First Day of Spring: New Life

        It is the first day of spring.

         Regardless of the many New Year celebrations that occur on various calendar dates, this is the actual beginning of the New Year in the northern hemisphere.

         It has been a long winter, and a very difficult winter for many. Today marks the time to look forward to the inevitable thaw and the bursting forth of new life.

         Officially, spring arrived three minutes before noon CDT, almost 1 o’clock on the east coast and 9:57am on the west. The planet leveled out at that exact time. Scientifically speaking, it is the Vernal Equinox, a time when planet Earth completes its tilt back from the southern hemisphere, which just completed summer.

         It is a time of perfect balance when the sun shines directly on the equator, and when the southern hemisphere experiences the beginning of autumn. This balancing event thus only happens twice a year, and that briefly.

         God created seasons for a reason. The planet tilts on its axis to give the entire planet its fair share of sun and warmth. He does the same with His people in a spiritual sense. Though I am concerned with sounding trite, life actually does consist of ups and downs, mountains and valleys, and the spaces in-between. There are times things for some are going good, while things for others are not so good. For real Christians, it is an opportunity for their good times to be shared with others who may be going through a rough stretch.

         A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

         A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. [Isaiah 40:3-8]

         John the Immerser quoted these words in part when teaching about the ways of the Lord and about that particular point in history. We are currently at the same kind of historical juncture. The idea of equinox is presently before us in the spiritual realm as well. Let us learn the lesson that we all indeed are our brother’s keeper and act according.

         …The word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.

         And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT. EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH; AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.’”

         So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

         “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

         And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?”

         And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”

         And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”

         And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”

         Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”

         Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ, John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

         “His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Luke 3:2-17] [1]

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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Posted on March 20, 2014, in Current Events and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. And He will separate the wheat from the chaff. If this doesn’t cause us to examine our hearts and repent. . .

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    • Yep. Thanks for the read and comment, Susan.

      Also, there’s some misperception in this passage, and there is more than one interpretation. John makes it clear what the fire represents here, and it’s not good. This could be classified as a NT form of OT parallelism, in which the same thought in a passage is repeated using different words and terminology.

      The fire represents judgment, or cleansing through judgment. Being immersed in fire relates to burning up the chaff. Being immersed in the Holy Spirit relates to gathering the wheat into the barn.

      In the Matthew account, John is quoted as saying: “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Matthew 3:10]

      Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16 are the only two verses in the entire NT where this coupling of the Holy Spirit and fire occurs, but there are several passages where the Lord invokes the same idea of judgment by fire.

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  2. “Excellent!” Thanks RJ… this was a ‘good to know’, ‘good to remember’, ‘good to hold onto’, and ‘good to get rid of’- read for me. I thought of this a little like “Spring Cleaning”. 😉

    I did not know or remember all the Earth Science you shared, but it definitely fits in perfectly with the message. Thanks… never too old to learn!

    I know that I should fear the fire, but I honestly don’t. Matter-of-fact I’ve been singing “Set a Fire down in my soul that I can’t contain that I can’t control- I want more of You God…” for days now & everywhere I go. I have repeatedly asked the Lord, “if there is any wicked way in me ‘take it’, cut it out’, ‘tell me so that I may give it to You’– do whatever You need to do… better is one day in Your court than a thousand elsewhere”.

    And even when I shower, I ask for His baptism– all of them. If it’s the fire that clears away the chaff, the sin, whatever stupidity that exists in me– so be it! I want it GONE! Sure it’s painful, but the joy of the Lord is my strength. He’ll be present in the midst with me.

    Too long to go into detail here, but I have been hearing a phone ring, yet there is no call, for about 7 years now- & as recent as yesterday. I had asked God in the past what this meant, exactly, and I heard “be ready for the call”. In the last week or so, I think I know a little more of what the call is. It is “The Call to Repentance.” We all need to make that call and accept His… TODAY! I seriously like the word repentance now- I find it freeing [“Break every chain”], especially when I can ‘lay it all down’ or ‘get rid of what I’m not using’, even my hang ups. 😀

    I’ve had people [actually only “Christians”] ask me “Does everything have to be about Jesus with you?” My response was always “Yes!” And then I would think ‘isn’t He to you?’ & then I’d pity the fool. So now, conviction [being a very good thing for me] steps in & I am to no longer try to hold back, but to give Him to people- straight up! [SO… “YES, isn’t He to you???”] If the chastening is good for me, it is good for them too… especially in the long run. Who am I to deprive them of Him?!

    I’ve been living in some pretty deep woods for the past five years now. So I’m looking forward to a good Spring Cleaning. And when all is said and He is done… there will be a time of refreshing, rain [Holy Spirit style], growth, and abundant New Life. “Hallelujah!”
    “The kingdom of God is near” [Luke 21:31] “He is… right at the door.” [Matthew 24:33] Spread the Word…

    Thanks again RJ! “GOD BLESS YOU!!!”

    “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:1-5]

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    • Thanks Julie! May the Lord’s great blessings be with you and upon you this year. There are times of expectancy in our lives that sometimes last longer than we think they should, but the timing is the Lord’s, and we must continue being faithful in the interim, as you are doing. Keep focusing on the Lord and submitting yourself to His will and direction. I think we may all be experiencing some form of “spring cleaning.”

      He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!” [Psalm 91:1-2]

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