenly the priest can again talk. So you are at least curious are you not? What else does the priest have to say? That the child comes in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the immediate way of the Lord? What manner of child will this be? Perhaps you are still not convinced but, you are likely to keep an eye on all this. Your reaction and the reaction of the others around you make you to fear. God does not just speak in words, He also speaks in motions and momentums. He produces curiosities and curiosities produce responses and responses produce environments and environments make for fear. Fear is the beginning of knowledge. Thirty years from now when the ministry of this John comes to a head and this John declares the son of the Mary (remember who spent three months with his mom Elizabeth early on) to be the "Promised One" enough people by then have been moved far enough along over the course that God can produce a larger fear nation wide. John then prepares the way of the Lord by what he says yes, but, also by what he has become and represents. The faith of our Lord is in supreme clarity objectively but, He often uses the noise of many others spreading abroad along with the focus of a few to bring that clarity about.
July13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:67-80 THROUGH THE TENDER MERCY - Luke is now well into his attempt to convey the certainty of these things to his respected acquaintance. What more can he now be certain about? That this is God's work. False messiahs do not go about planting seeds through the holy prophets thousands of years before their conception. They don't go about setting other people into motion months before their birth. They don't make announcements through Angels and declarations through the Holy Ghost while gestating. One could theorize that somebody else is orchestrating all this, well then of the cast of actors so far who would fit that bill? Would it be Mary? Would it be Joseph who hasn't even been mentioned yet? Zacharias or Elizabeth? The Sanhedrin? Who could impersonate angels, mute priests, impregnate a woman past her years, impregnate a virgin? Some have said that cousins Jesus and John masterminded all of this. How then did they conjure their parents to make these bold declarations before they were even born? The key to all of this goes back to the word of the prophets long before and with all prophecy the participants did not have to be conscious or in agreement with what they were saying or even present for it to still come about. Take Zacharias here, how much of what he was saying did he understand or believe himself? Had he lived to the Crucifixion would he have argued on Jesus' behalf? Would he still want his name associated with all this after it had played out? It is likely that he saw a different interpretation the scriptures quoted and of what the Holy Ghost was saying and yet the prophetical course did move straight ahead. Recall that Jesus said that many would come to Him in that day saying "Lord did we not prophecy in your name". Just because a person was used by God to speak His word does not mean that the person was fully on board later. This truth throughout all prophecy matched alongside with the fact that this is what has come about despite any private interpretation and yet can still be confirmed by scripture is the exact certainty we need to be convinced of. This is God performing His mercy not us deciding what we think this performance should be. The faith of our Lord is that one day will all will come to understand the performance by God of His tender mercy. It has everything to do with His covenant, the remission of sins, deliverance from the hands of our enemies, the holiness righteousness before Him, but, it has everything as well to do with it being done completely on His Father's terms. Having confidence in that will lead us to the certainty that it all has been done right.
July14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:2:1-7 LINEAGE OF DAVID - Luke continues to work for the confidence of Theophilus with some historical markers that would either be well known in his time or easily verifiable by his excellency. We today as well would know by other sources of the second of these periodic fourteen year census/taxations happened in 20 AD putting the first on or near AD 6. We also have the reference to one Cyrenius governor also known as Quirinius. The Father would use the secular world as a time clock and a particular city as a locator, Bethlehem. Bethlehem we know prophetically kjv@Micah:5:2 as the birth place of Messiah and also by association as an indicator of probable lineage of David. That they went to their own city and there was nowhere to stay either shows that no family remained settled at that time in the city or that the family had no where left for them to stay or that the family hers/his was not willing yet because of their curious circumstance to receive them in. All of this doing puts Mary and Joseph in an awkward situation regardless but, it puts us in a place where matters can be confirmed and verified by others. Wouldn't you like to know if Theophilus ever used his influence/resources to look into the AD 6 census logs for Bethlehem to see if their names were listed? The faith of our Lord often puts believers similarly in awkward situations for reasons likely unknown to us. He seems able not only to make these times work out for us but, make these times valuable to others as well.
July15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:2:8-20 AS IT WAS TOLD THEM - Did anyone follow up on Luke's proposition that there were Shepherds in/around Bethlehem that could attest to this event or people that knew of these shepherds these many years later? The Apostles seem to know of them or else they would have stopped Luke from making such unsubstantiated claims. These four canonized gospels are almost dares or challenges for others/critics to attempt to disprove the facts as depicted, as there are just so many examinable points put forth. Did the Sanhedrin of 45-70 AD make any effort for instances to investigate/rebut these testimonies; and if not then why not? Could they be refuted? The faith of our Lord is putting this all detail out on the line. His story is largely being told by the people around Him describing it; multiple people from multiple vantages. If anybody at that time did make inquiry worthy of debating the evidences provided here it apparently never got long term traction. One would expect that any counter (reliable or not) information would have received much play from Christianity's many immediate/vehement critics.
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...
July17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:2:41-52 INCREASED - In just a few verses we have a wide picture of the Jesus at a very symbolic age for any Jewish boy/man. One, we see that many of His hometown were faithful enough to caravan south some 100 miles yearly from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Enough people traveled that it took nearly a day to sift the crowd to discover Him missing. Two, He was mature/trusted enough for His parents to go off on His own even in the big city, even on the road. Likely none of His siblings were not yet old enough to be in His responsibility. Three, not only are the scholars amazed by His questions but, also His answers. That He listens and ponders and probes others even while being under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit means perhaps studying more to how these men think and reason. Four, His first recorded words were in response to a rebuke from His mom for being so focused/enthralled with the intellectual curiosities as to have neglected timely obligations to the family; like many a boy. Unlike most young men of that age however, His interests were extremely spiritual; not an excuse so much as a predictable necessity if honestly judged by previous parental observation. Five, He was/remained subject to them though His mom would remember/consider this response long after; perhaps they both learned something about each other that day. Not only did He increase in wisdom and maturity, the righteous favor of God and man became central to Him as well. We do not hear about Him again for several years only that He replaced His dad Joseph at death as the town carpenter showing a patience and a waiting upon the Father's timing. The faith of our Lord is extreme in both it's eager ambition and it's temperate patience. A balance was found that gained Him stature and presence, discernment and favor. We must find similar extremes of faith and balance.
July18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:3:1-20 PREPARE YE - Luke goes about the task of making these things certain. Theophilus has likely heard of John the Baptist as has most anyone in the region of that time that would be reading this. He would know or be able to look into the timing of the Caesars and Herods and Governors as well. These are certain things being made more certain by putting them in the context of Isaiah's prophecies and what John himself said was the scope of his ministry. In preparing the Lords way we almost have what would be a revival upon a revival, a revival based upon a general repentance with works and a larger spiritual repentance based upon God's ultimate performance of mercy. The Divine intention behind all of this is explained as bringing the exalted low and the meek higher to an equal playing field which He does literally in the raising/accession of Christ and then after a judgment as to the production of good spiritual fruit. John's part in this, as unimaginably important as it is, is minute compared to the workings of Jesus. The faith of our Lord like Luke is in by making known of the certainty of these things we too mat have the faith/certainty that leads us through to this path of repentance unto good abiding spiritual works/fruits.
July19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:3:21-38 IT CAME TO PASS - A very significant day for Jesus symbolizing the passing of the torch from John to Jesus. John's ministry will now diminish and Jesus' strengthen. It is much like the passing of leadership from generation to generation. Jesus respectfully submits to John's baptism that John might see that this is no ordinary baptism, this is a royal inauguration crowned with the blessing of both Father and Holy Spirit. All the signs now point to Jesus, the lineage of both mother and human dad, the prophecies old and new, the opening of the skies with voices and appearances. That is not to say that everyone will now believe it. Just as Isaiah had written "Who has believed our report" most Jews to this day disregard the lineage of Joseph the child was not of his physical seed. The arm of the Lord can be revealed having performed every detail of the report and the majority still not believe it, being not in the form that they intellectually expect/agree to accept. Had it not been this self imposed technicality it would have been another. As best as I can recall Jesus does not ever entertain this trivial objection as penetrating and lasting as it has been. The faith of our Lord is in the submission to the Father's performance of mercy not in the intellectual suppositions of the fallen race. As it is said "My thoughts are not your thoughts" and "My ways are not your ways", what difference does it make if this is the way the Father did perform it and it still can be shown to superbly fit with the prophecies? I respectfully ask you then, how else did He perform it?
July20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:4:1-13 FORTY DAYS TEMPTED - This passage seems to be one of the oddest passages in the Bible along with the Devil standing before God asking to test Job. The questions that come up are many, some turn bizarre. Satan has had since kjv@Genesis:3:15 to prepare for a moment like this to tempt Eve's promised seed, and at least to this readers eye he never really takes the gloves off with these three efforts. Luke gives us room to interpret that this was forty days of temptation climaxing in these three notable ordeals. Not being privy to the events of those many days we can further interpret that it may have been Satan's plan to wear at Jesus and then at strategic points flash a quick barrage of punches hoping to intimidate Him with a commanding presence, awesome power and authority. The individual events hardly seem like tests plural as much as the overall duration and display. If this is the correct interpretation, we must also be on the constant watch for this multi-front long duration attack. Seldom is Satan outright identifiable. He does typically hide behind others using peer pressure and intimidation, he does hide behind scripture as well. The tactic isn't always to scare us into doing something wrong, it is often to scare us off or scare us into doing nothing at all. Therefore it is advantageous for him to wear at a believer any way and any time he can. Forty days of dull pressure is just as effective as three minutes of fright. Combined together, the impact could be devastating. Note however that Jesus fasted. His chosen preparation was to put His human flesh into submission to His spirit and to feed and strengthen His spirit upon the Word of His Father alone. This He did knowing the the dull test was constant and the barrage was soon to come. The faith of our Lord is in preparation. Not just waiting for events to happen that are then responded to with prayer/fasting but, putting oneself in front at the ready at all times should any sudden assault or need come about.
July21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:4:14-30 THROUGH THE MIDST OF THEM - A prophet in his own country would be a well known proverb, Nazareth would be a well known prophetical link to messianic prophecy. The people of this city had to have some expectation. Jesus did not however match whatever that expectation among them was. The reaction at the synagogue goes from wonder to wrath all on the turn of Jesus' own words. While still in wonder, Jesus flips it and says 'but, you will ask me to heal myself' and then relates to two OT bible stories where only single individuals received God's grace. It is almost like saying that you are asking me to prove that I can heal you before you will allow me to heal you. In one of these stories the widow was commanded to receive the prophet and that she did. In the other story the man was under the command of the Syrian king to go to the king of Israel who in turn commanded him to visit the prophet. In this case after the healing, a servant of the prophet attempted to extort payment for the healing, breaking the prophet's command and thus as penalty received the first man's departed leprosy forever. These illustrations must be mentioned by Jesus to show to us Nazareth's heart at this time. Jesus came that all men might believe; he is not a respecter of any man over any another. The progress that He seeks however requires faith on the part of the recipient of such grace along with obedience such as these stories illustrate. One cannot first ask this particular Physician to heal Himself from the ailments that only one possess (lack of faith/obedience and over abundance of iniquity). The faith of our Lord walked into Nazareth knowing what reception awaited Him and He walked in without disciples or guard. They in turn attempted to push Him off the side of a cliff. How disappointing and eye opening this entire exchange must have been to His family and kin there in ear shot.
July22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:4:31-37 AUTHORITY - Devils don't just relocate because they are told to no matter how stern and demanding. Exorcism requires an authority above and beyond the authority of the demonic. Authority requires either the threat of or exercise of greater power. When the townsfolk in Capernaum are are amazed and curious as to the authority exerted they are rightly familiar with these basics of this form of spiritual warfare. The question left for the ages however is where did the demons get their authority to posses in the first place? The most likely answer is from the possessed soul themselves or from someone in authority (such as a parent in the case of possessed from birth) either by permission or by blindly opening the door for them. Once authority is surrendered it seems that the authority cannot be resumed on ones own unless an authority above the authority of the demon(s) wins/brings authority back. The demons in this man believe Jesus to have the power to destroy them. Jesus does not destroy them at this time however. We must give this action/allowance the presumption of righteousness as we do not fully understand why why it is in fact righteous. Such a presumption opens up possibilities as to how all things can work for the good of those who love our Lord. The faith of our Lord exercises authority always within the framework/dictates of righteousness, not always by our understanding/self determination of such. By these actions He is by implication suggesting our need to offer Him the presumption of righteousness. It is an additional part of His faith in us.
July23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:4:38-44 THEREFORE I AM SENT - It is obvious that Jesus operates under the full assumption that He is servant that is sent. kjv@John:6:38 perhaps best explains this frame of mind in that He came down not to do His will, but the will of HIM that sent me. It is revealing that in so many places the people wanted Jesus out, one of the few times that they ask Him to stay it is not the Father's will. Imagine, let's say, that Jesus had stayed. He built a place to receive the people to Him instead of Him going out to the people. Say He trained thousands of disciples, anointed them, sent them out to plant similar institutions the world over. Makes a lot of sense does it not? It is not the Father's will! Imagine those loyal citizens that tracked Him to this desert place giving Him their sales pitch... "We've been thinking"... "You need a place to station your ministry"... "we need something that puts our name on the map"... "we think that we have much to offer"... "other cities can come here to you". All well and good, honest and sincere, but just not the Father's will. Maybe their pitch was smaller and more personal; who is to say. You'll remember that a few of the disciples were from this area; why not put down roots? There are a lot of things like that, I am sure, courses and objectives that just seem obvious and right; big plans, little plans, so many ways we feel we can help even counsel the Lord. The faith of our Lord is much more direct. The Father sent Him, the Father is going to guide Him which way to go. Our faith must resemble the same. It must be interesting (delightful) for Him to hear of all of our plans, encouraging to hear a kind welcoming word from us even if misguided. His path goes straight ahead to the next city however. What about ours?
July24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:5:1-11 NEVER THE LESS AT THY WORD - I've been confused here in Luke where the disciples came in. Matthew has Jesus meeting Simon and Andrew, they leave all to follow, then John and James in similar fashion, no mention of the Mother-in-Law. Mark has Simon and Andrew first, John and James a little further, then Simon's Mother-in-Law. Luke has Simon's Mother-in-Law then all four fishermen as partners. John has two of the Baptist's disciples one of which is Andrew follow, he brings Simon to Jesus, Jesus then finds Philip who finds Nathaniel, these men go to the wedding in Cana, no mention of the Mother-in-Law. How do we pull these all together in proper respect? I will give it a try. The Mother-in-Law seems to be the pivot point. The first miracle being at the wedding puts John's account ahead of the Mother-in-Law's time as in Mark. John's is more detailed, Marks typical style is compressed. This means that they know each other and have toured a short time before returning to Peter's home to heal her then pick up again leaving all to follow full time. Matthew and Luke pick up at the healing and attempt to talk Jesus into staying, after a brief rest Jesus returns to the shore where the boy's have partnered up to regroup telling them about becoming fishers of men, given what has happened they realize their sinful nature, leave all behind now for a full time road ministry. To me this better describes a process Jesus utilized to gently bend the men by introducing them to the road and ministry, taste the good and bad of the experience, see the truly miraculous, before asking them dive full in. It also explains the importance of this moment in Galilee and why two of the Gospel writer decide to start at this. The faith of the Lord includes faith in these particular men. These men are given to Him by the Father, it is His responsibility not to loose any of them except for the son of perdition. These men are full in now thanks to His gentle patient yet determined manner as well as His obvious miraculous powers.
July25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:5:12-16 HE WITHDREW HIMSELF - What would Jesus have to pray for? Prayer is the balancing weight in His life. There has to be balance. There is no doubt that Jesus could stand in one place all the day long not saying a word and heal every one that passed by. Where then is the word? Where is the gospel? Where is change? It is like hitting a reset button a computer, the symptoms are all cleared and the carrier can go right back to what he intended on doing, but the ailment still resides deep inside awaiting all new symptoms to project. With out the full word the likely reply would be "thanks a lot Jesus, I'll be sure to come to you first next time". Fame is one thing, fame for the wrong reasons is insulting. Physical healing must be balanced with spiritual regeneration. Fame must be balanced with humility. Responsibility for the souls of others must be balanced with responsibility to one's own relationship with God. This is where prayer comes in. Jesus uses prayer to keep His balance, to keep sharp, to keep invigorated. He separates Himself strategically more and more so that He can keep engaged with the others more and more. The demands upon Him at this point otherwise would become extreme. The faith of our Lord is in balance. He is an example to us as to how we can come to such a point even in our most demanding experiences.
July26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:5:17-26 ARISE - I bet the room full of delegates considered this side show an intrusion at first. How are we supposed to catch this Jesus in His word with these delinquents tearing through the roof tiles, lowering some misfit into a room where we theologians are trying to get something done? But, wait a minute! This might just work in our favor. I was thinking when I first read this that I knew from Mark that this happened at Peter's house. Now I am wondering how a meeting such as this all came about. Did they approach Jesus and suggest a pow-wow to hear of His doctrine? Did they approach Peter to see if he could put something together? I noticed in subsequent readings that here were all of these delegates and there also was the power of the Lord to heal them; heal who the delegates? Then Jesus sees the faith of these men outside and because of that heals the man with palsy in front of all these faithless scabs. This passage becomes so rich in all of it's details and possibilities. The faith of our Lord is boldly in the face of His critics. He not only takes this occasion to take a swing, He knocks the ball out of the park. The intentional inter-twining the concepts of forgiveness with the concept of His healing power is a brilliant revelation of who He is and who His critics really are.
July27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:5:27-32 FOLLOW ME - Only people that know that they are sinners would know that they have need to repent, turn, follow. Those that don't consider themselves as such have absolutely no use for what Jesus would have to offer. I am not sure in today's terms that we understand how despised and hated tax collectors of that day were. This is yet another "in your face" move by Jesus. This reception would be difficult for even the loyal yet timid disciples, it would be revolting to the common citizen, it would be outright excruciating for a Pharisee or their scribe. But because of the undeniable command of matters Jesus is having this act must be fully considered (and for some countered). Matthew (Levi) is a truly inspiring story. Matthew not only leaves his lucrative position behind, he throws a huge reception and invites numerous friends over to meet Jesus. He puts on a huge feast. How many of us would be willing to do that for our Lord? Maybe for some this would be name dropping. Maybe for others this would be pomp ahead of his own career sacrifice. Jesus surely does not see it this way however else He would not be there. There is something important to notice here (many things); the importance of the balance of healing and teaching and public associations and staying on the offensive. The Pharisees have now made their decision about Jesus, but because they cannot explain away the mass healings for instance they cannot completely put down the teachings nor the associations. Because they must turn public perception they must somehow turn public associations that they themselves do not have. They are having to take hit and run sniper shots to remind the crowds of their disapproving presence. Really, how would you go about telling a blind man that can now see that he was healed by a devil or a leper that Jesus didn't actually have the power to forgive? That this was all a trick? Trick or not, they stand healed and sensing that they are forgiven. Likewise, how do you tell a reception of people that you have physical disdain for yourself anyway that they cannot congregate in this manner around this man? That He should not congregate with them? This is bold in deed. And it all is possible because of the balance of the many separate things that Jesus is doing right working together as a whole to multiply the effect of His ministry. Maddening it would be to to be on the other side of this tremendous unstoppable momentum. The faith of our Lord has no problem being with the people who need Him and desire to be with Him most. He doesn't mind even the occasional party to meet and greet a new disciples friends. There is a sincerity and a purity in this even when others might think that He is getting Himself dirty.
July28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:5:33-39 NEW WINE - Notice that He never said "we're done with the old wine", He said he was preserving both old and new, just not together. This is said in the context of the bridegroom being in their presence. For the moment there is an occurrence that will only happen just this once, He is there. If the objection is prayer, why would He have the disciples pray to Him as if He were not there? If it is fasting, why would He have them seek a closer proximity to Him artificially when He is standing right there right now? When He leaves they will certainly need to do these things. The attempt is to get the old wine to see that there is a new wine; the measure of which is Himself. It requires them to see what He is doing in new ways. It is not that He will come sometime future, it is that He is here now. It is not what will He accomplish, it is what He is accomplishing and has accomplished. Even now, when we fast or pray, we do it because He has come, He has paid the dowry, we watch for Him to return for His bride. The faith of our Lord is illustrated today as two wines, everything that He poured into this before hand, everything new that He will pour separately from this point on. The two go hand in hand and are crafted for specific and distinct purposes. To criticize Him because the new wine hasn't the look and feel in it's infancy of the old is to not know the process of wines.
July29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:1-11 IS IT LAWFUL - After a time or two I think the majority of us would say "I am just going to avoid this on the Sabbath since it is causing such uproar"; you know, pick your battles. Jesus seems to be looking for it. Had the Pharisees any sense they would drop the matter as well. It is obvious that they are operating from an indefensible position based on hardened traditions and He is operating from a sense that He is going to make sure that everybody else knows it. We however frequently read into this that the Sabbath is not important to Jesus which is false; He is the Lord of the Sabbath (is He the Lord then of nothing?). Jesus attempts to free the Sabbath from the death grip of staunch tradition where select authoritarian legalists get to decide what can and can't be done instead of it being a day set apart for rest and reverent worship and holy reflection and yes even an occasional good deed. Jesus does not nix the idea of Sabbath, He nixes the idea that sour pusses can rule over it. So why is Jesus not willing to back down on this? Why is He looking for the fight on this? The faith of our Lord is in the real and true religion, the liberating faith, the unfeigned outreach, the joyous worship. The normal and everyday must be challenged. The way things have been long been done must be challenged. The "because we know better than you" must be re-examined. Not because it all must be done away with but, because the scriptures do lay out a desire on God's part for us to observe such on a truly pure spiritual level. Many of His promises to us stand in sync with these specific observances.
July30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:12-16 LIST OF TWELVE - Well here they are ladies and gentlemen The twelve top human candidates for disciples of God the Son Hand picked Ready for intensive specialized training A once in an ion opportunity Cream of the crop Don't believe it? Let's review the judging criteria. Willingness to leave all behind and follow someone doing something you can't comprehend in a manner that you don't understand. The eliminates the academics and philosophics and intellectuals. Willingness to die for this somebody and His cause after He Himself has died with extreme public humiliation for the same belief/cause. That eliminates the scientific and political. Willingness to present oneself a living daily sacrifice, a bond servant of the gospel. That eliminates any with ulterior motives. We could go on, but let's count who among us is left in the running. That fact is that not one of us has chosen Him not even the disciples, He has chosen us, He has chosen them. Whatever qualities they possessed He alone saw, He alone determined. Those that may have prepared themselves would not have known what to prepare for, most likely they would have been hidden qualities that only He could bring out of us. So why did these men follow at His call? Was it a tough decision on their part or a explainable feeling of destiny? How much of their future did they know upfront? How is it that brothers and partners were just as likely join Him? Recall that Jesus prayed for those whom the Father had given Him. That He did not loose any that were given but the son of perdition. The faith of our Lord is in that which is given by His Father. He has the spiritual balance and discipline afforded (by prayer mainly) to identify where the Father's hand is at this moment, what HE has given for this, what direction HE is leading, what next step will be obeyed. That may be all we need any given moment as well.
July31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:17-26 REJOICE IN THAT DAY - Are you rich? Are you full? Do you laugh? Are these themselves bad things? Salvation is based upon holding Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior. His death upon the cross is our death to sin, His Resurrection the beginning of our new spiritual life, His ascension confirmation of His heavenly reign. To not hunger for His truth, to laugh alongside His many scoffers, to be rich with all the treasures of this earth yet minus His grace is a woe most threatening indeed. To be poor in spirit however, to hunger for His truth, to be weeping where there is chiding, to be reproached even cast out for His sake, in this there is a kingdom sized blessing. Who are these rich according to Jesus? Their fathers doing is the key. Who so treated the prophets of old? The so called religious leaders of Israel. Do I have to fear if I am a rich kid from America? If I let it effect me like it did the Scribes. Do I have any to fear if I am a poor kid from the streets of Calcutta? If I let it effect me like it did the Scribes. Jesus speaks this as He is healing the multitudes one by one. He is looking up to His newly confirmed main disciples. What a sight it must have been for them to see; what a lesson. The prophets were right as evidenced here this day. These men too will be right, prophets in their own respect. Look though at how the right are treated. What does this tell us about man? What does this tell us about man's religion? It is rich, it is full, it is spoken well of, but they have already received their consolation. The faith of our Lord is in the broken and hungry and mournful heart. This heart is the starting point for something big, something that fits into an even larger eternal kingdom the type of which has not yet entered our minds; well worth the fiery trails of this present earth to be part of.
August1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:27-36 WHAT THANK HAVE YE - God The Highest is kind to the unthankful and evil. Isn't that all of us? How thankful have you really been throughout your life? How aware were you of what He was doing, what He was blessing upon you that you should be thankful for? His blessings are not because we are good, they are because He is good. Jesus makes it sound as if part of the goodness is that God at times has a thanks for us. Imagine that, that something we could do He would be thankful for. Not just any deed mind you, but a thing that exceeds similar as He exceeds. And where can we exceed? Where He exceeds! In our conduct toward the unthankful and evil. Now some people would see that as weakness, as others winning over, and if not done properly it could be. Let's ask why someone would curse you? You've said something or done something righteous that you've offended them by else you would deserve being cursed, right? Why would someone smite you? Samething, they are offended at a righteousness performed just as they are offended at God. Despitefully use you, why is there despite? It is obvious that there is something uncommon about these situations, grounds that you stand for/on that they are reacting to that puts you both in the position to receive their objection and to receive God's thanks. You have stood up for God. Even in the smaller issues like a coat or something that you've lent not being returned, you likely have been asked because it is known that you are a Christian and you have chosen to represent Christians well by giving. Other peoples are asked of all the time, they could not retaliate just as you, what is it about your non-retaliation that exceeds theirs? Your's is done with the full knowing by both/all parties that it is done for God; so represent well. The faith of our Lord is in performing the uncommon, exceeding all expectation. People as a whole are unthankful and evil toward God and sharply take offense at those who presume to stand for God. From Cain and Able on this exchange could very well be religious on religious. As Jesus has performed and taught, do some thing to stand the gap that God himself would be thankful for.
August2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:37-42 SHALL MEN GIVE UNTO YOUR BOSOM - Top and bottom: judgment, condemnation, forgiveness and a beam in one's eye. The difficulty with judging others is that we do not judge ourselves by the same measure. I am going to flip this around however to level that few are comfortable with. Let's take the example of Christians that are for the death penalty. There are many that would use these words against us; "judge not lest thou be judged". Are they not using the very words of non-judgment to judge us by? No doubt they have other words to say about Christians as well, and they are quite public about it too. Hiding behind such peaceable words in order to openly judge another is most "beamish". The measure that most all of us will be rewarded with largely has to do with the amount that we give. If a man or woman is known otherwise to be very giving of forgiveness and compassion and peaceableness, exceedingly so shall we say, the fact that they favor the death penalty in this one particular instance does not mean that there is a "mote" in their eye. Thereto, the man or woman known to be judgmental and unforgiving and slanderous in many more respects except in this particular instance and turns these peaceable words intentionally into canon fodder, here is a case for the consideration of hypocrisy. The law of Moses is filled with not only judgments about those who sin against God and society, it is judgmental against the society that does not execute judgment upon those individuals on behalf of the victims. The very ground it is said often cries out with the blood of the innocent. Prophets bemoan the times when there is no judgment, no one to stand the gap, no one to stand up against the evil. Rightly so. Has Jesus not come to fulfill the law of Moses and the prophets? A disciple is not above his master. He cannot judge and condemn and be unforgiving by his own selfish and hypocritical standard. His one allowance is as a society when the word of God so demands. Those that use the word of God, to which they have not the slightest belief otherwise, to box out those who do believe every word from the very public and very necessary debate over the death penalty are hypocrites of the highest order. This is not to say that there isn't a mote or splinter lacing our debate as well. The faith of our Lord is in the measure that we mete withall. Everyone that is perfect shall be as his master. Jesus has always been able to discern both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. The measure that He gave has been and forever will be pressed down, shaken, running over from the sincerest of men. What better reward or compliment. Just as He wants experienced in the bosom of His disciples.
August3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:43-45 THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART - Having just read the previous "judge not" portion of this sermon, I would like to remain in the frame of perspective that this "good tree" parable can also be understood as a society also and as well. Certainly there is a truth throughout the sermon from and for a individual heart. It is also just as illustrative of the collective heart. Simply stated, a good tree cannot produce bad fruit and vi se versa, a tree is know by it's fruit. So often we wish to think ourselves detached and independent from the collective. You will note that in the Old Testament so much of what God was saying and doing was focused toward the nation of Israel. Many of the cases that He did work with individuals, the individual was one that He was working through for the people or nation of Israel. Why so much effort toward the collective? Think of the collective also as this tree. Out of the heart of this collective proceeds either good or evil, grapes or brambles. Good requires diligence and focus, coalition and even sacrifice. Evil comes easily without much effort by each member simply doing what is right in his own eyes (and it is always right or can be made right no matter). The heart of a nation more readily absorbs the hearts of these individuals and becomes their character simply because it involves such little effort. Note how bad things would have to get in Israel before the goodness could be revived. Evil is parasitic upon good, it cannot sustain itself otherwise. Even the good fruit (and there can be much good from a nation) is infested and the value of the entire crop to it's owner become a complete loss. The tree as a whole slowly losses it's resistance and eventually even it's own auto immune response works against it's own good. The faith of our Lord is in the heart and the good treasure within it. An individual heart, the heart of a congregation, a community, a nation, they all are applicable to this truth: From it's treasure comes it's fruit. What is it we treasure?
August4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:46-49 MY SAYINGS - When the flood arises (and it will) there are two possible outcomes, the house stands or the house falls. What is the house? What one believes? What one has done? What is the rock? Both builders are building. Because of one builder's hearing and doing of the Lord's sayings he has built his house in a certain way. He hears and does by faith, faith in the Lord and faith in the storm, and what he does by that faith he does long ahead of the first droplets. The other builder builds a very similar structure I am sure, roof, walls, rooms, doorways, may even be bigger with more luxurious accommodations; the difference being the ground on which the foundation is attached. One might say that this is the far superior build up until the storm. This builder by all appearance has drastically under estimated the storm or the solidity of the rock perhaps selfishly over estimating his ability in framing the structure. The type of storm is unforeseen. It could then be said that it is not so much the structure that the two builders constructed but much more the ground on which the structure was errected. It is much tougher to build on rock, some say impossible and do not try, some try but on their own meager terms. Those that do best do so on the terms of the rock. Note that when tested for all that the second builder put into it it all immediately fell. The faith of our Lord is that we will understand and not under estimate the approaching storm nor the ever present rock, that we will choose to do our building on the only ground safe enough to withstand. His sayings. Our hearing them and our doing them; it is all that stands between us and a house built on sand.
August5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:7:1-10 NOT IN ISRAEL - A Roman centurion with a love for Israel that is tangible and very generous, this is not commonly seen. The same man being concerned enough over his Jewish slave who is near to death to have Jesus approached, this is more rare. That the same man who is respectful enough of the elders to involve them in the process to approach the Jewish Messiah, this is unheard of. That this same man yet remains humble enough to feel, unworthy enough to have Jesus enter his house, barely worthy to meet Him along the path is most amazing. That this same man understanding the inner workings of our Lord's faith enough to it to discern it's authority is simply staggering. Even today when we make the connection of our Lord's faith to His authority it seems vague and theoretical. Authority is nebulous to us that have not ever been exposed to it; we know it is there, but not of it's substance or workings. We are not told of the slaves faith nor that of these elders (they were at least respectful enough to the man to agree to go along to get Jesus). One concerned person of the bunch being good hearted, being generous, yet being humble of self, yet being respectful of others, willing to put it all in the Lord's hands, with the discernment of our Lord's faith and authority presents the Lord with the pleasure of making this healing happen. The faith of our Lord not only has all authority, but is on the lookout for the opportunity to use it amongst the faithful. I do wonder at times what Jesus would have seen had He gone into this man's house. I speculate that like us there was particular reason(s) (not just intellectual) for him to feel unworthy. For all of this talk of authority He may not have had as much authority over himself or his household as we've lead ourselves to believe. If true, the stunning thing is that our Lord is always willing to work with such men for at least their faith is faith seldom seen in neither Israel then nor America today.
August6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:7:11-17 THIS RUMOR OF HIM - Theophilus, if you are still reading this, here is a point that I have researched and feel comfortable that you yourself could confirm throughout the region as this miracle is still widely spoken of. There were many people there that saw it, the story spread, there was a great fear between those that saw/heard of it, that there was and is a saying among them that "God hath visited His people". Today we read through the passage and can't wait to get on to the next. It reads like a book, the stories rush by like here in ten quick sentences. What if this story was made into a book? The names and the faces came forward? Their lives before and after touched? Imagine that you knew this widow, her son, her deceased husband. Imagine that you knew her struggle and her mourning twice over. Imagine that you saw the "great prophet" when His lungs swelled up with such compassion and you then anticipated by the sudden silence from everyone in the crowd that something absolutely astonishing was about to happen. Will it happen? How can it happen? Am I really here to see this happen? Imagine Luke some twenty five years latter researching account after account of someone that was there (or someone that their parents made a point later to tell) taking notice of their eyes and lips as they spoke of the young man sitting man straight up. Do you still see it as a ten sentence passage? While there was so much going on in these three and a half years and surely moments like these must have just flown by with too many details to pen, we should never speed read through a single moment thus testified of. It is the faith of our Lord that we will give more time and more consideration to the accounts outlined in these gospels. We too can sense the profound drama, even relive them in our imaginations, have them soak through into our lives today. Linger rather my friend, thereby better join in the fear and awe and the long lasting gasping echos that remain.
