Category Archives: Romans

FREEDOM TO BE


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AriseShine

 

My son wrote this short reflection on true freedom:

“Freedom can be defined by one’s desires – “I am free to do what I want” – but this is not true freedom. True freedom is defined by one’s being – “I am free to be what I was meant to be”.

In fact, the desire-based freedom can be contradictory to the being-based freedom. If I am meant to be sacrificial, if that is an attribute of my inner being, then getting what I want is a hinderance to being what I was meant to be – it is an obstacle to my true freedom, hindering me from realizing my true potential for sacrifice.”  – Richard Michael Venable

Yes, the Lord delivered us into freedom to be who He designed and destined us to be!   He delivered us from the bondage of sin.  We are not free in Christ TO sin, but free FROM sin.  We are free to be heirs with Christ, free to be saints, free to be sons of God!   “Where the Spirit of the LORD is there is liberty” to be who you are in Christ! (2 Cor 3:17)  Oh, our Father wants us to be more than we can imagine!  (Eph 3:20) And all creation awaits the revelation of the glorious sons of God!  (Romans 8:19)  Arise!  Shine!

“…. the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”   (Romans 8:21)   Oh, glorious day!

“… when He appears we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!  And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies Himself as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2b-3)

War of the Worlds


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There is a war going on out there, OUTSIDE.  Bill O’Reilly calls it the “culture war,” and that is a factor. (Pun intended.)  But the war is HUGE, a matter of life and death.  It is a war for the souls of men.  It is a War of the Worlds.  The war is raging throughout the earth because the earth is the last battleground.   But this war has an ending, and we can know who wins. (Read Revelation)  The final battle  will determine the outcome, but the outcome has already been determined by the only One who can win.

 

For now, the two kingdoms are clashing.  But the “domain of darkness” will soon be overcome by the Kingdom of Light. (Col 1:12-13)  Light always forces out darkness.  God spoke, then light appeared.  This very God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Holy Bible, the ONE TRUE God whose name is YHWH, YAHshua, Jesus Christ,  He reigns now and forever!  His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom!  Jesus Christ is LORD!  Our prayer should be His prayer, “Thy Kingdom come!  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  (Matt 6:10)  Sadly, the world is, for the most part, in rebellion to their Creator, the King of the Universe.  God’s will will be done on the earth. The Kingdom of Light, His dominion reigns!

 

 

THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT

The LORD, has defined His Kingdom as one “of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 14:17)  Sounds like a perfect place!  Do you anticipate heaven’s perfect reign on the earth?  Will you be a part of His righteous kingdom?  Will you enjoy its peace?  Will you enter it’s joy?

 

More to come….

A Blessed Pesach


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Today is Passover. Last night was Good Friday and the start of Passover. Last night Jews and Christians around the world were honoring YHWH who saves!

 

This morning, I opened my Bible and my eyes fell on Ezekiel 37:13 :

 

“Then you shall know that I AM the LORD when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves…”

 

Was Paul thinking of Ezekiel 37 when he wrote “And so all Israel will be saved….”? (Romans 11:26)

 

Indeed, the Lord’s words in the passage above are preceded with, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.” (Eze 37:11) Think of that!

 

Then the words continue: “They [the whole house of Israel] indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’”

 

So there is seen here that the whole house of Israel will confess their hopelessness! Is it not when we come to the end of our own strength and find ourselves lacking that we confess our hopelessness and turn to the LORD who can with His breath breathe new life into a situation?  And so He will – for the whole house of Israel!” HalleluYAH!

 

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!” (Psalm 122:6)

City of Peace


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“The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.”   Jeremiah 31:40

Some people think that all the Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled already.   Certainly, enough of them have been that we can be assured that God’s word is true.  But there remain numerous prophecies to be ultimately fulfilled regarding Jerusalem, the City of Peace.   The promise from Jeremiah above remains unfulfilled… but maybe it is soon to be fulfilled!  (Zechariah 14)

The city was demolished after Christ’s time on earth.  Jerusalem was ravaged by Titus 70 AD; again by Hadrian in 135 AD; warfare over and in her has continued over the centuries.  But God’s word will be fulfilled and Jerusalem will be a City of Peace, as her name foreshadows, never again to be “uprooted or demolished”.

Maybe you over-spiritualize the promise.  But a wholly spiritual interpretation of “Jerusalem” would not be so precisely geographically defined as in Jeremiah 31:38-40.   God loves people, but He also loves His creation, including the earth.  Indeed, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed….to be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning…”  (Romans 8:19-22) Do you not hear the earth groaning, even more and more?

The promise of the City of Peace is also stated in Joel 3:17.  “Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.”  Historically, Jerusalem has been invaded in the last two thousand years more than once!

Why has history revolved so much for centuries around this city?   Crusades have been launched over her; she has truly been a “cup of trembling” for the nations. (Zech 12:2)  And why?   Since God has chosen Jerusalem, Satan defies the Holy One of Israel!  Hence, this battle over Zion, over Jerusalem.

The beginning of Joel 3:17 declares:

“So you shall know that I am the Lord your God,
who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.”

Satan wants that which belongs to God!

Jerusalem is the city God has chosen for His own.  Granted, it has often played the harlot.  But God loves her nonetheless and though He has judged her often, He will remain faithful to her.  (If you’d like many more Scriptures regarding this, search “dwell Zion” in the Biblefox Bible search.)

Yes, I realize there is also a spiritual understanding of these verses but that does not diminish the obvious.  God is not a liar.   If a man made a contract with you to give you land and then afterward said, “Well, I didn’t mean physical land; I was referring to pie in the sky”,  you would feel as if you had been cheated and take that man to court.  God is not a liar nor a trickster.

God asked His people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!  (Psalm 122) If you want peace and security, seek her good – not only the “spiritual” city, but also the actual city to which all these Scriptures refer.  I pray for the peace of the city of Jerusalem situated in the country of Israel AND I pray for the people all over the globe who are a spiritual Israel, the Church.   But someday “all Israel”, all the princes of God, will be saved.  (Romans 11:25-26)  That will include many Israelis who are “inhabitants of Jerusalem” who will “look on [Christ], the One they have pierced…”  (Zech 12:10- 13:1)  The fountain of salvation will open to them, for God will open their eyes who are blinded for now, and this will be to God’s ultimate glory.  They will receive their Messiah!   “And so all Israel shall be saved!”  God wants us who already know Messiah to pray for those beloved, those of God’s election, (Romans 11:28) who will in God’s time and for His glory also know Jesus of Nazareth as their promised Messiah!

Will you not join with the Lord in praying for His eternal purposes?  Or will you be like so much of the institutional, historical church who throughout centuries has despised and mistreated and killed the people through whom were entrusted the Scriptures and the seed of Messiah?   God forbid!  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Paul’s Epistle to the Romans


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I have to admit that often I skim over the salutations of the epistles to get to the “meat”.  But what precious nuggets are even in the greetings!  What an appetizer we have here!

Romans 1:1-4

A major doctrine of authentic* Christianity is that Jesus Christ was both human and divine, both man and God.  This is supported throughout Scriptures but here is yet another expression of this truth:

“concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David, according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness….”

Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, “God with us”!

* I make a distinction of “authentic” here because there are some cult-like denominations using (abusing?) the name of Christ that do not hold this standard foundational doctrine.  As the letter to the church of Sardi stated, “you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (Rev 3:1)