Tag Archives: Jesus

Advent–Looking for the Blessed Hope

1&2Thess keep watch

Advent Series: 1 & 2 Thessalonians…Looking for the Blessed Hope

Beloved, Christ came many years ago in a stable in Bethlehem but soon and very soon, He shall appear with flashing light and the trumpet of Gabriel. He will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. And wonder of wonders we shall see Him as the disciples saw him at the Transfiguration or as John saw him on the Isle of Patmos. He will come in the same way as a thief in the night and we who are sons of light will join him in the heavens.

In the meantime, may you be kept entirely blameless for his coming. May you be found spotless and worthy of his kingdom so he can present you before the Father’s throne. Strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, that you may enter his presence. Why does he desire this? He called you to this salvation through the gospel message so you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Encourage your hearts in every good thing knowing that he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one until that time.

Stay alert, Keep a watch for you know not when he shall appear. Are you ready?

Hypocrite! Hypocrite!

Jeremiah 40 to 43  In the NT, Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites meaning one who has the form of godliness without the power. But these religious leaders were not the first; Jeremiah meets them in our reading today. They came to Jeremiah feigning piety seeking God’s counsel about the next step.

Standing before him, they said: please pray to the Lord “your” God that He will tell us where we should go. We promise that whatever he says we will do. Ten days later Jeremiah emerges from his prayer closet with God’s counsel and it is resoundingly rejected. Those who were so pious showed their true heart when they said the Lord “our” God did not send you to tell us to stay here. How quickly they changed from ‘your’ God to ‘our’ God.

Setting piety aside they said, we are going to Egypt and guess what, you are going with us. How often are we like these people? We ask others to pray but when the answer comes we say no way did God say that. That is the height of hypocrisy!Jeremiah 40 43 hypocrisy2

God demands that we listen and obey. Proverbs 3 says ‘trust in the Lord’ with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. We say the first phrase but omit the second. God is not pleased.

 

An ‘OUCH’ post!

More than once I have heard, I don’t need to tell anyone about Jesus. That’s the preacher’s job OR I don’t feel comfortable doing that OR I don’t know how.  Is that really the reason? Le’ts check those assumptions out.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty; let’s have a dialog. Let me ask you:  Are you ashamed of Jesus? Perhaps you wonder why I ask? I ask because the psalmist says we will tell the next generation about the Lord and his saving deeds and what he has accomplished. If you don’t tell what does that say? We can’t pass that job off onto the preacher or the missionary. It says “we” will tell. Jesus said to “go and tell.” Perhaps you counter back, well my faith is personal, I don’t share it, I just live it.  These two psalms remove those arguments! We are to tell the whole world about God’s saving grace. God says if we don’t tell, God will hold us accountable for lives who would have chosen Jesus had they heard.

The psalmist says to tell the next generation so that the truth will be shared beyond our lifetime.  We need to do that so they hear from our lips the truth of the gospel message. We also need to do that so that they will not be a stubborn and rebellious people, not committed to the Lord. But, more importantly, if we don’t share what does that say about our love for others? ps 22 and 78a telling good news priscilla du preez unsplash

Psalm 78:6 says to tell the next generation, and they, in turn, will tell the next generation about Jesus. If each generation carries on this tradition, imagine how many souls will hear the gospel? And in contrast, if we don’t tell, how many souls will enter a Christ-less eternity because we have failed in our responsibility?

Today I challenge you to tell someone about Jesus—OR

ARE YOU ASHAMED OF HIM?

“For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory.” [ Luk 9:26]

 

A+ or F? What is your grade?

If you have not read this story please take time now to open your Bible and read John chapter 9.

john 9 pass the testw2aJohn devotes an entire chapter to the story of the blind man who was given the gift of sight,  but he is not the only character in this story. As Jesus is leaving his time of worship and his humiliation of others who scoff and deride him, the blind beggar may have overheard the incredibly insensitive questions by the disciples about his condition. Yet, Jesus puts aside his own hurt to minister to this one who also has felt the stinging remarks of the disciples. He lovingly explained in his hearing that he was innocent of sin but now God would get the glory for the miracle He would do for this sightless man. He had “passed the test”of faith and Jesus would now prove it.

