“I Lay Down My Life’

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”–John 10:17-18 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit has been given to us as our guide, but He will never make us do anything against our own will. We have the power and the authority to make the same decision that Jesus made. We can decide to hold onto our earthly, physical lives if that is what we want or we can decide to put our lives on the cross that Jesus gives us to bear. We will never do this as long as our own pride and other people’s opinions of us are more important than pleasing God. There is one funeral that we all need to attend and that is the death and burial of our fleshly desires. Anything that we put above our love and obedience for God has to be removed. It is a decision that Jesus had to make and so must we. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus ended His prayer with “not My will but thine be done”. So should our prayer be as well.

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.–Luke 23:44-46 (NIV)

Are we ready to commit our whole lives, mind, soul, body, and spirit into the hands of God? The way of the cross leads home, but we have to go through the cross, the blood and the darkness to get there.


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

“Jesus Told Him”

18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”—John 21:18-19 (NLT)

Jesus is prophesying to Peter about how he would die. Peter was led to the cross by others and was crucified upside down at his request. Peter felt unworthy to be executed in the same method that Jesus was executed. At least eight of the twelve apostles died as martyrs with two, Peter and Andrew, being crucified. There are some leaders that teach that life as a Christian is free of stress and problems. This is not validated by a study of the Scriptures. In fact, just the opposite is taught.

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”–John 16:33 (NLT)

Jesus tells us in this verse that we will have trials and sorrows. Not just the normal troubles of those in the world, but more because we love and obey Him. But He also tells us that we can have total peace in Him. His peace is not a lack of trouble or violence, it is peace that we can access in the midst of all that. Jesus has overcome the world and we are overcomers through Him. We can’t be conquerors and overcomers if there are no problems to overcome or no mountains to conquer.

Conquerors

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

“A Secret Disciple”

38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. – John 19:38 NLT


Joseph and Nicodemus

After the death of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea asked for permission to take the body and bury it. Joseph was a man wealthy enough to have his own tomb dug for him. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, as was Nicodemus. Nicodemus was wealthy enough to purchase the hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, both of which were very expensive items in that day and time. It would have taken someone influential and well-known to approach Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. Though they were both influential and wealthy men, they were both secret disciples of Jesus because they feared both the Romans and the other Jewish leaders. They could have been imprisoned (as Joseph was in later years), beaten or sentenced to death. The question we need to ask ourselves today is this: “What are the fears that keep us from openly serving Jesus?” What keeps us from telling family, friends and neighbors about Jesus?

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

“Blood and Water Flowed Out”

34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. – John 19:34 NLT

He Gave His All!

One would think that after all the things that the leaders had just done, that a body on a cross on the Sabbath would be of little consequence. But, we can only guess that that would have offended their piety. When the legs of those hanging on the cross were broken. the full weight of the body was pulling down on the arms and torso making it more difficult to breathe. This caused the person to expire more quickly due to a lack of oxygen. By the time the soldiers came to the cross that Jesus was hanging on, He was already dead, so they didn’t break His legs. Instead they pierced His side with a spear causing all the fluids to run out of His body. This fulfilled more prophecies concerning the death of Jesus. Just as a sacrificial lamb had to be completely bled out before it could be sacrificed, so was Jesus. He gave up everything for us- His royalty in heaven, His life, His very last drop of blood. What are we willing to give up for Him?

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

“Who Are You Looking For?”

4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. – John 18:4 NLT

John 18:1-4 NLT

Jesus was fully aware of what would happen this night and every night until He ascended into heaven. But, because He loved us so much, He was willing to face the persecution, the ridicule, the mockery, the beatings and the agony, that was the cross. Jesus had known this from time immemorial, yet He came to earth and dwelt among us in the flesh. Our finite minds cannot grasp or understand this infinite, unconditional love. But there is a void in us that can only be filled with this love. The world is looking for this love without knowing or understanding why. There was a time in each of our lives when we were in the same place as the lost people around us. We were looking for something or someone. If we had been asked, “Who are you looking for?”, we probably would not have understood that we were looking for Jesus and our answer would not have been so quick and sure. But then, someone took the time to share with us about the love of Jesus and we realized that He was who we were looking for. Even if we are staring death in the face just as Jesus was at that time, are we willing to take the time today to ask someone “Who are you looking for?” and then share the love of Jesus with them?

