The Gospel of Grace

The Bible tells us that we are justified by grace (Charis) through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Titus 3:7)

To be justified means to be made innocent. To be made righteous.

However to continue living in sin according to scriptures will produce death. Now some say that this includes spiritual death while others say only physical death due to consequence for sin. Regardless of that age old question let us consider the point of the whole argument.

Death according to this verse in Romans is thanatos in the Greek.

Thanatos is a Grecian deity. According to ancient Greek beliefs this god puts people to sleep and carries them off to the underworld.

That doesn’t exactly sound like a position any Christian wants to find themselves in.

Paul tells us in Romans 6 that Christians are not to continue in sin counting on grace to abound or continue for them.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Romans 6:1

Romans goes on to tell us that those of us who have been baptized into Christ’s death have put off the old man and are raised like Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father.

When Jesus rose from the dead he took the power away from Thanatos (to take men to the underworld). So now that old devil Thanatos has no more ability to keep the Christian under his dominion.

Christians who are born of God have a new Lord who rules over their life. Jesus Christ the righteous.

Since this is true, scriptures tell us the old man is dead to sin. Thanatos has no more authority to rule over the blood bought redeemed.

Jesus took the keys or dominion away from Thanatos and his partner Hades. 

These two demons have no power to rule over the Christian.

Giving sin or hamartia place in our life gives Thanatos opportunity to rule over us.

Hamartia is the Greek word for sin. It means to come to a tragic end in ancient Greek literature.

When a character in an ancient Greek story came to a tragic end it was because they  committed a grievous mistake or error in judgment.

Hamartia by the ancient Greek definition is the inner quality or character of a person which causes the action to occur. In other words the sin or hamartia nature. This bad action determines the character of a person.

How a person reacts to life circumstance determines the character which in turn creates the outcome. The consequence for hamartia always results in a tragic end.

This word is used by Paul to show that bad behavior results in a negative consequence. Whether you are a Christian or not. Sin will always lead to a tragic end.

In Jesus Christ this nature or hamartia is done away with. Instead of coming to a tragic end the Christian whose sins are forgiven now result in a good end.

Christians (born of God) have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. To be alive unto God is to have the new man yielded to the Holy Spirit which exercises dominion over hamartia. Thus preventing Thanatos from having his way.

The key to this equation being realized is the phrase “know ye not.”

Don’t you know that you have been baptized into Christ’s death? He has tasted death for every man. Don’t you know that the whole of hamartia has been destroyed? Don’t you know that you are made free from the dominion of Thanatos so you don’t have to come to a tragic end?

The key is knowing. When you know you have been delivered from the power of darkness then you can yield to the Holy Spirit. You are bought with a price. Redeemed from Hades and Thanatos. Set free from their dominion to serve God in newness of life!

So don’t let hamartia reign in your mortal body. Rather yield or give over your members or body to God so he can control your life by his Holy Spirit.

The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-14

The Light

The Light

The Bible says that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

What exactly does being the light mean? Is it literal or metaphorical or both? In order to answer this question we need to understand what exactly light is.

Light by definition is both a noun and a verb. As a natural phenomena light makes things visible. When our visual receptors are stimulated we are able to see. Light is a form of energy that exists in tiny packets called photons.  Specifically light is electromagnetic radiation of any wave length that travels in a vacuum with a speed that makes the radiation visible to the natural eye.

As a verb light brings illumination or revelation of truth. To make something that was otherwise hidden, visible.

God is light. Jesus is the light of the world. He brings God’s truth into the world.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life . (John 8:12)

To walk in darkness is to be blinded. Scriptures tell us that the god of this world has blinded the eyes of men. Without God’s light humanity is blinded to the truth of the gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Satan can also manifest as a false light, interestingly enough. (2 Corinthians 11:14 )

What this means is that the accuser can manifest as a messenger of artifical light.

Artifical light is a mirage. An optical illusion. When a light wave is bent by heated air across the sky, it can cause a visual phenomena called a mirage.

This type of optical illusion is what the satans (fallen angels, accusers) use. They bend truth, spout it out like hot air and create a deception. An artificial light.

God’s light illuminates truth. Satan’s light creates illusions, deceptions and distortions.

God who is light operates both in the natural and spiritual realm. These two realms coexist together and operate in parallels.

