Whose Authority Is It, Anyway?

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Where from, how much and why, do people give Jesus authority? In the last few weeks there has been a convergence of Bible verses that seem to be startlingly obvious, yet, I never put them together before.

These include …

Matthew 4:8-10

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (NIV)

Jesus refused to accept authority offered to Him, because He knew better. He knew God’s Word, mind and future. Satan did have authority to offer. He received it from us. We chose Satan’s lies over God’s truth.

Genesis 1:27-28

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created the male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (NIV)

Mankind had been given authority over the earth. But, lost it to Satan through the Fall, which was simply rejection of God’s authority over us.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)

Jesus recovered our Authority through His sacrifice. He has shared it with us, for one purpose; to reach others.

Psalm 2:7-9

7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. 8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” (NIV)

Jesus had previously been offered the nations (authority), with only one obligation. He had to request it from the Father. He had to be willing to pay the price. Which was death, for our Sin. Satan offered him an easy way out for the man Jesus, A painless one. But, God Jesus was willing to die and not willing to bow to Satan.

Revelation 2:26-27

26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father.  (NIV)

We are called to use Jesus’ authority to reach others for Him. We have the God given authority, to use, to draw others to Him. And for those who stick by Him until the end, they/we will be given back the authority that our ancestors Adam & Eve gave away.

What an incredible link through God’s Word. We can follow the sequence of events and see that Satan has lost that authority, ever since Jesus willingly asked for it back and paid the heavy price. Satan is a liar and tries to confuse us into believing he is still in control. He becomes more frantic as the years go by. But, Christ calls us to Him and His authority. The moment we accept Jesus’ freely offered salvation, we have access to His power and authority.

Whose authority is it? In your life? Let the Truth set you free. God bless.

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2014 – A Year Of Sorrow and Triumph

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I am part of a strong, loving family. We live all over the place (though currently all in the US). We are fortunate to have a place we can all call “home”, even if we don’t, nor ever have, lived there ourselves. It’s a small town in upstate New York.

Last year was a traumatic one for my extended family. It all began on the morning of February 27. My cousin’s husband called out that something was wrong and then collapsed. 911 was called and he was rushed to the hospital. It was found that he had had a combination of strokes and aneurisms. These left him awake, yet paralyzed. The official diagnosis is “Locked in Syndrome”. He was 51-52 years old.

My mom’s youngest cousin happened to live in the same town, so she and her husband rushed to the hospital to be of comfort to my cousin. While in the waiting room with her, this cousin, once removed, receives the devastating news that her older sister has just died, unexpectedly.

10 days later, my brother in law attempts to call my sister, who is working a night shift at the hospital where she is an RN. Because of hospital policy, her phone is turned off. He isn’t feeling well. He phones his mother who lives states away. In the middle of their conversation, the line goes quiet. He has just died. My sister and nieces are, as are we all, completely caught off guard. The autopsy later shows a never before diagnosed problem with his heart. It literally just stopped beating in mid-beat. He was 51-52 years old. This is early in March.

Jumping ahead to late June, I find myself driving to an overnight stay near a conference I must attend the next day. I am looking forward to this drive, because I know that as soon as the meetings are over, the next day, I will continue on to drive to that little town in upstate NY, we call home.

While driving on the FL turnpike, I receive a call from my mother. I joyfully answer it. My mother lets me know that one of my dear cousins has just dropped dead. He had been sick all week; had gone to the doctor’s and hospital emergency room several times, only to be told that he had a stomach virus and sent home to drink liquids. He collapsed at home and they never were able to resuscitate him. This was June 27th. Exactly 4 months after the first family tragedy.

A few days later, we held his funeral. Many attended. The graveside service was so ludicrous with the torrential rains and hail, that we couldn’t help but blame it as a final practical joke from him. He was 51-52 years old.

His birthday would have been a few days after the day of his funeral. On that day, my father receives the news that one of his especially close cousins has died of a heart attack. This cousin of my dad’s was at my cousins funeral just days previously.

You see, 2014 is a year we, as a family, will always remember as a year of trial and sadness. Yet, there were triumphs in that year, as well. My cousin’s husband was told he would not survive 4 months. It’s been 11 months. He was told that he would never be able to move voluntarily again. That he would need to breath with assistance. That he would never be able to do something as simple as swallow, again.

It has been a long battle. A battle against an uncaring and inflexible insurance company. A battle against his own body. But, he soon was breathing on his own; able to swallow. Little by little he is moving, ever so slightly, his appendages. Just this week he has begun to move his arm against gravity ie. Swing it up from a down position. He can move hands, feet, arms and legs. He speaks through a computer pad, spelling words with his eyes. He can manipulate and direct a specialized wheelchair with his slight head movements. The battle isn’t over, but, he won’t give up. And neither will we.

Another joy, is that he and my cousin have become new grandparents in the past couple months.

I can’t speak for each family member, as to how they have been able to cope with such great lose, this year. As for myself, and many others, it is our love and faith in God. A God who calls us to come to Him when we are weary and heavy laden. He promises to give us rest, and follows through with it. (Matthew 11:28)

God also promises that we will seek Him and find Him, when we seek Him with all our heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

One example of coping with such great pain comes from my Aunt. She has lost her oldest son and watched her oldest daughter wear herself thin with all the battles she and her husband have fought this year. She also lost her own cousin and has been solace to her husband who has lost a cousin of his own. How did she manage to make it through this past Christmas season? Besides placing dependence solely in God, she has used her gift of sewing and, using my cousin’s shirts, made teddy bears for each member of her family. (I counted 14 in the picture.)

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Why did I write all this? Because if I can help just one person know that there is a future waiting them. No matter what you are going through, right now, there is hope and a future for you. Even you.

What Am I Missing?

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With the terrorist attack, in France, yesterday, I began thinking. That might just be dangerous, but, here are my musings. And my questions come down to, “What am I missing?”

Why is Mohammed so revered? It is as if he is the one being worshipped, by Muslims, rather than Allah himself. I mean, I am a Christian, and Christianity and Judaism have great prophets in our religion. Men like Jeremiah, Daniel, Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, Nahum, Habbakuk, Amos, Jonah, Samuel etc. we respect these men of God. We think highly of them and the message they brought to us, from God. But, we don’t worship them. We don’t make it against the law to picture them. We worship God, not his messengers. We recognize the Arch Angel Gabriel as God’s celestial messenger and don’t even worship him. He is supernatural and still not worshipped. God is the only proper object of our Christian worship. What am I missing?

So why is it so important to venerate Mohammed? Why is he so important? Who made this “law” about not making snide comments about him? They say it is part of their sharia law. They say it is sacrilegious. Why is it sacrilegious? He was just a man! They say he rose to heaven from the Temple Mount. Well, Elijah was taken up to Heaven himself. So what?! Actually, I think it was Mohamed, himself, who made that rule. How self-important of him. Who did he think he was? Did he consider himself as important as the god he was forcing huge swaths of the Middle East to worship? What am I missing?

If he truly believed in a god named Allah, then why did he try to elevate his own importance in comparison? Why didn’t he point humbly to Allah as the only true proper object of worship? Is this part of the religion? What am I missing?

I know that the Koran supposedly mentions Jesus as a prophet. As a Christian, I don’t believe Him to be a mere prophet. He is God; God incarnate. God made himself in human form. That is why we worship Him. Mohamed isn’t Allah in human for. So why is he worshipped. Why are people killed because they drew a cartoon about him? I am confused about this. What am I missing?