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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Promise Keeper

I had made a reference in the earlier installment called Moses talking about the Jews that I would explain how Joshua met Jesus Christ, so here it is, a promise is a promise...

First let me explain what started this revelation within my spirit.  I am a person who is a 'wear sandals and flip flop kind of guy', as much as I love the winter time it is difficult because in an effort to keep all ten toes, I have to put on shoes.  I was browsing through the ole bible one day, which I highly recommend you do in your spare time.  To help you with that endeavor, and you may think me crazy, because I thought it was crazy when it was mentioned to me, but put a bible in each of your bathrooms, that way you absolutely have no excuse for not spending at least ten minutes a day with the word of God.  But when I was browsing through it one thing caught my attention.  I was looking in Exodus when Moses climbed the mountain and talked with God.  Most theologians will tell you that man himself cannot possibly handle the voice of God, not a living man, so for God to be talking to Moses, Moses had to be actually talking to Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.  What struck me was this, the first thing that was said, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.  It seemed like an unusual request, and it seemed unusual that that was the first thing said, so unusual that I could not forget it.  In the back of most bibles there is a reference section, so like any curious Christian I referenced the word sandal in my copy of NIV.  It referred me to the book of Joshua 5:15 and it says,

13Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

14“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lordd have for his servant?”

15The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
What I learned from this passage is that a soldier of God's army with sword drawn is guess who, thats right, Jesus Christ.  Most people reference the nice happy Jesus from the first coming, but most don't realize that he was nice because he was preaching the gospel, setting the groundwork, and died on the cross for us.  But in the second coming as we read in Matthew 10:34, Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. But it is also in Revelations, 11I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”a He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:king of kings and lord of lords. Or in lamens terms, Jesus with a sword.

So what does any of this mean, let me tell you what it has meant to me.  It means just this what I read in Matthew, 19“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” So if we pray together, or congregate in church together in prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, doesn't that mean He is among us?  And if He is among us, what is the first and sometimes the only thing the Lord our God requests from us within his presence. 

So I did it, when I am in church or in my bible study group I remove my shoes.  I have done this for a couple of years now.  At first, there were sneers, jeers, and many who had the efrontery to ask me why I wasn't wearing shoes.  I would look at them with a smile on my face and ask in reply, Why ARE you wearing shoe?  Now there were some who genuinely came up and wanted to know why I have chosen to remove my shoes in church, feeling that there must be a religious purpose for it, and I would share my shoeless testimony with them.  Most upon hearing the testimony would remove their shoes as well.  The biggest difference in them and me is this, removing your shoes is not seasonal, it is annual.  Now the Lord our God does not bear fools, so don't go barefoot outside in an artic environment, wear your warm and fuzzies into the church, but once on Holy ground, remove thy sandals from thy feet, for the place that you are standing is Holy.  Don't believe me, read your bible.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Awww it can't hurt that bad, so shut up!!!!

What is suffering to you?  Suffering is defined as this
1. To feel pain or distress; sustain loss, injury, harm, or punishment.

2. To tolerate or endure evil, injury, pain, or death.

3. To appear at a disadvantage
So what is it to you?  For some, it is having cancer, for others it is watching our loved ones die of cancer.  One of the few things that everyone on this earth has in common is suffering.  No man nor woman will make it from birth to their death without suffering in some fashion.  So knowing this, why is it, at a time when we are suffering, do we feel all alone?  Why is it that we wrap ourselves up in our suffering blanket and actually seek comfort in our solice?  Are you the only one in the world who has not had a child, or are you the only one in the world who has had a child die, or maybe you are the only one who has ever had a heart attack?  No, this is foolish.  But it does not take away from the reality of our loneliness within our suffering.  There are exceptions to the sufferers of this world, there are some who no matter how ill or how crippled they become they always have a smile for you, as if they are in on some big secret the rest of us are not privileged to know.  If a child is born with a terminal disease and is in pain most of his or her childhood because of that disease, and pain is all they have ever known, do you think that child is aware that they are suffering, or do you see them still with the urge to play, and live.
The real bitter pill about suffering is this, no matter how big or how little the suffering we all must face, there is no answer as to why we must go through it.  In the book of Job, it was never fully explained to him why he was made to suffer, and Job only gets everything back in the Disney version of the story, in the old text he never gets his family or his wealth back.  There is little comfort, but then again, there is, in the statement that we are all part of a bigger plan, and that sometimes accepting Jesus and the blessings we were promised means we will be blessed with suffering and pain.  The long short of it is this, someone, somewhere in this world will learn and become closer to God because of your pain, if not you.  Your faith or someone you may have never met or will ever know will get closer to Christ in your suffering.
Because the reality is this, we are all closer to God and Jesus because of His suffering.  Lets look at it a little closer.  Jesus always knew his fate, he accepted it, I am not sure he looked forward to it, but he knew it was coming.  He was beaten, chastised, spit upon, nailed to a cross by his hands and feet, and was hung until he died.  In all biblical text, in all versions of the bible, and in all languages, it never refers to what Jesus did for us as suffering, it was we that labeled it that.  Here is what I learned from this, just as Jesus knew he was born to suffer in order for us to receive His Glory, so must we suffer even just a little to achieve that Glory, the ends justify the means.  And after all is said and done, after all is written about you, will you look back upon your life no matter what you go through, and not want to do it all over again if it means just one more person can go to Heaven because of you.  Because we can all go to Heaven because of Him.