Sunday, August 16, 2009

By The Mercy of God

2 Cor 4:1-6

4:1 THEREFORE, SINCE we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God [granting us favor, benefits, opportunities, and especially salvation], we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion.
2 We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man's conscience.
3 But even if our Gospel (the glad tidings) also be hidden (obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God), it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing and obscured [only] to those who are spiritually dying and veiled [only] to those who are lost.
4 For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers' minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God.
5 For what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves [merely] as your servants (slaves) for Jesus' sake.
6 For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [Gen 1:3.] AMP

2 Cor 4:7-9

7 However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.
8 We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair;
9 We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed; AMP

Monday, August 10, 2009

Church: Epicenter of God's Life Revealed

I believe the body of Christ longs for more than stale bread and tales of yesterday's great adventures. People are desperate for true God life, desperate for a leader who is not attempting to do church by program or modeled after someone else's victory story.

When Jesus said 'He came to bring life and that more abundantly', He was not speaking about mere self gratification, material abundance or earthly popularity or power! He was speaking about Sodzo, a word for salvation in the NT that carries with it the idea of mending and making whole, which is a part of "What Jesus began to do and teach," Acts 1:1.

But it is much more, it carries within it the idea of being made whole = into what we were created to be, made in the image, or likeness of God. This has to do with our construction and design. We are Spirit beings, with a free will living in a body which is temporary. We were created with God's DNA so to speak. We have been given the ability to create as well as procreate. We have the ability to be in relationship with God the most high, and to align our lives in every way with Him and thus be unique vessels of Him and all that He is.

When we realize that He embraces us out of love and by His grace His power can work through and in us, then everything that is of Him in us brings honor to Him and that which is not of Him must die if He is to have His way in us. I am reminded of the parable of the vessels in 2 Timothy 2:14-26, some clay and some gold. The true value of our vessel is based on our willingness to submit to and align ourselves with Him, His ways, His Word and His Spirit. Our Character must become like that of Jesus. In Philippians 2:5-11 Jesus humbled Himself. Elsewhere in the NT we see that he became a man and He did the Fathers will by the Spirit's power.

Our walk with and life in God is both very practical and very spiritual. Each of us must align our lives with the Word and seek Him in a relationship that must become the most important thing in our lives. While we are living our life we must do so in a way that those around can both relate to God's work in us and know us as normal people with the supernatural God above all God's working in and through us.

The gifts we have been blessed with are just that, gifts. I long to see all of God's people walk in the wholeness, freedom and fulfillment that God has both designed and created them for!

I believe the local church (people of God) is meant to be the spiritual, relational and practical epicenter of God's Life for those who call upon His name. It is His Grace, Mercy, and Power working in us which produces His image or likeness.

When we look at what 'Jesus began to do and teach', we see that He sent the Holy Spirit that we might be living witnesses (those who see, experience and tell about) of His life working in and through us.

Christian will you be the Church: Epicenter of God's Life Revealed?