Good News

Gospel is a weird Old English word that is made from the two words “God” and “spell” smeared together. Some would argue that it was “good” and “spell” instead.

The word that it is translating from Greek is related to the word “angel,” which means “messenger,” or “message.” A good message was an “euangellion,” or “evangellion,” (Strong’s NT2098). It is related to a good messenger being what we now call an “evangelist.”

Most of what we hear in messages or news is bad. We need to have more access to good news. Bad news sells better, so it is what we find more easily.

Test your access to bad news. Quickly, and from the cuff, which methods of death are more numerous in the US: suicide, or homicide? How about deaths from drowning compared to death in fires? Unless you study statistics and therefore have access to truth instead of US news, you probably guessed homicide and fire. Those are more likely to be what hits the news more often, but the greater numbers are suicides and drownings.

Good news is hard to find if your tuner is on CNN or FOX. The Holy Book is full of Great News. Spend as much time harvesting that as possible! A valuable contemporary source is Joel News. This is a link to one of their Good News Letters.

Being Different

While you are learning how to be the eye or toe or heart that you are called to be in the Body of Jesus, it is good to be encouraged on days by other eyes or toes or hearts.

It is awesome to find comfort from an eye who has already been poked by a finger when you get poked for the first time. It is empowering to be taught how focused an eye really can be so that you can do it at the highest level of ability.

As you mature, it is wise to venture out of the eye tribe into the dangerous and scary place of the rest of the gifts. An eye is most useful when it is helping guide the body. Prophets or evangelists have great parties when no one but other prophets or evangelists show up, but when they start to party with pastors and teachers, the Body starts to be built up.

Hob nobbing with the rest of my tribe, I can learn a lot. If that is where I stay, it is possible that I will become satisfied with knowledge, which puffs up. I need love in scary places so that I can be built up.

When the Body really gets together, it is built up – by what every joint supplies. Joints are relationships with other Body members.

Ephesians 4.

Typical Faith

Types and anti-types are a way of making promises or introducing ideas. First, there is a description, which could be reinforced by a photograph. Then, a color photo. Then, we get a skit or Super-8 movie that gives the characters in the photos motion and a sense of action. It’s not real, though, until you can hear the voice and smell the perfume.

Peter described the ark in which Noah was saved by Yahweh from the flood as an “antitype” of baptism (1 Peter 3:21). Antitype is a transliteration of the Greek compound word that blends “contrasting with” and “a mark” or “a model” to imply that a picture or statue or die-cast imprint is offered to point to an idea as information or a warning or introduction.

First, there was a stone altar on a mountain. Then, there was a rock that was a place to dream of a ladder going into heaven. Then, there was the tabernacle in the wilderness. Then, David designed a temple that Solomon built. Then, Zerubbabel built a replacement of Solomon’s temple, which was destroyed. Then, a Herod built a temple, which was standing when Jesus was in flesh. Jesus pointed at His body one day while his disciples were marveling at that temple and said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will rebuild it.” Next, Paul called both individual believers and gathered sons & daughters of God temples. Finally, the permanent, real eternal temple is in the new Heaven, built by God, not by men, and made up of His most favored people.

We have access to heaven and eternity already by faith. Continuing to get more excited by the tent or the temples and the ceremonies than we get about spending life and time with Jesus is settling for the movie when we can have the Person.

At every opportunity, find the ways and places that our awesome God is making His presence known. Make every sacrifice necessary to enter that place, and take as many with you as will listen and believe that there is more.

Church Growth

If you ask an Evangelist “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Leading people to saving faith in Jesus.”

If you ask a Teacher “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Teaching believers how to rightly divide the Word of God and live by it’s commands.”

If you ask a Pastor “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Surrounding new believers with fellowship and accountability so that they become responsible members of God’s Family.”

If you ask a Prophet “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Confronting sin and holding carnally minded believers accountable for increasing in righteous behavior.”

If you ask an Apostle “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Finding a way to get Evangelists, Teachers, Pastors & Prophets to equip the Saints to be the Body of Christ in the earth in effective ways.”

Obedience

Jesus instructed His disciples one day to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness before seeking provision and supplies, so that they would receive provision and supplies. They were directed toward His authority and His nature as a means of accessing His blessings.

He told them that His commandments to love God with all they had and all they were, and to love their neighbors as themselves, summed up everything that they had been informed of and held responsible for through the writings of the prophets, including the law that came through Moses.

Two rules summed up His call to His people. Righteousness is doing and being what is right, based on what God calls right.

Obedience, then, looks like love.

