Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sabbath Sanctuary: The Scent Of Water And A Resurrection Plant

For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail. Though its roots grow old in the ground and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant {Job 14: 7-9 NASB}.

The desert. This blistering, thirsty land is used often as a metaphor to describe a spiritual season, one in which we find ourselves parched and seeking for God when He seems silent; brass heavens. The Psalmist illustrates this quite poetically:

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? {Ps. 42:1-2 NASB}. 

I recently saw the pages of Scripture come alive in God’s beautiful and glorious creation. I love when the Lord through His creation, illustrates spiritual truths. I was watching Planet Earth: Africa and watched in amazement, as the narrator described plant life in the Sahara Desert. There is a ball of weed, severely dried out and at all appearances, it seems dead. It is similar to tumbleweed, but its branches are much thicker and more brittle. This weed is tossed about in the wind, but it takes strong winds to blow it across the dry desert sands.

This weed, though it looks dried-out and dead, when it finds just a small puddle of water, hard to find in the Sahara, it roots itself in the puddle. Once this weed finds a small patch of water, what once seemed dead, comes to life and unfurls. This alone is a miracle, but it needs one more. It waits for the rain, but the rain must come before it dries out again. The rain pours down on its dead, dry branches, and as the rain falls, it knocks the seeds off this dry bushel, and within hours, fresh, new, green shoots emerge and break through the sand. This amazing plant within weeks of sprouting, flowers and develops their own seeds. The hot sun beats down and dries them out and the cycle begins again. This plant is not a weed after all; it is a resurrection plant. These plants, while in their dried-out stage, can blow around in the Sahara for as long as one hundred years, yet when the wind and rain come, it resurrects to spread their seed through the desert.

Do you have dreams that seem to have died? Do you feel dead and dry spiritually? Jesus can resurrect everything that seems dead; all your hopes and dreams. Your purpose and calling are not dead; at the very scent of water, it will flourish and put forth sprigs {v.9}, like this resurrection plant in the Sahara Desert.  Rest this Sabbath weekend in the truth that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and Life {Jn. 14:6 NASB}, He is resurrection life.

Below is a video of this miraculous plant. As you watch, let it speak to you, let God speak to you and bring back to life those things that seem dead. Rest and believe that they will sprout forth again at the scent of the Living Water of Jesus. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Wonder of God's Word Part V: Christ Revealed~ His Righteousness

The last time I wrote concerning Christ revealed in Scripture, was a few years ago; longer than I care to admit. The season of Lent has moved me to contemplate Christ and all that He has done for me. Not only in my life, but for my life, through His sacrificial death and resurrection. Placing pen to page, I attempt to show you the Beautiful and Glorious Christ. 

I wrote before concerning the prophecies in Scripture of His birth, and in the last post in that series, I penned what the Lord prophesied through His Word concerning Christ’s Character; how will a broken, unrighteous, sinful world know that the One who came, and made extravagant claims concerning Himself, is the Messiah. That is where I will pick up again.

I left off with the prophecies concerning the Messiah’s holiness. Jesus, the Messiah, is the second Person of the Godhead; He did not “begin” at Bethlehem’s manager. Jesus is the pre-existent second Person of the Godhead, and was with God in the beginning; “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am’” {see Jn. 8:58 NASB}.  He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the beginning, and was an active agent in creation. He brought with Him the attribute of pre-existent holiness. I turn now turn to His righteousness.

Righteousness. We all seek to live right before the Lord, but so often we fail. The only way that we can be righteous is through Christ’s shed blood. Righteousness means being ‘right’ or ‘just’ in all things. The pre-existent One is Righteous, because He is God. The act of making us righteous is justification. Scripture uses righteousness as judged by the standard of God’s holy law, by which God reveals to us His character, and is illustrated through the Decalogue {Ten Commandments} {see Ex. 20:1-17}. [1] 
God the Father is righteous (just); Jesus Christ the Son is the Righteous (Just) One; the Father through the Son and in the Spirit, gives the gift of righteousness (justice) to those sinners who repent. When we repent, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness {see 1 Jn. 1:9}. We are made righteous through the Holy Spirit working in us.

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the  Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities {Isaiah 53:11 NASB}. {Author’s Emphasis}

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord {Is. 54:17 KJV}. {Author’s Emphasis}

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions {Heb. 1:8-9 NASB}. {Author’s Emphasis}

Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus {Rom. 3: 25-26 NASB}. {Author’s Emphasis}

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him {1 Jn. 2:29}. {Author’s Emphasis}

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous {1 Jn. 3:7}. {Author’s Emphasis}

Jesus is just and righteous in all His ways. His life was a witness to His righteousness. He was obedient to the Father, He never deceived anyone, and His life and ministry was perfect before the Father. Because of His sinless life, He was qualified to be our righteousness. Therefore, He is the Righteous One. 

[1] Herbert Lockyer, All The Messianic Prophecies Of The Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), 87. 

To read all the posts in this series click here: Who Is This Jesus?