Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bare Soul - The Father's Will - May 2, 2010

Matthew 6:10 - Your kingdom come Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Many of us have been present at the reading of a last will and testament. It is generally a time of sadness but also expectancy regarding what the deceased will bequeath to family or friends. Generally, there are no surprises because more times than not, a father or a mother will leave the inheritance to the children. While a will is usually a legal document that is binding in civil court, there is another type of will that is binding in the Court of Heaven. The intent of the Author of this will gave us the legal implications of this contract in His Holy Bible, as inspired by those who penned its pages. For throughout this glorious compilation of books, we find a very simple reoccurring theme of the Father's will which is to live selfless, dependent lives on Him. We are allowed a glimpse into this God-designed utopia of constant fellowship with the Almighty as shown in Genesis the second chapter. God's intent was that humankind would never function outside of God's will. The will of man and woman would always be fused with the the will of the Father so there would never be a break in sweet communion between man and his Maker. However, we know that Adam and Eve chose to disobey and to allow their will to grow to monstrous size (rather than "God-sized") by partaking in the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even as the first man and woman's soul became "enlightened", so they broke communion with God forever. Thereafter, redemption of Adam and all his offspring became the thrust of God's will. And, without God's desire to redeem, souls of humankind could never become wiling participants in God's eternal plan.

Redemption has always been in the heart of God toward all mankind. It has forever been the will of the Father that none should perish but that all would be saved (II Peter 3:9). Even though He knew that Adam and Eve would transgress, His great plan of reconciliation was continually in the forefront of His desire. His ultimate desire is that His will would be once again supreme upon the earth. That even as when man and woman first walked this orb in complete submission to God, there would once again be a people that would walk totally after His heart. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray in the sixth chapter of Matthew, He knew the overarching desire of His Father -- to have a "kingdom come" with multitudes given to do only the will of the Father. In reality, God's kingdom that will indeed fill the earth once again cannot and will not be divorced of the will of God. It is impossible to suggest that willful, selfish individuals given to fortifying their own souls will be part of this glorious priesthood (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10). So, why do so many Christians believe that they can live for themselves and yet still call Him "Lord"? If it will be impossible for sin and self-centeredness to dwell in His presence in His "kingdom come" to this earth or likewise in heaven, then why do many think they can live the way they wish and still consider themselves saved? It is a travesty and a mockery of God to believe that someone can live according to their will yet name the Name of Jesus as their Savior.

As already stated, it has never been the intention of the Father for any to perish but for all to accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior. It is equally as true that all who do not follow the will of the Father to make Jesus Lord of their lives are in danger of willful rejection of the greatest gift of all time. Why do so many judge that acceptance of Christ is the only requirement for eternal life? Frankly, it is because so many in the church have not driven home the point that either Jesus is "Lord of all or He's not Lord at all". This is not a popular position in many churches that smack of the Laodicean spirit that seeks to putrefy the Gospel of Christ (Revelation 3:14-17). No, it's much more fashionable in the western church to just accept all who have made a "decision" for Christ. Beloved, if no one has told you the truth in your Christian walk here it is -- if we are not dying to self for Christ's sake, we are not living for Him! If we have not turned over our wills and our lives to Him to allow God to live through us then we are deceived if we believe that we and the Father are of one will. If we have only hoped for Christ by showing up to church and acting "good", then we truly are to be pitied more than any (I Corinthians 15:19). God does not want cleaned-up religious folk, but He desires crucified men and women that have said to their Lord ... it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20). THAT is a return to the Garden and to a place of oneness of wills. No longer are we innocent as Adam by our sin, but we are made righteous by the crucified and resurrected life of Jesus Christ. Just as He lived and died to do the will of His Father (Matthew 26:42), so we too should seek to live dead to ourselves but alive to His will in us (Romans 6:11).

