The Divine Love Story – A Study Guide For Marriage

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Godly Marriage“How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways.

“When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.

“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.

“The LORD bless you from Zion, and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!” (Psa 128:1-6)

 

Journal,

Are marriages in trouble today. Yes they are. But this isn’t something new. There have always been troubled marriages.

Now that we have that settled, let’s begin this new year (2013) with a study guide that can give guidance and help for any marriage.

However, I need to make something very clear up front. Just because someone has been through a divorce does not prevent them from having a godly marriage. Far from it. The major emphasis of the cross centers on grace and forgiveness.

We live in a sinful world. Jesus came to save us from our sins and to give us a future based on a life that can only come from Him. Jesus made that very clear with the woman at the well. She had been married five times and was then living with a man. (You may want to read her story in John 4.)

So, let’s begin.

 

The Bible Opens and Closes With Marriage

The Apostle Paul says that marriage in the human family reflects the divine mystery of Christ and His Church. Therefore marriage is the most sacred covenant that men and women can enter. The following information is provided as a study guide with regard to marriage.

1. Adam was created to serve the Lord, and to enjoy Him. He was created in the very image and likeness of God. Since we know that Christ is the Word of God, and that He Himself is “the Image of the invisible God”, it is safe to assume that Adam somehow reflected Christ in the divine mystery of Christ and the Church.

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.” (Eph 5:22-23)

2. God fashioned Eve out of Adam. She was uniquely created. Paul teaches that the wife is a reflection of the Church. Eve being taken from Adam, pictures the Church having its origin in Christ. The deep sleep that God brought upon Adam can be likened to the cross. When Adam awoke, God presented to him his wife. Thus the mystery of the Church.

“So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. … This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:28-32)

3. Adam and Eve were to be co-regents. Adam had the primal authority. Eve’s role corresponded to his. In the marriage the husband has priority of leadership. This does not diminish the wife’s role. She is a fellow heir of the grace of life. This is why the Bible warns against mistreatment of the wife.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:27)

“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ … So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of Man.’” (Gen 2:18-23)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:28-29)

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1Pe 3:7)

4. God gave Eve (the wife) a role not always understood by men. She was to be a ‘protectress’ or ‘surrounder.’ The word “helper” in Genesis 2:20, is ezer. It means to help or succor. The root word is found in all the Semitic languages. In Ugartic it means to rescue and save. Ezer carries the idea of military assistance. God gave the wife a role to fulfill. This is why Paul speaks of the wife’s role as that of keeping house.

(King James has “guide the house.” The Greek is ‘oikodespotea,’ which means to manage family affairs.)

“The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” (Gen 2:20)

“Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach.” (1Ti 5:14)

5. Maleness and femaleness are giftings of God. Together the husband and wife take part with God in the creation of new life.

“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’” (Gen 2:18)

“House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.” (Pro 19:14)

6. In the eastern Hebrew culture, the Lord God is the great Shadchan (Marriage Maker).

In giving Eve to Adam, the Lord was saying, “Adam, I am giving you a gift. You must nourish her, care for her & cherish her. You must never mistreat her, or make her feel unimportant or inferior. She is not a toy for your amusement. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. Study her and learn her heart. She will bring great blessings into your life.”

“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.” (Ecc 9:9)

“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love.” (Pro 5:18-19)

7. Adam drew Eve back into his heart. The man’s role is to speak words over his wife to draw her to himself. In his heart is her rightful place. He sanctifies her to himself. This is where Biblical love is created. Biblical love is a commitment. It doesn’t always come before marriage. It is created in the marriage, by words and attitudes. Our western culture has suffered over a misplaced idea of marital love.

8. God has the last word. The new union must now take center stage in family relationships. This is not an issue of breaking down family closeness. The first commandment with a promise is to honor your father and mother.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 2:24)

9. Marriage is called kiddushin in Hebrew. This term speaks of hiddenness, withdrawal, covering, and modesty. The same Hebrew word is used both for marriage and for holiness.

In the marriage God intends the husband and wife to merge into one life. This relates to the veiled bride. She is sanctified to one man. Marriage was designed to be a lifetime commitment where God fills in the blanks. The result is a marriage blessed.

However, it is important not to misunderstand what one life means. There must always be room for spaces in the togetherness of marriage. Two lives are merged, or submerged. Each partner has their own gifts, abilities, and talents that are uniquely theirs alone. But together they bring strength into the marriage.

“She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.’

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Pro 31:27-31)

10. The Hebrew word for companionship is the word ‘chabereth’. The idea is a blending of personalities. A companion means a fellow participant, partner, or associate.

“This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’

“Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” (Mal 2:13-14)

11. For the Hebrew people the act of love was considered part of the Sabbath. It is called ‘the Sabbath delight.’ God is very much concerned with the romantic side of marriage. He had a special book placed in the sacred writings for this purpose. Here is a snippet from the Song of Solomon:

“I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. ‘Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country, let us spend the night in the villages.’”(Son 7:10-11)

12. The law that governs the marriage is the ‘law of lovingkindness.’ Biblical love is a mitzvah. A mitzvah is a commandment that requires action. This includes emotional and physical love of marriage. And so we have this caution from the great Apostle:

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.” (1Th 4:3-7)

 

Keep in mind that the story of the cross is a divine love story. It is truly about a marriage.

I pray this study will be a blessing to you. Feel free to pass it on.

Take time for this song. It will speak to your heart.

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In Christ always,

Buddy

 

The Godly Marriage – Never Alone

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“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will…”
(Eph 1:4-5 nasb)

 

Journal,

I’ve often thought about what God said about Adam being alone in life. The Lord said,

“It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Gen 2:18)

How well do I know that aloneness is not good? Quite well indeed.

As I was about to leave my Navy ship in 1963, I said to some of my shipmates, “Boys, I am sick and tired of this kind of life. I’m going to find me a good woman and settle down.”

Little did I know that my words would be fulfilled in such a short time. A little over three months later I found myself married to a beautiful Christian girl. And so here we are, this September we celebrate forty-nine years of marriage.

 

God’s Goodness in a Biblical Marriage

Betty and I have often talked about the goodness of the Lord in our marriage.  Even when we had struggles of life, we could always rejoice in God’s goodness to us. But we also knew there was something special that kept our marriage long-standing and strong. It had to do with our consecrations to the Lord.

Betty and I have always tried to live our lives in a way that our heavenly Father would be pleased. This is what Jesus did. This is what all believers should seek to do.

Listen to the prophet Isaiah -

“And He [the Lord God] will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is his treasure.” (Isa 33:6)

So, a question remains, ‘Did the Lord have anything to do with bringing Betty and me together?’

To simply say, yes, I do believe the Lord brought Betty and me together, leaves something out of the picture. That something is important to understand. But, yes, I do believe the Lord brought Betty and I together.

But to say that every marriage has been ordained by the Lord is questionable. There is too much sin and selfishness and destruction at work in the world. There are too many marriages that don’t survive. Yet we still need to see beyond our limited vision when it comes to marriage, and to where the Lord fits in the marriage picture.

What I do believe is that two strongly consecrated people can marry, even though they never met before, and have a wonderfully successful marriage. Their marriage would be built on a rock of their consecration to the Lord.

Betty and I were strangers when we met. In the natural state of things there was little hope that our marriage would work. One person said that our marriage would not last six months. Of course they were looking through the eyes of the natural. God had other plans.

So much for the opinions of others.

It gets better.

 

Building on the Rock

Even when there have been failures in marriage, I yet believe that any marriage can be put on a divine path. The secret will always center on a true consecration to the Lord. Finding holiness in marriage is a God thing. It takes three to make it work. You need a husband, a wife, and the Lord Jesus Christ at the very center of the marriage.

