Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

This is the closing post on the subject of “Life Is.” It’s a great summary and i wish i had written it. But, i didn’t. It was written by someone i hardly know and yet after reading this i felt like i had known him for years. Kindred spirits is all i can say. my hope is that you enjoy it as much as i have.

Life is a first date and a couple in the arms of new love where their hands gently, and accidentally, brush together. Life is holding the hand of the one you love as pledge yourself to a lifelong struggle of passionate love and commitment before

God, family, and friends. Life is holding that same haimagesnd and praying for God to take away the cancer that is slowly turning the one you love into a shell of who they used to be. Life is longing for the hand that has held yours and wondering if God could ever heal a hole that seems so vast and so real.

Many equate life with this finite span of physical existence, loving relationships, and emotional experiences that begin joyously at birth and end abruptly in death.  Life is a flower in the field, growing and beautiful, but gone in the morning. Those we know are here today and gone tomorrow. We wake up remembering what it felt like when we were young, but as we roll out of bed we feel the weight of all the years that were gone too fast. When we look at it this way life is wonderful and beautiful but ultimately it is a defeat and no victory can be found in it. Because, life explained only in terms of this world will always leave us wanting.

Is this what Christ meant when he said he wants to give us “abundant life”. Did he give us the beauty of a sunset or the joy of love as the height of life? Or is there something more?

I would like to suggest that we have begun to translate what is offered in this world as a definition of life. All its joys and sorrows, comforts and worries, all we can feel and see have consumed us. We no longer know of the Kingdom of God here and now. Life can be found in this world yet it is much more. Christ came and has shown us what true life is. We miss the awesome power of these words, “I AM the way and the truth and the life”.   What Paul said is right “For to me, to live is CHRIST and to die is gain.” To live in this world is to live in humble obedience to Christ and to sow the rewards of eternity. A life lived as a beacon for Christ will be rewarded in eternal life, where death is a beginning.

Life is Christ. Life is abundant and eternal love. Life is trouble in this world and tremendous wonderful joy in the next. We live here and now, but we fix our gaze on eternity and true life. This truth will give us eyes to enjoy the meaning and purpose of today as well as experience, in part, the joy and reward of Christ.  Life is the joyous communion we have, through Christ and in the Spirit, with the God of Abraham.

The first century church with all the persecution and turmoil knew of a life that few in this generation have ever tasted.  We have entertainment, comfort, technology, education, and everything we could ever need.  We have interpreted life and it’s meaning from these things. But life is found in the pierced hands of our Savior. The knowledge and love of Christ will illuminate the love we have in this life and it will bring forth joy from sorrow. The way to the find the true interpretation of life is up Calvary’s hill, passed the entrance of an empty tomb, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  In Christ true life is made clear.

wonderOkay so i have received several comments that i need to add graphics to make this what they say is an already awesome site even better. There is no commitment from me to do this regularly but as for once and a while we’ll see.

i am working on several thoughts but i am not quite ready to share these thoughts. Mean while i came across some thoughts that are just information thus the title “Not Sure i Knew That.” If your old enough to remember Arsenio Hall he would have said these are things that make you go huuuuummmmm. Oh let me say that i am not endorsing, accepting or rejecting these, they are just…. huuuuummmmmmmms.

 During the persecution of the early Christians, they communicated with each other by drawing a symbol of a fish consisting of two intersecting curved lines. When two would meet, one would draw half the symbol upon the ground with the foot. The other, to show like belief, would complete the drawing. The Greek acronym “IXThUS” (meaning ‘fish’) derives from the first letters of this early statement of belief: “Iesous Xristos Theos Uios Soter.” Meaning, “Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour.”

Adam and Eve didn’t have just two children, as is usually believed. There were three named sons; Cain, Abel and Seth, but had an additional unspecified number of sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4). Not surprising considering Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5).