The Lordship of Jesus Christ and the will of the Father have always embodied the true Gospel. Anything less than giving of ourselves to Him totally in submission of our wills is sub-standard and heretical. Jesus paid the highest price by sacrificing Himself so that we could once again walk in that unbroken fellowship with His Father. I fear for many who do not recognize this as the normal Christian experience. To court the world and to rely upon one's own will in this life is dangerous if one believes they are one of Christ's. It is ludicrous to believe that the will of the Father will one day be ours if we live our whole lives in willful disobedience to His wooing. Just as a natural family member might be taken out of an earthly will, it may surprise some to find out that they were never part of the Heavenly Family in the first place. What they had counted on through years of sinful disobedience to the Lord of Glory, never did belong to them. May none reading this be those who say, "Lord, Lord" on that day when in their horror He states that He never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23). But let us be those who have lived to do His will, not loving our own lives even to death. For truly, our lives are worthless unless they are found worthy -- living lives of willful surrender to the one who is able to restore this earth even as He wills in heaven. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in You. Help us to surrender all our will, all our soul and spirit to You. Take and make us according to the image You desired long ago in Your first creation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Bare Soul - Hidden Treasure - April 25, 2010

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "Hidden Treasure, A Message of Fidelity and Covenant" delivered to the homeless at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on April 22, 2010.

Hidden Treasure - April 22, 2010

Matthew 13:44 - The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Recently, I was running at a local high school track where I noticed a fellow with a metal detector busily working the grassy grounds around the school buildings. The steady and patient sweeping back and forth of the man and the machine intrigued me as I looped the track. After my run, I went up and chatted with him, asking if he had found anything. He mentioned locating some loose change which was about the extent of his findings. I asked him if he would be interested in coming over to my house and to search my yard for something I had lost many years ago. At the time I lost it, this particular item didn't seem that important of a loss. But as the years went by, it mattered more and more. About 10 years previous, I was out mowing the yard and I had slipped my wedding band in my shorts pocket for "safe keeping". In reality, it was an outward expression of an inward malignancy that was going on in my own heart regarding my marriage. When opportunities would arise, such as working in the yard or using power equipment, I would invariably take my ring off. Truth be told, I was really wishing that I was once again single and so the game of "hide the ring" became a common practice when convenient. I was running from the power of the ring and what it meant in my own dissatisfied heart toward my bride. There was nothing wrong with her -- the problem was with me. Just as my marriage was in trouble, I was stumbling in my relationship with Jesus Christ. My heart was divided in both my marriage and in my commitment to the Lord. Gone from both was the value I had once given to these wonderful treasures.

Within a short amount of time, I found that my new friend David the treasure hunter was a Christ-follower. I told him that I believed it was God-ordained that we met and he sensed a grave responsibility to help me find this ring. I told him that it meant a lot to me now and that I would reward him substantially if he was able to locate it. I showed him the less expensive substitute band I had purchased a few weeks after losing the original. I had worn this band reluctantly at my wife's behest, playing the same "hide the ring" game as before. However, as months went by our marriage began to heal. We refocused our marriage upon God's love and grace and our love grew as never before. There came a point in our marriage, several years ago, that I would not take off my wedding band no matter what. It was then I knew that God had shown me that my wife and I would always be together, much the same as we would always be with Christ.

After an hour or so of diligent searching, David found the ring in the back yard close to the tomato garden. He told me it was a near miracle he located it because of the amount of underground interference with buried electrical lines. However, it was like there was a long enough "hush" in that area that allowed him to hear the distinctive sound of metal. Once he dug it up, it was truly like finding a long lost treasure that had hence grown in value through the years. When I lost it, it did not matter to me whether I saw it again. However, to find it that day, it brought tears to my eyes. It was truly a moment of understanding regarding the love that grows between a man and woman and the expression of that love through something as simple as a wedding band. How much more when Christ gave His life at an incalculable cost for the treasure that He desired -- the souls of humankind. Or, in retrospect, how much we as unbelievers despised the treasure of His sacrifice until the light of His revelation dawned upon our hearts to teach us otherwise? It was a great moment of clarity when those of us who know the Savior understood that the life of God was spent for us. That he bled and died and then was buried in the earth, rising again on behalf of all mankind. For me, this ring needed to lay buried for 10 years until God would once again entrust to me its true significance. Not only did the Lord need to teach me about a loving relationship between my wife and me, but also the covenant of fidelity that He had since recreated in me toward my God. For those of us who are or were "God challenged", Christ still lies buried in that historical tomb. Many simply cannot grasp by faith that a Savior died and was resurrected on their behalf. Multitudes caught in the valley of decision spurn Christ yet God waits patiently for their hearts to become malleable to the working of His love. So much "interference" both of the flesh and the devil seek to keep Christ's candidates from finding the treasure that they lost when they once had a zeal for the things of God. While one might believe that their treasure (salvation) is kept in safe-keeping for a time when they wish to seek the Lord, God will only give certain opportunities to seize upon the prize. Even as the writer of Hebrews tells us, there is a day fixed for all of us to enter God's rest and to find His great treasure that He desires all to partake (Hebrews 4:6-8). Paul, in the second book of the Corinthians tells us to not overlook the day of salvation, but to act upon "today" for there may not be a tomorrow (II Corinthians 6:2).

