God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness Colossians 1:13a. Once delivered, then, do we merely accept it, delight in it, rejoice that God has been so good? Consider Colossians 1:13b-14: “he has...brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
In other words, as we heard Professor Marion Henderson say, we have been Transferred, not Discharged. From Satan’s ruthless domination to Christ’s gracious liberation!
As we enter the Doctor’s authority once inside his rooms, surrendering the myth of self-control, we cannot enter Christ’s Kingdom with the myth of self-will. Since he’s in complete charge of God’s Kingdom, we accept his total dominion of us.
Do we understand? He decides who’s a servant and on what basis. He makes the rules, imposes them on each servant and expects compliance. There’s no need for us to suggest, “Lord, I have an idea.” He isn’t interested in our idea since he’s already expressed his will. And no need to say, “Lord, couldn’t we do it this or that way?” For he has already determined how his will is to be fulfilled.
If we still want to do God’s will our way, read Ephesians 2:8-10. Notice that it is by GRACE—unmerited favor—what we needed, but didn’t deserve—that we’re saved. Then notice...God has already determined the good works he “prepared in advance for us to do.” With such finality declared, how can we hope to find some easier way to obey Jesus Christ? Fini
The previous blog being the froth, the following two study the substance.
Left my money clips and billfold home. Surrendered my watch to Judy in the waiting room. Kept my dignity, though: refused to give her my comb. But wouldn’t you know it? No sooner sat in the chair in the prep room than the nurse brought a silly cap to cover my hair.
That symbolized the change to come. For once inside the door to the Doctor’s offices, I surrendered to them all rights to myself. Medical professionals decided what to do, and when; how to do it, and why. And, until I left the prep room after surgery, I lived under their authority.
Consider how that experience relates to discipleship.
Before we accepted Christ’s forgiveness of our sins, we had no obligation to hear him, listen to him or believe what he said. We were, at that time, “alienated from God” Colossians 1:21. Once we confessed Jesus as God’s Son and our Savior, and accepted Christian baptism for forgiveness, God “rescued us from the dominion of darkness....” Colossians 1:13a.
That delights all Christians. We have escaped alienation from God. We’re no longer his enemies by our self-centered behavior. While we continue to fear him, it’s a reverent, obedience-stimulating respect for him as our Father in Heaven, not as an angry Deity.
Trouble is, many of us get so enraptured with our deliverance from sin; our deliverance from wrath; and our deliverance from judgment against sin that we neglect what comes after. End Part II
(This was supposed to be a 2-part blog. Just too much to say. See you Friday.)
I learned many years ago that cataracts existed in my eyes. They finally ripened by November, 2019, and needed to be removed. I had both eyes cleared on Thursday, 21 November.
Here goes a two-part blog based on that experience.
First, the surgery and its result. We arrived early for the appointment—as is our custom. The only time I remember almost being late was on a flight from Denver to San Diego in 1984. While waiting for a delayed flight I forgot the time change in Denver. Flying through the corridor I entered the plane just as the stewardess brought my overhead bag to the front to have it off-loaded. When we arrived in San Diego and disembarked, a couple hours late, a disgruntled passenger barked his disappointment at the stewardess for arriving late. Figuring that any flight is a good one if it gets you back safely on the ground, I thanked her for getting us to San Diego. When I met Judy I told her I’d never leave San Diego again.
Putting all that aside, back to 21 November, 2019. The nurse escorted me from the waiting room to the operating room. When on the table, with a donut pillow under my head, the anesthetist used only the amount to keep me comfortable, without losing consciousness. Then, I remember only Doc Zane doing something inside the left, then right, eye.
I remember, after he worked on the left eye, I could see the squares on the floor or ceiling, first dimly, then distinctly. Within 30-45 minutes or so both were finished and I went to recovery. Which lasted but a few minutes before I returned to the prep area. Judy and Brooks soon came in and I immediately asked, “Where do we go for breakfast?”
Reactions in the family to the aluminum patches on both eyes varied. Son Scott texted that I looked like a fly. Interestingly, at the appointment 22 November, I met the man whose wife preceded me in surgery, with both eyes being cleared. He also said she looked like a fly with her twin patches on. Bryan, Brooks’ son-in-law, texted that he should tell me we were going to Carl’s Jr., then go the Burger King to see if I knew the difference. We went to breakfast at Debbie’s pie shop off Nordahl across from Hooters in San Marcos. End Part I
Due to cataract surgery, blogs will resume Monday, November 25th.
Knew bursitis as a word; that people suffered attacks of; it enfeebled them in its pain; that Judy’s Aunt Von had suffered attacks of. Then, Friday, November 15, I learned bursitis as an experience. When it suddenly shot searing pain from my right shoulder into the upper arm, crippling any movement. My own push-ups were likely to blame.
Every experience lends itself to a spiritual truth. This one teaches the value of personal experience.
Jesus allowed himself to be tempted in every way any mortal can be. Matthew summarized the whole 40 day ordeal in the three temptations of 4:1-11. (The writer discusses this event in detail in his book Face to Face with Jesus.)
C.S. Lewis once said that soldiers discovered the strength of the German army by fighting it, not surrendering to it. And Jesus found the full potency of satanic temptation by resisting it, not surrendering to it. Only when we resist it till it surrenders will we understand temptation’s power AND the Grandeur of Christ’s TRIUMPH over Satan.