Ps. 18:28 tells us that God turns our darkness into light. Through the illumination of his Holy Spirit, God reveals his truth.

God’s light keeps our lamp or spiritual eyes illuminated as we continue in his word. The entrance or doorway to God’s light is through his word.

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Ps. 18:28

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119: 105

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119: 130

God’s word is light.

Light is made up of 3 types of phenomena. 

Reflection is when a ray of light strikes a smooth surface and bounces off.
That is how we can see our reflection in the water.

In the same way the light of God’s presence in our life reflects the image of Jesus Christ.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Mathew 5:16

Jesus is the image of God in human form. God created a physical body and was born as a human being. Jesus is God in the flesh. The exact representation of God.

We are created as expressions of God. In his image. 

Tselem (Hebrew)
A resemblance or image.

Those born of God reflect his presence. We are lights in the darkness and also reflections representing him in this world.

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

You are the light of the world

The next light phenomena is called  scattering. This is when light bounces off a rough object and reflects in all directions. 

For example when light shines on you through the clouds, instead of directly hitting you, light scatters. Only some of the rays are extended to you because of the object that is blocking.

That is why many times God spoke to the children of Israel through a cloud. No human can handle a direct onslaught of God’s light. It would destroy us. Kind of like being burned to a crisp when in direct sunlight. You need a barrier in order to handle it.

Today God speaks to us through his Son. The word manifest in the flesh. Human to human. God became human in order to to save us from sin. Also to represent himself to the world. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Those born of God have God’s Holy Spirit residing in them. They are his lamps bringing his reflection or image to a lost world.

The lost who are in darkness cannot handle a direct onslaught of God’s light. They need to see and hear the truth through a filter, your temple!

Paul became blind when he got blasted with God’s light but he did get revelation knowledge of who Jesus Christ is.

Paul sees the light

God’s people represent him in this dark world. Human vessels carrying God himself to a lost world.

Refraction is when a ray of light passes from one transparent medium into another. Like from air to water. This causes the light to change speed which bends the light toward or away from the object.

Examples of light refraction are rainbows and sunsets.

God’s light in a rainbow reminds the world of his promise of grace and mercy.

Rainbow God’s promises are yes and amen.

The sunset reminds us that the night is here. The day of grace will one day be over.

Sunset

Jesus said the light of the body is the eye. If your eye is evil your body will be filled with darkness. If your eye is single then the whole body is full of light. (Matthew 6:22)

If the vision is filled with dark things then it will corrupt the body. Eventually if not corrected the body will be completely taken over with darkness. That is become completely corrupt.

If however your eye is single, that is clear without darkness then your whole body will be filled with light.

Light is composed of electric and magnetic fields or electromagnetic radiation.

 The fields vibrate at right angles to the direction of movement of the wave, and at right angles to each other.

God’s light radiates or emits illumination. God’s light goes into all the world. Each wave of light is a reflection of his image. God spreads forth his illumination through the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the world. He does this through his vessels that are filled with the Holy Spirit’s light.

When the electromagnetic radiation travels in a vacuum, at a speed of 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second) this is the speed of light.

God’s light is traveling throughout all the world bringing illumination of his truth. Like the speed of light God’s light is traveling swiftly to bring his gospel message around the globe. Today the message of God’s love and salvation have reached millions of people. In the darkest of places the light of God has penetrated and continues to penetrate.

God is light and in him is no darkness at all. When his light comes into a place the darkness must flee.

This is why Jesus commanded. “Go into all the world and preach my gospel.”(Mark 16:15)

Go ye

Wherever you go, you bring God’s light. Wherever God’s light is the darkness has to leave.

Darkness cannot put out the light. When the light comes in it illuminates what was hidden in the darkness. It makes everything known.

One day the light will completely overtake all darkness. When this happens the King of glory will come in. He will rule and reign forever. His light will light up everything. There will not be any need for the sun or moon anymore because God’s light is sufficient. His light will reflect his presence throughout all the earth. Even into eternity. 

Departing From The Faith

What does it mean to depart from the faith?
To ‘depart’ in the Greek is aphistēmi which means to revolt against, remove from, desert, depart or draw away from.