Yes, Betty and I were strangers to one another. She was a minister’s daughter and I had just gotten out of the Navy. My order of life was certainly not Christian in any sense of the word. At the same time the Lord had a plan for Betty and me. It wasn’t long before the Lord called me to Himself. Then afterwards He called me into the gospel ministry. What many do not know is that the Lord used Betty in a special way in calling my attention to Him. (A story in itself.)

So, do I believe that the Lord brought Betty and me together. Yes indeed. I do believe the Lord brought us together.

The Lord knew things that we did not know. He knew who each of us needed for our mate. Yes, I will always believe that the Lord was behind our marriage. And for forty-seven plus years we have served the Lord together in the gospel ministry.

By the way, if you need help for your marriage, going to a marriage counselor isn’t always the answer. Finding a older Christian couple who have been married for many years may work even better. Why not seek out their wisdom. They will have some secrets to share with you.

Back to…

 

Aloneness is Not Good

On a general note this is what I believe about the Biblical marriage in and of itself. When God said that it was not good for man to be alone, I believe this had to do with Adam’s completeness. It seems from the Scriptures that a man cannot realize his full human potential until he is joined with his mate. This joining would need to be a thing from the Lord.

It also works the same for the woman. (This is not to discount the gift of the celibate. Though rare, it is a unique gift of its own.)

The ancient people of God certainly knew this to be true. To the ancient Hebrews, a man was not allowed to speak in the council of elders unless he was married. They felt that an unmarried man diminished the divine image.

To make this interesting the Hebrews actually referred to God as the great Shadchan (marriage maker). While we may think this a bit odd, there are Scriptures that point to God’s involvement with the marriages of His people. Proverbs 19:14, says,

“House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

The Hebrews also held a special belief that the woman was God’s greatest gift to the man. The reason for this was the uniqueness of the woman’s role. And so they taught that God was more than careful in bringing a woman to the man for a marriage.

Thus we have this in Ecclesiastes 9:9 -

“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.”

Perhaps it would be good to look at the uniqueness of this one we call woman.

 

Called Alongside

The great apostle Paul reflected on God’s gracious gift of the woman, when he said,

“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” (1 Co 11:17)

Eve was not merely an after thought of the Lord. Adam and Eve were created as trustees of the earth, working together, with each having their particular nature and gifting. The human family would lead in Adam, and yet even this needs to be understood in its true sense. Both Paul and Peter touch on this in the new covenant.

Paul says that in Christ there is neither male nor female. His point had a view to God’s work of salvation in that no one is greater or lesser when it comes to God’s gift of grace. This doesn’t mean there are no roles of gifting, of responsibility. and of accountability.

Peter brings this out beautifully. Listen carefully;

 

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Pe 3:7)

 

Did you catch it? The wife has equal honor before God and is in no way to be treated inferior by her husband. If a man fails to love and appreciate his wife and her equal standing before God, he may as well not pray. The Lord is not going to answer his selfish prayers.

 

Back to God’s Original Plan

Now back to God’s original plan for the human family. The Bible says both Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. But Adam was created first and as such, had covenant responsibility for the family of man. But in his relationship to Eve, Adam was not to be without Eve, and Eve was not to be without Adam. Each had a role to fulfill. Each had giftings that were theirs in particular.

Each were given special nature traits that were particular to them alone. It would take both Adam and Eve to fully express what the term ‘image of God’ really means.

 

Since we know that Adam was given covenant headship, let’s look at what Eve’s role was in relationship to covenant. Here again we need to see the bigger picture. There are mysteries in the Adam-Eve story that reflect on the total of God’s eternal story. (A teaching in its own.)

Genesis 2:20, says,

“…there was not found a helper suitable for him.”

 

Two words are important, helper and suitable. Helper is the word ‘ezer.’ This word is similar in some respects to the Greek word, parakletos. As you know ‘parakletos’ is applied to the Holy Spirit. It speaks of someone called alongside to help.

Jesus said,

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”

 

Ezer is also a very interesting word in that it also carries an idea of freshness, or someone who succors. To succour means to run under, come to the aid of, to help, support, to relieve in difficulty or distress. It is a very strong word.

The root for this word is found it most Semitic languages. For example in Ugaritic, it means to rescue and save. (It is often used in a military sense.)

When the Lord said there was no one who could serve as a helper to Adam, you have to keep in mind what this role really meant. And if men truly understood the gifting given to the woman (wife), never again would they look on her as being inferior in any sense.

Then we have the word ‘suitable.’ This is another interesting word. Listen carefully men — Neged literally means ‘in front of’, ‘in sight of,’ or, ‘opposite to.’ It means she is to be ‘before’ your face. (Not ‘in’your face.) So Adam needed someone whose gifting were companion giftings, to make up for His own lack in areas. Yes, the Lord also designed Adam where he could not be a lone ranger.

Well, there is so much more to be said about the Godly marriage. Perhaps I’ve share enough to stir your heart.

Just one last word.

Don’t be discouraged over anything in life.  Just don’t try to live in the past. Learn to take up your cross and move on with Jesus. He is the God of today and He will meet you in your tomorrows.

In the meantime listen to this beautiful song by the Hoppers, ‘Milk and Honey.’

 

 

Much love coming your way,

Buddy

When a man loves a woman

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“Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.

“Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. She said to the servant, ‘Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?’ And the servant said, ‘He is my master.’

“Then she took her veil and covered herself. The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.

“Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”  (Gen 24:63-67)

 

 

Journal,

This entry is for you guys and gals who need the romantic stirrings of your heart to be in the right place. Let’s talk about God’s gifts of maleness and femaleness.

The two most beautiful love stories in the Bible are those of Ruth and Boaz, and of Isaac and Rebecca. Each story is a prophetic picture of the love of Jesus for His Church. But they are also stories that apply individually to God’s people through the ages. There is so much more I would like to share but this will give us a start.

Let’s begin with Adam and Eve. Here is what the apostle wrote,

“ … for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. … This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” (Eph 5:29-33)

 

God’s gift of maleness and femaleness

God’s ancient Hebrew people were instructed not to be like the pagan nations around them. The Hebrews were to place the highest value on marriage. Men were to hold their wife in great favor. She was said to be God’s greatest gift to the man.

They taught that God was especially careful when he brought a man and woman together in a marriage.  This is why the Hebrews often spoke of God as the great Shadchan. (‘Marriage maker’.)

Of course sin always mars the picture. As the Church became more institutionalized with this came some strange notions about marriage. Celibacy began to be promoted as the perfect life style. Over time this led to a celibate priesthood for the Roman Catholic system. But this was never God’s purpose for His people, not in the former testament or in the
new covenant.

From the beginning the rule of God was, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

But these strange teaching were in place. For example in some early writings there came this strange notion about the act of love in marriage. One writer went so far as to say that the Holy Spirit would leave the room during this time because the Spirit was embarrassed.

Not so with God’s people. The act of love in marriage was considered to be sacred. The Hebrews even referred to it as ‘the Sabbath delight.’ It was expected that this sanctified time would especially be in place on the Sabbath as well as at other times.

Anyway, back to the issue of…

 

Is God Involved in Marriages

This may seem odd, but there are Scriptures that do point to God’s involvement with the marriages of His people. Proverbs 19:14, says,

“House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Then we have this in Ecclesiastes 9:9;

“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.”

Even the apostle Paul reflects on God’s gracious gift of the woman, when he says,

“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” (1 Co 11:7)

What a strange statement - ‘the woman is the glory of the man.’ 

The Greek term for ‘glory’ speaks of an outshining, that is, the woman will bring goodness into the man’s life.

The apostle is using the language of the Hebrews. For example Proverbs 12:4 says,

“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.”

 

 

Togetherness in the Lord

In my younger years when I worked for the Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana, on my desk I had a plaque which read, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

I began to realize very early in our marriage just how special that Betty was in my life. She has been like a crowning jewel. While we have enjoyed forty-eight years of marriage, we both have wished that the Lord would bring us home together. Neither of us can imagine being without the other. (Of course that is not likely to happen.)