August7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:7:18-35 ALL HEARD/PUBLICANS JUSTIFIED GOD - John's message was simple and clear, essentially that God is righteous and man is fallen, that man must turn back. Our righteousness as believers is that God is righteous in sending HIS Son Jesus Christ to become righteousness for us, God is justified. If you are a Pharisee it seems that you are righteous simply on the basis of being a Pharisee, do enough to remain a Pharisee and you will remain righteous, Self and Pharisee are justified. There is a world of difference between the two. To be a Pharisee one has to meet a standard, one is the standard. To be a believer one needs to accept that no man can meet that standard except one, Jesus, faith in Him and transference by imputation/association by adoption is the standard. For the one there is no sin personally to repent of as he is already righteous/justified, for the other everything he does is sin unless done upon or through him by Jesus, everything else requires repentance (turning back to Him). In preparing the Lord's way, John began this process amongst the commoners and they were very receptive. He lead them to the understanding of a need for Christ. Those baptized by the baptism of John were not saved by such they were simply prepared to receive Christ. Once Christ can become our righteousness by the sacrifice of His own blood. Having then purchased our salvation these same repentant responders can believe on Him and in that justify God for graciously performing all necessary requirements. The Pharisee on the other hand believes himself justified simply by what he is regardless. He can contradict himself, he can make every demand of other people, he can attach himself to the Law of Moses without having to fulfill it, whatever as long as He is a Pharisee. Many today follow along the same line including Catholics that believe that they are saved for having been baptized as infants by their parents into the church. There is no need for full repentance only a cleansing of conscience by mere confession and penance. The faith of our Lord is that wisdom is justified of all her children. God's wisdom is in His own Grace knowing that man willed not nor could not of his own. God's wisdom is in performing all the requirements of truth and justice and equity by His own mercy and compassion as presented in His Son. Shall we not in turn justify God by receiving His Son as the propitiation for our every sin?
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?

August9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:1-15 THE SEED IS THE WORD - Hear the word, keep it, bring forth fruit with patience; that is the process on our part. Fruit contains seed, more of the same original seed that was planted, lots more in each fruit born. For those that think that their good works are fruit this passage does not say that, unless to say that their works bare the spreading of more seed. How many of your works bare more of the word? Certain women ministered unto Jesus out of their own substance. Jesus was allowed to spread His word unencumbered. They heard the word and were delivered. They kept the word by caring for it's messenger (and later messengers). They bare fruit then and to this day as we are fruit in part because of their patience. Out of their substance? How much substance did a women of their means have in that day? Enough to help minister unto our Lord. Enough to be mentioned in this passage. Their faith did not choke the word off, it did not wither the word away, the word planted was not stolen away nor trodden down. They had experienced the power of the word in their lives. They sought to multiple the word into the lives of others even if they were not of the position or gender of the time to do so. What is your fruit? Does it bare the seed of the word? Else, does it minister to the sower of the word toward spreading? Else does it minister to the sowers of the seed? Is the seed being sown to all indiscriminately? Unto you it has been given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom; given as if not by your own discernment or worthiness. To whom other is it given that has not yet heard? That has not yet kept? That has not yet brought forth? If you take the seed to mean your faith or as your good works then you miss the interpretation given by our Lord. The faith of our Lord is in His word, the preaching and showing of the glad tidings of the kingdom. Is that word being snatched away in your ministry? Is it being withered? Is it being choked off? The word that is not anything other? Or is it baring fruit as it will one hundred fold with patience?
August10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:16-18 WHEN HE LIGHTETH - When who lights? Did you light? With what did you light? The answer is that we did not light. Light typically symbolizes the knowledge of God, the candle-stand prophetically the church (or a church). When Jesus lit the light He placed it on a stand so that they that entered in might see the light. He had no intention of hiding it from them, but they did have to enter in. In the OT such a candle and candle-stand was the only light inside the tabernacle in the Holy Place. God's light was the only light that could light the darkness of mankind. Jesus says "I am the Light". John says "the Light came into the world". Jesus addresses seven candle stands, churches of the revelation, holders of His light, He Himself walking in the midst of these candlesticks. In the light of the knowledge of God nothing will remain secret, every dark hidden thing will be found out. God already knows these things, the revelation will be to those that have entered in. First and foremost are the things hidden within our own darkness. To those that have been revealed in His light more revelation will be given. To those that have not been revealed or yet turn away even what has been revealed will be taken away. We must then be careful how we hear. Some believe that the light is their own faith, nothing to do with their darkness being revealed and dealt with, that this is a call to believe all the stronger and let their own faith shine forth. The faith of our Lord is in those that will actually enter into His light, that willingly and consistently become more and more discovered/transformed in the knowledge of His light. It is in the collection of these discovered individuals as a body dedicated to holding true to His light, that stand to raise His light. We are revealed individually, we are revealed holding together as a group.
August11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:19-21 HEAR AND DO - Like His own family it is possible for some to not believe at all. It is possible that some want to believe, but their expectation of Him differs from who He actually is and what He must do. It is possible the some believe, but have yet to do. What is it to do? kjv@1John:3:23 simplifies it "believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another". How do we love? Jesus just gave a parable saying to receive the seed into good ground, keep out that which might wither or choke the word off; He just spoke of a light to those that entered in, were revealed and transformed, raised up His light as a body. It would be nice to think that one just set themselves to loving. Man is incapable of this kind of love however apart from it being a fruit of the Spirit. Doing good as any unregenerate man would do, doing a compassion is one thing; one would not be required even to "hear the word of God" as it would come naturally. This is not the type of doing Jesus is talking about. kjv@John:13:15-17 We should follow our Lord's example. It maybe early on in the developing faiths of His own family; this is not said to discourage them. This puts all men and women on equal footing "he who hears to do it". There is just as much opportunity for any of us should we take it. The faith of our Lord is that many will take Him up on this, not just love with our corrupted forms of love, but have that love revealed and transformed in His light and Spirit, have His love and our love for Him motivate us into doing as He has done. We have the proof that at least two of His half brothers James (the less) and Judas (Jude) took Him up on this at some point, likely several others if not all.
August12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:22-25 JEOPARDY - News Flash. "Boat with Messiah capsizes, no survivors, details at ten". I know it would be highly unlikely to think of it in the midst of a hellacious sea storm, but here on the sidelines it appears to be fairly normal course for these adventurers; if you're gonna "fly" with the master you're gonna have to expect a severe test or three. So where was their faith? Was it in "let the master sleep, we can handle this all by ourselves"? Was it "He always says to believe in ourselves"? Did He? Was it in "He will wake up at some point all we have to do is keep bailing until then"? Was it "oh no... somebody on board has crossed God and we need to throw the scoundrel overboard" like the sign of Jonah that He'd promised? Surely it wasn't that they needed to have the faith to take on the winds themselves? Only one has the power to grip the wind and seas into His fist, to rebuke them and set their limits. Only one has the power to walk on water, to bid another to walk out to Him. This isn't about self will or self determination or extreme confidence. This is about our faith in His redemptive will and sovereign ability over all things. The faith of our Lord is that in order for us to get from here to there (to where He commanded us to take Him) we need see that it is all in His mighty power, authority and resource. He believes that these men will at some point see this. We may not know exactly why the storm or why a tragedy or why it is we stand face to face with our own mortal jeopardy while serving Him but, we do know that He is God our Lord, not one thing escapes His precise dominion. These men's faith would later show up in their later days, what the Lord was able to accomplish through them fearlessly to us ward, what they were willing to endure and suffer. It is faith born with trust and acknowledgement and selfless abandon. Where then is jeopardy when there is this kind of faith in Him? kjv@Proverbs:30:4 kjv@Mark:4:40-41
August13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:26-39 HE SUFFERED THEM - Why would Jesus suffer tormenting devils? Because they themselves did not wish to be tormented? I doubt it. What purpose would they have in His grand scheme of things? Let's look at the results. Most importantly a man is released from his torment and that man now want's to follow Him; a big win. That said, the townsfolk are very afraid of Jesus, perhaps intimidated by a god other than their own especially when that god stands before them in the flesh, or else they are superstitious as to what the demonic world may do in retaliation. Either way they are exposed; another big win. The demons, while they are not in the abyss, they are in dead carcasses in the bottom of the sea; winning with a touch of humor. We today have the advantage of viewing all of this without having to actually be there; big big multi-generational win. We see how we would likely react to true spiritual warfare on our shorelines. We see how tormentors don't wish to be tormented themselves. We see how Jesus Himself can handle a situation without being a tormentor Himself. Though there will come a day for these demons and their types, that day will be in divine judgment long after Jesus wins the crown. The faith of our Lord is in the full plan. Even difficult situations are handled with ease when born from a clear and obedient spiritual perspective. He suffered them for this time and still hit it out of the ballpark.
August14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:40-56 GO IN PEACE - There seems always to be an uncomfortable reaction of people to Jesus. When the crowd was asked who had touched Him, you can imagine the fright the poor women had (and others) as if she had stolen away a healing from the Lord. Clearly the Lord did not mean it as such, but the women felt as if she "not hid". The disciples have an odd discomforted reaction as if frustrated that they'd have to keep track of who had and who had not touched Him on top of everything else. The synagogue ruler had to be uncomfortable that his options had all dwindled down to Jesus, that it would be known by the rest of the congregation that he had approached this revolutionary. The mourners in the room have the uncomfortable involuntary eruption of distaste and scorn. Jesus has to remove them from the room. I would imagine most all of us would be uncomfortable placed in our Lord's presence no matter what He did or did not do. Almost like a stage fright, a fear of being found out, our fight or flight defense mechanism is more than likely to be reject and despise or else shun and run. Understanding these tendencies, Jesus must navigate these potentially explosive minefields everyday. Frightened and wounded birds we each are. His response to the woman "be of comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole, go in peace", His taking hold of the girl's hand saying "maid arise", His words to the parents "give her meat", these are all very sensitive/sincere calming gestures and yet are commanding enough to firmly steer the situation aright. The faith of our Lord is rigid in heavenly obedience yet empathetic on multiple human levels. Not everyone's reaction is going to be met, however, it should be clear that the principal players are going to be thoroughly touched.
August15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:1 POWER AND AUTHORITY OVER ALL DEVILS - Except it didn't work on one type of devil, that type only came out with prayer and fasting kjv@Matthew:17:14-23. So was it a problem with what Jesus gave to the disciples or was it a problem with the way they utilized it? When the disciples asked Jesus replied "because of your unbelief". Why wasn't there enough belief? He later suggested "only by prayer and fasting". So we must ask what prayer and fasting have to do with the size or implementation of faith, what prayer and faith have to do with the conduit of power and authority? Without it it certainly appears that what whatever one does believe becomes as unbelief. This is not to say that the disciples did not achieve for the most part what they had been sent out to do. You can imagine what the critics said when not one but twelve mini Jesus's filtered through the entire region. It is not just that Jesus demonstrates the power and authority, but is able to delegate that same power and authority to others. It doesn't just happen once either, a hundred more are sent out a short time later. This is beyond slight of hand or trickery or mass illusion/hysteria; this is most unheard of. This is why the unbelief/fasting/prayer issue becomes so important to address, because in a herd of good white sheep it becomes the one black sheep every critic focuses on. The faith of our Lord is shown to be massive in scope yet minute in detail. For Him it is made easy because of His obedience to familiarity with the Father. With us it takes a much more diligent focus to overcome our carnal impulse, to find that obedience and familiarity; and thus the prayer and fasting. Not just for our needs, but more importantly for His.
August16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:10-17 GIVE YE THEM TO EAT - The LORD Jehovah had fed Israel miraculously before with manna and then quail. In kjv@Numbers:11:21-23 the question was presented then to doubting Moses by the LORD "is the Lord's hand waxed short"? This then is a message to Israel and a lesson to the disciples; this is the very same Lord and His hand is still not shortened. Imagine what Herod and the leaders in Jerusalem must be thinking now. How do they keep up with the man who feeds thousands? The curious thing is that He seats these people in blocks of fifty. I was trying to picture a minimum of 100 blocks of fifty men with seating room on a hillside or bluff. It is impressive if not military in appearance. Imagine what Herod and the leaders in Jerusalem must be thinking now. What is not mentioned here is the reaction of the crowd. Would it be proper to applaud? Would it be proper to stand up, bounce up and down arms raised high with singing and whistles? Or would this be a moment of quiet personal awe and introspection, you and five thousand plus? That the disciples would forget about such a evening the next time it occurs is of practical interest. It may perhaps point to the frequent dilemma of believing the ability of the Lord but not knowing His direction/timing. The faith of our Lord is in continuing the message begun in the old testament speaking a big language very reminiscent of the language of the past. These events should be ringing deep and true into the hearts of Israel. Clearly the big brush strokes are not penetrating; yet.
August17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:18-27 WHOM SAY THE PEOPLE - Clearly the word is getting out about Jesus. How could it not? The thing being brought out here to me is that the word is spreading out in bits and pieces that are not logically being tied together. If He were John the Baptist then they are completely ignoring the fact that the two were cousins and had met together at the Jordan, Jesus having produced many miracles while John was still alive. If He were Elias then they are completely ignoring that Jesus referred to John as one having the spirit of Elias. And if He were an old prophet, what other prophet was ever prophesied to come back except Elias in the very end? I am not so certain that all the facts are available to them like as they are us to even put these pieces together in a form resembling the truth. It is partially to their blame for not searching it out further, but a greater measure is just in how word is commonly spread. In modern times great effort and expense is put out by the major companies/governments to make sure that their message is spread and disseminated correctly by the masses. Jesus at this point appears unconcerned, in fact He tells the disciples not to tell anyone. It could even be said that He is using other's misinformation out ahead of His true message. The faith of our Lord is in the spread and dissemination of a message that at this point still under construction. In order for that message to undeniably state what He needs it to state it must include His road toward and following His cross, what "has been" accomplished upon that cross. It is in that precise unalterable message that His message escapes the corrupting forces of human interpretation upon the spread of it's truth. Today, now that it undeniably states all of this, for us to conclude anything other as to who He is, it is in full measure our own condemn-able act. Whom say you?
August18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:28-36 THE FASHION OF HIS COUNTENANCE - There are two was we could logically approach this transfiguration 1). that He was suddenly raised to this glory so that we notice it 2). that He was always in this glory but it was being hidden (except for this one pre-pentecostal time) so that we did not notice it. The triune member of the eternal Godhead humbled Himself greatly in many (all) ways to become incarnate; humbling did not alter the fact that He was triune member of the eternal Godhead. If men were to judge and accept His work upon the cross for their salvation it was important that they be able to judge based upon the action as much as upon the person, therefore the appearance of the person had to stand aside. God not being a respecter of any man past present future had to give all men the ability to judge based upon what they heard not upon what they saw as not every man (3 only) would have opportunity to see Jesus this glorified way. These three men were strictly being used as the vehicle of transmitting the message to us from which to judge and they had to come to a similar if not tougher decision themselves not to tell till afterwards. This passage also visualizes the soon passing of the torch (over mankind) from the Law of Moses and the Law of the Prophets to Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom of His Grace. The faith of our Lord is not that He will become all this, it is that He is/remains all this even though for righteousness sake much of this kept temporarily out of focus. He has set out to achieve that which was planned before creation. Nothing of that has been changed or altered. He will not be hidden on His next return, He will be seen shining from out of the heavens.
August19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:37-45 LET THESE SAYINGS - Everyone wondered at all these things. Wondered most likely about possession, where it starts, what it is like, how such a terrible thing could happen? Wondered why the disciples had not been able to heal this particular one having been able to heal so many others, having been given "all power" to cast such demons out. Wondered at what was meant by faithless and perverse generation, is that why this child was possessed, why the disciples were unable, is this the dad at fault, why devils have their way with men? Faithless and perverse how? Who? To what extent? Wondered as to who this man was and from where did He get such powers? Wonder one would think is good. It makes one to re-think, to re-examine. You would think that it brings sincere people to understand. It does not. To bring others to accept the Lord's power and authority. It doesn't. It is more likely to scare people away. The tremendous mercy placed upon this child at the same time raises the resistance of others, creates fear and discomfort. Some act as if it had not happened, some as if they were tricked, some as if they were being forced to believe. Even amongst His own the sayings to follow that should easily sink down into their ears are stolen away. It is a faithless and perverse generation all the way around. Divine mercies bring these varied forms of darkness to light and corner them. Wonder does not always mean enlightenment at first it may mean exposure to the challenging and perplexing. The mind is very good at justifying itself. Not long after wonder comes self protection and entrenchment for many. The faith of our Lord is to work through these things. A moment of His glory revealed followed by evidence of a faithless perverse generation followed by the people He trusts to observe and participate in this great work not understanding, it is all part of the same day for Him. It takes patience, continued obedience, continued faith. It requires His being delivered into the hands of men. They feared to ask Him of that saying.
August20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:46-50 FORBID HIM NOT - The name of Jesus alone is enough to cast out devils in the hands of one whom has the firm faith. Where this man heard of Jesus we do not know. He may have even been healed somewhere down the road; it is just not said. The disciples are not only seeing things as "who is great and greater", they are seeing things as "us and everyone along with us". It may have been a good point to interject some "why does he not follow us yet does all this". Surely it is important for Jesus to establish these twelve men as His primary disciples, especially in view of the written testimonies some will write that will be canonized. He must establish order and unity. At the same time it must be encouraging to Him that some are beginning to figure at least part of His kingdom message and authority. The disciples had been given authority and did well except for the once. This man is concluding that the name of Jesus is enough authority combined with faith to do the job as well. Think of how much authority the disciples would have if they just latched on to both facts. The faith of our Lord is in these twelve (eleven) men to establish them in the true faith. At times it may involve the illustrations of others' faith to draw them out and challenge them.
August21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:51-62 WHAT MANNER OF SPIRIT YE ARE OF - Have you ever stopped to wonder what manner of spirit you are of? John has two instances back to back where he has felt that he was in the right, forbidding a non-follower from casting out devils and calling for fire upon the Samaritan village dissing Jesus. Within the group he may have voiced the majority opinion. Was there anyone other than Jesus that was going to challenge John's perspective? He was after all looking after his master? It is likely that there are few if any in our own circles today that would discern enough to challenge our perspective as well. How would we know what manner of spirit we are of? As right as John is, as protective of his master as he is, as in the majority this "son of thunder is", as loved as this "beloved" is, it is not from the Holy Spirit that his spirit is operating from. Peter has likewise been called out on this as well. Without clear discernment the borders between spirits the human mind is likely to justify/rationalize it's way to wherever it intended originally. Without discernment from those holding us in their confidence how else can the question of manner be asked? There are certainly stiff and sharp lessons a disciple must endure on his road through sanctification. Just as we must consider the immediacy and personal price associated, we must consider the manner of spirit we proceed from. The faith of our Lord is not in discouraging these men from their holy ambition, it is to steer them toward a clearer road of spiritual discernment. We know what manner of spirit we are from; one likely to bend perceptions it's own direction. James and John would make it through this and other challenges. It is likely that these others did as well (by our Lord's guidance).
August22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:10:1-24 JESUS REJOICED IN SPIRIT - It must be pleasurable to observe your followers making their first few spiritual steps. After all that you have invested in them, to set them out on their first solo flights, then to have them return with such encouraging words. These men are just babes and they are sent out among the wolves, but they have held their own. There will of course need to be adjustments, corrections, reproof, for what it is worth though it was a good first effort. Seventy people now doing the advance leg work of the Lord's final journey back to Jerusalem has to be on the radar of a great many chiefs and leaders. Tensions have to be ramping up. The so called wise and prudent are preparing their ultimate denial and rejection. Twelve, now seventy? What next 300 little Jesus' healers coming in to town for Passover? A great many works have been done by Jesus and now by His followers. If there were any chance of believing there would be signs of cracking by now. The faith of our Lord is in the mission ahead and it's timing. It is good that He had a moment of rejoicing and encouragement. However, there is a point where miracles and wonders are too plenteous to be noticed. What is there left to do by the time yet another town is on the "woe unto thee" list. It is time to make toward Jerusalem.
August23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:10:25-37 HOW READEST THOU - Love the Lord God with all thy heart/soul/strength/mind and thy neighbor as thyself; sounds pretty easy doesn't it? So if you are an expert at the Law of Moses and you want to test this "instructor" that you know to be false you are more than willing to justify your case by expose the hole in Jesus' logic, the more liberal interpretation of "who is thy neighbor". If all that Jesus is to you is "instructor" you have already missed out on the "Love the Lord" part because your Lord is standing right before you and you are attempting to disprove Him. Some love; eh? Chances are more than likely then that you are going to miss out on the neighbor part too. It is far too easy for the notion of Lord to become all of the exteriors and institutions of the Temple and the Law and Traditions. It is too easy to devote yourself entirely (as this man) to everything holy but the person of the Lord. As for the answer Jesus directed the man to, mercy to all even the most despised among you, the trappings of this religious lifestyle are likely to hurry you down the road past the very opportunities to love that your Lord presents your way. In the preoccupation of fulfilling "these" things we miss out on the occasion to fulfill "the" thing we are most commanded to do. The man does not continue to argue his point. Jesus may have given him the answer he expected to hear; this false teacher is a lover of Samaritans and a blasphemer of priests and Levites. He can now again be quoted to others as saying such. This is the way the legalistic mind thinks; it is not a mindset of mercy it is a mindset of justifying oneself above others. The faith of the Lord is in the proper reading of this command. Mercy, love, truth, righteousness all have their root in knowing and loving the person of the Lord and what the person of the Lord has prepared Himself to do for you that you cannot in any way do for yourself... justify. kjv@Isaiah:53:11 @ "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities". HOW READEST THOU THAT?
August24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:10:38-42 CAREFUL AND TROUBLED - My experience would tell me that Martha is the elder sister, though there is no proof. This may not be the only time that the sisters have differed as to their priorities. And it is not to say that Martha is terribly wrong here. This is the way she has been brought up, likely the expectation placed upon her early on by her mom as the elder. In her mind receiving Jesus means providing every comfort and necessity for Him and His guests almost to obsession. It is the servants heart but to the extreme. She would be this regardless of the occasion most likely. Her sister on the other hand is wise to Martha's obsessiveness. There are certainly demands placed upon the hostess but there is also a point where the effort crosses over into obsession and near destructive hostility. I doubt that Martha really intended to criticize Jesus "do you really not care", but that was how far she had let her anger canker. Seems the more this personality type festers the more that they try to take on themselves until they explode. Jesus isn't saying don't be a hospitable host, He is saying come sit and join us, enjoy this evening and this company as well. It is not worth being a gracious hostess if being a gracious hostess means being so troubled and ugly. And it is not to say that Mary is completely in the right if it means that she has put her sister in this impossible situation. I think though in this case Martha has put herself (or that it is an ingrained part of her) that has brought this unexpected interruption to cloud over the otherwise pleasant evening. Martha is careful and troubled about many things. She probably feels that if she doesn't trouble who will? Jesus doesn't expect anyone to trouble this much over Him; if so He would have taken the meeting outside or out into the wilderness. Sometimes trouble is done for the sake of trouble; it is an adverse reaction to importance. There is a better portion, a balance that allows one to serve and care for her guests but lets her relax at the feet and be engaged with the Savior that truly graces her house with His presence. I feel like I've known this woman several times over and I feel for her(s). The faith of our Lord is not to be an extra burden on His children but to be their only burden. He has said to take upon yourself His yoke for His burden it is lite. Perhaps we all should re-examine what we think we are doing for the Lord and what it is that we have added to ourselves and are then demanding of others that is not actually required. Else, we may find ourselves blaming the Lord without intending so. I trust that Martha eventually found this balanced portion. Being aware of the problem is half of the cure. One thing... personal acquaintance/engagement with Jesus is needful.
August25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:11:1-13 BECAUSE OF HIS IMPORTUNITY - To be delivered from evil does not mean that evil is avoided all together. kjv@1Corinthians:10:13 claims that He will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able. He will alongside provide you a means of escape. So what does that have to do with forgiving the debts of others and asking for three loafs for a journeying friend? It is likely that we will be unable to see of that means if we have yet to see how God has forgiven us our debts and if we have yet to believe the good fatherly intentions of our Lord for both ourselves and for those journeying souls that we petition on behalf of. The Lord gives us our bread day by day, that is near all we physically need be concerned for ourselves. As a model of Christian prayer we should see that a great deal of the emphasis in this passage is placed upon the belief in our Father because of His holiness and the installment of His Kingdom provides not only for you but also for those in need that you petition for. One temptation may be to service their spiritual needs by our own limited physical means. In a spiritual sense we have nothing to give these souls, but we do have a friend ready in Jesus. Another temptation may be to hold back and send the wanderer on his/her way empty handed. The model command is to love God with all and your neighbor as oneself, so to is the model prayer. A means of escaping evil is given in each temptation and it usually involves clarity of ones relationship to God and also spiritual service (even in the face of evil) to others. To see that means one must be observant of how God has treated you in your varied needs and deliverances. The faith of our Lord is in a sincere believing prayer that recalls God's merciful actions to us and calls upon those same mercies to be bestowed to the soul that still is searching.
August26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:11:14-28 WITH THE FINGER OF GOD - A lot is being said here by both sides. It is not a casual "I wonder how He does that" statement, it is a definitive and hardened accusation. Likewise, Jesus is responding in no uncertain terms that if this is the finger of God (and using even simple logic there is a great possibility), you have just blasphemed the work (the finger) of the Holy Spirit and the kingdom which stands before you. It is one thing to have doubts. It is one thing to be skeptical. It is another thing to throw down against God's Son and the Holy Spirit. Then extra insight is given to the disciples as to the inner workings of demons, that it requires one stronger than the strongest demons to cast them out and to keep them out; otherwise they return later in much larger numbers. Recall the times as with Mary Magdeline multiple (7) demons (even Legions) were cast out at once by Jesus. He is saying that not only is He strong enough to cast out any number of demons, He is more than strong enough to keep the increasing numbers out should the person allow Him to. This further information and self declaration is even more convincing to me than the "house divided falls" logic. Demons apparently have no rest in or out. They can bide their remaining time nervously tormenting a human like parasites, that is the closest the can come to striking back, but they know full well of the torment just ahead for them. The faith of our Lord can be stated in this passage as "he that is with Me and he that is against, he that gathers with Me and he that scattereth"; Two types of people as He observes it, no middle road. The others took a big step today declaring for public consumption the work of the Kingdom as the "lord of the flies/dung" doing. They are now against Him and seeking to scatter His supporters. They are perhaps more dangerous than the demons themselves. Even among His supporters, if all you get from this discourse is a polite or feminist appreciation for the womb that bore Jesus, you have missed a huge spiritual point.
August27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:11:29-32 NO SIGN GIVEN - It can't just be evil to ask for a sign, it is evil that after everything that they've seen and heard that there hasn't been a movement toward repentance, that after all this they have not been convinced to turn. Those that have repented in antiquity did so based on less information from lesser sources. What keeps them from repenting? Evil. John placed it that they loved their darkness more than His light. The message is that they have seen everything that they need to see in order to believe and repent but they won't. Is this particular to this generation? Or is it a result of this generation being the one Jesus physically stood before? This is a rejection of Him and His physical presence kjv@Isaiah:53. Had Jesus stayed off in the prophetical and the theoretical distance, had He been an idea safe enough in the future tense people would not have had such an adverse reaction to Him. Even nowadays, where there is so much debate and academic criticism, it is not the same despising rejection as there was that once; He is no longer real enough to us for it to matter. Repentance today is something one offers another for having made an injurious mistake not a realization the entire direction one has spiritually been on in relation to God is wrong. We no longer hold that God has been injured or that God is any different than any of us in right or property or expectation. Oh we need repentance no doubt, but who is to say that we wouldn't have already repented had we not seen and heard the things observed by that generation while He stood in person. While we pride ourselves in our literacy and deductive reasoning, so much of what Jesus leisurely did daily so abruptly defied any explanation, we would be fish completely out of water on the occasions these crowds had. Now there will be a generation soon to come, we already see the evidences approaching (as did Paul) that men will completely be lovers of themselves, reprobate in every detail. That also will be a generation pivotal to the prophetic fulfillment. It is the faith of our Lord that during this meantime we will take every advantage to spreading His gospel, while there are ears eager and hearts accepting and directions that are turntable. There is a sign in each and everything to be seen; signs enough for a great plenty. We have this sign of Jonah completed by His resurrection. Should we still yet not believe/repent we would not be such an evil generation as a tragic one.
August28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:11:33-36 THAT THEY WHICH COME IN MAY - See the light. The whole purpose of the man lighting the candle is for they that come in seeing it. It does not say for them to see their way around the room or so they don't stub their toe. Here are some facts about the light Jesus speaks of: Jesus is the light kjv@John:8:12, the light of the world kjv@John:9:5. Believe in the light that ye may be children of the light kjv@John:12:36, he that follow Me shall have the light of this world kjv@John:8:12. He that doeth truth cometh to the light that his deeds may be made manifest kjv@John:3:21, he stumbles not because he seeth the light of this world kjv@John:11:9. Take heed therefore that the light that is in you is not darkness kjv@Luke:11:35. There are many so called lights and enlightenment's. Not one of them do truth seekers come to to have their deeds made manifest nor where their belief is based upon what one person has done for them not what they have done for Him or themselves. Our eye must be single individually, collectively, for the purpose of those that come in to see His light. Focused on the insufficiency of our works and the supreme sufficiency of His. He is the light. The candle is not lit that those that come in can see "oh look they are doing supremely sufficient works now" rather "my works fail as well" and "this Lord may have done supremely sufficient for me as well". The eye will then feed this light to the body, the whole shall be full of light. Evil and darkness are tied to our works, light and fullness to His. Can you imagine the faith of our Lord that there will be all sorts of His children about His side filled with His light? From what was darkness of their own insufficiency into light of His total sufficiency? Works having been made manifest and surrendered to His great work? The joy He must anticipate on their faces as He brings them into the presence of His glorious Father? Sets before these His children their eternal inheritance? So now, when the others come in (and they will), what will they see from you? Your works or His? Your light or His? One last: quote kjv@Matthew:5:16. Do they glorify the Father because of our good works? Or that our eye and body being so filled with His light has produced now a spiritual fruit? His doing within us?
August29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:11:37-54 RAVENING AND WICKEDNESS - Esteemed Theophilus, so that you don't get swept away with this liberal notion of a gentile passive peaceful ecumenical Unitarian type of Jesus, you will recall that I mentioned twice now a light is not lit to be hid... that in His light men's works will be manifest... well welcome to the making manifest side of Jesus! Jesus is invited to dinner, remember that, He is their guest. The pharisee did not see the freight train heading his way. Jesus ties His hosts (the leading parties of this temple generation) to the blood guiltiness going all the way back to Abel. Another man, a scribe, takes offence at the implied association of scribes to the pharisees; Jesus pours it on even harder. The blood of the prophets is required at these men's hands. And there will be more prophets by the end that will be added to their account; namely Jesus Himself. There is no reason for us to believe that Jesus did not mean exactly what He said. If so it is shockingly profound as to the history we have recorded of Israel, it's true nature and the direction of it's religious leadership all of this time. What is interesting is the reaction to this; peppering Him with every type of question to draw Him out with things they can use against Him. It is a tactic to take the offensive without mounting the slightest defense; they believe that in the public's eye that they have that advantage... and they are right. Ravening and wickedness have been quite effective for them all this time, there are challenges publicly, but certainly not reason not to press hard at Jesus now. What is not explained is how Jesus walked away from this in one piece or on what note the gathering ended. The faith of our Lord is not about being peaceable and gentle it is about being true to God's word. Liberal theologians who confuse Jesus with Gandhi or a dove of peace have a much different version of Jesus than does Luke. If these men are what Jesus says they are there is no way that He is going to stay silent; not for the sake of politeness, not for the sake of His hosts, not for the sake of bringing all sides together for a big pow wow. Call the spade what it is... especially when the case is so clear, has been for so long, and the blood of your many servants is to be accounted for.
August30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:12:1-12 IN THE MEANTIME - You will recall that Jesus had sent the seventy out in advance to every town that He would Himself go. Now that He is going there are much larger crowds; innumerable onlookers. Add to that the common people are hearing of the clash between Jesus and the religious/political elite and that they (those in power) are publicly now going out of their way to try to bring Jesus down. The crowds are huge. How one could speak and project to such a crowd I do not know unless one focuses more so on the twelve primary disciples. Jesus is repeating several frequent messages from earlier, the leaven of hypocrisy, nothing being hidden, whom to fear, the worth of a soul, the unpardonable sin, the teaching of the Holy Spirit in perilous times. It may be that He wants it recorded what was said so that the pharisees can not manufacture their own tale of what He was saying leading up to His arrest. Jesus is far ahead of their plans by preparing crowds for Himself and the crowds are producing by the spectical undeniable interest all the region over. Luke is making it a point to follow up the dinner time explosion with an immediate continuation of attack regarding the hypocrisy, secretiveness, tactics of intimidation, trail and persecution that will be resorted to by these raveness and wicked combatants identified specifically out from the synagogues/magistrates/powers. Just as they are coming against Him they will soon enough come after His disciples as well. The faith of the Lord has already prepared itself for the battle ahead in many respects, but at the same time is being totally open and observant of the impromptu teachings/directions of the Holy Spirit. It is an interesting logistical parallel observed that we might miss if not keeping in mind in a fuller context. There is now building an innumerable amount of witnesses; whether they remain true will be the interesting thing to watch. It is an especially important time to beware of the leaven for it swells the entire loaf quick.
