fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Spiritualizing Israel

Spiritualizing Israel by Julie McAllen

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. (Matt 16:13-20)

Peter was blessed, not because of his heritage as a Jew, but because he understood the foundation of a relationship with God is built upon wisdom and revelation from heaven and profession of Jesus Christ. Peter wasn’t handed any literal “keys” but was now being trusted to unlock mysteries in the Old Testament previously hidden from his sight. The flood of understanding given to Peter was the unveiling of the spiritual realities hidden in the new covenant. Upon receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter was given revelation to connect Joel’s last days prophecy with his present awakening (Acts 2:16-17; Joel 2:28-32). Those gathered in the upper room were being prepared for the end of the system under which they lived. Their challenge would be to share the good news of a spiritual kingdom to those who remained veiled under a very literal, old law covenant. What the literal eye and ear had not seen or heard had just been revealed to the church by SPIRIT (1 Co 2:7-10). God had used the old covenant with its physical attributes to tutor these Israelites into Christ and His spiritual kingdom so that they might become teachers to their fellow Israelites first and then unto Gentiles even down to our day.

As the last days of that old covenant with Israel were coming to her end, Jesus often spoke in parables which at times left them confused. His words are rich in symbolic language to describe His kingdom. He calls His follower’s sheep, Himself a shepherd, a rock, and the bread of life. He likens the kingdom to hidden treasure, a pearl, and a mustard seed. He even describes His love and pain for Jerusalem as a hen gathering her brood under her wings (Matt 23:37). I don’t think He meant to sound like a literal chicken. After their baptism in the Holy Spirit the disciples more fully understood the spiritual significance of His illustrations. Take for example the fig tree which Jesus had condemned in Matthew 21:18-22. If Jesus used a literal fig tree to symbolize ancient Israel for those already familiar with Him as the seed and true Israel of God (Hosea 11:1; Matt 2:15), is it that far a stretch to suggest they accepted the promise in Micah 4:4 of each one “sitting under their own fig tree” as a symbol of peace made possible to those under Christ, the prince of peace? Or were they out looking for the perfect tree to sit under? They came to understand that under the new covenant, Christ restores a relationship with YHWH, not through a religion based on the old law covenant but as a new creation in Christ Himself. Though first century disciples of Jesus lived under harsh conditions, those “in Christ” knew the peace of God which surpasses understanding. They also understood their trialsome earthly lives were not the final destination as they focused on treasures in heaven and looked forward to citizenship there with Christ. As Jesus warned, they would always have the poor with them, but under the law of love, they were reaching out to the widows and orphans unlike the religious leaders still looking for their Messiah’s arrival according to their own acceptable signs while missing the kingdom in their midst.

Some today are expecting very literal fulfillments of prophecy and have criticized interpretations that “spiritualize Israel,” but even the Ryrie’s Study Bible commentary agrees that “the curse on the tree is an illustration of the rejection of Israel, a nation unfruitful despite every advantage.” Is Charles C. Ryrie, Th.D., Ph.D. and dispensationalist spiritualizing the old testament in regards to Israel?

The dispensational view promotes that “Israel always means Israel” and thus throughout the Bible when reference is made to “the Israel of God” the interpretation is given to the ethnic nation of Israel with promises left to be fulfilled in the land of Jerusalem rather than in any allegorical, spiritual sense.  In contrast, the concept of a “spiritual Israel” is the belief among some Christians who assert that the church, or body of Christ, now replaces natural or ethnic Israel as “God’s people.” This is known as replacement theology. Dispensational and replacement theology both agree that the church belongs to God, but one teaches that the church exists within this dispensation of time (the church age) until the completion of God’s timetable of world events of which natural Israel plays a key role, while the other believes the church has replaced Israel. While both dispensationalist and replacement theology respect the covenant God made with His people Israel, one group says the covenant was replaced, while the other says it is still valid, yet “on hold.” And thus, questions arise as to what “Israel” means when referenced in the New Testament. I can understand how this literal system of interpretation by dispensationalists is appealing since it neatly lays out the answers by putting distressing current events in the Middle East into the grander scheme of God’s purposes offering the hopeful expectation of Christ’s return there, but does “Israel always mean Israel?” Did the New Testament writers ever present terms such as “Israel” or “Jew” in any allegorical, symbolic, or spiritual sense? What do you think?

