I’ve heard a number of people say that Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and many of these kinds of holidays are just “Hallmark” inventions for commercial purposes. Actually, history reveals that St. Valentine’s Day goes back to Roman paganism and early church history. Much is obscured in legend, but part of the story is attached to Christian martyrdom in the third century. We don’t associate religious persecution with Valentine’s Day, but there is an early connection. Continue reading
Posts Tagged With: Be Like Jesus
What does this yielding to the Spirit in order to live from the new nature look like?
“And all of us have had that veil removed [that separated us from God] so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more” (II Cor. 3:18 NLT). Yielding to the Spirit makes us look more and more like Jesus.
“For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. But this precious treasure – this light and power that now shine within us – is held in perishable containers, this is, our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own” (II Cor. 4: 6-7 NLT). Continue reading
What do these words have in common? Carne. Incarnation. Carnival. Carnivorous. Carnal. Yes, you see the similarity. They all have the syllable, “carn” in them. In the Latin, this means “flesh” or “meat.” We may go to the carnival (a festival, a time to feast on meat) to have fun and to eat chili con carne. A carnivorous species eats meat or “flesh.” Scripture uses the word “flesh” in several ways, often negative, but not always.
When Jesus Christ became flesh, he became the one perfect human being (John 1: 14; Phil. 2: 5-8). Christ is the beautiful picture of “flesh” as “flesh” was meant to be in human perfection. We call this teaching “the doctrine of the incarnation.” Then there is the negative use where “flesh” represents the sin nature or the old nature of humans (Rom. 7:18). This is the carnal nature – of the flesh, motivated by sin and self and for self. In contrast is the new nature – of the spirit, motivated by God and for God, good, and His glory (Romans chapter 8). Continue reading
Have you noticed that it’s natural to do what makes sense to you and what you want to do, but that it takes intentional choice to listen to the Lord and follow after Him? It’s natural for a parent to respond in irritation to a whining child or for a child to roll his/her eyes at the instructions of a parent. It takes Spirit-self-discipline to respond calmly and humbly. This illustrates the two natures within the believer: the old nature (carnal – of the flesh) and the new nature (in Christ – of the spirit/Spirit).
God provides an illustration from His creation: the caterpillar and the butterfly. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV). This verse reminds you of the butterfly, doesn’t it? However, once a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it can never become a caterpillar again, nor act like one. Once we are “in Christ” we are positioned in Him, we have a new identity, and we have His provisions. We can fly. But we don’t have to. We can choose to crawl, operating from the flesh. We don’t become that caterpillar again, but we can crawl. Continue reading
Welcome back. Jesus said, unless we “change and become like little children,” we won’t “see the kingdom of heaven.” Last week, you read about my experience as a four year old. Now, I’m going to tell you about a two year old. What are the characteristics of little ones that we big ones need? And do we need to change our attitudes about the development and propensities of our young ones? Let’s consider another story.* Continue reading