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What Else Does Your Light Convey?

  by Joe Rodriguez

This functional baseball bat-shaped beacon is known as the Chirma Hang “Baseball” Lighthouse and it is located in Busan, South Korea. It, along along with a sculpture of a ball and a glove, was built to symbolize the importance of baseball to Busan and to commemorate Korea’s first ever gold medal in Olympic baseball at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Many other lighthouses have been built in the image of something important to a particular town or province.

Red horse lighthouse in Jehu City, South Korea commemorates the Korean Jehu Horse.

The Baby Bottle Lighthouse is also in Busan, South Korea. It was built to signify the importance of childbirth as well as encourage it. [Read my devotion on this lighthouse titled, The Light of Life)

Once used as lighthouses, The Rostral Columns in St. Petersburg, Russia, were erected to commemorate a naval victory. They each have four pairs of ships prows that represent the four major Russian Rivers.

True followers of Jesus Christ are like lighthouses for God in this world.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”

Matthew 5:14

And even though we shine the light of Christ by spreading the Good News of His salvation, we also portray an image that can either complement or contradict the message we proclaim. Our actions, reactions, and passions play a vital part in demonstrating to the world the genuineness of our faith and the true saving and transforming power of the Gospel.

“Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

James 2:12

“…[I]n speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”

1 Timothy 4:12b

What would others notice when they first meet you? What would they say is your true passion after spending some time with you? What do your casual conversations and work and social ethics declare about you as a Christian? Be honest, if someone was to build a lighthouse that depicts what you are passionate about, what would it look like (shape/accents)? Would it include an image of the Bible, a cross, or praying hands? Would it be accented with flowers (if you are an avid gardener)? Or, bald eagles and Siberian tigers (if you advocate for endangered species)? Would it be painted to resemble the inside of a library (if you love books)?

Faro de Ajo is an active lighthouse located in Spain. It was painted with over 70 colors to show off the cultural diversity of the area. It also alludes to the natural wealth of the region by representing local fauna.

There is nothing wrong for a Christian to have a passion for something or support a cause that is non-spiritual. The problem arises when it overshadows spiritual/heavenly devotion.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Matthew 6:33

“Set your minds (hearts) on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth.”

Colossians 3:2

Or when it opposes (in any form) the holy precepts of God as revealed in Scriptures.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.”

Romans 12:2

“Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” AMP

1 John 2:15

Unfortunately, there are many professing Christians whose true passions shine brighter than the light of Christ. Like those whose love for bling is glaringly obvious. Their lighthouses would most likely be over-laid in gold and accented with precious jewels and all that glitters. What’s even worse, is that there are also those whose lighthouses would be heart-breaking or even offensive to look at. Like those of abortion advocates. Imagine what images those would exhibit!

Hopefully, your lighthouse would first convey your evident love for God and His word by shinning bright and steadily. Then, it would be accented with things that you are really fond of or are devoted to. Maybe it would have images of your favorite animals, foods, vehicles, super heroes, or countries you’ve visited, etc.

God created us for His glory and to enjoy and take care of the earth, not to worship it. He should have first place in our hearts and minds. He also created us uniquely different. That means that our lighthouses can be shaped and adorned in a variety of ways. Just let us make sure that what people notice first is HIS light. Then, whatever else it conveys, it includes things that compliment our love for Him and for others.

By the way, my lighthouse would also convey my love for…lighthouses! 

White lighthouse photoshopped by me to include images of lighthouses.

What else would your lighthouse convey (look like)? I’d like to know. Please share your answer in the comment section below. 

Prayer: Father of light, thank you for who I am in you. May my earthly passions never hinder my love and devotion for you so that your light may continue to shine brightly in and through me. Help me to remain faithful to you and your Word. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Related links
The Light of Life

A Reflection of You

https://lighthousedevotions.blog/2021/04/06/what-else-does-your-lighthouse-convey/

Love The Word…Live The Word

Benham Brothers

What if we asked you to run a lap around the track without breathing in?

Or what if we asked you to fast for three days before a big race?

The chances of success (or survival, for that matter) would be slim.

If this physical reality is true, how much more, then, would the spiritual be?

Today, many believers expect to have spiritual endurance to run the race God has marked out for them (Hebrews 12:1-2) without taking in any of God’s word on a consistent basis.

If you don’t breathe in you can’t breathe out. If you don’t consume you can’t produce.

This is why our main objective as believers in the marketplace has been to devour God’s word. We know we have work to do (and so do you!), but we cannot accomplish it apart from feeding ourselves the truths of Scripture.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3)

To take it a step further, have you ever wondered how pilots fly so accurately in the rain or through the night? This baffled us until we learned that they don’t use their line of sight to fly the plane – they simply trust the instrument panel in front of them. The panel tells them left from right and up from down. On a dark, cloudy night, the pilots are functionally blind without the panel. Yet when they rely on the instrument panel and trust its direction flight becomes possible, even on the darkest of nights.

Much of our lives can feel dark and unsure, especially in business, but we have a panel right in front of us that will direct us in the way we should go.

