THE TRANSFIGURATION

One of the key events in the life of Christ during his time with us on earth was his transfiguration. The change in appearance was in the presence of his elect of the elect: Peter, James and brother John (Sons of Thunder). Also on the Mount of Transfiguration were Moses who had died 1500 years earlier and Elijah who had been gone 900 years. It is believed this event occurred on Mt. Herman for various reasons and was a time when the true divine nature of Christ was to be shown with the effects not unlike Moses was seen to have when coming down from Mt. Sinai after having communicated personally with God. This transfiguration is what we in a very real sense experience partially when we take on the Holy Spirit into our very essence to guide our lives. What we would call being born again.

The transfiguration left us with many spiritual lessons including that it occurred while Christ was praying we are told in one of the texts. Christ as our example shows us that a simpler life is one that is more responsive to what I believe God desires for us. In fact I believe with our many schedules and desires that it is near impossible to walk in the footsteps of Christ. Perhaps this time of year we can resolve to focus more on the truth of Scripture shown through the life of Christ and less on the commercial aspects that secular society desire we get wrapped up in.

The key takeaway from this event for each of  us I believe is that we need to be daily in the transfiguration. That is to say that we need to be in communication with God every moment possible and allow His presence through the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. We too can then be transfigured to the extent this life allows until one day we will be totally transformed into the image God would want for us for all eternity.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The transfiguration turns us toward God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Matthew 17:1-13 “the transfiguration story”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord transform me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. Why were Peter, James and John considered the elect of the elect?

2. How do we show Christ’s radiation through our lives today?

3. What do we know of God’s presence at Christ’s transfiguration?

4. What is Shekinah and how relate to this text?

A HEAVENLY FRAME OF MIND

To be a person of the world for many is an important matter. We strive to be well traveled, well read and well connected. We desire to be linked in as one internet program encourages. To the extent that it adds meaning and purpose to life it is not all bad unless it leads one away from God’s Kingdom and the furtherance of it. Christ said as much telling all to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Here He was speaking of basic things yet I believe the Lord blesses those who call Him Father often in far greater ways as well.

Each of us need to join Paul and say “it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 5:20). In fact how we live in this world takes on a whole new dynamic. We now become “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2) to God not “conformed by this world but transformed”. We now seek a heavenly mind (Colossians 3:1-2) looking for and toward Jesus (Hebrew 12:1-2).

Things of this world play a much smaller role in our life. The ways of the world discussed in the media and elsewhere now fall into a different perspective. You see life in a new and more vibrant way. You now have A HEAVENLY FRAME OF MIND.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: To be unworldly requires we understand the importance of being united with Christ.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Galatians 2:20 “Live for Jesus”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I look to You in all matters.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. Should a Christian believer mix in worldly affairs?

2. How do worldly affairs have an evil influence?

3. What does it mean to seek God’s Kingdom first?

4. Describe a Heavenly mind?

NO SHARE IN HEAVEN

The universe (all that is) fascinates me. From the heights of the sky to the depths of the ocean. From the smallest particle seen under a microscope to all of creation that travel will allow me to see. The reason is that I understand the God of the Bible to be the King of the Universe and I want to know Him as well as I can during my journey in this life. Enlarging our universe only happens through knowledge and understanding. So let the journey begin or continue.

God created the universe through His Son Christ Jesus. John 1:3 speaks of this pre-incarnate work of Christ. Even the great mind of Albert Einstein said that “God does not play dice with the universe”. His awareness of probability mathematics did not allow for an evolutionary chance model of creation. Those who disagree we call Epicureans. They who have always believed a ‘do your own thing’ model and are slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe (Galatians 4:3) and have not this mature understanding.

My understanding is at creation we have been given the sky (that which we can see and study), paradise where souls rest until the gates of the final Heaven are opened to us to live eternally with God. Until then God through the angelic world and in our lives has allowed for free will and Lucifer, as a fallen angel, took advantage of this introducing sin to mankind both in our physical and moral universe.

We must know though that God has not abandoned us. He is still active in the world (James 5:7-8). The laws of science we have today is how God is currently running the universe. These laws cannot say how God might eventually change them. What we can say for certainty is that if you are not born again of God in the present you will have no reservation in the future Kingdom for the unrighteous have NO SHARE IN THE THIRD KINGDOM OR HEAVEN.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Understand the universe and you better understand God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 1:3 “God created the universe through His Son”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for opening Your universe to me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK  ABOUT:

  1.  What is probability mathematics and how does it relate to the universe?
  2. Who are the Epicureans today?
  3. Where are the rules of the universe found?
  4. Is Revelations the key to the universe?

IT’S TIME TO COME HOME

As children if we had a real good friend we might ask if they wanted to become a ‘blood brother’. A special though painful event that forever bonded your relationship. In the Christian faith the ultimate example of that are the words of God spoken over Christ’s transfiguration: “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, Hear Him” (Matthew 17:5).

