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October Newsletter-Jesus Life

‘Christianity has been reduced to a set of mental beliefs and recitation of facts. So, we study about God, we study about Jesus, we study about salvation. We reduce everything to a formula: Ten steps to overcome temptation, you know five ways to…four ways to have healing. What are we dealing with? The heart of what we’re talking about is that the Jesus who rose from the dead, ascended to the right Hand of the Father and has poured out the presence, the person, the Holy Spirit, Who is among us. He’s not merely alive as a fact to be used to prove something. He’s not merely alive so that we can pass an exam on the Resurrection; He’s alive in that He’s here and He’s now and Christianity is the religion, if you can call it that, of persons who are intimately connected with God, and talk to Him and hear Him and behold Him and He works in them, through them and by them. That’s Christianity!’ …Malcolm Smith

Tammy and I were talking the other day about artists: the paintings kind and music kind.  I mentioned that, in my opinion, with painting it’s not the hand it’s the eye, in music it’s not the voice it’s the ear.  I could have added to the conversation, in the Gospel it’s not the brain it’s the heart.  As believers it’s common and actually expected that we’ll have questions about our Gospel experience.  Everywhere Jesus went there were questions.  I believe it’s necessary to ‘hunger and thirst’ for more of God in order to: one- keep our Peace, two- to increase in the intimate relationship with His Spirit. Having questions is healthy and hopefully provoked by our hearts.  However, sometimes we simply ask questions that only our brains have any interest in.  Just prior to Jesus’ ascension, the disciples asked when would they see the kingdom?  What they were really asking was when will we see Israel’s kingdom replace Rome’s rule, when will the ancient promise of God’s Kingdom finally establish itself in their land.  What they didn’t understand was that wasn’t the reason Jesus came to earth or even why he chose them to be His people.  It was in some sense an illegal question.  That question came from their mind and had little to do with the Kingdom that Jesus was establishing.  As it goes, Jesus didn’t directly answer that question.  In fact, Jesus often routinely refused to answer ‘illegal’ questions; he simply answered the ones that should have been asked by those following him.  Many questions had, and still do, have to do with our Adamic nature (flesh) and little to do with the new nature that Christ was introducing.  C.S. Lewis pointed out that our questions to Jesus so much of the time are like asking him ‘is yellow square or round’ or ‘how many hours are there in a mile’.  Jesus’ answer concerning their kingdom question was: it’s not for you to know the time of that.  A few years ago I remember reading a quote, I don’t remember who said it, but it went like this: ‘… be prepared to meet Him who knows how to ask questions.’  Someday, and hopefully before we die, we’ll come face to face in our own personal press conference with the Spirit of Christ.   When that happens, maybe we will put down our fleshy questions and began asking the profound.  At that time, we’ll have to embrace Faith and not try to overdose on unnecessary information about either the past or future.  In that moment, Christ will simply be our daily manna, meeting today’s needs and preparing us for any future by preparing us for the present.

Jesus came to enable us, to bridge the gap between earth and Heaven.  He didn’t come to prove He was God, simply, he came to rescue people.  His rescue not only provided an eternal way of living but also a way to experience God’s Kingdom right now.  His Kingdom was established to work within our every day toil, not blowing away the world physically but Heavenly.  His Kingdom is for this world but not from it, a gift to the world but the world for the most part rejects it.  This Kingdom of God is not about the world becoming perfect, it’s more about finding God in the middle of this imperfect one. The Spirit of God has specially come to rest upon our hearts and comfort us in all things.  Sometimes our Spiritual Life becomes like a visit to Graceland, an experience that charges us up for a few days but we almost immediately begin looking for another experience to respond to emotionally.  We become comfortable living from miracle to miracle with little of the true Comfort of God in our daily lives. Perhaps, we too easily refer to the blending of Heaven and earth as miracles rather than the natural meeting place between God and humanity.  I’m not saying we’re in error identifying events as miracles.  What I am saying is that we can expect those and even more, we can expect the subtle Comfort of God each day plus those miracle moments.  Only seeing Him in the glorious, in the spontaneous, I’m just not sure that’s the pattern of Life that Christ expected for us or provided for us.

The role of the Spirit is to guide us and, if we permit it, He can do that daily.  He’s a Lamp unto us every day not just some days.  If that’s not true seems to me we’re all in big trouble.  The church is designed to work with the Spirit not for the Spirit.  Many times I feel as though we think God gave us the gift of salvation and now expects us to go sell it to people.  But if you look at the life of Christ you see him following the Spirit, doing nothing apart from It.  Then and still today, it’s that relationship that’s powerful in people’s lives.  Jesus was in a relationship with the Spirit, with the Father, and that cooperation created the biblical results we see in His life and potentially in ours.  It can’t be that he was just simply God and walked around on earth doing ‘because I’m God’ things.  While he was fully earthly and fully Heavenly, Jesus still depended upon ‘seeing’ what the Father was doing in order to finish the task set before him.  Our lives can resemble that kind of dependency as well.   Many times I think we get in too big a hurry, become impatient, and simply set out on our own, doing things our way and then frantically calling for God’s blessing on our mess. (I did type that with a smile.  But there’s truth there I think.)

Our relationship with the Spirit has His watermark on it.  Some of our paper currency and in many antique postage stamps, if held up to the light, have a hidden watermark that can be seen.  It’s an image buried in the paper that identifies that item as real, authentic, not counterfeit.   It validates that money or stamp as official, authorized by a higher authority.  Believers are watermarked as well.  There’s an image hidden in us.  Something that authorizes and identifies our Faith.  That watermark’s revealed in the light of our purpose and deeds.  Historically, just prior to Jesus appearing in Earth, the Herod family took upon themselves the re-furbishing of the Jewish Temple for one reason and one reason only: to validate Herod’s claim to be the true king of the Jews.  After all, prophesy had promised for centuries that someday a King would come and restore Israel, establish the Jewish kingdom forever.  In Herod’s mind, by simply doing the things of the prophesy he would receive the reward of the prophesy, i.e. be king.  But there was no God there, no authority to be king.  No watermark to authenticate, only his fleshly activity to ‘show’ himself as king.  You can see why Jesus was a very real political threat to the Roman system because Jesus was the true Royal.  The Spirit of God rested upon his shoulders, guided him in all authority and watermarked him for us to see him as the one true Messiah.

On a trip to Colorado a few years back I was taking pictures inside an old gold mining shack.  The shack had one small glass window. As I was taking a picture of the mountain thru that window I noticed that when I moved closer to the window my vision of the landscape improve drastically.  By moving closer that red mountain took on the green of the cedars and the extraordinarily hue of blue sky.  Much the same, as we move closer to God’s purpose of rescuing us, His moving toward us to bless us, we begin to see even more of the His beauty; the full landscape of His Grace.  Simply, Christ came to be with us.  Stepped into our world to grab hands with us as we travel some 80-90 years.  The Bible gives us the story of our beginning, and also there, we can read of a precise end.  But the middle of our story is by invitation.  Will you come and step into His world as He once stepped into yours?  That’s the choice. We can wrestle with all this life’s experience seemingly alone (or at the best with a few companions) or we can step into a place provided for us by the Love of God, called the Kingdom of God, step into a place that eye has not seen nor have we ever imagined all that Father, Son and Spirit have prepared for us even now and in our future.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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