Psalm 119:105 says God’s word is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” We can’t imagine building and growing multiple businesses without the light of God’s word in hand.

Lessons like going the second mile, giving more than we take in pay, being faithful in the little things, and letting cash (not debt) direct our decisions.

Even more, God’s word has set the foundation for all that we do! Marriage, parenting, budgeting, taking care of our bodies, business partnerships, etc. Left to ourselves we’d be like a runner without breath or a pilot without a panel.

So pick up the Word today and make it a part of your daily routine. Check out our app if you need a schedule, and join thousands who have chosen this path too!

© 2021 BENHAM BROTHERS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Bible Contradiction? Was Jeconiah the son or grandson of Josiah?

December 21, 2019 by SLIMJIM

For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Bible Contradiction? Was Jeconiah the son or grandson of Josiah?

Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes indicate a Bible contradiction:

He was Josiah’s son.

Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.” (Matthew 1:11)

He was Josiah’s grandson.

The sons of Josiah were Johanan the firstborn, and the second was Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. 16 The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.” (1 Chronicles 3:15-16)

(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)

 

Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:

  1. When dealing with skeptics’ claim of Bible contradictions it seems one can never be reminded enough of what exactly is a contradiction.  A contradiction occurs when two or more claims conflict with one another so that they cannot simultaneously be true in the same sense and at the same time.  To put it another way, a Bible contradiction exists when there are claims within the Bible that are mutually exclusive in the same sense and at the same time.
  2. One should be skeptical of whether this is a Bible contradiction given the Skeptic Annotated Bible’s track record of inaccurately handling the Bible.  See the many examples of their error which we have responded to in this post:   Of course that does not take away the need to respond to this claim of a contradiction, which is what the remainder of this post will do.  But this observation should caution us to slow down and look more closely at the passages cited by the Skeptic Annotated Bible to see if they interpreted the passages properly to support their conclusion that it is a Bible contradiction.
  3. The skeptic tries to pit Matthew 1:11 as affirming the claim “Jeconiah was Josiah’s son” against 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 as affirming “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.”
  4. It is clear that 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 does affirm the claim “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.”  From this passage we learn that Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson through Josiah’s second son Jehoiakim.
  5. Matthew 1:11 does not contradict with 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 if we understand the Greek word that is translated “became the father of.
    1. The verb for “became the father of” is ἐγέννησεν.  ἐγέννησεν is a form of the verb that lexical root is γεννάω.
    2. γεννάω often has the meaning of “begat, give birth to.”
    3. However γεννάω does not always mean being the direct biological parent to a child.  The verb simply mean direct descent.
    4. If γεννάω simply mean direct descent then that mean it doesn’t need to conflict with the claim in 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 that “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.”
    5.  We see even within the context of Matthew 1 that γεννάω doesn’t necessarily mean being a direct biological parent of a particular child.  Matthew 1:16 states “Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born.”  A form of the verb γεννάω appears here (ἐγεννήθη).  We know Jesus wasn’t born physically through Joseph.  Yet Jesus’ descent from Joseph is  what’s being referred to in some other sense (legal).
    6. Also Matthew 1:8 skips over Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehoash, and Amaziah in the genealogy of Jesus, even though the biblical record elsewhere preserved this.  This further substantiate that γεννάω doesn’t necessarily mean being a direct biological parent of a particular child but can at times mean simple direct descent.  One can be “grandfathered” and “great-grandfathered” to someone using this verb.
  6. Thus there is no contradiction here if we understand that the lexical range
  7. Some might object that the possible range of meaning for γεννάω can mean “fathered,” “grandfathered” or simply part of the lineage of someone since there’s so many possible meaning of the term when there should be one meaning of the word.  But that’s a terrible objection.  Terms can have more than one meaning in many languages and not just with Hebrew.  For instance consider the lexical range of meaning for the English word Whoppers and the Word “Left”.
  8. We shouldn’t miss that worldviews are at play even with the skeptic’s objection to Christianity.  The worldview of the author of the Skeptic Annotated Bible actually doesn’t even allow for such a thing as the law of non-contradiction to be meaningful and intelligible.  In other words for him to try to disprove the Bible by pointing out that there’s a Bible contradiction doesn’t even make sense within his own worldview.  Check out our post “Skeptic Annotated Bible Author’s Self-Defeating Worldview.”

 

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/12/21/bible-contradiction-was-jeconiah-the-son-or-grandson-of-josiah/

Humbly Coming Before Our Father

The Privilege of Christian Prayer

by Burk Parsons
Pastor, Sanford, Florida

As a local church pastor, I spend a lot of time in the community of central Florida, a diverse community that is composed of people from numerous backgrounds, cultures, nations, and religions. As I engage with them, I find that no matter what religion they claim or whatever religions they oppose, they all agree on one thing, namely, that everyone is a child of God.