You can’t depart or leave something unless you once were in something. Now its debatable whether the one who departs was once really saved or not but they had some understanding. They were enlightened. Scriptures tell us that if one has been enlightened and tasted of heavenly things and falls away it is impossible for them to repent.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4,6

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. 1 Timothy 4:1

This “departing” is departing from the faith or pistis. That is the conviction of reliance upon Jesus Christ for salvation. Instead those who depart give heed to demonic doctrines which do not rely on Jesus Christ for salvation.

Some departing doctrines are obvious to most Christians but others are very subtle. That devil is a wily one.

The main theme to look for is if the teacher or preacher, prophet or apostle, pastor or evangelist moves away from trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation. Even a teeny weeny bit.

There is no specific day of the week, no ritual or rite, no performance, no other way, no other man made book, no self help principle, no personal preference, no successful endeavor, no  jot or tittle, no other name, no addition, no subtraction. NOTHING.

There is nothing that can give you salvation with eternal life but complete trust and reliance on Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

It is written.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9,10

Remember Lot’s Wife?

Remember Lot’s wife?

This is the admonition Jesus gave to his disciples concerning his coming again.

Let’s recollect about Lot’s wife.

Before Lot and his family left Sodom the angels gave the Lord’s command.

Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Lot’s wife however disobeyed the word of the Lord and turned into a pillar of salt.

Now why do you suppose she would do that? Obviously it was more than just curiosity.

To “look back” in this scripture is the Hebrew word nâbaţ which means to look intently at, to regard with pleasure and care, to consider, to have respect for.

This means that Lot’s wife had an affinity to the place she was leaving. A sentiment for her home. An emotional attachment to the people she was leaving behind.

Jesus goes on after giving this admonition to say in Luke chapter 17,

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall preserve it.

“Losing our life” is the key point that the Lord is telling us here.

According to scriptures our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.

“To lose” in this scripture means to die. Apollumi in the Greek. Which means to put to death or consider non operative.

Paul says that he dies daily. Death to self and the world is an every day thing.

Did you know that if we love the world or the things of the world then God’s love does not reside in us?

A sure way to tell a true Christian from a false one is if they are accepted by the world and if they love the things of the world.

What are the things of the world? Anything that the world esteems highly!

What does the world esteem highly?

John (1John 2) tells us that the things of the world are whatever your flesh or carnal nature lust after. Whatever your eyes lust after and whatever outside of God makes you feel prideful or you boast about.

So let me put this in modern terms. Whatever the world is running after, craving, pursuing, seeking for, desiring, addicted to, loving, and is their heart’s desire.

If you love those things too then you are not one of the Lord’s disciples. Sure you may believe in Jesus Christ but even the devil believes in God.

Remember that Jesus gave this warning.

Another way to tell a true Christian from a false one is how much they brag about themselves. How worthy they are. How blessed they are. How many special qualities they have. How wonderful their position in life is. How awesome their works are. How great life is treating them. Basically whatever is all about them.

Paul said that he boasted only in the Lord. He put no confidence in his own abilities. He boasted in being weak so that God could demonstrate HIS power through him.

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Jesus told us as recorded by Luke(14) that if we desire to follow Jesus Christ and become one of his disciples then we must take up our cross. That is we must be willing to suffer like he did.

How did Jesus Christ suffer?

He was misunderstood, persecuted, judged, bullied, hated, ridiculed, beaten, and even put to death.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

Remember Lot’s wife? She turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to what God judged as evil. In the Hebrew pillar is netsîyb which means a post or garrison.

God made Lot’s wife into a sign post. For all with eyes to see. A reminder to “don’t look back.”

John 15:18-25

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

Being a Light

When we think of the word offend we think of it according to the English definition (To insult one’s standard or principles) 

The Bible has a different definition depending on the context of the verse but ultimately have the same connotations. To offend someone does not mean to insult someone’s principles but rather to cause someone to fall.

Offend in the Hebrew  language has several definitions. It can be translated as châbal which means to pervert, corrupt or spoil.

It can be translated as bâgad which means to deal deceitfully, be treacherous or unfaithful.

It can be mikshôl which is to be a stumbling block or cause to fall.

It can be âsham which means to perish, become desolate, be found guilty, to trespass.

In the Greek language the word offend can be translated as skandalizō , skandalon or ptaiō which all mean to entrap, to trip up, to entice to sin, to cause to stumble.

