Thursday, March 10, 2016

96. The Confirmation

“After being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”      (Matthew 3:16-17)

If there was ever a time in Jesus’ ministry in the earth that God smiled in heaven, this had to be the time. God, the Father, was well-pleased with His Son and said so. A smile is an extravagant expression that has lost its way among the busyness of life. The reflection of the joy of the Lord is a smile, born in heaven and filled with peace. The smile is the tender heart woven by His Spirit and flows in grace to another’s eyes. 

Smile a smile away and smile once more. It is a gift from God that never ceases to give its pleasure to the giver and the receiver.

Jesus’ humble obedience to His Father made the heart of the Father glad. In our humble obedience to Him, we follow in our Lord’s path of peace, even though we may think the path be rocky, the internal joy that He gives sees us through. What John saw that day as the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus as a dove was the reflection of God’s heart. The Spirit of God touched Jesus in approving love and affirmation.

The Father said, ‘This is My Son! I am well-pleased in Him.” This was a pronouncement; it was a confirmation; it was a loving Father sincerely glad of heart smiling down from heaven at the sight and sound of loving, humble obedience.

Why do we do what we do for our Lord? Why, indeed. For the Lord, it is He Who does His work and it is our opportunity to gladly and humbly submit to our Father in Christ, saying, “What would you have me do, Lord? Your will be done, oh, God, and not my own.” It is in our humble obedience to Him that the smile of God falls upon us. It is not that we do anything for His favor for we cannot do anything to deserve Him. But, we humbly obey out of love and sincere desire to be with Him, not just for eternity, but for this very moment that we breathe our breath in Him.

Smile a smile away and smile once more. His smile is gladness of heart, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Be glad in Him! The Kingdom of God is here, be blessed in Him today.

---- an excerpt from the devotional book, "The Treasure Within the Kingdom of God".

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

95. Being Baptized into Him

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”                                                                                                                                         (Matthew 3:11) 

John came baptizing a baptism of repentance. His message was for all people to repent of their sins, confess their sins and get baptized into the river, into water. John was the forerunner. His message was the forerunner’s message. Jesus said of John, ‘I say to you, among those born of women, there is none greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  (Luke 7:28) John said that the One to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Greek word for ‘with’ could also mean ‘in’ or ‘by’…that you would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. 

When we come to Christ, we are invited into His Kingdom of peace and rest. We come to the door of the cross and because He paid the debt we could not pay with His own blood, He is the door into His Kingdom. He is His Kingdom. Everything about being with Him is being in Him. When we give up ourselves, He not only comes into our lives and makes us a new creation  (2 Cor. 5:17), we go into Him (2 Cor. 6:16); we are baptized into Him (Rom. 6:3-4) and we are to remain in Him (John 15:11-16) He is the way, the truth and the life. His Holy Spirit gets into us and we get into Him. That is how we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is the fire that burns up anything that is not like Him. (Hebrews 12:26-29) 

If you are born into Him, you are in Christ with a heavenly Father; outside of Christ, our God is a consuming fire. The baptism of water is symbolic of the remission of sins, the washing away. It is also symbolic of being lowered into death, His death, and then being raised into life, His life. (Romans 6) When we are baptized into Him, His Holy Spirit is the One covering us completely, inside and out. It is as though we are covered in a pool of water, inside and out; we are completely enveloped in Him. 

Remain in Him. Rest in His goodness. Reside in His Spirit. Reveal the peace of God that only the Holy Spirit can reveal. He does all of the work; this is His story. It’s not about you or me. It’s about Jesus and the work that He did in saving grace two thousand years ago. He is still about it today. Rest in Him and He will work all things together for your good, to those that are the called according to His purposes and not our own.

----- an excerpt from the Christian daily devotional "The Treasure Within the Kingdom of God"