GNB 41

GOOD NEWS BROADCAST

July 1, 2022

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:

“And Yahweh has become king over all the land; in that day there is one Yahweh Elohim and His name will be the only One.” (Zechariah 14.8)

“For by the grace given me (Paul) I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. Rather, think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the faith God has broadcast to each of you.” (Romans 12.3)

TODAY’S REFLECTION:

As I prayed this morning for the Word which God had to share with me and one that I can share with others to strengthen and encourage their discipleship as mighty ones of God, I am struck by a thought presented to me yesterday. It is an humbling thought of reminder. What was I and am I reminded of? It is framed by the charge posted yesterday but one which we hear from pastors and teachers as well. We ought to remember “Who and Whose we are!” In truth, every person who has lived, is alive now and will become alive in the future is “one with and of Christ Jesus.” When Jesus literally took up His cross to follow “Me,” He was engaged in the true “oneness” of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Messiah (not that God needs a messiah but that the Messiah is God’s), did not become the image of who and whose we are. The Christ of God was the image of who and whose we are. By “human” identity, the Christ is known as Jesus of Nazareth. By “divine” identity, the Christ is known as the only begotten Son of God. He set aside His place at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven and took on the place and position of dwelling on earth among us. He did so for us and with us in order that we might understand our true place on earth is for and with Him as we will be in Heaven. When He took up His Cross to follow the accepted purpose, mission and course of obedience in love for God and humanity, indeed for all of creation, He did so for the totality of it. There was nothing and no one excluded from His desire to redeem, restore and reconcile us from the world beyond Eden.

With the gates of Eden virtually hidden, closed against us and guarded to prevent re-entry because of the choice to follow a “fallen” spirit, it is hard for us to imagine who we truly were and are meant to be. The story of Cain and Abel is that introduction to this story line in which we are now a part. That lack of clarity projected a harsh and judgmental view of God. It became easier to see that we would want to be separate from a God who is a harsh taskmaster. Bear with me a moment and consider the argument: “Man, you are to toil from the earth out of which you were created to provide what is needed to sustain your physical life. You will do so with the experience of pain and suffering and the sweat of your brow. Woman, you will be a helpmate to the man from whom you were taken and delivered into the world. You will bear the fruit of your union and deliver it into the world knowing the pain and suffering that goes along with that experience.” Now, honestly, that all sounds pretty harsh. It was the execution of God’s justice and His mercy. For disobedience to His instruction to trust Him in what He said in the beginning, death was detailed as the ultimate result. Satan, the fallen Lucifer, knew, however, that God is merciful as well as just. His own existence was the product and proof of it. He himself could have been obliterated from the realm of Heaven and not merely cast down to earth. On earth, he would experience that hardship of not living in Heaven all the days of His life. He was given a second chance; a chance of redemption. As his heavenly purpose was to lead the citizens of Heaven in worship and praise of the One True God, it could have also been his earthly purpose and opportunity. Perhaps, in a twisted way, that is exactly what he is doing but not intending to do so. Only by “faith” can one see that “in all things and through all things God works together for good the good for all who will call upon His name and acknowledge Him by whose name they are called.” The apostle Paul tapped into that truth as he provided the litany of hardships he had suffered for the sake of the gospel and because of his commitment to trust the Lord His God by following the Lord, God’s Son, through the witness and power of the Holy Spirit. Even Jesus alerted His disciples that such would be the case for their own decision to believe they were of a different reality than the one proposed by the world (that which was inspired by the call to not worship God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind nor to love their neighbor themselves.)

As difficult as it was to imagine by what spirit and attitude one could live outside of Eden in its perfect state, it was made so much less difficult with the revelation of Jesus as the Christ. As I reread the passages of scripture posted from Zechariah and Romans for today’s reflection, I could not separate them from the creation story in Genesis speaking of the decision to bring humanity into being. God declared by His Word and through His Spirit “Let us make humanity so that the two shall be as one. Let us make them in our image as being male and female. In our image let us create them.” John’s preamble to his gospel declares “All things were created by Him and through Him, He who is the Word, Jesus the Christ.” Is it too hard to imagine that the image in which “we” were created in our essential and first being was that of Jesus the Christ? As Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ reveals Himself to us so that we might more easily see “who and whose we are.” We not only bear the fingerprint of God, His handiwork, we also bear the breath of life, the Spirit inspired within us, as well as bearing His purpose, to subdue the world and bring glory to God. Jesus the Christ came into this world on earth so that we could see who we are in His world on earth where we were always intended to be. Jesus shows us our true image, our true self, our true being. He also shows us “the way, the truth and the life” which can work all things together for good with those who are called by His name and who call upon His name. That is the reality of faith. That is why we are called to “live by faith and not walk by sight.” To “live by faith” is to engage the in-sight to the inner working and outward manifestation of God’s love by His mercy, grace and justice. Jesus is that “in-sight.” To walk “by sight” means to live moment by moment responding and reacting in survival mode to whatever is thrown our way. We can choose to conform to it and become the image the broken mirror projects. Or, we can choose to be those who are transformed by the renewal of our minds to become the image in which our true self was intended. We are earthen vessels in which the Spirit of God dwells. Each of us given that unique part of the whole Spirit so that in our unity Heaven and earth can see more clearly the glory of God. Is it time for yesterday’s accountability question to be proposed here? Yes, the one which asked “Why not now?” Well, no time like the present to present “life as it can be through Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Messiah, our Savior and friend” by word, by actions, by faith.

OUR CALL TO PRAYER:

Father, thank You for abiding in us but also calling us into accountability by Your Word of faith. May our eyes, ears, hearts, mind, spirit and soul be wide open to the leading of Your Spirit in these troubled time. We ask this through Jesus our Christ in whose name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

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