This was my day of "ring redemption" when I met David and he miraculously helped me find a long lost treasure. Even so, there are appointed days for us all to seek and then find the greatest treasure ever offered to mankind. We simply need enough humility to say that we need someone to guide us in our search. The Holy Spirit is always there to help us if we will but ask for His help. Whether we have never met the Savior or we have somehow lost our way and buried hope in a tomb of hopelessness, God is near to help us once and for all find the buried treasure that can truly set us free. May God help us all to find Him and to prize Him above all, selling out for Jesus Christ in this remarkable day of salvation!

O Lord, that we would find you ... the greatest treasure ever offered to mankind. That we would prize you above all and always hold you dear as the most remarkable gift we could ever possess. Thank you Lord! In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Bare Soul - God's Piercing - April 18, 2010

Acts 2:37 - Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

The conviction of God in a wholesale manner is a rare thing in western Christendom today. While we read instances of God's moving of His Spirit in the the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively, most of us today have not witnessed a supernatural moving of God's Spirit over a large group of souls. John Wesley and George Whitefield would testify of wave after wave of conviction capturing the hearts of their hearers in the first Great Awakening of 18th century Britain. Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God in the midst of pre-revolutionary war New England, which caused men and women to cling to the pillars of the church in Enfield Connecticut that hot summer day in 1741. Such was the conviction of the Spirit in this Sunday service that groans and cries were heard from the congregation as many imagined themselves sliding into the hot abyss without hope. David Brainerd, betrothed to Edward's daughter up until his early death of tuberculosis in 1747, would preach to the Indians in his missionary quest for their lost souls with such a conviction that there would be continual wailing from the listeners until a sweet peace would fall over those granted repentance. Charles Finney, great revivalist of the 2nd Great Awakening of the mid-19th century, would speak with similar results at his tent and camp meetings throughout the eastern United States. In the forward to Power from God by Charles Finney the editor writes:
His words seemed to fasten like arrows in the souls of men. They cut like a sword. Like the power of a hammer, they broke down strongholds. Multitudes experienced this power. Often, just a look or a single sentence would bring conviction and result in an almost immediate conversion to Christ.
All of these preceding examples have their biblical roots from that day nearly two thousand years ago when the Holy Spirit added 3,000 souls on the day of Pentecost and the church of Jesus Christ was birthed. A true move of God cannot be divorced from the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11). It doesn't matter how many healings or so-called manifestations of the Spirit are occurring -- if people are not being saved and changed to live godly lives then the purported move is suspect at best.

When the Holy Spirit moved the day the church began in Jerusalem, Luke records this moment by describing hearts being "pierced" by the conviction of God. The Greek word for pierce in this scripture is katenug─ôsan meaning to prick violently. God made Himself abundantly present in the hearts of these soon to be converts that He was not playing games. He didn't merely want them to "make a decision for Jesus", but he wanted to stab them violently with the realization that they were guilty of the Son of God's death and that without Him they would be lost forever. Even as the prophet Malachi stated that the Lord would come suddenly into His temple (Malachi 3:1), even so the Lord broke in on the bodily temples of these respective 3,000 souls and made the declaration that He was going to inhabit them for eternity! Oh, that God would raise up those that would preach like Peter and be pierced without pity! The reason we see so little of God moving in this manner in western Christendom is because we would rather be pleaded with to make a "decision" than to be pierced by the arrows of God. We would much rather remain stupefied under the watered-down gospel of the "me theology" than to be stabbed by the sword of the Spirit that can give life. God weeps for souls while we wonder what's on TV tonight! Beloved, the reason there is not more piercing is because there is not more praying. God give us Your heart to know that nothing else matters but to satisfy Your longing for redeemed souls!