Mixing mud and then applying it to his eyes might seem rather crude but we are made of dust and to dust we shall return. Why is it any wonder that Jesus would use the very material of which he was made? After obediently following Jesus orders to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, the man awoke to sunshine that he could see, birds in the air that were not just sounds but also visual images of the very freedom he was experiencing. He saw, not just heard, people jostling others as they rushed about in their work. And oh! So much more. As he joyously returned to his home and his neighbors  parents with this great news, he was met not with praises for God’s work but a silent astonishment. Instead of praising God, his parents would later tell the priests; he is of age ask him how he was healed. They all “failed the test.”

The neighbors, the city dwellers, the priests all had opportunity to give God praise. Instead they scoffed and turned him away.

So how did he respond?

Overcome with praise for seeing that which he had only heard, the man goes to the very place of worship where he would not be turned away; the Temple. Even if everyone else has “failed the test” he has not, for once again he hears the Master’s voice.  The Master says you have heard but now you will see Me.  Once again Jesus allows the man to not just hear but now to see him.  Unlike those who saw the miracle but scoffed, he bent in humble adoration, believed and worshiped the One who gave him sight.

When Jesus touches your life do you allow others to scoff and seek to deny your gift of spiritual sight or do you return to the Gift giver and believe and worship?

What will Jesus say about you? Have you passed the test? 

 

Are You Revealing God’s Glory?

John 2 “Are you Revealing God’s Glory?”

john 2 water into wine2a

When there is a task that needs attending, do you do it half-way or all the way? Do you do it to reveal God’s glory or your own?

Jesus was an invited wedding guest to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. While there,  Jesus’ mother noted a problem; the wine had run out.  As a mother, her first thoughts were how to help, so she solicited the help from her #1 son just like many mothers would do. Note his answer: Woman, or as we might say, ma’am, why are you telling me about this problem? Yet because this was the perfect opportunity to reveal his glory, he left his merriment and sought to end this drama by producing the wine needed. He instantly changed the metabolic nature of the water into the finest of wines. And to be sure there no question as to what happened; He engaged the stewards or servants of to be His witnesses. He ordered them to fill the jars to the very top; then give some to the wine steward as evidence of the miracle which just happened.

The water became the finest of wines as noted by the steward. In this way, Jesus chose to demonstrate to his disciples a practical lesson and a spiritual lesson. The practical was when you see a need; meet it–whole-heartedly. The spiritual lesson was that in this way Jesus He revealed his glory—and his disciples believed in him.

When Jesus transforms he does it miraculously to reveal His glory. You may not do a task with a miracle, but when you fulfill a need which is out of the ordinary, you show God’s glory to others of His transforming power in your life.

Stop and think: whose glory are you seeking to reveal? 

 

Is Your Blindfold On?

blindfolded2aProverbs 23:23 “Is Your Blindfold Still On?”

A recent experience reminded me of what a blindfold does—to hide what should be seen. Pilate was a man who walked blindfolded. When Jesus sought to remove his blindfold by telling him that he came to testify to the truth so men might see and recognize Him as Truth, Pilate sneeringly asked Jesus: “What is truth?” Not being interested in further dialog, he walked away.   The image of God, Jesus, TRUTH, stood before Pilate yet it was as if he willingly chose to put the blindfold of ignorance back on!

The Proverbs writer wisely said “acquire truth and do not sell it…” This truth is so precious because it cost the life of Jesus!  Perhaps that is why Jesus gave us this short parable about truth. “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field. [Matt 13:44] The treasure is Jesus who is TRUTH and when we stumble upon Him we should be willing to surrender all to Him. Jim Elliot captured this in a nutshell: “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

The question then before us is why, when truth is revealed would we choose to put the blindfold back on? It is because  2Co 4:4 “the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christwho is the image of God.” Like Pilate we have the choice. We can let Truth remove our blindfold we can see Him in all of His glory or return to the blindfold because we don’t want to see our need for Truth.

Is your blindfold still on or have you received the TRUTH with joy?

 

 

Let’s Talk…

 

coffee chat

2Cor 6The Yoke of Jesus”

Jesus said; “Take My yoke on you and learn from Me.” [Matt 11:29] In that relationship we will find rest for our souls. Paul is in essence saying the same thing to the Corinthians who were trying to straddle the fence in relationships.

So grab a chair, get a cup of java and let’s see what he wants us to learn because some of it is perplexing to say the least.

Let’s talk about friendships vs relationships. On the one hand Jesus ate with sinners and we too are to reach out to those who need Christ but on the other hand we are not to become partners in life with them like in a marriage or a business relationship because it puts us on a collision course and open to the ways of Belial.  Paul asks the rhetorical question: what do you share in common with an unbeliever? The answer is of course nothing!  Remember the words of Amos: Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Beloved, in a marriage or a business relationship of unequally yoked persons your desires and principles will eventually clash because you are not compatible. So Paul’s advice is don’t walk that road! It can’t be done. God will not share His glory/ his yoke with unbelievers!