When I hear people claim the universal fatherhood of God, I immediately want to respond by saying, “Well, yes and no.” Everyone is indeed a child of God in the sense that we are all creatures made in the image of God — we are “God’s offspring,” as Paul declared on Mars Hill (Acts 17:29). However, not everyone is a child of God spiritually, being born again by the Holy Spirit and adopted by God as Father through the imputed righteousness of his Son.

“We can always, at any time, day or night, cry out to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.”

Although most people, even many professing Christians, believe that everyone is a child of God in a spiritual way, the word of God is undeniably clear that only those who are united to the Son by faith are the adopted children of God. These, and these alone, are those with whom Paul includes himself when he says, “Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6; see John 1:12Romans 8:14–219:8Galatians 3:26).

Adopted into a Family

When Jesus taught us to pray with the words “our Father” (Matthew 6:9), he was not employing universal language to be inclusive of all human beings. He was teaching us something profound about God and our relationship to him — namely, that God is not merely a Father or the Father; he is our Father. When God adopts, he adopts us into a family. When we pray “our Father,” we are reminded that we’re not alone and that we’re part of a family.

God created us as human beings for community, and by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, he created us anew for the community of his family. For that reason, God calls us as his people to gather together, face-to-face, to worship him. When we come together in gathered worship every Lord’s Day, we are reminded that we are not alone, that we are a vital part of a living body, a covenant community of believers and our children.

That the only begotten Son of God would tell us to call his Father “our Father” is humbling. But for many Jews in the first century, it seemed arrogant. For them, it was extraordinary that Jesus called God his Father, as it implied that he is the Son of the Father (John 1:148:1914:7). Some scholars have argued that for Jesus to teach his followers to call God “our” Father would have been regarded by Jewish rabbis of the day as presumptuously conceited at best and blasphemous at worst.

Consequently, when Jesus rebuked certain Jews who rejected him, he made it abundantly clear not only that God was not their Father but that they were of their father the devil (John 8:39–47). They did not understand how God was not their Father because they did not believe that Jesus came from the Father. In their natural state before God, they could not believe because the Spirit had not given them ears to hear, eyes to see, or hearts to perceive that Jesus is the long-awaited seed of the woman, the long-expected Son of God (Genesis 3:15Isaiah 9:6). Moreover, in our natural state before God, we were enemies until God conquered us and made us his friends and adopted us as sons in Christ.

Welcomed and Blessed

God is our Father only by virtue of our being united to Jesus Christ, the Son, by faith. Through his resurrection, our brother Jesus demonstrated that he is the firstfruits of our resurrection, that he is the firstborn among many brethren, and that, united to him, we are heirs with him. It is fitting, then, that our Father has given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness through Jesus Christ our Lord (2 Peter 1:3–4).

“God is not merely a Father or the Father; he is our Father.”

Our Father is a gracious and generous Father who cares for us in ways that our fathers on earth cannot, and who thus disciplines us in ways our earthly fathers cannot, because he loves us in a way they cannot (Hebrews 12:9–10Romans 5:8). Knowing the innermost desires and sins of our hearts, he is able to conform us to the image of Christ in the precise ways that we uniquely need to be conformed.

Too often, we presume what our Father will not do for us or what our Father will not give us, and thus we never ask. We treat ourselves like orphans although God has made us sons. For when God adopts us into his family, he doesn’t merely call us “adopted”; he calls us sons. Mephibosheth was crippled and at enmity with his king; we were not only crippled but dead in sin and at enmity with our King and his kingdom. However, as David welcomed and blessed Mephibosheth, God has welcomed us and blessed us; he has brought us in and has made us able to recline and rest at his table to be washed by him, to dine with him, and to dwell with him forever (2 Samuel 9; John 13:1–20).

Hallowed in Heaven

Jesus also taught us that God is our Father who is in heaven, reminding us that our Father is perfect in his glory, that he is transcendent, and that because he is in the spiritual realm of heaven he is not far away but is near to us, ever present, and always ready to listen to us and commune with us (Psalm 145:18Jeremiah 23:23Acts 17:28James 4:8). Therefore, we are not to regard him as some sort of distant authority figure who doesn’t listen to us, who is never around, who is too busy for us. Rather, we can always, at any time, day or night, cry out to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the sovereign, triune, and almighty God, humbly and confidently praying, “Our Father.”

When Jesus taught us to call on God as our Father, he also taught us to call on our Father whose name is hallowed. The self-disclosed covenantal name of God is Yahweh (Exodus 3:14). Recognizing that the name of God is hallowed, or praying to him as one whose name is hallowed, does not make his name hallowed. On the contrary, his name is, in itself, apart from us, by his own declaration, hallowed.

His name is set apart and sanctified by no greater authority or power than God himself (Hebrews 6:13). His name is holy because he is holy. His name is not like our names, his name is not simply what we call him, and his name doesn’t just describe him. His name is who he is: Yahweh. Thus, when we confess that his name is hallowed, we are not asking him to become something he isn’t; we are acknowledging who he is, we are affirming our reverence of his holy name, and we are praying that God would make his name known and revered as hallowed to others throughout the world.

