Archive for August, 2010

The Law and the Prophets Agree in Christ

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus… While he was still speaking a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him.”                         – Matthew 17:3-5

 Have you ever wondered why Moses and Elijah were standing with Jesus in the transfiguration? It was like Jesus had stepped into a time warp and suddenly was standing with these two patriarchs of the faith. In fact, it was something similar to that.

The Greek word used for “transfiguration” is metamorphoo from which we get the word metamorphosis. The meaning is “to be changed into another form.” Jesus was literally changed into a glorified form along with the manifestation of Moses and Elijah.

What did this special event signify? There are different explanations but many see this as God signifying that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Moses represented the law and Elijah represented the prophets. God seemed to be saying that Jesus is the fullness of revelation.

God has consistently revealed himself to man through his word. In the wilderness he spoke to Moses from the burning bush. He gave his word to Moses on Mount Sinai when he gave Moses the law. He spoke again to his people through Elijah and other prophets. His word has always revealed his will.

In Christ there was an even deeper revelation of himself. He, Jesus, was himself the manifestation of the word of God. It is as if God were saying, “You have heard it through the law, and you have heard it through the prophets, now you are hearing directly from me through my manifest word which is Jesus the Christ.”

Perhaps that is why Paul, when speaking of the mysteries of God being revealed in Christ, wrote, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). We should pay close attention to what Jesus said because his words are the words of God.

 Principle:  The words of Christ are the words of God.

 Affirmation:  I am committed to following the teachings of Christ.

Prayer:  Again Lord, I am grateful for the manifestation of your word through the person of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

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We Beheld His Glory

Daily God Walk for Monday, August 30, 2010

 Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light.                 – Matthew 17:1-3

 Throughout the ages as God has revealed himself to man there have been times when his glory was overwhelming. When Solomon was dedicating the Temple there was a great manifestation of God’s glory.

“When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it” (2 Chronicles 7:1-2). What a time that must have been.

When Jesus walked among us he was the revealed glory of the Father. John writes, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” God’s glory is revealed in Christ.

As the disciples saw the glory of the Lord being manifest on the mount of transfiguration they wanted to do something to memorialize the event. They wanted to erect a place of worship there, but Jesus wouldn’t let them. It was if he was trying to teach them that the glory of the Lord is no longer revealed in buildings made by man, but God had a better plan for revealing his glory.

God’s plan was that his glory would ultimately be revealed in those who trusted him through faith in Christ. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, “We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Jesus, the Christ, while on earth was the manifest glory of God. After he ascended to heaven God sent his glory back to earth to dwell in the hearts of those who would believe. Believers are the glory of God today.

 Principle:  God reveals his glory through those who trust him.

Affirmation:  By faith in Christ I am the glory of God on earth today.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for revealing yourself in me. Amen.

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He Is Coming In Glory

Daily God Walk for Sunday, August 29, 2010

 The son of man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.     – Matthew 16:27

 Jesus had begun to explain to his disciples that he was going to Jerusalem and there he would die. “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (v21).

His disciples, those trusted friends, were bewildered. They had accepted him as the Messiah and expected that he would establish his earthly kingdom soon. They were probably thinking, “What is wrong with him. He can’t be killed. He is the hope of all Israel.”

“Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (v22). Then Jesus said a strange thing; “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but things of men” (v23).

It was at this point that Jesus gave his dissertation on the value of a persons’ soul. He spoke of trying to save your life and being willing to surrender your life and the consequences of both. His message was that we are to be committed to a higher purpose than just preserving our life, our way of living, even our way of worship – We are to be committed to surrendering our life to his will and his purposes, even when his will goes against everything we’ve ever wanted in life.

As the disciples began to realize what Jesus was telling them and they were beginning to feel a bit of despair, he began to reveal another aspect of God’s plan. He was affirming that he would die, but that he would be resurrected, return to heaven and then, at some point in the future, he would come again. This time when he comes he will be coming in great glory for all the world to see. He is coming in his Father’s glory.

That is the hope which gives us an anchor for our soul (Hebrews 6:19); He is coming again and he will reward those who have trusted him.

 Principle:  When he comes he will reward us for what we have done.

Affirmation:  I live in the hope of eternal reward for serving him.

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for the hope you have given us. Amen.

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What is Worth the Price of Your Soul?

