Sunday, August 28, 2016

Meditation on Galatians 5:16-24

Meditation on Galatians 5:16-24

Lord, today allow me to experience in my lifestyle and my existence the gift of the Holy Spirit that YOU gave me as a sign of YOUR victory on the cross and resurrection.  

Allow not just the doctrine of the Spirit be known in my mind but the reality of the actual presence of the Spirit be felt in the deepest aspects of my soul.  Let me not just have a theory of the Holy Spirit but let me have the actual experience of the Holy Spirit in my life.  Lord have mercy. 

Lord, my unbelieving, self-centered, and immoral mind would want to find satisfaction in dark desires that offer gain but only produce death.  Help me not believe the lie that I can sin to win.   Help me hear the Spirit within me that preaches the gospel of YOUR sacrifice and grace to me that opposes all this insanity.  Lord, save me from my insane unbelief.  Deliver me from my pride.  Help me accomplish the good deeds YOU desire for my life to produce.  Don't allow my life to be in vain. 

Have mercy on me and because of YOUR great grace and sacrifice upon the cross allow me to enter YOUR kingdom although I am unworthy. 
Lord, everything I need to succeed is simply in having the HOLY SPIRIT bear the fruit of love in my heart and mind.  So simple and yet so complex.  
This experience I desire.  

To have your SPIRIT flow life in me and out of me to bear fruit.  I can do nothing without you.  I am 100% dependent on YOU to bear this fruit of love in me.  Flood my life with your SPIRIT I beg YOU.  Flood YOUR church, all of us with YOUR SPIRIT now this day.  Without this we are nothing.  With this we are everything.  Teach us how to bear YOUR fruit.  Teach me how to bear YOUR fruit.  

Crucify my unbelief and it dark energy and hunger.  Crucify my unbelieving soul  Show me how to crucify the follower of Adam in me.  
Lord, help me see YOU more clearly, that I may love YOU more dearly, and follow YOU more nearly, day by day.    Amen

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Can God bring good out of bad?

5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (ESV)

Lord, help me believe that even my lack of love, lack of loyalty, and lack of wisdom can be transformed as the evil deed of Joseph's brothers can eventually bring about good.  Help me believe that YOU are moving despite my mistakes to bring YOUR healing and help to people.  

Lord, thank you for forgiving my sins at such great cost to YOU.  Help me see the cross today as YOU see it.  

Lord, I fear the impact of my sins on others.  I have come to fear the negative impact of my sins as the greater problem, even of needing forgiveness for my guilt.  I did not see how my failures would cause such harm to others.  This harm is so great.  How can this be used for good?

Lord, help me not to be distressed and angry with myself.  Help me release this to YOU.  Trust YOU with it.  Use this to make me avoid wrong actions and words in the future or in some ways dare to speak when my silence is a sin.  How costly is the price of not doing YOUR will on earth as it is in heaven!  

Give me trusting hope that YOU will transform my transgressions into a means of bringing YOUR grace to others.  Help me trust YOU in the dark not understanding how, why, or when.   

Lord, hear my cry. 

"(23) This is what the LORD says: "Don't let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. (24) But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!" [Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT]

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Meditation on Psalm 137 and Psalm 144

Meditation on Psalm 137

How can we sing songs of the kingdom of God when we are surrounded and dominated by an unbelieving culture and soaked in rebellious lifestyles.  To sing in the middle of this culture would seem like a mockery of our words.  The darkness is so total that it is hard to imagine that light exists.   Lord of light show us light and keep our eyes from being filled with darkness. 

Help us not forget the kingdom and righteousness of YOUR rule and reign.  Help me to remember your ways and will and in that find joy. 

Lord, dash the dark demonic forces and their plans against your people.  King Jesus, come and revive and renew us.  Let the traps of enemies of the gospel be dispersed.  

Psalm 144

Train me to battle and win for your kingdom of love and peace.  Be my sure refuge in the middle of my struggles.  Now come to me and protect me from the forces of unbelief and let many find faith through my witness.  Give me boldness to witness.  

