Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jesus: Our True Battle Buddy

Sometimes life just feels like a war zone.  I know I'm talking to somebody!!  It may not feel like a constant war zone but maybe many smaller battles.  I use to live the military lifestyle and this title reminded me of the bonds I made.  During deployments we would call other friends "battle buddies" or "battle sisters".  Still today I could call any one of them and they would help me out.  I would do the same for them in a heartbeat.  No questions asked!  Now take the actual military member and that bond is even stronger. Those men and women would protect one another to such an extreme level it is not even imaginable to someone who has not gone to war.

"Great love has no one as this
that he lay down his life for his friends."
-John 15:13

Do you have people in your life that you can count on like that?  Sadly I think most of us would say no.

Jesus came not to just be Our Redeemer but our true Battle Buddy.  He is willing to go through the trenches with you and take bullets for you.  He desires that forever bond with you!

If you have been "through the trenches" and have had that friend with you and not flinch when the war became bloody you know that deep bond I am talking about.

Others can encourage you but only Jesus can protect you.  Jesus knows what it is like to be in battle, to be rejected, to be tortured, to be rejected, to be unloved, to be thrown to the way side.

Our Heavenly Father knows our pain, our struggles, our disappointments, our needs and wants--our greatest desires.  He is the one who created YOU!!

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb."
-Psalm 139:13

He made you to have the desires you have.  Do you trust Him enough to care and nuture those desires because He has a bigger purpose than you can see?

We crave so badly to have someone go to battle with us.  Jesus is that person who willingly wants badly to go to battle with you.  In fact, He has begged to be that Battle Buddy for you.

That forever bond lasts forever.  Even when friends part or don't talk as much that forever bond never goes away.  You may hear of your earthly battle buddy in need and you won't hesitate to do anything for that person--even in death.  That is what Jesus desires to be for you.  He wants to be your Battle Buddy.  The only difference is that HE can save you from everything and anything.  He has already conquered death to give you LIFE.

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand."
-Psalm 40:1-2

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why Do We See Blue?

While this title may seem elementary how easily can you answer this question?  When we look into the sky we see blue.  Scientists tell us it is because the color blue is reflected easier than any other color.  So the sky is not actually blue it is only because of the way we see things that it appears blue to us.  However, I think it goes farther than that.  I find it beautiful that of all the colors God created, it is blue that we see when we look up into the sky.

There is no doubt we have an intelligent creator.  He created us with such precision even our eyes see only what He designed them to see.  I will talk about that more later but for a minute I wanted to point out some biblical truths about the colors blue and red.

Biblical references to the color blue include:
-Signifies life (mostly in the form of water)
-Reminders of heaven and refers to Jesus as the Son of God who came down from Heaven reflected in the book of John.
-Represents the righteousness of God, Heavenly Grace, Holiness, and Gods Commands.
-Color is worn by servants.
-The book of Numbers describes the instruction and importance of blue as hanging curtains, ropes, and other coverings.

Biblical references to the color red include:
-Color of sin/death
-Represents war or battle
-Also may represent richness

We know these colors have meanings because as we see in the books of Numbers and Leviticus, colors have a specific meaning as do numbers.  God's instructions in Leviticus were very specific and it was for good reason.  We can see in these books alone the beauty of God's instruction.  Even looking at the original Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek we can see a letter did not exist without a corresponding number.

In researching the color blue and red I couldn't help but think of medical textbooks where oxygenated blood is in red and deoxygenated blood is in blue.  This means this blue blood represents blood in an organic state that is being transported to be transformed by the HEART!

We know that our blood is red.  That is just a fact!  However, when we look at the veins on our skin we only see blue.  Even when our skin is bruised we only see blue or different varying colors of blue, green, and yellow.  As I mentioned above blue is symbolic to life.  All life is surrounded by blue whether it is land based or in water.  Life does not exist without water or the covering of the sky.