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; (Romans 9:6)

I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9)

This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. (Gal 4:24-26)

When the apostle Paul wrote about the two covenants in question, he referenced the women who produced Isaac and Ishmael as allegory with Hagar representing the Mosaic Law and Sarah representing “the Abrahamic covenant, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Spirit, and freedom” (Charles Ryrie Study Bible commentary on Gal 4:24-31)

This is not the only place in which Paul used old covenant concepts and introduced their meaning to those born under a new covenant by the spiritual circumcision of the heart. In many other places, Paul replaced the old with the new.

Quoting from Exodus, Leviticus, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Paul says to the church in Corinth they now are the temple in which God dwells (2 Cor 6:16) He further adds that these Gentiles have become “sons and daughters” of their Father YHWH due to this new covenant. The literal temple in Jerusalem was still standing and literal “sons and daughters” that could trace their heritage back to Abraham were among them, yet Paul skillfully connected the Scriptures to encourage these brothers in Christ about spiritual realities that were now theirs under the new covenant. Earlier in the letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the surpassing glory of that new covenant over the first one that had been established through Moses and the natural sons of Israel.

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:4-18)

Paul was an Israelite with an unveiled face. Though as a circumcised Hebrew brought up under Law, he persecuted the Spirit-born church, God saw fit to “unveil” his eyes on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). God filled Paul with His Holy Spirit and then used him to connect the shadows presented in the Law and bring them to light in Christ. Did Paul “spiritualize” the Scriptures? Significantly so!

What is circumcision? (Ro 2:28-29; Phil 3:3)

Who are Sarah and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael? (Gal 4:21-31)

Where is God’s temple? (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16)

What kind of armor do we put on? (Eph 6:10-18)

And of what nature are our weapons? (2 Cor 10:3-4)

Was it just Paul or did other New Testament writers ever “spiritualize” literal Old Testament references?

Zacharias, being a righteous priest in the sight of God, would have been very familiar with Malachi’s prophecy. That is why when the angel Gabriel appeared informing him about Elizabeth’s pregnancy, he quoted from Malachi,

“Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” (Mal 4:4-6).

Elijah was the subject of Malachi’s prophecy concerning “the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord” and this is what the angel Gabriel is recorded to have said to Zacharias concerning the child that was soon to be born to him.

And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16-17)

The angel Gabriel had just “spiritualized” an Old Testament prophecy and attributed it to Zacharias’ son, John the Baptist, but he was not alone in this. Jesus also spiritualized the Old Testament prophecies concerning Elijah and attributed them to John and Himself.

John was expecting someone fitting the description of what he’d read in Isaiah’s prophecy. He looked forward to the fulfillment of such passages as Isaiah 35:5-8

5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
6 Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah.
7 The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.
8 A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it. (Is 35:5-8)

And while in prison John inquired of Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (Matt 11:3)

Jesus chose to answer with that familiar passage in Isaiah as proof that He was the expected Messiah within John’s own generation.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. (Matt 11:4-5)

The kingdom of God surely was at hand and Elijah had already come to restore as promised. Are we to expect another? When I read Isaiah 35:8, for example, I read it with my “new covenant eyes,” trusting that by Spirit I have “eyes to see and ears to hear.” Therefore, I’m willing to accept that the highway to Holiness laid in that generation is not a literal road any more than literal horses come out of the sky.

For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (Matt 11:13-15)

Those who were stuck on seeing a more literal fulfillment of the “Elijah to come” missed the spiritual sign, but his disciples shaken by the religious leaders who insisted on literal fulfillments brought their questions directly to Jesus and asked,

“Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist. (Matt 17:10-13)

In the last days of Israel’s old law, those who missed the spiritual significance of Elijah also missed the parousia of their King. They remained in the “natural mind” and therefore mocked those who pointed to the resurrection, ascension, and soon return of Christ in judgment against fruitless Israel (2 Tim 3:1-9). Jude 17-19 describes those mockers as “worldly-minded, devoid of Spirit.”