This reflects on God’s original intention. Adam and Eve were created as co-regents, not as servant and master, yet with the human family heading up in Adam. It is important to understand this in its true sense. Paul and Peter touch on this in the new covenant.

Paul says that in Christ there is neither male nor female. His point had to do with God’s work of salvation in that no one is greater or lesser when it comes to God’s gift of grace. This doesn’t mean there are no roles of accountability.

Peter also brings this out. Listen carefully;

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Pe 3:7)

Here is what needs to be noted from Peter:

(1) The woman is a weaker vessel. (Physical strength. God made her that say. )

(2) The woman is to be honored as a fellow heir the grace of life. (Not as an inferior person. She is his equal.)

(3) The man’s prayers will not be answered if he fails to take these instructions to heart.

 

 

The Godly Marriage

None of this takes away from the differing roles of the man and woman. The apostles were careful in this area to let us see how God’s original purpose for the man and the woman has never changed.

The Bible says both Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. But Adam was created first and as such, had covenant responsibility (headship) for the family of man.

However, in his relationship to Eve, Adam was not to be without Eve, and Eve was not to be without Adam. Each had a role to fulfill. Each had certain natural gifts that were theirs in particular. It would take both Adam and Eve to fully express what the term ‘made in the image’ really means.

Since we already know that Adam was given covenant headship, let’s take a closer look at what Eve’s role was in relationship to covenant. Here again we need to see the bigger picture.

 

 

Eve’s Role as Ezer

There are mysteries in the Adam-Eve story that reflect on the total of God’s eternal story. I’ll skim just a bit.

Genesis 2:20, says,

“…there was not found a helper suitable for him.”

Two words are important. First is the Hebrew word for ‘helper. The word ‘ezer‘ is similar in some respects to the Greek word, ‘parakletos‘.

As you know ‘parakletos‘ is applied to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper ['parakletos'], that He may be with you forever.”(John 14:16)

Ezer is an interesting word in that it also carries the idea of freshness, or someone who provides help in difficult situations. To means to run under, come to the aid of, to help, support, to relieve in difficulty or distress. It is a very strong word.

The root for this word is found it most Semitic languages. For example in Ugaritic, it means to rescue and save. (It is often used in a military sense.)

When the Lord said there was no one who could serve as a helper to Adam, you have to keep in mind what this role really meant. And if men truly understood the gifting given to the woman (wife), never again would they look on her as being inferior in any sense.

 

A Woman Suitable

Then we have the word ‘suitable.’ This is also an interesting word. Listen carefully men –The Hebrew word, neged, literally means ‘in sight of,‘ or, ‘opposite to.’ It means she is to be ‘in your sight.’ (Not some other woman.) 

So Adam needed someone whose gifting was a companion gifting to make up for His own lack in areas. The Lord designed Adam where he could not be a lone ranger.

Next we find the Lord putting Adam into a deep sleep. The Hebrew term for ‘deep sleep is not often used. It is close to a death word, in which consciousness of life is not present.

The point is that Adam had to die to his own life as it was, that is, to his aloneness, so that God could give him ‘his other self,’ Eve. This speaks to us in that the husband has to die to his own selfish ways to know the value of someone precious in his life.

 

A Reflection of the Church born out of Death

The church was born out of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was the joy that was set before Christ that caused Him to endure the cross.

Here is where we see not only some of the wonderful mystery of Christ and the church, but also the wonder between a godly man and his wife. (Learn this men, and you will learn how to enjoy life with the woman who you love.)

Let’s follow this triple lesson.

God presents Eve to Adam.

God presents the Church to Christ.

God presents the wife to the man.

All this is contained in the Adam-Eve story.

But keep in mind one thing in particular. God required Adam to die before He would give him Eve.  

So men, is it possible that the Lord wants us to die to our own self-centeredness before we can truly know the wonder and beauty of our wives?

 

Merging not Submerging

It is so important to understand how the gifting of maleness and femaleness work. It is never a matter of submerging one’s life under another. It is a matter of merging of lives, where both lives count. One is not to be without the other.

It is as though when God created Eve, He took half of Adam’s life-gifting and placed them in Eve. Do we men not unconsciously reflect on this when we speak of our wives as our ‘better half’? Of course she isn’t better, just different in a good way.

Now we go a step further — Listen to the passage;

“The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”

Do you see the beauty here?

God fashioned the woman herself. He didn’t fashion her from the earth. He actually took a part of Adam, and fashioned Eve from that part. Not the head or toe, but from the heart area. She was always to be near his heart.

The very first words that Eve hears, are the words of Adam sanctifying her to himself. Here is how Adam sanctified Eve. He looks at her, and says,

“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.”

Apply this to Christ and the church and get excited. We are the body of Christ. We are bone of His bone. Flesh of His flesh. And He doesn’t fill us full of fear. He sanctified us by driving our fears away. Adam had a perfect love for Eve. Jesus has a perfect love for the Church. What does perfect love do? It casts out all fear.

 

Sanctifying Your Wife

There is more to the story of sanctifying Eve. Because the Lord made her to be more fragile than Adam, and yet with powerful gifts that were hers alone, Adam was put in a place where he had to recognize Eve as God’s special gift to him. This meant he had to draw her back to himself, and she needed to hear him do so.

Husbands, it is so important that you learn to affirm your wife to yourself. (Holds with the wife also.)

Even in nature, God designed the male to be the one who courts. To sanctify Eve, Adam had to drive away her fears. Again this is exactly how Christ sanctified the church to himself.

Actually there is a sense in which the woman can perhaps serve as a type of the Holy Spirit. This is especially true when you consider her nature and gifts.

There is also a sense in which the man serves as a type of God’s Word. Both Word and Spirit are needed for life. (The woman provides the womb and egg. The man provides the seed.)

Jesus said,

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63)

 

Covenant Issues

Finally, when it comes to covenant issues, there is no stronger covenant working power on this planet than that of a man and his wife who are in spiritual union together. All the promises that relate to ‘two’ people doing something, find their greatest effect in the godly marriage.

For example, Jesus said,

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.”(Matt 18:19)

Think about it. Who is in a better place to experience the awesomeness of this promise aside from two people in a godly marriage?

So, husbands be sure to keep your Eve in your sight. Learn to hear from her. And wives, remember that you are a special gift from heaven. Learn to work with your gift and always with an attitude of humility and submission.

In the meantime time here is a song by the Christian artist, Michael Bolton. Listen to it and see where it fits in your life.

 

Much love coming your way,

Buddy

 

Miss you Mama…

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Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 22:10 NASB

 

Journal,

This entry is based on a mother’s day post that I made last year. Can’t really make much improvement. A child’s love for mama has no boundaries. Only God’s love can be greater.

It should go without saying that I miss my mother greatly. Mama went to be with the Lord on Easter Sunday morning, 2005. She was eighty-five years young.

Where did the time go? Mama went to be with the Lord, six years ago. Seems like yesterday.

Well, now we four children are left with our memories. But such memories they are. Actually reminiscing can be a lot of fun when you reach the age of grandpa and great-grandpa. Yep, this August I will be 71 years old. In my figuring it won’t be too long before I get to see mama again.

In the meantime let me share a bit of insight on God’s greatest gift to the man, our mothers and our wives.


The woman in your life

The sage said,

Mama in her mother's arms. Cir 1921.

“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.”

Peter also brings this to bear. Listen carefully;

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Pe 3:7)

Mama - Young unmarried. Cir 1934

Here are the lessons:

(1) The woman is a weaker vessel. (Physical strength. God made her that way. )

(2) The woman is to be honored as a fellow heir the grace of life. (Not as an inferior person.)

(3) The man’s prayers will not be answered if he fails to take these instructions to heart.

(4) None of this takes away from the differing roles of the man and woman. The apostles were careful in this area to let us see how God’s original purpose has never changed.