The act of transfiguration ( a radical change in appearance) is therefore I believe important for us to understand better. We know for Jesus it occurred on a high mountain and caused His face to shine like the sun and his clothes become as white as light (Matthew 17:1-2). Moses had this same appearance after talking with God (Exodus 34:29-35) as did Stephen in Acts 6:15.

The transfiguration identifies you with God like no other experience. For mankind today to have such an experience would certainly be a miracle, but what we can become is anointed of God so we can hear the words of Psalm 2:7 that “today I have begotten you, you are my son”. We each can become born again of the Spirit that our lives on earth are transformed such that our faith would be a light unto others.

At the transfiguration of Jesus, God’s majesty became manifest to mankind. Today I continue to listen to the voices in creation waiting for that moment when God will say “well done good and faithful servant”. IT’S TIME TO COME HOME.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The transfiguration is a truth bringing God’s throne closer to the heart of mankind.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 17:5 “the voice of God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek to be transformed by You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How can you bond your life to our Lord and Savior?
  2. What does a transformed like look like?
  3. How does creation bespeak God’s voice?
  4. Have you had a radical change in your life?

TOTAL TRAINING

Looking around, it seems to me we have become a society that is often out of control. We want what we want irregardless of the consequences. This most especially in regard to areas of pleasure and lifestyle. What is needed is temperance or some sort of controlling mechanism. Scripture points out this need in eating (Proverbs 25:13) and sexual appetite which Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9. Truth is, as is expressed later in Paul’s Corinthian letter (1 Corinthians 9:25-27), that we need self-control in all of life if we want the ultimate prize of salvation.

To build this self-control we have to rule over our spirit (Proverbs 16:32). The human spirit by its very nature as we see all around, wants to nourish self rather than grow in the nourishment of God’s righteousness. For this we need a ‘spiritual trainer’ which is God’s Spirit and Who will turn our lives into fruitful ones as shown in Galatians 5:22-26. This not unlike a physical trainer does our body. This self control ultimately leading to godliness growing in God’s image. Achieving this we have achieved TOTAL TRAINING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Temperance tests us yet ultimately triumphs.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Proverbs 16:32 “temperance helped by self-control”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me control my spirit.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do we control our spirit or passion?
  2. In what areas do you need to be more temperate?
  3. How does society show itself being out of control?
  4. Is your temple (body) being built in the image of God?

 

WHEN COMPLETE SURRENDER OCCURS

Times for revival (a renewed zeal to obey God) have come and gone over the years. I believe today the call for another revival is necessary especially across Europe and North America of which I am most familiar. The problem is the conditions have to be just right where revival happens.

It can only be accomplished through a Triune God and His life giving Word (Psalm 119:25). As ‘the Word’ is shared with others one sentence and one person at a time it asks of us to meet certain conditions beginning with humility. As 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us we need to turn from our wicked ways in order that God would hear us which is a large order for a society that seemingly has no foundational source by which to measure good and evil.

If there are those who in humility and prayer admit they need God in their lives then revival can take place. The atmosphere will be one of brokenness and it is here where Christ draws near (Psalm 34:18). Once broken we need to remove the iniquity (sin) in our hearts through confession (Psalm 66:18) and in the sorrow we are to feel repentant (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Sadly for many this is where it ends. What is needed in addition is the repentant need to turn away from their sin (2 Timothy 2:19) in order for “the Lord to know those who are His”. This completes what is necessary for the beginning of a revival one life at a time. Be it a few or many revival begins WHEN COMPLETE SURRENDER OCCURS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Revival spiritually enriches all who are broken and repentant.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 119:25 “Revival is accomplished by God’s Word”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord  bring revival to our land.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the wicked ways society needs to turn from?
  2. By what source does society define what is wicked (evil) or good?
  3. What all does revival do for a person?
  4. Have you been broken and completely surrendered to our Lord and Savior?

 

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

The one thing we desperately need in our world is the spirit of truth (Holy Spirit) to combat satan the father of lies. The problem is, as Christ shared with His Disciples, that many in the world would not receive The Spirit (John 14:17).

In the Old Testament only a few had the Holy Spirit that either came upon them (ex. Moses, Gideon, Samson and David) or that came into them (ex. Joseph and Bezdiel). Today as with the time of the Disciples (John 16:13-15) we can also have the Holy Spirit upon and within us. We also can be guided by all truth apart from a world of lies. We also can receive the supernatural gifts of The Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 not unlike our brothers and sisters in Christ whose time has already passed.