I would not say the danger lies in spiritualizing the scriptures then; to the contrary, it’s in taking them too literal.

Jesus Himself took literal accounts from dealings with Israel and made spiritual application to His listeners. The reaction to His words back then is the same as today. Some took offense, but others were enlightened by the allegory. For example,

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” 66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:48-69)

The religious Jews were very accustomed to literal interpretation, but Jesus often spoke in parables. Those who followed Him asked Him directly for the interpretation. Nicodemus secretly went to Jesus and inquired to understand His words of “Spirit and Life.” When Jesus plainly stated, “you must be born again,” this member of the Sanhedrin took it literally. He imagined a man would have to re-enter his mother’s womb in order to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus knew YHWH spoke to His people of earthly things, but as the perfect son of God noted to this Israelite man, “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12)

It remains an everlasting spiritual kingdom, not part of this world, in which one must be born of Spirit to see, enter, or begin to comprehend. Has anything changed for those who’ve come to the reigning King Jesus Christ throughout any generation? If Jesus, the apostles, Zacharias, John the Baptist, and the angel Gabriel agree that prophecies were fulfilled spiritually in the first century, is it correct for Christians today to “spiritualize” the Old Testament to make it understood to those entering the new covenant?

The literal-minded disciples constant inability to understand Jesus’ claims to be put to death in fulfillment of scripture is evidence that they also had difficulty connecting old testament prophecies to their own critical time. Therefore, Jesus “spiritualized” the Old Testament story of Jonah in the whale to illustrate His coming death, burial and resurrection (Matt 12:38-41) making it applicable to the generation poised to witness it.

From the time Jesus began His earthly ministry, the Jews were in a transition period of living under the darkness of the old law covenant while being transferred into the kingdom of His Son (Col 1:13). Transition periods are often met with confusion and we have the record of that in our Bibles. The immediate hope for those following Jesus was the ending of the old law covenant and a rescue from those persecuting them. God had spoken to their fathers through prophets but now, during the last days of Israel, was speaking through Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2). That same letter to the Hebrews proposed that the new covenant, under which they served the High Priest Jesus Christ, would COMPLETELY REPLACE the old covenant.

When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. (Heb 8:13)

If the first covenant was “becoming obsolete” and “soon to disappear” by the writing of this letter to the Hebrews (64-68 AD) why would God have an agenda to bring it back as if the “church age” were just a hiccup in his plan? Is His plan to restore the kingdom and old covenant in Jerusalem or did it never end? What does “soon to disappear” mean? Is that “soon” to us now or was it “soon” two thousand years ago to the intended audience of that letter?

Peter likened himself and the disciples to “living stones” being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood of which Jesus Christ himself is the chief cornerstone (1 Pe 2:4-10). Was Jesus literally a stone? And was Peter saying that the disciples would be stacked like bricks to form a literal house of prayer? As if to clarify for those still fixed on literal interpretations, Peter clearly states they formed a “spiritual house” as “living stones.” Not only was Peter using symbolic language to describe the new spiritual temple of God, but notice how he also referred to himself and Christ as being in the priesthood! According to Numbers 3:6-10, only those of the tribe of Levi participate in the priesthood. In fact, the New Testament writer of Hebrews restates it for our benefit.

And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; (Heb 7:5)

Can Peter and the others trace their line to the tribe of Levi? How about Paul? He said he performed “priestly duties” now that he was in the new covenant (Ro 15:16) but he was from the tribe of Benjamin. And what of the High Priest Himself, Jesus Christ? What tribe was He from?

Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.
14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
(Heb 7:11-14)

By the writing of Hebrews, the priesthood had already changed. “What further need is there” for a restoration of the Levitical priesthood? So why would God be gathering literal Israelites right now to comprise a future 144,000? What would be their function? Furthermore, if they must fit into the twelve tribes of literal Israel outlined in Revelation 7:4-8, is there any man on earth today who fits the description and can trace his blood line back purely to just one of the tribes? The family records having been destroyed in 70 AD make this task “literally” impossible.

