Using the Bible

Matthew 3:16 – When Jesus was baptized by his cousin John in the river, Heaven opened and the Spirit of God came down on Him. The Holy Spirit then did something that He loves to do after He baptizes someone: He drove Jesus out into the wilderness.

In the place of lack and pain and threats of more, Jesus encountered misery and exile. He began to suffer the things through which He learned obedience. Finally, He heard the voice that His first man Adam and his partner Eve had heard much earlier, because in this place, as a man, He encountered the thief and the deceiver.

Jesus was prepared. Adam and his Eve were not.

Because He knows each person’s calling or destiny in the Kingdom of Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows what preparation is required for a human to stand in the place where the God Who breathed out worlds and stars calls him or her. He is perfectly aware of which weaknesses are present, and which strengths are missing, and He is a genius at preparing educational and transformational experiences that are perfectly capable of producing the exact changes that are needed for each person.

Because Jesus trusted Yahweh to be protecting and preparing Him, and because He had no thoughts that His Father might intend to harm Him, His journey through the Place of Preparation took 40 days. It was a place of victory and of anointing for purpose. Contrast this with the journey through the Place of Preparation the descendants of Israel experienced, which took 40 years, and was only a successful experience for 2 men out of millions of men and women.

Jesus was prepared partly by His knowledge of what God had said. When He was confronted with deception and with temptation to fail, He knew Yahweh’s character and intentions. He overcame His enemy in the Place of Preparation by quoting God properly. He had been with the Father from eternity, so He knew every word that had been spoken. He knew every thought. His successful method of overcoming evil would have been available to every descendent of Israel, though. It was written.

To read this entire article, click here.

You Have Seen Me

Many portraits of Jesus exist. At least, many portraits of what people have imagined Him to look like exist. John knew Jesus well. When he saw Him revealed in glory – when he saw what He really looks like, though, he fell on his face like a dead man (Revelation 1:12-18).

Jesus informed some lawyers one day that the Scriptures of the Old Testament were about Him (John 5:36-40). Paul wrote to Timothy that the Scriptures of the Old Testament were sufficient reading to equip us to find Jesus (2 Timothy 3:10-17).

If you want to know what Jesus looks like, read the Bible a few more times. Allow it to transform you.

He also told them a parable: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
(Luke 6:39-40 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Surrender your life and your property and your relationships to Him. Love Him with all your heart and soul and strength and mind. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Then look in the mirror. That’s what He wants to look like to the people around you.

The Glowing Face

Why, when Moses spent time in the presence of Yahweh, did his face glow in the dark? (Exodus 34)

Why, when Jesus spent time speaking to His Father, did his face not shine? He was in all ways a man, just like us. We are the place now where His glory dwells. Through us, it is not just a glow, but a power and an evidence of His presence with and in us, not just evidence of having been near Him. We carry Him in the earth as we manifest His desires and instructions.

Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, He also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil— and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. Therefore He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

Therefore, holy brothers and companions in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession; He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was in all God’s household. For Jesus is considered worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder has more honor than the house. Now every house is built by someone, but the One who built everything is God. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s household, as a testimony to what would be said in the future. But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household, whose household we are if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.
(Hebrews 2:14-3:6 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

 

Working or Bargaining

A merchant is not a builder, but a bargainer. She/he uses the power of trade to obtain a desired object or payment, not the power of labor.

When the merchant in Matthew 13:45-46 found a pearl of astonishing value, he desired it. He could not get it by the means Jacob got his two wives and many flocks, though (Genesis 29). Jacob worked for 7 years for Rachael, and then discovered that he had been deceived into buying Leah. He worked 7 more years to purchase Rachael, whom he desired. More time was spent in the service of his uncle Laban to gain herds of animals to take with him when he left Laban’s ranch. Even after suffering the lengthy time of labor to obtain her, he lost her soon in death.

We cannot work to obtain the Pearl. We can only trade all we have. All of life – property, relationships, prestige – that is what it costs us to obtain Jesus. But when we have received Him, we have more than enough.

Power and Authority

So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own town. Just then some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.”

At this, some of the scribes said among themselves, “He’s blaspheming!”

But perceiving their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts? For which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He told the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” And he got up and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were awestruck and gave glory to God who had given such authority to men.
(Matthew 9:1-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Power is the ability to do something. Authority is the right to do something. If you own a gun, but you are not authorized to use it, your power is limited. If you have access to the page in your bank’s system that can approve loans, but you don’t have the authority to click the OK button, your power is limited by your lack of authority.