In effect, “to offend” according to scripture means: to cause someone to fall, be a stumbling block, to corrupt, cause to err, to pervert, to spoil,

Jesus tells us how seriously he takes this sin.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

The epistles of the apostles reiterate this admonition.

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Roman’s 14:13

What the Bible is telling us is to try and live our life in such a way that our conscience is clean. Even if it means giving up something that would cause others to reject Jesus Christ.

In this way we can be a witness in the world.

Now we are not going to be able to please everyone and some people will find fault with us no matter how holy we live but we must not deliberately offend or be nonchalant in our witness.

Paul said he became all things to all people that he might win them to Christ. In other words wherever he went he respected (within reason) the culture he was in. He maintained his Christian witness while not offending anyone on purpose.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22

The cross in and of itself is an offense to some people. They may behave very inappropriately towards Christians if they have an offense towards the gospel. If they do that they may cause themselves to stumble away from the truth. (1 Corinthians 1:22)

However, as Christians we must in all good conscience live in the light, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not be a stumbling block deliberately to another person.

That means not causing anyone to do anything that goes against their conscience or doing anything in front of someone that may cause them to fall even if we have liberty to do it.

Jesus gave us an example in scriptures. He paid his taxes so as not to offend, he took a lowly position in order to not be offensive to others, he fulfilled all righteousness even though he was Lord of all and he remained humble throughout his walk in this earth.

Jesus tells us that just as he laid down his life to be a benefit for others so should we lay down our lives for the benefit of others. It does not matter if it causes us discomfort, rejection, or ridicule.

What matters is that we do not offend in all conscience by putting a stumbling block before others.

A perfect example of this is Paul’s attitude in dealing with the Corinthians.

Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.

1 Corinthians 8:13

Dear Father in Jesus name help us to not be a stumbling block to others in this world. Give us your wisdom in every situation. Let your light shine through us always. Amen

Have the Same Mind!

1 Peter 4:1,2 tells Christians that just as Jesus Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we should also have the same mind, for whoever suffers in the flesh ceases to live a life according to the desires of the carnal nature. Those living in the Spirit live according to the will of God. 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14

What does Peter mean by suffering in the flesh?

Suffering is experiencing discomfort and even pain. Peter is referring to suffering in the body or physical pain. The body is still in an unredeemed state and if allowed to will sin like the dickens! Peter is telling Christians that the body needs to be crucified or put down so that the life of Christ in our spirit can live for God according to God’s will.

Putting the body or carnal nature down (not allowing it to rule ) is not something we can do in our own power.

Romans 8:13 tells us that if we live according to the flesh or sin nature we will die. The flesh wants all kinds of things that can kill us. Junk food, addictions, entertainment, laziness and much more! The bible says that those who live in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

Living for self is harmful. The desires of the flesh and the carnal mind will lead to spiritual dysfunction, physical ailments, and emotional sickness.

God gives us his remedy for putting down the flesh. He tells us that if we mortify or put to death the desires of the flesh by the Spirit that dwells in us then we will live or have an abundant life as promised by Jesus in the gospels.

Let’s take a look at the suffering of Jesus Christ according to Isaiah 53.

Peter tells us to have this same mind concerning suffering.

According to this prophecy Jesus Christ was despised.

To be despised means to not be valued. To be seen as worthless. Our flesh wants to be valued and praised and adored but sometimes in order to do God’s will we my have to be despised. Not everyone will like us and in fact they may even hate us. Preaching the gospel for another’s benefit or serving someone who does not like us may actually be bringing them a benefit. 

Our flesh does not like to suffer shame and humiliation but sometimes it is necessary in order to accomplish God’s will in certain situations.

Jesus Christ gave his life for his enemies. He loved those who did not love him back. Are we armed with this mindset?

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20

Jesus was rejected because his values are not appreciated by some people. We may not be liked or valued or accepted ether by those who are not disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we armed with this mindset?

 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Jesus was afflicted. That means he had to endure pain, abuse, bullying and scoffing. Are we armed with this mindset?

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude 1:18

Jesus bore our sorrows, he endured shame, he bore our griefs, and he carried our burdens.

