2 Sam. 5: 1 - 5, 9 - 10

At first reading, this historical anecdote-- a parenthesis in the overall story-- does not seem to have much to say to the Church of Jesus Christ at the outset of the third millennium. Or does it? David kept growing stronger, for the LORD, the God of Hosts, was with him. (10) Christian, does Emanuel-- God with us-- mean anything to you personally? Substitute your name (and final pronoun) in v.10 and recite it over and over, every day, until its truth permeates your mind, heart and soul. For God, the LORD of Hosts, is with you.

Psa. 48 [2 - 15, TNK]

If the Church, or the individual believer even, is the temple of God(1), then it is not too much of a stretch to equate the city of our God with the believer's heart. If, that is, Emanuel has any real meaning.

It is this which we have seen and heard that we declare to you (1Jn. 1: 3), John writes. Faith is not a 'head trip', but an on-going experience. [W]e have heard it; we have seen it with our own eyes; we looked upon it, and felt it with our own hands: our theme is the Word which gives life. (1Jn. 1: 1) Emanuel, God with you, in a very real, tangible and personal way. If you happen to trust God, that is.

2Cor. 12: 2 - 10

I will not boast on my own account, except of my weaknesses. (5) Some take this as a reason to air their many failures and sins, all their guilt and shame. And they call it their "testimony". But this is not what the Apostle is writing about. He would eagerly partake in our exercise, reciting: [Paul] kept growing stronger, for the LORD, the God of Hosts, was with him. The confession-- acknowledgment, really-- of weakness is the ground in which one's growing stronger thrives: so shall we fully grow up into Christ. (Eph. 4: 15)

The purpose of weakness is not to manifest shame and guilt, but strength. 'My grace is all you need; power is most fully seen in weakness.' (9) The trick-- a difficult labor, not the wave of a wand-- is to become weak in our personal plans and efforts, to empty ourselves of our imagined strength, so that the power of God might be manifested in and through us, for when I am weak, then I am strong. (10)

Mark 6: 1 - 13

[Christ Jesus]... laid no claim to equality with God, but made himself nothing.... [S]haring the human lot, he humbled himself.... (Php. 2: 5..8) When we keep this in mind, the event in Jesus' home town becomes understandable. But remember also that Jesus lived His human life as an example for us to imitate. The life He lived, we too can-- and should-- live, by the power of God, Emanuel.

'Where does he get it from?' (2) From the same Holy Spirit which God poured out on us, the Spirit of Truth that dwells within us who are the temple of God. 'Where does he get it from?' The unknown, unseen source is God:

'What is this wisdom he has been given?' That which we also share. By God's act you are in Christ Jesus; God has made [Christ] our wisdom (1Cor. 1: 30) Scripture indeed asks, 'Who can know the mind of the Lord or be [God's] counsellor?' Yet we possess the mind of Christ. (1Cor. 2: 16) So says God's Word. Do you believe it? The third question, 'How does he perform such miracles?' may be rephrased: Why do we not perform such miracles? I will let you answer for yourself. But, for one person, Scripture provides the clue: David kept growing stronger, for the LORD, the God of Hosts, was with him. End of parenthesis.

1. 1 See 1Cor. 3: 16-17, 6: 19; 2Cor. 6: 16; Eph. 2: 19-22.

2. 2 Haiku poem by Phil Gilman. Please feel free to utilize anything from these pages; just give God the Glory, Praise and Thanks and me whatever credit may be due.

(comments to Phil at ENAPXH@aol.com )