August31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:12:13-21 RICH TOWARD GOD - To be rich with God is advisable no matter one's situation. Both problems identified here began with a material abundance; a family inheritance and a bringing forth of plenty. Covetousness often denotes fraudulence. In the case of the younger brother he is legally allowed one third; Jesus is not going to be manipulated into crossing over the law. In the case of the hoarder we are left to assume that something about his plenty is at the expense of others or people in his hire. Being rich does not preclude the rich man from an eternal spiritual abundance, the method and mindset that he allows himself to become his pathway does. This notion we are all guilty of in various forms. The soul can easily become servant to the possessions (accumulation, storage, usage, security) and not God nor what God is trying to do toward our sanctification. kjv@Colossians:3:5 associates covetousness with a specific form of idolatry right along with some other destructive sins of desire. Prosperity is often tied culturally with a blessing from above, a sign that one is doing something right and rewarded. Prosperity is indeed from God, however, we observe in scripture that it can in some cases be at the expense any future reward in heaven when the heart becomes insulated by these things from God. What then is required of the soul? That should be the first and most obvious question. It is not covetousness to prepare for the future, it is covetous to put it between you and God, have it steal your/others relationship with Him today. It is not covetousness to store away for a rainy day, it is to have the notion consume everything you do and say. Healthier it is to say that whether in plenty or in little that each thing is God's, from Him and for His glory. Be faithful in the smaller things, He will trust you in larger things. Seek first His kingdom and righteousness and these things will be added. Lay not treasures for yourself here on earth where moth and rust destroys. That fact that Jesus tells us all to take heed is a sign of His hope. The faith of our Lord trusts that it is within our power by His light that we can take heed and beware to overcome this tendency within all of us. It is all in our relationship to Him.
September1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:12:22-34 THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE - We surely know by now how important the heart is in the overall plan of scripture. Looking back on all the many examples of the Old Testament we've seen how the heart of a people waxes cold without much effort. It is almost the natural course to harden and takes special protracted effort to keep (on ours/God's part) to sustain any level of softening for any length of time. On both an individual level and as a nation we see how important the heart is in God's way of thinking and how He looks upon it to get to the truth of any matter. Where is the heart? Here Jesus says that it is with whatever you treasure. One could say "but I don't treasure one particular things, I have various interests, mostly people and family". Perhaps though we should re-examine how central to our core elements such as food and clothing and shelter fit into our relationship with God. Mostly He is something completely separate from these other elements, the control of these constant pursuits are difficult to blindly hand over. It is not that we don't have to make an effort towards these things, toil as Adam because of the curse, it is that we cannot allow them to be the things that harden us. Because they will. They always will. The moment after God performs something great in our lives we are likely to miss the onions back in our captivity in Egypt. The battle after the battle won by God will be the one that we try to win on our own. We will presume to be living by faith, but in these elemental areas proceed with confidence but one in God's provision. All these things the nations of the world seek. It is our Father's pleasure to give us the Kingdom. However, it takes a good measure of trust, a good measure of discipline, a good measure of obedience, a good measure of prudence and stewardship, planting/watering/harvesting. Most of all it take focus on God. To treasure God and His provision more than all and to work as for Him and His glory with thankfulness and a solid sense of His sufficiency. Much of what we worry about is out beyond that which we truly need. God will often lead us through a wilderness surviving on manna before leading us to land of milk and honey. It is likely that we will want to skip over the discipline of trust and obedience to get to the point of immediate plenty. These are the provisions that we inescapably tend to squander knowing not how to make best use of them. Israel squandered the promise land several times over. The faith of our Lord is in the heart. The heart has it's problems, but the heart can be true, it can be sincere, it can be focused. Our time here is a time to be spent becoming this type of heart.
September2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:12:35-48 HE COMETH AND KNOCKETH - The Lord is portrayed as a lord returning from a wedding and a thief breaking in at an unexpected time depending on which side of His judgement you fall under. Deeper yet the goodman taken by surprise and the man quickly answering at the first knock both seem to be believers. The believer that knows what is expected and doesn't do it is found in a situation worse than a non-believer. Peter asks if this meant just the disciples or all believers. The response is anyone that follows after the Lord. The Lord expects to find us waiting for His return, to be watching for His return, preparing oneself ahead of His return, being responsive the moment He first knocks. This follows a passage where we are told to treasure the things in heaven and not worry for our daily needs. Why? because they keep us from being on this type of watch, they lead us to distraction and distortion. It is the faith of our Lord that this burden He expects from us is actually a lighter burden than we make for ourselves when the priorities are kept straight. Otherwise He will come as a thief and a portion with the unbeliever will be appointed. Think of this when considering what fearful rights the Lord brings with Him at His return.
September3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:12:49-53 BUT RATHER DIVISION - Okay.. Let us size up the human heart. Jesus the Son of God comes, dies for our sins, raises the third day fulfilling all prophecy, ascends with the stamp of approval from the Father, fills our heart with His forgiveness and His Holy Spirit, heaven and earth and life and death there for the choosing. Everyone jumps on board, right? Wrong! As John would later say "the light came into the darkness" "they loved the darkness rather than the light". Let us size up the human mind. Jesus teaches through simple parable the mysteries of God, reveals the plan and will of God, one need only the mind of a child to understand. Every one understands, right? Wrong! As Paul later said "the cross of Jesus is utter foolishness to the wise of this world". What then shall we conclude is the state of man's heart? One psalmist asks "Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing" (see kjv@Psalms:2). The prophet asks "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?" (kjv@Isaiah:53). Peter states "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you". Jesus does not seek to be at peace with (tolerate/excuse) man's evil heart, He seeks to cleanse and restore it and while that is happening there "will" be sharp division. Can you think of one other single division any sharper? If three out of five family members do not want His operation on their hearts, three out of five are going to be belligerent to the two that do. If three out of five academics have disdain for the beautiful logic contained, three are going to belittle the two. If three of five nations regard the gospel of Jesus a blasphemous corruption of Mohamed's holy truth, three will war against two. The faith of our Lord is not in a peace here and now, the human heart is in no condition for such peace; peace then is not the first objective. The faith of our Lord is in all of this putrid rottenness being being flushed out, painfully/shamefully exposed, being proven ill, allowed it's full degenerate course; that it be used to prove and purify His follower's sincerity and faith; that at His triumphant second coming all wickedness be once and for all judged and put to end. Then and only then will the human heart be transformed and ready. Then comes His intended and planned for peace!
September4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:12:54-59 THE FACE OF THE SKY - To put this in context we have the time of division flushing out the wickedness of men being used as a sure sign of the spiritual climate and times of fulfillment, a stern testing by our great adversary the accuser of the brethren, a debt owed to the last farthing if not covered by the blood of Jesus. The test of faith is not only seeing the times at hand and knowing what must be done, but being found doing what must be done when our Lord finally comes. It may be asked why in the end when the Lord knocked many did not open the door unto Him. Shall the answer be that they knew well the times, knew well the thing needing to be done, but delayed in the doing and now must face or hide from the terrible truth? kjv@Deuteronomy:32:29 "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!". kjv@Acts:2:40 "...save yourselves from this untoward generation". kjv@Acts:13:26-38 "... be it known unto you therefore men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins". kjv@Luke:12:57 "... why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?". The faith of our Lord sees of His Father all righteousness being fulfilled and therein the cause and direction of the turbulent weather all about us. All things work hand in hand to achieve His eternal purpose. His faith sees the Father's hand leading Him to His cross and the same hand leading His followers through the trying maze of hostile divisions and adversarial tribulations by the light of that same cross. Yet this storm to shall pass, the Sun of righteousness shall rise, the clouds of doubt shall be mightily put to rest for those that continue in His path.
September5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:13:1-9 CUT DOWN - To what extent is God involved in catastrophe or mayhem? There may not be as much here in this passage as we'd like there to be for a complete theory. We know that even the hairs on our head are numbered and not a sparrow falls without His knowing. Somewhere we get the notion that these things are a punishment from God or that these people were sinners. It doesn't say that though does it? What it does say is about Israel the fig tree expected to produce fruit. This may be what a fruitless tree looks like; lunatic vengeful leaders and poor building codes, inspection and code enforcement. Who is to say that these Galileans weren't believers as Jesus spent so much time preaching in that area? We are looking for Jesus to answer the question on the small micro scale and He rather answers it on the macro. This is what one must expect when they turn their backs collectively on their God. They make bad decision, they become civilly corrupt, they are lead by tyrants and it is all because of their action and inaction, their faithlessness. This does not completely answer the tornado hurricane issue. It cuts through some preliminary issue however. The faith of our Lord is focused on big pictures, pictures behind pictures, pictures within pictures, knowing how things work and how they don't.
September6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:13:10-17 WHOM SATAN HATH BOUND - Jesus has said that He can only do what He sees the Father do. He sees the Father loosening here. #G630 The word means to send away, divorce, pardon. The woman goes one direction and the infirmity goes the other. The more classical view is that God would be causing infirmity either because she is a sinner or because there is a break down in His genetic codes. If we go back one passage to Jesus' talk regarding catastrophe and mayhem, the context may be that this is what it looks like having a fruitless tree. You will recall in the wilderness for forty years people did not get sick, their clothes did not fray, their shoes even did not wear. When they were in God's complete care infirmity did not appear. As they have removed themselves from God's complete care infirmity abounds more and more. You will recall all the many quotes through the prophets that God has always been willing to heal Israel if they would just keep things straight. Like with the collapse of the towers innocent people may be caught under societies rubble. In fallen societies (from God's view) normal sexual inhibitions lessen, diets change, fears of pain and infirmities and deformities and bad deaths rise and thus odd prescriptions and remedies worsen the situation, medicines and surgeries are mis-prescibed, the entire course of affairs have dire affects upon what was otherwise made to work by God's command. It is an environment dominated by abject fear. Worse yet the door is left wide open for Satan to operate at his will. If God's will is not being followed, whose other will is strong enough? Does this mean that this woman was a devil worshiper? Probably not. Does this mean that she was a sinner? Well we all are. Why are we not all folded over? When so much of God's creation works so well as designed, when it does not these relatively few times (and there is no apparent reason why it shouldn't have) it should be a sign that we have as a society left the door open to another's will. It is not as easy as any one person reaching up and closing that door, it is opened by the whole, it effects the whole, it is closed by the Lord when He sees fit (re-establishes a final closure) for the whole. We also have Israel receiving a double measure sworn from the Lord. God's blessings to us are magnified in them for our observation; so too His curses. Israel was given something Holy to possess: His Commandments, His Covenant, His Name, His Temple, His Seed. Moses warned them of how such blessings would turn to curse should they not fulfill their obligations to that covenant. We today possess a similar (extended) form of that covenant in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Should we not expect the same double measure or more should we as a group neglect so great a salvation as well? Jesus appears to be walking in an extraordinary time of infirmity and demonic possession. The fruitless tree as a whole is rotted from the core outward. Yet for now, His work was being done on a smaller individual level because that is what He saw the Father as doing. It is not the time yet to remove all sickness because it is not a time yet where we have all come back to HIM. The holiness of His that we hold is yet held by defiled and idle hands. That this miraculous and instantaneous healing was done on Sabbath better states the idleness that prevails week long because of defiled (dead) religious traditions. The faith of our Lord is simply beyond our capacity to understand; our perception of it is too short sighted if not blind. Signs and indications that we should be seeing as messages and proofs are seen rather as God abandoning us. The big picture healing for mankind is not as instantaneous; it has taken several thousand years already to develop. And each one of us (believer and non-believer) are swallowed up in that plan till it comes to full fruition. That it hasn't already is a sign of the size and scope of the problem.
September7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:13:18-21 BRANCHES OF IT - The Kingdom resembles the planting of a mustard seed. There is a interpretive practice of scriptural consistency that when scripture uses a picture type like a mustard seed or leaven the picture type is always the same, it does not change meaning. There is also an interesting consistency with the fowls of the air that you should search out. The seed is somewhat tricky because it is associated else where with the "Word" and with faith and with the Kingdom. The three can be thought of as one thing. The kingdom is built upon the Word, faith is built upon and is in the Kingdom Word, it can be said the kingdom is built upon those who have faith in the Word. Leaven however is always associated with corruption. The kingdom is not built upon corruption nor can it be corrupted nor is it hidden, but there is a direct attempt by many at making it appear corrupted to those that would have faith. One way to do that is to put the emphasis on one's faith and not the word or the kingdom. Another is to produce a glorying in the traditional articles and bureaucracies of an outward faith. Another way is to cast doubt upon the whole by puffing up what it should be and then deflating it what it is currently not. That these two parables are placed in the larger context of a mis-understanding of mayhem and infirmity framed by a fruitless tree of Israel and it's widespread resistance to that which would make it fruitful shows the depth to which the Lord's work is having to go to move forward. The faith of our Lord is strongly placed in the Kingdom. It would seem rather easy for Him given the extent of man's depravity to give it up. The kingdom/word/faith He believes in so strongly to be our answer, He is willing to give His life to make it happen. Of all His miracles this future accomplishment will be by far His greatest. Now find the placement of those pesky fowls and you will have the more complete picture.
September8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:13:22-30 THRUST OUT - If the question presented is how few will be saved, the answer given is to just make sure that you are one of those who do enter. No number is given, we are told that many will not be able to enter. Why not? One common belief today is that all people will make it through. This presupposes that God wants the next life to be just the same as this life, we are free to be and do and believe whatever we want and will therefore spend eternity suffering these same consequences. Another common belief is that only good people will make it through and that this can be any good person of any good faith. This presupposes that Jesus' death and resurrection was not necessary and that Jesus is a liar about nearly everything He taught and said, but oddly His lies may have produced the will in some to do good. A view held by the people in this parable is that because they ate with Him and He taught in their cities that this brief familiarity should suffice for entry. It would be like us today saying because we greeted each other in an elevator you should consider me as friend that you know or that because my Grandmother believed I should be proxied. The thing that strikes me is that suddenly these people realize that they have to get in through the gate to the master. Suddenly they storm the gate demanding concessions from the master. Suddenly there is weeping and gnashing of teeth for seeing who does enter. In the case of these Jews those entering are those that they themselves presumed to be in league with but were not. What a terrible crashing down of all that you've believed in. They are called workers of iniquity. Is there any good that can be worked without God Himself working it? Is there any good that be worked if the work of Jesus Christ is denied or lessened, commingled or distorted? Is there any good that can be worked that in the end still must call/demand upon the concessions of God? Mercy is not a concession to allow one to remain the way that they are. Mercy is a person that is a "stand in" substitution receiving the penalty better deserved to us. The faith of our Lord is in being this stand in substitution for us without which we will in no wise enter into His Kingdom. There is no other good work than that. Separate yourself from that and you have essentially thrust your own self out the gateway of His Kingdom.
September9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:13:31-35 PERFECTED - At first I was having a difficult time finding much to go on in this passage. I am now wondering why certain Pharisees would want Jesus high tailing it the other way. Jesus doesn't really come down on them. There is certainly enormous pressure building up as Jesus has publicly announced His intentions to go to Jerusalem, He has sent many disciples out ahead to the towns that He will go through to get there. These Pharisees use Herod as the reason for the warning, but it could well be their fear of Herod's reaction upon them that they fear the most. Herod has recently killed several Galileans in the Temple and mixed their blood with the daily sacrifice; a vivid message meant for the Temple elite, not so much for Jesus. It is essentially the Herods' temple built for the Jews. Jesus' reply may never make it back to Herod as it would put it's messengers in an impossible even deadly position. No, the Pharisees are going to have to come up with a better plan. Jesus will not back down and is probably amused by this most transparent effort. The faith of our Lord is moving ahead toward His completed work. As much pressure as there is from all sides round Him, as much as that pressure now is intensifying to a head, He is not phased nor distracted. Fearless? In many respects, but not without a painful nervousness (the weight of doing this Himself for the world) that needs to be prayed over. He'll soon be sweating blood. It is better understood as obedience beyond any measure.
September10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:14:1-14 WHEN THOU ART BIDDEN - Jesus is bidden to a Sabbath feast by a local Pharisee. There is an interesting relationship between some Pharisees and temple leaders with Jesus. They (some) do on the surface appear to be hospitable to Him. Why? The answer may appear in His teachings that day. First comes the healing before He even enters. He likely does not plan for such events, but is prepared to take hold of the opportunities when presented. His mission even on Sabbath is to rescue lost souls from the pit contrasted by the Pharisee seeking to leisure with His guests. Next, Jesus speaks of a guest that abases himself so as not to be shamed. What an odd thing to point out if there were not those in the room habitually doing exactly the opposite. Then, He addresses the host that invites only top level guests with the hope of return invitations. Was it that Jesus was invited to be the hosts' spot light presentation (the draw) to his well connected guests? No doubt that the afternoon's conversation was a bit uncomfortable Jesus having set the tone. Just imagine how the conversation went after He departed. Self exaltation verses self abasement is really the issue. Most everything the host and other guests are doing is to exalt themselves. Self exaltation may be the biggest problem we have today with our younger generations and why they feel so imposed upon regardless; because they view themselves as so much above it (the real world that is). One that lifts him/herself to any higher measure than reality will bare will naturally be put upon by anything lesser, things that they feel they're above. Those that abase themselves are truly lifted because real world matters are not bringing them down, matters are seen as opportunities especially concerning our help to others. Job once said "I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame". What a wonderful viewpoint. He was able to be that because he was focused on the needs of others around him, not focused on how to take another step up the social ladder. The faith of our Lord is in accepting when bidden, even when bidden by those who will very soon sentence Him. It is going into places that He knows if all be said that He is not welcome, a room filled with ulterior motives and dishonest gamesmanship. He is the bird and they are the fowler setting the trap' yet He holds to what is true and right.
September11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:14:15-24 MEN WHICH WERE BIDDEN - It is somewhat of a pious assumption by the one guest that he'd be eating bread in the kingdom of God. Sure as a practicing Jew he is invited and he seems sure that he will/has accepted such an momentous invitation. What if the true honoree of that kingdom feast was this same radical rogue that is stirring up all this frenzy that he is talking down to at this very time? Would he be so willing to accept that invitation? He seems to have a vivid picture of what the kingdom feast will be and who all will be there; that picture probably doesn't include this Jesus fellow let alone this Jesus being the for whom this banquet is set. The guests have been bidden for some time, they are planning on it. Now that it is time and every thing is ready they see that this feast is not acceptable and so of one consent they make their excuse not to attend; lame excuses at that. The servants ready message is really the guests second bidding. You can imagine if you had prepared for certain guests and now with one consent they have all backed out on you. You would know that they are sending you a uniform message of blatant conspiring disrespect. The man may feel confident that he will be eating at a feast, but not this God's feast. A second group of the needy and crippled is invited and even a third compelled to come. Those men bidden that conspired not to come because it would involve coming to Jesus will not taste of His supper. Now that description doesn't match all Jews, just all that when all is prepared and ready still reject Jesus. The faith of our Lord is that the kingdom will be filled, maybe not with those whom He first invited, but those who will surely appreciate and come when bidden.
September12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:14:25-35 HE THAT HATH EARS - How does the salt losing it's savor fit in with the bearing of one's cross? Counting the cost before hand makes perfect sense. Putting Him before all else makes perfect sense. I would think that most of us would say that we are doing that. The question though is are we really? There is a great multitude of people going along with Jesus. You would think that it would be encouraging to see these numbers right now walking the final distance with Christ, but the numbers do not reflect the sincerity, the true understanding and commitment to the true cause, the lasting type of solidarity and sacrificial devotion of each heart there. Only the seventy, perhaps only the twelve disciples, have paid the first installment of the initial investment. Translate that into today and the hard numbers are probably much the same unbalanced ratio good salt to un-savored salt. The problem with the un-savored salt is that it didn't before hand count the cost, it went about being both salt and everything else at the same time. The problem with that is now that they think that they are good salt how do you tell them any different? They have the best of both worlds and no need to be any thing different. Spiritually though it doesn't have anything to do with what they now have, it has to do with what all they have forsaken. I can imagine the sight of this multitude crossing the horizon as one large caravan in the heat of the day. I can imagine one of the twelve disciples looking over the ridge and seeing even more, thinking that this is all looking good; more like what he had imagined to see all along. I can imagine Jesus knowing that disciple's encouragement, pulling him aside and filling Him in on the harsher truth of the matter. The faith of our Lord knows that there is a long way for the heart of man to go before there is a caravan this big of real disciples. Numbers may be impressive to those watching on, but it is the condition of the heart of each one in that number that matters most to this Savior. His faith is invested forward toward that day. What a different number that disciple/Apostle will see stretching over the horizon in the triumphant Christ's glory!
September13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:15:1-7 NINETY AND NINE JUST PERSONS - There are two forms of justification here, those who are justified by Christ the Righteous Servant and those that are justified by the law. As much as the Pharisees and Scribes are convinced that they are justified by the law, Jesus has shown the Pharisees and Scribes as hypocrites and sorely missing the mark called for by the law. They often transgress the law in the very same breath that they are trying to fulfill the it. The is the position all men are in. When Jesus says ninety and nine just He is not talking about men that are justified by the law, He is talking about men whom presume themselves to have met it, whom have been proven not to have met it and yet insist that they have met it. They are in quite the predicament. Why would the Great Shepherd rejoice over their insolent unresponsive hearts? Why would He not leave them to go find the one that has drifted out of their hardened pack and rejoice? Why would He not put the new found believer on His shoulders, carry Him proudly, make a joyful proclamation to all? It is not that Jesus sits with sinners and publicans, it is that He sits with people who see the pack for what they really are, who leave or refuse to go along with the pack in the first place, that are sinners just like those in the pack, who are willing to entertain the notion of Christ, who are willing to accept the promise of His salvation, who are willing to turn from their hardened ways and become Christ's. It is a very large number of people who think that they are above this business of Christ compared that to those that become found. Notice that they did not find Him; He went out and found them. The faith of our Lord does not see justification the way most of us do; it is something that He does for them, not something they do for themselves. Try as you might not to have to need Him, one must be lost before they are found.
September14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:15:8-10 LIKEWISE JOY IN THE PRESENCE - The Angels of God have a similar reaction to the repentance of one sinner as the Lord. The Lord is proud enough to announce His finding to them. You would think sinner after sinner the joy of all in heaven would become just common place. How is this that it could remain such a big event each time? I guess it is that we do not really understand the depths of sin that we are in. We under appreciate the bond that Christ feels for the lost sinner and the obstacles and difficulties presented in bringing one soul back. We little conceive of just how valuable each soul is and the future plans He has for all. Certainly He has paid a great deal more than we will every know to have this opportunity. That He would pay that amount, that He would rejoice that amount, that His Angels would rejoice that amount, that this would be the case each and every time tells us a lot about what we don't know about ourselves and our future with Him and just the type of savior He is. The faith of our Lord is wondrous and mysterious. There is much that He sees in all of this that we have very little sense of. Sensing that there are others along with Him that can appreciate and share in what He sees is most encouraging.
September15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:15:11-32 A CERTAIN MAN HAD TWO SONS - Who are these sons? One son has served his dad all this time and has not transgressed his command. Every thing the dad yet possess is this son's. That takes every man/woman that I know out of the running. This son complains about the celebratory nature of his brother's return. The other son takes his inheritance in advance, squanders it, falls upon difficult times. This son would portray every single human in relation to God. This particular man realizes the error of his way and goes back to the dad even if to be a servant. This would portray every believer. So if one son is all people and the other is none, who is the other son? Who has not transgressed and retains their rightful inheritance that would now be confused and upset about the prodigal return of all repentant believing men? We heard in the previous parts of this discourse about the Angels rejoicing when a lost sinner is brought back by the Good Shepherd. Are all Angels that have not transgressed and still retain their rightful inheritance happy about mankind's celebrated return (unproven return) from such carnal reprobacy? I would say yes the Angels are happy, but with conscious effort. If this interpretation is true it would also suggest that the merriment amongst friends (like believers) is another area of initial angelic contention. It is better understood as the joy of the dad for the sons return being enjoyed amongst them rather than the friends carousing at the dad's expense. The faith of our Lord not only has to deal with the hearts and sincere feelings of men, but also of the Heavenly host. It would be easy for the dad to become so consumed by the actions of the lost son so as to diminish the sincerity and loyalty of the other. The righteousness of our Lord is that His mind/designs is always on both.
September16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:16:1-15 WISER THAN CHILDREN OF LIGHT - Being wise did not make the unjust servant just. It got him no further than a commendation and an awkward place in a parable. So what is it that Lord is commending and wanting us to see as the example? Spiritually speaking, is the steward in the business of collecting other's debt or relieving it with the Lord's goods? The difference between being just and unjust may come down to the man's perception of this very point. The oddity of this passage is that He says "when ye fail". Servants will fail their Lord; fail in the small things, fail in the large. Many fail for fear of failing. Many will fail for letting the others skate by or trying to collect from the for one's own gain instead of applying the goods toward full relief (two masters). Failure apparently is tied into which of the two possible directions men most esteem. We often limit ourselves into being failures instead of risk our way into successful obedience. Risk may be at times going against that which is more esteemed. The faith of our Lord is much about our stewardship of His goods in service to His business interests here on earth. There is a debt that many others still owe. It is the stewards job to take the spiritual goods of the Lord and relieve the spiritual debt of the others. If His goods are wasted on something else then the steward will be called to accounts and his stewardship may be at jeopardy. We are the Lord's stewards just as this man was. Our best advantage is to be trust worthy at all times beginning with the smallest things including mammon. At various times we will fail that calling (wasting or re-purposing it mainly). Our second best advantage is to go back to proper stewardship of goods versus debt and at least do something in that direction. There is also the danger of despising the service to the Lord because of what it takes away from the more pleasurable forms of wasting and profiting and worldly esteem.
September17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:16:16-18 UNTIL JOHN - If the Law and the prophets were until John what is it about the Law and prophets that does not end? The Law could only save a person if they were able to keep it in it's entirety which no person ever was able to do. A person could continue to squabble as did the Pharisees over the best interpretation of the many details of the Law, but that would get them no closer to salvation which comes only in Jesus. Squabbling make in fact drag them further away. The Law does not end because all of those without Jesus still remain under the lordship of the law to keep it in it's entirety. Those under the lordship of Jesus have the Law fulfilled in Him by grace as a gift. What no one could do, Jesus does for them that believe in Him. Does that mean that believers do not have to keep the Law? No, that means a believer is not condemned by everything he doesn't yet know/understand/interpret correctly about the Law. The Law has brought him to the awareness of the need for Christ, now that he has Christ the Law is to keep him in remembrance of his continuing need. Adultery remains adultery, murdering is murder, to covet covetousness, the love of one God Yahweh and no other god before Him all things hold true. What has changed is that all the divisive striving in the Law has been superseded by a new personal relationship with the King of all Glory. The faith of our Lord is focused on the heart of the believer, if the heart be focused back on Him. If the heart be negligent on this one thing first, the heart has no way of pursuing the rest.
September18 @ @ RandyP comments: devo[FaithOfJesus} kjv@Luke:16:19-31 A GREAT GULF - There are a great many that believe that if the evidence were strong enough their minds would be changed about the Gospel of Salvation. Perhaps a tormented soul back from the dead. Perhaps a comforted soul from Abraham's bosom. Truth be told, the mind only sees what it wants to see. Take the condition of Lazarus. We chose to see his suffering in this life as a reward for sin, a curse upon him, a proof of his idiocy. Take the rich man living sumptuously. Wealth and health are a sign of God's blessing upon him, that he is rewarded for his goodness, favor is upon him, that he is doing something right that Lazarus is not. Take the general concept of sickness and/or poverty, that if you are doing as God commands that these horrors will be kept from you. This is the way that we choose to see it. The problem with evidences and proofs is that there is always more needed. It is not a condition of the mind; it is a condition of the heart and what it is willing to hear and believe. There is plenty of evidence in Moses (his life, the Exodus he lead, the wilderness experience, the Law) and the prophets (their words, their works, their fulfillment, their reception, their establishment in the scriptures/history long after their decease) to be more than convinced of something much more than hand of man. Yet the mind does not go that direction. Even those that were their with Moses or Elijah or Jeremiah at the time, they had little conception of what was transpiring before their eyes and murmured and conspired and persecuted. The curiosity of this parable tends to draw us toward the after life side of the equation when we should rather be looking at the present living side of it; how we rationalize sickness and poverty and wealth and prominence etc...; how we testify against ourselves in the midst of divine movements and revelation. The five brethren are the many of us and this life we still enjoy is the only chance we have to resolve these conditions of our heart. The faith of our Lord is in this heart and in everything He has put forth past present and future to turn it from it's disbelieving ways. More important than knowing what happens to us after our death is how we come to perceive things in this life and learn to depend upon Him to cross the immediate vast gulf.
September19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:17:1-10 FAITH AS A MUSTARD SEED - What does this mustard seed size faith look like? Does it not look like the servant simply plowing or feeding the cattle at his master's command? Doing that which is our duty to do? So if in the course of doing that which we commanded an obstacle outside of our control was in the way of us performing that assigned duty, because we are ultimately doing the task as told, we could if need be demand to the obstacle that it remove itself and it would. The faith is in the master and accomplishment of his command. The obstacle moving is only that, it is yielding to the master's authority. How else does the faith seed look? It is operating in forgiveness inspired by the forgiveness of our Maker upon us. Regardless of the number of times called upon it is given. Rebuke in many cases is wise (see: Proverbs), but forgiveness always required. It is not a matter of taking heed to the offender, it is taking heed to one's self. It may be better for the gross offender to be drown in the sea (similar to where the obstacle was removed), however that offender could well be you if you were not to forgive. Should we think that we are owed a reward from the Master for performing this faith consider that is only doing that which we had been commanded. Many people would think of this mustard seed faith as a positive energy or strong willed determination. If so, could not the offending man in the sea say to the millstone "be thou removed", climb the sycamore tree back out to safety, then call upon you to forgive him another 499 times? The faith of our Lord is in the obedience of His servants to the tasks He has assigned. If something/someone stands in the way of them performing that task, He has given them the authority to move many of these obstacles without having to go back and get His permission another time. It is nothing special or out of the ordinary if you knew the authority of this Master. The elements of faithful obedience (even the beginning seed) to the assigned task has to be present however. That is why this is told to His disciples.
September20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:17:11-19 SAVE THIS STRANGER - You just have to come to expect it. It happens all of the time even in our own lives. You have mercy on as many as you can and you are likely to see one (if any) of all of them return with a thanks or a nod or a hand shake or something; right. But, it is not really the reason you do any of it. You do it because it is the right thing to do. I can picture the ten men nearby, maybe on a bluff close to the city. Interesting that they would be there all together. I can picture Jesus with everything else that is going on around Him taking notice out of the corner of His eye. The whole moment has as much to say about the crowd as it does the ten men. Jesus had been down these roads before, He had healed a great many in the past; probably in this very spot. How many of those people had come out to the gates to glorify Him? Probably some...but the thousands? It is interesting that He sent these men on before fully healing them as if almost a test as to whether they would turn back. Did Jesus know beforehand which one would come back? He might, but we don't (and we never will). The one's that we would expect never seem to be the ones who do. He does not seem over upset about it; it just seems to be a point that He is making. One in ten... One hundred in a thousand... One thousand in 10k....those would be pretty good numbers if the math holds up. A Savior could probably pull those kind of numbers; not any of us. So what does that tell you about our natures? The faith of our Lord is not in numbers. If prophecy is true the numbers will eventually come. What is important for now is the quality of faith inside those numbers. Finally, for our own mercy's sake, this doesn't necessarily mean that the other nine were not made whole or that they weren't immediately thankful; it only tells us for certain how that they chose to/not to express it.
September21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:17:20-37 LIGHTNING - If you are looking for the Kingdom of God don't follow where others tell you to look, that it is a place, a political/economic system, a particular denomination or cult; the Kingdom is within/inside you. If you are looking for the second advent don't think that Jesus will slowly appear in California to re-establish a group of latter day followers, He will appear as a bolt of lightening from one end of the heavens to the other. This message is spoken throughout prophecy. The second coming is nothing like the first. It will not be "I wonder if this is so". It will be sudden immediate determined judgment (and not the final judgment even). If there is the time to think back on all of the possessions you will leave behind, don't do it. If there is a brief moment to turn and look back on your city, don't do it. This is not a "pull all the data together to finally decide" moment, this is a "decisions already been made and lived forward for sometime... now it's time to go" half second. This is not the light of regular lightning as well. A ray of light from one end of the physical heavens to the other would take billions of years to travel. This is the pinnings of space and time abruptly superseded by something much more powerful, something (shall we say "someone") at the same time snatching His followers up and away. How can this then be explained by those that do not get raptured up? The message and implications will be perfectly clear to them. If this in fact happens early in the tribulation as many believe, the ugly time that follows is the workings of God condemned souls that seek to put forward a full fledged rebellion against God. Not a few souls, nearly all, and with extreme hatred. The great deception may be that they actually think that they can stage this rebellion against God and win. The Anti Christ not only becomes anticipated but welcome. The flushing out of remaining nominal Christians and Jews by economic and legal means becomes number one priority. The mark of the beast is worn with extreme pride. A worldwide celebration remember is broadcast with people exchanging gifts when the final two great prophets are executed. How can any of this be possible unless such a vile defiance and "in your face God" rebellion has not become the absolute worldwide cause. The faith of our Lord is a tremendous thing when His love and mercy for us is considered. However at this particular unprecedented moment all things change like at no other moment (save Adam and Eve's perhaps). There will be no turning back, not for Him, not for believers, not for those left behind. His lightning is not a mere line drawn in the sand, it is a vast gulf that none can traverse save the relatively few tribulation saints. There will be a final final judgment. It will not be sudden. Everyone of these evil men will look back on this rebellion, and know that He is God, and will have only to bow their knee and confess Him as God before accepting their rightful eternal sentence. It is crazy how much of the picture we don't see that Jesus does.
September22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:1-8 ALWAYS PRAY - There is a nearly constant theme throughout the Old Testament of the just praying that God avenge them. Even in Revelations the martyrs under the throne are crying out "when". It may be something that we today miss as we look to the faith for prosperity and wellness, not to put us in a position of needing call upon God in our persecution to be avenged. Simply put, we at least in the west no longer have an adversary. Is that because there are no longer the unjust? Is that because the widow and orphaned and poor are so justly treated? Is that because the disadvantaged are so well off that we the just don't need to stick our nose into their business? Is that because the cause of God's righteousness is so widely excepted and welcome that the adversary is kept in his place? Jesus begins by saying "men out to pray and not faint". What have we today that we have to pray for other than our own comfort and self worth? What do we have that would cause us to faint if not for prayer? This widow? That poor man? The other persecuted elect? The prayers of David especially reflect a very interesting conflict, he himself being anointed being not able to lay his hand against another of God's anointed in hot pursuit. Much of what the early Christians suffered was from the other elect. Much of what the early reformists suffered was from within the church. Men ought always pray indeed, but that ought to be in a position of needing to pray as well. Not for prayer's sake, but for divine justice's sake. The faith of our Lord was always tried and tested. He put Himself in a position of needing to be avenged. He put His own self out there on behalf of those who are treated unjustly. His voice is the clearest of all those voices that have cried out and up, voices some to this day met above with only long-suffering for now.

