“I Am Not”

even-smaller-bug-light117 The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?” “No,” he said, “I am not.” -John 18:17 NLT

John 18:15-18 NLT

When Jesus was arrested in the garden, all the disciples fled, However, two of them came back at some point on the journey from the Garden to the priest’s house. One of them we are sure is Simon Peter, The other follower is assumed to be John because, in the book of John, John does not normally refer to himself by name, but with a brief description such as “the disciple that Jesus loved”. John went inside the house with Jesus, but Peter stayed outside near the door. John shows us that Jesus has taught him to care about others since he went into the house with Jesus, seemingly not caring if the others knew he was a follower of Jesus. Then he comes back out to have Peter brought inside. A nice gesture on a cold night. But when the girl goes to bring Peter inside, she recognizes Peter and she asks him if he isn’t also one of the followers of Jesus. Peter answers that he is not. Peter makes his first denial of the evening. Now he will have to keep lying about his relationship with Jesus. As we know, one lie always leads to another and it gets easier each time we tell it. Peter failed Jesus with words, how many times have we done that? And just as hypocritical, how many times have we betrayed Jesus with our silence? How many times have we grieved God the Holy Spirit with our refusal to allow Him to lead us? Everyday, with our actions or lack of actions and our words or our lack of words, we deny God the Father and grieve God the Holy Spirit.

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

“I Am Going Away”

28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. – John 14:28 NLT

I Am Going Away

Jesus is telling the disciples and us that He must leave but He will return one day. If Jesus doesn’t go to the Father, then the Holy Spirit will not come to abide with us. Jesus knew and understood that the time was swiftly approaching when He would not be able to see and talk to all the people that needed to hear the Good News. But the Father already had a plan in place, His Spirit would come and abide in each of us, so that none of us would ever be alone again. The Holy Spirit will teach us, lead us and prepare us for the return of our soon coming King. Jesus is also telling the disciples and us that satan is not defeating Him, but still, He must do what He must do. It has been the plan since eternity that He would be the perfect, sacrificial Lamb that would redeem fallen man. The time was quickly approaching for Jesus to complete His mission here on earth. He needed to return to the Father because He had work to do in heaven.

24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.—Hebrews 7:2​4​​-​2​5​ (NLT)

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

“Anyone Who Welcomes Me”

20 I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me. -John 13:20 NLT

John 13:16-22 NLT

 ​When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we are freed from the bondage of sin, but if we are serious about our repentance, we become bond servants to Jesus Christ. A bond servant is not a slave, he is one who chooses to serve his master because of his love for the master. We should serve Jesus not out of bondage or fear, but simply because we love the One who chose to give His life for our redemption from sin. Jesus had set the example of being a servant to those around Him. He expects us to follow that example because a servant is not greater than His master. It should give us joy unspeakable to serve a risen Savior. Again, Jesus lets us know that He is aware that He will be betrayed and that He knows which one will betray Him. The disciples could not imagine that one of them was the betrayer. If we accept Jesus then we accept the one who sent Him and that is God the Father. He was also telling the disciples and us that we will be accepted when we are sent out by Him. Jesus fulfilled His mission, the disciples fulfilled their mission and the Church has carried on since then. Now, it is our turn. Let us not be the generation that fails to continue to spread the Word of God. When Jesus sends us out, He has already prepared the way. We might not get to see the results, but God’s Word never fails.

Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT

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

Post 05-26-2020

“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

"And the Sea Grew Very Rough"

18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. ​ – John 6:18 NLT

John 6:16-21

The disciples became concerned when Jesus didn’t return before dark. Assuming that He had gone on without them, they started to cross the sea of Galilee. Sudden storms were not unusual on this sea. Even though they were experienced fishermen, crossing the sea at night could be dangerous. Seeing someone walking on the sea anytime, but particularly in these conditions, would certainly be frightening. Jesus assures them that it is really Him and they shouldn’t be afraid. Gladly, they allowed Jesus in the boat with them. Now, an amazing thing happens, There is no mention of Jesus calming the sea. Instead, they immediately find themselves at their destination. The sea (or lake) is 8 miles wide and they had only rowed three or four miles. Wow! Forget Disney World, that trip across the rest of the lake is one I would love to take! So, when we find ourselves in stormy seas, we just need to hang on, Jesus is coming for us and we are going to take a trip with Him that has never been equaled or even imagined. We will join Him in the air and He will take us home to heaven! So, now matter how bad it seems right now, just remember what Paul said:

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. ​- Romans 8:18-21 NLT​

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

Post 03-30-2020

“The Spirit Without Limit”