Galatians 6: 2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. This means that when we are armed with the mindset of Jesus Christ, we come alongside another and help them carry their burden. Whether it’s in prayer, giving, ministering, helping, or serving. Even if it is not appreciated.

Paul tells us that we are to consider our sufferings in this world to be unworthy of the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus suffered for us and as his children we are to have the same mindset.

Our flesh wants pleasure not suffering. We want recognition, respect and rewards for our good deeds, but Jesus tells us to love like he does, unconditionally. That means no strings.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Jesus bore sorrow, pain, and grief for our sake so that through his affliction he could bring us healing. Jesus was wounded so that through his stripes we could receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

Jesus endured the cross and the shame so that he could bring many out of darkness and make them his children. When we are armed with this mindset, we can endure our sufferings for the benefit of others.

Jesus Christ’s suffering brought us not only salvation but righteousness and justification. He suffered in patience and endurance because he knew what the outcome would be. Armed with Jesus Christ’s mindset we can patiently wait for a good outcome too.

No suffering in this life is pleasant scriptures tell us BUT it is working out for us a far greater work of glory.  

Think about that! When we patiently endure and prayer then God will walk through our suffering with us. He will help us carry our burdens so that we can bear up under it.

The outcome of our suffering will come in God’s perfect timing. Just trust him for faithful is he who has promised.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to keep your flesh down so it doesn’t react to injustice.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

Good From Nazareth?

Luke Chapter 4, tells us that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. ” If you are really the Son of God then prove it,” (my paraphrase)

Jesus does not comply. He had nothing to prove. Jesus knows who he is!

Considering the source, Jesus rejects the temptation. He tells the devil to take a hike.

Then after that temptation trial Jesus returns in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.

There Jesus becomes well known throughout all of that region. Jesus teaches in the synagogues, heals the sick, casts out devils. All the people are blessed!

After that Jesus comes to the city of Nazareth where he grew up and where every one knows him as Jesus the carpenter.

It was in a synagogue in Nazareth (where he probably went every Sabbath as a kid) that Jesus reads from the book of Isaiah, announcing that he is the fulfillment of that Messianic prophecy.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Isaiah 61:1,2

After closing the Torah Jesus sits down. Everyone’s eyes are on him.

Then Jesus gives notice to all the people that he had grown up with that he is the promised Messiah.

This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:21

Only Messiah could fulfill that scripture. He knew that. They knew that.

The people of Nazareth were blown away by that announcement. Is this not Joseph’s son?

Whaaattt? Is he saying what we think he’s saying?

Then Jesus tells these people who he knows on a personal basis.  And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. Luke 4:23

Seems quite fantastic that Jesus knowing full well he would be rejected in Nazareth would make the announcement of his being the promised Messiah there. To all his friends and family.

Is there a bigger picture happening here?

Nazareth was a small town. Populated mostly with farmers, shepherds and labourers. It basically was a place with low social status.

That is why Nathanael said to Jesus “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46

Jesus goes to his own home town, small and insignificant, tells them he is their promised Messiah and they out right reject him!

Who saw that coming?

After Jesus tells them that a prophet is never honored in his own home town the people in the synagogue get so riled up that they literally grab Jesus and haul him to a cliff in order to toss him off. They were intent on harming Jesus. Maybe even kill him.

The guy had the audacity to call himself a prophet! That’s it! He’s out of here!

But passing through their midst…what? How could that happen? They had him by the scruff of the neck and he passed through them?

Well Jesus transported or something because he got away.

Then Jesus goes to the next town and preaches in their synagogue. The people in that place were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

That place loved him! At least they loved the miracles.

I think Jesus was making a point or a prophetic act if you will when he announced who he was in Nazareth.

Nazareth was a foretaste of what was going to happen to Jesus in the future. The whole nation of Israel would reject him but this time instead of throwing him off a cliff they would crucify him.

Interesting but it goes even further than that today. Now it seems the world is rejecting Jesus’ Christ’s claim to be Messiah or Savior of the world with the same old unbelief.

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Where is the promise of his coming? Who made that guy a ruler over us?

Jesus gives the same answer today as he always does to the doubters. 

One day you will say to me …if you really are the Son of God ….prove yourself…make these stones turn to bread….fix all these problems we ourselves have created. You are only an historical figure. We don’t want you! Give us Barabbas. You know that rebel! We want him not you!