Mama's first born - 1936 (Bertie)

 

Created in the image of God

Adam was created first and had covenant responsibility for the family of humankind. But in his relationship to Eve, Adam was not to be without Eve, and Eve was not to be without Adam. Each had a role to fulfill.

Each had gifting that were theirs in particular. Each was given nature traits that belonged to them alone. It would take both Adam and Eve to fully express what the term ‘image’ really means.

Since we know that Adam was given covenant headship, let’s look at what Eve’s role was in relationship to covenant.

Here again we need to see the bigger picture. There are mysteries in the Adam-Eve story that reflect on the total of God’s eternal story. I’ll skim just a bit.

Genesis 2:20, says,

“…there was not found a helper suitable for him.”

Two words are important. Helper is the word ‘ezer.’ This word is similar in some respects to the Greek word, parakletos. As you know ‘parakletos‘ is applied to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”


Someone who brings freshness

Mama in late 40s

Then we have the word ‘suitable.’ This is also an interesting word. Listen carefully men — Neged literally means ‘in front of’, ‘in sight of,’ or, ‘opposite to.’

It means she is to be before‘ your face. (Not ‘in’ your face.) So Adam needed someone whose giftings were companion giftings, to make up for His own lack in areas. Yes, the Lord also designed Adam where he could not be a lone ranger.

Next we find the Lord putting Adam into a deep sleep.  The Hebrew term for ‘deep sleep’ is not often used. It is close to a death word, in which consciousness of life is not present. This is the word used for Abraham’s sleep where he sees the flaming torch and smoking oven.

1954 - Bonnie in arms and Julia

Here is where we see some of the wonderful mystery of Christ and the church, but also the wonder between a godly man and his wife. (Learn this men, and you will learn how to enjoy life with the woman who you love.)


The Triple lesson

Let’s follow this triple lesson. God presents Eve to Adam. God presents the Church to Christ. God presents the wife to the man.

All this is contained in the Adam-Eve story. But notice one thing in particular. God required Adam to die before He would give him Eve. This is so important to understanding how God’s giftings of maleness and femaleness work. It is never a matter of submerging one’s life under another. It is a matter of merging of lives, where both lives count, but neither is to be without the other.

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Mama in the 60s

“The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”

Do you see the beauty in this. God fashioned the woman himself. He didn’t fashion her from the earth. He actually took a part of Adam, and fashioned Eve from that part. (Not the head or toe, but from the heart area.)

The very first words that Eve hears, are the words of Adam ‘sanctifying her to himself.’ Here is how Adam sanctified Eve. He looks at her, and says,

“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.”

(Apply this to Christ and the church and get excited. We are the body of Christ. We are bone of His bone. Flesh of His flesh. He doesn’t fill us full of fear. He sanctifies us by driving our fears away.)

Sanctified love

But there is more to the story of sanctifying Eve. The Lord made her to be more fragile than Adam, and yet with powerful gifting that were hers alone. Therefore Adam was put in a place where he had to recognize Eve as God’s special gift to him. This meant he had to draw her back to himself, and she needed to hear him do so.

Husbands, it is so important that you learn to affirm your wife to yourself. (Holds true with the wife also.) Even in nature, God designed the male to be the one who courts.

To sanctify Eve, Adam had to drive away her fears. This is exactly how Christ sanctified the church to himself. John said that perfect love casts out fears.

Let me add just two more items. Coming back to the image of God. There is a sense in which the woman can serve as a type of the Holy Spirit. This is especially true when you consider her nature and gifting.

There is also a sense in which the man serves as a type of God’s Word. Both are needed for life. (The woman provides the womb and egg. The man provides the seed. Just something to think about.)

The Word without the Spirit can produce legalism. The Spirit without the Word can produce instability. Perhaps this is why Jesus said,

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63)

Finally, when it comes to covenant issues, there is no stronger spiritual working power on this planet than a man and his wife who are in spiritual union. All the promises that relate to ‘two’ people doing something, find their greatest impact in the godly marriage.

 

And on to the love of a mother

Yes indeed, I loved and still love my mama. She was the one who taught me to pray the little child’s prayer of, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep.’

She was my confidant and the one to whom I could open my heart and she with me.

And so to all my readers I leave this precious Psalm with you:

 

“O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.” (Psa 131:1-3 NASB)

And to all you women in we men’s lives. We love you more than words can say.

Here is your song, ‘This Amazing Love.’ – By a twelve year old girl.


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Always in Christ,

Buddy

Beware of the Godhood Lie

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“Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.” (Eze 22:28)

 

Journal,

It is the immature believers who become potential prey for spiritual mishandling and psychological abuse. This is why it is so important for believers to grow in the Lord. In this growth comes spiritual discernment. Discernment is a thing of the knowing heart.

The mature believer has learned to pay close attention to the ‘cautions‘ of his own spirit. A believer’s intuition alerts him to things that are not right. (Has nothing to do with rational processes.)

But where the immature believer gets in trouble is when he overrides the cautions in his heart. Often this overriding comes from, ‘Something must be wrong with me. Everyone else thinks this is of God.’

 

The longings of the heart

The problem is that we humans long for spiritual realities. But there is a problem. Since the fall of Adam, humanity entered into Adam’s state of spiritual disrepair. Moses speaks of this as a defect.

Listen to Moses:

“They have acted corruptly toward Him, they are not His children, because of their defect; but are a perverse and crooked generation.” (Deu 32:3-5).

When a person turns to the Lord, they enter into a new expression of being as a believer. However, there is still work yet to be done to repair what had been lost in the fall of Adam. The Bible speaks of this work as ‘the renewing of our mind,’ or, ‘the transforming life’. A place to begin is in understanding what the Bible means by ‘the lie.’

We need to go back to…

 

The lie that caused man’s disrepair

The original lie that Satan used on Eve can be considered the mother of all  lies. Understand this and you are on your way to realizing how this same lie is making its rounds in certain movements today. The lie is the ‘godhood’ lie. Let’s see if you can pick up on it.

Concerning the forbidden fruit, Satan said to Eve,

“You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, [you will be a god] knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4,5)

The godhood lie was Adam and Eve could be exactly what God is. They themselves would be gods. They could do all the things that God does.

The godhood lie is found in one form or another through the history of the human race. Roman Emperors were worshipped as gods. The Pharaohs considered themselves to be gods. The emperor of Japan was considered a god. Hinduism is a major player in the godhood lie as well as is Mormonism and new age teachings.

Today this very lie is being ‘subtly’  promoted by well-known charismatic speakers. I use the term ‘subtly’ because the lie is covered in Biblical language. It is insidious to the degree that it literally undermines the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If we can do everything Jesus does, then why do we need Jesus. (Think about it.)

 

A form of mind control

A lie is a deception at work. A deception is a form of mind control. One Hebrew definition for the term deception means, ‘to steal the heart.’

While the Bible says that God cannot lie, Jesus tells us that Satan’s primary calling card is lying. Satan’s main mode of operation is defined, ‘power and signs and false wonders, and all the deception of wickedness.’

Lying wonders do not do away with the true miracles and workings of God. But the miracles of God are always in a form of bringing glory to Jesus Christ, and not to a man.

Coming back to Satan as a liar, Jesus spoke to a certain group who were religiously serving Satan, though they would certainly deny this. They were willing to believe in Jesus, but it had to be on their terms, and not on the terms for who Jesus really was.

Listen:

“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.

“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.(Joh 8:42-44)

Self-deification

The godhood lie today is a form of self-deification where humans are made to be god-men. The godhood lie will culminate with the appearance of antichrist. (2Th2:4)

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2Th 2:3-4)

 

Noted godhood teachers

Here are sampling of noted teachers of  the past and of today who have promoted the godhood lie. To you in the ‘Word of Faith’ camp, I have a special caution for you. Beware! Beware!

- The Original Lie Seen -

“You don’t have a god in you, you are one.” (Kenneth Copeland, “The Force Of Love”, audiotape #02-0028, Kenneth Copeland Ministries.)