If the keys of the kingdom were given to Peter, the highway to Holiness was laid, hearts were circumcised to designate God’s chosen people making their bodies temples in which He would dwell, and Elijah had already come in the first century, then why do some in our 21st generation insist that a remnant is yet to be gathered out of present day Israel?

I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.” 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. (Ro 11:1-5 quoting from 1 Kings 19:10-18)

If you received this letter back in the church at Rome when it was written, what would Paul’s use of the term “at the present time” mean to you? Would those reading it in 57-58 AD think Paul was speculating about a remnant yet to be gathered in the 21st century? Or would they take it literally to mean “at the present time?”

Paul was relating that in times past God had kept a faithful remnant among His people despite widespread apostasy. In Paul’s “present time” it was the Spirit-born church who had been taken out of the larger group of the fruitless Israelite nation whose temple was poised to be left desolate. These few in number were the firstfruits to God. Were these literal virgins following a literal Lamb standing on a literal Mount Zion? (Rev 14:1-4) I think it’s safe to admit that there’s a lot of “spiritual” language in the New Testament. According to the words of Christ at John 4:35-38, the harvest had already begun starting with the twelve tribes of Israel (James 1:1, 18). If the remnant referred to a group yet to be gathered in our present time or at a future date, wouldn’t we expect them to be called the “last fruits?”

In conclusion, I am in agreement that there exists a “spiritual Israel.” I do not, however, agree that this remnant is being gathered in our time. I believe it already saw a first century fulfillment for a special purpose when “spiritual Israel” was taken out of “natural Israel” to comprise a symbolic 144,000. The “spiritual remnant” or Israel of God of the first century is a part of the larger Spirit-born church taken out of every tribe and tongue which no man can number and will endure throughout eternity (Rev 7:9; Matt 16:18)

His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. (Luke 8:9-10)

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

May 31, 2012 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bless the Opposition

 Bless the Opposition by Julie McAllen

“I don’t need this!” Who hasn’t blurted that out in some form or another when faced with a hardship? Everything was going just fine until THIS came along. If it would just go away, all would be blessed, or so we think. We all encounter opposition: financial burdens, physical disabilities, difficult people in our lives, and recurring negative habits of our own. Somethings we may have a measure of control over, other things simply must be endured.

When Moses was first called to task, his immediate response was to talk to God about his own imperfection. He admitted he was not a good speaker and questioned God’s choice to make him a spokesman on behalf of Israel. Though the Lord promised He would help by including Aaron, a perplexing character trait of God is revealed in the passage.

The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (Exodus 4:11)

God MADE Moses to be slow of speech and tongue and yet in this God-given imperfection, he was called to do a great work. If God needed a spokesman, why didn’t He simply create a radio announcer type of fellow and use him? Why Moses? Furthermore, as Moses and Aaron went forth to Pharaoh they encountered opposition. If God wanted Pharaoh to “let His people go,” don’t you think He would’ve paved the way and made it simpler for poor stuttering Moses? God had not blessed his task with an immediate submission on Pharaoh’s part, to the contrary the account accredited God Himself as the one who hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 10:20)!

Note how God used the opposition in the case of Moses.

9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” 10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.” 12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said. (Exodus 8:9-15)

Moses showed fine character in leaving Pharaoh the honor of setting aside time to pray for him and his officials. Do we consider it an honor to pray for those who oppose us? And look at the result. God heard and sent the relief Moses prayed for on behalf of Pharaoh. Though Pharaoh’s heart was unchanged, what do you suppose this did for Moses’ faith? One answered prayer, two responses.

Did it get any better?

25 Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both men and animals… Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Pray to the LORD, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” 29 Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the LORD. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the LORD God.”….. Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the LORD; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the LORD had said through Moses. (Exodus 9:25-35)

Another plague, another prayer. This time we see Pharaoh having some faith in what the prayers of Moses can accomplish. He even admits his sin. Yet when the hail ends, Pharaoh’s hard heart is once again revealed but Moses continues to have faith in God. Do you suppose he was perplexed at this point? Do you suppose Moses wondered if his efforts with Pharaoh were a waste of time? Do you ever wonder if he got weary praying for this obstinate man’s heart?