September23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:9-14 TRUSTED THAT THEY WERE RIGHTEOUS - What does self righteousness have to do with despising others? Can you be self righteous and not despise others? Let's think it through closely. How is it that one can think himself righteous? He sees the faults of others and projects himself to be above that. He sees their works and judges them lacking. He sees their predicament and sees their blame. He sees their station in life and feels it well deserved. Does he not despise these others? Here then is the great commandment "love the Lord thy God because you are not a sinner and despise your neighbor because he is a low life. Okay, so maybe that is the extreme; let's take it down a notch. You are basically a good person because you have kept yourself from the types of issues that they are experiencing. You then are not blaming them so much as you are applauding yourself; right? What you are saying is that they are stupid for falling to such a thing, they are weak for not being as strong as you are. Let's turn it down yet another notch. How about "I came to believe in Jesus", "it was plain to see", "it suddenly made so much sense", "if you just search yourself it will come to you as well"? The truth is that the self righteous man gives himself a whole lot of credit where very little credit can be found. The self righteous man knows very little of the depths of the depravity within. He is disgusted by the depravity of others and puts himself above it when his type of depravity is perhaps the worst of them all. It is the depravity that keeps him from finding the need for God's mercy, from searching the righteous act of God performed for him on the cross, from accepting the payment made on his behalf for his depravity, from depending upon God's grace and nothing but. The faith of our Lord is in the man who knows that he is a sinner and is by God's hand ready to make a whole new start on more realistic terms. Self exaltation will be abased. The humbling of self will bring one closer to his/her exalted Lord.
September24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:15-17 SUCH IS THE KINGDOM - As adults we all come to the kingdom supposing our own terms. That the kingdom is this or that. That it will accomplish this and benefit fit in this way. That I have this to offer. That it will make me into that. Here a child is just handed over, doesn't know what to expect, has no preconceived notion of who this is or what it's reaction is supposed to be. Wrapped tight in its swaddling, closely protected by mom and dad, handed only to the aunts and grandmas and close trusted friends; well here is another trust-able face, Jesus. I don't know of any strict tradition, but I imagine that children were often handed to the rabbi and it may have been tied into some kind of a notion of a blessing. The fact that the parents are doing this may not be much more than evidence that they see Jesus as a rabbi and they are seeking His blessing. Jesus however is not addressing the parents, he is addressing the disciples and using the children as examples. Being received in the kingdom is much like being given into the hands of Jesus. We have very little concept of who He is and what it all means and certainly not the concept of blessing. We are consumed with intrigue and curiosity with the many features of this friendly increasingly familiar face, locked into the gentle tone of voice, giggling and slobbering with joyfulness. Our approach to Him as adults too often misses this much more natural organic childlike air. What do we really know? What do we really think? What do we really expect to bring to this table? The faith of our Lord is in something much more like what we have with our own children except now we are the child. The kingdom should not be full of children that have raised themselves and now have returned on their own terms and for their own benefits. Be today more like a child and allow others to be the same as well.
September25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:18-30 SAVE ONE - Is Jesus saying that He is not good? Is He saying that He is not God? Neither. He is speaking the ruler's hidden thoughts. The ruler is approaching Jesus and addressing Him as "good master" which if truth be told the ruler does not fully believe; not in the general sense of a local rabbi or high priest, not in the overall sense of Lord of Heavens. If so he would have dropped all that he had and followed. So why did he address Jesus as "good master" if he perceives Jesus neither good nor his master? Jesus said that none is good, save one, God. Not even the rabbis of the day were called good because it was doctrine that such a determination would put them on a level of God, which they weren't about to do. It was/is also their doctrine that there is not a triune godhead of Father/Son/Holy Spirit, even though they believe in Holy Spirit and the Seed (Righteous Servant). There must have been some suspicion on the man's part, reluctant yet curious that Jesus is attempting to expose. If Jesus means to say that He is not good/God He by implication is also saying that the Holy Spirit is not good/God either for only one is good implying the Father; and yet that would be blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Rather, He is saying that He is good/God as is the Father, as is the Holy Spirit. Further, as He is good/God then He is Master and need be surrendered to and revered as such. If the master has done such (forgone all His riches and glory) so then should his servant. Imagine a rich lord or barron with many servants that upon an approaching war leaves all his riches behind so as to fight the battle and asks his servants to come fight as well. Yet the servants do not let go of the lords possessions that they hold thus hindering their movements towards the battlefield. It is ridiculous to see an enlisted soldier attempt to fight while his arms are filled with silverware and fine tapestries. The rich ruler hardly realizes that his Good Master stands before him heading down the road to the greatest of all battles, the battle for all men's souls. This man is talking about obediently performing the daily household chores when his weary master is talking leaving it behind for now to join in the fight. Unfortunately, few of His servants are able to do that; none by their own terms. The faith of our Lord is not writing this man (nor any man) off, He is simply identifying the present dilemma. Those that have given up all things for the cause have done so by God having brought them through the eyes of the needle. If this man is to do it it will be by God's hand as well; the good triune God's hand.
September26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:31-34 ALL THE THINGS WRITTEN - Clearly the disciples do not understand. Is there anyone from those who had studied the scriptures to those who had spent the past three and a half years that understood? The question we must ask is why not? It is apparent that unless you have been taken through His experience of the death and resurrection of Christ, you can not grasp what has been written and taught concerning it. Further, unless either the resurrected Jesus Himself or the Holy Spirit (the seal and confirmation of it) open your eyes to it the experience of it is only intellectual at best. At this point no one there even intellectually grasps it. It is a statement of the condition of man that should well be considered, that even having it written and taught and experienced in person, left to man's intellectual resource the connection spiritually cannot be made. The ability required is not within man (neither friend or foe). Further, Paul in his writings suggests that the abilities of man's carnal mind will actually fight (be at complete enmity) against the realization and knowledge of such. The prophets themselves predicted much the same. And it is no surprise to Jesus. It is not as if He is just now realizing this, He has known it to be the case from the Garden of Eden or long before. The divine plan has this human inability fully considered. The faith of our Lord is that even though man has not the ability in any shape or form, the very thing that He is prepared to perform will give man that ability; the ability to finally see and believe to salvation. This is why He must perform this, complete it to it's fulfillment.
September27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:35-43 FAITH HATH SAVED THEE - Does Jesus mean saved in the general sense delivered from blindness or in the eternal sense salvation? The man is observably saved from blindness. He persisted in asking for a mercy and despite the rebuke of others he received it. That alone is a good story. Can one be saved in the one sense and not the other? He also identified Jesus as Son of David which ties Jesus back to prophecy. Everyone in the group would also declare the same, however we know that the more that they know about the plan ahead the more difficulty they are having with it. Some have turned and walked away, others will swear to defend that it would not be so. The truth is that the death of sin/death lays at the foot of the cross and eternal salvation rises at the tombstone rolled away. This man has received mercy by being delivered from blindness like so many others. Many have been delivered in this way without knowing and believing in the full salvation simply by faith in the Lord's mercy. This man if he means what he says is well on his way to the greater salvation believing Jesus as Son of David. If he is just repeating what everyone else is telling him then he still has a ways left to go. The faith of our Lord is using the smaller case mercy healing to point this man to His upper case mercy salvation. If the man approached salvation with the same persistent faith that he has healing he will be sure to be with his Lord in his Lord's glory. This illustration happens at a time that all smaller case believers could use most given the days to come.
September28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:19:1-10 IS SALVATION COME - The Son of Man is come to seek and to save them that are lost. Here is a man that was lost but is now found. He is putting Jesus' word into daily action. If it was just the works Jesus would have been more corrective. There must be something that Jesus is seeing that is encouraging about this man's faith; he is a son of Abraham in the truer sense. As for the others they are operating from the standpoint that they are already Sons of Abraham and that this tax collector and tax collectors as a whole are sinners. I suspect that Zacchaeus has heard of Jesus and is familiar with His teaching; he is now seeking to see who He is. There are people who shy away from situations where the temptations may be too great. They neither sin as such nor do anything good. Many times good is being in a position to do bad and unexpectedly do good. Good is then taking advantaged of the opportunity to do good when evil is expected. The religious heart seeks out the safe ground where the opportunity to sin is minimal but so too is the opportunity to do good. Zaccheaus remains a tax collector, chief of them in fact. Plus, remains rich; he is a camel that God has brought through the eye of the needle. He does not shy from either the opportunity or the public perception. He is intrigued with the teachings of Jesus and seeks to see Him this day as Jesus passes through on His way to the cross. The faith of our Lord is seeking these types of people for His salvation. They are animated, they are engaging, they take chances, they seek every opportunity. They take His word as directives and apply them to whatever position they were found by Christ in.
September29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:19:11-27 WOULD NOT THAT I SHOULD REIGN OVER THEM - The purpose of this parable is stated right off, some thought that the kingdom should appear immediately. What we have then is an prophecy/illustration of what will occur until He returns in the future. The first note of importance is that the nobleman Christ will leave to a place where He will receive His kingdom. In His absence ten servants receive ten pounds each from Him to investment. This differentiates this parable immediately from the parable of the talents where three servants receive three different sums for the same purpose. Second, the citizens here of His kingdom have rebelliously declared that they do not will for Christ to reign over them. This describes the general sentiment of the people/world all around us to this day. So we have the picture of a limited number of servants given the identical amount of resource (could be the gospel message whole as opposed to the varying of individual talents) being invested in a world where the majority of citizen are in outright rebellion. It would be natural to expect the return on investment to vary given differences in location and time, level of risk and engagement, etc... What we are shown however, is only two of the ten having any notable return and at least one of the ten not having invested the given resource at all. We are not told the end of these servants from whom what they had was taken away. We only know the end of the remaining rebellious citizens. So if you are a servant and if you are expecting the kingdom to appear immediately, it may be best that you ask what return on investment have we made in this interim. If you are waiting for the mood of the citizens to improve, don't. If you are of the mind that serving this Lord is bitter and course and that only He unfairly profits, don't. The faith of our Lord is not in finding the favorable conditions for investing His word, He is a sower that sows His word even on the wayside. Because we tend to think that the kingdom is right here or just rounding the corner home we tend not to serve (invest His gospel into the darkness) any more than need be. Because we tend to think the push back and effort required harsh and unrewarding we tend to hold to the gospel for ourselves and not invest. The Lord feels that He has given each of us equal resource. Along with the resource He has given us the time to put it forward. If the resource were to be taken away what would you then do? Would you go back to being a citizen?
September30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:19:28-44 TIME OF THY SALVATION - Mark the importance of this passage; there is an important shift to take note of. We have known for sometime Jesus's intention, He has been working his way over the past several chapters towards this entrance into the city. For all of the rejoicing and excitement and build up, we must also consider the solemn separation Jesus must feel. When you think of the entry of others they are typically riding the wave of momentum of support and allegiance. To the contrary Jesus is going into this all alone while being surrounded by people that think that they know what needs to happen. Though they've been told what must happen, even His most loyal disciples are far from the true allegiance required supposing that Jesus will opt for other options. He is essentially being carried on the shoulders of the blind and confused into the hidden broad of vipers. Nobody present clearly sees this entry as Jesus does. The faith of Lord is not in the snowplow effect where you are so convincing that everyone else gets swept up and comes along with you, it is in taking the lead when no one else is ready to come along and won't be ready until much later when they realize what has been done. Think of it as that lone shepherd walking into the smoky distance from the fold to give his life for his fold. Eventually their eyes will be opened, but that time is not now. They rejoice now because of what all they have seen, however, what they are about to see will challenge them to their very core!
October1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:19:45-48 DEN OF THIEVES - Two worlds collide, the world of a heavenly kingdom, the world of tough daily realities. The reality is that for all the miracles and tremendous teachings and wondrous prophecies for the chief people Jesus lacks one major thing; an army to face up against Rome. To get on board with Jesus is to sign the temples' death certificate. Jesus talks about the destruction of the temple because of Israel's disbelief and hardness, but really what happens to the temple and Jerusalem when Rome finally says enough is enough? Masses of people are coming to hear Him now and clinging to His every word. Tax revenues and money rate exchanges are being over turned, rebellion to the rule of Rome fills the air. Jesus being warned not to come now has come. How do they back a man with no army however when Rome would tear this little heaven fest to pieces? Rome expects the Jewish leaders to take care of this. Favorable deals have been struck, intimidating statements have been made, strongman knuckles are being cracked. The leaders are being backed by both sides up against a wall of very harsh realities. What a terrible state for Israel now to be in. How far have they fallen from the glory years to be at the point of sacrificing their own Messiah for the sake of their own safety. Is there then any choice left for them now that they have gone down this road for this many years? The faith of our Lord is about something much larger than even Israel, it is about a very definite undeniable truth. Israel turned it's back several centuries ago and lived a subservient and shadowy existence for far too long. It now will be made the executioner of it's own Righteous Servant. The Scepter of Judah is being ripped from it's hand and all possibility of it's continuance beyond its grasp. The table merchants may be called a den of thieves, but it is a long series of sinful rebellions against God that has stolen this chosen nation away to this.
October2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:20:1-8 NEITHER TELL I YOU - When the chief priests and scribes show up you'll notice that they rarely have questions about anything Jesus has just preached. It is as if they are not listening or have no argument with what He is saying. It is as if they come with a prepared test from beforehand. If I was a follower of Jesus with opportunity to throw a pitch at the chief priests and scribes I would ask "where was their levitical authority hiding during the time of all the evil kings"? "Where was their levitical authority all the times Israel backslid and pranced it's way back into captivity"? "Where was their authority when the nation was torn in two, when two more golden calves were hewn"? "Where was the levitical authority when all of the false gods roamed these hallowed halls and filled the high places and gardens of the idolatrous nation"? "Where was the levitical authority when the 500 false prophets surrounded the one true prophet left"? "What makes this days priests and and scribes think that they have any levitical authority left in reserve to judge either of the only two prophets to appear in Judah for over 200 years"? Thankfully Jesus took a more tactful approach then I would have. There is a much longer history between these adversaries and our Lord then any of these prickly little men care to divulge. Jesus looks out upon sheep without shepherds and then looks into the temple to see shepherds that refuse to pastor their sheep. Shepherds that have the gall to ask by what authority the Lord is given to expose their wickedness for all future generations. The faith of our Lord has been very patient and long suffering leading up to these final days, being very aware of everything that transpires behind the walls of this temple, but also being very aware of what is coming to change all that.
October3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:20:9-19 THAT THE INHERITANCE MAY BE OURS - If they knew that He was heir, what would make them think that the inheritance would be theirs at any rate? Let's take it a step further. If you knew He was the "head cornerstone", why would you reject Him knowing that He would grind them into powder? Let's take it a step further. If these things were spoken against you why in the same hour would you in the same hour seek to lay hands on Him? Fast forward to modern times. The Scribes, Pharisees and Sanhedrin have all been destroyed and pulverized in one fell swoop (well within what should otherwise have been Jesus' lifetime) and the temple mount given to others for over two thousand years. The Jewish leaders all dismiss Jesus as a false blasphemous liar. Can you Rabbi name me one prophet who could have claimed to be heir before the destruction and scattering of Judah to the far reaches that the husbandmen of that day took out of the Holy City and murdered? Who had told them to their face what they were about to do and they did it anyway? Why did they think that the inheritance was theirs for the taking? Because they thought it was their's (not His) all along. Why do you reject the chief cornerstone still? Because you think that the inheritance has been your's (not His) all along. Given all that has occurred all this time after, what other sustainable reason is there? No! The inheritance is for the Righteous Servant of kjv@Isaiah:53 whose portion will be divided amongst the mighty. The arm of the LORD has performed this wonder. Who ("God forbid") would believe such a report? Those to whom the "arm" has been revealed. Look to the temple mount today. Is it not in the hands of others? Have you not spent this time broken? Has not the so called false prophet's words been true for some time? Is this not by the arm of the LORD? The faith of our Lord is that from the portion that He has received by the travail of His own soul thus claiming His inheritance, He will divide that amongst His strong, the sons and daughters of faith in the fulfilled promise. What a glorious day when He finally comes to remove these others and rules over the vineyard's glorious overflowing fruit! Will you be there for Him?
October4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:20:20-26 WHY TEMPT YE ME - So the plan is to trap Him in His word, to use his words against Him before Pilate. To do that they have to disguise their approach. Their first approach Roman taxation. Nothing that Jesus could answer about taxes could draw the death penalty in and of itself, but it could along with other well feigned approaches could add up to the charge of sedition against Rome. Their means of future attacks are immediately telegraphed. They will use all the talk of His kingdom as intentionally sowing rebellion against the state, boasts of the destruction of their temple stirring the people into a frenzy, talk of Him being a God on the lines of the Caesar able to rebuild a temple in three days to therein manipulate Pontius Pilate's better sensibilities. All of this might still seem lame and harmless to the governor unless they can make the evidence and accusation stronger with some quotes as to taxation and/or government authority. The case even then would be pretty lame if it were not for the sheer numbers of people now gathered daily to hear Jesus in and around the temple. They will need to come up with numbers of their own to show the disruption Jesus is creating. It is a lot to have to go through just to rid yourself of someone unwanted isn't it? Especially when He is wise to your craft. Jesus probably knew the grounds on which they would attack all along, if not He knows now. He knows that this is all in the Father's hands and that there is no turning back. At the same time though He is not going to just make it easy for them by stepping into their trap without exposing to us what it is that they are doing. The faith of our Lord is that once we knew how and why these men acted against Him we would come to see how and why we have acted against Him in similarly disguised ways during our rebellious disbelief; the measures that we are willing to go through to make Him likewise no longer exist or be a nuisance. We however would know that He died to redeem us out of this corrupted nature and the cleansing of His blood. We would know by His resurrection that He has the power to make our better calling to a true glory and virtue happen.
October5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:20:27-40 GOD OF THE LIVING - It is amazing how many doctrines and layers of doctrine can be built from one wrong assumption. If wrong in this one area, how many other areas can one be wrong with? Add all the layers up and you can see how easy it is to live a religious life that believes in the same name of the one and only God, but is as wrong as wrong can get. Bring that truth forward into today's universalist notion that "all paths lead to God". A path derived from the assumption that there is no resurrection leads to a outlook and experience that differs from outlook and experience of others. It leads to a different perception of the necessity of Christ for salvation (salvation from what?). It is this perception and the many other possible combinations that allow one to rationalize the procedures necessary to kill off the Christ that stands today before them. How then do all paths lead to God if most paths lead to replacing Him? What the "all paths" argument is actually saying is that God is a big enough person to excuse these murderous (physically, intellectually, theologically) idolaters who blaspheme the work and testimony of the Holy Spirit, completely shun the design and plan of God the Father and disregard the sacrifice made on their behalf by God the Son. What this God is is whatever one wants Him to be; He is nothing more than a vain imagination. Do all paths lead then to a vain imagination? If even the believers of the one God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can go astray at several essential points, what hope have the many would don't even believe that? The faith of our Lord is that man will not only be in heaven eternally, man will be on an equal footing with the angels that are already there. There is quite the transformation that has to occur between here and there. It is a transformation that only His death and resurrection can make on us. If God is the God of the living, then and now, how many of the living will have accepted Him for the God He actually is?
October6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:20:41-47 GREATER DAMNATION - The concept of a scaled judgment is a tricky one. It would be easy for us to think that because we were slightly better than some others in good works we would receive slightly less judgment. We could extend it even further, that even though we did not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, we did believe that He was a very good man, we were inspired by Jesus to better love our neighbor and such, this would stand better in judgment than had we not believed/loved at all. Perhaps if we were on the verge of truly believing (teetering on the edge) we could avoid judgment altogether. The problem is that there are not separate areas in hell, one level of torment for the really bad, others graduated for the not so bad and almost good. Hell is hell. Hell is a complete separation from God (not varying degrees). What possibly may be the difference is the level of comprehension of one's utter guilt, that much was given to this servant and much was expected, that the expectation was not carried out, that what was carried out lead many of these tormented souls to this very place. Tyre and Sodom would not have this level of comprehension, but they would have the comprehension that they had lived vile and perverse lives. Those that sheepishly followed their leaders or peers into all manner of falsity and idolatry would know that they had been foolish and wrong, but they would not have the same responsibility for this eternal torment of others as would those given such responsibility over a great many. Interesting that this was tied in our reading to the momentary relief that the Pharisees felt in the debate over resurrection; they were right on one point, but yet absolutely wrong in the totality of their belief. The stumbling point for them was still Jesus being the Christ. This remains the stumbling point for many others as well including even the people who will prophecy and perform great works in the name of Jesus, but still refuse Him as their one and only Christ. Eternity is not a graduated scale of extreme torment to extreme serenity just as salvation is not a graduated scale slight acknowledgment to solely devoted. The faith of our Lord for His part is in absolutes. Absolute heaven and absolute hell. However He does know that on our parts, even the heaven that many will experience may be graduated by our comprehension of our responsibility to the dear ones there with us and how well we sought to fulfill our role in that responsibility. Clear (or clear-able) conscience may be our greatest eternal reward.
October7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:21:1-4 OF HER PENURY - Wouldn't it have been a nice story to hear that because of her giving that she became rich beyond measure and never again had to give a miserable two mites? It never says that. Wouldn't it have been nice if we heard that the rich men were once poor, but they gave their last two mites one time and now are extremely wealthy. It never is said about them. What if the story was that the woman continued giving all that she had each and every time and never had anything more than twenty mite at any given time? Would that change the story? The story really isn't about the widow, it is about the rich men that thought that they were really giving something special to the treasury. Are these the same men Jesus said seek to devour widow's homes? Was the widow desperate and therefore gave even to her last. Nothing like this is said. The story is really about the excess from which many tithe from verses the essential core living that few tithe from. If you strip away all the individual motives and self rationalizations and story lines it comes down to how much of yourself is really being given. God's first and foremost expects a cheerful giver. Some hearts are never cheerful about giving even in giving the excess of their abundance. Some people are cheerful down to their last two half pennies. Few rich men would ever give all that they have just as few poor men/women would give theirs. It is better to give something cheerfully than to begrudgingly give little or nothing at all. Avoid the reasoning why and for what gain, avoid settling on the max and min cost and you will be on your way to becoming a much more cheerful giver. The faith of our Lord is in the heart of the generous and cheerful giver. Salvation or reward cannot be bought, however giving from the depths of appreciation for such salvation is most encouraged.
October8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:21:5-38 POSSESS YOUR SOULS - At a time when all of this is happening around you the command is "In your patience possess ye your souls". It would be easy for the heart to be over charged, men's hearts failing them for fear, being distress and perplexed. This is not however the heart of the follower of Jesus. Listen to the commands stated here - go ye not therefore after them, be not terrified, settle it therefore in your hearts, in your patience possess your souls, then look up, lift hands, know that the kingdom is nigh, take heed to yourselves, watch ye therefore, pray always to be found worthy. It would be easy for the mind to chase after only the maze of prophetical details. One could ask how are all these odd un-connectable details ever connect to be fulfilled. The Jews looked upon the earlier messianic prophecies the same way and saw the near impossibility of putting all the prophetic pieces together. So much so that they missed the actual fulfillment happening before their eyes in real time. It was really quite easy to put all the many pieces together once we saw how easily God fulfilled them. These end time prophecies could very well be the same for us; illogical or impossible to see as one completed puzzle, but there is no doubt God will have an easy time preforming them all as one as well. More than the individual details revealed, we should consider that within the many details is a fairly straight forward way of keeping ones head through the time to come; obey the commandments contained therein. They are nearly the same commands that would see us through most any other trial or personal tribulation. One other thought. When this time comes what has ever happened to all the tolerant secularists and intellectuals? What has happened to humanism and pacifism and the great enlightenment? Why are they attacking the elect so? Could it be that they cannot withstand the terrors and perplexities of what is come? The faith of our Lord calls a whole lot upon the obedience of these end time saints. The things that they are asked to do and suffer is almost for to shame to us who have it so good now. It may not be their time now, but it certainly is our time now. What have we been asked to do and suffer? Should not we get to doing it before this time sneaks up unawares?
October9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:1-6 THEN ENTERED SATAN - There are many actors on the stage at this time including Satan, but we need to make it perfectly clear who is directing the action. There is one thing happening, perhaps best described in kjv@Isaiah:53. This time now is between the Father and the Son. The rest is a side show. It is pleasing the Father to put the Son Jesus to this. These men believe that they have the power to make things happen. Even Satan thinks that he is getting one over. Nothing of the sort! If God's will was anything other God's will would be done. God had plenty opportunity to remove Judas. He had plenty of opportunity to strike down these chiefs and scribes. He had plenty of time to move Jesus to a safer location. Jesus knew it was Judas that would betray Him from the beginning kjv@John:6:64, knew that he was a devil kjv@John:6:70, knew that he was stealing from the purse kjv@John:12:6. Choices were made by Jesus all along in obedience to the Father's will that have led Him to this. All of these men have had choices as well, except they chose to play the part of wickedness. They have played their chosen part well, but it is not their show; they are not directing the action they are merely responding to the script. The faith of our Lord is not in worrying or keeping track of who is who in this passion or who is doing what. It is all the Father. It is all the plan. It is all in the Father's hands.
October10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:7-38 I HAVE PRAYED FOR THEE - What does Jesus pray for Peter in this circumstance? That he not have to go through it? That he would clobber Satan over the head with cartoon wooden mallet? No, that his faith not fail. Was there a danger that it could fail? Why else would Jesus be praying? Does this not show an interesting side to the faith of our Lord's? Did He not pray for the others faith as well? Of course He did, but He knew the importance of Peter's faith within the group. Imagine the others had Peter's faith failed. At the same time, as much as there was the possibility of failure there was twice the confidence in the man He had hand picked, plus twice again the confidence that He had in the power of righteous prayer, two hundred times that in His confidence in the Holy Spirit's hand. If left to his own Peter's faith could very well fail (as could ours). But here is the thing, soon Peter will be receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit, the death and resurrection of Jesus will assure that. One hates to see a loved one have to go through this. If however, going through this comes out to mean that, the process becomes all the more hopeful. Peter at this point believes in a uncruxified Christ, one that has not died for sin, one that has not risen and ascended to right hand throne of God. He is most vulnerable to this type of satanic attack. Providing visual and symbolic remembrances will help, revealing what will happen to him in advance will help, making him repeatedly to feel a loving responsibility to feed His sheep after His departure will help. More than anything though to know that the very Savior is praying for the strength of his faith will be encouraging. It is hard to say theoretically what incarnate Jesus does and does not know at this point. What we do have however is an excellent discourse of how much He cared and how much He believed in others, how He steered others toward victory. The faith of our Lord seeks to prove His victorious strength in our human weakness. Get yourself on board that strength with unfailing faith.
October11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:39-46 THAT YE ENTER NOT - There was not any hiding or deception. Jesus went to where He always went. Where He knew He would be found. From other accounts we know that He left Himself little defense dividing His disciples eight and three, telling the three to pray. What was the temptation that they were supposed to pray over? Was it the temptation to try and defend Him? Was it the temptation to try and follow Him to His trials? Was it the temptation to try and disguise themselves amongst the crowd where they would be caught in the position of having to deny Him for their own safety? Is this what would open the door to Satan sifting Peter? There are many temptations on the road ahead for these men. Without knowing what one was likely to face how would one go about praying over their temptations? Like the Lord's model prayer one would fill their minds and hearts with the righteousness of God and His kingdom, submit oneself to His will, surrender ones earthly cares asking for His provision and deliverance, offer repentance and seek forgiveness, acknowledge the essential attributes of God, pray this again as the corporate "us". Not everyone did this. Apparently the wrestling over who was the greatest had worn them all out. Jesus is going through something that we cannot explain. We like to focus on His petition, but what we should be focusing on physical agony that He is under even after being supported by an angel. What strength did the angel give? Probably confirmation of the Father's answer to the petition, that this was indeed the Father's will. This extreme pressing of Jesus to the point of blood coming through the pores you will note is happening before Jesus is placed into anyone else's custody. The disciples may be vaguely aware of this sudden change, they are sleeping for sorrow. The temptation may be to hide in sorrowful sleep from what is happening, that it is by the Father's hand, that it is happening before anything other, to be overcome with the developing situation and resort to one's own carnal resources to hold it off. The faith of our Lord steps outside of it's agony for the moment to check on the others and finds them unconscious. He exhorts them once again to pray for themselves.
October12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:47-53 YOUR HOUR - The guards are there under orders, they are going to do what they are sent out to do. One has to wonder though what they are thinking individually as Jesus heals their buddy's ear. I believe that these are Temple guards; pretty easy uneventful duty til now. They are probably as unfamiliar with wielding a sword as is fisherman Peter. They are no doubt familiar with the crowds of followers Jesus has drawn to the Temple daily and the calls of Hosanna and probably not so familiar with the arguments being tallied by their bosses the Sanhedrin. Do they also know of the false witnesses being coaxed up? Here the man that has taken them to this park is pointed out by this possible messiah as having betrayed Him with a kiss. This possible prophet has called for calmer peaceful heads to prevail at this time and has questioned the chiefs and elders as to proceeding against Him as a common thief yet oddly in such secrecy as if they knew how the masses would react. Yet of all of this talk the most eerie statement is captain Malchus' ear and the look of startled awe in his eyes. What argument is there against that? The power of darkness is that to those serving it there is no argument involved. One does what one does because there is penalty and consequence to not doing it. One is not paid for thinking through the facts and coming to a rightful judgement. Realize however what these men are forced into questioning. Recall when you were a non-believer and the anxiety you felt approaching anything Jesus related. Translate that tense inner apprehension to these men and amplify it by the obvious fact that you are now called upon to enforce the capture of this Holy Man and take Him even to Pilate (the man who recently slaughtered a host of Galileans on your temple steps just to make a political point). There are times when one ear speaks louder than several mouths. This should have been one of those times. The faith of our Lord is voluntary towards it's duty to the Father. The duty of darkness is demanded and employed and coerced. These men will carry out what they have been directed to no matter what they believe personally, but so too will our Lord Jesus in His hour.
October13 @ @ RandyP comments: FaithOfJesus *Luke:22:54-62 PETER REMEMBERED THE WORD - I think that the question we most commonly have is where are the other disciples? Why are they not there? It may perhaps be a better to question why did Peter go? What did He hope to achieve? Peter has followed the elite group to the High Priest's house. The servants of the house who would rather be sleeping, but because of the disturbance are out in the court yard and on the patio starting a bonfire to keep warm; this in the very late night hours. In the dim light of all this commotion there is a man who is not a servant, not one of the elders or chiefs or guards, and the servants are naturally wondering who this man is and why he is even there. I am not sure whether it would have made any difference to them had Peter been honest, they pretty much knew that he was a servant of the man being questioned inside. It is a very odd situation Peter has positioned himself in. And Why? He cannot hear what is being said. He cannot see who all is in there. He would not be able to do anything if the treatment of Jesus got out of hand. He may not even be able to see Jesus until Jesus sees him. He is likely there solely because of loyalty which to us is admirable, but in reality is opening himself to a sifting like few men have ever experienced. Now he feels himself as having to lie and deny Jesus. As much as Judas has betrayed Jesus, Peter has denied Jesus. Worse yet Jesus told both men that they were going to do it. I cannot tell you where the other disciples are. Perhaps/Hopefully they are gathered in small groups with other followers pastoring, waiting for further word. Perhaps they are scattered so as to not make themselves and their flocks easy marks. Perhaps now they are praying like they should have this earlier eve to not enter temptation as Peter has. The faith of our Lord hears a crow of a cock and knows what has just occurred and what that occurrence will entail. He looks to Peter. He does not get mad nor blame His friend, He prays again silently in a glance that His friends faith not fail. He prays that he will remember more than just those few words.
October14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:63-65 PROPHESY WHO - There is someone within eye or ear shot that has relayed this information to us. Peter is no longer nearby and the other disciples no where near. I doubt (though it is a remote possibility) that it could be any of the women folk such as the Marys as this is still early on at the high priests house and guests other than the false witnesses and late coming elders are likely disallowed. That would mean someone we know to be in support such as Nicodemus or someone else unknown that was either sympathetic or later became so. It would be hard to imagine anyone not becoming unsettled about the treatment of any prisoner in this manner let alone a proven miracle man such as Jesus. This is the High Priest's house after all, not exactly accustomed to having prisoners interrogated there I am sure. There are still the Law and Customs as well to make ones conscious convulse, but apparently not. Those who were sincere about these godly things must have been few in number or quite silent. Thus we begin to see the makings of a mob mentality that will mushroom against Jesus. The aggressive are bullying and condescending and unrestrained. The cultured are overly quiet and self protective and timid. They may be brave and tell us about it after the fact, but, certainly not do anything about it at the time. The faith of our Lord is unswayed, He is there for whatever the Father wishes to put Him to. This is not about the sinfulness of these men right now, it is about the righteousness from above, the righteousness of the plan, the righteousness of the act. Like sheep to its' shearers He will remain silent and obediently willing. That was His prerogative. What should have been these men's?
October15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:66-23:25 YE SAY THAT I AM - It is said by many that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God, that the gospels have been corrupted into claiming that for Him. Here Jesus claims that He would not be believed if He did tell it. Further He said that herefore after He would be at the right hand throne of God. Does that mean that that He was making the claim to be the Son of God? The chiefs, scribes and elders took it to mean so. How does one corrupt the fact that the well schooled Hebrew scholars and leaders sought vehemently to kill Jesus because of this blasphemous claim, that they falsified information on a trumped up charge of national perversion and sedition, that they accused him of claiming to be Christ which by prophetical necessity is the same Son of God, that neither of the state authorities could not find evidence for the trumped up charge and that the leaders still pursued the death sentence for Jesus over that of a seditious murderer? Jesus does not have to claim it at this point because everyone there knows that it is the claim that He is by implication making. The issue then (as it is now) is whether one believes the claim or not, not whether the claim has been made. Not believing that the claim has been made is cheap and lazy way intellectually of not having to believe in Jesus the Son of God. It is employed mainly by those other religions that want to borrow from the teachings/goodness of Jesus without having to take Him at His word. The faith of our Lord is in much more than words, it is also in accomplishments and reactions. What better way to answer whether you are Son of God than have your adversaries unwittingly and against their will prove it.
