My Journey through Romans 6

Rom. 6:4-Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  

Perennial : present at all seasons of the year : persisting for several years usually with new herbaceous growth from a perennating part: persistent, enduring (b: continuing without interruption :  constant, perpetual <the perennial quest for certainty> (c: regularly repeated or renewed :recurrent <death is a perennial literary theme>

hostasNow why did I choose this word for this chapter, you’re probably asking. Well, let’s see. In previous blogs, I shared my understanding of justification by faith and by the blood of Jesus Christ; a clearer understanding of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and how it directly pertains to us as sinners and Believers. Once I got through that understanding, I arrived at verse 23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is ETERNAL life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  This may sound confusing to some, but it is an understanding I received from the Holy Spirit.

Here we grow! Eternal, hostas, anyone? I’m not sure about other perennials, but I am absolutely positive that hostas grow in a newness of life every spring. The bulb appears to have an eternal life span. And, every spring, for twelve years I find myself digging them up to separate them and find another place to plant elsewhere in my yard. Perhaps, I should start potting them to sell. They are quite expensive plants at the nursery. Hostas spread every year and need very little care if any at all. Thank you Jesus! The only baptism (water) they got this past year was from rain. Here in Alabama, there has been a drought. Where is Elijah?

During my study, I discovered that there are two differences between the hosta plant and humans. (1) We only need one baptism. (2) Humans need lots of care daily in order for us to grow for us to walk in newness of life for any season. We have to plant ourselves into believing the word of God in order for us to fully grow in Him. Remember we are justified by faith and by the blood of Jesus Christ. It’s not just a spring thing. The one thing hostas and humans do have in common is that we both come in many varieties. Yes! Thank you Holy Spirit.

When we die, we die a physical death which is a certainty, only to be resurrected upon the Lord’s return which could be any season. We will not die a physical death and grow back during the spring like the hosta plant, even though it is still present throughout all seasons. I’m so amazed that every spring it blooms with new leafage and it is always more beautiful and fuller each year as the old leafage yellows and dies. The new leafage grows over the old. Exciting!  That is something we as Believers/ Christians need to experience when we plant ourselves in the Word of God. However, there is another death that the Believer must encounter first which is to be dead in Christ. This is something we all find hard to understand the fullness thereof-to be dead in Christ. Even I don’t fully understand Paul’s message in this chapter, but I am determined to understand in all its fullness.

I just wanted to share two commentaries in this blog instead of going on with more of my thoughts.  I think the ensample of the hosta plant will allow you to think a little deeper about walking in the newness of life. Thank you for reading and I pray that you were blessed by this message.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary (Romans 6:3-10)
Baptism teaches the necessity of dying to sin, and being as it were buried from all ungodly and unholy pursuits, and of rising to walk with God in newness of life. Unholy professors may have had the outward sign of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, but they never passed from the family of Satan to that of God. The corrupt nature, called the old man, because derived from our first father Adam, is crucified with Christ, in every true believer, by the grace derived from the cross. It is weakened and in a dying state, though it yet struggles for life, and even for victory. But the whole body of sin, whatever is not according to the holy law of God, must be done away, so that the believer may no more be the slave of sin, but live to God, and find happiness in his service.
Geneva Bible Study (Romans 6:3-6)
(3) There are three parts of this sanctification: that is, the death of the old man or sin, his burial, and the resurrection of the new man, descending into us from the virtue of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, of which benefit our baptism is a sign and pledge.
(c) To the end that growing up as one with him, we should receive his strength to extinguish sin in us, and to make us new men.
(d) So that Christ himself, being released of his infirmity and weakness, might live in glory with God forever.
(e) And we who are his members rise for this purpose, that being made partakers of the very same power, we should begin to lead a new life, as though we were already in heaven.
(4) The death of sin and the life of righteousness, or our ingrafting into Christ, and growing up into one with him, cannot be separated by any means, neither in death nor life: by which it follows that no man is sanctified who lives still to sin, and therefore is no man made partaker of Christ by faith, who does not repent and turn from his wickedness: for as he said before, the law is not overturned but established by faith.
(f) And by means of the strength which comes from him to us, so we die to sin, as he is dead.
(g) For every day we become more perfect: for we will never be perfectly sanctified, as long as we live here.
(h) Our entire nature, as we are conceived and born into this world with sin, is called “old”, partly by comparing that old Adam with Christ, and partly also in respect of the deformed state of our corrupt nature, which we change with a new.
(i) Our corrupt nature is regarded as belonging to Christ, not because of what he has done, but by imputation.
(k) That wickedness which remains in us.
(l) The end of sanctification which we aim at, and will at length come to, that is, when God will be all in all.