Plague after plague, prayer after prayer, the story was played out in Exodus and in the hearts of Moses and Pharaoh.

9 The LORD had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country. (Exodus 11:9-10)

Moses was even told by God that Pharaoh would refuse his efforts. That is disheartening, especially for someone like Moses who wasn’t exactly custom-made for preaching in the first place. But he was also given wisdom as to why. This is key. In James chapter one where we are admonished to find joy in our trials, it also encourages that if we lack wisdom, we ought to ask God (James 1:2-5). Moses was a man like us, I have no doubt he had frustrations in this calling God gave him. He must’ve sought God many times before he understood it wasn’t just about him and Pharaoh’s stand-off, it was greater than that. It was that God may be glorified in Egypt. And through this, God created out of humble Moses a new man, a leader.

As if the opposition of Pharaoh and his officials were not enough, even the people whom Moses was defending and rescuing began to turn on him. Had Moses not sought God’s wisdom and understood the greater purpose, he might have given up his leadership role, which was not about glorifying Moses, but in leading the ones being rescued to glorify God!

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:10-14)

Moses knew the One who called him. It is fitting that Moses was not a born leader when he was called. There’s no bravado here. His faith is evident in the face of this opposition from pursuer and rescued. He’s against what looks impossible and hopeless and he knows the wonders he performed earlier were not of himself but of God. He has nothing left to rely on but faith in this same God who called him in his imperfection and that is why he could say to this imperfect people “stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.” Without having all the answers and the map laid out as to how that would take place, he trusted in God’s deliverance. It looked hopeless, but Moses had learned to cry out in prayer and also learned to listen and obey.

15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” (Exodus 14:15-18)

I chuckle at how this might’ve been said in modern terms.”Stop praying already, I heard ya! Now MOVE IT! Don’t argue, I know it sounds silly, but stand there and hold up this stick!” Sometimes we have to be against an approaching army and the sea before we’ll stop arguing with God and do the uncommon thing He advises. Moses could’ve gone back to the fleshly way he responded when God first began to dialogue with him. He could’ve brought up all his imperfections or pointed out the sins of these people grumbling against him when they ought to be thanking him. He could’ve thrown up his hands and said, “impossible!” He could’ve cursed at God and yelled, “a stick?! That’s your answer?! Hold up a stick?!” But I believe it was through the trials and opposition he incurred with Pharaoh that Moses became the man God knew from the start he would be…despite what Moses thought of himself. And what of God? We all know the story don’t we? Did He show His power to all of Egypt and His people Israel also? The exodus is well-known right down to us, those who believe and those whose hearts are hardened. We still know the story. May God be glorified.

Jesus admitted that in this life we too would have trouble, and the Bible speaks often of human suffering as well as persecution, so we shouldn’t be surprised. But what’s the point? Why? Can anything good come from trials, suffering or opposition?

We come to God when we’re at the end of ourselves. Often it’s those trials that push us to the edge where we can no longer place blame on anyone else or the circumstances, and we are left to examine our own faith in God’s promises and in the character He is desiring to birth in us.

It’s not about the world around us then, it’s about the perfection God is creating in us. So, consider it all joy as you undergo trials. God isn’t finished with us yet. Just as Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered here on earth, so we do also (Heb 5:8). Will we give up or see the glory of God?

In a New Testament account, the disciples ask Jesus about the condition of a blind man wondering if his disability can be attributed to his own sin or that of his parents. Jesus’ reply echoes the statement Jehovah gave to Moses about his stuttering.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. (John 9:3)

Who makes a man deaf, mute or blind? Both these accounts agree that the Lord is the Author of Life, even life imperfect. Our disabilities were written into our stories.

And just as Moses and Aaron went to confront the opposition of Pharaoh, the blind man was interrogated and opposed by the religious leaders of his day. Isaiah was sent to preach and within the same breath told no one would listen to him (Is 6:9-13)! It was decided upon in his mother’s womb that Jeremiah would be sent as a prophet to Judah and no one listened after 23 years of proclaiming the words God gave him (Jer 25:3). The blind man, Pharaoh, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the captivity of Israel. All were written into the story. And what about Peter’s denial of Christ? The betrayer Judas? And Christ’s death on a cross itself. All written in advance. Trials, suffering, opposition…..of God? Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? Who makes the blind and the deaf? We can’t blame our Pharaohs. We can’t always blame the devil. Dare we blame God?

