“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

Why Can’t We ______?

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28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”  29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” — Mark 9:28, 29 NKJV

While Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, a man had brought his son, who was possessed by a demon, to the remaining disciples.  They had been unable to cast the demon out of this particular boy, even though they had had success earlier in casting other demons out.  They were confused by this and asked the same question that people are still asking today.  “Why could we not cast it out?”   We pray for the sick to be healed and when it doesn’t happen the way and the time we think it should, we ask the question — “Why?”   Jesus explains that sometimes it takes more than a prayer, it takes fasting as well.  Some translations do not include “fasting” in the answer Jesus gave.  We know that Jesus spent many hours fasting and praying.  Before His temptations in the desert with satan, He spent forty days fasting and praying.  God does the healing, so why would we be required to pray and fast?   The Scriptures never exactly explain the connection between fasting and praying. The Old Testament prophets and David fasted and prayed. John the Baptist and his disciples practiced fasting and praying.  The disciples of Jesus practiced it, especially in Jerusalem after the Resurrection.  Jesus made a practice of doing it, so it seems that it would be a good idea for us to try it as well.  Each of us should do some research on different ways to fast, pray and allow the Holy Spirit to guide each of us into what and how long to fast. You may not think fasting is a good idea or that you have never practiced fasting.  Think about this, in the physical world, what did you give up for a little while to get what you wanted the most?   In the worst scenario, nothing unusual happens, in the best scenario, we end up with a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus, our best friend.

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

Post 10-25-2018

Restoration

even-smaller-bug-light1​1 ​Brothers, if a person is caught doing something wrong, those of you who are spiritual should restore that person gently. Watch out for yourself so that you are not tempted as well.  Gal. 6:1

Galatians 6:1-3 ISV

Being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit does not keep us from making bad decisions.  If we have weaknesses of the flesh, we need to avoid those situations where we would be needlessly tempted.  We don’t put ourselves in harm’s way unless we are sure that we have been called to do that.  Just as it would be foolish to step into the street in front of a speeding truck to try to prove that God always protects us, it is foolish for us to put ourselves in dangerous situations if God has not called us to do so.  Not many of us are David Wilkersons (The Cross and the Switchblade) who can successfully face the dangers of the worst parts of New York City to witness to gang members.  Nevertheless, we all have a calling to witness to those around us.  The mission field starts in the home and goes outward from there.  We do not want to be like the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19) who ended up battered and naked.  We must use discernment in where, when and to whom we witness, but that is never to be used as an excuse not to witness.  We may not be sure of all of God’s will for each of our lives but there are two things we can be sure of in this journey with Jesus.  We are to make disciples as we go, we all have our marching orders to do that.  We are supposed to restore the fallen as well, but do so circumspectly avoiding the very appearance of evil.

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. 28:19,20 NLT

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

Post 09-26-2018

“Like A Mother Cares For Her Child”

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Instead, we were gentle[ among you, like a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children. – 2 Thess. 2:7b ISV
 
Paul sets a great example for us to follow when we are witnessing to others. We should be doing this because our hearts’ desire is to show others the love that we have for them. We have this love for them because of the love Jesus has for us. No other motive is needed, not money, not fame, not popularity.  Even while spending his life as a missionary, Paul worked as a tentmaker, so that his presence would not be a financial burden on those to whom he was speaking. He and his companions did their best to mirror the lifestyle of Jesus, their Lord and Savior. Because Jesus cared enough to die for us, Paul spent his life in caring for others, just like a Mother cares for her children.  Not only was he concerned about their physical welfare, but he cared even more about their spiritual welfare. He didn’t just preach the Gospel message and leave them, he spent time in explaining the scriptures to them and living an obedient lifestyle while he was there with them.  He encouraged, comforted and urged them to live lives worthy of God. In other words, he was “making disciples”, teaching them how to grow in the word and not leaving them as babies without food and no one to feed them. He exemplified God’s love even more by writing letters to them after he had left as well as sending some of his companions back to check on them at times. Jesus’ command was not to “love them and leave them” or to “save them and send them’, it was to make disciples.
 

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matt. 28:19, 20 NIV

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

Post 07-12-2018

Like Us or Like Jesus?

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13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. – Gal. 2:13 NLT
 
 
Paul continues his crusade to help people to understand the freedom they now have since Jesus fulfilled the law. New converts then and now are not compelled to travel to Jerusalem and make sacrifices each year nor are we expected to meet any requirements of the law. We are required to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, strength, mind and body. If we do this, we will see changes in our lifestyle. Not because of some written laws but because the love of God constrains us. We respond to the love of God. It is His love for us that keeps us.

2 ​ ​fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him​ endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.–Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)
6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NASB)
Our focus is not to be on requiring others to take communion as often as we do or if they worship more reverently or loudly than we do (I could go on but you get the picture). We should be focused on making disciples that obey Jesus because they love Him, not in making clones that worship and/or serve like we do.

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

Post 12-27-2017