“I am a ‘little messiah’ walking on earth.” (Benny Hinn, “Praise-a-thon Program” on TBN, broadcast.)

Joseph Smith – considered a prophet of the Mormon Church, said: “As God is, man shall become.”

Shirley McClain proudly declared: “I am God. I am God. I am God. I am God.”

Jim Jones (the infamous murder of the Jonestown massacre) – “You are what Jesus was. Jesus said that every human being was a god. It is written that you are gods. I’m a god and you are a god.”

Margot Adler – “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”

Benny Hinn – “Don’t say you have Jesus. You are everything he was, is and shall be.”

“When you say, ‘I am a Christian, you are saying I am a little Messiah walking on the earth. May I say it? You are a little god running around.” - Benny Hinn

“You are as much the incarnation of God as Christ was….The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” (Kenneth Hagin, “Word of Faith.”)

“Adam and Eve were placed in the world as the seed and expression of God. Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods; we have trouble comprehending this truth. Until we comprehend that we are little gods, we cannot manifest the kingdom of God.” (Earl Paulk, “Satan Unmasked”)

“I am a little god! … I have His name. I’m one with Him. I’m in covenant relation. I am a little god! Critics, be gone!” (Paul Crouch, TBN).

“God made animals and didn’t have the foggiest idea what they were … He brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them. … Adam was a speaking spirit like God is.” (Duplantis has Adam creating life in the animals and not God.) See YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DDYyym5tD20

 

End time delusions

I want to be kind in saying that there are men and women who get caught up in the convolution of all the Charismatic error because of their own lack of understanding of the Scriptures. This may even be true for some of the noted charismatic teachers.

These people often come to their senses and began to recognize that much of what they are involved in is super charged flesh. The Lord in His goodness can help these misguided souls to find their way out of the quagmire of deception.

For the sake of my readers who are concerned over how to spot someone who may be operating under a spirit that is not of God, there are certain common traits to look for.  (I’ve provided Scripture resources for your study.)

Place your cursor over the Scripture reference and it will appear.

 

Things to beware of:

(1) People with an arrogant boastful spirit. Pride is always a major working factor in a demonic deception. Cf. Dan7:11; James3:15,16.

(2) Counterfeit gifting. Sorcery manifests itself as a form of spiritual mind control, and in a way of fortune-telling. Cf. Acts 8:9-11; Matt7:21-23.

(3) Sensual and fleshly exhibition with no true reverence or respect for holiness. 2Pet2:2,3.

(4) The preaching of a false Jesus that does not Biblically agree with true character of the Son of God. Cf. 2Co11:4,13-15.

(5) The preaching of a gospel that is not in full accord with God’s testimony as given in the New Testament. Cf. Gal1:6-9; 1Tim6:3-6.

(6) Lifting up personalities who claim to be modern-day apostles and prophets, and, who, in turn, claim authority equal to that of the Bible apostles and prophets. Cf. Eph2:19,20; 2Co11:12; 1John2:6.

(7) Where the preacher uses language that equates himself with God; where he boasts of godlike abilities; where he preaches an earthly prosperity message; where he claims powers of creation, and such like. And it is all done in the name of Jesus.


A true walk of faith

The only remedy for our disrepair is to come to God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said,

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”(John 10:10)

And for you are still in fear about your walk with the Lord, keep in mind the great Shepherd promise:

Jesus said:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (Joh 10:27-30 NASB)

Be encouraged. The love of the Lord belongs to you.

As is my custom, I must leave with you an uplifting song. Listen to the Lord. He wants to speak to your heart.

The Hoppers – I’m a Citizen of Two Worlds

 

 

In Christ always,

Buddy

Made in the Divine Image

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“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (Psa 23:1-3 NASB)

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Journal,

Here is the problem. While the angels of God continue with their nature intact, our spiritual nature and personal identity with God was displaced in the fall of Adam. We forfeited our unique relationship with all of creation. We actually lost something of the divine. We lost our glory and our majesty. (More on this later.)

I realize that the idea of humans having something of the divine is difficult to grasp. Yet a restoration of Adam’s lost glory is a very real part of God’s plan of redemption. And this restoration includes something of the divine nature.

Pay attention to these Scriptures (Caps for emphasis only):

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death HE MIGHT RENDER POWERLESS him who had the power of death, that is, THE DEVIL.” (Heb 2:14 NASB)

Again,

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom3:23)
Another,
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, IN BRINGING MANY SONS TO GLORY, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Heb 2:10-11 NASB)

Jesus took the sin of Adam to Himself

Jesus took to Himself the fallen human race. Satan’s authority over all humanity was broken at the cross. From that moment on any person who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Calling on Jesus relates to His becoming Lord and Savior to the one calling on Him.)

But it doesn’t stop there. Peter gives additional insight:

“… seeing that His divine power has GRANTED TO US EVERYTHING PERTAINING TO LIFE AND GODLINESS, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, SO THAT BY THEM YOU MAY BECOME PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, Having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2Pe 1:3-4 NASB)

That which was lost in the fall of Adam, has been restored in Jesus Christ.

Note the two things restored:

  • We once again have a share in the divine nature.
  • Everything that pertains to life and godliness has been granted to all believers.

The point is that Satan was able to take advantage of Adam’s fallen state and build his earthly kingdom around this aspect of disrepair. Satan is called the god of this world, the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air, and the authority of ‘the domain of darkness.’ All that changed with the coming of Jesus Christ.

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The two kinds of humans…

So now there actually are two kinds of humans on this planet. You have the ‘in Adam’ human. And you have the ‘in Christ’ human. Those who are in Christ, have turned to Jesus Christ as their own Lord and Savior. They belong to a new creation. Those who have not turned to Jesus still yet belong to the old creation. They are still under Satan’s jurisdiction.

Listen to these Scriptures that describe the two kinds of humans on planet earth today:

“[We all] formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH, even as the rest.” (Eph2:2,3)

Here is the description of those who have turned to Jesus Christ:

“For we are [God's] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we would walk in them.” (Eph2:10)

And again,

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away, new things have come.” (2Co5:17)

See the distinction of natures?

You have humans in disrepair and you have humans who have been restored to their proper nature and in right relationship with God.

The unregenerate human has in himself the nature of wrath, which, in turn, is aroused by the working of the powers of darkness.

As for the repaired one, again we hear,

“For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”(Gal6:15,16)

Once the human nature has been repaired this brings the principle of godliness back in place, and that which most closely relates to the divine. We now have a heart that is very much like God’s heart.

This does not mean that the repaired Christian cannot sin. No person on this planet has as sensitive a conscience as that of a person who has been born again. It is the nature of a Christian to seek cleansing from sin.

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I’ll be your father…

With that being said let’s take a closer look at the believer’s new status with God. Jesus said,

“The thief [Satan's environs and activities] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jn10:10)

The true believer is born from above. When a person is born from above their human nature has undergone a spiritual repair, and is in the process of being restored to its proper purpose.

The born again person is now a very child of God. The child of God once again has something of the divine within him. He belongs to the family of God.

I have a Christian brother who was raised in a fatherless home. His heart ached for the need of his father. His mother did the best she could with her three children but the void was still there. This brother often shared with me a major healing point in his life. One day while in prayer over his life, the Lord spoke these words into his heart, ‘I’ll be your Father.’

The heavenly Father spoke life to him. This is what Jesus meant when he said,

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the word that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63)

Through our journey in this world, the Lord gives us life words. He speaks to us as our Father. But He also brings healing where healing is needed.


Repairing the broken…

The disrepair of our humanity can only be corrected one way. It is found in the working principle of the cross. Jesus alone is the One who repairs us. It is to Him alone that we bring our broken humanity. It is to Him that we make our appeal to His Lordship and to His saving grace. This is why the true apostolic message never changes, which says,

“And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved [repaired].”