34 For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. – John 3:34 NLT

John 3:31-36

​John continues to explain to his disciples who Jesus is and why he must decrease as Jesus increases. John’s understanding of all of this is beyond human knowledge. He tells us that Jesus speaks God’s words because God gives Him “the Spirit without limit”. Jesus agrees with this statement:

So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the​ ​Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.–John 5:19 (NLT)

John continues to explain that God has put everything into the hands of Jesus. Jesus also agrees with this statement:

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth—Matt. 28:18 (NLT)

This is why Jesus could say “your sins are forgiven” and “this day, you will be with me in paradise”. When we accept this truth about Jesus, we are forgiven of our sins and on our way to heaven for eternity. But on the journey, we have a purpose and a work to do, just as John and Jesus did. The work could never get us to heaven, but it does get us rewarded when we get there. When God calls each of us to do a work, He enables us to do that work by the Holy Spirit. We have access to “the Spirit without limit”. How much of that we receive is up to us. Just as we could not be saved without asking for and reaching out to accept the forgiveness, we cannot access the power of the Holy Spirit without asking for it and reaching out to accept it. Can we do the works that John and Jesus did? Jesus says we can:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.—John 14:12 (NLT)

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

Post 03-11-2020

“I Will Follow Wherever”

57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  – Luke 9:57 NLT

Luke 9:57-62 NLT

We all know the old hymn, “Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow”.  We sing it quite often in worship services across the nation regardless of the denomination.  It is a great invitational song for getting people to commit to the mission fields. But I wonder if we really hear the words that we are singing or if we are just making noise. I think we need to change the song for a while and sing “Where He leads me, will I follow?”.  Will I go on a mission trip? Oh no, can’t spare the time for that.  Will I visit those in prisons? Nope, not my calling.  Will I visit the sick in the hospitals and pray for their healing? Again, I just don’t feel the call.  Will I feed the hungry? Well, you know I give to charities to do that. Will I walk across the street to witness to my neighbor? You know, they might be offended, really need to be careful there.  Will I ask a lost family member if we could pray together? Well. they are not going to listen, they know I’m not perfect.  Don’t I need a calling to do those things?  Well, here is our calling,

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matt. 28:18-20

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

Post 02-04-2020

“Lazarus Is Very Sick”

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.

8 The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. 9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts–Jeremiah 55:8, 9 (NCV)
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 06-05-2019

“Wonderful Things”

8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. — Psalm 107:8 NLT 

Psalm 107:1-9 NLT

When something really good happens to us do we take the credit for that event or do we give the glory to God?  Do we say “look what I have done” or do we say “look what the Lord has done for me”?   When He chose us, called us and redeemed us, did we tell everyone we knew? The Psalmist encourages us to “tell others” just as Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples.  After a bout with satan, when we are feeling all alone and distressed, who came to rescue us?  Did we take the time to thank Him or was it “just another day at the office”?  When we are hungry and thirsty and we receive food and drink, do we stop to thank Him before we eat or do we act like this is something that we deserve?  We are all pretty good at asking God to watch over those we know who are about to leave on a trip or are presently traveling. But when we or they return safely from the trip, do we gather around and thank God for the safe return?  Does our lifestyle reflect an “attitude of gratitude” or is it more like “I’ve worked hard and I deserve this ___________” (fill in the blank).  We need to heed the reminder found in James 5:17, “every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above”.   Let us be careful to always give Him praise for His goodness toward us.

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

Post 04-13-2019

The Great Commission – Part 1

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT

Matthew 28:16-20 NLT 

We are all very familiar with the Great Commission that Jesus gave His disciples.  Luke tells us that shortly after this, Jesus ascends leaving the disciples without the only leader they had ever known. If we had been there and been one of the disciples of Jesus, what would our initial response have been?  If it were anything similar to what I believe mine would have been, it would have caused me to ask a lot of questions.  Where do I start, which direction do I go, who is going to support me as I make the trip and who is going to take care of my family while I am gone?  I don’t have any speeches prepared to present to the people, what will I say?  I’m not prepared to go on some long journey to some place I have never been and I haven’t prepared my family for such a venture.  I would not only be doubting my abilities to carry out this mission (which is totally true}, I would be doubting God’s ability to enable me to carry out His mission (which is totally wrong and therefore sinful).  I would be doubting His ability to provide for me and to take care of me.  I would be saying “God is able” but my thoughts and my actions would be saying “I don’t really believe that”.
As true believers, our response should not be one of worry and doubt but of agreement, just as Isaiah said when God asked Him “who shall we send?” and Isaiah answers “Here am I, Lord, send me.”.

.Isaiah 6:5-8 NLT

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

Post 02-02-2019