Reflection on Ephesians 5:8-14

light

Scripture

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

Observation

We once darkness, but now we are light. Therefore we must live as children of the light and live to please the Lord.

We must have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness, except to expose them. What is exposed to the light becomes visible.

Therefore we must arise and let the light of Christ shine on us.

Application

Christians must live lives that are very different from those of unbelievers. The fruit of the Christ-filled life is righteousness, and that righteousness must shine out of us like light in the darkness.

The ways of the world are darkness. Even respectable people, people of good repute in the world, live by sin. They have no reason not to lie or deceive in business, no reason not to take up sexual relationships, and so on,

Christians must live holy lives- lives marked by the standards and character of Christ Himself.

The world pressures us to compromise, to conform to its standards. But Christ demands “No compromise!”

Prayer

Lord Jesus let your light shine through me today. May every word and deed show your righteousness. Amen.

Reflection on John 9:1-41

Duccio_di_Buoninsegna_-_Healing_of_the_Blind_Man_-_WGA06779

Scripture
“If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

Observation
Jesus and his disciples come across a man born blind. The disciples ask who sinned for this man to be blind. Jesus replies that it is not about sin but for the purpose of glorifying God.

Jesus spits, makes some mud with the saliva and rubs it on the man’s eyes. Jesus tells the man to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam, which he does and he is then healed.

The Pharisees investigate the healing, questioning the man and his parents. The man testifies that he doesn’t know much about Jesus but he does know that he was once blind but now he can see.

Application
Religion makes us blind to the activity of God. Like the Pharisees, we can be so intent on protecting God’s reputation that we miss what He is actually doing.

Healing a man born blind was one of three miracles that only the Messiah could perform. The Pharisees needed to make sure that this healing was authentic. But their fear of promoting a false Messiah prevented them from seeing what the true Messiah had actually done. They rejected the man’s testimony and they rejected Jesus.

Some Christians are so afraid of being misled by counterfeits that they discount all miracles, healing and spiritual gifts. They then miss out on what God is doing all around them and run the risk of attributing God’s works to satan.

Jesus is still healing people and He is still performing all kinds of signs for those who will see them. We need to open our eyes, using spiritual discernment to separate God’s works from the devil’s.

Prayer
Show me Jesus what you are doing in the world now. Let me be open to the works of your Spirit. Amen.

Ray Ortlund- What is Marriage, According to the Bible?

What is marriage, according to the Bible?

paradise_lost_21

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  Genesis 2:24

It is not true that the Bible teaches multiple views of marriage, and therefore the Bible’s clarity is diminished on this question.  The Bible does record, for example, that “Lamech took two wives” (Genesis 4:19).  But the Bible is not thereby endorsing polygamy, but indeed is casting doubt on polygamy.  The role of Lamech in the text is to show “a progressive hardening in sin” (Waltke, Genesis, page 100).  We invented polygamy, along with other social evils.  But God gave us marriage.

The Bible defines marriage in Genesis 2:24, quoted above.  Here is what this very significant verse is saying:

Therefore.  This word signals that Moses is adding an aside to his narrative.  It’s as if we are sitting in Moses’ living room, watching his DVD of the creation of the universe (Genesis 1) and of man and woman (Genesis 2).  At this point he hits the pause button on the remote, the screen freezes, he turns to us post-fall people watching these amazing events and he says, “Now let me explain how what God did so long ago is normative for us today.  Amazingly, we still retain something beautiful from the Garden of Eden.”

A man shall leave his father and his mother.  In a culture of strong bonds between the generations, this is striking.  A man’s primary human relationship is no longer with his parents or ancestors.  He breaks away from them for the sake of a more profound loyalty.

And hold fast to his wife.  A man, in marrying, enfolds his wife into his heart.  He rejoices to identify with her: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (verse 23).  At every level of his being, he becomes wholeheartedly devoted to her, as to no other.

And they shall become one flesh.  “One flesh” is essential to the biblical view of marriage.  It means, one mortal life fully shared.  Two selfish me’s start learning to think like one unified us, sharing one everything: one life, one reputation, one bed, one suffering, one budget, one family, one mission, and so forth.  No barriers.  No hiding.  No aloofness.  Now total openness with total sharing and total solidarity, until death parts them.  Moreover, Jesus explained that, behind the word “become,” God is there: “What therefore God has joined together . . .” (Matthew 19:6).  Marriage is not a product of human social evolution.  Marriage came down from God.  And he defined it for us.  He has the right to.  It belongs to him.