 

Jesus is saying

Choose My yoke

Let’s learn together how to navigate life.

The True Christmas Message: Sin Kills, The Gospel Saves

cross-saves2aRevelation 2&8

To Thyatira, from the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. Because I am the Son of God I search not just with my eyes but also my heart and I find that which is profitable but not that which is beneficial. I commend you for the love you have for others and how faithful you have been to My Church. You work tirelessly for the poor just as I did. Your works now are greater than when you began and for that you are to be commended.

However, I see a glaring sin. In fact, you have lived with this sin for so long that your eyes are clouded to its impact upon your flock. You no longer call sin sin but have bought into the lie of love the sinner and hate the sin and that is true. However, hate demands action and you have not taken that step. Instead, your actions reveal that you have fallen like King Ahab to the ways and mores of Queen Jezebel, an outright idolater. She has taken captive your mind and swayed you to offer sacrifices of my children to the idol god Baal. It would be better to put a millstone about your neck and throw you into the sea than to allow her to lead and teach. I love you and that is why I have been so patient with her and you. But, my patience will come to an end. Her message kills because it denies Me. Be careful lest you be judged along with her by my penetrating eye.

Father, may Your eye reveal to us where we have accepted that which you call an abomination. May we hold fast to the truth that only through the blood shed on the cross can one be saved.

All scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study Tool of Bible.org 

 

 

The Church on the Corner

snowy-christmas-2aRevelation 3: From Jesus; I AM, I was and I AM still to come; I hold the seven spirits of God…” I know….your deeds…

This chapter in many ways describes the town where I grew up. There were three churches and together they formed a triangle in the middle of the town. They are still there today and still stand as a bedrock of that community. The churches in Revelation 3,Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea accurately describes these three churches in my hometown. Jesus sends a message to them and all other churches on the corner of every town and village.

Two of the churches use written documents that were written hundreds of years ago; their dogma remains fixed. To stray is to bring censure.  This chapter speaks to them and any in similar churches. Jesus says: I know the time you spend studying the scriptures but you are whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead. You are in need of my eye salve so you may see ME standing at your church door seeking entrance, not into the vestibule, but the heart of each person who enters.  I see you striving to maintain an outward appearance of religion always seeking instruction but never arriving at the knowledge of the truth.  To you I say: I alone hold the keys of David that will secure entrance into My Father’s kingdom. I ask you to rekindle that fire inside your bosom so that you are not lukewarm. Take off your garments which are soiled with the sin of deeds and preach the gospel message.

In the middle of the triangle stands a church similar to the faithful church at Philadelphia.  They have obeyed the gospel message to go and preach the gospel message. They have not denied His name. They walk steadfastly amongst the naysayers who want a world of inclusion not the message of the Way, the Truth and the Life by which one comes to the Father. To these, the risen Christ encourages with these words:  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.” [Jer 31]

This Christmas season Jesus, Emmanuel, is saying—evaluate your church. Are they steadfastly proclaiming the gospel message or are they watering down the truth of it so as to not offend the “someones?”  Jesus came because He loved you and wants a relationship with you. Will you let Him in?

All scripture taken from: https://lumina.bible.org

Crisis Response

Matthew 14 worshp jesusa2a

Matthew 14 “The “I AM” – Worship Him”

Herein we have the story of the disciples whom Jesus had compelled to get into the boat and row to the other side. Many theologians have dissected this story and each seem to find a principle that we can use to strengthen our faith but it is the last line of this story that should grab our attention.

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

As a child, I experienced the wind and the waves as I followed a friend into a raging river. Just as the disciples I began to fear and remember somewhat my cry for safety. It was not Jesus who came to rescue me but a collie dog. Looking back I can see God’s hand of lovingkindness reaching out to me and once again protecting me. I am sure you have experienced your own panic times but the lesson before us in the disciple’s response should remind us of what we are to do when the crisis ends.

Do we usher forth a quick thank you God prayer or do we stop and worship Jesus, the “I AM” who created the wind and the waves as the psalmist said “You rule over the proud sea. When its waves surge, you calm them.” Or as Job noted “he alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea;”

Photo Credit: Unsplash: Anton Repponen + Author’s caption