Wednesday, January 08, 2014

January 9, 2014 … Below and Above

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 9

  Devotional Song: Go to this link  – to hear Brian Doerkson singing Creation Calls, … reminding us that all of creation here below calls us to believe in and relate to the God of Heaven Who created it all for our enjoyment and His glory. \

 Highlight Passage #1 - NKJV: Luke 24: 48-49 … “ … 
48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” 
 Highlight Context - NKJV: Luke, Chapter 24, Verses 44-53 … GO TO THIS LINK … 

 Reference Passage #1: Acts 1: 8… [NKJV] … [What we do in the here in now witnesses to/for the God of eternity.] …  
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Reference Passage #2: Matthew 28: 18-20… [NKJV] … [God’s great commission.] …  
 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

My Journal for Today: Have you ever wondered why Judeo-Christian/western religions are so works oriented? Yes, even many protestant denominations and churches in the west still get hung up on performance-based legalism, which drives many believers away from a grace-oriented relationship with Christ in the here-and-now to a works-based drive for human performance … a pursuit which we simply can’t live up to in this world.

And much of that historically came from Roman/Greek paganism, which was based in a “As Above – So Below” philosophy where what mankind did was a reflection of what imagined “the gods” dictated. But when one thinks about it, Jesus flipped that model on its edge to a “As below – So Above” reality. That’s why, when one lives in relationship WITH Christ, prayer matters. It’s why we know that the choices we make either glorify the Father or grieve His Spirit. And most certainly it’s why we Christians pursue disciplines which are so antithetical to what is “natural” for mankind, … i.e., like choosing to love the unlovable or to give to God’s kingdom when sacrificial giving doesn’t make any financial or pragmatic sense.

Sure, it certainly follows that one who believes that if the gods determine what’s right for us, we should do it; and that is why so many religions are so works oriented, in Jesus’ day and in ours as well. But when Jesus came to us, lived amongst us, and died for us, His approach was grace-oriented rather than performance-based; and His way (i.e., His teachings) made little human sense to the Romans or the Greeks. However, in the overall scheme of living – from God’s vertical perspective, Jesus’ teaching were to bring us in line with God’s kingdom or Gospel perspective so that we could have a deep and abiding - and eternal - relationship with God.

So, today I hope we’ll just surrender to the way of life as Jesus lived it and taught it, … living in the here and now as we will one day live in God’s kingdom … i.e., living from below toward the above. And I pray that we can reject the ideas and ways of living which drive us to perform, from below in this life, as dictated from above … i.e., living for the above from below. Really, it’s all a matter of living from God’s grace for His glory; and everyday when we do live that way, we’ll be living more deeply in/for and with our Savior.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to see life the way You want it for us to live it from today toward the ultimate of tomorrows … from now until eternity. . … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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