As a member of the family of the King of Heaven and Earth, you have been authorized to make changes in some situations you find around you. You can cast demons out of people, heal the sick, raise the dead, teach truth, declare revelation that you have received, and more. Your King has ordained you to bear much fruit.

If you are shaky about what exactly you have been ordained to do, look into it with great fervency. Knock until you have had the answers opened to you. Look into the words and the Spirit of God until you have seen Truth that changes you. Ask Him what He wants of you.

Then go do it with unshakable authority.

Friendship

When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. As all the people saw the pillar of cloud remaining at the entrance to the tent, they would stand up, then bow in worship, each one at the door of his tent. The Lord spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent.
(Exodus 33:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

What does it take to be positioned so that Yahweh looks on us as friends? Solomon wrote in Proverbs 17:17 that a friend loves at all times. Is that it? Does loving our God make us His friends? Is there more? Spending time with Him? Loving His company and nearness?

Whatever the path is to that desirable place, it is the best place. Living in it means living in the Presence of revelation and comfort and provision and protection. The smaller pups in a pack live well when they stay close to the big dog. Sucker fish eat well when they stay close to an active shark.

The hindrances to friendship with Yahweh are all on our side. He wants to walk with us and reveal His plans and His heart with us as sons and daughters who are closer than brothers – friends. Press past everything that He shows you is in the way of friendship with Him. Ask Him what is the next hindrance to be removed.

Inheritance or Loss

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:16-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

If “inherit the Kingdom” means “go to Heaven when you die,” then this section of Paul’s letter to churches in Galatia means “whether you have been born of God (born again) or not, if you have selfish ambition, or jealousy, or envy, you are going to the lake of fire when you die.”

That is not what it means, though. It means that whether you have been born of God or not, if you are living with these bad influences as your values, you are not walking in obedience to the King, and you will not gain benefits of being a citizen of His Kingdom since you are living outside of it.

We don’t really see in the word “inherit” what we better understand of its meaning if we contrast it with the word “disinherit.” Disinherit means to cut off from position or relationship or estate. Inherit, as the opposite of that idea, means to administer the passing on of position or relationship or estate. Early use of the word meant to “make an heir.”  Lawyers shifted the use of it into “get money.”

The “lazy and evil slave” Jesus taught about in the parable of the talents distribution in Matthew 25, was the chap who did not properly value what he had been entrusted with as opportunity. He did not incorporate the talent he received into his life and work, and instead of having something to return on his master’s investment, had just the talent that he had buried.

The master’s response to him was to disinherit him – to cut him off from the type of benefits the other servants had received. They were given authority as their inheritance for having served well with responsibility.

Singing Thanks

   Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
play the lyre to our God,
 who covers the sky with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
and causes grass to grow on the hills.
   He provides the animals with their food,
and the young ravens, what they cry for.

   He is not impressed by the strength of a horse;
He does not value the power of a man.
   The Lord values those who fear Him,
those who put their hope in His faithful love.

(Psalm 147:7-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Totally Surrendered

The place most safe and blessed, the position most protected and provided for, is the place of being completely surrendered to the ownership and leadership of the King of kings. The sphere where His lovingkindness rules is a place of life and peace and joy in His Spirit.

The Kingdom of Jesus is that place – it is the place where He is obeyed. The more clear we are on what He desires for us and of us, and the more our minds and hearts and imaginations and actions are submitted  to those desires, the greater our lives will be.

We won’t exist above challenge or danger or temptation, but we will be freed to decide to accept His blessing in those places, turning them into encounters with Him. Being in that proximity to Him is the power that transforms us in very recognizable ways into being clearly His family members .

Read Psalm 91. Even better, enjoy memorizing it.

Job’s Advisors

The descendants of Eliphaz, Bildad, & Zophar all have websites and YouTube channels. These fountains of information are filled with water that has been poisoned with presumption, deception, and misinterpreted experiences.

They would like to advise me on health, car repair, recipes, investments, and preparation for the end of the world. Many of them can prove they are right by presenting evidence that “the Bible says…”

The Bible says, “Can a man be of any use to God? Can even a wise man be of use to Him? Does it delight the Almighty if you are righteous? Does He profit if you perfect your behavior?” (Job 22:2-3); “…curse God and die” (Job 2:9); “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour…” (Ecclesiastes 2:24); “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9).

How to take all of that advice and interpret through it what the Spirit is saying to me at any given moment is beyond human ability. I can only understand the situations I face, the advice of others (even believers), or the words in the Bible, if the Holy Spirit is opening my ability to understand.

Listen to Him. If something is not clear, ask Him. Then listen to Him. When He speaks, obey.