So, whenever we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name,” we can rest assured that he is our Father and that once he has adopted us, he will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6Hebrews 13:5).

Texas commission sued for bashing justice of the peace for her Christian faith

Officials charged with violating Religious Freedom Restoration Act

A Texas justice of the peace is suing the state for punishing her for devising a solution to accommodate her Christian belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Judge Dianne Hensley initially refused to officiate any weddings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that same-sex couples have a right marry. But in August 2016, she resumed officiating weddings and “politely referred” same-sex couples to willing local judges.

There have been no complaints about her system, but the State Commission on Judicial Conduct investigated and issued a “public warning” against the judge.

The case was filed by First Liberty Institute on behalf of Hensley against state officials. The legal team argued that the law in Texas allows judges to officiate weddings but it does not require them to do so.

When the Supreme Court established a legal right to same-sex marriage in 2015, most of the judges in Waco and McLennan County stopped performing ceremonies.

That forced residents to “travel further and incur greater expenses,” First Liberty said.

“To ensure those seeking to be married in McLennan County could be, including same-sex couples, Judge Hensley made arrangements with a local private vendor and her staff to facilitate weddings she, for religious reasons or just because of schedule, could not officiate,” the legal team said.

The complaint charges that the commission “violated the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act by investigating and punishing Judge Hensley for recusing herself from officiating at same-sex weddings, in accordance with the commands of her Christian faith,:.

“By investigating and punishing her for acting in accordance with the commands of her Christian faith, the state of Texas has substantially burdened the free exercise of her religion, with no compelling justification,” the complaint states.

“Because of Judge Hensley, anyone who wants to get married in McLennan County can get married,” said Jeremy Dys, special counsel for Litigation and Communications at First Liberty Institute. “For simply trying to reconcile her religious beliefs while meeting the needs of her community – ensuring anyone can get married who wants to be married – the Commission on Judicial Conduct punished her.”

The filing in McLennan County District Court states: “At her own expense, Judge Hensley invested extensive time and resources to compile a referral list of alternative, local, and low-cost wedding officiants in Waco that she provides to people for whom she is unable to officiate due to time constraints or her religious convictions.”

The options include a walk-in wedding chapel three blocks away.

The judge’s “referral solution” means that “many more couples – including same-sex couples – are able to marry than by the predominant practice of many public officials, who have simply ceased officiating weddings altogether.”

The complaint charges: “The commission’s public punishment of Judge Hensley – as well as its threat to impose further discipline if Judge Hensley persists in recusing herself form officiating at same-sex weddings – violates Judge Hensley’s rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages, costs and attorneys’ fees. Hensley also wants “a declaratory judgment that her referral system complies with Texas law, and that the law of Texas prevents the commission from imposing any further discipline on justices of the peace who recuse themselves from officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies.”

The commission’s preliminary charges claimed Hensley was violating the code of conduct for judges, which requires judges not to “manifest bias” based on religion, race, sex, sexual orientation and other factors.

But the commission’s complaint itself was based on Hensley’s religion.

Original here

Seek Him To Find Him!

Date: January 2, 2020 hepsibahgarden

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live. Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19‬

For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: Amos‬ ‭5:4‬

Both these verses are being addressed to the Israelites or the house of Israel by the Lord God Himself. The first verse was mentioned to them during the beginning of their journey and the other verse in the middle of their journey to the Promised Land of Canaan. There is something common in both these verses:

IN ORDER TO LIVE THEY HAD TO CHOOSE LIFE!

This day the Lord is giving this verse to you and me as well!! Years come and go; and our lives go on until the Maker commands its return. 2019 — He led us through wonderfully; provided all our needs more than our asking and thinking, fought every battle for us, and led us in every step of the way!! Even for 2020, we have to seek God for guidance.

How should we seek Him?

So I directed my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and extends lovingkindness toward those who love Him and keep His commandments, Daniel‬ ‭9:3-4‬

Why should we seek Him?

[If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which] I command you today, to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land into which you go to possess. Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:16‬

This New Year, let us decide to seek God because all those who seek Him, will find Him. Preserve the life of testimony, authority that God has given you and His righteousness in your life. Jesus is coming to take away the chaste virgin waiting for Him!

May God help us! ❤️

Seek Him To Find Him!

Meaning And Significance Of Elijah’s Sacrifice!

January 6, 2020 by hepsibahgarden

And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. 1 Kings‬ ‭18:30‬

And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.

And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 1 Kings‬ ‭18:33-34, 36-38‬

Here, Elijah is seen preparing the altar before offering a sacrifice. 400 prophets of Baal had challenged him to prove and see which God (God of the Baal or the God of Israel) would answer their prayer and bring down fire from heaven.

