Joseph and the Holy Family

I’m struck this Christmas morning by the important role of Joseph in the holy family. Even the virgin-born Emanuel grew up in subjection to two parents. I see, in the holy family, the importance of family structure. Although he had nothing to do with the conception of Jesus, Joseph was still referred to as his parent and even his father,(Luke 2:41, 43, 48); and he had the responsibility of an earthly father over his family, (Matthew 2:13-23). Jesus was under His parents’ authority before, and even after the age of twelve (Luke 2:51-52). God, Himself placed Himself under human parental authority.

For Unity

I appreciate what RZIM’s J.M. Njoroge says in today’s “Slice of Infinity” about the way “we squander valuable benefits of dedicated teamwork within the household of faith,” and thereby “lose our edge in a broken world.”

He says, “In spite of the fact that Jesus prayed fervently for unity among his followers, the visible church is often a conglomeration of competing factions, each equally convinced of its solitary possession of divine favor. Those who seek signs and wonders through the Holy Spirit are usually suspicious of those who emphasize exegetical approaches to the Scriptures. Christian scholars are sometimes content just to talk to each other, and the uncanny tendency of apologists to sniff out what they deem rotten doctrine is not always appreciated.”

Read the whole article at http://www.rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/for-unity/

“Waiting” for the Holy Spirit?

The statement in John 7:39 — “. . . for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”— does not pertain to us. The Holy Spirit has been given; the Lord is glorified— our waiting is not dependent on the providence of God, but on our own spiritual fitness.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, May 27.
http://utmost.org/the-life-to-know-him/

Concluding a sermon in 1941 entitled “The Weight of Glory”, C.S. Lewis said:

“Meanwile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning. A cleft has opened in the pitiless walls of the world, and we are invited to follow our great Captain inside. The following Him is, of course, the essential point. That being so, it may be asked what practical use there is in the speculations which I have been indulging. I can think of at least one such use. It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously — no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat [truly hides]- the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”

From The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses, C.S. Lewis.

Happy Father’s Day Lord

We’ve been reading through the Gospel of John in short segments at breakfast each weekday. This morning we found ourselves outside the empty tomb where Jesus tells Mary Magdalene to go tell His disciples that He was about to go to the Father. How He said that had never struck me like it did this morning – the Friday before Father’s Day. He didn’t refer to the Father as His Father alone, but as “… My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.”

Wow!
We (His disciples) are His brothers & sisters in God’s Family! Selah (Think about that!) A family relationship with the Creator of the universe!
Did I say Wow?

“I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. Joint heirs with Jesus …”

Happy Father’s Day God!
Help me to act like your son. Glorify yourself in your use of me.

How Much Does God Love Us?

Shortly before crossing the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He would be betrayed, Jesus prayed for His disciples and all who would believe through their testimony. His prayer is recorded in John 17 and in it He shares His heart. He prays that we will be one just as He and the Father are one. In fact He wants us to be one in Them. He has invited us into intimate fellowship with the Godhead – the kind of fellowship enjoyed by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit since eternity past (Jn 17: 21).

In verse 23, He says that the Father has loved us just as He has loved Him (Jn 17:23-24). Can it be that the Father loves us as much as He does His Son? That seems to be what Jesus is saying and it explains the cross (John 3:16 & 1 John 3:16).

He wants us to demonstrate the same kind of love, not only to God, but to each other. In fact, this is how the world is supposed to be able to believe the Gospel message – as they observe our love and relationship with one another.

The day after this prayer Jesus modeled this great love on the cross and made such a relationship with God and each other really possible.

Suggested Study: Read and meditate on John 17 every day for a week.

Holy Spirit and Prayer – What difference do they make?

I’ve been re-reading, after several decades, Edith Schaeffer’s L’Abri in which she quotes her husband Francis Schaeffer. “Supposing we had awakened today to find everything concerning the Holy Spirit and prayer removed from the Bible-that is, not removed the way liberals would remove it, but that God had somehow really removed everything about prayer and the Holy Spirit from the Bible. What difference would it make practically between the way we worked yesterday and the way we work today, and tomorrow? What difference would it make to the majority of Christians’ practical work and plans? Aren’t most plans laid out ahead of time? Isn’t much work done by human talent, energy and clever ideas? Where does the supernatural power of God have a real place?”

Very good question! How are we living as believers in the God of the Bible that is any different from the way an agnostic or atheist lives?

I’m afraid I find myself most consistently living as a practical atheist.

Lord, make my life a demonstration that You, the Personal-Infinite God are really there.