A Seeing Date

Today I decided to stop counting my days as if one more day of my life was wasted on something other than my calling. Instead, I will count the day as having moved me one day closer to the door to my work. 

An heir, as long as he is a child, is no different than a slave, even though he is master of the household. He is subjected to managers and guardians until the date set by his father. (Galatians 4).

An date is set. I will finish what I have been given to do. Today I have hope.

 

Super Vision Advisory

Scary toys usually have a disclaimer printed on the packaging: “Adult Supervision Required.” Another one made famous when TV was young was, “Kids, don’t try this at home! We’re trained professionals. You could get hurt!”

Those warnings were probably imposed by a board member’s lawyer, not his mom. The concern was likely for the company’s safety, not  for the safety of the targets of their marketing campaign.

My warning is because I love you, though! Super Natural makes sense to you – it defies natural laws. Super Rational may seem useful to you by now – it defies popular or typical rationales. Super Vision is what you get when you are born of God (John 3:3).

You need Perspective – the ability to see from more than one source. It is why you have two eyes. The result of two sources of visual data passing through your brain produces the ability to discern depth and distance. You have two ears’ data coming into your brain so that you can discern direction regarding sources of sounds.

Having other believers around you who see you as Yahweh does, who can see some of the future and interpret some of current situations, who love you and want you to succeed – this adds even more “perspective” to your input.

The fact that they are born of God means that they have Super Vision, and having them Supervise you in love and in prayer increases the likelihood of your destiny becoming real-ized. They can ask questions that help you find details or direction from the Spirit of God.

Invest in them and pray often for their ministry to you. Thank God for them.

The Sword of the Spirit

When Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesian congregations that ended up in the Bible, his last instructions before the greetings at the end of the letter were about being clothed in Christ as armor. He told them to use His righteousness and His truth and His faith and His peace as their protection. They should pray in (under the influence and leadership of) the Holy Spirit and use His word as a weapon against evil. See Ephesians 6:10-18.

He identified the sword in his picturesque instructions as the Word of God. Someone wrote to Hebrew believers that God’s Word is sharper than any double-edged sword, and said that it was able to discern thoughts and intentions, able to divide between joints and marrow, and between the soul and the spirit (Hebrews 4:12). It can position itself between places that give life and places that need life.

Jesus used quotes from His Father to combat satan in His temptation experiences in the desert. Knowing and believing what Yahweh had said and prophesying it at the right moments caused Him to get through the desert in 40 days instead of 40 years.

When we get better at using things God has said as weapons against His enemies and as healing tools toward the people He died to save, this double-edged sword will bring His people Life and His enemies destruction.

Legal or Lawless

The practice of creating a code of laws that must be followed to avoid hell and God’s displeasure is a religion called Legalism.

The practice of casting off all restraint and refusing to submit to any form or regulation over your behavior is a religion called Lawlessness.

The practice of being led by the Spirit of Jesus, and by doing so becoming mature sons and daughters to Yahweh, is a condition called Righteousness. There is no law against it (Galatians 5:23).

Paul wrote to the churches in Corinth in what we call chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians a discourse on justice and laws and righteousness. In verse 12, he wrote, “All things are lawful for me.”

If all things are lawful for me, too, which I infer is true, then I am not responsible for searching out what any law says about my thoughts or behavior. I should, instead, seek the Spirit regarding what things are “helpful,” as he finished the sentence.

I should be focused on seeking Life.

Rules

As Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees (John 5:37-40), the Book as they knew it was revelation of a Ruler. They had reduced it to a book of rules.

Paul did not recommend using the Old Testament as a rule book instructing us about how to please God. In his letter to the Galatian congregations, he made some clear declarations about purpose and use of the Scriptures.

Please pause and read Galatians 3:10-25. Some points he made in this passage include that the law that came from Yahweh to the Jews through Moses will kill you if you try to depend on following it to please God. No one is justified before God by obeying the law of Moses or any other law.

The curse that would have come upon us if we had been under the law was put on Jesus, and He took the death and curse for those He gave the law. If you are Jewish, that includes you, since you were under the law.

Gentiles had a law that was written in their hearts that they were delivered from by the death of Jesus. Gentiles have never been under the law of Moses. Not the ten commandments, not the dietary laws, not the laws about sacrifice, not the law that says you will be cut off from your people for wearing that shirt you have on that is part cotton and part something else – none of it. (If you’re not convinced about your shirt, read Deuteronomy 22:11.)

The Law given through Moses was given to Israel to make them Yahweh’s nation (Exodus 19). Jesus was given to the whole world to make us Yahweh’s family (John 3:16.