  • The Altar refers to our life. Hence for us, in our time and context, Elijah repairing the broken altar refers to repairing/setting right our own life. Shortcomings and transgressions cause our hearts to become hardened and the altar upon which the fire of God needs to be burning, is found in a broken state. So before offering a sacrifice, this broken heart/life first needs to be repaired.
  • Wood refers to false teachings that the devil may have put into our lives. Subtly, through deception and distraction the enemy can sow tares into our heart, making us unfruitful to God. When Elijah laid the wood in order upon the altar, God’s fire came down from heaven and consumed it. Habakkuk 2:18,19.
  • Stones refers to a stony heart, which needs to break and become a heart of flesh. When does our heart become hard? When we cease to be grateful to God for all His goodness and slowly begin to take credit for ourselves. Nevertheless God promises to change our stony heart into a heart of flesh when we humble ourselves and yield ourselves to Him. Ezekiel 36:26.
  • Dust refers to the fleshly/carnal natures that reign over us. These also need to be burnt by the fire of the Holy Spirit. To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6,7.
  • Water refers to double minded ness/unstability. Jacob referring to Rueben says he is unstable as water. A double minded person is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8. God has called us to be single minded, that is, our focus must be on God and Him alone.

After setting right the altar and all of the above in its respective place, Elijah just prayed a small prayer and the fire of God ascended from heaven and consumed the burnt sacrifice. The prophets of Baal understood that the God of Israel is the one who answers by fire. When our lives are set in order before God and our actions pleasing in His sight, the Lord accepts our life, a living sacrifice by sending His anointing upon us and making us useable vessels for His glory.

May God help us! ❤️

Original here

Uncomfortably Human

Why Jesus Can Sympathize with You

 

by Scott Hubbard Editor, desiringGod.org

Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man. When many of us read about the God-man in the Gospels, however, we see the God and miss the man.

Perhaps we have heard others stress Jesus’s Godness more than his manness. Perhaps we have a zeal (and rightly so) to defend his divinity over against its deniers. Or maybe we just struggle to grasp how the eternal, omnipotent God could live a genuinely human life, with all its limitations.

Regardless, when we read the Gospels, many of us are more prone to see his divinity than his humanity. We often see the Creator of heaven and earth, and miss the carpenter from Nazareth. We see the Son of God, and we miss the son of Mary.

“We often see the Creator of heaven and earth, and miss the carpenter from Nazareth.”

But when we miss the full and true humanity of Christ, we miss a precious part of our Savior. We miss the one who can sympathize with our weaknesses. We miss the Christ whose heart grows warm when he meets our frailties, troubles, and temptations. We miss the man who, out of love for us and his Father, was “made like his brothers in every respect” (Hebrews 2:17).

So what do we mean when we say that Christ became fully and truly human? We mean, at least, that he took on a human body, a human mind, human emotions, and a human will.

Human Body

Some of the earliest attacks against Jesus’s humanity concerned his body. Some people, especially those influenced deeply by Greek philosophy, just could not abide the idea that the immortal God would take on flesh and blood.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John felt no such embarrassment. Jesus, they tell us, ate and drank (Matthew 11:19), rested and slept (John 4:6Mark 4:38), bled and wept (Luke 22:20John 11:35). They could not tell us otherwise. How could they deny what they had seen, heard, and touched with their hands (1 John 1:1)?

The body Christ took was, apparently, unremarkable. Nothing about his appearance suggested that he was more than your typical Galilean — his hair texture and skin tone matching his neighbors’, his facial features reminiscent of his mother’s. The woman who caught the hem of his garment would not have noticed a glow underneath; rather, the dusty sandals of one who “had no form or majesty that we should look at him” (Isaiah 53:2).

Nor did Jesus shed his body when he rose from the dead and ascended to his Father. His blood, congealed after three days, began to pump again; his brain synapses, dormant in death, began to fire again; his limbs, stiff through rigor mortis, began to bend again (Luke 24:39). Having once taken on flesh, he now keeps it forever. The Christ on heaven’s throne, though glorified, is still human like us (Colossians 2:9).

Human Mind

Just as Jesus took on a human body, so he took on a human mind. Donald Macleod explains the simple but surprising truth: “He was born with the mental equipment of a normal child, experienced the usual stimuli and went through the ordinary process of intellectual development” (The Person of Christ, 164).

True, the adolescent Jesus could sometimes astound his hearers with his wisdom (Luke 2:41–50). But Jesus was not born with such knowledge; as with other boys, he needed to “increase in wisdom” through his hearing of the Scriptures, his parents’ instruction, and the Spirit’s teaching (Luke 2:52).

Even in his ministry, Jesus was not all-knowing. He found it necessary to ask, “Who touched me?” when power went out from him (Mark 5:31), and “How many loaves do you have?” when he prepared to feed the crowd (Matthew 15:34). He freely admitted that he did not know everything — for example, and most memorably, the timing of his return (Mark 13:32).

What, then, are we to make of Jesus’s ability to unmask men’s thoughts and, at times, foretell the minutest details of future events (Mark 2:8Matthew 21:1–3)? We remember that Jesus, unlike us, was filled with the Holy Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34). By virtue of the Spirit’s anointing (Acts 10:38), Jesus received the revelation he needed to fulfill his mission.

“The Christ on heaven’s throne, though glorified, is still human like us.”