The word salvation [soteria] in Greek speaks of preservation and deliverance. The word ‘save’ [sozo] means, to bring safely, get well, to restore, etc.

Listen to angel’s message to Joseph concerning Mary having a Son:

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mark 1:21)

Being saved from our sins is not a one time event. It is the maxim of the cross. Being saved from our sins is a process of life. The Lord saved us, He is saving us, He will save us. Jesus came to save us from all our sins, past, present and future.

The writer of Hebrews said it this way:

“…but He, have offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.” (Heb10:12)

Let’s carry this further. Even our moments of repentance are workings of the Holy Spirit. The very word repentance in the Greek includes an idea of a moral conquest of the mind. (Result of conviction.) We change our minds about the path we’ve lived, and we turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Every bit of this involves our thinking.

The Greek word for repentance is metanoeo: Meta denotes a change of place or condition, and, noeo, meaning to exercise the mind, to think, to comprehend. Repentance involves regret or sorrow, accompanied by a change of heart toward God. It implies pious sorrow for unbelief and sin and turning from those things, to God and the gospel of Christ. This sorrow is produced in us by the Spirit of the Lord. Thus we have this continual renewing of our spiritual life in place.

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” (Tit 3:5 NASB)

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Made a little lower than God…

Here is the Scripture that troubles some folk:

“What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Psa 8:4-5 NASB)

The glory and majesty that Adam lost had to do with the authority he had over all the works of God’s hand. This authority was vast. It even touched the angels.
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Yes, Adam did share in the divine nature, that is, in those godly traits that are found in God Himself. However, while the nature of Adam was something of the divine, yet he was not created to be a god. There is only one true God.
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Adam was God’s very child and he carried in his person something of the nature of his Father.

I hope you are seeing the picture. In all this always keep in mind that you do have authority over Satan. How to use this authority properly is a manner of learning the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
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Think about these things. In the meantime here is a song what will minister to your heart, The Glorious Impossible,” by the Gaither Band:
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May the Lord ‘s richest blessing overflow your life as you seek His face,
Buddy

The Divine Rights of Access…

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“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16 NASB)

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Readers,

It is quite interesting how the religious man attempts to rebuild what God has torn down. Old Testament Judaism with its temple sacrifices and mediatorial priesthood had served a purpose. That purpose ended with the cross. It was replaced by a much greater covenant, the covenant of Christ.

The covenant of Christ is about personal freedom and direct access to the throne of God. It is about our heavenly life in Christ. It is about the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The covenant of Christ is about a new creation where all the former things pass away.

In the new covenant, everything is new. The covenant of Christ is not the covenant of the Law, renovated, revived, reformed, refurbished, or ‘re’ anything. The covenant of Law was made for an earthy people. The covenant of Christ is for a heavenly people.

Listen to what the writer says in his letter to the Hebrews:

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22

For some background on this we need to reach back to the time of Adam.

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The Undefiled Conscience

When God created Adam, he was created with no sense of guilt, no consciousness of sin, or of worthlessness, or even of inferiority. Adam was adorned with glory. He was made in the very image and likeness of God. It never once entered Adam’s mind to question his right to the awesome presence of God.

Even the angels knew that Adam was different from them. Actually Adam is the only person in the Bible, aside from Jesus Christ, to ever be called ‘the son of God.’

We see this in Luke as he relates the genealogy of Jesus;

“… the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” (Luk 3:38 NASB)

Of course we know the story. Adam rejected God’s Word and God’s will for himself. From that moment Adam became conscious of the nature of sin. And now the Adam race could only approach the Lord in measured ways.

Such a fall — From glory to earthliness. Adam and Eve lost their glory and found themselves in a culture of sin and death.

The apostle said it well enough;

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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Where then is the victory

The judgment of condemnation was removed in Christ. Every person who comes to Jesus, enters the wonderment of a totally new covenant. In this new covenant there is an act of creation. Being born again means to be born from heaven. Believers are now heavenly citizens, actual sons and daughters of God. Yes, we are heavenly citizens in earthly bodies. That will change in due course.

Let’s look more closely at what Hebrews 10:19-22 has to say.

“We have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus.”

The covenant of Law provided limited access to God. Only priests were permitted to enter the holy place, and only the high priest could enter the holiest of holies once a year. Thus the priests became mediators between the people and God. In the new covenant there is only one mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Lose this truth and you place yourself under the bondage of another man made religious system.

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The Veil of Separation

The veil in the tabernacle spoke of man’s separation from God. Yet behind the veil was another picture. The mercy seat had two cherubim gazing intently at the center of the lid of the ark of the covenant. This was a picture of the angels in wonderment over the work of the cross.

What happened when Jesus yielded up His spirit on the cross? It says,

“And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38)

This could only mean one thing. The Adam sin was accounted for. The veil of separation was removed by Jesus Christ.

Listen to Paul:

“So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.” (1Co 15:45-47 NASB)

Did you catch it? The first Adam was made from the earth. The last Adam came from heaven and took to Himself a human body. Jesus Christ took the sin of all humanity upon himself. What is left now is for the world to be reconciled to God.

Condemnation has been removed. Our first estate is returned. We can now walk with God with no sense of guilt, of worthlessness, or of condemnation. We have divine rights to the very presence of our heavenly Father. The apostle said,

“There is therefore now no condemnation (katakrima means a sentence of judgment) for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom8:1,2)

The Romans 8:1 Scripture is emphatic in the Greek. The emphasis is clear; ‘There is not now, nor can there ever be a damnatory sentence against anyone who is in Christ Jesus.’ Why? Because of the law of the cross; ‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

Does this mean we have carte blanche to live sinful lives? Far from it. Sin always carries consequences. What it means is that sin is no longer our master.

In addition to our full and completed salvation in Jesus Christ, we are given spiritual expressions and attributes that help us to deal with issues of sin. (A teaching in itself.)


Full Assurance of Faith

Back to our Hebrew Scriptures. What did the writer say? Follow closely —

“Brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus.”

The word confidence is a strong word. Parresia speaks of unrestrained freedom to speak openly and directly and boldly with our God. Here we have a hint of Adam in the beginning. Adam could speak with confidence. He was not ashamed of who he was. He was God’s son.

How did we gain this direct access to God?

“By the blood of Jesus.”

How are we to approach God?

“In full assurance of faith.”

Under what conditions do we approach God? It says,

“Having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

This point is stressed throughout the letter of Hebrews. In quoting from the prophet Jeremiah, we hear,

“And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all will know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Heb8:11,12)

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How does this relate to our personal walk with the Lord.

God removed the haziness of religion to give man the full Light of His Son. People who keep reaching back into the Law of Moses are disinheriting themselves from the liberty and glory of being a very child of God.

Paul said to the Galatian believers,

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:6,7)

Too many Christians remained stifled in their spiritual life because they know so little about their true life in Christ. Don’t think of other people as special mediators between you and God. This includes both priest, prophet, and pastor. You have one mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, we should love and respect those who teach us properly in the ways of the Lord. But never to the extent that they alone can hear from the Lord. God is your Father. You have a personal invitation to meet Him at the throne of grace any time you wish.

And so we hear this warning early on in the book of Hebrews:

“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” (Heb 2:1 NASB)

Have you ever seriously thought on the following Scripture?
“So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” (1Co 3:21-23 NASB)
How about this one:
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with  Him so that we may also be glorified with  Him.”
Here is your song. ‘In Christ Alone’
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Always your friend in Christ,

Buddy

Faith in God’s Word…

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“…it is impossible for God to lie … This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil…” (Heb 6:18-19 NASB)

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Journal,

One of the greatest changes in my walk with the Lord can be traced to a decision I made in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in 1971. Without going into detail as to why I made this decision, it is enough to say that a decision needed to be made.