October16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:23:26-43 WHAT SHALL BE DONE IN THE DRY - There are several things to brought out by this passage. I will mention a few. One, the respect of women throughout the gospel for Jesus, not one instance of hostility or disrespect mentioned. Two, the prophecy Jesus is speaking of is eerily similar to one by Moses in kjv@Deuteronomy:28 . While there have been flirtations in the past with the fulfillment of this, this act on this day is the final and ultimate breaking of God's commandment and therefore comes the day like no time before has seen and the scattering to ends of the earth. They have seen God uphold His blessing even during their pitiful attempts to uphold their obedience. They have seen brief flickers of the curse meant to re-awaken them, but this is the moment of the breaking. The fulfillment will be executed within one generation 70 AD after the new church pollinates and takes hold elsewhere. Third, the petition for forgiveness is often thought as a petition for all involved, but what if it was more directly meant for the soldiers that were getting carried away in the moment without a clue of what this all meant to the Hebrews prophetically? Isaiah described Jesus as growing before God a tender root, Jesus now describes this as a green tree. If men are willing to do this when the tree has life, what can be supposed when they steal the tree's life? God's blessing till now has withheld a great turmoil and tribulation from these people. The faith of our Lord is now at it's sacrificial apex. This is what He came here to do, this is what He is now doing. The day is soon to come when the faith of our Lord will be at it's apex of judgment. There are those of of the Jewish fathers that will return from this curse by coming to grips with what has happened on this cross and what/who it has been done for.
October17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:23:44-49 INTO THY HANDS - His final words in Luke are a quote from David kjv@Psalms:31:5 . Was scripture like this what He was focusing on up there to get himself through this? He did always combat temptation with scripture quotes! So much of what David writes about mirrors what we'd imagine Jesus saying if He had He not kept His silence. kjv@Psalms:31 as a whole is very close in details with just a few oddities such as an iniquity that David had that Jesus would not (unless it is the iniquity of man He bore). There are several Psalms of David that Jesus could be reflecting on like this one kjv@Psalms:22 etc... David's Psalms have that kind of similarity to our struggles and are often used to empathetically encourage us. It could have been the same for Jesus as He felt His bodily functions shutting down. Perhaps these Psalms would be too focused on what He was going through and He was clinging to several of the more "Glory/Splendor of the Father" type writings kjv@Psalms:21 kjv@Psalms:104 etc... Jesus appears lucid to the end and amazingly strong to speak considering what is happening to His lungs (He is basically suffocating, drowning in edema and exhausting himself to death nJesusDeathScientific). Or could it be instead that David was reciting Jesus' silent Psalms. Our Lord has put absolutely everything on the line; there is nothing else for Him to give. If He were a gambler He would be said to be "all in". For it to be finished this way there seems to be a lot left on the table for the others yet to accept and understand and take on. The faith of our Lord is in everything now out beyond this certain death, and as to those He is leaving behind it is in the work of the Holy Spirit to tie all the pieces for them together.
October18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:23:50-56 BEGGED THE BODY - There is some guess work here to be done as to the faith of Jesus in the execution of this burial matter. One, all the arrangements could have been left in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Joseph and Nicodemus did as they were led of the Holy Spirit. Two, we had mentioned previously with securing the donkey on Palm Sunday and or the upper room at passover that Jesus easily could have made arrangements himself for these matters apart from the disciples. Knowing these two men He could have asked them to do this. Three, the men could have done this of their own volition seeing that other arrangements (or the lack of) were unsatisfactory. In this case the Holy Spirit would have supported their ambition. Four, it may have been the combination of any or all of these things that the Holy Spirit used to perform the necessary task. To one extent it wouldn't have mattered who or where that they buried him, thirty feet of cement, and He still would have come out. It could have been the vaults at Fort Knox with an entire division of Marines guarding it, it was still going to happen. What would be important is for more than just a few followers to have witnessed it in order to testify of it and I am sure that the Spirit would have made sure of that. It may even be better for the critics to know that there wasn't any set up to this alleged magic trick, that it happened quite organically. In this regard we may not fully know the faith of our Lord as to the means, I do not know of any prophecy prescribing how this played out, we can however know His faith in the outcome and results.
October19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:24:1-12 WHICH WAS COME TO PASS - The faith of our Lord stands out in this passage as to how much He had entrusted to the future. His disciples and followers genuinely did not understand nor were they prepared even though He had told them plenty of times beforehand. Leaving them before they had the slightest clue, observing in their conversations and reactions their lack, knowing that they would be scattered and God's hand turned against them (kjv@Zechariah:13:7) all shows a level of faith equal in importance to the faith that He had in His own resurrection itself. It is clear that they were not going to understand nor believe until they had seen these things for themselves, they were going to be caught completely off guard. Along with their understanding was going to have to come their remembrance. It appears the Jesus knowing that their temporary understanding being so distant would have had approached everything said/done up to this time specifically in a fashion optimized for future immediate recollection once the actual act had been accomplished. Think of it as time released revelation. Add to His effort the effort of the pre-existing scriptures to further support and explain and we see that He has been operating in this time released mode all along. Now that the act is performed what does it all mean? That is what will be sorted out and realized in the days to come until the Holy Spirit comes to teach them all things. Makes me to wonder what else they thought they knew that they really didn't? What about us? The faith of our Lord is seen as a long term process leading man from the very point of creation forward to the point of believing and understanding and relying upon the righteous act between Father and Son onward to the new creature in Christ to the all things gathered unto Him Kingdom in eternity. That which has come to pass is about to become that divinely empowered trans-formative process that which makes all that they (the Godhead) have ever intended happen. Much of this happens in the spiritual foreground without our understanding. We should understand now that on our part it is largely left to reverence and humble acknowledgment.
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?
October21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:24:36-49 YE ARE WITNESSES - The plan has much to do with the eleven plus telling to others what they have seen. Not everyone is going to be able to touch and feel the risen savior, that would be highly impractical. In future generations it will still come down to one's word. Jesus could stand before us to be touched and still be asked "how do we know that it was you that died" etc... Seeing and touching doesn't seem to be all that effective either as the mind has trouble excepting the sensory data as much as the other. It seems to be a combination of data sources that wins these men's hearts and minds, as well as the faith invested in them by Jesus. And for us now later it will be the testimonies that they themselves will give and His faith invested in us. It is faith on the part of the Lord that they will give testimony and faith that we will receive it. The faith of our Lord is in our faith however. No matter how much is indisputably proven there will still be a larger element of just faith; evidence itself requires faith. This is true of all things even science itself. In this passage, He is also calling upon their obedience and patience to wait till endued with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will weigh heavily into this receiving faith and being guided by it equation throughout the future. They/We must simply have faith enough in Jesus to receive it. It will be repentance and remission of sins in His name along with their testimony that these men will need to preach.
October22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:24:50-53 HE BLESSED THEM - Doctor Luke began this exercise as a means of detailing these events to foster certain man Theophilus' certainty in these matters. It is by no means an exhaustive detailing (how could any such work be given the subject matter?), but enough to be most convincing. The letter will become important as the years go on and other stories and fables begin to germinate. This letter along with a few select others will become the standard barrier to keep us grounded to the true faith in the midst of so much other chatter. Work will begin immediately by many to disprove it and disassemble it and detach it. It will be this harsh acidic test throughout the ages that will make it to standout to demand our more consideration. Two things in this passage should begin any examination, that they (those who saw all this) worshiped Him, that they were continually praising and blessing God, which is most likely the point years later where Theophilus first encountered them. Theophilus, like us must first consider why do these people behave in this manner and what/why they believe in this Jesus. The story is laid out so that any person of any intellectual ability can examine it and come to terms with their own beliefs. The Lord did not write these things down Himself as with other so called messiahs but relied upon the testimony of common down to earth men and their life long living and sacrificial reactions to what they had witnessed. Such proves to be a powerful indication of the veracity of said evidences. The faith of our Lord is in men being transformed deeply by His message, so deeply as to desire to testify on His behalf to others, so as to spread such transformation to many more as well. Many will come to know and praise/worship God because of Him.
October23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:1:1-18 TO BEAR WITNESS OF THE LIGHT - This is one of the most fundamental doctrinal statements of the scriptures. If you only had one page on a deserted island this might would be one of the best to have. It speaks volumes not only into our doctrine, but implies Jesus faith going in. He has been with the Father all along from the beginning. He had made appearances to man several times previous to becoming flesh and became flesh knowing that His own people would receive Him not. There is a stark contrast between light and darkness that His intention is to lighten. It took much work to come to this point in the plan where He would arrive and there will be much to be done the time that He is here. Even doing so we still not comprehend. It appears that these things are not within our capability, but only for the will of God. It then holds that He is coming to do what it is that He will do in order to purchase the right later for the will of God to fully operate on us toward belief. Purchase first then the work toward acceptance. Our acceptance then will be much as it has been prior by the testimony and witness of men regarding what has been performed and what it means in the grand scheme. The faith of our Lord (the Word made flesh) is in the work of the Father's will upon the hearts of men brought about by the purchase of that opportunity.
October24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:1:19-28 IF THOU BE NOT THAT CHRIST - Apparently if left to their druthers there would be no baptism. One would have to be either someone that they believed in long ago that that didn't believe and persecuted at that time or one would have to be one now whom they don't believe and are going to persecute shortly. All this over a simple baptism of repentance. This is not the baptism that Jesus will provide. Those who are baptized in this manner are only being prepared for the eventual baptism for the remission of sins that will come after the cross. We are not even sure how many of these souls followed through to the real deal; likely they were swept up in the moment and faded away unaffected. The preparing the way has more to do with the timing of the prophecies, one had to happen before the other. It made for quite a news worthy spectacle; other gospels have John calling these critics a broad of vipers. The faith of our Lord we have said is in the testimony of men like John, but it is also in the testimony of the prophecies and in the testimony of these men's actions against Christ. How would you like to explain to the prophets why you killed them and their Christ believing all the time that it was what God wanted you to do. John is not Christ nor Elias nor that prophet, He is the one who prepares the way of these testimonies.
October25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:1:29-34 THIS IS HE - Not just anybody can claim another to be the Lamb of God and have it stick. The man who is giving testimony of this is a man whom God has established in very particular un-human ways. John the Baptist has not become who he is by playing his way through the system, by selling himself well to the public, by riding a tide of public sentiment to the top. He is who he is because of who God made him to be. God needed to establish a sentinel prophet and He did exactly that. Few if any of the testimonies we consider as central to our faith resemble anything that men would do to establish a faith. John the disciple/apostle himself was originally a disciple of the Baptist John and likely turned to follow Jesus based on the witnessing of this event and the Baptist's own testimony. Though the Baptist and Jesus are cousins, John swears twice that he did not truly know Him as such until this day when the Spirit descends and remains upon Him. A lot can be said as kids growing up, but until a sign from heaven the size of this happens it is not much more than talk. So we rely upon the testimony of the Baptist God established, and the Baptist's younger disciple brought up to testify to that event when the Spirit God sent to testify Jesus as the now present incarnate Son of God. The faith of our Lord is in the marvelous multiple threads of testimonies woven into the fabric of our honest faith.
October26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:1:35-42 COME AND SEE - There are pivotal moments in one's life where a decision to change or start anew is stepped out on. In the case of two the one thing lead to the next. Had they not made the original decision to follow the Baptist they would not have been in a position to decide on the next. In a sense the opportunity came to them. In another sense now they have to pick up and go to the opportunity. They are asked what is it that they seek. Now you could imagine not knowing the first thing about who this Messiah actually is. You are filled with a hodge podge of bits and pieces of heresy and conjecture and interpretation, you are filled with certain hopeful expectations, but there is absolutely nothing that you know about His manner or nature or temperament. This to you is a total stranger and you are going after Him based on the word of a wild and crazy locust eater. Further, now others are being introduced to Him by your acquaintance and testimony. We are told elsewhere that there wasn't anything physically about Jesus really that would indicate or point Him out, make us to desire Him. So for these men it must have been the word or the buzz that was developing; we are not told whether He has done/taught anything spectacular yet. To often in our own lives our formulations are based everything but the testimony of people in the know, people that have been searching these details out. We wait until we are desperate, until we see the indisputable, until the evidence pounces upon us; which means we spend a whole lot of time just waiting. These men however seem much more intellectually sincere and honest about their approach. The are asking simply where is the Rabbi staying and taking it from there as it comes. The faith of our Lord doesn't need to drive men to utter desperation or into the miraculous to get their minds/hearts to follow, it is intriguing enough on it's own merit. It is observed here as spreading based upon the testimony of prophet God had firmly established who prepared the way by calling men to universal repentance. Once repentant, the heart is more likely of inquiring into the strange and unfamiliar paths of God's bolder righteousness.
October27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:1:43-51 BECAUSE I SAYETH...THOU BELIEVEST? - We are beginning to see more of Jesus' nature and temperament now. Nathaniel could have made the Galilee comment in jest or he could have actually meant it, but Jesus first greets him saying "a man with no guile". If guile is meant as subtlness, no Nathan does not seem to be subtle. If it means deceit, Nate doesn't hold his perceptions back. If to mean craft, he does not have the craft of diplomacy. If either translation is the understanding then I see Jesus humorously matching wit with Phillip's friend here, using Nathaniel's tone to introduce His. Jesus himself has no guile, He will always come right to the heart of the matter, but amongst friends He'll make it clear in a form that they can more easily digest. Here it is humorous wit and a touch of "how did He know that" that has pointed Nathan to the essential beginnings of his belief; not in the things already done, but what they suddenly mean deep down and the anticipation of things ahead yet to be believed/seen. The faith of our Lord will be very transparent, open and on display for all that want to see, but so will the faith of the others around Him. For them the unfamiliar will become inviting and friendly, the unknowable will become trust-able, all creation itself will be observed as reverent and compliant to His greater majesty. For Him the growing and transformative faith of these and others will become more outwardly evident, receptive, fruitful to His purposes. Their faith is already drawing quite a gathering of other seekers.
October28 @ @ RandyP comments: FaithOfJesus *John:1:2-11 MINE HOUR IS NOT YET - There seems to me to be a bit of a compromise made by Jesus here to His mother Mary. He proceeds with her request, but only a very limited number of the servers and of course the six disciples know what has occurred. Somewhere between the time that the servant drew the tasters glass and the taster tasting it, the water became a good wine. There are six hand washing water pots, there are six disciples, the six are by Jesus' request topped off to the brim. A measure was measured off, transported out into the feast and by the time tasted by the wedding foreman made into excellent vintage. How much wine is not mentioned. As it was toward the end of the feast there would be no need for twenty some gallons. Jesus will use the symbolism of a wedding plenty to describe His kingdom and it's guests. The true noble guests will refuse to come, yet here we see out from the vessels of their dirty purification water a miraculous transformation occurring somewhere between Christ's blessing and the foreman's sampling into a most excellent wine. The disciples had not seen a miracle up till now, yet they had followed. Mary must have had some inkling that Jesus could perform something perhaps feeling that the seven other guests of her party had taxed the supply to begin with. It was not Jesus' time publicly for miracles. He used the moment however as an occasion to draw a big spiritual picture for His disciples. It is a picture of their own coming transformation. The faith of our Lord knows (or patiently waits for the sign) of it's time and place and mission. He is in a gathering and initial establishing stage at present. He is working with the ceremonial refuse of the run away reprobate religious preparing a marvelous work.
October29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:2:12-25 DESTROY THIS TEMPLE - Jesus knew what was in man. For instance, men ask for a sign, but don't take the time to think the sign through, to see it for what it truly means. Jesus never said that He would destroy the temple, He said that they would. Therefore, regardless of anything said beyond that they are completely off track. This issue does come up again and we see that they are still of the mind Jesus intends to destroy the temple. They are asking for a sign of His authority and pinning it to a misconception that He wants to destroy. Once taken this direction, their minds are consumed by the obsessive thoughts of how a facility of stone of this size could be rebuilt in three days. Nothing of what He is saying is being understood. So similarly then why would He commit himself to men when they falsely believe on Him even for the miracles? We ourselves must be aware of this ill being within us. What are we mis-understanding? What are we falsely believing? What have we allowed into our zeal that has made our worship into a market place? Why didn't Jesus make it clearer at that time that He was talking of His body? There may be a fine line between making a permissive statement about what this human ill leads men to do and making it a outright suggestion or command. There is a difference between "why don't you kill me and we'll see" and "not even death can hold me down". He is not asking for them to kill Him, He is suggesting that because of what is in them that they will. He is suggesting that when they look back on all this they will remember these words and realize how far off track they really were, that He would have raised and that that would be the final sign of authority that they had sought. The faith of our Lord is not in the apparent success of numerous followers, but in the eventual belief that each will hold when His righteousness if fully performed. There is a long distance that they must be lead through to get them to where their belief is fully in that unadulterated mode. It shows how far the human heart universally has sunken and how much further it typically has to go before being turned around and set straight. It is interesting that His half brothers and sisters where with Him a short time, for down the road they too will later need to be turned as well.
October30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:3:1-21 EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY THINGS - Flesh and spirit, light and darkness, earthly and heavenly, born of water and spirit, these are all meant as stark stark contrasts. There is a vast difference between all that we've known of our existence to this point and all that there is yet to know. The heart and mind that we've used all this time to bring us as far as it has is not the same heart and mind that takes us the rest of the way. Look all around you through the course of this day and look at how far we've been able to come and how far further we could go if only unimpeded. Realize that no matter how far what we have was yet to go it is still only flesh, the earthly, the water of the womb, minus Him the darkness. Belief in the Son of God Jesus Christ is the birthing canal into the unimaginable life, the life of the eternal, the life of the communion with the Divine, the life of the fellowship of the redeemed, the life of the designed and created and promised and performed. To be of the Spirit one must be born of the Spirit. In order for anyone to be born of the Spirit Jesus must die, the travail of His soul on our behalf must please the Father, His resurrected portion must be divided amongst His strengthened. No one comes up with this portion on their own, it is a gift given to them that believe on His name and receive in themselves His Spirit. Born again, the first birth only can take us to the point of believing for the second. It is the second that takes us the rest of the way and He is it's entry point and it's light. But there are those that hate this Light, even if we tell them in earthly terms they do not allow themselves to believe. Second birth? How can that be? I see no difference! It is like a seed that is planted in the corrupt nutrient rich ground that must die to itself and give root to the life intended. To rot in it's own hardened shell and never take root is to never germinate and become anything other than complete rot. The faith of our Lord is that His death and resurrection will mean everything to us spiritually. As much as this present world means to us it is nothing to compare to the eternal glory to come. He must be the first raised from the dead. We must believe in His name, receive His Spirit, follow the process of preparing for the second life. Believers are His germinating seed becoming ready to burst through the shell and rot of this life into the glorious sunshine of the next life. What is flesh is flesh. What is Spirit is.....
October30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:3:1-21 GOD SO LOVED - God so loved the world.. Which world? The world that is or the world to come? If it takes this to get to that then the two are inseparable, He loves "The" world. Imagine God when laying out His plan foresaw a future so grand and glorious, communion so rich and wondrous with all angelic and human creation that He knew it would be worth giving the life of His only begotten Son for. Knowing that it meant a time detached and a temporary world that He would have to condemn, but through His Son He would be able to redeem, that all of this would be what brought us all of that which He foresaw. Imagine us hating what He foresaw, what He foretold, what He afore did. Imagine us choosing to continue even if eternally in this condemnation rather than accept entrance into that which God foresaw and so loved. Why would we do that? So that our deeds be not reproofed? How much then do our deeds mean to us? It is evident that God so loves this present world, but not then everything about it. He has given us allowance where the full consequence of our choice is not yet, a time to sort through this invitation. Does He love that many will instead perish? Surely it is upsetting. They might feel it to be His moral quandary having such a high opinion of themselves. It is actually a quandary that they have placed upon themselves for with all sincerity and simplicity He has given them awareness and option out. Jesus reminds Nicodemus of the Brass Serpent of Moses, a time when fiery vipers struck at all of Israel as a whole and only those that looked upon the risen emblem of their Messiah were saved. Can it be any different for the world of all people as it likewise clings to it's sin and rebellion? There is so much that God keeps us from that are of our own consequence, so much that He cannot forever defend us from or support. Does it mean that He doesn't love that world? No it means that the option that He had given them was not ever taken. The scripture says "choose you this day life or death". How hard of a decision can that be if He so loves the world of the living and what that living will be that He gives the life of His only begotten Son to redeem it? That world to come must really be something worth deserting our evil deeds for. The faith of our Lord is in the love of His Father and what His Father sees as being our ultimate destination within that love. Is our faith?
October31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:3:22-36 GIVEN NOT BY MEASURE - Isn't it interesting that the Baptist's mission of preparing the way by calling Israel to repentance/baptism didn't end at the start of Jesus' ministry and that along with the miracles and teaching Jesus is also having His disciples baptize followers just like John's? The baptism of the Holy Spirit mentioned earlier does not come into effect until after the death and resurrection of Jesus at Pentecost. Jesus has that Spirit in Him without measure, but it is not for the sharing at this particular point of time. John the Baptist has been moved and used mightily by the Spirit from even in the womb, but He is not filled with the Spirit in the same sense that we all as believers from Pentecost on will be. Jesus speaks the words of God like no other has nor ever will because He is the Son, He is from above, He is from heaven, He is above all, He is the bridegroom, He is filled without measure by the Spirit. It would be one thing to be skeptical of say a prophet until his word is proven, but to be skeptical of Jesus? What better source is one ever to have? Should one receive His testimony the seal would be set that God is true; one would have eternal life and of an answer of a good conscience one would then be baptized. Many many many were baptized by the two concurrent ministries driving towards the same goal, the soon baptism of the Holy Spirit afforded by the death to sin at the cross and the resurrection to new spiritual life. The faith of our Lord is that this stage of the testimony will lead men to receiving the further stage, testimony of the new life signed sealed delivered. No one fully receives the word at this time and He knows it, yet He is willing that they be baptized of water just the same until that time when all will be presented the Spirit to receive. Himself filled without measure, measuring out a goodly portion to soon fill the rest.
November1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:4:1-26 IF THOU KNEWEST THE GIFT - Jesus is apparently avoiding/postponing conflict with the Pharisee's who are now taking notice of Jesus by the numbers He is drawing away from them in Judea. He takes the most direct route to Galilee venturing through the hated Jewish half breed land of Samaria. Jesus stops outside of Sychar and sends His band of Jewish looking fellows into the town to barter with the natives for food. A woman comes to the well to draw water just as she did probably twice a day, this time to find a lone road weary Jew sitting at the step of the well. What ensues is one of the most intimate conversations recorded in the gospels. It describes how Jesus pursued His way past her many defenses to bring her into an understanding of who He really was. First defense was ethnic, though they shared a common ancestry she made it a point to draw out their difference rather than their similarities. Jesus dislodged that defense by suggesting that who He was was someone that both and Jew and Samaritan had long looked forward to and that what He had to give was much anticipated by both. Her second defense was to claim ancestral rights to the lineage of Jacob. His response was to offer her more than an old decaying inherited landmark and to point to the vast difference of the shallow mountain runoff well's water to His eternal living water. Still calling Him "sir", her third defense is to make Him prove His offer. He replies by pointing her politely to a adulterous secret she holds that could not be known by any stranger. Now that she sees Him on the level of maybe a Jewish prophet, her fourth defense is to deflect His piercing gaze into her soul by diverting it to theoretical controversy as to the true singular sacred places of worship. It is an easy answer for Him to turn back on her for it does not matter where one worships as it does who the true object of that worship is given to. Her fifth defense is to put the concept of Messiah off into the future "well when messiah comes he will". Jesus declares "I am He". She has no other defense, she has only to believe His oath or not believe. There is no doubt that Jesus had many such conversations like this with a great many people. The few that we have recorded (like the previous with Nicodemus) are much glossed over and tightly edited with purpose. This seems to be one of the most open and free flowing of them all and show us a very intimate side of Jesus. He was not pushy, but very engaged and direct. He spoke in vivid pictures and concept that could be latched onto and remembered easily with time released multilayer payloads. He was able to work through her defenses with an intriguing honesty and sincerity and passion that she would come to respect. By the time the woman reaches her kinfolk she is convinced that He is Christ. The recorded record of our Lord is fast pace and compact with good reason. The faith of our Lord however is on a much deeper one on one plane that connects with the very core of the people He presents Himself to.
November2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:4:27-38 TO FINISH HIS WORK - Seed has been sown, Jesus to the Samaritan woman, the woman to the townsmen. There is no need to wait four months till the agricultural harvest because there is a procession of souls rushing up from the town to harvest from today. It will be the disciples job now to reap the harvest of a simple exchange that started between the two. Jesus, on His way to finishing the Father's work, is teaching to the disciples the principles of spiritual sowing and soul reaping. When the Lord's work is completed the disciples will need to be well versed in this process. John must have been told the outline of the conversation by Jesus for him to remember it this long after. No doubt the conversation changes from situation to situation (this conversation could have turned at several points likely with the same results), but the principals taught remain constant. John would come to understand these principals and become a good sower many times over and a good reaper many times as well. Now it was risky that Jesus talked to this woman in public as it was often perceived as taboo and possibly compromising to His reputation. His disciples thought of it, but made no comment about it. Jesus' reply to their unspoken concern was that it was meat for Him to do the Father's will. One can not be careless about the perceptions of others, but at the same time one can not let other's perceptions keep one from performing the task at hand. So much of His future ministry will be amongst the big crowds, there won't always be the opportunity for these one on one conversations. We should never loose sight however how effective these intimate private moments are in bringing unexpected numbers others towards the eventual harvest. There is a lot of risk to Jesus from all directions, He seems un-phased by any of it. It is the faith of our Lord to do the "Will", finish the "Work" and the rest will take care of itself by His Spirit. And along the way He'll teach His followers to do the same. Look for the opportunity to plant even in the oddest and riskiest of situations. Look all around the field for the harvest and don't wait til a certain time. May sower and reaper rejoice together!
November3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:4:39-42 BECAUSE OF HIS OWN WORD - It could well be that the towns folk knew of the woman's past and to hear her testimony that a stranger was able to tell her of all the things that they already knew was quite curious. It could be that they had attempted to rebuke her at times themselves, but until she heard it from this stranger it had no effect on her. Clearly now there has been an effect and they too are being drawn into the possibilities that this man is the Christ. Our exposed and honest testimony of ourselves in light of His gift of transformation can be this type of draw to others also, especially to those who have known our secrets all along. It may not be the final thing that wins them over, but it may be the very thing that interests them into a more serious examination of the words that the person of Jesus is speaking. Any serious examination of the man Himself is going sway the sincerest of inquirers, of which there are a great many. There is a difference in how we rebuke one another (or not) (even as well intending Chrsitians) and how Jesus presents His great and precious gift by grace to all the world even in the light of what could otherwise personally and socially condemn-able. These people, like all people have faults and iniquities of their own. It may be easier to see these trespasses and indiscretions in others without seeing them in ourselves. The glorious message of Jesus is that (taking all this sorted earthly business into account) He has been/will be/is now indeed "the Christ" (one most anointed of God) and "the Savior" (ultimate deliverer) of all the world (not just the Jews). The faith of our Lord is in the real and honest sincere seekers of this world giving Him a good and thorough look over, inviting Him to stay for a time to hear Him out completely, to not just take the words of those that are drawn to Him, but to take the "Word" direct from Him as a whole and to then decide upon that. If we by our personal testimony which much gratitude can help inspire others to search Him out the deeper... then why not let the sincerity gush/flow!
November4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:4:43-54 EXCEPT YOU SEE SIGNS - I do not believe that Jesus was attempting to rebuke the nobleman by what He said, but was preparing Him. It is not as if the man had come to Jesus, sought a sign in order to have the confidence afterward to ask Jesus for a miracle then on his son's behalf. The man had heard of the wedding miracle in Cana and the buzz from the pilgrims returning from the Feast in Jerusalem and had enough belief so as to wait for Him during His brief delay in Samaria. The statement is to focus the man upon the Messianic claims and not on all the observable things done up to this. The strength of faith is not in what has been done prior, but in what is about to occur and why. As to why, many would consider that they like the man because they believe strong enough to receive the healing that the healing takes place; like a partnership with the healer, our faith/His power. Here you will notice that Jesus told the man of the healing before the mention of the man believing. What if the man had delayed in his believing until further down the road? Would the healing have occurred two hours later? I fear that people who believe that their faith in healing must be there in order to receive the healing are the same type of people who seek signs and evidences to buttress up their faith prior. They are close kin to the people have to have a healing or observe directly a miracle themselves before they would ever consider that the performer to be in the class of a Messiah. John has verbally taken us to three distinct spiritual climates so far, the hyper religious in Jerusalem, the distant and half bread in Samaria, and now returns to a commoner's middle ground in Galilee. He has had tremendous success in all three and now previous successes are beginning to compound or multiply on top of each other. Knowing these distinct base climates now, we should begin seeing strange evolution's and twist's of these bases as people begin to talk themselves out of what appears to be the long awaited messianic fulfillment and the efforts of the elite to regain their control. The faith of our Lord is that He can compel us toward the core belief in His Lordship. It is not all about His showmanship and what we might be able to have Him do for us personally, it is about His being and presence and authority over all creation.
November5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:5:1-15 WILT THOU BE MADE WHOLE - There are several points of interests in this passage. One, there is a great multitude of sick and diseased gathered at the pool, but Jesus is said to have gone to just one and then conveyed Himself away. Was it because of the Sabbath? Because of the number of years this man had suffered? Because of the hold this apparent non-biblical mythology had on the others? Could there be more for Jesus to achieve in His short stay than just the healing of all the sick? It is known that often times Jesus healed as many in a day as came to Him; some but not many on Sabbath. It is also known that healing does not guarantee belief toward salvation, the ultimate goal. Perhaps the answer is in what Jesus later said to the man "sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee". Could it be that healing indiscriminately for the sake of merely healing has it's unintended consequences? The immediate relief of oppression that results in the increases of sin which brings even greater sickness and disease? Who are these people that would believe in a angelic healing of only the first person into the water? Where in the Bible is there an account of a angelic healing of humans? Does not this angel mock the "respecter of no man" God Jehovah? People that believe in this pool angel and not the Son of the living God among us are exactly the type of person that would sin all the more upon their release. Maybe Jesus is sending a stern message to these people in the form of the message they are sending everyone else by their mythology. Two, Jesus did not mention the man's sin to him before healing him, nor did He mention his faith or forgiveness. The man was healed strictly by the command of Jesus. Jesus then made it a point to go back to the man and warn him against any further sin. We can not say that this particular long term impotency was a result of an earlier sin. We only know that something worse could come if he sins from here out. Third, the healing of a man thirty-eight years ill is of absolutely no interests to the Pharisees, only the movement of his mat on Sabbath. You could imagine their horror if eight hundred cripples had risen and taken up their mats. Fourth, this account is likely out of sequence meaning that John inserted it here to support his point previous or to come. If the previous, it is meant to go along with the difference in believing having seen verses believing it will be seen. The faith of our Lord is in merciful mercy, deliverance from the sin that binds all of us leading toward eternal salvation. There is more to His plan then spending our days by a pool waiting for the troubling of water, more than seventy five second place paraplegics having to be rescued from out the water, more than many rising and going home to do whatever it is they have coveted doing from their beds all this time, more than rebuking one man who has just been given back his life carrying his bed roll to who knows where. The plan is for life and that life is in Jesus.
November6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:5:16-30 HEARETH MY WORD - This passage is an amazing display of our Lord's faith. The Pharisee's have just accused Him of thinking Himself equal to God. He reveals how that arrangement works. In His present state He will do nothing of His own self. What He see's the Father do, that is what He will do. He seeks not His own will. Think of all the things thus far we have seen Him do. Think of all the things that He is about to do. Think of the cross for which He is best known today for doing. Surely now the Father has not put Himself technically on the cross and died for sin, but literally He has shown that to Jesus. It is said that the Father has given the Son judgment, the cross is that judgment. Jesus has seen it, has understood it, has pursued it, will become it because He seeks not His own will. The judgment then for us is quite simple and straight forward. He that believeth this Son's word and He who has sent Him has eternal life. The Father is showing Him things along the way to do that will make that belief all the more believable for all men. When He makes the man at the pool whole, He see's the Father doing that. When He releases the legion of demons from the grave dwellers soul He see's the Father do that. What a clarity of vision He must have and need to upkeep. It takes constant prayer and devotion. He can see it written before Him in scriptures placed hundreds even thousands of years before Him. He can see it in the Holy Spirit moving Him from location to location. He can see it in His dreams and visions. He may be able to see the event right before the event occurs and know to do it. Whether He is shown an overview/outline/direction or the brilliance of detailed motions the effect is just the same. So not only is He equal, He has surrendered that equality in order to perform the will of the Father. He has not come to condemn any man in the way that we mean it for only the man himself by not believing in His word and He that sent Him can do that. Even the those in the graves shall hear His voice and raise up to be judged, those having done good by believing to the resurrection to grace, those having not believed to the resurrection of damnation. Many will ask "how could He do that?". The question is rather "why would man not do that?". Why would the Father do this? That the Son might be honored even as the Father is. It is an equality certainly, not though as a simpleton would think. The faith of our Lord is in a very intimate relationship to/with the Father who has given Him all things and is placing all things at His feet. As the Father has loved the Son, so the Son is loving of the Father. Not just in words and platitudes, but in actionable deeds and obedience's. Our faith then is in what the Son has shown the Father to be doing. As we love the Father, His Son having been seen by us to be sent, we see what it is we are to do likewise seeking not our own wills.
