Search This Blog

Monday, September 26, 2016

Worth Considering: Direction and Purpose

Genesis 28:10-17

Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the LORD stood beside him and said, "I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; , and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place-- and I did not know it!" And he was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

Beersheba was the southern boundary of Abraham's territory
and the territory that Isaac received as his birthright.

By Ethelene Dyer Jones

Before we truly appreciate and understand better God’s Word in this verse, we need to study it in context (and certainly, each scripture should be studied in context). Jacob (with subterfuge) had received the birthright blessing from his father Isaac. Esau, Jacob’s twin brother, was tricked by Jacob, and the guilty brother feared Esau’s retaliation. He was on his way to Haran.

Jacob stopped at a place to spend the night. In a vision (or dream), he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, and saw angels descending and ascending on the ladder. God identified himself to Jacob as the Lord of Abraham and Isaac—and of Jacob, too. The promise made to Abraham—of making his descendants a great nation—was repeated to Jacob. In response, Jacob sat the stone he had used as a pillow, made an altar and called it Bethel—that is “Beth-El”—the house of God.

God was in that place and Jacob knew it not until he had the vision. He could not run away from God. Then Jacob made his own commitment to God at Bethel, promising to follow God, give Him a tithe of all he earned, and then asking God to protect, feed, and give him peace. There in the wilderness on his way to Haran, Jacob met God and realized He was everywhere—he could not escape from God’s care and mercy—and calling.

The message God gave to Jacob on that long ago journey is as much to each believer today as it was to Jacob: “I am with you,” God says.

I will protect you.
I will bring you back to this land.
I will not leave you until I do what I have promised you.

These are strong promises from God for direction and purpose for our lives.

Will I, like Jacob, at the altar of my heart bow down and worship God?

In the light of God’s promise and revelation, will I pledge to follow God?

Prayer of commitment:

Here am I, Lord. Thank You for allowing me to be a part of Your Master Plan for people. Thank You for giving me direction and purpose in life. Amen.

Related reading: Jacob Leaves Beersheba; Jacob's Journeys

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Praying Hebrews 5: The Disciple’s Constant Companion

3rd-century fresco of Jesus Christ 
from the Catacomb of Callixtus, Rome

“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5;7-10)

Lord God,

As I meditate upon what is written here under the direction of your Holy Spirit, I begin to perceive its gravity and grace. You described the Lord Jesus as having been given the High Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek with his priesthood is presented in the Old Testament as everlasting and of eternal tenure, because You inspired to record neither a beginning of His life nor beginning of his office. Therefore, I offer overflowing praise to You for what was only symbolized, is now infinitely fulfilled in the Person and work of Your Son Jesus Christ, having no beginning as God the living Word and a ministry eternally established before the foundation of the World, all because He is One with You, the essential expression of the fullness of your divinity.

However, being “God wrapped in Flesh,” He still learned as a human disciple (Isaiah 50:4 NASB). His relationship to and with you as He obediently listened and obeyed your instructions as a man is marvelous. Three times He asked that another way to redeem the world might be arranged, so that He as a human need not suffer the flogging, humiliation, abandonment, and torture of crucifixion, but each time He yielded to your plan saying, “Not my will, but your will be done.” I thank You that even though You rejected His personal request, You, Lord, still heard his heart’s desire for the sake of man’s redemption and the defeat of Satan, that mankind be provided the way to eternal relationship with its Maker. Through this, I know that You receive us, even though our petitions may be contrary to Your will, so long as we accept your authority and your will. Like the Lord Jesus, I can be content knowing that You are “a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Thank You that Jesus was and still is Emmanuel, God with us. This promises full confirmation that the salvation He offers in Himself can be eternal, for He is omnipotent and eternally God. Oh, Lord God, help me to learn and follow after His example (Hebrews 12:2, 3). Let me so walk and perceive You through the witness of your Holy Spirit through your Word in my life that always hear Your still small voice, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Let me feel your constant companionship as your hand holding mine!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Praying Hebrews 5: The Disciple’s Pattern

So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,"YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU"; just as He says also in another passage, "YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” (Hebrews 5:5-6).

