Holy Cooking Pots – Zechariah 14:20-21

cooking_pot“On that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: Holy to the Lord. And the cooking pots in the Temple of the Lord will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar. In fact, every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All who come to worship will be free to use any of these pots to boil their sacrifices” (Zechariah 14:20-21, NLT).

The last chapter of the book of Zechariah closes with visions of both the salvation and judgment that occurs at the coming of God’s universal Kingdom–“the day of the Lord.”

These last verses of the chapter and the book describe the pervasiveness of God’s holiness in His Kingdom. So much so that even the inscription on the harness bells of horses and the cooking pots in the Temple will be holy.

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The Edge of Darkness – 1 John 5:17

Gate_from_darkness_to_Light“We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” (1 John 5:17, HCSB)

The book of I John is a book of contrasts.  John begins his letter by contrasting darkness and light. He declares that “God is Light and there is absolutely no darkness in Him” (vs. 1:5).

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The Duality Dilemma: Part 3 – Romans 8

SteveDualityDilemma-FocalB&W

This meditation is Part 3 in a three-part series of meditations on Romans 6-8.

When Christians forsake themselves and their self-absorbed way of life, they take on the life of Christ and a new way of life in Christ. Romans 6-7 describes the old way of life as living according to the law of sin and death, living according to the flesh. Unfortunately, the old self and the old way of life are not so easily abandoned, even though we are completely saved by Christ, resulting in the inner conflict I call the duality dilemma.

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The Duality Dilemma: Part 2 – Romans 7:14-25

SteveDualityDilemma-FocalB&W

This meditation is Part 2 in a three-part series of meditations on Romans 6-8.

As Christians, we live life in parallel universes. Our old self has been buried with Christ in His death and He has given us a new self: “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which i now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, NASB).

In Christ the new self is now the real self, but the old self is still there. It’s like it hasn’t been completely subdued in spite of one’s surrender to Christ. In Romans 7 the Apostle Paul provides a firsthand description of this inner struggle with one’s old self, this duality dilemma.

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Total Transformation – John 3:30

plus_minus“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30, NLT).

These words are the response given by John the Baptist when questioned by his disciples why everybody was following Jesus instead of him.

John had a clear understanding of his mission: “I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him…Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success” (vs. 29-30).

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Highly Qualified – Hebrews 9:11-14

the-sacrifice-on-the-cross“So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come… With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever…For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them.” (Hebrews 9:11-14, NLT).

In the ancient Jewish religious order God’s presence was represented as residing in the Most Holy Place in the temple behind two sets of curtains. Only a high priest could enter into this Most Holy Place once a year and then never without a blood sacrifice, which he offered to make atonement for his sin and the sins of the people (see 9:6-7).

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