Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Inspired by the writings of Ann Spangler in Praying the Names of God

Genesis 28
10Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. 11He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it.
13Then GOD was right before him, saying, "I am GOD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I'm giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants. ….15Yes. I'll stay with you, I'll protect you wherever you go, and I'll bring you back to this very ground. I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you."
16Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, "GOD is in this place--truly. And I didn't even know it!" 17He was terrified. He whispered in awe, "Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God's House. This is the Gate of Heaven."

This was shortly after Jacob had deceived his father and stolen the family rights intended for his older brother.

As I read this passage I thought about Jacob seeing God in his dream. My first thought was: I don’t think I’ve had a dream like that. Then God began to speak to me. Jesus promised in Matthew 28:20 that he would always be with us. That was shortly before his physical body disappeared from this earth.

Can you imagine the tone of Jacobs’s voice in verses 16 and 17? Elohim, God of gods, Mighty Creator was there in that place with Jacob. Jacob was terrified and in awe.

Jesus was fully God and fully man. How’s that? Well, since this is my blog I will share my perspective which is most likely incomplete. When I think about what makes up “man” – how are we made in the image of God – I think about the concept of body, mind and spirit. Those three combined make up a person. The Bible talks about glorified bodies that we will have later and it talks about our minds being transformed to know everything. The only reference to change in spirit seems to be when we accept Christ into our lives. Oops, church phrase. What does “accept Christ into our lives” mean? Ahh, perhaps this is where even the church folk misunderstand. Ok, going out on a limb here… Jesus was fully God because his spirit was the Spirit of God. He set aside the freedom of that Spirit and allowed himself to be limited to the human flesh and mind but the Spirit was God.

Now, can I as an individual be fully God. No. The Bible is full of references to God’s people, the body of Christ and many other references of unity. Jesus prayed in John 17 that all believers would be one just as He and the Father are one. Jesus was the only human flesh worthy to contain the Spirit. When he offered his perfect flesh and blood to God, it was the best of mankind. The ultimate sacrifice. God restored Jesus to a new life – eventually a glorified life. When he ascended into heaven, this was a man, like you and me – once again literally in the presence of God. Man had not been in the presence of God in this way since Adam and Eve messed up. Now that mankind had been restored in relationship with God, the Spirit of God could now live in the bodies of those who acknowledge their need for who Jesus is and what he did. We simply become “a part of his body.” We do not become Jesus, who was fully God. We become a part of Jesus and therefore are given the rights that were given to him through his death and resurrection.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he sent God’s Spirit which had been fully in him to be in those who choose to unite with him in his body. None of us alone can be the fullness of God. Only the Son of God can be that. Jesus had no other spirit. We do. We must allow our spirit to be crucified and live our lives fully devoted to the head of the body.

Now it would be nice if this crucifixion were quick and painless. Unfortunately, it’s not. Jesus was in the accelerated track. It only took 33 or so years. Today, it takes us around 70 years on average. And just as it was for Jesus, once you surrender and submit your body and mind to God, real stuff starts to happen. Jesus’ desert experience prepared him for the final stretch. He fasted and prayed for 40 days. Matthew 4:2 says He was hungry.

I think about the spiritually hungry times in my life. That’s when the real decisions of the heart are determined. Searching for the truth. Holding my stillborn son. Moving away from a special friend. It’s those desert experiences that keep me running to God in the good times.

Back to Jacob. He was in awe. Am I in awe that the Spirit of God is with me always? "Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God's House. This is the Gate of Heaven."

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

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