 

Beloved, let us all look forward to becoming perennial (regularly repeated or renewed) as the foliage on the Branch of Christ. I encourage us all to walk in newness of life.

Let’s Grow!

 

 

Do You Need To Change Your Dirt? – Alkalinity vs. Acidity- Part 2

Mark 4:5-6- And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

Jesus’ Explanation

Mark 4:16-17 -And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

 

Rocky/Stony Soil
Excerpt from HGTV- Is rocky soil turning your landscaping dreams of green to gravel? Rocks make for a great garden above ground, but when the soil below is made up of the same impenetrable stone, plant roots have a tough time getting the nutrients they need to survive. So what do you do if your yard is full of rocky soil? Homeowners across the country blast, backhoe and burrow their way through compacted soil, not always with satisfactory results.  Rocks aren’t all that biologically active, which means that they don’t enhance the soil’s productivity much.  Just as rocks can affect what you plant below ground, they can affect what you plant above ground, too. Rocks can create microclimates that may either help or hinder growth. 

Let me begin by sharing a few things I have learned from experience concerning rocks. Above ground, rocks can be used as an eye pleasing decoration in a flowerbed and over time they tend to work their own way into the ground. So I head back to Lowe’s to purchase more rocks. Grrr! Rocks can also block the sun that is needed for growth, so don’t put your plants too close to the bordered rocks.  Some plants need sunlight from the time the sun rises until it goes down. However, too much sun will kill any plant that is not planted deep enough to take root. 

This too happens in our lives when we have either no root in the word of God or we are improperly rooted by false teachings.  Jesus said, we “endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, IMMEDIATELY they (we) are offended.”   I know that I was offended by having to purchase more decorative rocks when my next spring planting came around. I also had to dig up some of the old rocks that became embedded in the dirt and I was a bit more than offended. What should I have done differently? Watch HGTV of course.

gardenWe begin to look for answers on how to make life changes sometimes with and/or without the Son.  We too, try often to blast, backhoe, and burrow our way through rocky dirt in our lives to no avail due to the fact that we haven’t rooted firmly enough in the WORD to apply it to our difficulties. It takes a lot of love. But, then there’s God, not Maude. 😛

Jesus said “…who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;” had me thinking…Is it wrong for us to quickly accept and be impulsive about sharing the gospel without thinking about the consequences? Then I remembered that Jesus also said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24)  It just so happens that when we are faced with problems and antagonism because of the word of God, we begin to lose heart; most stop coming to Jesus as they work their way down into a rocky place.  

We are excited when we join a church  and some can’t get beyond a certain growth spurt. They become stressed and yes, they are offended. Could it be because he/she didn’t deny self?  It seems to be a natural process for all humans when hard times hit. But when Believers are hit with hard times and fall away; is it because they didn’t take up his/her cross?  “Hard times flush the chump.  Everybody’s lookin’ for answers….  ” is a line that came to mind from the movie Oh Brother.   I took a moment to look up what that may mean. Here’s what I found courtesy of Ivy Sea Online Leadership Site:

  • It could also mean that people, feeling pressured or fearful, act out from their less skillful selves and are just unpleasant, intolerant or judgmental.
  • Or, like the movie’s Everett noted, hard times make people willing to believe just about anything. Here, he was referring to the overly naïve. Eager to delegate his or her own personal responsibility to someone else, rather than bucking up and taking action for him or herself, these folks are often fast-food for the charlatan
  • It could mean that challenging circumstances flush out the less committed, unfocused or risk-averse, those who don’t have what it takes (or find that it’s not worth it) to see it through. Hard times definitely flush those folks, probably for their own ultimate benefit.

As Believers, I believe that we have to face the fact that we have, we do, and we will fall upon rocky /stony periods in our life because we do not consider the outcome of choices made especially when hard times hit. I agree “challenging circumstances flush out the less committed…” But, as we continue to grow in the word and commit to the word, we learn what it means to show ourselves approved unto God.

We must admit that we can do nothing without the help of the Holy Spirit. We can’t even change our dirt without His help. I think the key to getting ourselves out from amongst rocky soil is to “deny” ourselves. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives is detrimental to our growth in Christ. So to speak, He is the pH balance, the alkalinity that keeps us grounded in the word. Please note that while stony /rocky soil yields life to seeds sowed upon its ground, the growth is but for a short time.  You have to ask yourself, do I want to spend an eternity with God or do I want to spend “but for a time” with Him?  That leads me to my next thought.

running(Running for cover…Not) I also believe that the number one reason some fall upon this type of soil is that some of us tend to rely on the word of our shepherds, i.e. pastors, leaders, and other advisers. Some folks are too lazy to spend quality Holy Spirit led time in the word of God to find answers from the Holy Spirit of God.  When we rely on what others “said”, and have not spent “I” time (not me time) with God, we have no depth about what the word of God says. If you think about many incidents in the NT and the OT, if something were to be proven or questioned, they would always fall back to what “God said”  or what “God did”; many NT writers even referred back to the OT.  Jesus did it too.  