I decided that if the Scriptures were absolutely true then no person or institution had the right to make them mean something that they don’t mean. From that moment on I would take God’s Word fully as my guide. I made a covenant with my heart to find out for myself what God’s Word had to say about whatever, and that I would do my best with God’s help to order my life accordingly. It was that decision that put me on the high ground of a faith journey far beyond anything I had ever known. That was almost forty years ago. And yes, I can truly say with David,

“For it is You who blesses the Righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12)

It is amazing how a quality decision concerning God’s Word can absolutely revolutionize a person’s life. From the moment of that decision I found myself entering into a new spiritual domain of adventures and vistas. I also discovered what it meant to have an Abraham-type walk with the Lord. (One-on-one; wholly separated and consecrated to the Lord.)

Yes, I had found the key to life. Jesus said that many will not find it. But it really isn’t that hard to discover. The issue is in application. The key involves the full Lordship of Jesus and in learning to live from the mouth of God.

This was the great lesson behind Israel’s wilderness wanderings. All their trials had a single focus. It is this same focus that God has been trying to teach His people in ages gone by.

Listen carefully and see if you can pick up on the key of life:

“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” (Deu 8:3 NASB)

Are you ready to understand? That is what I want to talk about in this journal entry.

So let’s began with...

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Instructions from God

The one thing Satan must do to disrupt a Christian’s life is to cast doubt on God’s Word. This is ‘bottom-line’ spiritual warfare. You will find it in play in the garden of Eden. Notice the issue that Satan challenged Eve on —

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden”‘?” (Gen 3:1 NASB)

Did you catch it? Has God said?

Satan begins by putting a twist on God’s Word. His goal is to undermine the truth of God. He does this by twisting and turning, by adding to and by taking away, by distorting and by making crooked the straight ways of the Lord.

This is Satan’s primary footing for deception. Satan is called in the Scriptures both a liar and a deceiver. Eve was deceived!

Satan is the source behind sorcery. Sorcery is spiritual rebellion against God by the use of occultic forces. Sorcerers are spiritualists or mediums who work under the false anointing of demons. This very much includes the false prophet. Little do some realize that sorcery includes astrology and other forms of fortune telling, or anything else that seeks to govern our lives aside from faithfully trusting in Jesus Christ.

Sorcery is about control. It is strongly linked to prideful flesh. Paul brings this out when Elymas the magician tries to turn a governing official away from the message of the gospel.

Notice:

“But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, ‘You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?’” (Act 13:9-10 NASB)

When Jesus was confronted by Satan in the wilderness what was the battle about?

“Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down…

“…for it is written, “He will command His angels concerning You; and “on their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.”‘” (Mat 4:5-6 NASB)

Satan sets about with manipulation of God’s Word. He is doing much the same as he did with Eve; take things into your own hands rather than listen to the heavenly Father. How often have we fallen for this trick.

However, there is a distinct difference. With Eve there was no written Words. Just the direct instructions from the Lord. Over time the Lord gave us His written Word as an added protection in our walk of faith. It is also in the written Word that we become better acquainted with the Shepherd’s voice. Christian maturity has much to do with learning to hear from God for yourself.

The point is that God has given us words to live by. Join the book to Jesus and you have the keys to living a victorious Christian life. We find this in Paul’s instructions to Timothy:

“…and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2Ti 3:15-17 NASB)

And this brings us to a closer look at…

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Distinctions on the Bible

The Bible is a book of redemption but it is also a living book. Genesis actually answers all the fundamental questions concerning God and man. It opens with, “In the beginning [absolute beginning of created things] God created the heavens and the earth.”

The Hebrew word for create is bara. It is never used in any way other than with divine activity. Genesis tells us about God, about the origin of universe, about the creation of man, and the origin of soul. It introduces the issue of sin, and gives us the promise of salvation.

It sets forth the out-calling of Israel and tells of the Messiah who will be the Savior of all mankind. Genesis is the source book from which all the Scriptures flow.

What about Revelations? This book completes God’s holy writ. If you take away Genesis you lose all explanation of heaven, the first earth, the first Adam and the fall. Take away Revelations you lose the completed truth, which is the new heaven, the new earth, man redeemed, and the last Adam.

This is why the book of Revelations concludes with,

“And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”

The Bible is a living book. It is the only book on this planet that can prove it is from God. It is the only book that records history before it happens. It is the only book that sets forth thousands of prophecies and allows man to see those prophecies fulfilled. It names nations that will rise and fall. It proves its origin in the millions of lives that are radically changed.

Note the following:

“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Isa 46:9-10 NASB)

Also,
“He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” (Eph 1:9-11 NASB)
The most wonderful thing about the Bible is that it tells it just like it is. It doesn’t brag on human flesh. It tells of a great fall. It tells of a great love. It tells of a great Savior.
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But the Bible is especially a living book. You will literally find God speaking to you from the pages of the Bible.
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Consider this prophecy that concerns Jesus and those being called out of darkness:

“On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the LORD, and the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isa 29:18-19 NASB)

So, what do we have left? It all has to do with…

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The Believing

The most important thing a person can do in life is to take the message of the Bible to heart. There are many voices clamoring for our faith. The voice we must listen to is the same voice that dictated what was to be placed in the written Word.  Paul tells us to learn to never exceed what is written.

If we believe wrong, we will receive for the wrong of our beliefs. Destruction always begins where the Word of God is rejected. The prophet said,

“For when the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” [Isa26:9]

What we are to believe has been clearly defined in God’s written Word. Interestingly enough, the written Word can be likened to a path that leads to God’s living Word, which is Jesus Christ Himself.

Just some things to think about. Here is a song that will speak to the deep of your heart. Take time to listen to ‘Glorious Impossible.’

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In love with Jesus,

Buddy


Happy Mother’s Day mom – I miss you heaps…

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Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 22:10 NASB
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Journal,

It should go without saying that I miss my mother greatly. Mama went to be with the Lord on Easter Sunday morning, 2005. She was eighty-five years young.

Now we four children are left with our memories. But such memories they are. Actually reminiscing can be a lot of fun when you reach the age of grandpa and great-grandpa. Yep, this August I will be 72 years old. In my figuring it won’t be too long before I get to see mama again.

In the meantime let me share a bit of insight on God’s greatest gift to the man side of the human family.

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The woman in your life.

The sage said,

Mama in her mother's arms. Cir 1921.

“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.”

Peter also brings this to bear. Listen carefully;

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Pe 3:7)

Mama - Young unmarried. Cir 1934

Here are the lessons:

(1) The woman is a weaker vessel. (Physical strength. God made her that way. )

(2) The woman is to be honored as a fellow heir the grace of life. (Not as an inferior person.)

(3) The man’s prayers will not be answered if he fails to take these instructions to heart.

(4) None of this takes away from the differing roles of the man and woman. The apostles were careful in this area to let us see how God’s original purpose has never changed.

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Mom and Dad and their first born - 1936 (Bertie)

Created in the image of God.

Adam was created first and had covenant responsibility for the family of humankind. But in his relationship to Eve, Adam was not to be without Eve, and Eve was not to be without Adam. Each had a role to fulfill.

Each had gifting that were theirs in particular. Each had nature traits that belonged to them alone. It would take both Adam and Eve to fully express what the term ‘image’ really means.

Since we know that Adam was given covenant headship, let’s look at what Eve’s role was in relationship to covenant.

Mama's second born - 1940 (Me)

Genesis 2:20, says,

“…there was not found a helper suitable for him.”

Two words are important. Helper is the word ‘ezer.’ This word is similar in some respects to the Greek word, parakletos. As you know ‘parakletos‘ is applied to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”

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Someone who brings freshness.

Mama in late 40s

Then we have the word ‘suitable.’ This is also an interesting word. Listen carefully men — Neged literally means ‘in front of’, ‘in sight of,’ or, ‘opposite to.’

It means she is to be ‘before‘ your face. (Not ‘in‘ your face.) So Adam needed someone whose gifting were companion gifting, to make up for His own lack in areas. Yes, the Lord also designed Adam where he could not be a lone ranger.