But, like us, he was not omniscient. Macleod writes, “Omniscience was a luxury always within reach, but incompatible with his rules of engagement. He had to serve within the limitations of finitude” (169). He stepped forward, willingly, into a future that was sometimes dim to him, trusting his Father at every step (Matthew 26:421 Peter 2:23).

Human Emotions

With a human body and a human mind come human emotions, a fact that meets us on every page of the Gospels. Our Lord Jesus did not move through the world serenely detached from the griefs, sorrows, perplexities, and joys of those around him. “Christ has put on our feelings along with our flesh,” John Calvin wrote (Epistle of Paul the Apostle, 55).

Was any man ever more genuinely touched by the plight of broken sinners? “He had compassion” appears again and again in the Gospels, showing just how tenderly Jesus felt toward the sick (Matthew 14:14), the bereaved (Luke 7:13), the lost (Mark 6:34), and others burdened by the fall. Compassion moved him to weep (John 11:35), sigh (Mark 7:34), groan (John 11:33), and take our sorrows as his own (Isaiah 53:4).

And was any man ever more inflamed to holy anger by hypocrisy, unbelief, and injustice? Faced with pious nonsense, Jesus “looked around . . . with anger” (Mark 3:5). Confronted by religious showmanship, he thundered seven rounds of “Woe to you!” (Matthew 23:13–36). Opposed on the path of his passion, he likened his own disciple to the devil (Mark 8:33).

Alongside compassion and anger we could list love and joy (Mark 10:21Luke 10:21), gratitude and grief (John 6:11Mark 14:34), longing and the deepest distress (Luke 22:1544) — all of them untainted by sin.

Human Will

Finally, and perhaps most mysteriously of all, Jesus carried with him a human will. “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me,” he said (John 6:38). We must not infer from such a statement that Jesus ever found within himself a will bent toward rebellion; his very food was to do his Father’s will (John 4:34). But we can infer that Jesus’s will, based on his own human desires, sometimes shrank back from the short-term agonies of obedience.

In Gethsemane, Jesus trembles when he finds himself alone in the garden, finally facing his destined cup. At one level, Jesus does not want to receive what his Father is handing him: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). He saw the cross, along with the wrath and dereliction, and, as Stephen Wellum writes, he “recoils from the thought.”

Yet, “as the obedient Son who loves his Father, and in his humanity, he aligns his human will with the will of his Father” (God the Son Incarnate, 347). In supreme love and matchless humility, Jesus speaks the words he taught us to pray: “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42). And for the joy set before him, he goes to the cross.

Sympathy of the Savior

When we reflect on the full and true humanity of Christ, we are not venturing into the abstract air of theological reflection. Our feet are on the ground. We are dealing with matters that concern ordinary sinners and sufferers.

The doctrine of Christ’s humanity is a doctrine for the sickbed, for the silent hours of a lonely night, for the moments when temptation thrusts us against the wall. Here, as we feel the burden of all that it means to be human, we have a Savior who can sympathize. We have one who was made like us in every way, “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). One who felt weariness down to the depths. One who was misunderstood, slandered, and deserted. One who endured the death throes of the cross and the apparent desolation of the Father he loved so dearly.

“When we forget our Savior’s humanity, we forfeit our Savior’s sympathy.”

When we forget our Savior’s humanity, we forfeit our Savior’s sympathy. But when we consider that he was (and is!) human as we are, then perhaps we can learn to say with Charles Spurgeon, “The sympathy of Jesus is the next best thing to his sacrifice. . . . It has been to me, in seasons of great pain, superlatively comfortable to know that in every pang which racks his people the Lord Jesus has a fellow-feeling. We are not alone, for one like unto the Son of man walks the furnace with us.”

Do you feel friendless and afraid? Jesus, the forsaken one, can sympathize with you. Do you feel swallowed by a sorrow that no one understands? Jesus, the grief-stricken one, can sympathize with you. Do you feel your body breaking? Jesus, the beaten and crucified one, can sympathize with you.

If we are in Christ, we have a Savior in heaven whose heart still throbs for his brothers here below. Come to his throne of grace. There you will find one like yourself. He will welcome you. He will sympathize with you. And gradually, he will conform you, a deeply flawed son or daughter of Adam, into the image of his perfect humanity.

He Establishes Us…

 

 

Our perception can often be skewed through the lens of depression and anxiety (or other mental health issues), adversity, trauma, loss, strongholds, trials and setbacks. At times it seems we encounter the same weapons over and over and over again. Just when we think a battle has been won, we end up on the same battlefield feeling perplexed as hope starts to dim. We begin to wonder if there will ever be resolution, vindication, justice, restoration, healing, or reconciliation. I suppose unless one has actually walked the valley of intense adversity, no matter the source, one would probably not understand how easy it actually is to lose hope, to feel as if you are being drained of your faith. Unfortunately, so many of us have been on that particular battlefield in some form or another.

Some are on that battlefield right now.