Indeed, he allowed Satan’s full, pitiless offense access to him without retaliating. To give him the right to attack satanic strongholds in humanity during his 3 ½ year ministry, Jesus limited himself to mere defense against those temptations in the 40 day wilderness campaign. By withstanding them, he earned the privilege of assaulting Satan’s every appearance in humanity that sent the Deceiver retreating in howling despair. Amen, Jesus!
Unbelieving scholars love to sit in their book-lined studies, supported by churches they no longer believe are relevant, but whose financial support they greedily accept. There they pontificate on the reasons they refuse to accept the Gospels as authentic accounts of Jesus.
They read the Gospels to criticize, not to learn. One such scholar took time to seriously read as a student the Gospel of Mark. Lo, and behold, the story seized his mind. And as he read he felt the Reality of the Person limned by the author.
Indeed, while Jesus is only the object of higher criticism, he can be anything the skeptic WANTS. But when even skeptics become students of Jesus Christ in the Gospels, humanity flutters into submission before his Majesty!
Skepticism about Jesus Christ is a popular pastime in America, especially in academia, spreading from university classrooms into every phase of education and politics.
And it’s easy. Anyone can publicly promote homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle—and no one will arrest him. Or publicly promote feminism as the answer to male-dominated life—and no one will arrest him. Or publicly tell the world that God is dead and we’re better off without him—and no one will arrest him.
To the shame of American life and the American church, such public sentiments in Saudi Arabia will get a person arrested and punished! We won’t be that radical, that intolerant, that hateful! That previous generations would take a public stand against any of the above, yes. But not America now, since we have learned the value of diversity in culture, with its accompanying demand of tolerance of all behavior.
The story of Potiphar’s wife vis á vis Joseph as a slave, and Joseph as a national powerhouse, resonates with powerful truth regarding unbelievers and unbaptized sinners vis á vis Jesus Christ. For all who now, in the comfort of a culture that tolerates all moral and religious views, however silly, stupid or outrageously blasphemous, who feel justified in living without Jesus, THINK!
What will they do when they see him high and exalted on his glittering GOLD throne, dressed in blinding-white robes, surrounded by heavenly beings constantly shouting his NAME as LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, Judge of all humans ever to live, including all who don’t believe he matters?
How will they feel when they find themselves unprepared and unable to join the Heavenly Throng of those saved-by-the-blood-of-Jesus? Mortals shouting glory, Glory, GLORY to the FATHER and the LAMB—the Great I AM!
And what will they think when they long to, but can’t, sing the Songs of Zion? And when they find they can never enter the New Jerusalem but must remain outside—longing to enter but unable because they chose to disbelieve Jesus Christ could be so encompassingly GREAT! Fini
In Matthew 27:25, the Jewish leadership harangued, beleaguered and bullied gutless Pilate into killing Jesus. When he protested vehemently, washing his hands as a declaration of innocence in Christ’s death, “all the people answered, ‘Let his blood be on us and on our children’” Matthew 27:25.
Yet, within weeks, they listened to bold peasant-apostles preach Christ’s victory over death; they watched them baptize penitents right and left; they witnessed one miracle after another. They then had another perspective: “You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood” Acts 5:28.
What we have in these two instances is the difference in opposing Jesus when it’s safe and opposing him when he has become dangerous.
Potiphar’s wife could understand the difference. Assuming she survived the intervening 13 years after having Joseph imprisoned, she never gave a second thought to having him punished for repudiating her advances. How dare a Hebrew slave dishonor her by honoring his God more than her allure! She likely paid no attention when hearing that a former Hebrew slave had become second in command to Pharaoh. But hearing his name got her attention: the very man her scorned fury jailed! And saw him dressed in linen robes, gold chain around his neck, Pharaoh’s signet ring on his finger. When in public she saw him passing in his chariot, runners preceding and shouting to all “Make Way! Bow Down!”—and found herself on her face until he passed!
What would she have thought then? End Part I
Satan’s penetration of our mind goes deepest with temptation near and God far away. When God doesn’t help and pleasure beckons. That’s the time the Holy Spirit reminds us to hoist “the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” Ephesians 6:16.
Like Jesus after 40 days and nights without food, our eyes may be dimmed but they can still flash with spiritual defiance at Satan. Like Joseph, even when physically weak or emotionally burdened, we can be spiritually potent. In the crucible of temptation, God’s word expects to prove us pure gold in his sight, not Play-dough in Satan’s hands.
When personal fortunes plummet, and it seems useless to continue being faithful, God expects from us the same high-class morality Jesus, Joseph and every apostle exemplified. God’s PERFECTION never reduces his expectations of us; it does activate the potency of the Holy Spirit to INCREASE our MATURITY in thought and behavior.
We may never fill any great role in God’s Kingdom, but we can be great Christians in God’s Kingdom! As Acts 6:14 stresses, it’s the kind of people God seeks from us, not the type of responsibility we bear for or service rendered to him.
We may witness to the lost without result. Nevertheless, we have fulfilled our role as Christians, since it’s the Holy Spirit’s role to convince, convict and convert the lost. Fini