Struggling and Prevailing (Part 2)

Please read part one before continuing… Jacob named the place he wrestled with God, “Face of God,” adding that he saw God’s face and was delivered (Gen. 32:30).  In a sense, seeing God’s face and dislocating his hip were of a piece.  Said another way, Jacob’s hip was dislocated because he saw God’s face. We…

Parting Ways

As Jacob increased in wealth, he came into conflict with Laban (Gen. 31:1-2). We’ve seen that Jacob’s increase was the increase of what is spiritual and that this leads to escalating conflict with what is fallen and fleshly. God doesn’t let this conflict go on indefinitely.  God told Jacob to leave Laban.  He brought separation…

Christ, the Covenant Within

About two years ago I became acquainted with Christian Quakerism through the writings of the founder, George Fox.  The first work I read was, Some Principles of the Elect People of God Who in Scorn Are Called Quakers. In it, Fox writes,“The same Light makes manifest the Saviour from whence it comes, And makes manifest Christ to…

A Testament of Devotion

About two years ago I was introduced to Christian Quakerism through the writings of its founder, George Fox.  I found Fox’s focus on the indwelling Christ spiritually rich.  I went on to read An Apology for the True Christian Divinity by Robert Barclay.  This was the first systematic presentation of Quaker beliefs. For Christmas, I received…

The Failed Christian Life

I have failed at being a Christian.  I have failed morally.  I have failed to be unselfish.  I don’t know if God is always first in my affections.  I’ve never prayed with anyone to receive Christ. My prayer and Bible study habits probably aren’t up to snuff.  In these, and many other ways, I have…

Following, Losing, and Living

Art by Patrick Murphy The following is a meditation on Luke 9:23-24 from my personal journal.  *** “If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will…

God with the Smelly and Beastly

With Christmas just past, I’ve been thinking about one of the names by which Jesus was announced: Immanuel, “God with us.” “God with us” was a prophetic name first uttered by Isaiah in a prophecy (Isaiah 7:14).  Matthew tells us Jesus fulfilled this prophetic appellation when he was born (Matt. 1:23). Jesus’s birth as a…

House of God (Reprise)

Art by Patrick Murphy “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it” (Gen. 28:16). As we said before, the Lord revealed to Jacob that God was in His house. Bethel means, “House of God.” It shows Christ and His people as God’s dwelling, God’s house. The Lord is in us!…

House of God, Gate of Heaven

On his way to Haran, Jacob stops for the night. He puts a stone beneath his head and sleeps.  He dreams of a staircase that goes from earth to heaven with angels traveling up and down. Echoing His promise to Abraham, the Lord tells Jacob He will give him the land and bless all peoples…

Pickled in the Spirit?

Our pastor started a sermon series on topics that can be controversial among Christians. The first was baptism in the Holy Spirit, which the pastor asked me to teach on. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is something I, admittedly, haven’t spent much time thinking about. I believe the Spirit would rather focus us on Jesus…