One mortal life fully shared between a man and a woman — this is marriage, according to the Bible, because Genesis 2:24 is not a throw-away line.  Its very purpose is to define.

What’s more, the apostle Paul quoted Genesis 2:24 to take our understanding a step further — an amazing step: “We are members of [Christ’s] body.  ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” (Ephesians 5:30-31).  Did you notice his logic?  “We are members of Christ’s body.  He loved us.  He chose us.  He gave himself up for us.  He embraced us.  He is with us.  He will present us someday in splendor.  All of this glory is ours, because we are united with him now and forever.  Therefore, this is why, our union with Christ is the reason why, a man and women get married and live united as ‘one flesh.’  Human marriages are miniature social platforms on which the gospel is to be displayed.”

Marriage is a gospel issue.  That is the ultimate reason why clarity about its definition matters.  People who depart from, or fail to stand up for, the biblical view of marriage are taking a step away from the gospel itself.  The whole Bible is the story of the marital love of God, as I demonstrate in this book.  Our whole lives are that story, if we have eyes to see.

Marriage is more than human romance, wonderful as that is.  Marriage is the display of Christ and his Bride in love together.  A beautiful, tender, thriving, Ephesians 5-kind of marriage makes the gospel visible on earth, bringing hope to people who have given up believing there could be any love anywhere for them.  That is why biblical marriage deserves our courageous loyalty today.  And that is why, in our increasingly secular times, biblical marriage is under pressure.  Its true meaning is understood and embodied and sustained only by the power of the gospel.

We can’t turn the clock back to the days of the Christian social consensus the West has foolishly thrown away.  But we who say we believe the gospel can and must stand up for the biblical definition of marriage.  We must cultivate beautiful marriages ourselves.  We must suffer social rejection bravely.  We must pray for revival.  We must wait for the inevitable collapse of every false view of marriage.  We must lovingly serve all who suffer for their foolish attempts at false “marriages.”  And we must go to church this Sunday and worship the living God with all our hearts, so that we ourselves are sustained for faithfulness over the long haul, because this isn’t going to be easy.

WordPress Ate My Blog

OK so I exaggerate a little.

 

It appears there is some change so that when I copy text from my word processor into the blog, all the end of line, line feeds, whatever they are called these days, disappear.

 

From having too much white space, I now have too little as blank lines disappear.

5 Ways That Praying in Tongues Will Change Your Life Forever by LARRY SPARKS

 

 

praying in tongues

5 Ways That Praying in Tongues Will Change Your Life Forever

One of the most controversial and, sadly, most misunderstood gifts of the Holy Spirit is praying in tongues. I am convinced that there is so much antagonism aimed at this gift because of the incredible power it releases into our lives. In the same way that many reject the prophetic ministry because of abuses, misuses and bad experiences, the same approach has been taken—perhaps in greater extremes—toward praying in tongues.
Tongues Is a Controversial Subject That Requires Our Attention
At the end of the day, we need to be honest with ourselves and honest with the biblical text. This unique gift of the Holy Spirit actually announced the birth of Christianity on the Day of Pentecost. It was highly prized by the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament (Paul). It equips believers to communicate with God on a unique level and empowers us to effectively live the supernatural life. In short, it would make a lot of sense that the enemy would tirelessly fight against something that has such strong potential to pillage his expansion of darkness in our lives and on the earth.
Corey Russell, a senior leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, wrote the book and curriculum The Glory Within not simply as a teaching on the subject of tongues, but as a summons to experience the power of a Person—the Holy Spirit. In the past, many books and teachings have emphasized tongues in almost a robotic way. What was intended to be a source of supernatural power and a catalyst for deep intimacy with God has been reduced to a mere theological position in many charismatic churches.
Read the rest of this article here

Reflection on Psalm23

Van_Gogh_-_Shepherd_with_a_Flock_of_Sheep

You Lord are my shepherd

Like a sheep, I follow

Listening to your voice

Attending to your call

Trusting your direction

For you are good

Providing all I need

Like green pastures

You take me through life

I lack no good thing.

Lord you will protect me

When death stares me down

And enemies surround.

You will lead me to heaven

To the feast prepared for your people.