To Live or to Die?

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21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. – John 11:21 NLT

As Jesus traveled toward Bethany, He learned that Lazarus had been buried four days ago. Many had already come out to comfort Mary and Martha about the loss of their brother. Martha heard that Jesus was coming and ran out to meet Him, but Mary stayed home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She had no idea that this death would be used for the glory of God. But Jesus assured her that Lazarus would live again. Martha, still not understanding, thought Jesus was referring to the final resurrection. But Jesus told her that those that believe in Him will never die. Jesus asked Martha if she believed this. She said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ…. “. But her answer did not acknowledge what Jesus had asked her. If she truly believed, would she have thought that Lazarus died just because Jesus wasn’t physically present?
The Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to remain on the earth and would not be here until Jesus ascended, so we can understand how Martha and the others might have thought that Jesus had to be physically present to heal Lazarus. But, thank God, we have His promise that Christ, in the form of the Holy Spirit, abides in us and that we are in Christ Jesus. We are never without Jesus. He will never leave us or forsake us.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.—1 John 5:20 (NASB)
If we truly believe this, why do we worry and fret? Isn’t dying for and in Christ to be much more desired than living in this sinful world? As Paul said:

To Live or to Die


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 10-12-2017

Gone But Still Here!

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33 But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. – John 7:33 NLT
 

These must have been very confusing days for the disciples and the true believers in Jesus. The Messiah had come but He had not set up an earthly kingdom as many believed that He would do. Now, Jesus is telling His followers even worse news. “I will be with you only a little longer.” Why was He leaving and where could He be going? Looking back from our vantage point in history, we know where He was going and we understand why He had to leave. Few, if any, of the people present at that time understood that. Isn’t it wonderful news that Jesus has never made that statement to us? In fact, just the opposite is true. To us, He has said:
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”​—​H​ebrews 13: 5 (NKJV)
We have a companion that is closer than a brother. He not only leads us, He walks with us, He is our rearguard, and He abides inside us. Jesus is in us and we are in Jesus. What more could anyone ask?


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 09-18-2017

Why is Assembling Together Important?

even-smaller-bug-light134 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:34 NIV

Our society becomes more and more mobile with each new generation.  This has been true from the beginning until now and it doesn’t show any signs of changing.  This fact has an upside and a downside.  The upside is that God uses these changes to spread the Gospel.  Paul went on missionary trips on roads built by the Romans.  His travels in one lifetime would have been imposssible a few generation earlier.  For years, people debated about whether or not it was possible for every human to hear the Gospel.  Now we know that that could be done with one message bradcast on satellite TV.  Of course, there are many worldly benefits as well.  The downside of all this mobility is the loss of family.  We no longer live next door to our parents, siblings or any close relatives.  That fact contribues to a lot of loneliness and also the sense of what “family” really means.  But, God knew this was coming so He made it possible for us to have family wherever we find ourselves.  Each one of us lives in communities where, with a little effort, we could be surrounded by family.  Jesus was, at first, rejected by His family.  Yet, this did not deter Him from having a family.  If you find that your occupation and/or your decisions have taken you a goodly distance from your family, find a Church that believes in the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Christ.  There you will find a new family that can mean just as much or more than your natural family.  And, of course, there is always Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother or a sister or a mother or a father.
Post 02-18-2016

Help!

even-smaller-bug-light11  I love you, Lord; you are my strength. 2  The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;  my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
3  I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. — Psalm 18:1-3

How blessed are the children of God!  We can cry out one word and our Lord hears and saves us! How marvelous and wondeful are the works of our God! He is our all in all! He is the air that we breathe, the sustenance for our souls and our bodies, a friend in need and deed!  He is a spouse to those that will receive Him, a child, a brother, a sister, a Mother, a Dad, an aunt, an uncle, a grandfather, a grandmother!  He longs to fill every void in our life! 

He is Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider!

He is Jehovah-Ropha, our Healer!

He is Jehovah-Shalom, our Peace!

He is El-Shaddai, Almighty God, our abundant Blesser! 

He is Immanuel, God with us!