What am I that you should consider me.  Just a mere breath.  Only a shadow compared to your greatness and glory.  

Bow down now and shake the heavens and the earth.  Let us see YOUR victory in our day.  Rescue us and destroy the lies that war against us. 

Now raise up a generation of faithful sons of the covenant.  Send repentance like an ocean to the children raised in the homes of believing parents.  Bring the prodigals home.  Change their hearts and minds to totally believe and trust in YOU.  Bring your Church to new unity, love, and truth.  Manifest your goodness, greatness, and grace through YOUR people.  Now act!  We do not deserve this but for your glory and our good, ACT NOW!  Lord we are desperate.  


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Meditation on Romans 5:1-10

Romans 5:1-10

Peace with God Through Faith

5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Lord Messiah, help me to focus on your sacrifice on the cross, your promises to Abraham, and the resurrection from the dead as a solid foundation for feeling that I have been declared righteous due to the great exchange of YOU giving me YOUR righteousness and taking upon YOURSELF, the punishment for my sins, transgressions, and immoralities.    Even when my heart most condemns me and the dark night surrounds me, let me have a peace that comes from YOU greater than all my understandings of my shortcomings and failures.  Lord, help me feel the peace you have given.  

2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

Lord, help me see that I stand by YOUR undeserved favor, YOU choosing to be on my side, and by the strength of YOUR loving committed promises alone.  To think that I will see YOU for who you are and reflect back into creation an accurate picture of YOUR greatness, goodness, and grace brings me great joy and anticipation of having my ultimate purpose fulfilled in YOU.  

3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Help me now trust that YOU are revealing YOUR greatness, grace, and goodness through me right now in my hardships and YOUR ability to keep me believing despite the hardest of times.  YOU are making my soul to be like YOUR soul, and this difficult process produces in me the joy of knowing the reality of YOUR work even how day by day in my life.   This anticipation of seeing YOU working in the middle of my struggles is not in vain, for the HOLY SPIRIT keeps pouring the revelation of God's LOVE into my true self by preaching of the Messiah Jesus dying for me and being raised from the dead.  

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 

Lord, help me see that without the HOLY SPIRT I have no love for you or faith in YOUR revelation.  I am not a pious or religious man.  Without your grace I am ungodly.  Yet, even knowing this about me, YOU chose to die for my great immoral transgressions.  

7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Messiah died for us when we had fallen short of every common decency and measure of morality.  We can imagine perhaps one suffering to save noble souls.  But my salvation was greater than that because I was a traitor and rebel agains all that is good.  Lord how could YOU love me when I was in such a dark state without light.  

9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (ESV)

You have placed before us and given to us a forgiven past and a certain future in YOUR love and grace.  YOU have fully accepted us just as we are by your death for our sins and now we enjoy being in fellowship with you through your being resurrected to be our mediator.   Lord, let me come boldly before YOU in times of need with the assurance that I am fully loved and never condemned.  

Lord, open my eyes the infinite power of your great LOVE. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Meditation on Isaiah 40:28-31

"(28) Do you not know? Have you not heard?The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired.His understanding is inscrutable. (29) He gives strength to the weary,And to him who lacks might He increases power. (30) Though youths grow weary and tired,And vigorous young men stumble badly, (31) Yet those who wait for the LORDWill gain new strength;They will mount up with wings like eagles,They will run and not get tired,They will walk and not become weary." [Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB]

LORD, living and true I at times do not know and have not heard.  I am blind and deaf, lost in seeing nothing but my fears and dark predictions of what will be.  So give me, knowledge and let me hear the reality that exists because of YOU.  

True living LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Matthew, Peter, and Paul, you are eternal and everlasting.  YOU exist this day with me.  Help me sense your presence all around me.  