There is a great deal revealed in the scripture about angels. Angels can speak as man does, and can eat food (Genesis 18:8; 19:3,16); they are capable of direct physical combat (Genesis 19; 32:24-30, Exodus 12, 2 Kings 19:35); they are principle forces behind government powers (Daniel 10); They don’t marry in heaven (Matthew 22:30); they are capable of much mischief (Genesis 6:1-2, 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 1:6); they are limited, like men, in respect to certain things (Revelation 5:2-4); they can appear in human form (Acts 11:13, Hebrews 13:2); an angel took Lot and his family by the hand and placed them outside the city because Lot was hesitant to leave Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:5,10,16); an angel freed Peter from Prison (Acts 12:6-11). Nowhere in scripture does it mention that people turn into angels after they die. Nowhere in scripture does it mention that angels have wings. Even though angels are usually presented as feminine figures, scriptural angels are always referred to in the masculine gender.

It is usually assumed by most people that Christ is the last name (surname) of Jesus. This is not true. Christ is not a name, but a title. Last names were virtually unknown during the time that Jesus lived. In fact, last names did not appear as a regular custom until the tenth century after the Normans conquered England. Prior to that, second names were not really names at all. If anything followed someone’s name, it was usually an indication of the geographic origin or description of the man. Thus, Jesus was frequently referred to as Jesus of Nazareth. Christ is an early Hebrew word used as a title and means “the anointed one.”

After i posted yesterday i gave the “No Matter” in words or actions topic more thought. i realized that there are options to the results based on my level of participation.

Let’s just say that i would just speak less and do less. Thus cutting down my risk. Not necessarily bad at first glance but upon closer observance the reason may be based on not wanting to be embarrassed. By precluding everything, no matter what it is, with “in the name of the Lord Jesus” there are several ways that embarrassment could come.  Another possibility is that it could create some very awkward situations. I can imagine the looks on some people’s face, the rolling of their eyes, etc.. A huge reason could be fear. Fear that i could fall short by speaking or doing something that does not live up to the expectations set by others as to what “in the name of the Lord Jesus” sounds or looks like. i could be criticized, ridiculed, judged or chastised and who wants that? There is already plenty of judgment to go around. There could also be the fact that i am lazy? i hope this is not the case but you know me i must consider everything.

There is more to this verse. “ed, whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person,

i don’t always like ands. And – along or together with, as well as, in addition to. Yep that’s exactly why, AND means in addition to what i just heard or read or did. More effort, more truth, more change in me is required! “And in dependence upon His person.”  Not just in the name of the Lord Jesus but, also in dependence upon His person. I am to remember the price the Lord Jesus paid for me.  To me that means don’t fake it till i make it. Don’t just speak idle words, Don’t say it without true humility. Because the price my Lord Jesus paid was not an imitation, cheap, easy or done out of pride.

Gill’s Commentary covers this verse this way, “both in the strength of Christ, without whom nothing can be well said or done; and according to the mind and will of Christ declared in the Gospel, which is his name; and calling upon his name for assistance in the ministration of his word, administration of his ordinances, and in the performance of every duty, directing all to, and having solely in view his honor and glory.”

“Giving praise to God the father through Him.”

Paul begins verse 16 the same way as he did in 15. “LET”

Let: to allow or permit, to grant the occupancy or use of. ed grant the occupancy, allow, permit, use of.

Let “THE” again same as verse 15. It’s a specific THE. THE is not just any old the. It is not an ordinary the. It is representative of THE word spoken by Christ the Messiah.

So, i am to allow or permit or better yet grant occupancy THE word spoken by Christ the Messiah…

Paul says, “ed, let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.”

i, as in me, ed, am to let THE word “have its home” or better yet, take up residence. That means there will have to be an eviction of the current residents, anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, etc., etc.. The new occupants will be gentle and forbearing with others and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against me, i will readily pardon them. These new residents will take better care of me than the previous ones.

