In the previous article, (God, Horses and Green Slime) we looked at Gen. 1:26 where God says to God, "Let us make man in our image and in our likeness let us make them." We noted that it is difficult to think of human life as "slime or descended from monkeys" when we see that we came from the heart of God, who valued Adam (humanity) enough to declare that Adam was the best of all HIS creation. After all, man (Adam)(insert your own name) was created in the image and likeness of God.
However, there was another being in the garden that wasn't nearly so happy with the new revelation of man. This being was or would be cast out of heaven for pride, insubordination and citing rebellion among God's angels. This original rebel would get back at God by corrupting the image that God had cast in clay and filled with HIS life... God's Adam.
God is spirit, so we don't know whether Adam looked like God. We do know that Adam had the attributes of God. HIS personality, HIS character, HIS heart of compassion, HIS righteousness, HIS creativity, etc. These were the "image and likeness of God" that were placed in Adam when God breathed HIS life (spirit) into Adam. But the serpent had other ideas...
Our custom is to gather together at the El Paisano restaurant on Saturday mornings and have coffee, fellowship and Bible study. One Saturday morning fellowship included a friend of ours who had come in for the holidays and was staying for a few days. He happened to be a cowboy and a man who had spent a good deal of his life training horses, mules and donkeys. He also was a traveler and adventurer and told a fine story. We had several people there that were city folks, so the conversation of course moved toward the romance of the Southwest, cowboy life, and various tall tales from cowboy folklore. Our friend was in his element, with his cowboy attire and mannerisms (including the Mexican Spurs which he wore into the restaurant) and the folks were leaning forward listening and asking questions as he was doing his thing.
Our city friends were enthralled by the stories and the discussion soon turned to the mystic relationship that the cowboy had with his horse. As talk turned to “the horse whisperer,” Howdy explained that the horse only thought of his owner as a food source. As long as he had his hay and oats, he was content to stand in the corral and eat and poop. The horse didn’t know who he was or what his purpose was (other than feeding, breeding and surviving.) He could be an expensive and well bred horse, but until the master took him in hand and began to teach him who he was and what his purpose was, he was just another expensive hayburner in the corral. What a profound thought. And how much more applicable is the principal when applied to people. How many people in the world don't know who they are or what their purpose is? How many people who call themselves Christians don't know who God has called them to be or what they are called to do?
1 Thess. 5:13 Live in peace with one another. 1John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
I appreciate Harv's message on The Peace of Jesus, and have been meditating on some of the morsels presented. My perspective usually wanders off into the practical realm, so was thinking about how we believers can (should) live at peace with one another as part of the manifestation of that "peace of Jesus." HE has provided for it (shalom)... therefore, the precedent and the grace has already been given for all to walk in that peace. Learning to communicate properly with other believers could be a great place to start.
Sometimes when we try to help others to be reconciled together or bring some light into a conflict, it is helpful to give both parties some communication tools so that they can even begin the process. I remember past times when Edith and I were unable to communicate about certain things because the emotions were running so high and the pain and frustration were so great. Any attempt to communicate resulted in a volcano of anger and accusation that spewed out and derailed any attempt at reconciliation. Sooo... we learned to write letters to one another.
Eph.4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
New Testament scripture always points toward the fact that there is ONE church ... one universal church on the earth and one local church in each city. The local "churches" are all a part of the universal church. Just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one, all of the "churches" also are one according to scripture.
I'd like to develop the point that there are actually TWO churches (or at least two things that we call "the church") that are entwined together. One is the real church which consists of the people of God (the ecclesia) who are walking in HIS Spirit and focused on HIM (the one described above in Ephesians 4), and another which is the religious order which we often call the "church." This order is part of the "world systems." You can see it in operation when people are more concerned with liturgies, religious order, money, admiration of men, etc. When their love is for the things of the world. Understanding the difference can free God's people to better represent Jesus as they utilize some of the worldly assets of the "church" (buildings, leaders, finances, etc.) but remain focused on "life in the Spirit" and free of having those "things" become their main priority.
There are many relevant aspects of the kingdom of God as it is revealed in His body. Here are a few which come to mind. Each of these is important and must be carefully considered in the life of the ecclesia, BUT, there is one that must be positioned far and above all the others for any of them to be applicable.
Most folks have an understanding of the word prejudice. Those of us who were around during the civil rights era can remember some of the intense issues, conflicts and emotions of that time and how they have changed and shaped our culture and society, even today. We continue to see prejudice in various intensities and manifestations against Jews, Arabs, blacks, whites, Christians, social classes, educational backgrounds, etc., etc. The fallen world in which we live is full of prejudice, and this prejudice lives on in spite of efforts to educate, motivate and manipulate the minds of the masses. The racial prejudice of the civil rights era may have changed, but the core issues are still present. Human differences still fuel prejudice.
My concern is related to another type of prejudice . . . one which is more subtle and in my estimation, more dangerous and far reaching than the other.
Matt. 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
This scripture expresses the heart of Jesus to His followers. It has brought comfort and solace to countless pilgrims throughout history, and continues to inspire and help those in need. Normally, we look at the fact that Jesus was offering us rest and relief from our burdens. But I'd like to concentrate on another part of the scripture having to do with the yoke or being yoked with Jesus. To do that, I need to tell you a story ---.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
In the beginning was God. God was everything. He was eternal. He had (and has) no limits---no boundaries---no lack whatsoever. He was God. He envisioned a universe, an earth, time and space, and a human who was to be created in HIS image, and out of that vision HE created the heavens and the earth.
BUT the creation at this point was "formless and void." We might use the word "chaos" to describe the scene. It was an empty wasteland without form---without order. It was dark. It was chaotic.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal. Joh 3:17 For God has not sent his Son into the world that he may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him. John 3:16 is the pillar of evangelical Christian theology and, I understand, the best known scripture in the world. It has given the message of life to many who have looked for a place of hope in which to lay down their burdens and enter into the peace of God's kingdom. It is certainly the core of the gospel message of salvation, and is the door of understanding God's love for a dying world. I know many Christians who have based their life on this wonderful scripture, and have moved into a life of fullness and blessing. I know others who have believed in the Savior and have the hope of heaven, but seem to be unable to transition from the future hope of heaven into that transformed life that Jesus promised to His believers in this life. Remember that hope is the starting place, but transformation is the fullness of God's plan.
Through the years, I've seen the BOC (traditional and nontraditional) being distracted and misdirected as people concentrate on doctrinal positions, specific revelations and personal views and agendas. Much of the energy of the BOC (body of Christ) is expended on defending these ideals and trying to justify them to others, trying to convince people to agree with our cause or philosophy and to forsake theirs. Many have made a ministry of "bringing correction" in the name of "standing for truth."
Let's DO Life!