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Sunday, January 29, 2012

His Desire




Matthew 18:14
"Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
KJV




God's desire is for a covenant relationship with man.  Since the loss of fellowship at the Fall, God has made provision to restore man to the position that Adam and Eve once enjoyed.  The exclusive means by which one enters into relationship with God is acceptance of Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior.   God is Love and in that love, He desires a relationship with every human being as II Peter 3:9 proclaims, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

The Teleological Argument is a theory concerning the existence of God. Telios in the Greek, means “perfected.” This argument presents creation as akin to a mechanism, such as a watch. It asserts that in order for a watch to exist a watchmaker would also be necessary. The Word of God leaves no margin for logical error. Psalm 139:14 declares, “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

God, the Father is the impetus of all creation and the image in whom humans are made. John 4:24 reveals God's nature, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” I John 4:8 further explains His nature, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” The specific names of God reveal aspects of His personality. The name El denotes strength. El-Roi is the God who sees. El-Shaddai is our all-sufficient God, Jehovah-Shalom speaks of our peace. Jehovah-Nissi is our banner. Song of Solomon 2:4 assures us, “. . . His banner over me was love.”

Any attempt to describe God pales in comparison to His true Glory. Above all, God is merciful and just, as Ephesians 2:4 puts forth, “But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us.  Throughout the illness and death of my mother God sustained me and gave me the strength physically and emotionally to bear it. She passed away under Hospice care on December 15, 2003.  I was at her bedside when she drew her last breath at 2:55 am. She had given her heart to God in 2001 and, during her last days He gave me the Grace to help care for her.  I felt a peaceful calm during this very difficult time. God covered my heart and allowed me to do what was necessary. As I officiated her memorial service, He empowered me to minister to others in her death, even in my mourning.

God is real, God is love. He will do what He promises. If we could only completely set aside our human contrivances, we may truly see what this means. He is leading us, if we allow Him, and loving us in the duration. This is the meaning of life. . .being led by love to what Glory only He knows. I can categorically say that God loves you, no matter who you are, or where you have been. Whatever sin you may have committed, whatever vice you may be entangled in, God has forgiveness and healing for you. I pray that converse with Him, wherever you are, His arm is long enough to reach you. Please heed his call, it means eternity.
Patti

For more about my mother please read “Look Ma, No Hands” in my June archive.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Drawn Away


James 1:14
"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."


The intimacy so enjoyed by the first man and woman in the garden was destroyed by their act of sinful disobedience. This sin brought about spiritual death and exclusion from the intimate fellowship that they enjoyed with God. Genesis 3:6 describes this temptation, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (KJV). The word desired in this scripture is translated from the Hebrew word, chamad, Strong’s Concordance # 2530 its meaning speaks of beauty, delectable, delight, covet and lust (Zodhiates, 1991, 40). Regarding the topic of personal formation, this is a vital point to understand; and therefore, be poised to overcome. The objects, desires and persons that may elicit covetous desires in our hearts are those to be aware of and avoid at all costs when they are in opposition to God’s Word. One lesson to be learned from our mutual ancestors is that which tempts us will kill us if we are not on guard against it. They had the same enemy as we, and he knows what our souls crave; and surely, this is what he will tempt us with. Says Matthew Henry of this situation, “It is the craft of Satan to speak of the Divine law as uncertain or unreasonable, and so to draw people to sin; it is our wisdom to keep up a firm belief of God’s command, and a high respect for it” (Henry, 1997, 6). Proverbs 1:17 speaks of this truth, “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird”(KJV). Certainly, regarding the topic of personal formation, knowing our weakness, viewing the enemy as formidable and cleaving to God as our rescuer is vital.

Lord, please show us the places in our lives where we are being drawn away from You by the enemies lies and our lusts.  Please do not allow us to be overtaken by them, please show us the avenue of escape in which to flee.  Thank You for Your Word and the Life that You have given us through Your Son Jesus Christ.  I love you and pray for Your Spirit to fill me with Your fullness.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Patti

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Take Off The Grave Clothes

This article was formerly published in "Devotions by The Christian World College of Theology"   Class of 2004.



"And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Loose him, and let him go.'” 
John 11:44 NKJV

"Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself." 
 John 20:6,7 NKJV

It is intriguing that the importance of the grave clothes in these scriptures is accentuated by the mention of the cloth that was wrapped on the face of both Lazarus and Jesus.  In Jesus' time, interment of the deceased was performed quickly, usually the same day as the death.  As the body was prepared with aloes and herbs, they took the time to separately wrap the face in a handkerchief or as some translations read, a napkin.  We are all born into death, by Adam's sin.  At His birth, the one who was sinless, Jesus Christ, lay wrapped in swaddling clothes in that ancient manger, a foreshadowing of His death.  "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).  

He that is above all creation had no nursery at His birth and was laid in a borrowed tomb at His seeming death.  The swaddling clothes gave way to cruel torture and grave clothes infused with aromatic herbs, as if this heinous deed could be covered by sweet incense.