Next we find the Lord putting Adam into a deep sleep.  The Hebrew term for ‘deep sleep’ is not often used. It is close to a death word, in which consciousness of life is not present. This is the word used for Abraham’s sleep where he sees the flaming torch and smoking oven.

1954 - Bonnie in arms and Julia. (Julia born 1947

Here is where we see some of the wonderful mystery of Christ and the church, but also the wonder between a godly man and his wife. (Learn this men, and you will learn how to enjoy life with the woman who you love.)

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The Triple lesson.

Let’s follow this triple lesson. God presents Eve to Adam. God presents the Church to Christ. God presents the wife to the man. All this is contained in the Adam-Eve story.

But notice one thing in particular. God required Adam to die before He would give him Eve. This is so important to understanding how God’s gifting of maleness and femaleness work. It is never a matter of submerging one’s life under another. It is a matter of merging of lives, where both lives count, but neither is to be without the other.

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Mama in the 60s

“The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”

Do you see the beauty in this. God fashioned the woman himself. He didn’t fashion her from the earth. He actually took a part of Adam, and fashioned Eve from that part. (Not the head or toe, but from the heart area.)

The very first words that Eve hears, are the words of Adam ‘sanctifying her to himself.’ Here is how Adam sanctified Eve. He looks at her, and says,

“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.”

(Apply this to Christ and the church and get excited. We are the body of Christ. We are bone of His bone. Flesh of His flesh. He doesn’t fill us full of fear. He sanctifies us by driving our fears away.)

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Adam sanctified Eve to himself.

Mom in the 1980s

Husbands, it is so important that you learn to affirm your wife to yourself. (Holds true with the wife also.) Even in nature, God designed the male to be the one who courts. To sanctify Eve, Adam had to drive away her fears. This is exactly how Christ sanctifies the church to himself. John said that perfect love casts out fears.

Mom in 2000s

The Word without the Spirit can produce legalism. The Spirit without the Word can produce instability. Perhaps this is why Jesus said,

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63)

Finally, when it comes to covenant issues, there is no stronger spiritual working power on this planet than a man and his wife who are in spiritual union. All the promises that relate to ‘two’ people doing something, find their greatest impact in the godly marriage.

Yes indeed, I loved and still love my mama. She was the one who taught me to pray the little child’s prayer of, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep.’

She was my confidant and the one to whom I could open my heart and she with me.

And so to all my readers I leave this precious Psalm with you:

 

“O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.” (Psa 131:1-3 NASB)

And to all your women in we men’s lives.

Happy Mother’s Day – We love you.

Always in Christ,

Buddy


Heaven calling earth…

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“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1Pe 2:9 NASB)

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Journal,

One word remains a constant in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, it is the word ‘call,’ or ‘the called.’ The Greek word is kaleo [kal-eh’-o] which means to call someone in order that they may come or to go somewhere or to follow someone.

In 1Thess2:12, Paul says we should, “…walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Actually our English word ‘church’ comes from this same root word ‘kaleo ‘. The Greek for church, that is ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah] originally spoke of a herald calling free citizens to a gathering. With regard to the church, it addresses that same idea. The church addresses, ‘the called out ones, called to publicly assemble themselves to Christ.’

Where does the call come from? It comes from Christ Himself. When Jesus asked the apostles who they thought He was, Peter responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then said,

“Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock [the heavenly revelation] I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Mat 16:17-18 NASB)

This statement is so often misunderstood. Jesus was not saying that the church would be built upon Peter. He was saying that the church would be built upon the revelation that Peter received from the heavenly Father, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is upon this heavenly revelation that Christ Jesus would build His church.

Actually there is much more to the picture of being ‘the called’ than meets the eye. It reaches all the way back to ‘paradise lost.’ The place to begin is to take another look at…

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The lost paradise

What was the most precious thing that Adam lost when he rejected God’s word? Notice Genesis 3:8:

“They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

There are  three terms in this Scripture that are very significant. Each term describes what Adam lost. For instance the Hebrew word for ‘sound‘ is ‘kole’, which can literally be translated as ‘voice.’ Where the voice of the Lord had been a comfort to them, now the voice of God frightened Adam and Eve.

They were finding out that sin is not merely something people do. Sin is an influence that seeks to govern our lives. Thus Adam and Eve had come under the very influence and power of sin.

Then you have the word ‘cool.’ The Hebrew ‘ruach,’ means, breeze, spirit, or breath. Adam and Eve had also lost the spiritual refreshing that had been a great part of their walk with the Lord. The bottom line was simple – No more hearing the voice of the Lord on a true spiritual level. No more refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Their lives had forever changed.

Finally the word presence.’ The Hebrew word ‘paneh’ literally means ‘face.’ This Hebrew word is often used metaphorically for the entire person. Adam was now cut off from the ‘person’ or ‘face’ of the Lord.

So, in accepting Satan’s lie, Adam’s life became contaminated by sin. His very nature changed. Adam’s former spiritual walk with the Lord was now replaced by sacrifices. Each sacrifice would speak of Adam’s lost estate, that he had been cut off from the direct presence of the Lord. From that moment on there would be a vacancy in the heart of the human race. We can describe this vacancy as a homesickness. There is a cry in the human heart for a return to paradise.

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The call of eternity.

But God left something in place. He left in Adam and Eve a sense of eternity. Solomon draws attention to this in Ecclesiastes 3:11 -

“[God] has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. ”

The sage is pointing out that man cannot find out the redemption work of God, without the aid of God Himself. This redemption work of God would come into place through God’s very own Son.
However, this ache of the human heart tells us where religion comes from. All religions are based on man’s attempt to get back to paradise.

Oh yes, the natural man is very apt at inventing religions. But in the midst of all this God did something special. He set forth through Moses a religion that would occupy a space in time until the clock of redemption would reach its determined place. This religion would involve temple sacrifices and a priesthood. From this religion God would send forth prophets to the nations who would speak in His name.

What was God’s time clock of redemption Listen:

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Gal 4:4-7 NASB)

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God dismantled religion.

The dismantling of religion began with a prophet’s call. A voice is heard in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”
John the Baptist would finish up the work of the Old Testament prophet. His job was to introduce the Redeemer. And so we hear John make a startling statement, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

For the next three years the Lamb of God would walk the earth. Then we hear some of the last words that Jesus spoke, and that to a thief hanging next to Him on a cross.

“And he [the thief] was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom.’ And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.’” (Luk 23:43 NASB)

Paradise lost was now restored. The cross would for all time become the door to heaven. No religion would ever again take the place of a personal walk with God’s Son. The call from heaven would never change.


What is the essence of the call of heaven?

Listen to these Scriptures. Think about the message that they give -

“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’” (Mat 3:16-17 NASB)


“And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’” (Mat 17:2-5 NASB)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Joh 3:16-18 NASB)

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (Joh 6:40 NASB)


The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” (1Jn 5:10-12 NASB)

The call from heaven declares that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died, was buried, resurrected, and ascended into heaven, that He is now Lord, and that by calling upon Him as Lord becomes our introduction into the realm of salvation.

The apostles preached this clarion call from heaven, which simply states, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts2:21; 16:31; Rom10:9,13;

This is why the word church [ekklesia] means ‘the called out ones’. We have been called back into fellowship with the Father through His Son Jesus. We can walk in His presence and enjoy His voice. We are called to live in His grace and in His love. Everything that Adam lost has been restored and much more. The apostle said it has not even entered into our hearts all that God has prepared for us.

So, the questions remain: ‘Have you responded to the call from heaven?’ ‘Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God?’ ‘Have you called upon Him as Lord and Savior?’

While you are thinking on these things listen to this song. The time is short and the hour is late. The Lord is coming soon. Will you be ready?

I have  no other message to leave with you. I cannot help but preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

In Christ Always,

Buddy