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8:26 AM   [29 Oct 2017 | Sunday]

The Nature of God: Part Seven (The Deity of Jesus Contiued)

 When it comes to any principle in the Bible, it's important to pay attention to what God actually has to say about it. Great care must be exercised in our studies, so we don't put words into His mouth so to speak. We can ill afford to add to or take away anything from His Word. As we continue to focus on the deity of Jesus, we'll look at what He and the Father has to say about it, along with Old Testament passages of Scripture. Be encouraged to study this out for yourself, and allow Him to reveal Himself to you in a way He desires.

Hebrews 1:1-6 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"? But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

Notice verse two says, "Through Whom He made the worlds," underscoring Jesus as taking part in creation. "Express image" means the exact image. While the word, "Person" is also rendered as "Substance" in Hebrews 11:1, which means what really exists under any appearance or reality, making it the essential nature. Therefore, Jesus is the is Perfect Expression of God's Divine Essence or Nature. Colissions 2:8-9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power. Jumping to Hebrews 1:6, God the Father says, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Question: what does He say about worshipping other gods? A god is someone a person worships instead of God, Himself; whereas, an idol is an object that is worshipped as a god. Look at Exodus 20:3-5 and Exodus 34:14 to name just a couple out of many passages of Scripture that forbid such practices. If Jesus was not part of the Trinity, do you suppose He still would command angesl to worship Him?

John 20:27-29 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Did Jesus correct Thomas when he called HIm my Lord and my God? We can pay attention to what is not said or done at times. Again, with great caution! In this case, wouldn't Jesus correct Thomas if he was in error? How about something more straight forward? John 8:56-59 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. "I AM is a very clear statement of His Deity which goes back to Exodus 3:14: And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " There are more things Jesus said, but at this juncture we'll touch on one more thing. Again, dig for yourself.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
It is interesting that His Name would be called Mighty God and Everlasting Father. Have your ever noticed in the gospels that when Jesus ministered to people, He would at times call some one "Daughter" or "Son" (see Matthew 9:2, 22)? To be clear, this is not saying Jesus is the Father; but they are One. Another lesson for another time. But, we'll close with this:

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. "O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.  "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:22-26).

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6:51 AM   [22 Oct 2017 | Sunday]

The Nature of God: Part Six (The Deity of Jesus)

 Is Jesus God?  This is an age-old question we’ll address in this blog; but, before getting into it, please keep in the mind that the Bible is spiritually discerned.  You cannot approach it from human logic; it requires Holy Spirit to bring understanding.  That is not a back-handed way of saying we’ll take some cosmic approach that is so obscure it doesn’t really make sense; unless you look through “special lenses.”  Holy Spirit is faithful to make things clear to your mind as well as your heart.  The point is that we’ll allow Him to reveal the answer to the question using Scripture, and keep human conjecture out of it.  God is God, and He can and does do things we don’t always understand, especially if we use human logic.  By the way, if you don’t read your Bible much at all, you are missing many answers you may have concerning God.  Okay, moving along . . .

The book of John makes the deity of Jesus clear from the very beginning.  John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  This may be an obvious question with an obvious answer, but What or more importantly Who is the Word?  Let’s allow the Bible answer that one.  John 1:9-14 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of GodAnd the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  Now look at verse 17: For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

Verses three, four and ten reveal Jesus as our Creator along with the Father.  Are there other scriptures we can find that reveal the same thing?   Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  As you read the Genesis account of creation, notice the phrase, “God said, let there be . . . and there was . . .”  God’s Word was right there when it all started.  Notice, John 1:4 says, “. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”  This points to the fact He was involved in man’s beginning as well.  Consider Genesis 1:26 where God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . .”  God is using the plural form which reveals the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), which is another lesson for another time; although, this should serve as a good preface for it.  Now take a look at this:

For He (our Father) rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His Beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Colossians 1:13-20).

Do you see the cross references between John 1 and Colossians 1?  John 1:3,10 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into beingHe was in the world, and the world was made through HimColossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  Interestingly, this tells all things were created for Him, which shows us how much Father loves Jesus.  Hebrews 1:1-3 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the world.  And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. 1 Corinthians 8:6 Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

Is God eternal (everlasting to everlasting)?  Obviously, yes.  So that means He was there before the beginning.  What about Jesus?  Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Here’s some other cross references to consider: This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).  John 1:9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every manJohn 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Revelation 1:11-13 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

We’ll continue to address this question in the next blog.  Some of the things we’ll look at is what Jesus has to say, and of course, what our Father has to say on this issue.  Moreover, we’ll examine Old Testament Scripture and see if reveals the deity of Christ too.  Let me encourage you to dig for yourself.  Not only on this topic, but on any of the questions you might have, but search the scriptures through the eyes of faith!

