July 30, 2018
“He (Abraham) was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do.”
— Romans 4.21
Before Abraham could be fully convinced of The Father’s faithfulness, he first had to hear The Father speak the promise over him.
After receiving the promise from The Father, Abraham was able to live into it by faith — by trusting that which he had not yet seen, but which he was told was to come.
And by remaining true to the promise he had received, Abraham entered into the goodness The Father had for him.
July 31st, 2018
“… we have peace… we rejoice… hope does not disappoint…”
— Romans 5.1–5
I believe the three stranded cord of The Father’s desire for our lives is the fullness of peace, the radiance of joy, and the motivation of hope.
Paul opens this life giving passage by declaring it is not of our own doing that we enter into peace, joy or hope — but rather, we are invited into these because “we have been declared righteous by faith” through The Father. He declared us free, He spoke freedom over us — for all of those who would chose to enter into relationship with Him, this is to be our truth, that which we live into.
Then Paul goes on to beautifully complete this declaration by explaining how it is that we enter into the hope, joy and peace He has for us… it’s simply “because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Paul’s words rephrased… we can enter into the fullness of peace, the radiance of joy and the motivation of hope because we have been transformed by the experience of His love, The Father’s love through the Holy Spirit.
The Father’s call is not one of requirement, His invitation is to trust Him so that we may receive from Him what He has for us. And according to what He says He has for us, it’s nothing but hope joy and peace.
The thing about hope, joy and peace is that circumstances do not dictate their reality. As Paul writes, “…we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character hope…” I believe the knowing Paul talks about is a very different kind of knowing than what I’m used to. I’m used to the kind of knowing that comes from an educational background — books, podcasts, teachings and the like. I believe the knowing Paul talks about is an experiential kind of knowledge, a knowing that comes from having been transformed by an interaction.
We’re not talking about a “blind faith.” Anything BUT that!
The invitation is to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34). The invitation is to have an experience with The Father, one that might transform you.
August 1st, 2018
— Romans 6.6, 18, 22
As the truth of Christ is revealed to us and we come to know his presence in our lives, we step into life with him. As Christ has gone before us, so we follow him in the way he leads.
The way of Jesus doesn’t end with death… the way of Jesus starts with death.
No one likes dying.
But it is only at the place of death that we can enter into life. For those who follow after Christ do not follow after one who merely died, but one who was raised to life through his death. Jesus began his ministry by modeling what was to come at the end of his life.
Jesus’ baptism represents the very dying and raising to life that he would physically experience later on. And Jesus lived out his representative death in baptism through out the rest of his life — Jesus lived as though he had already died so that he could live into the fullness of what The Father has for him.
Jesus’ invitation is that you and I might chose death, as he did, while we are still living so that we could actually become alive. This new way of living he calls freedom.
As Paul would say it, “…as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death… (having) been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of The Father, so we too may live a new life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection… for someone who has died has been freed from (separation).”
It is through death to the life of separation from The Father (what we often call ‘sin’) that we may be raised to the life of freedom found in relationship with The Father.
Baptism is the representation, a right of passage for those who believe, of that death and new life.
May we live today as those who have already died and have been brought to new life in freedom.