This has a religious sound to it but it is a good commentary (Gill’s), “it… (THE word of Christ) should have a constant and fixed place there, and not be like a stranger or wayfaring man, that tarries but for a night, or like a sojourner, that continues but for a while; but as an inhabitant that takes up its residence and abode, never more to depart; and intends not only a frequent reading, and hearing of, and meditating upon the word of God but continuance in the doctrines of the Gospel, with a steady faith in them, and a hearty affection for them; for such an inhabitation imports a very exact knowledge of the Gospel, and familiarity with it, and affectionate respect for it; as persons that dwell in a house, they are well-known by those of the family, they are familiarly conversed with, and are treated with love and respect by them: and so the word of Christ, when it has a fixed and established abode in a man’s heart, he has an inward, spiritual, experimental knowledge of it; he is continually conversant with it; this word of Christ is his delight, and the men of his counsel his guide, his acquaintance, with whom he takes sweet counsel together, and esteems it above the most valuable things in the world, and receives and retains it as the word of God.”

My heart will be better served with only THE words of Christ residing there. my mind will think better thoughts by allowing only THE words of Christ to occupy it. Verse 16 says that i will accomplish letting THE words of Christ having their home in my heart and mind, “as i teach and admonish and train others.” The message says, “Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.”

In otherwards by giving what i have been given. i heard a saying that said, “God will not give me what He knows will not flow through me.”

There are three final statements for me to consider in this verse. They are statements of fact and not options.

Colossians 3:15 ed let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your heart [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your mind, in that peaceful state]

to which you ed are a member of Christ’s one body… This goes back to verse one with my decision as to “IF.” There is no regret in my decision to answer the call on my life to be raised up with Christ. The thought comes to me regarding Paul’s wording, “member of Christ’s ONE BODY.” He does not entertain the idea of other bodies. Living in my flesh is to be a separated body from that of Christ. The Message says it this way, Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing.”

ed, you are called [to live]. my membership with Christ’s one body is in response to a call or an invitation from Him. It is personal and intimate and  comes with responsibility.

Called: command or request to come; summon, ask or invite to come, to rouse from sleep.

Paul in Colossians 3 is arousing me from a sleeping state, i am requested, summoned, asked, invited, to become a member of Christ’s one body. as a member i am still being called, requested, summoned, asked, invited, roused from sleep to live as Christ.  i am to live in accordance with my claim as one raised up with Him.

i’m reminded of a true story.

There was a man in the Army of Alexander the Great who was also named Alexander. He was accused of cowardly actions and was brought before Alexander The Great. Alexander asked him, what’s your name? He answered softly, “Alexander.” “I can’t hear you,” the ruler stated. The man again said, a little louder, “Alexander.” One more time the ruler said I still can’t hear you! The man replied, Alexander. Alexander the Great then stated to the man these words. “Either change your name or change your conduct.” This is what Christ is speaking to me through Paul “ed either change your name or change your conduct.

ed, be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. The message says, “And cultivate thankfulness.”

Be… cultivate… which ever word i use it directs me to the same thing. The application though seems different to me and it could be just my issue. Be to me says, “do it now, without any hesitation almost as though i can snap my fingers and it happens. Cultivate says to me that it’s a process, that it does not come natural, but through practice it can be done correctly, with humility and sincerity. i am more comfortable with cultivating, as a process gives me room for a failure or two while i’m working on changing my behavior and not my name.

“Then love knew it was called love. And when I lifted my eyes to your name, suddenly your heart showed me my way”  ― Pablo Neruda

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller

Verse 15 instructed me to let THE peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually). i feel like i kinda cut short the rule part of my previous post. i used the noun definition of the word rule and today i want to define the word rule as a verb.

Rule: to control or direct; exercise dominating power, authority, or influence over,  govern, to rule the empire with severity, to decide or declare judicially or authoritatively, decree.

A verb is a word of action and to rule requires some tough action. If i am to let THE peace of Christ control, direct, dominate, decide, declare and decree, then it must be over something. His, thus being mine, ideal harmony is to control, direct, dominate, influence my anger, my patience, kindness, my insistence upon my own way, my sense of entitlement. This all leads back to Paul’s instructions that i am to aim, seek, hold onto, those things which are above so that THE peace of Christ will rule.