November7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:5:31-47 WHOM HE HATH SENT - We come back to testimony and witness. If Jesus was to testify of Himself and have no other form of witness, there would be no difference between Him and every other wanna be messiah. He can be believed to be who He claims first and foremost because of what the evidences and witness is all around Him. It is not just because of what a man like the Baptist says about Him (important as that is), it is not just because of what a man like the Apostle like John is testifying to, it has everything to do with what the Father is doing through and around Him to confirm everything that they all are saying including Jesus. Crippled men do not just rise and walk, the Father makes it to happen. Why does He make it to happen around Jesus? Because Jesus is the one that the Father is testifying to. Not anyone can tie over a hundred mismatching prophecies together seamlessly, some without even being born yet. Why does the Father make it happen around Jesus? Because the Father's finger is pointing to Jesus. There is an honor that only the Father can give and He can only give it to one sinless person. All witness and testimony points to Jesus even the testimony of Moses. And if pointed to Jesus then away from those that the word does not abide in, away from those that seek honor among themselves, those that have not the love of God within. The key phrase is repeated throughout this passage "whom He hath sent". He did not just arrive or make Himself to be this. Not just any man can claim being "sent" without every single evidence past and present saying that very same thing. The faith of our Lord is not in what He says about Himself alone convincing us, it is in what everything (even creation itself) is saying about Him thus proving His claim. No man in and of himself can do anything on this scale unless it is the Father doing it for Him. He has been sent!
November8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:6:1-15 WHENCE SHALL WE - It says that Jesus knew what He was going to do. He was going to feed over five thousand here on a grassy knoll with whatever they had present. In so doing He was going to examine the hearts of those there with Him; for their sakes. There had to be wondering among the disciples as to how this was going to happen, obviously it could not happen by any earthly means, but that did not stop the disciples from obeying the command and moving forward into the crowd with their baskets. We could say same thing about nearly anything spiritual still today, "how is this going to happen", "there is no earthly way". These things become an examination of our hearts also. Will we obey and move forward? The men could have been made laughing stalks ("What did you think was going to happen? Did you really think?"). They were not. Now is the examination of the crowd. Are you really going to reach up and grab that imaginary piece of something that the silly disciple of this strange man is going to pretend to hand you? It looks like they are handing out something however. Could it be? Now that you have eaten to your complete satisfaction what do you think? Was that fish? Was that barley loaf? Are there really twelve bushel baskets of left overs? Well suddenly, unexplainably, you think that this strange man is not so strange as it first seemed. You are thinking that He very well could be "The Prophet come in to this world". By the utter gasp throughout the crowd you know that others are thinking the very same thing. Some have taken to psalms and dancing, others to contrite prayer, as a whole there is awe and amazement. Now comes the examination of the reader two thousand years after. What, you don't believe in "The Prophet"? "The anointed One"? How could He? How is it? The gasps around you continue; different times, different people, different ways, gasps just the same. People who were once just as skeptical as you; now they too are dancing. You are right actually you know! There is no earthly way; yes. That does not mean that there is no heavenly way however. Why is it that Jesus knows what He is going to do beforehand, but chooses by doing so to examine our hearts? Because our hearts need to be examined. We need to be drawn out of our disbelief and challenged by what is bigger then we are willing to accept. What if one of the disciples just said "no"? "I don't believe in this"? "I am not going to entertain this any longer"? "I don't need to be tested in this way"? "Just say what it is you are going to say and we'll get along to Passover"? What if one of the crowd had stood up and shouted "you are all crazy"? "I'm going back down this hill and getting me some real fish, some smoked fish"? Ask yourself, was there anyone there that day that did this? Why not? We have been talking throughout about witness and testimony. How Jesus on His single testimony alone would not be legally convincing. How that with all the other testimony and the witness of all else that there was no earthly way for things to happen the case is much better made (It is that part this we choose not to believe). And with all of that the realization is made that it is God the Father pointing to this "Prophet" as if He has never before pointed or never again, the evidence is near insurmountable. That the sacrificial Passover depicting the blood of the Passover Lamb and deliverance from bondage is always close in the picture, the proving then is a test of our willingness to step out from our sin by His grace and righteous provision and to move forward. This crowd collectively decided to take Jesus by force to make Him king making the examination both wonderfully passed and horribly failed simultaneously. They are not yet willing to step out from their sin, only ready to make Him the chief of it. The faith of our Lord is that this too will one day pass, and that is why the proving. To get from where a soul is to where it needs to be takes a complete transformation, yet the soul no matter where in this process it is believes that it is already fully arrived. The proving is a reminder that this transformation is not earthly possible. It is heavenly if at all. Continually stepping out and obediently moving forward through this proving is to be our part of this transformation. Whence then shall we?
November9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:6:16-24 BE NOT AFRAID - Between the point where Jesus left the people and where the people catch up to Him, there are three interconnected miracles (four if you count allowing Peter to walk on water); the walking on water, the submission of the wind, the immediate landing negating 3-4 miles of water. I would imagine each one of these fearful in their own right. You could imagine someone among your group standing up and commanding the wind to stop; and it does. You could imagine hitting shallow beach in the dark when you knew that you still expected more than 40 minutes of clear weather paddling left to do. Why these miracles were expended in conjunction on the same eve as the five loaves miracle is not hinted at; unless miracles just tend to string together or unless it was a continuation of the previous examination. Symbolically, if the loaves show God's heavenly provision when there is no earthly way to do it, then perhaps these show that when there is a earthly way (keep paddling or sink) but the tempest is prevailing it is God's heavenly provision that will both calm the storm and get you to the other side. What would keep us then from calling for that heavenly provision and receiving it? Either pride or fear; likely both. These lessons are only for the disciples and the true followers, the "Jesus for President" crowd don't need to be more emboldened. There is a point where one's (or the team's) confidence and ability will only get so far; likely to the point of drowning. That is when one must face their fears. Not with more self determination and effort but with Jesus as Lord. We, like they that night, seem more afraid of Jesus walking alongside us than we do our own boat capsizing. This comes from only seeing through our natural eyes. A man is simply not supposed to walk upon water storm or not. At the same time why wouldn't the Lord of Heaven and Earth be near to His disciples in their time of greatest need, even if it meant Him doing what can not naturally be done? There are going to be many tempests ahead of these men of various sorts. Their lives will constantly be on the edge of danger. That edge of danger however is often the crossing point between the natural and the supernatural (or the natural beyond how we define it). They will need to know this lesson. They will need to be fast learners and I believe that they are. Are we though? That's the question nowadays. Maybe right now our tempest is a much smaller situation, but our ability is being proven to be short of the need. Is our pride and fear going to keep Jesus outside of that boat or is He going to be allowed to do His thing? The faith of our Lord is that His truer nature is sufficient for calming the fear within us that we have against Him and the "extended natural". It is not that He has to create these situations to make us to realize this, there are plenty of these situations that we row into or create ourselves out there anyway. If you are going to try to go somewhere, be someone, land in the spot to which He pointed you, you are going to have to cross the edge into the supernatural at times. You will have to know this lesson... BE NOT AFRAID FOR IT IS I.
November10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:6:25-59 VERILY VERILY - The phrase is not only Jesus pointing us to a truth, but highlighting the truth by use of the compound. Four times by my count it is said in this passage underlining different aspects of the same truth. kjv@John:6:26 questions us as to our motives for seeking Him. kjv@John:6:32 Just as the miraculous manna in the wilderness alone sustained Israel those near forty years, so to is the flesh and blood shed alone sustaining to us eternally. kjv@John:6:47 Belief in the person of Jesus Christ being sent by the Father and the all sufficiency of His completed work is the lone access to eternal life. kjv@John:6:53 The flesh that bore our sin and the blood that was shed for the remission of our sins/cleansing must be fully partaken of for there to be any life in our soul's present or future. Having then these four keys, why do we seek Jesus if not for this life brought upon us by His sacrifice and resurrection? What has it to do with anything less than that, like some personal temporal benefit or advantage? kjv@John:6:29 This very thing is the work of God. kjv@John:6:38 This very thing is the will of Him whom sent Jesus. kjv@John:6:44 No man can come to the saving knowledge of Jesus unless the Father draw him, kjv@John:6:45 unless the Father has taught him, kjv@John:6:39 that the Father has given us unto Him. In the context of what we had just been taught (us being proven our insufficiency) (the greater availability and sufficiency of His Divine power) we face the reality of our mortal predicament. There is no earthly way for us to become eternal; the life we have today is nothing but a spiritual death living forward towards a physical death. There is no life nor substance for our soul outside of Christ. We must rely solely upon the miraculous flesh and blood of the "Sent" and "Anointed One". This is the true manna from heaven. This what we should be laboring towards. The faith of our Lord has nothing to do with what the people want Him to be, everything with what the Father needs Him to be. The Father needs Him to be life unto the spiritual dead and physically dying. The Father needs Him to be their "Manna" now and eternally. The Father needs to draw us to this conclusion otherwise we would not come to this of our own. There is only one way for the Father to do this - to send Him down and to raise Him back up, to make us to believe in this. This then is the verily verily of truth.
November11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:6:60-71 WILL YE ALSO - The proving began with Philip and Andrew. It ended with many leaving. Jesus knew what He was going to do beforehand and He also knew who was going to believe because of it; not many. We are told no one comes to Jesus but those who the Father gives. We also are told later in the end when Jesus prays in the garden that Jesus did not lose a one of those given except the son of perdition Judas. This would suggest that originally Jesus was given as few as eleven. The others involved such as the women that often traveled and served Him might either be part of that number in a different sense or will become part of that number fully at His resurrection. Remember that there can be a difference between being in the process of being drawn to Jesus by the Father and being fully given by the Father, between being taught of the Father and receiving He that has been sent. The length of this delay however may be a pre-cruxification dilemma as now we can be taught by the Holy Spirit of the entire completed work of Jesus without Him first having to perform it as here. I do not believe that this meant all of those who walked away this day stayed away either, only that they no longer walked with Him physically while He was here on Earth. In a real sense not even the eleven disciples are fully aware of what it is that Jesus will be shown by the Father to actually mean to them. They believe proportionately and somewhat selectively, but yet are said to be given. That Jesus knew this beforehand says a lot about the human heart and it's condition; that it cannot come to this saving grace on it's own; that it is a divine drawing and a spiritual process. The conviction and acceptance realized of this condition may well be the initial result of the drawing. Many left Him initially rejecting this truth. Some of that many are likely because of this pending conviction to return at some point. The faith of our Lord is definitely in the process performed by the Father and Holy Spirit. He can prove out the stark realities present in this condition because He knows that the divine process is in motion and ultimately effective. It seems to be a very long and deep process, but it is what sets us apart preparing us for the eternal. In this we know He truly is that Christ, Son of the living God.
November12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:7:1-13 AFTER THESE THINGS - Fast forward about six months after the fall out. We are reacquainted with Jesus' own family. They do not believe either. There are two reactions likely when one does not believe the claims of Jesus, hate enough to tempt Him into that which He is not or will not do, hate enough to seek to pull Him down or hold Him aside or eliminate Him altogether. There is a reason for this hate in the world, because He testifies of the evil in it. It is against the Law for the Jews to hate each other the way that they hate Jesus. Jesus has deliberately kept Himself from Judea to keep this hate from festering too soon (or in the wrong way). It clearly illustrates what Jesus is up against even at this point of His ministry. This is not a delay in the ministry it is the work of His ministry taking effect. The leaders certainly expect Jesus to return either to His family or to Jerusalem direct. What a prize it would be for them to both have Jesus caught on their own terms and to have His dissenting brethren bring Him in. Willingly or not, consciously or not, the brethren's words ring with the provocative entrapping tone that the leadership would have planted all around them. They have become the Pharisee's messenger. It is important to the grand scheme for us later that Jesus' half brothers eventually did believe and played active roles in the early church. Far to often the popularity of an icon for good is countered and tarnished by a brother or son or nephew for the bad; and the opposition knows just how to play it. Jesus does secretly go; on His terms not theirs. I feel to be there for His family and for His champions near enough by. The pressure on them is immense. In a sense it is risky having left His group behind. In another sense it simply is not yet His time, it is all to happen on the Father's time clock. We benefit from this visit as well by seeing a glimpse of the not so disguised hatreds that Jesus is up against even to this day. The faith of our Lord is keenly aware of what He is up against and remains mindfully present to keep matters on His terms and not anyone else's. His faith is working forward publicly when it needs to be, reserved and patiently at others, even secretly and undercover when it serves the greater purpose. His ministry is not only about the words and the miracles, it is also about timing and using the processes of the heart to the fullest.
November13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:7:14-24 JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT - There is no doubt that we all are prone to judging by the appearances. In this chapter alone we have the family judging what would be best for the ministry of Jesus based upon the appearances as they saw them (even though they did not believe His claims). We have Judean disciples discouraged because all of His recent work appears to be done in Galilee not Judea. We have on lookers judging Him by the appearance of Him not being properly educated (as if that made any difference as to doctrine). We'll soon have Pharisees judging a particular healing on a Sabbath when their own practice of circumcision on Sabbaths gives the same appearance, guards not taking hold of Him because of their perception of the authority with which He speaks, others briefly believing on Him because of the number of miracles He has performed, a attempt to instill the false perception by repetition that Jesus is from Galilee not Bethlehem and therefore not Christ, an attempt to paint the appearance of the guards and Nicodemus as clueless rednecks that know not the law, and certain people questioning the appearance that the Rulers may know that He is Christ but are hiding it. A whole lot of this minefield that Jesus is having to navigate through is sown by the fault riddled human reliance upon appearance and perception. Appearance is largely what ever one wants it to be. There are so many convincing directions that it can go all of which are likely wrong. Jesus says that His doctrine is not His own it is the doctrine of the Father who sent Him. He says that He does not speak of Himself nor seek His own glory. His says that if we understood this we would know Him to be true. They know not the Father so it gives the false appearance that He doesn't know what He is talking about. Face it, evidences that we base much of our doctrinal decisions upon are nothing more than judgments based upon appearances; it appears that most other people believe that, it appears that I will be hassled if I publicly believe this, it appears that more learned men then I see many holes and contradictions in the New Testament. Friend, it appears that you have let these gutless scholars and History Channel (Alien and Ghost History Channel) documentaries make all your decisions for you. The righteous judgment is rather simple. You give Jesus the same open ear and investment into hearing Him out as you would hope to have yourself when you are similarly judged. You investigate His claims and give it opportunity to either prove itself true or fable, but you do that effort yourself just as you would want Him to do for you. The faith of our Lord is that He knows the Father and the Father has sent Him. It is a hard truth to convince to those who know not God and who make their judgments solely on appearances, but He believes that it will happen and that we will begin slowly to judge all things by righteous judgment.
November14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:7:25-44 DIVISION - You would think that it would be a bad spot, a low point, a time to regroup and refocus. After all the ministry has been parked in Galilee, Jesus had said He wasn't going to come but then He shows up, now it seems like nothing He says is being understood as it is meant to be. People are guessing and wishing and falsifying and propagandizing and... you would think that the crusade is loosing it's traction. If the goal was to win everyone over immediately and the sign of success was all sides getting closer together/everyone coming nearer to believing, you'd be right. Immediate is not the goal however, nor is it within Jesus' lifetime. The hard thing to figure is that division must happen, division in this case is good, division means that the hold of the opposition is breaking apart at the seams. Allies are beginning to wonder if their leadership knows something that it is not telling. Agitators are having to brush up on their prophecy to defend their point. Common people are having to consider things that they had not to consider even days before. Division once started can self perpetuate and gain momentum. There definitely is change happening, early signs of movement, crackling sounds of granite rock in the foundations above and beneath. Rumors spread, tempers rise, neighbors more strongly differ. Jesus by nature is not divisive man, but the truth is when the heart of man for so long has been petrified in the opposite. If He didn't stand for the truth only peace we could say that He ministry has gotten off track. If He didn't stand for the eternal kingdom we could say that He is losing His chances of one here. If the task was to make everyone to get along well it is not working. The faith of our Lord is that before there comes the real peace and unity there must come the real division. The hearts of man must be challenged, they must be broken free from frigid ice that binds them, they must be transported into the warmth of light, they must be breathed into with the Spirit like rivers of living water. For them to have been in this death hold for so long it will take division first to get them out. The ministry is right on point.
November15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:7:45-8:11 AND TAUGHT THEM - With everything that is going on around Jesus it is good to know that there are still people that want to hear Him and are willing to be taught. Wouldn't you have loved to hear what the teaching was on this day? We are not told what it was and it seems that many times He is "teaching what?" when what we are told about what interrupts it or occurred outside of it. Take the feeding of the five thousand and others, times when He taught all day or three days straight, we know not a word, but we do know what else took place. We do have some of His teaching mind you, the sermon on the mount, the Olivett discourses, weaves of parables etc.. Chances are His teachings were much like those. Perhaps they were exactly those just for a different audience and that is why we are not told about it (we've already heard it). Wouldn't you like to hear Him tell it again and again? There is the chance just as likely that it was something completely different, perhaps reading and teaching from the Old Testament stories or from the Law or from the Prophets. Wouldn't you have loved to hear His take on ancient world history? A walk through the book of Job? Instead, we are privy to what the Pharisee's are thinking, how their minions are processing their reactions. We also have what He taught as a result of these occurrences. This leads us to believe that as important and engaging as the mystery teachings of Jesus were, often times what was going on around them is more of what we need to know; at least right now. I imagine that in Heaven we will have the time and opportunity to catch up to these lessons. There will be plenty of occasion to go over to Joseph's and hear Joseph himself recount his time in Egypt. It will be good to hear Job himself describe what he was thinking. How about an evening with Stephen or Silas or Luther; diner with the Grahms? There will be time for this I am sure, but for now we are faced with the task at hand which is often best understood by the contrary reactions of reprobates. It is a look into the heart of sin, the thoughts of those who seek to entrap, the insults and slander and hypocrisy of those who should know better, the short sighted reasoning's and justifications of the power hungry. The teaching actually is all about the cross and everything that led up to it so that we would be able to know what it means with and beyond and because of it. The faith of our Lord is there early in the morning every next day; He is always back at it. A storm surge of opposition and scheming can be brewing all around Him and you know what He'll be doing and where He will likely be found - teaching. Thank God our Father for that!
November16 @ @ RandyP comments: FaithOfJesus *John:8:12-30 FOR I AM NOT ALONE - As far as I can tell the Pharisees are basing their rejection of Jesus on three key points. One, they do not know who He is. Two, they believe He is only testifying of himself. Three, there is no scripture relating to a p(P)rophet coming from Galilee. We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Jesus does not address this with them Himself, therefore He must be leaving this to them or others to find out. He does address the issue of them not knowing who He is stating that unless one knew the Father one would not know the Son. Again the burden is left to them, if they wanted to know the Father it would be as easy as getting to know the Son. Then there is the issue of one verses multiple testimony which again comes down to what they are willing to accept. John early on in this book made it clear that the testimonies of others was to mean everything to the gospel case.
November17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:8:31-41 NO PLACE IN YOU - It may be wise for a moment to strip away any preconception of sin. It seems that these people are so focused on sin as adultery or idolatry or immorality or the like that they cannot see that sin is still more than all of that. Let's put sin simply on the level of our belief. The Father sends his Son to die and be propitiation for every man's sin; Jesus is that Son. What do we do with that information? Do we say that we don't need the Son? That we are different than all others? That we are better than all of that? The only thing that would make us say that is our perception of sin. Minus everything else that can be perceived about sin, what God the Father has determined and provided must stand true. If God says that all men have the condition of sin and therefore sin and that the Son Jesus is the only antidote then we must take that at full value. Now we can add back in all the other understandings and realize that like all of the excuses and denials given by the Jews in this passage, every evidence suggests that their present condition is opposite to anything that they are willing to admit. They are captive to sin. They are captive in every aspect because everything that they do and say and reason leads them away from latching on to their only antidote Jesus. If the antidote is Jesus and you are strongly considering killing Him or minimizing Him or setting Him aside or making Him something other than He is and has come to be, everything that otherwise should occur naturally, you then are slave to sin, sin is holding you captive. Not bloodline, not ceremonial cleansing, not ceremonial sacrifice, not even devout/zealous attempts at morality can free you from the nature you are bond by; everything you are doing is dictated by that nature. If Jesus is the bulk and meaning and fulfillment of God's word and you take it to mean something other, then quite literally God's word has no place in you, even if you believe in it in every other respect. What is making you to do that is the very evidence of the masterful self justification and impulse of sin. Before you measure sin by all the obvious markers of murder and covetousness etc.. begin at the insistence of God's word. Understand how it is intended to make us free indeed. The faith of our Lord is in a future where all sin and all the influence attached will be long distant and fellowship with true continuance therein will be profoundly deep and eternal. A day when father sin has been abandoned for Father God.
November18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:8:42-47 UNDERSTAND MY SPEECH - You may have noticed that everything that Jesus is saying is being taken entirely the wrong way. It is as if He is not talking at all, they cannot hear it. It is not even logical point and counterpoint, it is logical point and outright bastardization. Why is it that His speech cannot be understood? How prevalent is this? We see His opponents doing this, do we see His allies doing this as well? Is it universal? Chances are yes! If we were to add back in the topic from the previous passage of believers/continuers being set free indeed, we may have a clue as to what our bondage largely consists of. He states that the lusts of our father we "will" do; the language suggests that it would be impossible not to do his (the Devil's) lusts unless He Himself (Jesus/Truth) has set us free. At the point of this passage no one has been set free yet. Can we say then at this specific time that no one is from the Father yet and that no one truly loves Jesus? Is there anyone on scene that clearly hears God's words? No; therefore they hear not because they are not yet of God. If this hypothesis is true it would mean that the faith of our Lord is standing utterly alone at this time a complete foreigner to both friend and foe looking forward to a time after the cross when friends one by one would be crossing over into the adoption of the sons of men. Now we should ask whether this same universal condition still exists? For this we must caution believers with the words of kjv@John:8:31-32 that it is not merely the belief in Jesus that sets us free but the continuing in His word as disciples that reveals the truth and then it is this revealed truth that sets us free. If this means free from the bondage of doing the lusts of our former father then we see that continuance toward discipleship must then come first. If this hypothesis is true then it would mean that the Lord stands with some looking out as near strangers at a field of potential masses whose chains have been lifted but have yet to trust and experience the continuance up from the cellars into the open light of discipleship. We must then again ask... are we hearing the word of Jesus so as to continue in it? Do we understand what He is really saying or are we making it out to whatever we want it to be? Are we bastardizing it? As to the points I have already hypothesized about our Lord, one would think "isn't this a terrible and lonely thing we are watching Him go through". To this we must ask "is this not why He came"? The faith of our Lord is in making a way for the completely detached to come unto their true Father. God is their Father, but they have sold themselves over to another. There is no other course for them out unless He purchase them back first. Now maybe we can hear His speech!
November19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:8:48-59 BEFORE ABRAHAM - Stones are drawn. How serious of an offence must one be convinced of if to be party to a stoning execution (and in/near the Temple). Jesus had said that men hate Him because He testifies of the evil in the world. Evil you would think would be ax murderers and rapists, thieves and the such. I don't recall Jesus testifying to this all that much.. Who would imagine evil to be the religious types seeking to kill Christ? The equality claim of Jesus to the Father seems to be the primary issue. It was brought to light by the mention of the pre-incarnate existence and work of Jesus and the use of the sacred title "I AM" of kjv@Exodus:3:14. Though Jesus physically can not be stoned nowadays the religious attitude and effort can still be just the same. It is interesting that witnesses saw both Abraham and Elijah standing with Jesus, but were sworn not to testify of this till after the resurrection. It is also interesting that Jesus doesn't go immediately to the prophecies like kjv@Micah:5:2 "whose goings forth are from old" kjv@Isaiah:9:6 "and His name shall be.. Mighty God" kjv@Proverbs:8:22-30 "possessed me in the beginning" etc.. Nor does He rebut them here with the logic of David's seed being his present tense "Lord" or the "who did Moses see if no man has ever seen the Father and lived". The question is not so much why He didn't do any of this here because He was revealing their own hearts, it is more when and whom was going to do this for Him. The faith of our Lord again comes back down to the Father's timing. This was not the time to convince, but to convict. This was not His time to die. This was not how He was going to die and nothing that they could conceive of doing to Him was going to be anything more than a insight into the evil that clings to man even to this day. Who then is to testify of the pre and post incarnate and incarnate sovereignty of Jesus? We are by the Holy Spirit When? Now To whom? The religious types that still today would stone Jesus (or us His ambassadors) for the very thought. "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death". What saying? These sayings. What death? The second (eternal spiritual) death.
November20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:9:1-12 WORKS OF GOD MANIFEST - We must be very careful not to make this say what it does not. The issue is disease and impairment, specifically prenatal. Does it come from the sin either of the parent or the affected? We know that in the case of a heroine or crack addict mom, her sins can cause deformity and severe often fatal consequence. A father also with his sexually transmitted diseases etc... So it is possible. If we are talking about all sin in general then why are not all kids born of sinners diseased and sickly? And if not all born to sinning parents then why any at all? We could also see the possibility of an adult of consenting age doing something dietary or promiscuous or risky etc.. that would result in their calamity. Again if sin is the cause why not all sinners and if not all then why any? In this particular case we are talking about a man blind from birth. Like so many similar cases it defies explanation unless we are to take into account the original curse and the removal of the tree of life. This explanation would make such disease and deformity and impairments much more indiscriminate on God's part. Man falls, death is sentenced and enforced, tree of life removed, toil and pain added, genetic disturbance and entropy, sub mutation and viral/bacterial balances altered, sickness and disease obvious and increasing. Add to this the theory that Israel itself is under double measure of God's blessing/curse given their possession of the sacred articles and covenants with God. We see more blindness and deafness and leprosy and demonic possession particularly at this biblical time of reprobacy than perhaps ever before/since. That Jesus would say that this particular man's blindness is not because of any one person's sin does not mean to say that sin, especially original sin and the sin of Israel mishandling of the sacred are not involved. Neither does it mean that the man's condition was forced upon him just so that God could show that Jesus can heal him. The works of God being manifested could rather go to show the indiscriminate nature of the curse, the compounding of the curse by Israel's indolence and irresponsibility, God's undeserved mercy pointing from all directions to His Anointed One, this same Jesus Christ. Now, we must ask in the other cases when Jesus concluded a healing with the words "thy sins are forgiven" how many of these times was it said in addition/conclusion to the healing and how many times was it necessary in order to provide the healing? The faith of our Lord is that the works of God will be made manifest and that He is the one that must work these works. What kind of works would these be if He was the one that necessitated them just to show Himself capable? Sin undoubtedly made for the necessity. His manifestation is the mercy presented to atone for it.
November21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:9:13-34 A MARVELOUS THING - Since the world began, that is a long time. A man born blind is made to see. What difference would it make where the healer was from? He would still require serious consideration. How could just any person perform such a thing? Let alone a sinner? It is often asked why Jesus used the mud and the wash. It is commonly held that it was used to help build the man's faith. The man did not see what Jesus was about to do. The man at least would have known by touch that something had been done and feel it all the way down to the bath. Others point to the possible medicinal purposes of the mud (but to heal prenatal blindness?). What if the mud was to mark the man that a miracle had been performed again by Jesus on the Sabbath? What if it was a message to the Pharisees and had little to do with the event itself? The inquisition asked more than once "how was this again? Mud?". It was perplexing to them. Mud sticks to things. In mud things get stuck. If one is trying to get a perplexing puzzle stuck into a group of antagonist's brains why not stick it there with mud? The theory is interesting. As much as these men wanted to control the proceedings and rule out the miracle all together, their perplexity kept the inquiry in play, broadcasting to others that they were not all together sure what had taken place. It aggravated a division already occurring within their group and made to surface a policy they wanted to enforce that commoners insisting Jesus to be Christ would be excommunicated from the assembly. The mud is now on their face. How Jesus had healed has as little to do with the consideration of sin as when He did it or where He was from. The fact is that it hadn't been done to anyone's recollection ever before, that was the most urgent point. Some there came close to the matter, but apparently they lack the political strength and determination of the others. The faith of our Lord is in bringing the darkness to light, to make men to see the spiritual struggle happening daily all around them and the various intentions/motives being played out. Sometimes something as simple as mud can be used to remind one man who cannot see that his eyes are soon to open and at the same time reveal to a great many that certain so called seers are actually driven to blindness. That makes it an even more marvelous thing!
November22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:9:35-41 FOR JUDGMENT I AM COME - Think back to kjv@Matthew:11:25 and Jesus saying that God has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes. If something is hidden then there is no seeing it. What one does see is something other than what God has hidden. So why would God hide it to begin with? The answer is in to whom He does not hide it, where it is revealed. The earthly wise and prudent seek their own answers and therefore are never in position for revelation. The babe is in a constant receiving state filled with curiosity and immersed absorption. Imagine the man now blind from birth and the many visually deprived conclusions and perceptions made over these many years. Imagine what it is like for him now being able to see. Imagine his wonder and awe and the newness of all the things he thought till now that he knew. On the other hand let's imagine him trying to explain what he visually sees to his blind friends of the color red or of sky or of mother. What the Pharisees are missing is that what should be evident to them instead is hidden because they believe not in God's Holy Son Jesus Christ, they have their own answers, blind as those answers are to the reality of all spiritual matters surrounding them. God does not have to make them to be blind because they are blind by their own self limiting definition. Worse yet, blindness itself does not have to mean sin, it could simply mean not having been presented occasion with Jesus as of yet, but sin can be added to one's blindness once having occasion with Jesus to reject and despise Jesus outright. Judgment in this respect is automatic and immediate. The judgment is like stepping out of the flying plane without a parachute after being told the absolute consequences; if you are wise and prudent enough not to need Jesus then you are wise and prudent enough not to see impact with the ground. The faith of our Lord is that if we become willing to see Him in His true light as if we were mere babes that He will be able to show us the things that are otherwise hidden, as if our eyes are opened for the very first time. Note that Jesus is asking this man of this in a spiritual sense after He has opened his eyes in a physical sense and he has seen for himself the darker side of those who he thought were his spiritual guides.
November23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:10:1-21 BUT THE SHEEP DID NOT HEAR THEM - There are many revealing things spoken in this passage that might have gone unseen. First, for there to be a door to enter there has to be a wall or partition preventing entry elsewhere. What is this partition that would make there to be only one way in? God's will? His judgment? It says that there are those that would climb up it other ways, avoid the door, put themselves above His judgment, but it does not say that these others are making it. There are those entering in and that He is leading out called by name that know His voice. They will not follow a strangers voice and will not hear them. There is another fold that He mentions, however the two folds are make one; the same door, the same calling, the same recognition of voice. Note also that there is a porter at the door to open it. Even if one came to the gate the porter (Holy Ghost) would have to let one in. It is interesting that the old prophets (Isaiah Ezekiel etc) referred to the religious leadership of their day as shepherds. These prophetic references would mean something to the Pharisees. Jesus referred to His time as being shepherd-less. Something has happened between then and then removing the former corrupt shepherds. If these men now are the hirelings there is another to whom they are hired and to whom they are being scared off deserting their posts; "He" would be the one who comes to steal/kill destroy. "He (The Thief)" in context is likely to come in the form of the chief priests and/or the political structures who are not deserting yet, that desire Jesus dead. Note that there are the true sheep, the ones for whom the Shepherd gave His life and took it back again that know His voice and follow. The partition is of little consequence to them as it is, they freely follow where He leads. The faith of our Lord is knowledgeable of a very complex web of story lines strung together moving against Him with increasing energy. He remains certain however of what this means and what it will mean to His sheep fold. Are we aware and certain?
November24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:10:22-42 I AND MY FATHER ONE - It is obvious that the Jewish leaders are not going to believe Jesus by what He says. He tells them what they need to hear and their response is "why do you not just tell us plainly?". He tells them to believe in His works and they say "He does this by the Devil". They pick up stones just like they have previously and nothing comes about again by it. What is becoming obvious is that their play is not to catch Jesus at His words and not to stop Him by their stones, it is to make a play for the hearts of those that are on the cusp of following Him. They have the advantage here. The peoples have been following them for a long long time. It is harder for most to break with the comforts of familiarity and tradition than the intrusions of truth. These leaders are now making the public impression that they are against this Jesus, that the people are being cursed by their own scriptural ignorance, that they have asked Jesus and asked Jesus and it always comes to stones clinched, that it is Jesus avoiding the questions/making the accusations/causing the divisions. They are presenting Him as being blasphemous even though He is simply stating that He is doing what the Father is commanding Him to do and in so doing the Father and He are one. The faith of our Lord surely sees through the play that they are making. It will make no difference. God's play will succeed.
November25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:11:1-16 BECAUSE HE SEETH THE LIGHT - The thing that is sure to catch the eye is the intensity of the miracle and the set up to it. There is something stated here that could slip by if not pointed out. The concern of the disciples is obvious and sincere. Without being there I believe it is hard/impossible for us to grasp just how dangerous getting to (and back from alive) this miracle will be. You and I would see the danger and we'd be able to come up with several self justifications dressed up in alternate but safer forms of ministry, a letter, an envoy, a bouquet, a tract, an evening of group prayer. If we were a messiah we could even issue the command to rise from far away. Jesus does not shy away from this. How does He know from all His options which course of action is the correct one? How does He favor the one when everyone else is convinced otherwise? How does He keep Himself from stumbling? Jesus inserts a quick illustration walking in the light of day; there being twelve hours. Though I don't claim to understand it with any certainty, at the same time I know that this insertion was not frivolous or placating. I believe that the answer He meant for us is in His answer here. So often we are faced with several immediate options only one of which we can actually take. We apply our wisdom to the discernment of which one to choose. As we process those decisions, by what light are we analyzing them by? Our Lord's decision is lit by the glory of the Father seeking to glorify the Son. Has that ever since changed? Lazarus's body was dead and decaying, his soul had not yet transitioned (nor would it this time) it was sleeping and unaware awaiting the Son to receive the Father's glory. Lazarus's condition is not a common condition of death for others, it is like being laid out on the ledge spiritually presented by the Father for the Savior to come and show Himself by. Who else's death can we say this of?. Jesus sees this presentation and knows that He must move that direction no matter what the supposed cost might be. IS this the type of presentation we should be looking for as well? If He is sent here to do the Father's work, here is where the Father's work is sending Him. We too must become more and more aware of the pathways appearing in front of us. We were created unto good works, works that He will direct us to should we be alert and not fear the assumed consequence. The faith of our Lord is that there is twelve hours in this symbolic spiritual day and that the work does not end until the lights are completely out. If the light shows another task to be done then what is to stop Him, HE SEETH THE LIGHT.
