Category: Praise



“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” -Revelation 3:8

20120322-004902.jpg

The Book of Revelation is one that is commonly cited in regards to prophecy concerning what is still to come to pass in the end times. Though the theme of Revelation certainly addresses this, there are still many deep and wonderful messages contained within. This verse is certainly no exception, and it spoke to me personally in a profound way. Christ, through John, addresses how He views those that flail about, struggle and falter. Glory to Christ that He still loves us despite our backsliding.

20120322-005339.jpg

While we struggle against sin, we tend to think, without necessarily articulating it, that the Lord pays more attention to our faults rather than our victories. The wonderful message here is the Christ knows and pays attention to everything. The Lord has seen our struggle and seen us denying ourselves in His name, as well as our trespasses, which He forgives us for, if we do not deny Him!

20120322-005828.jpg

I have recently been struggling with this very thing, and the answer came to me in a vision. On the evening of March 10th, I laid down to rest after a productive day of work. There are moments I feel the joy of the Lord, most certainly, but I tend to always feel He is disappointed in me. So as I lay there a clear vision popped into my head of a door opening. It’s hard to describe, realize I only use the word vision, for lack of any better terminology. It seemed to be registered in a visual sense, but was also resonated in my mind and spirit. It would be kind of how you might see a picture within TV static and how your not really sure if the image was there or if your mind produced the image. This is the only example I could really equate it with. Of course, with the vision, I had a certainty that it was there. This fact is further evidenced by what was to come.

20120322-010039.jpg

I realized the lack of the knob is an important piece of the vision, meaning that this door could not be opened by my own accord, but rather had to be opened from the inside. It was one of the most clear visions I ever had and I got up immediately and transcribed the experience. In addition to the vision, there was the idea planted within my head and that it would require more study. I looked in a concordance for “open doors,” and the first verse I came across indicated that the vision wasn’t necessarily directed at me, but someone very close and dear to me. When I shared it with her, she found it as profound as I did and it blessed her greatly. Amen!

20120322-010338.jpg

The second verse I ran across was directed at me, and it is indeed the one I write of today. Not only have I came back under grace as the vision suggests, but the Lord is aware of my efforts. As I have said, I always looked at the disappointment of the Lord, when I fail. Thereby, I have completely forgot the joy of the Lord. How delighted our Lord is when someone turns from sin or temptation in His name! As He says in this verse, “I know your deeds,” He is aware of my victories and failings, and if I feel the Spirit’s conviction through my failings, then it follows that the Spirit is too delighted by my victories. Due to my past and how it torments me, I was unwilling to accept this due to my own feeling of inadequacy, which negates and disrespects the grace offered. While He has forgiven me, I don’t allow this forgiveness to manifest joy in my Spirit. Rather, I keep working for the Lord, as if by my actions He will consider me righteous. Yet, through what action can man be made righteous? The answer is none, and I must allow myself to have the faith in the Lord that produces confidence, hope, and culminates in joy.

20120322-010833.jpg

Despite this realization, it won’t be an overnight change, but the Lord is telling me to find joy in all that He has done for me. He knows my weaknesses, but at the same time has opened the doors into His kingdom and opened the doors of opportunity in my life. Though I haven’t always kept His word, I kept it in my heart and never denied the Lord, but it was through my conversion and the building of a relationship with Him, by which I was granted a spirit that strives to overcome temptation. I am weak but the Lord’s joy is being offered to me, if I choose to accept it.

20120322-011028.jpg

Friends, I pray that you would choose to accept the joy of the Lord in your life. The enemy likes to throw our misdeeds in our face when we approach the cross, so that we hide our face from Jesus, rather than look upon Him as we kneel before the Lamb. The Lord knows your deeds in your life, you have done nothing that shocks Him, and if you are given the opportunity for grace, as the Scripture tells us all are, then it follows that His grace can cover your misdeeds, for He knew of you before His crucifixion. I often wonder when Christ prayed, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do,” if He was only praying for those who nailed Him to the cross or for all man?

