27July2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 July27 Waiting on Thy name. We have a great deal to consider in our reading today. A good size dose of praise and thankfulness in the understanding for who God is. A good size dose of who we are, who we have been, what He is doing on us, what we will be. A short statement of what will happen to the man who closes his ears to these things. And a fantastic trip across the tempestuous sea's by one of God's greatest servants. We are left with the conclusion that there is no better reason for us to wait/serve than the very name of God and what so much that name means to us; to wait/serve under each and every situation or circumstance with no other fear; to humbly offer our thanks and to contritely pay our every vow.
29July2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 July29 The wearing of trials. David has clearly been through much. Paul has been through much. Both are going through something few of us will ever experience nor understand. THe two men deal with their trials in similar ways. David takes out a psaltry and a harp and sings praises. Paul spends time in fellowship with unexpected brethren. They rejoice. They are refreshed. They go right back into the battle with renewed vigor. Everything that they do they do for God; you would think that they would just want to step away for a moment, take a break from the service. Instead, this is what they live for, these are the true moments, this is the experience that they wish to share most with others, this is their brook of fresh mountain water: Praise and Fellowship.
July2012 @ July2012 @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 July Job, David, Peter, Paul and the enemies of God. Another month of reading and journaling. What sense do I take out of it? Job had Satan a wife and three friends. David for all his court and counselors was surrounded to the point of trembling fear and depression. Peter was imprisoned, freed, but, then his congregation was persecuted and dispersed. Paul was stoned, scourged, left for dead outside many a town. In each and everyone of them God receives great praise. And then there is us. Where do we stand in this multi millennial transcendent struggle? Has the battle been won that we don't experience this any longer? Has the enemy just collapsed and retreated or changed tactic? Job, David, Peter, Paul, all of these men were surrounded by friends that thought they were doing right, thought that they were on their side, giving their support and wise counsel, only to be a passive or duplicitous audience. We should consider well the sheer evidence of mathematical probabilities here. We would like to think that we are moving forward and in the right, perhaps similar to one of these heroic icons. Yet the chances are more likely that we are doing little or nothing for or are moving against the modern heroes of our faith.
1August2012 @ @ RandyP comments: I noticed today going back through my comments and journal on the Book of Acts that I had lost my originally intended focus which was to be on the Acts of the Holy Spirit. I've learned that it is too easy getting caught up in the characters performing the storyline action. These persons however are being moved and events are being shaped in each and every case by the Spirit. It is like reading a book trying to watch the author, but if the story is good enough you loose sight of the author. This author however was very much involved in the story, the very reason the characters were able to do the things that they did. In a sense the Acts of the Holy Spirit were brought forth physically through the Acts of the Apostles. I will have to re-read the book and try better to keep the focus!
5August2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 August5 Knowing the heart. Today I wrote of knowing our spiritual infirmity, how it invents ways to perceptually distance God from us. I also wrote of the only two available conscious daily decisions we have to make having been crucified in Christ, serving the flesh or serving righteousness. It is one or the other. Serving righteousness is often difficult, tough choices have to be made and pathways established, self sacrificing. Serving the flesh is often quite easy, very little has to be done or sacrificed, tearing down is the norm not building up. This is why even as born again believers we make wrong choices; because we suddenly have choices. We fool ourselves into thinking that every choice we make is automatic and right. And then we have the audacity to further deduct that God has distanced Himself, withheld His promise, hung us out to dry. This too is serving the flesh, but, hey having two choices are better than having none. Which choice shall we make today?
6August2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 August6 The Law versus The Faith. How interesting that today we would be reading a lengthy recap of the effects of the Law and a scholarly explanation of the need for a new and better covenant. The results of the Law is seen over a millennium wide multi-generational record proving by the Law man may know what is right but lacks the ability to perform it. The effect of the new covenant in Christ is that the sin exposed by the Law is put to death and we are new creatures in Christ no longer married to it, that Christ has performed what we could not.
16August2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 August16 How did God fail? Two pictures. A picture of Israel not being able to sustain a focus on their miraculous God for any length of time; seems the harder He pushed the more resistant they became. The second picture one of the successful ministry of Paul to the Gentiles. One from the top down nation to individual. The other bottom up from the individual to the nation (or nations). The difference? The empowerment of the Holy Spirit brought within us by the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If God had failed in the first instance, what then is it that drove us to need a Jesus Christ? God did not fail. The situation surrounding sin and our sin nature is much much deeper than we would carnally allow. Thousands of years were spent ahead of time to prepare us for this stark conclusion. There is no other conclusion left to be made for God did not and can not fail!
19August2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 August19 The world by wisdom knew not God. Today's reading in Psalms leads us through some magnificent praise; not just empty praise, but, praise filled with particular knowledge about who God is and what God is doing. One has to seek deeper into it to see just how deep this knowledge really goes. By starting today in Corinthians we see a different knowledge, a knowledge the world would call knowledge that doesn't lead to any particular knowledge of God, a form of knowledge that God has promised to put to an end. We see a local church that should be a place to praise such magnificent praises being torn by divisions. The world's knowledge would see that and determine that this god type knowledge is as defiled as the rest; that is what the world knowledge is seeking to find from the god knowledge to begin with. To the un-pure in heart everything is defiled, everything is relative, everything is a personal perspective, it's knowledge is based entirely on just that. By the time Paul is finished we see this situation in a different light, a light where no one is to glory except in the Lord. What advantage then has the believer? That he is the Lord's. That the Lord will do with him what in the long run is merciful and right.