Grant me to understand at the core of my soul that you are the maker and designer of every atom of the universe.  All things visible and invisible exist due to you and continue to exist only because you sustain them.  Yet, the creation of "everything" and the constant providing of providence does not make you weary or tired.  YOUR strength and energy are without limit.  The deep complexity of both the physical universe and my soul are fully understood by YOU.   YOUR knowledge and wisdom know no limitations.  

All this is fine, but LORD YOU have now said that when I, weak and frail, am about ready to collapse that you are near me and will YOUR power to sustain me and provide me the strength I need for another day of life.  It is not me that is getting me through life.  That is a lie and pride.  It is you getting me through life.  Day by day  you carry me. 

Help me see the limits of all human strength and wisdom.  Especially let me see the limits of my strength and wisdom.  Humble me with the reality of how frail and faint I am. 

Let me trust YOU in the dark, resting in YOUR promises  to be fulfilled, and grant me the knowledge that YOU are faithful.  Renew my strength.  Provide me a revival of my abilities and energy.  Come now to me at my weakest moments.  

Lord help me know the truth about YOU and grant me ears to hear that I might have more faith.  Lord have mercy.  Amen

Monday, August 1, 2016

What is the letter and the spirit of the law?

The Letter and The Spirit of the Law

"(29) But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God." [Romans 2:29 NASB]

In this passage Paul is talking about the difference between Judaism with a focus on self-righteousness and hypocrisy as outlined in the rest of the chapter of Romans 2 and being a “true Jew” by being born again by the Holy Spirit which leads to a faith in the Messiah Jesus and a life God’s praises because of the gift of salvation in Messiah Jesus. 

"(6) But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter." [Romans 7:6 NASB]

Here Paul is contrasting justification by the law and justification by the Gospel.  In Christ Jesus we have died under the condemnation of the law but now have been raised to a newness of life in the Messiah’s resurrection and have been filled with the Holy Spirit.  The contrast again is between Judaism with a reliance on justification through their own efforts and Christian faith.   This needs to be read in context with Romans 6.

"(6) who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." [2 Corinthians 3:6 NASB]

To understand 2 Corinthians we need to also read it in the context of the passage.  It again is a contrast between Judaism and Christian faith.  This defense of Christian faith being better and needed is a significant theme in the writings of the apostolic faith found in the New Testament.  The book of Hebrews is the longest explanation of this contrast. 

Many of the first Christians were Jews and had to be shown why following the Messiah Jesus was different and better than following traditional Jewish religion.   Especially with the debate with the Judaizers (see the book of Galatians), a clear understanding of the superiority and benefits of faith in Messiah Jesus had to be demonstrated.   In this chart you can see the meaning of the passage in 2 Corinthians in context.

Old Covenant
New Covenant

Ministers of the new covenant (vs. 6)
Of the letter (vs. 6)
Of the Spirit (vs. 6)
The letter kills (vs. 6)
The Spirit gives life (vs. 6)
Ministry of death (vs. 7)
Ministry of the Spirit (vs. 8)
Written/engraved on stones (vs. 7)  

Ministry of condemnation (vs. 9)
Ministry of righteousness (vs. 9)
Glorious (vss. 7,9)
Much more glorious (vss. 8,9)
Passing away (vs. 7)
Remains (vs. 11)
Veil on Moses’ face (vs. 13)  
Great boldness of speech (vs. 12)
Veil remains in reading O.T. (vs. 14)
Veil taken away in Christ (vs. 14)
Veil lies on their heart (vs. 15)
Veil taken away when heart turned
to the Lord (vs. 16)

So we should not understand the “spirit of the law” as meaning that we are free to disobey the objective meaning of the law.  Instead, we need to see that the spiritual use of the law is to make us aware that we can never be justified by our own efforts but only be condemned (see Romans 1-3).   Because of this our justification is found in Messiah Jesus’ work alone on the cross dying for our sins and being raised to give us new life. 

The teaching of the Hebrew Bible, Moses, and the prophets can only be fulfilled by the revelation brought in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.  Without the Messiah there is no hope. 

This would lead us into also needing to understand the three  uses of the law of God.  See