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory (Ro 9:14-23)

It does not depend upon our desire or our effort, yet He sends us out. He even hardens whom it pleases Him to harden for the sake of displaying His power. I am humbled to realize that if I have any shred of faith, it truly is a gift. I am an object of His mercy. In this, God has taught me to pray mercy toward others and not “change them so I can have a nice day.”

When Jehovah called His people Israel as His witnesses, He did not say their testimony was to make converts, rather He declared that by giving a witness THEY would know, believe, and understand who He was (Isaiah 43:10). And yet, as many miracles as they witnessed, the Lord did not give them a mind to understand (Deut 29:2-6).

And when many of that nation rejected the Messiah, even then in Paul’s anguished cries for their salvation, he was given wisdom of God’s sovereign choice as noted in Romans 9. He came to understand that a remnant of that nation were chosen by grace while some were given a spirit of stupor–similar to Pharaoh’s hardened heart.

5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” (Romans 11:5-8)

As written, they were warned within their own scrolls that understanding and wisdom would be sealed (Isaiah 29:9-12). No amount of reading would unlock it. Jesus himself quoted the scriptures that proved their fulfillment. Still it was hidden. Paul strove earnestly using the scrolls and his background as a Pharisee to reason with his brothers, yet they remained hardened while the elect received mercy and grace.

Paul understood that wisdom is not found merely in the black and white letters found in ancient scrolls. Wisdom comes from the Spirit.

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10)

As we encounter opposition and see no results, what does it do to our faith? Moses continued to trust in the Invisible though the situation appeared hopeless. He focused on the big picture of God’s glory. Paul gave his life to ministry while understanding many would never hear, never see. He knew it was completely dependent upon God’s mercy to reveal anything by His Spirit. He also understood the big picture as to why there had to be given a spirit of stupor–for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. The script was already written. And regarding Israel’s continued obstinacy, Paul said, “because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.” (Ro 11:11)

God had a reason for hardening hearts back then, do you suppose He does now in whatever opposition we are facing?

Paul also understood that the persecution against him was for the advancement of the kingdom. Could this be the case in our suffering too? His focus was continually on God’s glory rather than his own suffering. Could this be our attitude too?

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. (Phil 1:12-14)

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. (Phil 1:27-30)

Wisdom from the Spirit revealed a purpose in the opposition God allowed. So how are you handling your opposition?

44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:44-48)

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. (Phil 2:14-16)

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Pe 4:12-19)

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

April 27, 2011 Posted by | Expressions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

RSVP Required

ISAIAH 55:1-13

thanksgiving-feastGod’s people in Isaiah’s time were going through a period of spiritual hunger. While in Babylonian captivity, they didn’t have God’s protection, blessings or spiritual sustenance. However, Isaiah was inviting them to return to their Maker.

 1“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;  And you who have no money come, buy and eat Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.
    2“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,  And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,  And delight yourself in abundance.  3“Incline your ear and come to Me Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
    

Isaiah invites everyone!  This invitation was to eat and drink of God’s goodness to the point of fullness. I especially love the fact that those who wished to accept the invitation didn’t have to bring anything along for entry to the spiritual banquet. God’s grace comes free – a gift to us. So many times we feel we have to work to earn grace; but God had only one requirement for the Isrealites (and for us today) – repentance.  Along with repentance comes the acknowledgement of Christ as our Savior. God’s grace comes as a result of having been redeemed through the blood of Jesus; this gift of grace is given freely.

 

 The food and drink being made available is God’s spiritual truths and blessings. Unlike the spiritual junk food the world offers, God’s food is satisfying all our needs. Today, we hear of economic decline, loss of  jobs and homes, families under attack, etc… We’ve become an anxious and panic stricken society. However, this is not the case with those who have taken advantage of God’s invitation to feed at His spiritual table. Those who are spiritually well-feed have a healthy outlook on life because their thinking involves faith in God; they rest their hope on God’s promises and do not give in to fear or anxiety. Spiritual junk food is toxic to the body and the mind and is destructive to the spirit.