We may even begin to believe the strongholds and lies about who we are, what is going on with our circumstances, and God’s place in all of it. From the things people say about us and to us, the circumstances that throw us off balance, the distractions that mislead us, to the more tragic situations… it can certainly look as if the weapons formed against us are doing an awful lot of prospering in our lives.

Is He really with us?

Is He really there?

Are His promises actually true?

The heartache and grief we may endure on this journey can drown us when we lose of sight of WHO our anchor is.

In the here and now, there is a battle over our perception of truth and it is a very real (and often very painful) wrestling match.

Our identity in Christ was established long before we were ever born and there is a war going on to hinder our ability to perceive it or even to walk in it. And that will hinder us from experiencing the fullness of Him which will ultimately hinder our ability to fully trust in Him. When we experience betrayal or painful blows from the people around us it can call into question our ability to trust in and rely on God.

From our perception, when you consider the burdens people are carrying today, the weapons certainly seem to be prospering. There are very large and heavy battles coming against so many and the weapons appear to become more powerful and prosperous as the days go by.

The reality is those weapons have already been dismantled.

The truth is the battle has been won and His promises are true.

Victory has been declared in spite of what is happening around us or what the landscape looks like.

The weapons that have been formed against us will become the weapons God uses to establish us in His glory. The ground the enemy is trying to level us out on will become the very ground the Lord establishes us upon.

His glory will soon be revealed and we will see His vindication, His justice, His truth prevail. We are being established in Him even now, no matter how impossible things may seem. The trials are going to come and there will be very large and painful mountains for so many of us to climb.

Some are experiencing a season of one relentless blow after another while also feeling completely abandoned on the battlefield.

If you feel like you just want to quit right now, throw in the towel or walk away from your faith, hang on!

You have not been abandoned and you are not alone!

Hold onto the very Source of our Blessed Hope with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your might.

Reach for the Hem of His garment and do not give up.

Help IS on the way.

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Isaiah 54: 17

“…no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.


Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,

for the Lord your God goes with you;

he will never leave you nor forsake you.


1 Peter 5:10

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

https://shatteredinhim.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/he-establishes-us/

No Mere God

The Fascinating Tension in Jesus Christ

by Marshall Segal Staff writer, desiringGod.org

They feared they were about to drown. Had I been in their shoes, ankle deep and rising in water, feeling their boat give way to an angry storm, I probably would have begun to think of loved ones, of the goodbyes I’d never hear. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38). It was perfectly human to fear death, pervasively human even (Hebrews 2:15).

Except for one human, who had been sleeping through the storm. He may have missed the natural disaster altogether, even as the water began to fill the boat and winds threatened to throw them overboard. Had any nap ever displayed more power? Had any sleep ever shined with as much beauty? He could rest, of course, because he trusted God perfectly. Indeed, as his men would soon discover, he was God. What might be lost on us today, though, is that he had to rest, because he was truly human like us. In fact, he was tired enough to sleep not just through a storm, but in a storm. He could put the seas to rest, and yet his friends still had to wake him.

“He could put the seas to rest, and yet his friends still had to wake him.”

With three words, “Peace! Be still!” the waves gave way and the wind retreated. Imagine the disciples, in one moment frantically watching their lives pass before their eyes, and in the next witnessing the heavens suddenly wave their white flag of surrender. Confronted with his unparalleled power and manifest frailty, his Godness and his humanity, they asked what any of us should ask: “Who then is this?”

Unsearchable Riches

That terrible night at sea, while unmistakably magnificent, is eclipsed in our collective memory by another night, more than thirty years earlier. In Bethlehem a child was born, as millions of babies had been before him, and yet utterly and gloriously different. The Son of God, who held the universe in his hands (Hebrews 1:3Colossians 1:17), laid in the arms of another — now fragile, vulnerable, needy. He never stopped ruling every molecule in every galaxy, yet he had to learn his letters, colors, and animals.

Before he made the world, he was already the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), but now he added a new title: newborn. We regularly stop to reflect and sing below the wondrous cross and before the empty tomb, but was the mystery of Christ’s majesty ever more poignant than in his infancy? How could God himself emerge from an ordinary womb without ceasing to be God? No one had ever seen God (John 1:18), and yet now we could hold him?

Beware of giving up too quickly before the mysteries of christology, of assuming these waters are too deep and choppy for you, and heading back to shore. None of us will fully grasp the depth and weight of his wonder — “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8) — but that means all of us have more to see. And I believe harder-to-understand facets of who he is actually are fitted to the needs, wounds, and longings we all feel.

Hypostatic Union

While the phrase may sound like something out of aerospace engineering, the hypostatic union is surprisingly, even intimately, personal: the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has a fully divine nature, and a fully human nature, wholly joined in one undivided person.

In early church discussions, the Greek word hypostasis came to refer to persons of the Godhead, in distinction from the natures (physis) of divinity and humanity. The hypostatic union, then, is the union in one person of two natures, human and divine. That any of us is just one person inspires very little, if any, controversy or confusion at all. Such is not the case with Christ. The Scriptures plainly attribute unmistakable facets of both the divine and human natures to him. We need a phrase like hypostatic union because of the fascinating tension we meet in Jesus of Nazareth: Was he truly God? Was he really man? We need some way of resolving, or at least labeling, what we thought we knew about God and humanity with what the Bible clearly says about the Jesus of history.