Okay that being said verse 15 continues by stating exactly where this is to take place, “in ed’s heart.” i get that, as i have attempted to do everything Paul has shared from my mind, from the idea of faking it til i make it, as form and function and i have fallen short or failed miserably every time. Sure there appears to be some success for a time but eventually i can not sustain it. That’s why my outer collapses exist, because my inner strength cannot sustain me. It’s head knowledge, logos, not heart knowledge, rehma.

To get it to my heart requires a revelation of God’s love for me and out of that one revelation i will have a correct response. This means that i must live in constant revelations of God’s love, always growing, moving forward, maturing and replacing darkness with more light. Colossians 3 is revealing God’s love for me in new ways, moving me forward, replacing my darkness with His light.

This letting “The” peace of Christ rule does not happen in my mind but it’s in my mind that i surrender the old garments and “Put on.” The amplified Bible describes what takes place in my heart. It’s deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in my mind, in that peaceful state. It’s in my heart that my mind is put to rest with finality ALL the questions in my mind.

ed, let the peace (ideal harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your heart [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your mind, in that peaceful state].

We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”  ―    J.K. Rowling

Colossians 3:11 states that, “ed, all the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.”

This verse puts groups or concepts that separate people and divided them ou of existence. Paul speaks to all the differences, racial differences (Greek and Jew); religious differences (circumcised and uncircumcised); cultural differences (barbarian and Scythian); social differences (slave and free); and finally sexual difference (male and female).

These are not all the differences that divide people, but they give enough of a representation for God to make His point. He makes it clear that i cannot be united to Him and separated from my brother at the same time. To do something for or against a brother is to do it to Christ (Matthew 25:31-46). Because i am “in” Christ and He “in” me, i am one body. John says, “if ed does not love his brother, then ed does not love God” (I John 4:20)! From the point that i become one with Christ i must not see any of the differences with others or i will be drawn back to old garments to things which are on earth. It is now within me to see every person through Christ’s eyes and my words and deeds are to come from that position and not the differences.

“If” i am truly converted then i am motivated, guided, inspired, led by, yielding to, and empowered by the energy flowing from Christ, who lives and works in me. Christ, myself and all the converted body are together because we share the same nature.

In this world i was not born equal to everyone else. i have a different IQ, physical structure, strength. i may not equal everyone physically, mentally or economically in this life. but being raised up with Christ places me on equal footing with God and others.
Salvation means new birth. i was born the first time physically. Subsequently, i need to be born spiritually.
Paul says, that because the Colossians had undergone the radical transformation of receiving the new nature and being renewed, they should work hard at making practical the salvation Christ made possible. They should do this by ceasing to do the things that separate and start to do the things that bond.
As a side note there is some insinuation that Paul is dealing with some underlying measure of doctrinal difference which is hindering the unity problem.
“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”  ―    A.W. Tozer

By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. Thomas Merton

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, (here’s that word “If again”) if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Whatsoever things are pure – in thought, in feeling, and in the conversation between the sexes.

Pure: free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind, free from foreign or inappropriate elements, clear, free from blemishes:

Free from foreign or inappropriate elements is exactly what Colossians 3:1 was saying! It’s the “IF.” A life raised with Christ is and must stay free from foreign or inappropriate elements., PURE! And there is grace… as misused as it is.

Rabbit Trail: God owes me nothing! i do not deserve grace. i am not even able to say that i am the cause of my relationship with God. The word states that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 6:23) The Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin because it seperates. The obstical is sin. The offer of forgiveness is grace.

Back to pure. As a father came home from his work he saw his little girl who had been playing in the mud. He said to her, “My, you’re pretty dirty.”  She replied, “Yes, I know daddy, but I’m prettier clean.”

Cleanliness is next to what?  Godliness.  Where is that in the Bible?  It’s not.  It’s a nice thought but it’s not in scripture.