History really does repeat itself doesnt it?

There is a good ending to this story however. Remember what the angels said after Jesus rose from the dead and was taken up in the clouds in front of over 100 of his disciples?

Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:11

And don’t forget this time, “Every eye will see him!” Revelation 1:7

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Maranatha! 

“I Have Seen the Lord!”

It is interesting to note that the very first person that Jesus revealed himself to after he was risen from the dead was Mary Magdalene.

Why do you think that was? Something to think about!

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Mark 16:9

Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ disciples. She is mentioned many times in the gospels.

Because Mary was a common name of the time and several other women called Mary followed Jesus too the name Magdalene was given to distinguish her from the others.

Mary was probably from Magdala. A fishing village in Galilee. This is interesting because Mary Magdalene was the first evangelist to go and tell others that Jesus was risen from the dead!

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4: 19

Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus Christ who also supported his ministry.

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. Luke 8:1-56

Mary Magdalene was a woman that had seven demons cast out of her. Why would scriptures mention that Mary Magdalene had 7 devils cast out of her?

Scriptures do not tell us that any of the disciples had demons cast out of them. To be demonized meant she had some kind of suffering. Maybe sickness or trauma or a sinful lifestyle. We don’t really know. What we do know is that Mary Magdalene became devoted to Jesus Christ. This means that whatever ailments she had she was truly grateful to be healed! 7 is the Hebrew number for perfection. Mary Magdalene’s healing was complete. She was made whole!

Mary Magdalene stood faithfully with Jesus as he was crucified. She never fled. She was there praying.

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[of God!”

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mark 27:50-56

This may be one of the reasons why Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus Christ risen from the dead and was commissioned to tell the disciples about it.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:11-18

Since women’s testimony was generally excluded under Jewish law the fact that Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene first and commissioned her to tell the other disciples is significant.

“Women were not allowed to testify in court. In effect, this categorized them with Gentiles, minors, deaf-mutes, and “undesirables” such as gamblers, the insane, usurers, and pigeon-racers, who were also denied that privilege. (On the other hand, a king could not bear witness in court, nor could the Messiah, which somewhat lessens the stigma of that restriction.) ” https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/newsletter-jun-1988/the-role-of-women-in-the-bible/

Jesus never put man’s traditions above his Kingdom. His ways are not man’s ways.

And he said to them, ‘Well do ye put away the command of God that your tradition ye may keep; Mark 7:9

God sees differently than man sees. People value traditions, prestige, success and position.

Jesus sees into the heart. He judges by what is inside a person. He looks at the character.

Many times in scriptures we see what it is that God values.

Jesus values loyalty to him. 
Lowliness of mind,
Faithfulness to his ways
Commitment to his gospel
Obedience to his commands
Zeal for his glory
Faith in his word.

These are the characteristics that we can see in Mary Magdalene.

This is why Mary Magdalene was chosen to begin the very first evangelist outreach.

Have I not said if you would believe you would see the glory of God? John11:40

https://kimbalogh.online/2021/04/08/good-from-nazareth/

Joint Heirs

According to Romans 8:16,17
As children of God we are now heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

A joint heir is a legal term. It means a person who inherits jointly with another heir of an estate.

Another way of saying it is co-heir which is one of several persons among whom an inheritance is divided.

In other words as children of God we inherit a portion of the Father’s estate.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15

According to Hebrews 1:2 Jesus is the heir of all things. Jesus being the exact representation of God is above all things. His authority is our authority because we are in him who is above all things.

Through the name of Jesus those born of God have access into the holy of holies. All we need to fulfill our call in this life is available to us when we present our requests before the throne of God.

Scriptures tell us that we are more than conquers. That means as children of God we can do more than conquer a problem, we can completely subdue it and annihilate it in the name of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:29 tells us that if we belong to Jesus Christ then we are Abraham’s seed according to the promise.

Since Christians are considered to be Abraham’s seed through faith in Jesus Christ then the promises of Abraham apply also to the Christian.

These promises include justification, fruitfulness, multiplication, provision and favor.
Genesis 12: 2,3

Though Jesus Christ we have become the children of God who inherit the promises of God.