Daily God Walk for Saturday, August 28, 2010

 Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

– Matthew 16:25-26

 Jesus, in his typical manner, was getting right to the point in this passage. Many who have started their walk of faith have asked questions like, “I don’t have to give up___ Do I?” Or maybe they are trying to make a deal with God and the question is, “What can I keep and still be a Christian?” Jesus answers those questions with his own question; “What can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Remember the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden? She was set for life. Placed in a beautiful garden, the beauty of creation all around her, yet there was one thing she lacked; there was one thing she wanted. She wanted freedom to make her own choices. Freedom to choose whatever her heart desired, and she chose the forbidden fruit.

The fruit was not ugly and distasteful looking, oh no! Eve saw that it was pleasing to the eye and appeared to be good to eat, and it would make her wise as God giving her the options to make her own choices. She chose to take control of her own destiny and in so doing she lost the very thing she wanted to have – life itself.

It is the nature of man to seek out ways to preserve his life and to make his life better. When I was young I was a pastor, but I always had at least one other business to produce additional income so I could give my family a comfortable lifestyle. At least that is what I told myself, but the truth is I enjoyed the freedom that having the extra money gave me.

I did enjoy those things, but the cost was great. My marriage became broken and I suffered much pain along with my family. Now I am trying to live with the reality that if a person lives for this life alone he will lose those things he cherishes, but those who invest their life in a higher purpose find not only what they desired in this life but they gain eternal life as well.

 Principle:  Serving God means surrender our entire life to him.

Affirmation:  I have committed my life to God for safe keeping.

Prayer:  Help me Lord to always live with my life surrendered to your will and your purposes. In Jesus name, amen.

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Where Else Could They Go?

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, August 17, 2010

 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”      – John 6:67-69

 We don’t know how many followed Jesus at various times, but there must have been many. We know that on at least two occasions he fed thousands. We also know that when he would enter an area the news would spread and people would come to be around him, hear his teaching and see the miracles.

The test of the loyalty of the crowds came when he began to teach things that they called “hard teaching.” In verse 66 we are told that, “from this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. They weren’t ready to make the commitment necessary to continue.

As the large crowds began to leave Jesus looked at his disciples, and perhaps just a little discouraged, asked, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” You can hear disappointment in his voice as he asked the question.

Then Simon Peter spoke up, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words to eternal life.” Peter got it. He understood that even though the teaching was hard, Jesus would make a way for them to live it out. Peter was probably thinking, “I left my boat and my fishing nets to follow you – I burned my bridges to be your disciple; I have no where else to go, I am committed to the end.”

Peter Believed in Christ. He believed that he was the Holy One of God. He believed that Jesus alone had the ability to grant eternal life. We don’t know if it happened at that moment, or it had already taken place, but Peter along the way had made an irreversible decision to follow Jesus the Christ as long as he lived.

God is looking for men and women today who will have the same depth of commitment. He looks for people who will fully commit their lives to him.  Are you one of those people?

 Principle:  No one else offers eternal life.

 Affirmation:  I have committed to following him who gives life.

 Prayer:  Lord, grant me the grace to stay with you through every difficult time. In Jesus name, amen.

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Hard Sayings Are Test of Discipleship

Daily God Walk Monday, August 16, 2010

 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”… From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.                       – John 6:60, 66

 There were many people who followed Jesus wherever he went. These people considered themselves disciples. They were like the many people who follow famed evangelists today. These followers were much like the rock star groupies of a past era.

As long as there was bread being served, and the teaching wasn’t too radical they could hold; but let the bread run out and the teaching get hard, these fair weather disciples suddenly have something else to do.

Jesus had dealt these casual followers three pretty good blows. First he accused them of following him just for the bread; then he pointed out that he was the bread that they had to eat (they didn’t understand that at all); finally he tells them the flesh counts for nothing and life was only in the Spirit and his words were spirit and life.

That was enough for the bread disciples. You can see the look on their faces as they muttered among themselves, “That’s enough for me. I’m out of here.” And they left.

I can’t even remember all of the people I have known who came to Christ in crisis, but when they found out that living for Christ required commitment they fell by the wayside. Remember the parable of the seed and sower? These easily discouraged disciples were seed that fell among the thorns.

When these followers began to see what it was really going to cost to be a disciple of Christ they reevaluated their commitment. It was beginning to become uncomfortable for them, but when Jesus said “the flesh counts for nothing” they could see the hand writing on the wall.

Just remember this: hard teaching is only hard on the flesh. If we are struggling with something Jesus taught it is because the flesh is resisting the death being dealt it by the Spirit.

 Principle: Hard teaching is only hard on the flesh.

 Affirmation: I am committed to the teachings of Christ

 Prayer:  Lord, I often find it hard to live consistent with your teaching. Grant me the grace to surrender my will to your will. In Jesus name, amen.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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