Lord God,

I praise You for the multiple ways in which You have revealed Yourself through Christ. The mystery of your divinity being personified in Jesus is beyond human comprehension. The limited finiteness of my mind cannot grasp the idea of your divine infinity expressed in human flesh! Yet, from eternity past You have declared that He is the expression of your person as the Word of God (John 1:1-2), so who else could you have chosen as our Great High Priest? Whatever You do is perfect for the purpose You choose for it. You wanted to redeem mankind so that we could be in full harmony with You permanently. In this, Jesus is the pattern, but as High Priest He is the perfect and almighty administrator of our salvation.

Thank you, Lord God, for this confirming basis for the adequacy of Christ’s words, “whoever who believes in Him, shall have eternal life” (John 3:16). Thank, Lord, for the pattern of life Christ gives me to imitate. What an example of trust and humility! He did not seek fame and power for himself, but sought only to fulfill your will giving You the credit and honor. Forgive me, Lord, when I frequently fail in this. Thank you for the feelings of joy when I do. When I do conform to the example of Christ (Romans 12:1-2), I fall under the leadership of our eternal High Priest “after the order of Melchizedek, and the prophetic witness of the Old Testament about the coming of Messiah (Luke 1:26-38).

Oh, the blessing to me and all who would be persuaded by Your testimonies concerning the Lord Jesus as the believer’s High Priest.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Praying Hebrews 6:12-15

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

“. .so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, " I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU." And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.” Heb. 6:12-15

Lord, there is great peace in believing You according to your self revelation.I enjoy gazing upon Your marvelous creation. In the starry heavens of heavens so vast that even the orbiting Hubble telescope cannot see its limits. Yet, your Word tells me that the heavens of heavens cannot contain You.

I contemplate the marvelous organization of the smallest things You have created. I wonder why it is so difficult for men made in Your image let You fill their hearts and minds To those who reject the answer is sin. But to those as weak and frail as Abraham and I, You swear by Yourself to fulfill your precious promises.

Oh, how much You want all to be persuaded, believe, and respond in faith. Isn't that why you wrote about your eternal power and divine nature in the order of creation (Roman 1;20)? You want us to be assured our Your Presence. to be confident that You are true, faithful and able.

Lord, I believe, but help me in regard too my unbelief. Help me to let your voice echo though the halls of Heaven, the expanse of the stars, and the eons of eternity. As You swore by yourself to fulfill your promises in Christ, may I share in those promises. So shall my life forever be changed into Christ’s likeness, and all my being be a symphony of praise, joy, and peace.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Some Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare

Remember that in this life "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The spiritual warfare between God and Satan is real. We are inclined to wonder how God is still in control when we hear of the atrocities of the ISIS or consider Hitler's murder of six million Jews. Yet we read about Muslims across the globe coming to faith in Jesus Christ. We hear of miraculous healing, deliverance, and guidance. These build up our faith and encourage us.

The Bible offers pictures of spiritual warfare. Even as Satan contemplated his rebellion, the angels rejoiced as God laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4-7). Soon after the Creator finished his work Satan was revealed as a fallen being, as the enemy of God.

Isaiah was privileged to see the heavenly throne room where cherubim and seraphim abide in the presence of the LORD (Isaiah 6:2, 6). They are unshaken.

The prophetic descriptions of the end time struggles include armies of angels who defend the Righteous and usher in the Kingdom of our God.

When we grow discouraged or weary of the battle, we are to remember that the enemy is doomed and we are seated with a victorious King on high. Let us appreciate how God in Christ contradicts Satan’s desires and works, defeating the enemy not only in the cross, but also in the empty tomb. The climax of the Gospel extends not just to earth, but also to the heavenly Tabernacle where Christ makes continuing intercession for us.

Therefore, let us live and pray as ones seated with Christ! Let us take hold of the promise of Christ: "To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne." (Revelation 3:21)

May the Lord bless you in your spiritual battles.

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.