Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Grace and Peace to the Family of Christ

My dear brothers and sisters in the international family of Jesus Christ:

Grace be with you, and peace as well.  May love be in your mind, as you execute the order of the great commission that our great Lord Jesus gave, go unto all the nations and preach the word, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  How blessed are we, to be involved in the most important work possible!

There is nothing of greater importance, truly truly, if I start to think money, or the things of this world, or romance or the esteem of my colleagues even comes near the mission of serving God, I am beginning to go completely insane.  There are priorities my family.  There are ideals within Christianity that go about reshaping everything we understand about the world.

Psalm 145:1-21 (ESV) A Song of Praise. Of David. I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

I was at a Bible study last night, and the topic came up, of the visitation of God to our planet, in the bodily form of the man Jesus Christ.  Scandalous, scandalous said the Bible study leader!  For the one who existed only in the tent, the tabernacle, the holy of holies, with such specific requirements to be obeyed when working near this earthly presence of God, it was absolutely intense, personal, and incredibly direct, for this presence to be in the body of a man, Christ Jesus, and sitting at tables spending time with the very worst kinds of sinners.  To the Pharisees, the religious leaders of that time in history, it was absolutely unthinkable.  They simply could not accept that God himself would be just that personal, and just that selfless, to sit at tables with sinners, heal the masses, and have such intimate contact with everyday, average people.

It at that moment in the discussion last night that I felt an incredible cherishing feeling erupt in my heart.  An incredible amount of pride, and honor, and humble gratitude, for who my God is.  He is the God who came.  The paradoxes and deep meanings, of what the height of moral truth is are shone in the life of Jesus Christ.  God came to us, personally.  That hasn't ever stopped.  Jesus lives in heaven at this very moment, and at the same time, meets us on the road, in our homes, in the churches, in the prison cells of those persecuted, and even in the alleys, in the drug dens, in the bars, and even out on the battlefields, he is there, meeting us individually, where we are at, and so often God draws us to his son from the most desperate circumstances, out of the most bitter confusion and welcomes us to believe, and begin on a new journey in communion with Him.

It was also at that moment in the discussion when it seemed if I had been in a room with religious leaders from every major world religion, I would've laid down the fact of Jesus Christ coming personally to sit with the sinners, as a royal straight flush!  I dare you to fix your broken idols in a manner that can even begin to compare with depth of truth and meaning, of the Holy of Holy God, coming to sit with sinners, teach truth, heal his people, and to die on a cross having committed no evil, at the same time paying the price of all the sins and evils of man kind, from the very dawn of man to the very last day of this earthly existence!

None compares to our Lord God, the God who came to Earth so desperately in love with his fallen people, he had to provide a river back to his tree of life.  Walk this way, he says to us, kiss my son, know my son and you will know me.

Psalm 2:7-12 (NLT)
The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.[b]
    Today I have become your Father.[c]
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
    the whole earth as your possession.
You will break[d] them with an iron rod
    and smash them like clay pots.’”
10 Now then, you kings, act wisely!
    Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
11 Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Submit to God’s royal son,[e] or he will become angry,
    and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
    But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

John 14:6-11 (NLT)
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c] From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

Operate in love with the Lord our God.  The God of all peoples and all nations of the Earth.  He is with you in China, he is with you in Europe, he is with us in the United States.  Discover who he is in the scriptures, and see how none other compares to his teaching, his love, his truth, his mercy, and his sacrifice.  

If you are being persecuted, or you are experiencing spiritual warfare, then you are exactly where you are suppose to be.  Rest in the peace of Christ.  If the way you are treated seems incredibly unfair, congratulations, you suffer as our great savior suffered.  Rejoice in peace, you will not find justice in this world.  Indeed this world is a battlefield, a continuous battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil.   Our savior, Jesus Christ "Jehovah Saves" provided the Way to eternal life.  In that way the serpent has been crushed.  But the war continues for the souls of those born into the great lie of this planet.  Things will be fixed and made right by our Lord at the appointed time, at the last day.  But until then, our Lord God is full of mercy, and is powerfully patient.  He wants to give time for those who are born into this broken world, lost in sins of all manner and kind, to repent and believe on Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life.  

That is where we come in!  God no longer exists solely in a tent, tabernacle, or in the person of Christ.  He exists in the body of believers, the universal church, as the Father lived in Jesus, now Jesus lives in us, and the Holy Spirit moves constantly among the nations and peoples of the planet, drawing those the Father wants to missionaries, churches, Bibles, and even blogs.  We have the great honor, privilege, and duty of sharing the Gospel with those God calls to us, and I am telling you the truth, there is nothing of greater importance. 

John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Have peace in the God of all comfort as you go about your work among the nations.  Remember to love your neighbor with powerful concern for his and her eternal soul.  Remember also, our God is a very special God.  He is not just loving in general, but he loves You personally, so rejoice in that.  Pray for those who are persecuted, and endure patiently the trials and troubles of this life.  Await the future eternal life and glory with patience and gratitude.

God be praised, amen.