22August2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 August22 Faithful affliction. Interesting how today's reading in the 119th Psalm speaks speaks of man observant and conversant in God's statutes and precepts because the reading in Corinthians speaks of the Apostles life. The one reads that he is faithfully afflicted by God the other reads that he is afflicted for our sakes. Perhaps each one is speaking of the other. Both suffer, both require the Lord's help, both glory in the course laid upon them, both pursue despite the affliction all the more.
6September2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 September6 Open minds. Open mindedness is often no more than scorn and self justification. Today in the Proverbs we read of the fear of the wicked and how it will inevitably come upon them. We also read of the central core of the gospel faith "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures...is risen...all things subjected to Him...Him to Father". Many will scorn. Many will go about as they've always done searching the secret and stolen depths. They would call all this open minded but, is it? Their fear shall come upon them. Then we shall see how locked tight their minds really were.
20September2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 September20 Today we read Solomon's conclusion that we should fear the Lord and keep His commandments, In Paul's testimony we see a man that did just that. It looks quiet a bit different than we might expect. Paul is not the only to suffer to bring us the wisdom and instruction called for by the truth. Truth must suffer the hands and tongues of the foolish. Fearing God is not in fearing what others may do to you, it is putting all of this aside for the unmovable service of/to God.
4October2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 October4 The Law and the Spirit. Today we find Isaiah speaking of the man on the street view of a rebellious people fleeing to Egypt to get away from the anger of the Lord. There is no doubt that living under the Law is hard for it is meant to be impossible. One eventualy has to come to the conclusion that it cannot be done and that all efforts to fulfill it are futile, might as well run or ask for the Lord's election to cease. Being the Lord's standard barer amongst heathen nations is no less an impossible task; much easier just to fit in especially when this Law thing just aint workin'. In Ephesians, Paul is writing to us of taking on the power of the Lord's might, preparing daily for spiritual warfare. The difference in this case is that the Law has been fulfilled by one man as it was meant to be, in Him we are equipped to fight His fight of dominion and principality. The Law served it's purpose leading us to Him and now we move forward in Him toward the heavenly task at hand by His strength, His Holy Spirit.
24October2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADINGPLAN1 October24 There is such a difference in tenor between our two readings today (the past several days in fact). In Jeremiah we are coming to a close of a great era of the Old Testament covenant. If God's intent was to show the necessity of the quickly approaching Messianic covenant, He certainly has done that. So we see proceeding our Lord's arrival the inability of the Law and Covenants and the utter disobedience of each and every imaginative heart. In Timothy however, we are reading of a young man, the second generation of the faithful, Spirit filled and Spirit lead, with the ability to better consider and obey the things of God having been transformed be the sacrifice and ascension and atoning blood of said Messiah. Surely there are still problems. It is still a daily choice and decision but, now at least that decision can be made and by grace fulfilled. God is justified in all that has passed by the tangible results achieved in the fulfillment of the first covenant within the envelope of the second. Signed, Sealed, Delivered!
5December2012 @ @ RandyP comments: I was thinking this morning in Daniel that this Old Testament is taking me through as master class in human government. I have seen from the time of Joseph through to the Pharaohs on through Joshua and Gideon and Saul and David and the line of kings down to the captivity the inner workings of a nation Israel/Judah. Now in captivity, I see the inner workings of one great empire and then a progression of other empires. I have seen the multiplicity of influence, the rolling cycles of affluence and poverty, the directions pulled and torn and put back together. I have seen leaders that stood for right, stood for wrong, stood for their own honor and shame. I've seen deceit, impulse, corruption, conspiracy along with murmuring and dissent. I've seen exile and banishment and insubordination and assassination. I've even seen the decrees of wise kings used against their better intents. I read today that the kingdoms of man are ruled by God and that He appoints whom He will over them. What then is trying to show us? What is the lesson I should take from this? Why has He spent so much written space to paint this picture for me? This master class... what does the final graded paper say? It should spell out our dire need for the coming kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the Son of our living God.
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.
January9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfFaith kjv@Matthew:4:12-17 JESUS BEGINS TO PREACH - There are two linguistic ways of translating this. John said "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". Jesus said the same thing but, the same words also can be used to say "repent for Royalty is near to you". It is not a stretch to say that He meant both. Think of all the reasons one would want to repent, burden of sin/addiction/abusiveness/guilt/despair/etc... They are rather short sighted are they not? Jesus has a much bigger frame of reference, millions if not billions of redeemed souls, God's creation in communion as they were meant to be. Why should you repent? Why should any of us repent? Because the Kingdom and the Royal One are at hand! The Lord's faith in this regard is much much bigger than our minds can grasp.
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.
February28 @ @ RandyP comments: devoFaithOf Jesus kjv@Matthew:14:1-12 AND TOLD JESUS - John upset the wrong person... Herodias. Her scheme to win Herod's favor/obligation via the daughter from her first marriage is plotted and carried out; John is done away with cleanly with little public fuss. John angered one wrong person, Jesus angers them all. Rumors of riots and revolution around the much beloved John's death never come to fruition. The inconsequential public after math gives the elites a false sense of confidence and control that may effect decisions when it comes up later to Jesus. This passage is as much a statement about the sheepishness of the adoring general public as it is the haunting guilt of Herod or the soap opera happenings within his court. John says something that says should be clear to any citizen Jew only none of them stand behind him. Jesus says many things that should be apparent to any human being and He too stands alone. People who stand alone stand out. People who stand out are troublemakers or at least can be presented as such by those that want Him dead. The faith of most men is to play the game and keep the peace. The faith of our Lord is to proceed ahead revealing the thought and intents of all men even in His death. Some would have us to think that the human heart simply needs convincing; the Gospel suggests rather that it needs to be exposed.
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 @ @