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

“They Hated Me Without A Cause”

25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.-John 15:25 NLT

John 15:22-25 NLT

Jesus says that if He had not come to earth to tell us His story then we might have a reason to continue in sin. But now we have no excuse to continue living a sinful lifestyle. If we hate our neighbors, we will also hate Jesus and our Father, God. Still, every day we hear about more violence and more persecution. Christians are being beaten, and they are being thrown out of their homes just because they won’t deny Jesus. In North Korea, when a person accepts Christ, the pastor always makes sure that the person accepting Christ understands that they are signing their own death warrant. Even though, Christians are bringing a message of life to a dying world, very few people want to hear about it. Why? Because satan roams the world looking for those he can destroy. Just as God is perfect, complete love, satan is total, complete hate. satan’s motivation and weapons are envy, deceit and hate. Why do others hate Christians? Jesus made it very simple, they do not need a reason, a hater is going to hate.

Post 06-10-2020

“He Loved Them to the Very End”

He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. – John 13:1b NLT

John 13:1-3 NLT

Jesus never had any question about what His purpose was here on earth. This was decided before the beginning, He had laid aside all of His royalty in heaven and come to earth as Love incarnate. He lived a simple life doing what He saw the Father do and saying what the Father said. Now, the time for Him to return to His glory in Heaven was quickly approaching. He loved people with a love that our human minds cannot fully embrace. Even knowing that Judas would betray Him, He allowed Judas to be one of His disciples. The Father had given Him all authority over all things and He could have used it at any time. Yet, He stayed the course and died a cruel death for our redemption. He was love clothed in human flesh for our benefit. Through the blood of Jesus, we have access to that same love. Jesus was perfect and could love perfectly, we are imperfect and so we love imperfectly. But one day, we will love as He loves. Then we will know fully just as God knows us now. We need to practice showing love to others every day so they will be attracted to Jesus. Love will never fail.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.​ – 1 Cor 13:13​

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

Post 05-23-2020

“The Son of God Will Receive Glory”

4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  – John 11:4 NLT

John 11:1-6 NLT

Lazarus and his sisters were dear friends of Jesus. Mary and Martha sent a messenger to tell Jesus that Lazarus was sick. The messenger and the disciples must have been very surprised at what Jesus said when he heard the message. “This sickness will not end in death, it is for the glory of God”. How could sickness be for the glory of God? They, like us today, look at things from the human standpoint. Why should a friend of Jesus, the Great Physician, or a child of God have to suffer? A better question might be, “Why don’t wretched sinners like us have to suffer more than we do now?” Sin came into the world when man disobeyed God and it will remain in the world until Jesus comes back to establish His Kingdom here on earth. Until that time of restoration comes, we remain under the curse of sin. God gets glory by overcoming the curse of sin. While Jesus was here on earth, He overcame the curse of sin one act at a time. Yes, Jesus could have just spoken a word right where He was when He heard the message or He could have left immediately and gone to Lazarus. He chose not to do either of those things, but waited for 2 days before He left to go to Lazarus. God’s timing is not our timing and His answer is not always what we want to hear, but they are always exactly what is necessary to bring glory to Himself. Now we aren’t able to see and understand these things, but one day we will know and understand.

12 It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me.—1 Cor. 13:12 (NCV)

Until then, we can be comforted with God’s promises and the many gifts He gives each day, 

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

Post 05-04-2020

“What Should We Do?”

28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”  29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:28-29 NLT​

In its simplest form, the “work” that Jesus came to do was to save the world. He could have done that by going straight to the cross, dying and being resurrected. But there were many things that God wanted Him to do while He was here. This work included miracles to draw people to God. It also included living a sinless life as an example for us to follow. Just as the work that Jesus did included more than death and resurrection, “the only work God wants from you” is to “believe the One He has sent” includes more than just believing. But believing is the first step and if you don’t believe and receive the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to do the rest of the work.

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”—Matthew 9:36-38 (NLT)

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

Post 04-02-2020

“This Is the Judgment”

 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. – John 3:19 NASB

John 3:18-21 NLT

God has not condemned anyone and He doesn’t send people to hell. People are condemned when they reject Jesus, That is a personal choice and they have to earn their way to hell; “the wages of sin are death” (Romans 6:23) It isn’t God’s will that any should perish/go to hell. We each make a choice to accept the gift of eternal life or work our way to hell. A Christian cannot be condemned since we don’t “practice evil” We certainly fall occasionally but that is not our lifestyle. Condemnation comes from satan but conviction comes through the Holy Spirit. The feelings of guilt that a Christian has are not condemnation but conviction for failing to live up to the standards that Jesus has set for us. Jesus died once for all our sins, He is not going to the cross again. So, if you are feeling conviction and we all do at some time or other, don’t wait, ask God for His forgiveness and start to walk with Him in joy once again.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.–1 John 1:​8, ​9 (NLT)

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

Post 03-09-2020