The Word says in Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  If i am pure in heart it will be the result of being near to God.  In 1 John 3:3 “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”

This story illustrates a better idea of being pure. The distinguished pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York, Dr. Maltbie Babcock was approached by a physician, a member of his congregation, who was concerned about his health.  Handing Dr. Babcock some theater tickets he said, “Take these.  You need the recreation of going to this play.”

His pastor looked at them.  Seeing they were tickets to a play of the kind he could not conscientiously attend, he said kindly, “Thank you, but I can’t take them.  I can’t go.”  “Why not?” the physician asked.

“Doctor, it’s this way.  You’re a physician; a surgeon, in fact. When you operate, you scrub your hands meticulously until you are very clean.  You wouldn’t dare operate with dirty hands.  I’m a servant of Christ.  I deal with precious human souls.  I wouldn’t dare to do my service with a dirty life.”

These virtues, true, honest, just, pure, are to be lived out through my entire life as Philippians 2:12 says, “Therefore, ed my dear friend, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

i am sure i do not care for these words from A. W. Tozer, “The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is no true faith present.  To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only.”

George McDonald said, “I find the doing of the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.”

Colossians 3:1 – If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

“IF” then… what? “If” then i have been raised with Christ. ed having been raised with Christ. If i have been raised with Christ then i have a new life, a life different from the old one, a life defined by sharing in His resurrection. That does not mean that i will have arrived, but it does say that there will be some immediate changes and lot’s of ongoing changes.

Raised: Lift or move to a higher position or level. Dictionary.com defines raised as, made light by the use of yeast or other ferment. It’s interesting to consider this definition. i am made light with Christ. He is the other ferment or i should say the only ferment in this case.

“If” then i have been lifted or moved to a higher position or level with Christ

His resurrection from the dead means i share in that resurrection from my dead place. Should i not accept the “If” i am dead and there is no new life. There would be no shared resurrection for me and i would remain dead. There would be no lifting up or moving to a higher position or level. Anotherwards dead!

i defined “If” yesterday, so i am just recalling what it looks like.

In case that i have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead],

Granting or supposing that i have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead],

On condition that i have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead],

The message puts verse 1 into simple and easy to understand terms. “So ed, if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.”

If—” is a poem written in 1895 by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling. i share it because i think, based on the words he wrote, that he understood the importance and impact of this tiny little two letter word.

If you can keep your head when all about you, Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken, Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings, And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew, To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you, Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute, With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a man, my son!

Before getting to chapter 3 of Colossians Paul says “ed, i don’t want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or “the Secret.” (2:4),  “ed, watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything.” (2:8),  “ed, entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve.” (2:11), “ed, don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. improper mysticism.” (2:18),  “So, then  let me ask you ed, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourself be bullied by it?” (2:20). That’s a great question and also a tough one to answer without it sounding like i’m making excuses.

Oh my gosh! The first word “if,” just two letters, and it takes an entire post to just scrape the surface of what it means and more over what it’s implications are.

Colossians 3:1 If then i have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Webster’s definition of “If”: in case that; granting or supposing that; on condition that:

Whats that look like?

In case that i have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead],

Granting or supposing that i have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead],

On condition that i have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead],

Those definitions pretty much cover every perspective. “If” is not an absolute. There is wiggle room for me to opt out, it’s up to me. Not only is it optional it is conditional. In January i did a study using the Disney movie Pinocchio and one of truths that i got was that, “there are strings attached to life,” there is a principle of cause and effect. There is always a flip side. Walking out of a restaurant without paying has a flip side, a cause and effect.

Recognizing the law of “cause and effect,” is a fundamental key to understanding how i’ve created my world, with my actions, words and thoughts. When i understand “cause and effect,” i realize i am responsible for everything in my life. Usually it’s inspite of God versus being led by God.

Cause: the reason or motive for some human action: The cause is, “have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead],”

Effect: something that is produced by an agency or cause: The effect is “aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

People  who believe they have the power to exercise some measure of control over their lives are healthier, more effective and more successful than those who lack faith in their ability to effect changes in their lives. – Albert  Bandura