 

 6)Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

 God’s people were admonished to seek the Lord. Why? Because of their sin, they were far removed from God’s presence that in order for them to experience God’s blessings again, they would have to search him out. Calling upon Him “while He is near” didn’t mean that God would grow impatient and eventually depart. The uncertainty is not with God, but rather with those who need to be calling upon Him. If they continue to resist God, their hearts will eventually grow hard toward him and the end result will be disastrous. Having a heart hardened for God totally removes Him from being in the place He can be found.

 

     8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.  10“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

 One of the promises we can rest on is that God forgives freely. This may seem like a casual thought until you have experienced total forgiveness by God. His plans and holiness surpass all human comprehension. Verses 8-10 help us to see that we don’t always have to understand His way – they are too great! God is not looking for analysis, but worship that rests on knowing He is a keeper of promises.

 

 11So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty,Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.  Verse 11 is probably my most favorite scripture in the bible. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I remember God’s promises to me (and this verse), knowing He will deliver me.  The message Isaiah was conveying to God’s people was that although they were in a fallen state, God would still keep the promise He made to Abraham. The nation needed to know that God would be faithful to His word; yet, undeserving and unworthy, Judah would be restored.

 

The book of Isaiah is a wonderful book in that so many of us have either been in “captivity” or may be there right now in their lives. God’s people were delivered; He kept His promise to them to restore them to a great nation once again. Instead of being in spiritual starvation, they experienced an abundance of blessings.  We’re invited to the same banquet; will we RSVP?

May 8, 2009 Posted by | Expressions | , , , | Comments Off on RSVP Required

A New Beginning

ISAIAH 54:1-10

42-16482893While damaged caused by sin may at times be irreparable, we can look forward to a new beginning after having repented and received God’s forgiveness. The blessings that come from being reconciled to the Lord are (among many) a peaceful heart and the help to endure the consequences caused by transgression.

The nation of Israel also had reason to celebrate a new beginning. The Babylonian exile of Judah in 587 BCE didn’t mean that God no longer regarded them as a chosen people among other nations. Rather, it was just the opposite. God is a keeper of promises; He promised that Abraham’s seed would be blessed and the messiah would come from his seed and that of David. Although Judah was in captivity, Isaiah Chapter 54 depicts a time when God’s people would be reconciled to Him. In the meantime, Judah would be considered a “barren one” during her captivity.

 1(A)Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
         For the sons of the (B)desolate one will be (C)more numerous
         Than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.

2(D)Enlarge the place of your tent;
         Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
         Lengthen your (E)cords
         And strengthen your (F)pegs.
    3“For you will (G)spread abroad to the right and to the left
         And your descendants will (H)possess nations
         And will (I)resettle the desolate cities.

Barrenness was a considered a disgrace for a woman during bible times.  Not being able to produce a child was comparable to someone useless, unproductive and unworthy; it was considered a curse or punishment from God. Judah was “barren” in a sense that she couldn’t produce fruitage.  However, Isaiah prophesied that Judah would rejoice again; God’s promise of reversal of their dreadful state and of restoration would be realized; they would again be returned to usefulness.  They will have to expand their tents due to the numerous residents in their land.

4“Fear not, for you will (J)not be put to shame;
         And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
         But you will forget the (K)shame of your youth,
         And the (L)reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
    5“For your (M)husband is your Maker,
         Whose name is the LORD of hosts;
         And your (N)Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
         Who is called the (O)God of all the earth.

Many people remain in guilt and don’t allow themselves to be reconciled to God – they remain in widowhood, producing no fruitage. God’s people have no reason to feel ashamed or disgraced.  Being a widow in Isaiah’s day was just as humiliating as being barren, but God promised to restore even the widow. He will give her a Husband, one who will forgive her and redeem her. Letting go of the grip of barrenness is only achievable by repentance. Only then can the Holy Spirit work in us so that we feel God’s peace through his forgiveness.   There is shame and disgrace associated with rebellion, but once you experience God’s mercy, you’ll no longer remember the disgrace; shameful pasts and failures are left behind.