For the last four years I’ve heard quite a few people say during a testimony or just via a conversation with the biggest smile on their face, “Well, pastor said…. And I believe God will do it.” My response is usually to stare at them out of disbelief or I ask, ‘What did God say?’ I have a tendency to blurt out something when I am in utter disbelief. That’s some rocky dirt. Yeah I need to change that dirt! (TYHS) Remember what Jesus said to John and  James when they asked to sit at his right and left hand in the kingdom of God?  He said “Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Mark 10

Question…Can you drink of that cup when you are taking root in rocky soul? Peradventure, some of us may need to change our surroundings, our employment, even so to the point of changing our place of worship. The lesson we need to heed here about this type of dirt/soil is that as Believers and Sowers of the word, we do not need to be in the vicinity of sowing amongst rocky dirt knowing that it hinders our growth period. Jesus has already given us answers  about what happens when we are sowing in this type of dirt/soil. Yes, “Everybody’s lookin’ for answers…. ” therefore heed the teachings of Jesus.

life flowerWhen it seems like the Holy Spirit is dormant in our garden (heart), it is time to change our dirt. It is imperative for us to grow in a more alkalized garden instead of continuing to push, backhoe and blast ourselves into finding root in an acidic garden. The only thing that I can think of growing on rocky soil is the church. 

Proof on the Rocks: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16

Do you need to change your dirt?

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Is The Chlorophyll That Gives The Christian A Characteristic Color- Holiness

 

Opening Thoughts- I was reading an Article of the Day from The Free Dictionary by Farlex on my cell as I wandered outside to look at my rose bushes I planted last September in honor of my “only” daughter’s thirtieth birthday. It’s a daily habit of reading to keep my brain alert, along with the Holy Bible to keep my mental and spiritual sense intact. And you know me, the Holy Spirit alerted me to write a blog about it. I held a few seminars several weeks ago titled Change Your Color for several church groups, and I am in awe by the Spirit of God sending me this colorful message on today. To Him, be the glory and honor. He has me thinking deep thoughts about light and its characteristic color- HOLINESS.  My holy roses absorbing light!  😛

Tia Bush 2

Tia Rose Bush 1

Tia Rose Bush 1

Tia Rose Bush 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So today’s article was about Chlorophyll. The Holy Spirit spoke to me as I was reading this- ‘Chlorophyll is a green pigment that gives most plants their color and enables them to carry out photosynthesis, the process through which plants get energy from light. Chlorophyll absorbs light in the red and blue-violet portions of the visible spectrum; the green portion is not absorbed and reflected, gives chlorophyll its characteristic green color. Only one animal has been found to use the chlorophyll it has eaten to perform photosynthesis itself. What is it?’ It’s not a chameleon.

 

As Children of God, let us ask ourselves- What is the process we must go through that will enable us to get energy from The Light? Using the wording in the article, I want to share with you the message received. (TYHS) Stay with me through the end here, ok? I know this is a long post; however it is a much needed post especially for those who are in darkness and those Children of God who have strayed somewhat from the light.

Here are six things shared with me by the Holy Spirit concerning the Christian process of photosynthesis:

  1. Know who formed light and the Light 
    Genesis 1: 1- 4– In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
    Isaiah 45:5-7I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
  2. Know who the Light is 
    John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
    Matthew 3: 16-17– And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
  3. Know the purpose of the Light
    1 Peter 2:9-10- 9 -But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
    Acts 26: 15-18– And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
    John 12:45-46And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
  4. Know what can be found in the Light
     John 14:6-Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
     1 John 5: 12He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
     John 1:1-4 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
  5. Know how to absorb the Light
    Matthew 6:20-23– But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
     Joshua 1: 8 -This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
     1Peter 3:18– But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
  6. Know who God hears  
    John 9:31
    – Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

 

Closing Thoughts- Light brings life to ALL humans, plants, and animals. Without The Light , humans would be spiritually “blind as a bat” as the saying goes and experience stunted growth. Remember how God led His people to see where He was leading them? (TYHS) Meditate and let the Holy Spirit reveal to you why these verses are presented.

Exodus 13:21-22– And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

Isaiah 9:2 -The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Also, in Matthew 4:13-17– And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

I am by no means belittling our Savior when I say that He, Jesus is the chlorophyll (pigment per se) that gives the Christian light. The Light enables us to get energy/eternal life through Him. The Light has a characteristic color- HOLINESS. God said be ye Holy for I am Holy (Leviticus 11: 44 & 1 Peter 1:16)