If one looks at the instances of the Pharisee's reactions to the apostolic movement of the birth of Christ's church, you will see a much different "slicing and dicing" occurring. After Peter and John, by the power of God, gave the lame man legs to walk in Acts the fifth chapter we see an irate and hostile back lash from the religious order of the day. Peter took the opportunity to testify of the Lord Jesus and His healing power regarding why this lame man stood before them totally restored. The apostle also accused them of murdering the Son of God which drew hostile intentions from the Pharisees: But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them. (Acts 5:33). Later, we find when Stephen at his defense accuses them of their hypocrisy and murder, that they react in a much similar way: Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him (Acts 7:54). The etymology or origin of "cutting to the quick" means to literally cut someone so deep in their emotions that a harsh reaction is nearly always warranted. In this case, it was a murderous conspiracy because of the pride and arrogance of these religious hypocrites. While "cutting to the quick" deals with a severe blow to the emotions or to the very psyche of a person, this does not precipitate a spirit of redemption when dealing only with the soul of a man. As shown in Acts 2 as well as in other examples previously stated regarding the Great Awakenings, the spirit of a man, woman, or child must be "pierced" not merely emotionally "sliced". There must be the work of the Holy Spirit that finds a humble heart, allowing Him to pierce, stab, and ultimately heal a heart that is ready for His work. That is why the work of the Holy Spirit is so critical in salvation and is impossible without Him. Even as the scripture in Hebrews states: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). This, Beloved, is how God saves -- by the very separation of soul (emotions) and the spirit of a man. For only then can God redeem a lost human being in the humility that is so necessary for redemption.

While we hear many talking and seemingly desirous for a move of God in the western church, we must decide what we truly desire ... for God will give us what we seek. Are we wanting to witness once again the moving of God's Spirit where souls are ushered into the kingdom "suddenly"? Or, do we just desire to see an "educational" variety of Christendom where changed lives are not the norm, only changed vocabularies at best. It is one thing to talk like a Christian, it is quite another to walk like one. We desperately need a move of conviction that will once again shake the foundations of hell and cause heaven to resound with rejoicing not heard from the church in America and western Europe for some time. It is time to move God's heart -- to usher in that power from on high that will once again be the norm to "pierce" the hearts of men. Are we willing to pray, fast, and seek Him until the sword of the Spirit can do it's work? I pray that we would all be willing vessels to beseech the throne of grace until a redeemed, sanctified body of believers becomes the heritage of the church in the west. May He receive all the glory as we give ourselves for His most noble work!

Heavenly Father, we pray and boldly ask for the work of your Spirit to pierce hearts as we have read about and now desire to see. Use the Sword of the Spirit, the Arrows of the Lord to bring conviction and lead many to Jesus in our Laodicean western church. Cause your Holy Spirit to once again pierce asunder between soul and spirit and to have His way in men's hearts. We pray all this in Jesus' name and for His glory. Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Bare Soul - The Hope of Glory - April 11, 2010

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "The Hope of Glory" delivered to the homeless at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on April 8, 2010.

The Hope of Glory - April 8, 2010

Colossians 1:27 - to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

There is an innate desire in humankind to be partakers of beauty and splendor. We can be inspired by the grandeur of a setting sun over the expansive Grand Canyon, or be in awe of the beauty and majesty of the crashing surf along an idyllic coastline. These can be glorious settings that are merely expressions of their Creator and His very nature. To truly understand these awe inspiring scenes that we behold in His creation, one has to know the Maker who replicates His character over and over again to the visible eye. He hints to us of His glory and the immeasurable splendor of His majesty by these visual tokens. He beckons all, stating that paradise lost will once again be paradise regained if only we believe. What we now see is only a miniscule portion of the glory yet to be revealed to the chosen of God. Paul understood this when he spoke in context of what seemed like suffering in this present life compared to the one to come: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).