 6“For the LORD has called you,
         Like a wife (P)forsaken and grieved in spirit,
         Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,”
         Says your God.
    7“For a (Q)brief moment I forsook you,
         But with great compassion I will (R)gather you.
    8“In an (S)outburst of anger
         I hid My face from you for a moment,
         But with everlasting (T)lovingkindness I will (U)have compassion on you,”
         Says the LORD your (V)Redeemer.

I especially love these verses in Isaiah because it paints such a portrait of a compassionate and merciful God. When we sin, we feel deserted and wounded in spirit. God hides his face from us in that he removes his protection and guidance. Our Father is not a dictator; he would never force us to obey him if we choose wickedness over Him.  He thus departs from us in love. However, He promises to take us back and restores us to Him if we turn back from sin.

9“For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
         When I swore that the waters of Noah
         Would (W)not flood the earth again;
         So I have sworn that I will (X)not be angry with you
         Nor will I rebuke you.
    10“For the (Y)mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
         But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
         And My (Z)covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
         Says (AA)the LORD who has compassion on you.

We have a new beginning in Christ; we’re no longer in disgrace or fallen. The peace we experience from being reconciled is wonderful; nothing compares to it.  Let us celebrate the One who called us to repentance and restoration and let us celebrate OUR NEW BEGINNING.   Amen and amen.

May 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A New Beginning

It Is Done. He Is Risen!

cross1It is Easter night and I find myself thinking back on the week’s activities and events that took place. Last Sunday this time I started to think about what Jesus, during his time, would be going through as the day of crucifixion drew nearer. Despite all the drama going on around me with work and personal matters, all I wanted to do was focus on Jesus; nothing else mattered during those days…nothing else seemed important enough to brood over…nothing but the death of Jesus and the meaning of his blood poured out for us all. For one week, my prayers centered around Jesus and not my wants. I was drawn to appreciate the sacrifice he did for me; the pain and suffering he underwent on my behalf.

 

I remembered the words at Isaiah 53 where God’s plan of Redemption is outlined. Our sin brought pain and suffering into the world; we became alienated from God. However, Jesus was the “restitution offering” that would pay for our sins and reconcile us to God. Isaiah’s prophesy of the coming Messiah would affect each one of us.  Vs 2, 3 – “For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face he was despised, and we did not esteem Him”.

 

The messiah would not be recognizable; in fact, he would be someone we would never expect. Only those with faith would recognize him. Isaiah prophesied that he savior would carry our sins and pains. Jesus carried the weight of our sicknesses, he was blames and faultless, but he suffered for our sins.  In Luke 23:13-24, we read the account of Barabbas. Jesus was up against a convicted felon. Jesus was the one supposed to be freed because he was not convicted of a crime, unlike Barabbas. Nevertheless, Jesus took the place of Barabbas – in affect, he also took our place at the cross. We were already convicted in our sin…Jesus was perfect and commited no crime. Yet, Jesus fulfilled his Father’s will for him so that we may be reconciled to Him. He was the “restitution offering” (Lev6:1-7)

 

Vs 7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so he did not open His mouth”.  Jesus submitted to injustice for the purpose of fulfilling his Father’s will for him on earth. He also didn’t cry out in defense, but would go willingly with his accusers. Jesus was falsly accused, yet he suffered all of this for our benefit. Jesus made life possible for us through his sacrificial death.

 

However, Jesus conquered the world.  Acts 2:22-24 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God you nailed to a cross by the hand of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power”.  Because of God’s promised, death could not keep Jesus in the grave; Jesus conquered death! He is Risen!

 

My prayer for you (and myself) is that we understand God’s redemption as a way of life all year long, and not only during this special time of year. We have been purchased with the blood of Jesus. We can now enter into the Most Holy Place before our Father because we have been cleansed by Jesus blood (See journal “Christ the Passover – Part Two”). I resolve to claim the blood of Christ when I find myself in need of redemption and for those for whom I pray for.  I hope everyone had a blessed week this Easter season!

April 12, 2009 Posted by | According to Scripture | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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