Archive

Archive for the ‘The Word’ Category

Celebrating Jesus as Judge

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

When someone says to you, “Jesus will be your Judge.” what kind of image does it bring to mind?

I think the answer can depend on your religious background. If you grew up in a more legalistic environment, you probably see God pointing his finger down at you and pronouncing condemnation in one way or another. On the other hand, if you had a grace-filled home, you may see Him pardoning you. I think that if all you see is one of these two options then you are missing something deeper.

Before I get to the more profound meaning in Jesus being our Judge I first want to point out that while everyone knows and can quote John 3:16 rarely do they continue on to verse 17 which says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
This truth that God does not want to condemn anyone is reiterated again in John 5:24 when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
If you are part of the group that sees Jesus as a finger-pointing, vindictive judge then I pray that you will read the rest of this post with an open mind and heart because what He has to offer us is so much better.

I think I have said this before but I want to say it again. “I love the Old Testament!”

I do. I love finding Old Testament principles and patterns that point to and are fulfilled by Jesus. It makes the Word come alive and gives me a hunger for more. A few weeks ago I found a pattern that I have been thinking about ever since, not sure how to convey it to people. I feel this attempt to do so will be wholly inadequate but I pray that God uses my weakness to speak life into your heart.

In the Old Testament, there is what I call the pattern or principle of the Judges. Here is how it works:

Judges 2:10-19
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD’s commands. Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.”

This passage perfectly explains the idea but you can find this pattern related in the narrative time and time again.
Here is what God said to me as I read this:

“Doug, I have what I call the pattern of the Judges. Whenever my people distance themselves from me I do what is necessary to get them back. Sometimes that means letting them become captive and oppressed by their enemies and mine. But I wait and watch for the moment when they turn to me and cry out for help. When they do, I rescue them. I raise up a judge and I work through that person to bring them back to safety and prosperity. I had to do this time and time again because as soon as my judge died, my people would forget me again and worship other gods. I am faithful even whey they are not so again I wait and rescue them when they cry out to me.

Doug, understand this. I don’t have to raise up another to rescue my people because the pattern of the Judges has been fulfilled. Two Thousand years ago I raised up the last and perfect Judge. A Judge that will free my people from every type of bondage imaginable. This Judge will live for eternity so my people never have to fall back into wickedness and rebellion. He will forever stand as a sign of the patience, mercy, grace and love I have for my sons and daughters. He is the answer to all the cries for help and freedom.
Jesus is your Judge.”

All of this was spoken to my heart in a fraction of a second like only God can do and it only becomes more amazing as I write it down.

Today is December 24th or Christmas Eve. That means that tomorrow we celebrate the Birth of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. It is my hope and prayer that as we do so, this truth becomes part of the conversation. That Joy fills out hearts as it sinks in and God begins to expand our understanding of the significance of having Jesus be our Judge.

“Be it unto me according to thy word”

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I was on a bike ride today with my daughter when out of nowhere the phrase “be it unto me according to thy word” came into my mind.  I repeated it to myself a few times…then God spoke.  “Imagine how powerful my Word would be if you actually believed it.”  As soon as those words registered, thoughts began to run through my mind faster than I could snap mental photos of them all.  Some were promises from God still unfulfilled…plus some that have been.  Others were thoughts of doubt that often hinder my ability to believe.  The good and the bad were present at the same time and I loved it.  One exposed the other and made it look almost silly.  Every doubt or interference was immediately refuted and made subject to the mind of Christ.

When Mary made this statement in Luke, it was the start of an amazing story that blessed every generation that came before her and after.  She had no way of knowing what lie ahead but her faith and trust in God made it to where it really did not matter.  She knew God had spoken and that was all that mattered to her.

What has God said to you lately?

Do you really believe it? (If not, why?)

Are you willing to echo Mary’s heartfelt words?

I personally have a number of things spoken to me by God that I have put self-imposed limits on.  God, in His infinite kindness and love for us, puts no such limitations on the blessings He has in store for us.

So tonight, I took those words to heart and declared to God…”Father, I know that what you have for me is more than I can possibly imagine.  I trust you and know that you want what is best for me.  So, be it unto me according to thy word.”

2 Sam 7:28 – O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.

2 Sam 22:31 – As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.

Jeremiah 15:16 – When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.



Categories: Spiritual Growth, The Word

Water and Blood + Water and Spirit

August 8, 2010 1 comment

I’m not sure I have much of a point to this blog today which is a strange thing for me.  Usually I write with a specific purpose in mind but I find myself wanting to just point out something interesting (to me at least) that I found a while ago but have not done anything with.

There is the famous story in John 3 about a conversation Jesus has with Nicodemus in the middle of the night in which He tells Nicodemus that he must be “born again”.  Confused by this idea, Nicodemus asked for some clarification.  In response, Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

What does that mean?  It means that we must be born of flesh or natural birth (There are plenty who look at this as baptism but that is not consistent with verse 6).  This is something that everyone who can read this page has been through so you have at least half of the equation down.  However he does not stop there…he says we must also be born of the Spirit.  There are numerous passages that speak of this idea and the principle of becoming a “new creation in Christ”.  Spiritual birth comes when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and we give our life over to Him.  That is why Christians refer to themselves as “Born Again”.

What I think is interesting, and my purpose of writing, is something I came across in 1 John 5:6 – “This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.”

I’m not sure how to articulate what I have in my head but this passage seems so cool to me.  Here we have Jesus, who told us that we must be born of water and of the Spirit, and John tells us that Christ himself was also born again but by blood.  This passage is so very important.  Had Jesus not come by water AND blood then we would not have been able to be born of the Spirit.  One is so deeply dependent on the other.  There would be no Pentecost without their first being a Passover.

I love how the Bible takes what seem to be distant passages and weaves them together.  Old Testament confirms New Testament and New Testament confirms Old Testament.  I guess that is the point here.  There are a lot of “hidden” gems planted in the Word of God for us to find and it has become one of my favorite things to do.  I love coming across something new and then sharing it with anyone who will listen.

Do you have anything you have been shown that you want to share with me?

Categories: Jesus, Salvation, The Word