Tuesday, October 19, 2010

John 1:1-18 ESV

John 1: 1-18 (ESV)

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, Or was not any thing made. That which has been made was life in him and the life was the light of men.   “That which has been made was life in him ” correct wording

A picture has formed in my mind. The WORD was SEED planted in the womb of creation. In the womb of creation the WORD was life. That life, the WORD was birthed out of the womb of creation, and the WORD birthed, is the light of men. The WORD has been the light of men from the beginning, when he was God’s means of creating. So what was made was made by the WORD.  And that which was made was life in the WORD - and  the WORD became the light of men. 

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The light shines in darkness. Darkness cannot extinguish it, but the real evil is the darkness doesn’t comprehend it. The darkness can neither see or understand the light. It knows there is LIGHT because of it’s affect on creation and so seeks to destroy it but cannot. I see it in a dim way, as a lighthouse. The sea rages against it, but cannot reach the light to turn it off (in truth, lighthouses can be overwhelmed, yes) But this is a lighthouse / LIGHT proven by death, and resurrection to not destroyed / overwhelmed. That LIGHT, the WORD from the beginning is shinning and will shine forever!!

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

The life which was the LIGHT of mankind. This is True LIGHT. Meaning it is a valid, real, without blemish or fault LIGHT. All who live, whatever true light they have, it comes from the true LIGHT - even if they reject that light.

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

We are Born of God, become children of God! Do we understand the magnificence of this? It is a transaction, no,  a birth into life. It was not by our will, or any other human agency. God birthed us into His family. If He took the time to birth us, cannot He hold us? If we are not birthed in truth - if we seek to be children through our own will then we are not children of God. My heart cries when I hear the words “I tried God, but it didn’t work for me”. That is a work from my will. We are promised if we receive him, and believe in his name, he will birth us.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The WORD became Flesh. This eternal, creating WORD yielded up his glory and submitted to becoming a created being, with all it’s weaknesses. His only advantage was He was the second Adam, having the blood of His father flowing in his veins, not the now tainted blood of the first Adam. This second Adam had created in him, as all creation had, CHOICE. He could be wounded, bleed, be hungry, tired, thirsty, and I imagine lonely. He could be tempted. Perhaps to bitterness, anger, murder and immorality. But most certainly, as Satan was before him, he could be tempted to become proud of his power and position in creation. To become enamored with himself.

And, enfleshed, he was vulnerable as all mankind is, to his enemy - the usurper who wished to be God himself. Again and again in history, Biblical and secular we’ve seen Satan incite murder of baby boys, and mankind to try and prevent first the birth of Christ, and I believe now, being blinded by evil, thinking “if I did it once, I can do it again, but this time I will prevent his resurrection” or maybe thinking by tearing down the LIGHT of God in the world by snuffing it out in the lives of God’s Children by sin, that he would show GOD.  He could overcome God. I don’t know but it is a battlefield. But, a God allowed battlefield, and with only God's allowed results. As in the death of Christ, Satan thought that was the victory - not knowing the fullness of God, and HIS power over death.

One of the lies of Satan, propagated in some human hearts that Satan was the firstborn of God, and Christ the supplanter. But the truth of God is Jesus Christ is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON of God, the WORD made FLESH.

I find it very interesting that God’s creation holds the ability to accept and love His creator or to chose not to love and believe in Him. God, even in creating man made one law. One law in all creation. But, in that law, God also made CHOICE possible. An interesting read in Isaiah 14:11-14 and Ezekiel 18:12-19 regarding who Satan was - naming him has guardian Cherub in the Garden of Eden. So at the beginning Satan was not yet fallen. He was made in fact the guardian Cherub in the garden. But his heart became proud of his own beauty it says, and caused him to become unrighteous. I’ve heard that he sought the praise that belonged to God, to be taken unto himself.

And here we find for the first time of one of the great evils in all the world. That evil, where the protectors or guardians become despoilers of those they are given charge over. Parents who abuse their children, Spiritual leaders and secular leaders who use and abuse those they are given charge to protect.

And Satan’s scheme as a despoiler worked. Moreover, it was/is the despoiled, mankind themselves who suffer for that terrible wrong against them. But, I also believe, as in the case of Christ’s resurrection, in  all that Satan schemes to do, in all his seeming successes  in God’s time and place, will prove to have failed, and I believe in the end his schemes will prove to be his own undoing. Part of our walk with the LORD in this life is holding onto that truth and walking in it, not in the evil done to us.

One further outcome of the lies of Satan. As in the birth of Ishmael to Abraham, truly the first child born to him, but not the child of promise. Satan has taken this birth and created a religion of hate in the world. Hatred of the children of the son of promise, and hatred of the children who are born of God, and hatred of women as those who bare children, who can in turn believe in God. Those to me seem the main tenets of that false religion and Satan is putting all his might into overwhelming the world with that religion. The soul purpose of this religion is to put out the Light of God in the world.  But praise the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, who was, and is and is to come, the only Begotten of the Father - even this great evil will not put out the LIGHT of the world.

15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

And so Christ, the WORD who was with God and was God, the LIGHT of the world, LIFE in us - from HIS fullness, WE have received GRACE upon GRACE.

17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

Law given to and through Moses, but through Jesus Christ is given grace and truth. Moreover, Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God has made his Father known to us.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Then and Now in Kenya Colony by Willis R Hotchkiss

An  Africa map showing old names - from 1950's
 A remarkable book - Mr. Hotchkiss went to Kenya in 1895 and worked there 40 years.  His writing is vivid, interesting, and exceptionally well written. 

But in describing why he went out as a missionary I felt he wrote an entire lifetime sermon and want to share it and make it available to a new generation.

     "The sin question must be settled before we can cope with the multiplied problems of the social and economic need.
     Suppose Jesus was right when He declared,  "I am the way, the truth, and the life"  I am THE WAY, not merely  one of the many religious ways in the world, but the only way.  For, to make His meaning crystal-clear, He adds the illuminating word, "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." 

     Again, "I am THE truth," not merely a truth amoung many truths.  We do not dispute the fact that the non-Christian religions contain truth, even much that is beautiful truth.  And truth the world over is from God.  But Christ does not merely teach truth, HE IS truth incarnate: He is truth personified.  And that is the reason He is forever calling men to come to Himself.  Not alone to follow Him, but first of all to obtain the life which makes the following possible.

     If He were no more than a teacher, though the greatest of all teachers, His constant use of the pronoun "I" would stamp Him as a charlatan or a fool.  But from the lips of Deity that little pronoun bridges the chasm that separates man from God and brings Him near in saving, sanctifying grace.

     "I am THE life," - not merely revelation of life, but Hi IS life, and the life is the light of men.  "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  There it is, the indisputable fact of divine revelation.  We may take it or we may leave it but we cannot evade it.  "There is none other name given under heaven amoung men whereby we must be saved."  If these words are not true, then the missionary enterprise is what a famous critic proclaimed it to be, "The dream of a dreamer who dreams that he has been dreaming."  If they are true, there is an end of argument.  No, we do not come to Africa because men are heathen and need civilization; we came because men are sinners and need a Saviour.

If you are interested in Africa at all, this book is filled with historical facts, both from the past in 1895 and present events during the time Mr. Hotchkiss worked there. 

Victoria Falls in 1990's

Another book of a missionary going to Zimbabwe  (now)   during the same time frame is "The Dust Diaries"   But this book for me lacks the inspiration as I don't see any real evidence of Christ.  However, the author is a present day relative enchanted by the man, not the Christ in the man.  But it's interesting to see that world in the early 1900's.