Monday, August 27, 2012

Three Persons of God

Colossians 1:15 (NKJV) He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 

The Bible is such an incredible collection of books. The more I dig into it---the more I am amazed. It is a collection of sixty-six books, written by more than 40 authors, over a period spanning about two thousand years. I find it remarkable that no book in the Bible contradicts another book. Each time I think I have found an inconsistency, I learn something new.

One such seeming contradiction is the face of God. God said to Moses in Exodus 33:20, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." A few verses earlier in Exodus 33:11 the Bible tells us, "So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." Then our verse at the top---from the book of Colossians---says God is invisible.

In review, no man can see God and live, Moses talked to God face to face, and God is invisible. How do we explain this?

To understand it, you have to appreciate that God can reveal Himself in three different persons. Just as water is frozen, liquid, or Gaseous; God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God can present Himself as magnificent glory the way He did to Moses on Mount Sinai. God told Moses, "while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by" (Ex. 33:22). The glory was the face of God that no man could see.

Several times in the Old Testament, God also revealed Himself as a man. He did this with Moses, Abraham, and Jacob to name a few (Ex. 33:11, Ge. 17:15, Ge. 32:24-28). In Hebrews 11:27 the Bible says, "By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." The Scripture at the top refers to Jesus as being the image of Him who is invisible. This reveals that Moses saw Jesus before He became flesh and blood.

God can also reveal Himself as the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and then later translated into our own language. The Hebrew word for spirit is pronounced, "roo'-akh". In simple English, this word means breath*. The Holy Spirit is the holy breath of God. This is the invisible presence of God.

When God told Moses, "no man shall see Me and live" (V. 20), He was clearly talking about His magnificent glory. We know that God had already been talking to Moses as a man because verse 11 says, "the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man..."

The Jesus we read about in the New Testament, existed before all creation. Our verse at the top asserts this. He eventually was made flesh and dwelt among us to become the first, flawless, human being. He gave Himself to become the most powerful sacrifice ever possible. From the beginning of all creation, God has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I love to find things in Scripture that seem to contradict. It always turns out to be an amazing revelation. The Bible never disagrees with itself. Whenever you find something in Scripture that does not seem to make sense---ask God to give you insight. This will take your learning to a whole new level.

Be Blessed!

*  James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek and Hebrew Dictionary (Austin, TX: Wordsearch Corp., 2002), Bible study software, Strong’s number, H7307.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Anointed to preach!

Luke 4:18 (NKJV) "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;"

When Jesus was baptized by John, He also received the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22). There is a misconception among believers. Many Christians believe if you are baptized in the Holy Spirit that it will only be evident if you speak in tongues. Not to take anything away from the awesome gift of tongues but the Holy Spirit is so much more.

When the apostle Peter received the Holy Spirit, he brought 3000 souls to Jesus (Acts 2:41). Although many Christians struggle with praying in tongues, they may still be---and most likely are---baptized in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit can fall on any believer. It can come on them during a church service as it did to Peter, (Acts 2:1-4) or, if they simply ask for it. In fact, the Bible teaches us to continually ask for it. In Leviticus 24:2, the Bible tells us, "Command the children of Israel that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to make the lamps burn continually." Inside the tabernacle of the Old Testament was a lamp that burned oil as a light source during the night. In the day, light was provided by the sun (1 Samuel 3:15). The oil was significant of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says in Luke 11:13, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" This verse says all we have to do is ask. Leviticus 24 says to collect the oil continually. This teaches us to ask continually for the Spirit.

So what do we get when the Spirit comes upon us? Many of us already know we get the gift of tongues. Do you realize we also get the other gifts of the Spirit? These gifts are wisdom, knowledge, faith, an anointing to provide healing, perform miracles, and prophecy, the gifts of discernment, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10).

Although these gifts are often an office or a ministry, they are also for the individual believer. This way we can all pray for the sick, provide an encouraging word, and even bring people to Christ.

These gifts are not only a benefit to us, but also to everyone around us. Pray that the Holy Spirit would saturate you with these gifts---continually!