20120322-011304.jpg

We know not what we do, but Christ knows. I encourage you, and myself, to step into the joy that Christ grace has offered us. To not only view our shortcomings, but accept when the Lord is proud of us. All this so that the door, which we cannot open, may be opened to you, granting you access into eternal life and a deeper relationship with our Lord and God, amen.

20120322-011540.jpg

Advertisements

“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” -Romans 6:18

image

Who or what is your master? Like it or not, we all chase after or focus on something, and it is this same something which dictates or determines our actions, thoughts, goals or desires. Man tends to think he is the master over his own life, but this isn’t the case. Man can choose what has dominion over him, this much is true, but once it is decided, it is sealed, and that individual becomes a slave to that very thing.

Relative recent history gives the term, “slave,” a certain infamy and therefore power, in a very negative sense. Does Paul mean “slave” with the same sort of negative connotation that it has today? I argue not, but let us first understand that slavery in the Scripture, is very different from those, “recent,” examples that blot our history, particularly that of the western tradition. Indeed, much slavery included in the Bible concerns the repayment of debts. Yet, now, Christ has paid our debt in full, that by our faith in Him, it may be credited to us as righteousness. Furthermore, Christ doesn’t refer to us as slaves, but rather, sons, daughters, and even, friends.

Paul indicates repeatedly in his letters, that we are either slaves to sin, or slaves to righteousness. Yet, if we are slaves to righteousness, aren’t we then slaves to God? Furthermore, if this is the case, then can’t it be said that God has no more morality than any of those southern plantation owners, who “employed,” slaves in early American history?

In actuality, the answer is a resounding no! For although Paul uses the word, he does so to put it in, “human terms.” When we examine the slavery mentioned by Paul and juxtapose it with the slavery of history, we find a key difference, and, in fact, it is Christ Himself who is the key that unlocks the shackles that bind our hands and feet, setting us free!

When we look at the contemporary conception of the institution of slavery, we find it not only terrible, but completely self-serving. Though slavery is for the benefit of one, the land owner, Christ came for the benefit of many. In Christ we do serve God, but we too are rewarded in and by our efforts, We find that we benefit in being slaves to righteousness, which negates slavery altogether. In addition, we find others benefit in our being “slaves” to this righteousness, and we are given eternal life and glorify God with our very lives.

Sin is the true slavery, and more in tune with the current view of slavery then the antithesis. For though man’s carnal desires may be satisfied in short term, there is no true benefit, only pacification. What is true is what is eternal. Live for righteousness that you may be a slave no longer, live for Christ. Through sin came pain, death, and misery, but through Christ, we gain contentment, life, and joy. Glory be to God who through His Son broke us out of the bonds and freed us from sin and the wage that comes from it, death.


“For to be sure, He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s Power. Likewise, we are weak in Him, yet by God’s power we will live with Him to serve you.” -2 Corinthians 13:4

Photobucket

When we read the Scriptures, we cannot help but be impressed with the lengths Christ had to descend in His humility to accomplish the goal. Though Paul offers a great compare/contrast here, there is one major difference between the weakness of Christ and the weakness of mere man. The weakness of Christ was manifest due to His perfect obedience, while the weakness of man, is often made apparent by our disobedience. The weakness of Christ, and His humility, even to the point of death, is infinitely stronger than the greatest of man’s strength! He was perfectly obedient, for Christ was well aware of His mission on earth, and that it must be completed, lest none of us become saved.
Photobucket
Yet, as we realize that Christ was man, as well as a vital part of the Trinity, we see that Christ had His struggles. Not to the point of sin and disobedience, for if this were the case our faith would be meaningless, but rather, as a man, He dealt with temptation and even fear. We do not have a Lord who sits up on high, making commands from afar, with no personal understanding of the difficulty man has in overcoming sin. Instead, we have a Lord who became man, faced the very same challenges we face, and more, was crucified, and rose again victorious.