Blue represents life, His protection--His covering, His presence, and His love for His children.  He loves us all so much that we wants to give us real physical proof of how much he desires us as His children. We see what red and blue portray and must realize as the Bible states, God wants us to gaze up into the heavens and see His Commands, His Holiness, His Perfection, and His Forgiveness.  We don't need to look down upon ourselves and see the sin in our own body.  Jesus came to take away this sin so you could focus your attention on the beauty of life.

How beautiful that we were created this way.  We can expect to see physical evidence of His undying love for His children in all things.  The question is how much digging are you willing to do?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Christian Unity

Do we speak about Christian unity as passionately as Paul did in the New Testament?  I am sure we can agree the answer is NO.  If struggles in life are getting more severe and more common our passion to live out Matthew 6:33 should be as well.  

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  -Matthew 6:33

Paul addresses Christians as Brothers and Sisters and that is how we should treat one another.  This unity was created when Jesus died on the cross and His blood was shed.  Not only was the relationship between Christian and God changed but also the blood washed away the separation between Jew and Gentile and we became one body.  

By the precious blood that Jesus poured out we did not become friends with one another but instead we were united by our Heavenly Father as true Brothers and Sisters.  That is why even when it comes to gifts that God gives us it is a demonstration of the special task of one part of the body.  

As Brothers and Sisters we all share the same troubles and the same blessings.  Paul is a wonderful Brother who has encouraged us to live boldly for the Lord.  He was willing to struggle, to be in severe pain, to be in prison, and to die to glorify our Lord.

"He must become greater; I must become less."  -John 3:30

There are times when we forget God's promises or what He rescued us from and our Brothers and Sisters can remind us.  They can remind us to seek the only one that can save us from the smallest things to death.
"This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."  -Jeremiah 29:10-15

One of the hardest tasks with the issue of christian unity is how different we feel from the rest of society and sometimes within our own family.  However, no matter how different we think we feel we must keep our focus on our purpose which is to glorify our Heavenly Father.  It is because of Him that we are united and we must not get confused in small issues that derail us from the task at hand.  Paul even warns us that there will be things that will try to confuse us.  The enemy will try to drive a wedge between Brothers and Sisters knowing what your weaknesses are.

With that diversity that God created in us He also created us to desire likeness.  The likeness of being loved, being noticed, being accepted, and to seek help.  Our desire to be noticed has already been fulfilled because God has set you apart from those people who are not children of God.  My Brothers and Sisters you are already special and noticed!!

God has created us to 1) love Him and 2) to seek out others in fellowship.  One of the most important aspects of fellowship is what I sum up as kindred spirits.  No matter how smart we think we are, we as Brothers and Sisters all fall to the same things.  However, because God created us to be in relationship with one another we can encourage one another when we do fall.  Through this relationship with our Father we are apart of 1 body.  It is further proof of God's love for His children when we know of someone who went through a similar struggle.  It is even more telling when we find another person who has an experience so close to yours you know it is God pointing out that you are not alone.  

With this we must remember what God commands us to do.  God commands us to do many things but the one thing that stands out is to love others as God has loved you.  God created all of His children to be different but we feel the same, struggle the same, and the solution is still the same.  

Furthermore, God did not just want us to get married to have one close relationship.  He wants us to be united with all of our Brothers and Sisters.  We suffer very specific things for a special reason and there is no mistake with God in control.  In the same way we search for reviews for mechanics we also search and respect others who have been through a similar or exact struggle.  God will use your pain and struggles to encourage someone else.  

Sometimes when our Brothers and Sisters sing or talk about Jesus you can hear the condition of their heart.  When they speak they may say things that our own spirit recognizes and springs to attention knowing exactly what they are talking about.  It is in this recognition that if our heart did not know the words to say before it knows it now.  
We may even feel we know our Brothers and Sisters even better because of the Holy Spirit speaking through them to you.  Which further edifies the reason behind christian unity.  God loves YOU!!

As God's children we are predestined, called, justified, and glorified.  It is only by God's authority these things can be true.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."  -Romans 8:28-30