Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Acts 29: Let's let I AM be who I AM is.

The Word for today:
Acts 27:1-20
The book of Acts stops at chapter 28, verse 31. But the reader is left hanging in mid-air, with the definite impression that Acts may have stopped there, but it doesn't end there:
"The book of Acts is still being written. Like the Gospel of Luke, the book of Acts is yet another record of the things Jesus ‘began both to do and to teach.’ Jesus isn’t finished yet. He began His ministry in His human body, as recorded in the Gospels. He continued in His body, the church, through the book of Acts. He continues His ministry today through you and me and every other believer on the planet. The book of Acts will be completed someday. And when it is completed, you and I will have a chance to read it in glory, in eternity, when the plan of God has been fulfilled. When we read it, what will my part be in that great story? And what will yours be?" – Ray Stedman, Adventuring Through the Bible
Stand in the Rain is taking a long look at various aspects of believers' testimonies--the stories, in-the-making right now, that will someday appear in "Acts 29."
As we speak of these stories in general, we encourage you to think, in particular, about the tale your own life is telling--and to "edit" (where necessary) before publication!
The only real Jesus is in the Bible. In fact, he is the Bible; he's the Word of God -- made flesh to dwell amongst us. His triumph over evil was promised in the Garden of Eden, pictured in the sacrificial system of the law of Moses, and clearly portrayed by the prophets.
Because the wages of sin had to be paid in kind -- an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for life -- he divested Himself of heaven's glory to become like one of us  (born of woman, born under the law) so that he could take my place on a cross I'd earned. Virgin born, the sinless son of God, He was baptized in identification with us as we are baptized in identification with Him. Coming up out of the water, driven by the Spirit, he withstood temptation by wielding the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, against the devil in the wilderness. He performed miracles, personified the grace and truth of God, died at the hands of secular government and organized religion for the sins of the world, then rose from the dead in accordance with, and fulfillment of, scripture. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and of His kingdom there will be no end.
The only real Jesus is in the Bible, the whole Bible, and nowhere but the Bible. Corollary to that fact is that no fraudulent Jesus-es will make their way into "Acts 29." So let's pick up our Bibles each day as if we'd never seen the thing before. Let's not bring any pre-conceived notions of Jesus to the reading. Let's let him emerge from the pages of his only book. Let's let I AM be who I AM is. (1)
Jesus is so unique that, ironically, you and I can't have our very own unique Jesus. There's only one of him, so mine has to be yours and yours has to be mine.
He's one of a kind, so we've got to share. But, being infinite, there's enough of him to go around. Remember the feeding of the five thousand? Five thousand, five million, five squintillion; it doesn't matter. There's enough Bread of Life to cover the crowd.
(1) see Exodus 3:14

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