To have the presence of the Holy Spirit is a wondrous thing. He gives us words and emotions that comfort and instruct. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to create, renew and place conviction upon the hearts of mankind. Indeed His indwelling within each of us (Romans 8:11) empowers us (Micah 3:8) in an amazing fashion. Today we should all seek THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Spirit of Truth satisfies all seeking salvation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 8:11 “The Holy Spirit can dwell within us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire Your presence within me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the gifts of the Spirit that can be ours?
  2. Why are satan’s lies gaining such a foothold in our world?
  3. When a lie confronts you how do you respond?
  4. Do you have the Spirit of Truth?

THE DAY MAY BE DRAWING CLOSER!

Theologians and others with a great deal more wisdom than I have, have discussed a subject that bears mentioning in this column. It is the  matter of ‘rapture’. When believers will be taken to return to Jesus (living and deceased).

A great many discussion points are involved here that for most believers are quite confusing. Matters such as the role of Israel in these events (Romans 11:16-24), the Scriptures discussion of a 1000 year reign of Christ (Revelations 20:2-7) and a period of time many believe to be 7 years when the anti-Christ will rule and play havoc with this world.

Of one thing I am certain. When I saw my father on his death bed after his passing, I became convinced his soul and spirit were no longer before me. What I saw before me was simply the human frame God gives each of us to travel through this life with. For me when we accept the Holy Spirit (being born again) into our life we are already starting our journey to that moment when we will meet Christ in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) and one day be a part of His Kingdom. As one person said: “it is like going to the airport to meet the arrival of the King of Kings”.

Until then what is  important to know about the rapture is that there will be one in some form so prepare yourself now. THE DAY MAY BE DRAWING CLOSER.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The real importance of the rapture is our being received by  our Redeemer.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY:  1 Thessalonians 4:17 “saints caught up in the rapture”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always be ready for Your coming.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is dispensationalism and its role in end times theology?
  2. How will Christians be protected if at all during the time of tribulation?
  3. Will Christians face the time of tribulation or are we in that period of  time now?
  4. Are you prepared to be taken up with the Lord?

IMPORTANT IN OUR LIVES!

Occasionally we hear that certain food is a gift from God and one of them most certainly is virgin olive oil (Psalm 104:14-15). It is for that reason we will look at olive oil and its many uses and meanings.

One use was for anointing (Psalm 23:5) those whom you deemed special. Our Messiah was anointed numerous times and ways. In fact the act itself was synonymous with brotherly love as in the words of Psalm 133. A message that should speak loudly to the disunity in our day. In fact olive oil for anointing purposes was used in the time of Moses for purification purposes as well (Exodus 40:9-10). Today it still carries that importance.

It is interesting to note that Gethsemane where Jesus prayed comes from the word for oil press and to this day there are gnarled old olive trees there that may have been present at the time of Jesus or so I am told. Likewise we know that the Mount of Olives was a place of retreat for Jesus. Certainly olive trees and oil hold a special place for Christ.

Additional uses of olive oil were for medicine along with wine (Luke 10:34). Its healing value was well known. In James 5:14-15 it was specifically used for someone extremely ill.

The importance of anointing oil is ultimately equated with our being Born Again of the Holy Spirit. It is as 1 John 2:20 and 27 tells us. Purified by the Holy Spirit our eyes will be opened in an almost unbelievable fashion. This to help us understand the Second Coming and the role olive oil will play at that time (Revelations 6:6). Indeed olive oil is IMPORTANT IN OUR LIVES.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Using olive oil as an ointment or otherwise shows obedience to our Lord.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Psalm 104:14-15 “Olive oil is given by God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me understanding of Your many blessings.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What food or plant items does Scripture consider special gifts from God?
  2. What Scriptural references are there to Christ being anointed?
  3. How do we bestow blessing on our special guests today?
  4. How do you use olive oil?

THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH US

There is a right way to act and a wrong way. The question for many is which is which. As always the answer lies in Scripture. For example those not yet ‘born again’ of the Spirit live by conscience (Romans 2:14-15) often living properly yet they need the law to  guide them. In contrast the born again believer bases their action upon their new birth (2 Corinthians 5:17) and having the guidance of the Holy Spirit living according to His way as shown in Galatians 5:22-23.

Unfortunately those not born of the spirit may have positive efforts but they do not have the value of those who are (Isaiah 1:14-15). Those caught in this way of life live according to the head thinking appearance important. Truth tells us we are to live according to the heart which through the guidance of the spirit applies that which is in the mind in the proper fashion (Hebrews 8:10).

Once we understand that we cannot do right by our own actions as in the account of Mark 10:17-20 but only through God’s grace it is then we live in true abundance. The answer to issues of morality or right conduct comes when we have THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH US.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Morality motivates best when guided by the Master.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “morality based upon the new birth”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me live morally according to Your will.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. On what do you base your conduct?
  2. Have you ever boasted of your moral actions?
  3. Where does morality begin?
  4. Is your heart and mind connected?