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (The non Jews) through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Galatians 3:7-9

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:25

Being a joint heir with Jesus Christ means all the blessings the Lord gave to Abraham is our inheritance as well.

Some of these promises include:

Hebrews 1:4
Ministering of the angelic realm
Titus 3: 7
Heirs of eternal life

James 2:5
Heirs of the kingdom of God

1 Peter 3:7
Heirs of lifetime grace

In many wills or inheritances there are conditions for inheriting the promises or benefits. The gifts are subject to a condition. It is the same in God’s inheritance.

One condition made clear in scripture is, “IF we suffer with him so that we will be glorified together.”

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8: 17

The word suffer in this verse is sumpaschō in the Greek. It means persecution or experiencing the same kind of pain.

In other words if we partake in similar sufferings as Jesus did then we will inherit the same promises as he did.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. John 15:18

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 1 John 3:13

Persecutions come with being a Christian. They are allowed to demonstrate we belong to Jesus Christ. If we live godly in Jesus Christ we are blessed but nevertheless we will be persecuted for belonging to him.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4

Living godly in Jesus Christ brings persecution but living godly also brings blessings because we are made joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

Abide in the Vine

In John Chapter 15, Jesus gives a parable about a vineyard.

He says that he is the true vine, the Father is the Farmer and his disciples are the branches.

Just as a branch cannot produce fruit without the vine neither can we produce fruit without Jesus Christ.

Every branch in Jesus Christ is pruned so that it will produce fruit. No fruit can be produced without pruning.

Pruning is a part of growing in the Lord. Pruning requires taking away the old so that the new will grow.

This process can be painful. We are set in our ways and don’t like change. But in order to produce Holy Spirit fruit in our lives we must yield to the pruning process. Out with the old man filled with dry old ways of doing things and yielding to the sharp pruning tools of the Father.

Jesus tells us to abide in him. Continue in his word which is able to make us into what the Lord wants us to be. Filled with Holy Spirit fruit!

Just as a vine cannot produce fruit by itself neither can we produce fruit without Jesus Christ.

If we continue in the Lord we will produce much fruit.

Pruning the vine every spring just before growth begins allows the branches to have enough air movement around them to reduce disease.

Heavy pruning of the vine provides the best fruit.

While pruning may be needed throughout the year, pruning is best done when the vine is dormant, just before growth begins in spring.

Dormancy is when the plant slows down. Its metabolism, energy consumption, and growth are at a slow pace.

Sometimes when we seem to be inactive, placed on the shelf, that is when the pruning happens. Our lives in a winter stage while seeming to be going no where are in reality being pruned.

Reflection. Repentance. Seeking the Lord. Searching for answers. Giving up of sin. Intense prayer. Dying to self.

The winter stage many times can be rough going but harsh winters with much pruning produce a great harvest of fruit.

In order for a grape vine to flourish it must have plenty of sun shine. In the same way we must have plenty of Holy Spirit saturation.

If a vine has little light it will eventually dry up and die.

In his presence is fullness of joy. We get inspired in God’s presence, strengthened and empowered.

Being in the sun reduces pest problems too. That old devil and his varmints hate the light. The more light the less devil problems.

The vine also needs plenty of water for the roots to grow and expand deep into the ground. The branches can’t produce a healthy life flow without plenty of the water.

Being watered with the word makes us grow in the Lord.

Without the water of the word our roots will shrivel and die or at the very least be stunted in growth.

Roots need to be soaked in water before planting. This is significant because a vine produces healthy branches only after a deep saturation.

The more of the word we are saturated in, the more we become grounded in the truth. It is hard to dig up deep rooted plants.

It is interesting to note that a grapevine needs some type of support system or the branches will trail along the ground. In the same way we need support to grow properly. Without proper support the Lord’s disciples will become bogged down, carrying a lot of burden.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Another important factor in a healthy vineyard is to weed constantly. If weeds grow under the grape vine the soil temperature will stay cooler. This will delay growth.

The cares of this life if not dealt with will choke the branches from receiving life from the vine. We need to hoe out all those worldly cares and troubles. Being diligent to guard our hearts against anything that will clog up our spiritual life.

Jesus tells us that if we continue in him then we will be fruitful but if not then we will wither and possibly die.

A healthy branch abides in the vine and produces much fruit!

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. John 15:7-9