3  Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!
4  I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast.  I will praise you with songs of joy.
— Psalm 63:3-5 NLT

Post 02-01-2016

Understanding, That’s What We Need

even-smaller-bug-light117 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. — James 3:17,18 NIV

As we read yesterday, wisdom is defined as more than just getting facts and knowledge of things, places and people,  It includes the ability to use that knowledge to make proper decisions that lead to correct actions.  We can have knowledge upon knowledge, but it is worthless, perhaps, even dangerous, if it is built on the wrong foundation, a foundation of inerrant knowledge. That is why the Holy Spirit, through the writer of Proverbs, tells us 
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. ​– Prov. 4:7
Later, in Proverbs, He tells us this:
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. — Prov. 9:10
​So, we lay the foundation with knowledge, we build walls with wisdom and the finishing touch is understanding.  Therefore, we must be very sure that our knowledge is based on a foundation of knowledge that includes The Holy One (Jehovah God) and Jesus Christ. Then we must be sure that our wisdom comes from heaven.  We can know this if it is ” first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”‘  So, any so-called wisdom that advocates anything less than these qualities is not from heaven and is not of God. (Kind of reminds me of the parable of the houses — one built on the Rock and one built on the sand,) If we want others to recognize us as the children of God, then we must show love to our brothers and sisters.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. — 1 John 3:10
Since the wisdom that is from above is impartial, we must show love to all of our fellow human beings. This love requires us to be peacemakers.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,  for they will be called children of God. — Matt. 5:9
If we want to be obedient to our Father in heaven, we will endeavor to become peacemakers unless that action requires us to violate the Holy Scriptures. Jesus was/is the ultimate peacemaker, but He had limits as shown by His words to the Pharisees and His actions when chasing the traders out of the temple. He had perfect knowledge, perfect wisdom and perfect understanding.
Post 11-20-2015

Welcome Home

even-smaller-bug-light11 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? — James 2:1-4 NIV

​If you google “​verses concerning first impressions in the Bible”, you will only find verses that warn against using first impressions as a guide for measuring a person’s worth.  Yet, society teaches us that first impressions are all important and determine whether we will be accepted or rejected.  And certainly, that is the worldly view. How many of us use the way another person dresses, our opinion of whether they are beautiful or handsome, their popularity, talent or success as our criteria for selecting friends?  If this is really our criteria, then perhaps we should change the name of our church to “The Church of The Beautiful, Handsome,Talented, Successful and Well-Dressed”.  But, wait a minute, if we did that, we would have to be very egotistical and self-centered to think that we are qualified to attend and we all know that Christians are not egotistical and/or self-centered.  I, for one, am ecstatic that Jesus doesn’t use that criteria to determine who can be saved.  If you spend any time talking to those outside the church about why they don’t go to church, one of the reasons you will hear quite often is that “church people” make me feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. We can change our dress codes for churches (most churches have) but that will not solve the problem. Hurting people come to church to find relief and in most cases, they have come to the point in their life, that how we dress is not what attracts or deters them.  It is how we make them feel that is important.  Most people come to church for one of two reasons;  we were either raised to go to church or we came to the end of our rope and we haven’t found satisfactory answers to our problems anywhere else. We need to welcome guests and strangers in our church with the love, warmth and enthusiasm we would show a long lost brother or sister who has decided to come home.  Why? Because that is exactly how Jesus sees them and what they could become to us if we greet them and accept them as we should.
Post 11-15-2015

The Perfect Big Brother

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.—John 17:13-19 (NLT)
We have the privilege of listening into a personal conversation between Jesus and our Father. ​As we read through the prayer that Jesus is praying for His disciples, we get a little glimpse of His love and compassion for them.​ Jesus is not asking God to remove all the bumps, He is asking Him to keep them safe as they travel the rocky road. He is also asking our Father to teach them the truth. Jesus, as the oldest of all God’s children, is taking the responsibility of being sure that the family is being taken care of while He is separated from them. Of course, He knows that our Father is going to take good care of the disciples, but His compassion demands that He set the example for them to ask. Not only that, but He is paying in advance for their care by giving His life on the cross. Jesus is the perfect example of a servant, a brother, a friend and a Redeemer.
Post 02-20-2015