November26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus *John:11:17-37 BELIEVETH THOU THIS - We have illustrated for us the different levels of belief. There is the belief of if He had been there, the brother would not have died. Is this true and how many other levels of belief does this branch off into? There is the belief whatsoever He ask, God will giveth it to thee. This is true, but how many other directions could this branch off into? There is the belief thou art the Christ which is come into this world. This is true, but how many other directions could this branch off into? There is the belief I know that he will rise again in the latter resurrection. This is true, but how many other directions does this lead? There is the belief could not this man which opened the eyes of the blind cause that this man have not of died. Again, all true, but how many other ways could these belief branch off? The question is how does this event have the Father best glorify the Son? Jesus says "he that believe in me shall never die. Believeth thou this"? He is speaking this about a dead believer. "Though he were dead yet shall he live" it is stated. Obviously, physical death is not death, eternal separation from God is. "I am the resurrection and the life". Think of how many different directions our faith can be taken with all the other human approaches, even scriptural approaches. Yet there is only one direction our faith can be drawn by this particular approach wherein the Father is glorifying the Son in this passage. Jesus is "The Life". Not even physical death can deny it. If it is too hard to believe it by what He says, believe Him because of His works; works such as this raising the dead to life. Four days dead and the body putrefies. Four days dead and the professional mourners come to wail at your doorsteps. Four days dead and you start coming up with all these beliefs and rationalizations that take you every which way, but toward the truth. Four days dead and the impossibility of it all becomes overwhelming. The faith of our Lord, He believes in a sweet spot, a spot where if hit full on that men's faith only have one direction to go. Choose you this day between life or death. The life that surpasses death's decay and corruption or else the death eternal that separates one's soul from God's. This is the glory of the Father upon the Son. Believeth Thou This?
November27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:11:38-44 SAID I NOT THEE - How then did the glory of the Father show upon the Son? By performing a work that made people to believe that Jesus had been sent by God to do the works of God. If you think about the many people in the gospels that confessed their faith that Jesus was good teacher, a prophet, maybe a future king, could perform miracles, they are mostly indistinguishable. If you think about the number that confessed Jesus to be the Son sent from God three stand out, Peter, the Samaritan Woman and Martha. Of the three only Martha believed for something as immediate and tangible as Jesus raising her brother physically from death. Now some see Martha as doubting in the end, Jesus was not going to let that stop this. I rather feel Martha had realized the horror and embarrassment that when Jesus did raise her brother he would be decayed and soiled and putrid. In other words, I believe that for her it was not whether Jesus was going to do this, it was the state that she was going to see her brother in when He did. Remember that Jesus had done this miracle (she was likely to know this) previously to the young girl. Regardless of what her comment meant, Jesus was willing to take this miracle all the way for the sake of those that would finally believe for the very reason that they should believe. You will notice that Jesus will soon die for man, there will be nothing similar to this miracle that man can do for Jesus. In this instance though, even before His own resurrection by God the Father, through Him God the Father would raise Lazarus from physical death with the intent of showing HIS Son to believers in the proper and glorious light. The faith of our Lord is shown in the form of praise "I thank Thee that thou hast heard me" and in the form of the command "Lazarus Come Forth". It is also in the understanding of how this was to be and to whom/for whom it was performed. Who is to tell Lazarus of what has happened? How to tell him? He may have heard Jesus say the time He taught at his house; he may have believed Jesus that He is the "Resurrection and the Life". Well now he and his sisters truly know! Now to tell the wailers.
November28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:11:45-57 JESUS THEREFORE WALKED - It was no surprise to Jesus how the Sanhedrin/Pharisee coalition would react, it was part of the equation going in to the miracle. One only has to go back to the times of Moses before Pharaoh to see how miracles tend rather to harden the hearts of those it should have softened. It is as weighing in the one hand the tremendous weight of the many works and believers in the works of Jesus against the weight of what is self important in the other; the more weight added to the side of Jesus the more the scale tips towards self. Self is a communal property here, there is much investment into it by these individuals. It is no less true in our day. What we call freedom of will is clearly very territorial and pack like. Measure again the imbalance between the one sent doing the works of God and the several who find it expedient for all that the one man be put to death. It is the same measurement we face today. Why should the works of God be put to death (in our case explained away)? Because they threaten the so called works of man. They see it as a work to keep their place and their nation. Their place is as spiritual and moral leaders of a pitiful run down thoroughly dominated depraved frontier outpost of Rome, a vague resemblance in name only to the nation that by God they once possessed. That is the work that they put above God's? What is our's? So what does it take, we must ask, for them / for us to see matters on the ground as they truly are? The results and consequences of our possessiveness and self (pack like) justifications? How the works of God are sternly pushed aside as if to the wildernesses? These men gather to purify themselves and at the same time they issue a state wide edict for His capture. The feast is being prepared for. The faith of our Lord knows more of what it is up against ahead of time than we tend to know even after the fact because it knows the heart of man; all men; the real state. He will spend this time now with His disciples preparing them and their faith for the similar battles they will one day face themselves. He will walk no more openly amongst these hardened.
November29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:12:1-11 AGAINST THE DAY OF MY BURYING - It is ironic that Jesus in large part is being sentenced to death for raising a man from the dead. Name me another such case. Now the reasoning behind the sentence will quickly evolve into more, but at this point the fear is that Jesus is now performing things that have serious internal and external consequence. Lazarus is also marked out (sentenced to death for once being dead). There are many aware of Jesus' whereabouts. They are commanded to report it to the leaders, not many did. They could be held as duplicitous cooperatives (knowing that the dead man raised and the man who raised him were meeting). You can see just how ridiculous the leadership has gotten. Then there is Mary, Martha's sister. We have already spoke of Martha's uncommon faith; it appears that it has rubbed off on to Mary. Mary and Martha had kind of gone back and forth with the lead of obtaining the fullest measure of faith, Mary having been the un-distracted pupil first and Martha recently having accepted the Lord's omnipotence first. Mary now comes forth with nearly a years worth of common wages to pour over her Lord's head, intuitively realizing that He is about to die for mankind's sins. The men folk are not this far along yet as some are swayed (or confused) by Judas' reasoning. They do not yet know Judas as the Lord knows him, nor do they know the road that has been leading him to betrayal. Judas will betray Jesus. He'll be the one to tell Sadducee where Jesus will be at. We suspect that it will also be about the money, but the money may just be the gateway drug to something much more determined. Judas trips up here and crosses Jesus and nearly brings the other men crosswise along with him. Surely he knows that. There is more than just ointment that has been stored up that is about to be broken open and spilled out. There was a prophecy given to the young mother Mary that the Christ child she bore would one day cause her great pain because that He would reveal the hearts of many. See then the hearts revealed. Feel her pain amongst otherwise anticipation and excitement. The day now is soon coming and is already. How much more do you need to see to be convinced? Not enough revelation yet? The faith of our Lord is that none of this trouble is by accident, it is raised by His presence. A son cannot do any of the works of his father in this darkening light without the whole world coming to pieces. And why this? Because of the hearts of man. A hundred billion hearts all with such busyness to do. How crucial this quiet personal moment of sincere personal homage by a long haired woman of such great compound yet simple faith. A moment saved up for against the day of His burying!
November30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:12:12-19 THY KING COMETH - It had been said that "no man taketh" the Sons's life that He "gladly giveth it". The Sanhedrin watched on powerless and self defeated. The disciples watched on not understanding. The effect of the raising of Lazarus is stunning even months latter. The part of the crowd that awaited waited to see what blessing the miracle man would bless them with next. The part of the crowd that had followed Him in were following expecting Him to be their King immediately just as a year before (and Jesus had refused). A part of the crowd gathering just to not to miss a good commotion. Jesus on the one hand, the perceivable side was boldly defying the Sanhedrin and political elite. On the other hand, the one not to be understood till after, He was giving Himself over to His death; not by anyone's power but His own. Hosanna is to say "Come save". Only He at this point understands what to "save" means and from what. "He that comes in the name of the Lord" is taken by the crowds in many different ways as well; only He knows from just how far He has come and for what. He has come and entered in and it will take days before anyone in power will know what they are going to do. They won't know till it walks up to them in the form of a betrayal. The faith of our Lord is that in the weeks after to come the true understanding will closely follow. There wont be the understanding actually until it walks up and fills the room in the form of tongues of fire, The Holy Ghost. It will walk up to us because of Him, the one who freely gave His life that we might live. It will draw us in because of Him, the one that took Life back. This is for our salvation and that is our King and that will be the fold of His kingdom. THY KING COMETH... COME SAVE.
December1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:12:20-36 IF I BE LIFTED UP - There at least three objectives I see stated; that the Son of Man be lifted up, that the prince of this world be cast out, that men while they have light be drawn to follow Christ. Think of man's state as being compressed and flatted as if by a mechanical press where everything is at the same level. Look around and it all seems about the same including the person and works of Jesus. Slight variations, He (maybe another) might have been a better man, may have done some miracles and such, but near to our human level. Now think of Him as being lifted up off our compressed level by His resurrection and witnessed ascension. Our understanding is no longer as flat and perceptually relative, there is space between us and Him and we are drawn towards Him from out of our tight quarters. With that space we look back on His miracles, His healings, His parables, His teachings, confirming voices and testaments and we now see that God the Father was trying to show us something much bigger at the time than we could comprehend. There becomes an expanded middle ground so to say so that even the prince of this world cannot perceptually hide in the previous flatness. Satan is exposed and forced out into the open having not the same death hold on us as before; he then, when purpose unfolds, can be extracted. It all comes as a result of one man's death and resurrection; His uncommon lifting up. There have been those like Lazarus that have slept and been raise from sleep back into this earthly dimension. There is no one other than Jesus that has raised fully into His previous glorious state having conquered both sin and death, shown Himself tangibly to us glorified and ascended up through a parting of heaven and earth to the right hand throne of God His Father. Okay, so see how different that is, see how uncommon and not flattened that is, allow for what is expansive and drawing about that. "If any man serve me, let Him follow me" He says "where I am, there also my servant will be". Is Jesus in our flattened/compressed sphere or is He lifted far above it? There may be additional significance that there are Greeks in this audience with the Jews as well as they would more closely resemble us Gentiles today. For the moment they see the signs and hear the voices, but they as of yet do not know who the Son of Man is or what it means for the Son to be "lifted". The "Light" is amongst them also for this short preliminary time. Take notice of this time He tells them, remember what is said and done while I am here, it will help you to see how dark things are at my passion and death, how glorious and expansive things have become once I have raised and lifted up. The faith of our Lord is in the way things actually are that we cannot yet see and in the way they better need to be if we can just be made to see it. The first spiritual sight from our blindness we will ever see is Jesus Christ the Son of the Living Father God high and lifted up. These men are yet to see that, but then the act has not yet been physically performed. Today the act has been performed, are we willing now to see that? Are we willing to follow in the sense that He means for it?
December2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:12:37-50 I KNOW HIS COMMANDMENT IS LIFE - Similar to God hardening the Pharaoh's heart, He has hardened many of the chief priests. I don't know if it is meant that He enacts this upon them, rather that the thought of Him as now presented makes their hearts hard. It is like us saying "you make me sick". You of course do not make me to be sick, my guttural response to you is sickened. The thought of God dwelling in the flesh? For the hardened sickening. The thought of messiah not coming from their ranks, sickening. The thought of them not knowing God, but this unlearned fool, sickening. The thought of Him calling them hypocrites and children of the Devil and a broad of vipers, sickening. That He heals on Sabbaths, that He claims to forgives sin, that He associates with sinners and publicans, that every answer to them is a parable or puzzle to solve, that He is leading the uneducated masses and them into a head on collision with Rome; it is all just sickening to the chiefs. Worse yet, there are suspicious people among these leaders who seem to believe on this Jesus, but wont stand up for Him (which must go to show what type of people He draws). You can see how hearts can become hardened with very little external pressure from God, in fact it is likely to believed that they are doing God the favor for putting this revolting lunatic down. Here is the thing though, everyone knows that Isaiah said that all this would surround the "Righteous One"; that He would be denied and rejected and tremoved from the living. Jesus said that if a man hear His word and believe not, He (Jesus)judges the man not; His word (Jesus speaking the Father's command) judges Him. If God has forced a hard heart upon one then how can HE judge him? HE has not forced, we have responded that way in facing His truth. Why not judged until the last day? Because until the last day there remains that possibility that a person's heart can be changed; and if not changed, used to strengthen someone's that has. The faith of our Lord is that the Father's commandment equals life everlasting. Therefore He speaks what He has been told. One that believes on Him believes on the Father. That same word is eternal life to one and judgment of similar kind to another.
December3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:13:1-17 THOU SHALT KNOW HEREAFTER - What information is it that Peter is without that He will come to know shortly that will make this lesson of the master washing the feet come to full light? He doesn't know that one pair of those feet has already put plans in place to betray our Lord. Another of those pairs of feet will deny Him. Other's eyes will drift to sleep when they should be on watch and pray not to enter temptation. One of those pairs will refuse to believe the other's testimony till he sees the resurrection with his own two eyes. Like Peter there are many things that we do not know about ourselves or those around us that the master knows and yet He does what He does because it is the right thing to do. Remember this because soon the role we are to play changes. Instead of our master washing our feet it will be us washing other's feet. There likely will be things that you come to know about the others that they may not even know about themselves that would cause a less Christ like person to simply walk away from. Perhaps it is people in your congregation, persons in your family or community, even key individuals within your ministry, perhaps it is not just one but all of them, because of what you know about them you may feel above humbling yourself to this level of service with. Our Lord went ahead with it; so should we. If anyone should be above this it would be the one whom all things had been given, who came from the Father and is going to the Father. Yet, Jesus loved His own which were in the world and loved them to the end. Let's ask it this way, these men have been with Jesus more than three years, at what point were they perfected? At what point did they fully believe to the complete saving and cleansing of their soul? The faith of our Lord put into this light is truly amazing. For three years the completion of this work upon these men has always been out into the future. It could even be said that the true work has only just begun. These men have loyally followed, they have some information, they have many amazing experiences, they have been made to feel part of the group and future of this ministry, however, it has all gone to help Jesus show Himself to the world as the Messiah. Now comes the individual transformations and the transformed group taking shape. Now it it comes to what a faithful believer in this Messiah is looks like and doing and why he is doing it. The faith of our Lord has been a total investment into what these men could be after He departs from them. So the investment comes round to us; it is now our holding. There is what you know about yourself and other people. There is what our Lord has faith that we will become. There is a lesson as to how best we show that we understand that lesson and how we show it forward to those whose weary feet like our's may need a little refreshing.
December4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:13:18-30 TO WHOM I GIVE SOP - Why didn't Jesus out Judas right then and there? Let's put ourselves in the mind of Judas for a moment. Whatever it was that made him to inquire with the Sanhedrin in the first place he has probably carried in his heart long before that; one doesn't just jump to such a decision. Now he is carrying all of that plus the anxiety of it all now coming together into this supper attempting to disguise it. The disciples there with him are looking at one another sizing each other up. Peter the courageous spokesman is even timid about asking who Jesus means. Jesus though is leaving it hang out there over the room. Judas and He both know who He is talking about, yet it is left for everyone to ponder and search out for themselves. Judas has to be thinking "Master just tell them". Orelse maybe Jesus is thinking "Judas just tell them". The truth is Jesus is man enough (has better purposes) to not out Judas to the others and Judas is coward (disturbed) enough not to confess either to Jesus or the others. How odd it must have been to dip the morsel in the Lord's bowl and still not be noticed by the rest of the attendees. It is nearly impossible to get into the mind set of Judas. The faith of our Lord however sees this as a moment that they/we will all look back on with breathless amazement/confusion. As this event continues to hang over the crowd of believers today, what message exactly does the Lord's faith wish us to look back on? How easy it is to miss what is actually going on in any moment let alone the few epic ticks. One first sees Judas go out the door and thinks nothing of it (or finds another explanation for it). Next thing Judas is approaching with a platoon of temple guards. Suddenly one looks back and remembers that Judas did take up the sop. Days later one recalls Jesus never outed Judas, but then again He did; no one else was close enough to the moment though to know any different. If not close enough to this moment, what other moments are we too distant in?
December5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:13:31-38 A NEW COMMANDMENT - You will remember the two great commandments "love the Lord your God with all your heart/soul/mind/strength" and "Love your neighbor as yourself"? You have also heard "love your enemy"? The new commandment puts a much more practical face on all of this, to "love one another as I (Jesus) has loved you". How has Jesus loved us? While many would rightly to lay down one's life, consider this, Jesus Himself has not at the point of saying this done has not yet done that and we are not all likely to be put into that situation and Peter here is offering that very thing. While the giving of one's own life in the right situation (for the right glory) can be the greatest form of love, there must also be something much more daily and practical. The key may be in verse 31-32; the direction towards which the glory is given by Jesus. Jesus' love for us was directed toward the glorification of His Father. He did not seek His own glory; love does not seek it's own glory. Neither did Jesus glorify the people that He showed love, but pointed them to the glory of the Father. In His presence His love covered a multitude of transgressions and yet made it clear that this was not the behavior of the world to come, that the only way out from this death sentence was the answer that the Father had sent. He never criticized or convicted individuals, only the groups of religious hypocrites that held the people down. He concerned Himself with the spirit of the law rather than the letter. All this and more done for no better reason than to glorify the Father who sent Him. Compare this to the sacrifice of two opposing soldiers giving their life for country, you can see how Jesus rightly could have died and risen for the sins of both and how that His commanded form of love exceeds even this so great a human form of love. How does that apply to our love for others? There is much that has been modeled for us that all boils down to the Father's glory. Peter was ready to lay down His life for his master, true/loyal/much to the point we thought Jesus might be teaching through this passage. Despite the best of Peter's intentions, it is a love pointed toward his own glory. If the command was to love the others as Jesus loved them, how then would this self sacrifice on behalf of Jesus have servered the others? Would it not step all over Jesus' time of glorification? Peter will one day follow where Jesus now goes, but it will be in a time and manner that better illustrates a love for the others such as Jesus has shown to all believers. In it's time Peter's sacrifice will greatly serve us and glorify Father and Son and Spirit. Until his time of ultimate sacrifice (or the possibility of our's) there will be much learning on Peters part (and our's) to know the true meaning of this new command. God will be glorified in Jesus and Jesus will be glorified in HIM straightway and then by all. The faith of our Lord is that He one day will be known as our Lord by this very same type of discipled love one to another. It is a love for others that seeks to glorify none but the Holy Trinity. To love God with all heart/soul/mind/strength and others as self by loving as Jesus has loved us.
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!
December7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:14:5-14 HE THAT BELIEVE ON ME - This passage ties together two concepts of great similarity and importance, what we believe in Jesus and what we know Jesus to be. As you see the disciples are still yet struggling with the knowing Jesus in the Father and the Father in Jesus, more so than say Martha, Mary or the bind man. All of this time with Him yet the way, the truth and the life are still unknown to them; the ones His future ministry truly relies. Then comes the believing Jesus even to the point where they will be able to do works similar to Jesus. It seems odd that today we take this to mean just miracles, the disciples had already performed miracles and been quite successful at it without fully believing. Works do not have to equal miracles, in fact works could tie back to the previous passage of loving one another in ways that totally glorify the Father. Greater works than these could tie into the numbers of "loving one anothers" and their depth considering that the human heart was unable to do this ahead of Jesus' work upon it. Let me ask you this, is the greater proof of Father in Son and Son in Father that we can make the sun return six hours back to it's noon position or that millions of hearts that were once at complete and inescapable enmity with God irreversibly set in the clutches of sin and death have been made to believe on the name of Jesus to salvation and gratefully spread His word to the four corners of earth to the glory of God? If we first set our eyes and feet upon doing this the greatest of works then we would know in those times when for the sake of those others nothing remaining will do but the miraculous that certainly Jesus would do anything asked in His name to glorify the Father, that it would be done. We tend to read through this passage in a frame of mind similar to the disbelieving disciples. Where is HE? Show us to HIM? Prove it? Jesus is instead saying I've shown you all along, it is all here and now, it is taking place, you've seen Me so you've seen HIM, know and believe it, go therefore, do what I have commanded you. The faith of our Lord is quite literally for the full fledged believing and the knowing of man. How far the heart must go from where it was to where He needs it to be to start. Some it may take three years down the same road seeing the same things, being gifted the same spiritual gifts, before they come to the place of starting to pull these things together into one whole. Others it takes thirty years. For some four painful days. Either way that is the journey the heart must take from here to there to the start. Believing and knowing and then works (obedience's) greater than these, that is His faith in us.
December8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:14:15-31 KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS - A conditional statement "If you love Me" is used to present an actionable practice "keep My commandments". The action that is being pointed to is illustrated in the Greek word Tereo #G5083 guarding as to prevent loss. It is a picture of a military fortress. It appears as if the commandments could be taken or lost or surrendered. It reminds me of the parable of the sower where birds of the air swooped down to snatch the word, where some seed fried up in the sun not having root in itself. Surely the command does have to be obeyed and acted upon (kept in another sense), but before even that can be done the protected meaning (the meaning Jesus has for us) has to be understood by being kept (in the primary sense) from the influences of self, life and world; thus the picture of a fortress. The meaning is detained, it is secluded, it is watched over. In order to do this one must first be aware that there are plenty of influences the change or corrupt or steal away the meaning; external and internal. "Love thy neighbor as yourself" can change to mean calling evil good and good evil. "Love one another as I have loved you" can come to mean what ever odd notion of self love you feel comfortable exhibiting. From whatever that understanding then becomes so then follows any form of obedience to it we care to offer. This is how we can come to the point where every single one of us believes that they have loved their neighbor as themselves without one ounce of the love of Jesus Christ being shed. What fools are we? In order to fortress the true meaning the true meaning must first be sought out and received. For that we have the Holy Spirit who will teach us and put all things into our remembrance. We cannot have the Holy Spirit unless Jesus has died for our sins and is risen back to the Father. Even today, this simple point of faith eliminates many a nominal Christian from receiving the true meaning as revealed/reminded. Their actions, though well intentioned, are not drawn out from the sacred fortress, they are drawn from the meaning altered or lost. The need is definitely for the revelation of the Holy Spirit, but also for the "keeping" of the revealed meaning and the obedient action upon the revealed meaning. For this we also need the strength of resolve. Why all of this? This is what it means to "love" Jesus. He/she that loves our Savior to this extent and in this manner the Father will love, the Lord will love, the two by the Holy Spirit will come and make THEIR abode with him/her. What peace this will leave with us. The faith of our Lord is in abiding with man. The way for Him to abide with us is as much in the true meaning upon which we base our obedient actions as it is in the concept that we even know to love Him at all. He will take care of His part in this and so then must we.
December9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:15:1-17 EVERY BRANCH IN ME - How essential is bearing fruit to Christians? Other than our being ordained to bear fruit? According to this there are branches within Christ that could well be taken away. Can you imagine being a believer in Christ and not making the cut? There is a wide spread notion today that mere belief in Jesus equals salvation. Jesus here claims that it is not just believing but also abiding are the terms of salvation. How then does one become fruitful? One abides. How does one abide? One keeps His commandments. How does one keep His commandments? One gets to the heart of the message brought by the Spirit and protects it from the corrupting/attacking influences of self and world then acts upon it. What is the commandment? To love one another with the Love of Jesus Christ; the love of Jesus as presented by His laying down His life for ones that He calls friends. Now one might think that the command is to love others with all the love that we ourselves can muster. Jesus says that a branch cannot bear fruit of itself. This form of love then is fruitless. This love is the love of the branches in Christ that are fruitless. The branch that abides in Christ is the branch that His love and His word abides in and makes fruitful. This branch is ordained to go forth and bear fruit and it bears fruit by keeping His command. What better example do we have of the matrix of this fruit/love/abiding than how Jesus conducted Himself toward God the Father? Then there is the point made of the fruitful branches being pruned back in order to produce even more fruit. I believe that this second point becomes important to understand only if we are fruitful in the way He intends to begin with. The faith of our Lord is all about the fruit for therein is the Father glorified. Much can be told about the fruit we think that we are producing by what that supposed fruit means to God. Is it fruit that will remain?
December10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjvJohn:15:18-16:4 BECAUSE I WAS WITH YOU - Notice that when the Holy Spirit comes He does not come to keep any of these things from happening. They happen, they continue to happen, they increase there is not an end of their happening at least till Christ returns. What does that say about the plan? The plan is to hunker down and absorb the fight that will be leveled by the world against Christ and His followers. And if that is the plan what does that say about the His love by which we are to love others? This passage does not say that eventually everyone will realize that the love of this world equates to hatred for God and turn from their ways, instead it says that what they do they will think that they are doing for God. It doesn't say that there will for a time be enough of a majority to hold the persecution off. It says that because He has called us out from this world and we are not of this world that the world hates us. It says because they persecuted the master they "will" persecute the servants. Why then do they today not hate the Christians in the United States? Is it that we are so Christ like? Could it be because we do not bear witness to the true image of Christ? Because they have not seen His works in us and are not called out from behind their cloak's? Earlier in the passage we were exhorted to abide in Him, to him who abides in the commandment the Father and Son will abide with him. Has this been done? Earlier in the passage we were exhorted to "keep" (fortress) the true meanings of His commandments from the influences of self and world. Have we done that? We are called to love one another as He has loved us. Have we done that? You see how the evidences stack up against us! I think the faith of our Lord is very evident here, that this is not the end of the process, this is the beginning. Added to His faith that the plan is right and that these disciples will be ultimately fruitful in it, it is a testament to the amount of effort/resource that He is investing into this long hard fought process to make it work. This is an important time for these men now to know this as without His physical presence they soon have to recall and depend solely on these words and the Spirit in the years to come as will we.
December11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:16:5-16 HE SHALL RECEIVE OF MINE - We have been negligent in speaking of the Holy Spirit as He is so much the faith of our Lord. What Jesus has performed here is certainly monumental, in every sense beyond human/angelic comparison. What Jesus has done is to bring to this world new life and to set it into motion. What the Spirit is about to do is every bit as much monumental as He is taking everything Jesus has done, setting it into our hearts, spread it, help us to live it. New life is life indwelt by the Spirit, we need the Spirit like we do living water; there is no spiritual life without. His mission is to glorify Jesus, to take what is now Jesus' (the glory that the Father has given Him) and shew it to us. Shortly in these chapters Jesus will be raised to the right hand throne of the Father with the keys to life and death and release from the chains of sin in His hands. The ministry of reproof is one of many things He does ahead of indwelling us. It is a ministry because it is much needed and ultimately very loving. Now that Jesus is proven to be where He is at, sin in it's entirety has become not believing in Jesus Christ, the seal of righteousness is that Jesus was raised, judgment is that the prince of this world is judged. These things Jesus now has. These things the Spirit shows to us for us see the light of and turn from our ways. What a monumental task just in this alone. Once inside the Spirit will guide us in all truth. Just as Jesus, the pattern well developed, He will not speak of Himself but repeat what He hears divinely spoken. He is also called the Comforter, a title perhaps relating back to the previous section describing the hatred and persecution believers will be subjected to. It is obvious that as complete and triumphant as our Lord's work is needed along with that is the effort of the Holy Spirit to really put that in the clearest light and to make full use of it. Man left to his own though filled with every good intention would only take this as far as what would serve him and shortly it would all die off. The faith of our Lord, though in man, is in man because of abilities He knows of the Holy Spirit. The right for the Holy Spirit to do these things will be bought and paid for by the blood and ascension, but it is crucial living work just the same; eternal in scope and daily in nature.
December12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:16:17-33 DO YE NOW BELIEVE? - The disciples are caught at two things, they have questions they are not asking and they say that they now understand when they really don't. Could these traits be universal among believers? Just how much do we really understand of what Jesus just said two thousand years after the fact? What about the second reprise of going to the Father is different/plainer than the first? Jesus declares that hereto we have asked of Him nothing and He will be gone away (days of sorrow?) and in the same breath exhorts them in another day (day of joy when I see you again, shew you plainly of the Father?) to ask anything of the Father in His name. This comes moments after discussing the importance of having the Holy Spirit indwelling and the Spirit's role in bringing the new life in Jesus into our daily life. What day today is this? For these men it is hours ahead of being scattered and left to their own. For us it is a time of their tribulation when we believe in His ascension and the indwelling of His Spirit, but the world is set against us/Him. It is a time that the Spirit uses for gestation. A day ahead of seeing Him again. Then there is a day when we see Him again, a day when the promise and gestation is completed. There are many questions that in that joyous day we will want to ask and will finally be able to. How was this? Why did that? Is this going to be? And the Father who is plainly shown will answer. These things He has presented to us ahead of time that in the midst of these things we might have cheer knowing that He has overcome the world. So what are we assuming to hear from this passage that is not there or we barely yet understand? The faith of our Lord is in our voluntary submission (even blind) to the times and processes He has laid before us, depending solely upon the Holy Spirit for guidance and teaching/revelation and comfort. It is a new life similar for us to the wind where we do not always know where we have come out of or to where it is leading us, but we know that no matter where it blows us it is by God's breath. This even if scattering for a moment or travailing for days and months. DO YE NOW BELIEVE?
December13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:17:1-5 GLORIFY - Some important facts about Jesus. One, He had a glory with the Father before coming to the flesh. Two, He has glorified the Father here on earth. Three, now that the work is finished He expects that the Father will return Him to His glory. Why is this all important? Because it glorifies the Father. There are other possible directions that this glorification could have come. The Father could have glorified HIMSELF. Deserved no doubt, but not the best way considering no one on earth knows HIM or even cares. The Father could have waited for man to glorify HIM. Deserved, but again not likely and quite corrupted, hollow and imaginary. The Father could have done great big miraculous things to draw the praise of man in, well HE had done that for millennium and couldn't keep man's belief or attention for more than a few ticks (telling us not so much about HIS glory, but our deprived nature). Jesus seeking His rightful glory could have gone about this differently as well. The whole thing is that both relied on each other to glorify the other; I glorify you and you glorify me, which is the way all things are meant to be. How did Jesus glorify the Father? He made the Father known, HIS truth, HIS righteousness, HIS will, HIS plan, HIS judgment, HIS mercy and a tangible/visible portion of HIS supreme power. He glorified HIM by not speaking or doing of His own, but obeying as He saw and heard; obeying even to the cross. How does the Father glorify the Jesus? The Resurrection and Ascension and Pentecost; no other messianic figure can lay claim to. The Holy Spirit which testifies of Him in similar obedient confirmation and subjection. The millions (if not billions) of believers that the Father has now drawn (made the Son known to). The returning of Jesus to the Glory He once had plus the addition of giving Him power over all flesh and His enemies at His footstool. We as believers can attest to Jesus selflessly glorifying the Father, the Father glorifying Jesus the Son; their glory is not just an empty theological word, we see it now with profound substance. The portion He has received from the Father now He is willing to divide with His faithful strong. We too have been called to glory and virtue and we see in Jesus and the Holy Spirit the perfect example of how glory is to be done. The faith of our Lord is that glory does not come from oneself, even when it is deserved as in THEIR case. Glorification is not hollow praise from the lips, it is full to over flowing with the commitment and diligence of continuing the obedient path; only then are the words not hollow or self serving. Jesus is the example of one glorifying another. His commandment? To love one another as He has loved us! Glorify HIM/Him by faithfully keeping this commandment with the meaning intended.
December14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:17:6-19 THEM WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN - I am overwhelmed this morning with the sense that I have long misinterpreted this prayer of Jesus. The consequences to my theology will have to be sorted out, but I have the feeling that this prayer is meant for the eleven men there directly (us only indirectly). There are more than eleven disciples within miles of Him tonight, they are not mentioned. There are many that have followed and even hosted Him these three+ years, they are not mentioned. There are many that will believe on Jesus because of these men, they are mentioned later on but not yet. The fact is that these eleven are the humans that He has invested everything into. They are certainly spiritually weak and frail at this point despite their blessed experiences and discipleship so far, but their meekness is exactly what He is looking for. He refers to them as the "given". He refers to us as "those that will believe because of them". I have a feeling the He refers to His other many devoted followers in the region as the nucleolus of "those" or us. What about Martha then? What about Mary and Lazarus and the blind man? What about Nicodemus and the others this night being shunned by the Sanhedrin? Evidence now suggests that there is a mission much bigger than our personal beliefs and sacrifices that our Lord needs these eleven hand selected men to proceed with. A mission or calling that the remainder of us are barely spectators/receivers of. Jesus begins by praying not for the world, but for these eleven men for they are "THINE"; He is glorified in "them". He prays that they be one, that they have His joy fulfilled in themselves, that they be sanctified through HIS truth/word, that they be kept from evil. He prays this because they are not of this world, they are hated, they are sent by Him into this world. Now these words could certainly be applied to us as we are often in similar (lesser) situations. The spiritual warfare that would surround these eleven men would be perhaps beyond compare. It is because of them however, their being given, their meekness and their being used of the Spirit to the extent that they were that we even have opportunity to follow their steps. We call these men today Apostles; the pillars of our faith. This is who this prayer is for directly. Men like this Apostle John. If not for them we would not know that this prayer was even made. The faith of our Lord barely needs to be said here. It is a tremendous thing to consider that all of this is bestowed upon them for our benefit and for those that will follow after us. The mission spreads out and takes us in and we pass it on to the next each in our smaller ways. Our thanks to "those which THOU hast given". Our praise to HIM who meant this to the continuation of our Lord's ministry after His heavenly glorification.