As Paul states, we will never know on this side of the veil the glory to be revealed. One thing is clear, however, that no one has experienced the fullest measure of His glory in human form. Even Moses was told by God that he could not experience God's presence to the fullest or death of his mortal body would be certain (Exodus 33:20-23). Sinful flesh cannot experience the fullness of God's glory because of the holy nature of the manifest presence of God. Paul tells us in another place in Romans that all have sinned and "fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Whatever God had designed for His people was aborted by sin and its effects. The perversion of iniquity created a wall of separation that gave us eyes of sin that could never behold the true beauty of His revealed glory. That's why eyes that can only see the natural will never truly understand that there is a supernatural God of glory behind the beauty revealed all around us. It takes eyes of faith that can only come through a relationship with our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So how do we experience God's glory? Moses was awarded the honor in scripture to be called the "friend of God" (Exodus 33:11). This prophet and leader of Israel is a typology for the believer to understand that we too can experience the intimacy of God upon this earth while waiting for the manifestation of glory beyond the veil that separates the mortal from the immortal. Just as there was an intimacy between God and Moses, Jesus also called us friends if we kept His commandments (John 15:14). If Jehovah revealed Himself to Moses, how much more will Jesus reveal Himself to those who love Him and obey Him? The former covenant that Moses delivered through the law was beyond keeping -- it was impossible for any son of Adam to fulfill in the sinful flesh inherited from the first man. However, even through 40 years of disobedience and rebellion, God allowed Moses and the children of Israel to continually behold His Shekinah Glory in the cloud of His presence by day and the fire of His glory by night (Exodus 13:21-22). This was such a manifestation of the visible glory and splendor of God that the children of Israel cried out at one point that they were in danger of death if they continued in God's presence: Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die." (Exodus 20:19). However, Jesus Christ, through the new covenant by His blood brought us near to God to experience Him with the very eyes of faith that He has given to all who would but believe (Ephesians 2:13). Even so, the "hope of glory" that Paul speaks of in our lead verse is full of unfilled desire or longing regarding seeing with faith-filled eyes. It is spiritually charged with the yearning that hope creates but is also peaceful and trusting in the assurance of its revelation by the faith given by our friend, Jesus. No longer do we need to fall short of His glory, Beloved! He has purchased us and befriended us if we will but obey. There will be no need for us to say to Jesus, "Show us Your glory!", for He has given us every spiritual blessing both in this life and the one to come (Ephesians 1:3). We merely need to believe and open our eyes to begin to experience the greatness of His glory here on earth as we will also experience one day in heaven (Ephesians 1:17-19).

While the beauty of this earth will always be resplendent in its own glory, there are other wonders that God desires to show us if we will but yield Him the eyes of our hearts. The viewing of nature becomes a "SUPER-natural" experience once we put on the eyes of God. If we will but open up our minds and hearts there is so much more than nature that He desires to share. To be captivated by the heart of God and to live daily experiencing His glory in all things around one's self is an adventure that only few will ever know. God desires that none of us would fall short of His glory. He longs for our daily participation in His glorious works, while always hoping for the day when we see Him in all of His splendor. We are always growing toward that wondrous day if we know Christ -- if He is truly in us and moving through us. For only as we know that Christ is living within, only then will we experience His glory day after day and hope for that glorious day of revealing!

Heavenly Father, thank you that Jesus Christ died so that we might live always in Your glory. Thank you for Your works of splendor here on earth and the glory to be revealed beyond the veil. Keep us ever mindful of the gift of glory You have given for all to share who would but believe. Praise to You ... the all Glorious One! In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Bare Soul - Eternal Life - April 4, 2010

I John 2:25 - This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

Life on earth without the Spirit of God's indwelling is merely life -- a passing shadow of the eternal. Life testifies to the greatness of God and is His constant reminder to us that life eternal awaits all those who would but trust in His Son. The vast majority of humankind go through their daily lives without a thought that everything around them testifies of God, speaking to them continually regarding His greatest gift to all -- eternal life in Jesus Christ. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat are all temporal reminders that we are sustained by something much greater than ourselves. We are mindful that we need these basics to continue to experience life as we know it. How much more their eternal counterparts? We all need oxygen to continue to fill our lungs, just as the Holy Spirit desires to fill our "spiritual lungs" with His presence. Even as Jesus breathed on His disciples after His resurrection to receive the "breath of God" so He is ever desirous to give the same eternal gift to us all (John 20:22). Jesus told the woman at the well that He would give her eternal water that would forever satisfy her need (John 4:14), and later at the great feast He cried out that rivers of living water would flow from the very spirit of those who would believe (John 7:37-38). Finally, Jesus tells us that He is the Bread of Life and that no man will ever hunger or thirst who comes to Him (John 6:35). God gives us the gift of life that sustains us here on earth and offers us freely their eternal counterpart if we will but believe. Even until the night before His crucifixion, Jesus spoke this message of eternal life through faith in Him. Jesus' desire along with His Father's was that all who would believe would be one with Them (John 17:21). To be one, Jesus knew that He must swallow up death and sin by His death, burial, and resurrection. He must now become the Life Giver for every man, woman, or child that would trust in Him for their eternal sustenance.