The tension, of course, is really no tension at all, but a mysterious, beautiful, and perfect harmony of two distinct natures in one person. Jesus is the Son of God, and he was never not God. And Jesus is human like us, and he, like us, will never not be human again. The hypostatic union is simply (and inexplicably) the union of Jesus’s two natures — his Godness and his manness — mysteriously, inseparably, arrestingly in one spectacular person.

“If we stay in the shallows of Christ, we should not be surprised if the truth has only shallow effects on our souls.”

Jesus did not become a person the day he was conceived, but he did add to his eternal person (or take on) a true and complete human nature. The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, became human, making himself vulnerable to heartache, sickness, temptation, and death. He did not lay aside his divinity — as if such a thing were even conceivable — and he did not borrow someone else’s body. He was truly God, and then became truly man as well. If he were not truly God, then whoever died on the cross, God did not die for our sins, and no other blood would suffice (Hebrews 10:4). And if Jesus were not truly man, “in every respect,” then he could not be the sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 2:17).

Chalcedon

In October of 451, church bishops came together to address serious controversies that had arisen over the person and work of Christ. The 521 participants wrote the Chalcedonian Creed, which has served as ground zero for the church’s understanding of the God-man ever since. The creed clarifies how Jesus’s two full and complete natures relate to one another in this singular person (and, in particular, how they do not relate to each other):

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man . . . to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably. . . .

The creed confesses the two natures of Jesus Christ in one whole person — what we call “the hypostatic union” — and then rules out four prevalent misunderstandings about the relationship between the natures in four carefully selected adverbs: inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably.

First, the two natures of Christ come together in one person without confusion. His divinity and humanity did not produce a third nature, but remain distinct. His divine nature is truly, thoroughly divine — God in every way — and his human nature is truly, thoroughly human — man in every way.

Second, his natures also never change. By fully taking on the human experience — body and soul — he in no way stopped being divine. The Son of God never stopped being and acting as God. The incarnation was not an interruption but a new manifestation of one and the same Son — not a subtraction but an addition.

“Was the mystery of Christ’s majesty ever more poignant than in his infancy?”

Third, while the natures are distinct, they do not divide Jesus. Perhaps this is the hardest tension for us to hold together with our finite minds. We do not know how he continued upholding the universe in his divine mind while he was learning to build furniture out of wood in his human mind, but we know the Son of God did both simultaneously — no division — in a way that surpasses our experience and imaginations as mere humans. As Stephen Wellum writes,

Whenever we look at the life of Christ and ask, Who did this? Who said this? Who suffered death for us? the answer is always the same: God the Son. Why? Because it is not the divine or human nature which acts and thus does things; rather it is the person of the Son acting in and through the divine and human natures. It is the Son who was born, baptized, tempted, transfigured, betrayed, arrested, condemned, and who died. It was the Son who shed his blood for us to secure our salvation. It is in the Son that all of God’s righteous demands are met so that our salvation is ultimately of God. It is the Son who also rose from the dead and who now reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. (God the Son Incarnate, 306–7)

Last, the divinity and humanity have not been and cannot be separated — not since he was conceived, not when he was crucified, and not now as he sits, fully human, on the throne of heaven. Jesus will always be God, always be human, and always be one person.

Not One of Us Is Simple

Maybe the hypostatic union would not feel so overwhelming if we wrestled more with how mysteriously complex we ourselves are. We are, after all, each of us made in the image of an infinite God who is one essence and yet three persons. John Piper writes,

We mere mortals are not simple either. We are pitiful, yet we have mighty passions. We are weak, yet we dream of doing wonders. We are transient, but eternity is written on our hearts. The glory of Christ shines all the brighter because the conjunction of his diverse excellencies corresponds perfectly to our complexity. (Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, 32)

If we mistake ourselves for simple humans, the supremely fascinating tensions in Christ may scare us away from deeper wonder and worship. We’ll stay near the shore of Jesus’s glory, rather than wading further out into all that he is. And we will inevitably miss or even avoid aspects of him, aspects that might heal or satisfy the deeper, more complicated places in us. If we stay in the shallows of Christ, we should not be surprised if the truth about him has only shallow effects on our souls.

We all subtly (or overtly) gravitate to his mercy or his justice, his sovereignty or his humility, his boldness or his compassion, his Godness or his humanness. If we see Jesus as more God than man, however, he will often feel too far away and impersonal. If we are prone to focus on his humanity, and are not regularly awed by his transcendence, he may feel close and relatable, but his holiness and majesty will slowly and tragically begin to feel like obstacles to our relationship with him.

While we will never fully understand all of the complexities and fascinating tensions in Christ, we need all of him — merciful and just, sovereign and humble, bold and compassionate, patient and full of wrath, true God and true man.

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