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5:20 AM   [15 Oct 2017 | Sunday]

The Nature of God: Part Five (His Kindness)

 Eventually, everything on the earth will come to an end, and the world as we know it will no longer exist.  There will be no more suffering and all will clearly know that God is indeed kind beyond measure. Because we will be face to face with Him, there will be nothing to stand between Him and us, which means there will be nothing to distort this reality.  Even now, by virtue of His Word and a relationship with Him, you can know His kind intentions toward you.  Some have yet to awaken to His kindness because they haven’t fully vested themselves into the relationship.  Should they fully commit, they would find there is no one kinder than God.  None!

It’s fascinating that some people would accuse God of being cruel, as if they are kinder than Him.  Of that number, there are those whose kindness is cruel at best.  Proverbs 12:10 A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion (“kindness” –KJV) of the wicked is cruel.  It’s man’s cruelty that brings cruelty to haunt him.  Obviously, there is the maliciousness of the devil who seeks to devour souls.  One of his devises he uses is accusation, and he loves to whisper lies about our Father in order to tempt us to falsely accuse Him.  Moreover, he seeks to mask Father’s kind intentions toward us through hateful schemes against us, and then blames Him.  If someone believes God is cruel, he will push Him away instead of drawing near.  He moves from faith to fear.

What is kindness or what does it mean to be kind? According to the dictionary, kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.  It refers to warmheartedness, affection, warmth, gentleness, concern, care; consideration and so on.  As an adjective: having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.  In the Bible it has to do with moral excellence and is rendered as “easy” (as in “My yoke is easy” –Matthew 11:30); “better”; “gentleness”; “goodness,” or to be “gracious.”  Everyone has an idea of their own as to what it looks like.

True kindness is based on love, and apart from love, it takes on a different meaning.  Kindness that comes from love is outward focused –it is only concerned with the recipient.  Kindness apart from love is self-serving.  It seeks to benefit the one giving it in return for the kindness extended.  It’s more concerned more about reputation than actually being gracious.  In a nutshell, kindness devoid of love is a form of hypocrisy.

The kindness of God extends mercy and grace.  Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness (“goodness” –KJV) of God leads you to repentance?  It changes the way we think.

The kindness of God works through our circumstances, as many are so familiar with Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Have you considered that many injuries in life we suffer are often self-inflicted?  So many blame God for the heartaches they themselves caused.  Of course, there are negative circumstances and hurts caused by others and the devil.  Regardless of how they came, He will use them to draw people to Himself where they find healing and restoration.  In numerous cases, people have found Jesus and called upon His Name and were saved.  As the saying goes, “Some have to hit bottom before they look up.”  Perhaps, it’s more kind to allow someone to fail than to always try to bail them out of trouble.  God does discipline those He loves (see Hebrews 12:4-11), using those things for which they’re responsible.  He does not cause the hardships He has been so wrongfully accused of doing.  He does save people from the pit they put themselves in, but usually when they ask or someone intercedes for them. He makes provision for our pits we throw ourselves in after digging them.  His kindness has to maneuver around our will.  He does not impose His on us.

Has it occurred to you that the many things you enjoy so much are the result of His kindness toward you?  He so intentional and equal.  He is even kind to those who hate Him.

Matthew 5:44-48 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

By being kind to those who don’t know Jesus yet, they may come to know Him by our living graciously.  Think about it, Jesus went about doing good, and even spent time with those who were considered the riff-raff of society.  His kindness, like His love, is unconditional.

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5:55 AM   [08 Oct 2017 | Sunday]

The Nature of God: Part Four (His Patience)

 The patience of God sees beyond the present.  It sees what can and will be, in spite of the evidence that may be against it in the current state of affairs.  While it recognizes the conditions of the present and does not deny them; it nonetheless, knows how to wait for the necessary changes to come.  God sees who we are today, along with all our attitudes, actions or inactions –our stuff.  Since He is the Beginning and the Ending (Alpha and Omega), He sees the ending before the beginning.  He knows who we will be tomorrow, the next day and all of the days of our life.  For those who are lost in sin, He patiently waits for their repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  He does not hold their present condition against them (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).  Something for us to consider in relation to how we approach those who might offend us otherwise.  He patiently works with us who are His children, as He conforms us to the image of Jesus –even when our pride gets in the way and we resist Him.  So, what is patience?