Photobucket
Thereby, it gives us hope to realize our Lord did wage war against sin, temptation, and looked upon His crucifixion with trepidation. This is, of course, to put it mildly. We are told in Luke 22:44, that during His praying within the garden of Gethsemane that He sweat as blood. This, and His prayer, in which He prayed God would take the cup from Him if it was His will, are some heavy indications of the turmoil and fear Christ must have felt in that part of His nature that was man. Yet, could He have sweat blood?

Photobucket
This rare medical condition is known as hematidrosis, or, hematohidrosis. Rather than some kind of obscure condition, though it’s rare, history, apart from the account of Christ, is full of examples of this occurring. In fact, Leonardo da Vinci, wrote the account of a solider who sweat blood before battle. I also recall hearing an account of a young girl who living in or near London during the blitz sweat blood out of fear. The blood vessels around the sweat glands rupture, the blood seeping into the glands, and it pushes the blood and sweat to the surface. The experience is said to be rather painful, for the skin becomes extremely tender.

Photobucket
Even to the point of shedding His blood in such a fashion, Christ was obedient to the Fathers will, and though He could have stopped the crucifixion, and indeed destroyed all of Rome, He did not. To be obedient to God,  He appeared as weak, though in reality, He was strong, so that by what occurred at Calvary, we may all be saved by His strength and obedience, and that we may be clothed in it, even in our weakness, to serve God and others as Christ did. As the Father raised Christ, so too will we be raised, for like our sin was put upon Christ at Golgotha, His righteousness will be put upon even the weakest of those who come to Him in faith and persevere. To Him be all the praise and glory. Amen.
Photobucket


“Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” -Matthew 28:7

Photobucket
In my previous entry (see my note concerning 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, “On a Brief Overview of The ‘Historical Christ,’ Contradiction, and Biblical Omission”), I discussed some of the paradox among the Gospels concerning the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was my hypothesis that all the Gospels meshed together to form a perfect narrative. One of the assumed contradictions, has to do with Mary Magdalene and her companions encounter with an angel outside the tomb. Yet, in Luke 24:4, it says there are two angels and they speak to the women inside the tomb. However, when we read Mark 16:5, only one angel inside the tomb is recounted.

Photobucket

Many theories concerning the reconciliation of these encounters have been offered, including that there are multiple groups of women, or that Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples after being spoken to by the angel outside the tomb, who sat upon the stone that had been rolled away. She is at times said not to enter the tomb until later. Yet, I concluded after some prayer for illumination, that the angel on the outside spoke to them and they entered the tomb where they encountered at least one more heavenly being. As for how many angels were in the tomb, I address that in my previous entry as well.

Photobucket

The Lord led me back to this verse, and I found some more evidence suggesting that my interpretation, at least in this case, may be correct. Let us closely examine the angel’s words. In Chapter 28, Verse 6, of Matthew, the angel says:

“He (Christ) is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.”

To me this sounded like an invite to see the evidence which was visible within the tomb, but my cited indications advocating this truth essentially ended there. However, the beginning of Verse 7 may contain a bit more evidence. It may not be earth shattering, but adds a little extra confirmation that my interpretation concerning this event may be correct. When we look at Verse 7, it begins with the word, “then.”

Photobucket

"Angel Seated on The Stone of The Tomb," by James Tissot. watercolor, c. 1886

What this means to me is that the angel in reality did invite or command them into the tomb, in order that they may “see the place where He lay.” The term, “then,” suggests further instructions by the angel, that immediately after viewing the tomb they should embark on and hasten to tell the disciples, for Christ is said to be going ahead of them. When they finally reach the disciples, after seeing Jesus themselves, they tell them of the empty tomb. They were disbelieved, but regardless Peter and John ran to the tomb to investigate Mary’s claim. If Mary and her companions did not yet enter the tomb, as some believe, then only their encounter with the angel would have been mentioned along with their encounter with Christ. They would’ve lacked seeing the evidence with their own eyes that His body was missing.