When we know that we have been raised into newness of life (Romans 6:4), then we can begin to identify with the Person who has come to live within. For whatever God indwells, He makes eternal. When God's Spirit dwells within a human being, then that person takes on the character of the Indweller. No longer should we be bothered by trifles because God Himself is not bothered or worried about temporal life. He has everything firmly in control. The very power that raised Christ from the dead is now working in all areas of our respective lives for His good pleasure (Romans 8:11). The Holy Spirit's desire is that we would know that He is truly inhabiting our spirit to make us refined royalty of the Most High. To this end, we all need more revelation and understanding that the Eternal God lives within those who have trusted in Him. Furthermore, that the eyes of our hearts would understand that He has become so much a part of our spirit that it is impossible to separate the two (Romans 8:35). Take for example a tea bag and a cube of sugar and place them in cup. While they are both in the cup, they still have their own characteristics and properties. However, if one adds hot water, what happens? The tea and the sugar release their properties to the water. They dissolve and are intermingled to the point where one cannot distinguish between the two. They have become "as one" and it is now impossible to separate them. This is how God wants us to view His relationship as He indwells us. No longer do we just possess life, but our life has now become eternal by the very presence of the Most High God. Through the transformative power of water, both in our example and through the water of His Spirit, He has allowed us to be identified with His eternal life force both in this present age and the one to come.

Throughout His ministry, Christ continued to speak about the basic elements of life and how they paralleled the eternal. No where is this more clearly stated as when Christ spoke with Nicodemus regarding the new birth. This teacher of Israel was shocked to hear Jesus proclaim that unless a man was born of water and the Spirit that he would not experience life eternal (John 3:5). He could not understand that with every temporal explanation of human life there must be an eternal. Jesus then went on to speak specifically of the breath of life that the Spirit gives, the very pneuma (John 3:8) as stated in the Greek (where we derive our word pneumonia). A few short years later, Jesus would give up his right to these "elements" -- his very breath, the life-giving force of water as it created the blood that coursed through His veins, and finally His mortal body. Through His sacrifice, He chose to embrace the eternal in order that we all might be identified with everlasting life. The grave could not hold Jesus on that glorious Resurrection Day because He no longer was tied to earth by merely "life", but He was now overcome in His mortal flesh by eternality. When Jesus burst forth from the tomb, He no longer possessed the weak flesh of mankind but a body transformed and made perfect and eternal by His Heavenly Father.

An eternal life is a resurrected life. There is no other possibility for man. Even as Christ was raised from the dead, so we must also be identified with Christ in order to partake of life everlasting. We cannot breathe the "air of heaven" (which is nothing less than the presence of the Spirit of God [(Isaiah 59:21]), or partake of the living waters that proceed from His throne (Revelation 22:1), or partake of the marriage supper of the lamb (Revelation 19:9) unless we have first acknowledged that our earthly sustenance MUST transcend to the eternal. Unless we confess that the air we breathe is merely a shadow of the Breath of Life than we will die spiritually for lack of breath. If we don't see that the life giving power of water is merely a symbol for His Living Water, we will die of spiritual hydration. And lastly, if we don't understand that He is the Bread of Life, then we will truly starve to death spiritually. However, if we will but understand that He is the Giver of ALL sustenance, both temporal and eternal, then we too will live and reign through a resurrected life ... and eternal life ... never to languish but to be satisfied by His very life-giving presence!

Holy Father, thank you for life and the constant reminders that you are the Originator and Sustainer of life eternal. Help us to immerse ourselves and so identify with your holy indwelling that we become one, even as You and Your Son are one. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave he arose;
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!


Your Barefoot Servant,


Rick