Monday, October 12, 2015

John 1:1-2

“In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself” (John 1:1). “The Word” is one of the many titles for Jesus. This verse clearly states that Jesus existed in the beginning. Indeed, he, as God, was present before the beginning, before the very creation of time. Christ, being God as part of the Trinity, is the origin, source, leader, and ruler of all things. Indeed, this chapter says later that nothing else came to be without him. So he was at the beginning. It is fitting then that he would also be at the end for Revelation 19:13 says of his future return, “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.”

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth.” By forming the universe from nothing, “The Word” is a very appropriate title for Jesus because the living Trinity--God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit literally formed and ordered the universe from nothing by the power of uttering a spoken word. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made and all their host by the breath of His mouth.” The word “Elohim” is plural testifying to the fact that all three members of the Trinity were present in the creation. Also, the Greek word “theos” is used for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, speaking of their teamwork in creating the universe in Genesis 1:1 and Jesus’ presence in that “team” in John 1:1. What does any believer really have to fear when we serve a God that powerful!

It is this same power that backs the words he speaks and makes the Bible a living Word from God that can change a person. When someone says “The words in the Bible are alive,” that is true in a very real, literal sense. Now of course that does not mean that the pages are alive or that your Bible can jump off the shelf and walk somewhere. It means that the same living power that created the universe is present in the words of the Bible. Understanding the Bible in that manner makes it take on a whole new dimension of importance. That is also why when you speak the Word of God--the Bible--it has the power to change someone’s life and circumstances. We should never underestimate this. The style of the speech is not as relevant as the power that comes from God-powered words. “All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

That is also why the Bible says that we are to renew our minds with the Word of God because it contains the power previously spoke about. “And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]” (Romans 12:2). We can renew our minds with the Bible because the words contains the very power of God that created the universe. So if you are struggling with issues in the mind, the key to dealing with those is to fill your mind with the Word of God. That doesn’t mean reading the Bible or memorizing verses is necessarily going to solve every problem or wrong thinking pattern you have just like that. It does mean that by consistently doing this, God will progressively use the power of his words to cleanse you from the inside out.

“He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God” (John 1:2). This verse builds on the fact that Jesus existed eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus really stirred up his detractors when he spoke of this during his earthly ministry in John 8:58. “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.” When Jesus said, “I Am” he used the Hebrew word “Yahweh” or “YHWH.” He was declaring himself equal with his father and rightfully so. It is the same name the LORD used of himself in Exodus 3:14 when he said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “You shall say this to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” The name is derived from a Hebrew verb meaning “to be.” Jesus as the pre-incarnate God of creation was enough then and he is more than enough now.

Many people say one thing and do another. That is one of the most frustrating things about people, including ourselves. The Apostle Paul expressed this same frustration many of us have in Romans 7:19. “For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Jesus does not have this problem. He is fully God, fully human, and everything he ever does is tied to who he is.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Happy husband & wife as Cubs & Rangers advance

The team from north of the border went south. The Texas Rangers defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3. Home field advantage for the series now switches to the Rangers. Game 2 is tomorrow in Toronto. Blue Jays pitcher David Price continues winless postseason record going 0-6. Blue Jays 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson proved that baseball is a contact sport, taking a knee to the head in the 4th inning.

Meanwhile, it is a great time to be a Cubs fan. I have followed the team ever since I can remember. I was a Cubs fan even before I understood anything about baseball. Cubs fans have more reason than ever to be optimistic. Step 1 of their unexpected march to a championship for the first time in 107 years was completed last night when they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 in the National League Wild Card, led by star pitcher Jake Arrieta who struck out 11. Arrieta only allowed 4 hits. It was the 1st Cubs playoff win since 2003 as well as the 1st postseason game between the Cubs & Pirates. The same will be true when the Cubs face the best team in baseball this season so far, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are the only team to win 100 games this season. Game 1 will be in St. Louis at 6:30 P.M. ET on TBS. The Cubs are the underdogs of course. That has come to define their franchise history though.