Patience is a disposition that bears or endures injuries patiently –longanimity.  Longsuffering as opposed to quickly becoming angry or wrathful.  It means forbearance or tolerance.  It is self-restraint before proceeding to action.  It’s a quality of a person who is able to quickly avenge himself, yet refrains.  It is associated with mercy and based on love.  1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.  Since God is Love, He is also patient.  Perhaps, our love can be measured by our patience.  How does it compare to God’s?  Think about this:  God patiently endures the sins of people, waiting patiently for their repentance, while not holding it against them.  In fact, He sent Jesus to eradicate our sin on our behalf, which is the Ultimate Example of love.  Jesus endured the Cross along with all the shame and rejection (see Hebrews 12:1-3).  He could have avenged Himself; but instead, He restrained Himself for our sakes.  Why?  Because He loves us.

Our Heavenly Father knew our struggles before the beginning of the world, and made provision for them.  He placed His nature in us through Jesus Christ by giving us Holy Spirit.  We are designed to love, and therefore, designed to be patient.  “Well, I don’t feel very patient!”  Yep, He knows that, and as already stated, He made the necessary provision to live it.  Some talk about praying for patience, but it’s not something you need to ask for, because it’s already in you.  Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  It’s a matter of submitting to Holy Spirit.  Because Holy Spirit is Love and patient, you can be love and patient also.  By submitting to Him, His love and patience flows through you.  When you make the decision to love people well, you will be patient with them.  Just as God saw beyond your faults, you can see beyond theirs.  Patience sees the way people can and will become.  It will wait for it to manifest, while enduring anything contrary to it in the meantime.  Since Jesus endured the Cross for our sake, perhaps we can carry our cross and be patient with others for His sake.

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6:20 AM   [01 Oct 2017 | Sunday]

The Nature of God: Part Three (His Humility)

 Psalm 113:4-6 The Lord is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.  Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth?

Perhaps one aspect of God’s nature that is often overlooked is His humility.  Sure, we talk of Jesus humbling Himself and coming to earth as a man –as a servant (Philippians 2;5-8); but, in relation to the Trinity as a whole, maybe not so much.  The one essential element of God’s character that is probably considered the most is love.  While love is a separate lesson, keep in mind that love is humble and looks to the welfare of others (read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).  People may humble themselves out of fear or terror, which is a form of humiliation, but God never does.  Out of love He humbles Himself.  Yes, that’s a present tense statement.  Because He deeply loves us, He maintains His humility whereby He actually serves us, and even acquiesces to our desires on numerous occasions.  Have you ever had your prayer(s) answered?

Humility is more outward focused than inward.  It makes room for others and allows them to succeed without the need for recognition.  In fact, it encourages their success!  Even while we are called to praise and worship God, it is not to fulfill some need He has –He’s not egotistical.  It really benefits us because it places our relationship with Him in proper perspective.  Consider this: humility knows its Source; nonetheless, God is the Source, yet He humbles Himself for our benefit.  He knows He is the Source, which teaches us that humility has an honest assessment of itself; unlike humanity’s false humility, which is a cloak to hide pride and arrogance.  Jesus said, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of Whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word” (John 8:54-55).  Did you see that?  Jesus said if He said He did not know the Father, He’d be liar.  To say God is my Father is not arrogance, it’s the truth.  He’s our Father because Jesus humbled Himself for Abba’s (Daddy’s –Father’s) sake and ours!

Humility recognizes the position of others, and holds it in honor.  It does not scoff at it.  When we humble ourselves before God, He exalts us –He raises us up (see James 4:10).  Again, humbling ourselves is an act of worship which does benefit us.  It reveals both the fear of the Lord and our love for Him.  Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).  If you don’t humble yourself, you’re not fit for the Kingdom.  Remember, before God asked you to humble yourself, He humbled Himself first; This is another thing worth considering: His humility does not demand you to humble yourself.  You have a choice in the matter –at least for now.  For the moment, at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess He is Lord.  Later, however, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess He is Lord (see Philippians 2:8-11; Romans 14:11).  Lack of humility is wrapped in self-deception which leads to self-destruction.  God’s humility makes room for our will; otherwise, you would have no decisions and choices.  You would be a robot that has neither of them.  Think about it!


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