The intriguing element of both scriptures is that the removal of the handkerchief was intentional and careful.  Jesus ordered the men present at Lazarus' raising to, ". . .loose him and let him go" (John 11:44).  As Christians, we are responsible to assist new converts in putting off the ways of death that coincide with life in the world.  We are to help them to become Christ-like and grow in the Word.  At our conversion, we are all as newborns, not knowing or understanding until we learn and grow.

So many times new Christians are left to die, when they need nourishment and acceptance from their big brothers and sisters.  We are not to accept the ways of death, but to help them remove the cloth from their faces, so that they can see and breathe this new life.

When Jesus arose, He cast aside the burial garment that was enfolding Him.  It lay in a heap upon the stone where He had been placed.  The face napkin, although, was folded together and set apart.  Why would Jesus go to the trouble of carefully removing the napkin, folding it, and setting it aside?  He was speaking directly to us by this act.  We must intentionally and with great care put off the ways of death.

If one can imagine having one's head wrapped in a linen napkin, it would be difficult to hear, see, breathe. and speak.  One would be bound and not able to discern the environment around them.  Jesus is asking us to carefully remove the grave clothes, to lay them aside intentionally, and not to live in the tombs anymore.  Jesus said, ". . . I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."  John 11:25

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you today for Your Word.  It is Life and it is Life giving.  Thank you for all things, Lord.  Thank You Jesus for dying as ransom for my sins.  Thank You Holy Spirit for abiding in me and empowering me to live for You.  Father, please show me places in my life that I have not removed the grave clothes, so that I may walk in total life.  Please show me others that need my assistance in removing their own grave clothes.  Lord, I love You and praise You and I lay down my life for Your Kingdom.  In Jesus' precious name I pray.  Amen.

Patricia Paige Harrison 




Friday, January 6, 2012

"More Lost Than Found" By Jared Herd

This review contains my own opinions and I have not been compensated for the writing of it.  I received a complimentary copy of this title from BookSneeze.com.

"More Lost Than Found" by Jared Herd is a commentary on the broken state of mainstream churches.  The gap left by disillusionment with "church" institution must be filled with a true personal relationship with God, lest another generation is left to drift in the sea of Postmodernism.  It is true that each of us perceives life through the lens of our own experiences, and while Herd identifies the issue succinctly, at times his perspective is fuzzy and his path wandering. 

Herd identifies the root of the problem, "Perhaps the violent rejection of that message by those on the outside isn't an issue with Jesus--it's an issue with how the Savior has been translated for them" (Herd, 2011, xv).  This is a valid observation of the problem, what is necessary is a clear road map to the solution.  Through many deliberations and personal stories, the author never came to that place.  I heartily agree with his determination that Christianity is in need of renovation rather than demolition,  "We approach our faith like an old house; we start with the assumption that a lot is good and must be kept.  We keep in mind the vision of the original architect" (Herd, 2011, 163).  Our path must begin and end in faith, which as Romans 10:17 explains, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ" (NIV).  This book is written with an eye toward young people who have been hurt and rejected by the "church at large."  My prayer is that in spite of all this brokenness, souls truly see the message of grace that is the truth of the gospel.

Reverend Patti Harrison
       

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Intention


Exodus 34:6
 ". . .'The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.'"


Genesis 2:7 reiterates the intimate nature of man’s creation, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” At the breath of God, red earth became alive, this foreshadows Christ’s conveyance of the Holy Spirit to the disciples in John 20:22, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (KJV). How sublime is the truth of God’s very life force being breathed into man intimately by His nshamah or vital breath, inspiration, soul or spirit. The breath that makes inanimate clay live and brings to life the dead spirits of men. The Hebrew word ruah speaks of the wind of the Spirit. In the Greek, “Spirit” in this instance is rendered, pneuma, Strong’s Concordance # 4151 in the Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, its meaning is: a current of air, breath, breeze. It is derived from #4151, pneo, which means to breathe hard, in example. . .breeze blow (Zodhiates, 1991, 58, 59). Of the historicity of Old Testament books and more precisely, the Book of Genesis, Robert H. Pfeiffer comments, “Our sharp distinction between story and history, fancy and fact, seems meaningless when applied to the body of Old Testament narratives which present all the gradations between pure fiction (as in the stories about Adam, Noah, Samson) and genuine history (as in the the ancient bibliography of David and tin the Memoirs of Nehemiah)” (McDowell, 1981, 435). Human intellectualism, more disturbingly in the Christian realm, has cast doubt on God’s Word. By faith, we must believe that His Word is true and accurate, regardless of what limited human intelligence says must be true. God truly is a personal God, He is far more intimate than can be discerned by human intelligence. The numinous quality of God’s relationship with man is beyond description. His desire is to form Himself within man so that He and they may commune with man and regain this intimacy; deeper still, than that was lost at the Fall. A keen understanding of God’s intention toward us is integral to developing a deeper relationship with him and being able to convey this relationship to others.
Patti

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