Be Blessed!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Judged Three Times

Luke 23:4 ""So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no fault in this Man.""

The crucifixion of Jesus was one of the first things I learned about when I became a Christian. Jesus was a man with no flaws, judged for mankind who was full of flaws. This understanding has been in my heart ever since. However, the last few years have opened my eyes to even greater revelations about the cross.

If you study Exodus 29, you will learn of three sacrifices. These sacrifices would prepare a priest to stand before God. The three sacrifices were, the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the consecration offering. Each offering provided specific benefits.

The burnt offering provided a covering of righteousness and redemption from Adam's curse. A good example of this was the Passover. The Passover was a burnt offering. It provided a means for God to connect with us and rejuvenate or restore His children out of bondage. It provided healing and made them righteous before God.

The sin offering provided redemption from the curses of the law. These are the curses listed in Deuteronomy 28. Jesus received a wound for each curse.

The consecration offering washed away any remnants of sin, a murderer who is forgiven is still a murderer. Washed by the blood of the sacrifice---they are no longer a murderer.

Jesus provided all three sacrifices for us. He was judged three times. Caiaphas the high priest was first. The Bible tells us that he could find no fault in Him (Matthew 26:59,60).  Pilate was next to judge Him---he also found no fault (Luke 23:4). Herod was the last one to judge Jesus. Herod also found no fault in Him (Luke 23:15).

The sacrifice had to be inspected before it was offered and had to be without spot. Jesus was judged three times---He was inspected and found without fault three times.

Jesus was three sacrifices, all in one offering. If you struggle with any issues that have you feeling condemned, fellowship with Jesus through prayer. Your relationship with Jesus will allow Him to shield you from the lies of the enemy. The most important benefit from the cross is personal fellowship. This opens the door for all the other benefits.

Be Blessed!

Monday, August 06, 2012

A Crown of Thorns

Hebrews 9:14 (NKJV) how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 

The other day I was doing some yard work and had to trim some thorny bush. I really should have worn gloves but, I only had a few branches to trim. I poked myself several times and really regretted not having used gloves.

I watched as the wounds began bleeding and I thought of Jesus having a crown of thorns put on His head (John 19:2). I could picture Jesus with blood running down His face. The Bible says in the Scripture above, His blood will purge our conscience of dead works. I believe the crown of thorns was brought to light by the Scripture above.

If you are like me, you have been challenged by bad thoughts and perhaps even a few addictions. After many years of trying to honor God by being good, I finally concluded---it wasn't in my power to do, no matter how much I wanted to please Him.

A great example is when I quit smoking. When I was born-again in 1989, one of the first things on my list was to quit smoking. I had been smoking since 1975. People told me that I was now the temple of God and it was wrong not to take good care of myself. It seemed to make sense to me.

In April of 2009, I accepted the fact; I was never going to be able to quit smoking. I began to realize that God still loved me even if I was a smoker. In fact, it did not change His love for me at all. I decided I was not going to worry about it any more and began to enjoy His presence even if I had a cigarette going. Then one day, I considered how much I would like to quit smoking for me.

A revelation of God's love taught me---if I wanted to quit smoking for myself, God would be there to help. In May of 2009, I became a non-smoker. This was a demonstration of His love for me. I have no desire to smoke, it does not bother me if someone else smokes. My desire has been changed!

God was able to change my thoughts. A revelation of His love for me has made it possible for God to change my desires. The greatest damage caused by Adam's fall was losing companionship with God. When man became sinful in nature, God could not have close fellowship with him anymore. The Bible tells us in Exodus 33:20, ""He [God] said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live."" Animal sacrifice permitted some opportunity for God to connect with man, but it still fell short. The sacrifice of Jesus broke all barriers of sinfulness.

Jesus suffered in many ways---all of it was necessary. It made it possible for Him to fellowship with us, then He can purge our conscience. This is important; He loved us while we were sinners. He wants to change us for us---not for Him!

Discover His love for you. Talk to Him all the time. He shed His blood so we can have fellowship. That fellowship will change your bad thoughts and desires.

Be Blessed!