December15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:17:20-26 MADE PERFECT IN ONE - They that shall believe through their (those given Him) word are now folded into the Lord's prayer. All being one is the objective as we are made perfect in one. Not much said about the individual being made perfect outside of the "All". Why is it we approach as if we will be perfect with or without all the others? There are actually Christians that will have nothing to do with the All and believe that they are justified in doing so. Hmmm! I don't see anywhere in this that our Lord is having you stand aside while He is perfecting all the others so that then you will feel more comfortable joining back in. In fact, this could be read that the perception that the world has on whether Jesus was actually sent from the Father is based largely upon the oneness that they perceive in us. Read that the glory given by the Father to Jesus is shared with them that believe for the purpose that they might be as one. If we are not one then Jesus' glory is not being shared (not received), nor His love, nor the understanding the the Father and the Son and the Spirit and the Given are one. How then can such an individual's isolation be justified? One can say that is is too difficult, it hurts too much, it is too awkward or demanding. One can say that the others are too child like, too self centered, too worldly. Can that not also be said of you? The truth is that this is the path Jesus has set up for us. This is the path that He is using to perfect us. Easy no, not by our effort or resource. Painless no, perhaps the most painful obedience of all. You say the Father sent the Son... You say that the Father and Son are one... You say that the love of God is in you... now show it! Not just to whomever you want to show it to, but those whom God has commanded you to show it to. The "All those who believe because of their word". Not for you but for Him. Not because they are supposed to be perfect but because we are being made perfect in one. There is no other perfection for you to obtain, this is what it means to walk the walk and talk the talk. The faith of our Lord we have said all along is about process, a process we as believers are barely at the beginning of. If you separate yourself from the process it's effect on you ends. Jesus here is departing at a time when the disciples are not at the top of their game, there is in-fighting and posturing and they are each about to be completely broken down. You would think that there is a better time for Him to go when they are standing tall all on their own. He knows though now what is inside of them and He knows the power built into the process. And He prays this prayer knowing that the prayer is the pronouncement of faith in the process; a process that will eventually lead us to a perfection of all made in one.
December16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:1-11 WHOM SEEK YE - The impression I take from this passage is that Father is in control of everything and Jesus is giving Himself to the Father. The officers and guards marching on the way over surely had rehearsed the situation over in their minds as they approached and were fully aware of who it was that they were coming to get. Others had been sent on the same mission other times and had come back empty handed. The pressure was on them this time. They may have been under orders to assume control of the situation, that they fell back may have been part of that plan (or not), but there was little control for them to be had. Judas may have thought that he was in control, but when the guard fell back exposing him powerless and later when the swords were drawn exposing him to danger and even later when the purse was tossed, control was found furthest from Judas' hands. The Sanhedrin thought themselves to be in control on many occasion and ended up being shown as the fool. This could easily play against them or even explode and cause the very same public rioting they most feared against. If there is any control or settling in their hands it comes directly from their understanding of prophecy oddly enough and Jesus' own words which ties us back into the Fathers control. Out walks Jesus like the shepherd before the pack of wolves, coming between the ravenous and His fold. He asks them twice who they have come after, making certain the release of the others (except for a momentary diversion from a mis-intentioned Peter). Had anyone other than the Father been in control this event would have gone much differently. So we must ask, why is it important that the Father be in full control of this? Couldn't this have played out more dynamically? kjv@Isaiah:53:10 may be our best source for an answer stating that it "pleased the LORD to bruise Him, having put Him to grief" and again "make His soul an offering for sin" and again "see His seed and prolong His days". The "arm of the LORD" is being revealed in this and the events to come. It won't be because of the success of any certain group or person or principality. These actors will play the part that they are given, they will be used as tools and Jesus will be shown as giving Himself freely and completely as sent and directed to perform the Father's ultimate long awaited for mercy. People today see the Father of the Old Testament as harsh and temperamental despite every evidence to the contrary. They point to specific instances like Abraham and Issac with horror not realizing that it was not Abraham that suffered this sacrifice it was HIM the Father. The faith of our Lord presents the Father in a whole new light, that HE is willing to do this for us and for HIS own good name, that HE loves us to this extent and price, that for all that we've mistaken and corrupted HE is still wanting to work it all out, HE will use all of HIS power and ability to make this what it best needs to be. Not only all of this, but that it was HIS plan all along. Maybe today you are part of that guard that is marching lock step to seize our Jesus away. Maybe you are the one who is turning Him/us in. Maybe you are in the elite thinking that you are doing God's work by ordering this to be done. Maybe you are just a simple fisherman at the ready with knife and sword. Regardless, you think that you are coming at this under control. Three words Jesus will have for you... "Whom seek ye?". Think about it!
December17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:12-14 BOUND - Without warrant and without charge Jesus is seized by the officers of the temple in the presence and with the consent of at least one Roman captain. He is taken to the one time high priest without legal precedence to await preliminary trail by son-in-law (current high priest) who has previously declared the expediency of Jesus' death. This should tell you everything that you will need to know about the Sanhedrin's side of this legal mockery. Before we go too far into this and leave the impression that Christians are antisemitic it should be reminded that Jesus is giving Himself to the Father for the sins of all mankind. It is almost as if two stories were being played out here God's and man's and man's as dark as it is is being used to fulfill God's. That the Jewish priests are the instruments of this is as it should be. Yes they are unaware of what the grand scale and meaning of what this really is, but haven't they been this with their other sacrifices for quite sometime? No I wouldn't want to be these specific men as they commit the unpardonable sin. At the same time, for us to lump the entirety of Jews past and present into the same judgment and hold them in contempt/hatred is a horrible sin against those for whom our savior also (primarily) gave Himself. Instead, these men are to be judged as individuals just like we are; this chosen people to be judged one by one just as we would wish to be by them. We are judged by our belief in a common Savior, Himself a Jew from the seed of David. One might say "well the Jews do not believe in this Savior" to which I conclude "if to judge a whole people by the actions of a few despite the expressed intentions of Jesus, I doubt that we believe as well". The faith of our Lord surely knows at this point that long after His departure these divisions and partitions will continue and fester, entire denominations will arise that eliminate the Jews and insert themselves as the chosen in God's plan, but He continues on with the hope and confidence that even this will rightly pass. That many Jews presently do not believe in their Savior having come in Jesus may be just as much our imperfect/prejudiced presentation of Him to them as it is any theological/interpretive difference.
December18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:15-18 PALACE OF THE HIGH PRIEST - When Jesus foresaw Peter denying Him three times what was it that He saw? How much of it did He see? How much did He plan even? For instance, did He know that John was known by the high priest and would be there or did He make him known? The Greek word doesn't show the level of familiarity. It becomes important because it is John that lets Peter into the servants area. Did John and Peter follow with Jesus in the procession or in the near distance tailing behind? Did they tail together? That becomes important to know how John knew Peter was near by to look for him; or to know that it was safe to bring him in. I guess my question is would Peter have denied Jesus regardless of where he was and then space and situation becomes unimportant? Did Jesus simply see three denials or see the situations developing outside of what He Himself was experiencing that lead to Peter's denials; even perhaps having a hand at making the situation(s) develop? We may never know from the text available to us. The theology that trails each possible explanation however does become quite interesting and complex. Why doesn't the Spirit lead the writer firmly as to these details? The Spirit records what is most important, Jesus is taken, two disciples follow. Little details are thrown in to make us wonder and ponder the possibilities. The possibilities are as enormous as God's sovereignty and as narrow as a man falsely accused and unlawfully treated. In our lives we can often sense the same circumstantial complexity and should center our faith on Him regardless. Would it be wrong for a woman of her own volition to come up and ask us a probing question? Would it be wrong for the Spirit to set that question in her heart to have her probe us? Would it be wrong of the Spirit to have a trusted associate of ours to come down and let us into a position where we could be probed? Would it be wrong for these things to occur most innocently and the test be us testing ourselves? The answer regardless is to have faith centered on Jesus. Whether we pass or fail the test, no matter how the test came about, the answer is to have faith centered on Jesus. It may be that this is the sole purpose of the test to begin with. The faith of our Lord is in God the Father and the Holy Spirit. How much He sees regarding us is an interesting consideration as the apparent depth alone is enormous. How much more He sees of the Father is a solid fact that He is willing to die for.
December19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:19-24 WHY ASKETH THOU - How do a few powerful elite (but not powerful enough to do this deed on their own) sway the perception and support of enough others to get this job done? Think of those others as the jury. The prosecution's effort here is intended to grab the focus of the jury away from anything Jesus might be defending Himself by. The officer appears offended by the defendant's answer with the purpose of setting a definite tone of authority and gamesmanship by the defendant for the room fully in mind. Whether he was told to do this or whether he just felt it necessary we do not know; I believe it though to be staged. The high priest is seeking to set a similar tone releasing into the room air the scent that Jesus is being secretive for the blood hounds to sniff without having to prove it. Irregardless of any answer, the jury (many of the same) is left with the sense of Jesus disrespectfully toying with authority and that authority knows something that Jesus would rather hold back. It is all an act, but very effective in increments. One does not break the will at first, but bends it. Knowing that this ploy is in place our Lord's comments are as they should be, essentially "what is your intention in asking me that". Jesus is not going to defend Himself here. He has already proved Himself on a much bigger stage. His silence instead will be proof against intents and methods of His accusers. The trial is much the same in our age. His accusers are setting the stage for the jury by filling the air with nebulous scents; no need for proofs (less effective). The scent of holding something threatening back, the ora of descent and rebelion, the air of war mongering and brainwashing and alterior motive, the tinge of stirring crowds into fanaticism, all thrown out not to be answered (how could we) but to set the tone and put the adherent on the defensive. Where then is the Lord's defense? Is it really in us becoming more vocal and defensive? Or is it in us keeping true to what He has been teaching and commanding all along? Is not our love and fruitfulness in the knowledge of Him His best defense? The faith of our Lord is in the work that He has already been doing, it is in knowing from this initial work what in the future will be done. His faith is not in the trial or the defense or the court of corruptible opinion, it is in the righteousness of His Father. So must ours! Not everyone else is an accuser, they may simply be the jury. They should be aware of the tactic just the same.
December20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:25-27 THE COCK CREW - It is almost like following two stories simultaneously, the most important time for Jesus, but His story keeps getting interrupted by Peter. The stories though are not separate and it is not an interruption because Jesus had predicted this. Jesus' concern was always for His disciples and friends, Peter being high on that list. He has invested so much into these men and women. Like you and I as parents though where you know that you've done everything you can to see your kids off on the right road at the same time you know that they are going to have to make their own mistakes. You can talk and talk until you are blue in the face and they are blue in the ears. You would think that they know, you pray that they would know and not have to go through these things, but they are not truly going to know until they go out on their own and are tested. I believe it is much the same with our Lord Jesus as He looks upon Peter and therefore us. Peter may be the first of His kids to spread his wings out as he was the first in so many other things. He certainly has the desire to be there, yet at the same time he has the "know it all" cockiness that can spell big failure. Peter swore that he had the control not to allow this to happen and he meant every word. Now the cock crews. Interesting that it is a cock, meaning everybody there outside and in probably heard it, it may have stood out like a sore thumb (is it really already that time?). It is not just that we make mistakes, it is often mistakes that other people can't help but know about; in this case John and Jesus would have known the special significance. John may now have tearfully understood that the two story lines are really one. The story line is where the ministry stood as Jesus approached the climax of His trial as He watched along the dawning horizon of His disciple's new frontiers. It stood broken and flat and scattered. We could say that it was unprepared for the reality happening all around it, just like with our kids. On the other hand it has been prepared, the only way it can be prepared, trained up in way it must go, shown the path that it must return to. Note that these men are not operating in the Spirit as of yet; the Spirit is yet to come. Until we come to the path in the Spirit, say what we will, intend what we intend, be as bold and confident as we can muster, we will be much like Peter is right now - strongly believing yet denying the very person we desire to glorify, sticking out to those who know the significance, being noticed for the peculiarity by everyone else. The faith of our Lord is in us operating in His Spirit. He is willing to allow us our mistakes at first. Our mistakes however should be bringing us to realize our need for His Spirit in short order else they are not just mistakes, they become short sighted disobedience. Thankfully, Peter figures this all out in short order; the investment in Him made by the Lord pays off.
December21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:28-40 TO THIS END - Apparently when you are breaking your own law by having a trial at night and coming to a judgment of condemnation in the same day it is important that you not break your own traditions of not dirtying your hands by going into a Gentile's house; it makes it all better. Apparently if you yourself do not have legal power to perform capital punishment it is okay to take him to someone that does; it is all right. John doesn't go into the false evidence and witness that the Sanhedrin itself trumped up, but apparently it too is okay as long as you don't sully your hands and your image by expressing concern over not missing the closing hours of the paschal festival. Aren't you glad that they thought this all through and got it to where they could murder God's Son without breaking their ceremonial traditions? Why should Pilate entertain this motion? Because they wouldn't have brought him had He not been what they said he was; you can take their word on that. Oh so Pilate doesn't find anything wrong with the man, but it is okay to offer him in a trade for a seditious robber? Did that come out of left field or what? Is it article ?#$& that says that it is lawful to trade an innocent man for a convict tried by Roman law if the Jews insist? What business does Rome have with a man who won't tell you directly that he is a king, with no army, with no intent of removing anyone from their throne, who has gone out of his way on several occasions not to present himself to the public as someone who would? Some would say that Pilate felt for Jesus but cowarded to the pressure of the Jews. WHat? Pilate (who has been tyrannical and utterly vicious to the Jews as recently as a few months ago on the temple stairs) and the Sanhedrin suddenly being buddy buddy should alert us to something politically motivated happening here in a big way. They are both trying to present themselves to the public (and to history) as having clean hands. Don't riot against me Jerusalem for well I pretended not to want to be involved in this when most vehemently I did. Don't riot against us thousands of followers because we did not kill Jesus, Jesus killed Himself by what He said to Pilate. This is why all the detail is given to public perception. Little did they know that it was going to be written about. A few weeks and all this messiness would be done with, so they thought. It was written in a time span where if the written testimony that we have was false that the many witnesses could have fought back, we would have historical evidence that these misrepresentations had been vigorously disputed.Truth is that Rome didn't think much of this little incident until it had stirred the people so that they had to destroy the Temple, burn the records and ransack the city a few decades latter. What we do have is our Apostles talking about it quite openly to the public in a tone that everyone else knew about it and accepted it; many were convicted by it. The words here of Jesus then take on deeper meaning when He says that He came into this world to "bare witness unto the truth" and everyone that is "of the truth" heareth His voice. Truth is not the perception portrayed of washing ones hands of the matter, nor is it of making it back to the festival in time, truth is why it is you feel the need to trip all over yourself and the law on the way to portraying yourself as innocent of a most guilty matter.Truth is proving man his nature so that then you can show them God's. The faith of our Lord remember is that this is all in the Father's hands. No it is not right what they are doing, but what else could be expected. How does this ever change unless the Son of God suffers this wrong and takes it in His flesh to the grave along with every other wrong so that He might raise up a people free of it's corruption. Born into to bare wittness, to this end completed.
December22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:19:1-16 EXCEPT IT WERE GIVEN THEE - Judas delivered Jesus to Caiaphas, Caiaphas to Pilate, Pilate to Herod, Herod back to Pilate, Pilate to the wishes of the mob. Who has the greater sin? Jesus in this case directly associates it with power/authority. Caiaphas delivered Jesus to Pilate. Caiaphas had been given the authority of high priest. Caiaphas had sought by various means to capture Jesus, Judas had approached the high priest but it was Caiaphas' decision to take Judas up on the offer, it was Caiaphas that had pronounced the expediency of one man dying, it was Caiaphas that not only had the scripture known to himself but had every further resource to investigate it with, it is Caiaphas that every other member of the Sanhedrin looks to and loyally follows.As for Pilate, this matter would have little concern to him if Caiaphas had not made it a concern; Pilate would just as soon had Caiaphas drag Jesus out to the desert and end it all secretly there. Herod was humored by the whole incident. The issue for Caiaphas boils down to Jesus making Himself to be the Son of God; there is no Roman law against making one's self such, so he has to make it appear the treasonous sedition presenting one's self as king. Let's go back then to the triumphant day of Jesus' entry with donkey and palms. Jesus had not allowed Himself ever to be portrayed as such until now. Why did He do it? He knew that it would be the last straw for Caiaphas. The moment Jesus ever portrayed Himself as He really is and on Caiaphas' turf that would be the tipping point as the entire matter was concerned. Caiaphas had long been after Jesus to kill Him, but know he had the power he needed over Pilate. Was it then Caiaphas? Now go back to the parable of Jesus stating that the keepers of the vineyard knew the son and wanted for themselves his inheritance. What reason would Caiaphas have to approach all of this in this way? Who would know and want Jesus' inheritance? (Think back to the Temptation a top the temple). Whose voice would have made Caiaphas to believe that Jesus was merely "making" Himself to be the Son of God? Who would have had the power to threaten Caiaphas of his own high position and authority? We began by asking who had the greater sin? Who had delivered Jesus to Pilate? I ask you, who had a hand with Judas? Who had a hand with Caiaphas? Who had a hand with drunkard Herod? Who had a hand with Caiaphas? Who had a hand with the mob? Who then delivered Jesus with the greater sin? Who had tried previously to get Jesus to volunteer His inheritance over to him? The faith of our Lord is in the process laid out and implemented by His Father. It is a process intended to go much farther and deeper than any one of us fully realizes because it is a process that needs to affect something none of us are fully willing to admit has happened to the whole of mankind. It goes all the way back to a garden with a man and a women and a serpent. A serpent that would bite the heel of the woman's seed and a seed that would crush the head of that serpent. Today is that day. That day is here. We know where the Son of God/Man has been all of this time, the question is where have we been? Where has that subtle serpent been? We know where Jesus' power is given from, the question is where has been our from? What other powers are there for us to get our authority from? Why is it that God has been so displeased and building to do something with all of this? Answer this and you will answer why it is Jesus must be raised back into the His ultimate power and why we must then un-yeildingly follow.
December23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:19:17-27 THIS TITLE - A epitaph may not say as much about a man as it does about the meaning others held about him. Pilates' title for Jesus is mounted atop the cross for all to see, no doubt there could have been a thousand more titles that could have been nailed there as well. What title would you put on His cross to some up His meaning to you? Would it be "fable or myth"? Would it be "fool for believing as He did"? Would it be "good guy...wish He could have hung out a little longer"? Would it be "old dude back then.. not relevant today"? Would it be my Savior" (not fully knowing what all that meant)? The crowd on this day had their own private ideas about what the life and now death of Jesus was going to mean. Think of those near to His mother Mary. Think of the Sanhedrin. Think of the guards. Think of the casual observer. All had their own idea, some personal and emotional, some separate and detached, some involved with the clean up, few realistic, none searching nor understanding of the meaning to His Father God (after all this is HIS sacrifice). What tile would His Heavenly Father put on that cross? As promised? I told you? Beloved in whom I am well pleased? After all that I have done you still do not know me? How about "MY SON"? Could it be that the meaning we give this matter is only of secondary importance to the significance the Father places on it? Could it be that for all that we know we really know nothing at all? When you read this gospel did you really think that it was all about whatever meaning you wanted to give it or did you think of the meaning God wanted you to give it? Pilates' meaning, a slap in the face to get over on the Jews, a means of re-establishing his own power, based on nothing that Jesus told him. How about yours? The Jews' meaning, an accusation of a man foolishly claiming to be something that he is not, a man despite his miraculous abilities is an imposter to the legalistic faith they would rather hold to. How about yours? To His mother, a sharp pain in the chest, a stream of tears that is unending, a period of time and hope and physical separation now suddenly/forcibly ending. To the disciple whom He loved, a shock though prepared for never fully anticipated, a yet intellectual realm of spiritual possibilities, a new set of of obligation and responsibility. It could be that the title hung over a man publically (like in this case) has nothing to do with your perception, but you lack the power publically to do anything about it. What then about yours? What title, what meaning would you give this solemn occasion? Is it closer to these peoples meaning, closer to the principalities meaning or is it closer to His Fathers? One title comes to mind; Lord/King. Even it too comes with a multitude of selfishly saturated individual/public interpretations. The faith of our Lord is that somehow, someway, some time by the power of word and His Spirit that you will be drawn into the deeper meaning/the more rightful title. It is the richer fuller faith closer to the meaning that His Father has placed on Him. It is this meaning that reveals the Father's heart and intentions like no other. It is the banner we then must carry forward as a church into the fields of public perception.
December24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:19:28-37 HE THAT SAW IT BARE RECORD - Jesus is verifiably dead. If there were any suspicion they would have broken His legs. Why? So that He wouldn't have been able to lift Himself up to breath. If any other doubt remains it should be quenched by the intrusion of a spear through His intercostals into His heart. Whatever life force that could have remained came flooding out to the ground below as well as any other bodily fluids. It is important to us to know the finality of this moment. There is not anything anyone on the scene could have done to take this all back; no sudden pardon from Caesar or maybe if we just prayed hard enough. It is out of mortal hands. We have the actions of all involved and the testimony of John as eye witness. We have any of a number of people that could have said no John you've got it all wrong. Tradition has it that John was boiled in oil later in an attempt to get a confession out of him. Is there anything else that you would like to try to rationalize to make this event something different? Can you look back on this through the scriptures and find anything that was left out? Well there is the mention of some eternal kingdom and rule. When does that come into play? When there is a kingdom of like minded followers for Him to rule over. Why isn't there a kingdom of like minded followers yet? Because the Father hasn't glorified Him quite yet. Look through the scriptures. Tell me what other prophecy is about to be fulfilled? How can it be fulfilled, He is dead? He is dead isn't He? How do the dead come back to life? Why would they? What would it prove if they did? Any man could believe himself sent by God. Any man could believe himself to be a sacrifice for the obvious sins of mankind and even carry it through. No man could himself fulfill an impossible string of prophecies most outside of His control up to and including His death and resurrection except it be performed by someone other than he with the power to do it. When Jesus said that this other mysterious person cannot be known except by Him and who He reveals HIM to, how is it that He intended to reveal it? The faith of our Lord is that the very thing we are forced by His death and resurrection to consider is the very revelation of our Heavenly Father. This is HIS righteousness, HIS mercy, HIS eternal plan; this is HIS DOING. Why then would HE put in the hands of a few men's to testify of it? HE didn't. HE also put it in yours to bare record of!
December25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:19:38-42 BEING A DISCIPLE - There is some apparent coordination between Joseph and Nicodemus. Nicodemus would not have bought so much spice unless there was some certainty the Joseph was going to be able to get the body from Pilate. There may have even been some discussion by the two of them with Pilate after the sentencing increasing the certainty. The two are both disciples of Jesus within their respective parties showing us that there may not have been a unanimous consent with the high priest, but not enough power to have changed the course of events. Some readers interpret this as a sign of their weakness of faith, I see it rather as just the harsh reality of things on the ground. They may have wanted things to be different, but this one thing was all that they felt the power to do. We must also be aware of such realities, that there are people in places and positions least expected of the faith and that there are limits to what believers within political structures can do. There is also the reality that this is what God the Father wanted to be done, there is no working against that. The faith if our Lord is presented in that during His life time He had measurable effect on a great many people, people that we would not at first expect. Whether He Himself had had any influence on these after plans we do not know, such a thought would be secondary to the greater sense that He trusted that the right thing would be done with His body regardless.
December26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:20:1-9 AS YET THEY KNEW NOT - It is interesting to see the state of things as Jesus has left them. Remember, these are the very people Jesus has left the future ministry with. They seem totally unprepared; do they not? First of all, Mary doesn't seem willing to trust what she saw and had been told along the way to Peter and John; she appears to withhold information that we know from the other gospels leaving it all to their own inquiries instead. Second John, one of the two speed racers, willing admits that as much as Jesus talked about it neither man yet knew the Old Testament scriptures relating to the necessary resurrection. We can interpret this a couple different ways, either the men were just coming up short (a blinding of human pride say) or the information was being externally withheld (a purposeful blinding of sorts by the Spirit or such). The first option seems most likely, the second most intriguing. It may be that the initial apostolic contemplation of resurrection to His glory must come at the time after the crushing reality of the loss and finality of His death as a human is most deeply absorbed, when the guilt and shame of our own roles in this have been fully tasted. It is like tasting the bitters before the sweet. Think of the many believers today who grab on to the resurrection gospel without first grasping the ripping pain of His sacrifice. Do they really know the one without knowing first the other? Think of the many believers today that grab on to the pain and sacrifice without then grasping the glorification through resurrection gospel. Both halves are equally important, but there seems a proper order intended especially for these particular disciples who have been called to be the Apostles. Certainly there is a blinding of pride or doubt or such that each of us inflict upon ourselves. Certainly there is a blindness of newness and unfamiliarity with things spiritual, the thoughts of God not being ours and such. Why wouldn't it also be certain that there is an order and process (time released revelation) God is employing to reveal these things to those chosen to testify to and continue the earthly work of Jesus. Add now that Jesus knew and left the keys to His kingdom to this; meaning that the things that we are witnessing from these men and women are crucial first steps, a sign of the gradual unveiling, the crack of dawn growing brighter. What they have learned before this is set aside for an awakening. What they have learned before will by the Spirit be reintroduced into their remembrance. Now however is the rustling ahead of a new birth. The faith of our Lord is that we will know not by our own understanding, but we will know by His revelation. These men and women will be the first to know. They will begin to know when the Spirit is soon received. Already though they are sensing the motions of the heavenly fluttering near and surrounding them.
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?
December28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:20:19-23 SO I SEND YOU - There will be a discernible difference between the disciples up to now and after receiving the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit job to set us apart from all of the many human deficiencies that spiritually beset us. And the Spirit comes upon their belief of the death and resurrection of the Son of God sent to accomplish the Father's will and provide for the complete remission of sins. One of the most substantial differences will be in their forgiveness towards others. By the same measure God judges us (our belief in Jesus the Lord/Christ) we judge others. By the same measure God forgives us our sins (completely in Jesus Christ) we forgive others who have sinned against us. I cannot rightly forgive one who sins against another in the others place, but I can show both parties the necessity and way to come to that ends in Christ. Neither can I rightly stand in for God other than to avail the terms and counsel on behalf of such agreement, but I can/must for that which is done against me. Should I not forgive any that has sinned against me, I will find that neither has the Father in heaven for I have failed to understand and except the forgiveness the Father has offered me in Jesus; my sin of un-forgiveness will be retained. Should I not help others to come to this level of forgiveness between themselves, I have acted with a similar un-forgiveness by not understanding and accepting the forgiveness of the Father as well; even by such inaction.The Spirit is now here to guide us, to comfort us, and yes if necessary convict us of the sin that we still hold against our Father's judgment/mercy. If forgiveness of this type was the sole accomplishment of the Spirit in us it would be substantial and revolutionary. Can you imagine all the sins just among all of us being remitted? Such forgiveness does not come easily or by our resources however, that is where our problem yet remains. Only by the Holy Spirit which comes by belief in the full work of Jesus Christ, breathed into us as it were by Christ Himself does this impossibility become possible.The faith of our Lord past has now earned the right of our most serious consideration.These things now have been proven and righteously extended to us. We must now take hold of His faith and move it forward into our lives and make it known into the lives of all others.It is by no mistake that along with the gift of His Spirit that the first thing He mentions is the remittance and or retention of sins by us of others.
December29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:20:24-31 BECAUSE THOU HAST SEEN - What would of happened with Thomas had Jesus not returned for Him? Thomas would have to come into his belief just like any other of us; by the testimony of others. The thing is that there are plenty of Thomas's out there that have their mind fixed that there is nothing in these testimonies to believe, that it is something that they will have to see and feel for themselves. Is Jesus obligated to return for them as well? The thing is that that don't really need to see and feel in so many other areas of their lives, why is it so important to them in this particular case? They will take another's word when it comes to politics. They will take another's word when it comes to economics, investments, history, future prediction, court testimony, science, global warming, etc... They will also swallow rumor and innuendo and false premise and distortion and murmuring and intimidation and unjust balance. Why is it not their intellectual creed in these cases? The point is that we try intellectually to be these things and to a certain respect we are, but the reality is that it is close to impossible to be this in the broadest respect. Truth is that we are inescapably made to rely upon the testimonies and opinions of others. Yes it is difficult and error prone and requires discernment; even trust. Yes others have their personal motives and view points and see the same event with dissimilar details. But for men like Thomas (well meaning though they think that they are) to say to the others "no, I won't allow your word even into my preliminary consideration" or "you all are liars" or "this is something so much different than what Jesus told us that would happen; I think you are all reaching" such is not much more than self inflating pride. So you won't believe until you see for yourself. Well where were you Thomas when the rest of us saw Him? How many times do you think Thomas that He has to come back when you just happen to show up? Is Jesus really obligated to meet you on your terms and with your objections? In a sense it is important for the over all record that there was dissent observed in the group, at least for us that long after would follow, but in Thomas's case it is merely a stroke of God's grace that he was given another opportunity to satisfy his hypocritical and prideful demands. What if Jesus had not come to any disciple? What if He had appeared to the common public or to Pilate and Ananias instead? Would that have changed the fact of our Lord's resurrection? The faith of our Lord is in the testimony of others testifying to the veracity of His word. He didn't even attempt to write it down Himself. He may be the only major world messianic figure that went about it this way. Such a defense would be more than proper in a court of law. Why would it not in the court of individual belief?
December30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:21:1-14 AND YE SHALL FIND - There are just certain moments in a life time that guys will always and fondly remember. That moment away from it all with your buddies doing what you want to do, no pressures, everything in the universe suddenly just clicks. It is usually times like a fishing or hunting trip, a dusk or a dawn, concluding around a fire, a simple meal of the day's catch.You can remember Peter out of nowhere, totally unexpected jumping of the boat almost as to John's beckoning swimming to shore; oh how we laughed. You can remember John at the hearing of another's voice saying "it the Lord"; oh how our hearts lightened up. You can remember Thomas and the other's looking at each other as if to say "well someone better hang on to this net or esle we loose all these fish"; oh how we smiled. The fish nearly pulled us to shore as if to get a glimps of our Jesus. It was a crazy crazy night, but one that each one of you will fondly remember perhaps even to your last awkward moments together, perhaps even to the moment of hearing of the passing of another of these friends much later on. It is a bonding moment, a life long bond, and the taste of fresh fish smoked over dried beach wood will never taste so good. Women have these moments. Men have these moments. We could of course try to make more out of it for ourselves, you know Peter with all of his professional skills could not catch a fish that night, you know this is the second time Jesus has surprised Peter in this same manner, you know ministry is often the same with our own resources verses the Lord'. You just know there are some lessons that we could take out of this. I choose this time to believe that this was a moment for these men in particular, with everything that has recently happened, all of the pressure they've all been under, a time to just be "buds" with our Lord. It was a perfect moment. Yea there is more to it; there always is. The faith I have in our Lord is that He is just as real and just as pleasurable as any body that you would ever hope to meet, that He enjoys the simple moments because often they are the longest lasting, that He enjoys hearty conversation and joyous song and dance by a fire sometimes until dusk. The faith of our Lord is in our deeply bonded fellowship, Him to us, us to Him, us to one another, all with the Father. Certainly there is much work to be done all the time, but there must also be within that these moments of fellowship and communion. I bet our Lord cooks a mean fish!
December31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:21:15-25 FOLLOW ME - Two of our favorite personalities of the bible Peter and John face the ultimate question in our final passage. Peter is asked directly by Jesus "do you love me". John reports to us from a curious distance. Three times Peter is asked and what could he honestly say? What could any of us say? Peter just a week or so ago had denied Jesus three times. Peter has learned first hand of the often cloudy climate of intention and misguided result within our hearts. So must we. Jesus twice is asking however if Peter loves with the "agape" that Jesus loves him with. With much thought Peter admits that he loves Him more like a brother. Could any of us truly respond rather in the affirmative? Peter answers with naked honesty. I don't know whether John understands at this point either. He writes some sixty years later with much introspection addressing himself simply as "the one Jesus loved"; perhaps the best answer of all. We love Jesus best we can because He first loves us best that anyone can, in so doing He teaches us what it means to be agape loved. Any agape form of love we have is solely a reflection of the love with which He has always loved us. Peter is asked the third time "do you love me then like you say as a brother"? Taking the inquiry a step further, do any of us even know what the brotherly form of love is all about? Could we know without first knowing His agape love? Jesus here presents these questions to Peter further as a "if/then" conditional statement. It is almost better translated "if you feed on My agape then feed My agape to My other sheep as well". We easily fall into the trap of thinking that it is our love that we are to show and so too we forget that we are all His sheep; our love/our (or scattered disassociated) sheep/our feeding. His sheep need fed His agape not the mere human resemblance of it. If we have any resemblance of love of our own for Jesus we would know this. This ties into the notion of abiding fully in His love and therein/thereby producing fruit. The moment we step out of that love into a lesser forms of love from our own reserve our fruitfulness withers detached from the vine. It also ties into the notion that we are to crucify our former self daily as a living sacrifice being transformed by the renewing of our minds, as much of our mind is going about doing our own forms of love and not His. Couldn't the question be interpreted "I know from which love you love me by the love with which you are feeding my sheep"? Peter's love one day will become sacrificial and will glorify this very Savior, not to confuse it with the Saviors though. It will remain within the agape love Jesus has shown all men. In Peter's case it matters not what the other men like John will be called to do because it all is the working of the Lord's agape. We are compelled by the agape love of Christ to freely partake and distribute of said agape to the benefit of all His children. The faith our Lord is that we can come to know His agape love and that it is His agape love will can be presented and distributed to all men world wide. It is often best combined with our more agape infused brotherly forms of love as that is what we are more generally suited to produce. However, it must always be the focus of His agape not our forms for that is where all credit truly lays. The honor of fielding His banner into the unknown territories is the greatest form of due respect to Him possible. It is an honor men like Peter and John and others have followed and for some even died for.

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