Photobucket

"Saint Peter and Saint John Run to the Sepulchre," by James Tissot. watercolor, c. 1884-1896

As Christ had first went into Galilee ahead of the women, so too does He go ahead of us, preparing a place for us in His Father’s house, and when we get there, we will likewise see Him. Though Christ had a new glorified body, the Firstfruit (see my note concerning 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, “On The Chaos of Reason, The Firstfruit, and The Transfiguration”), we see that this body isn’t bound by physical laws, or even death. Christ was able to move throughout Israel at His own will, without traveling in the manner of a mortal man. He would simply appear. This gives us some clues into what our new bodies will be like once they are granted unto us, through faith in the Son.

Photobucket

Stained Glass Window in The Duomo, Florence, by Paolo Uccello. c. 1443

I would like to thank the Lord that when we come to Him and pray over His word, He illuminates the Scriptures beyond our mere mortal understanding. His faithfulness in answering such prayers is truly amazing. Thank you Lord for revealing the mysteries of your Word, unto the likes of me, a disobedient sinner. May this glorify You, and may You put a hedge of protection around my heart, that in your revelations I may not grow prideful, but rather give you the praise and see myself in sober judgement always. May your name be revered, blessed, and worshipped for all eternity. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Photobucket

"Resurrection of Christ and the Women at the Tomb," by Fra Angelico. fresco, c. 1440

Thank you Lord for blessing me with Terie, a fantastic “Editor-in-Chief.” 🙂


“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” -1 Corinthians 15:17

"Resurrection of Christ," by Noel Coypel. oil on canvas, c. 1700

Due to our sin and the guilt that remained a stain upon us, Christ had to die if we had any hope of being saved at all, but not just that. We find, even in His death, we are not saved, but rather it offered us the door into salvation (see my note concerning Romans 5:10, “On Holy Boot Camp and a Conversation With The Dark Messenger”). Yet, it is His resurrection that the gospel comes to a full fruition and we are saved. It is by His sacrifice, in which He endured great suffering and died that in His righteousness, He would rise again, the firstfruit of this same righteousness. When we come to the Lord, our sin, iniquities, and old selves die upon the cross, but in His life we began to truly live. Thus, because of Christ’s perfect obedience, in its time and season, we too will rise again with a new body, free from decay, a like kind of what Christ was awarded.

Romans Chapter 4, Verse 25, tells us:

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

May we praise and bless His eternal name, for His death provided the needed justification and His resurrection the righteousness, that we may be seen as clean and free from blemish in the sight of God. In and by Christ, both God’s justice and grace (see note on Romans 6:23, “On The Justice and The Gift”) were manifest to completion, in order that we may drink from the river of life, and to Him we return the glory. Amen.
Photobucket


“‘He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed.'” -1 Peter 2:24

Photobucket

"Christ on The Cross With Three Angels," by Albrecht Durer. sketch, c. 1525

Though I try not to look at Scripture in a purely aesthetic context, I am a nerd and there are times, or rather verses, where I feel almost overcome by its beauty. This verse is no different. Eons before the arrival of Shakespeare, the apostle Peter recounts something worthy of the “Hamlet” author, by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:5). As Shakespeare liked to utilize compare/contrast and antithesis in his poems and plays, Peter and Isaiah do similarly with the phrases, “die to sins and live for righteousness,” and, “by His wounds you have been healed.”

Photobucket

The antithesis represented by the words, “die,” “live,” “wounds,” and, “healed,” emphasize what Christ endured on our behalf, and for what cause. Christ was mocked, flogged, crowned with thorns, and crucified, in order that, by Him, we may be crowned by His glory and receive the gift of eternal life, returning the glory to its rightful place. In our salvation, we praise and glorify our savior, who bore incredible suffering for the likes of sinful, grotesque and undeserving man, that by His love, we may dwell with Him inside eternity. No praise seems worthy, for His glory far outweighs what we can offer. Yet, we strive to perfect our praise, love, and adoration in our hearts, spirits, minds and actions, for this is what God desires, commands and more than deserves. May our praises upon the alter of humility be a pleasant aroma unto our Lord and God whose glory and grace far outweigh what we could ever hope to offer.

Photobucket

"Deposition," by Albrecht Durer. engraving, c. 1512

%d bloggers like this: