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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Discerning


When my children were young before they said something that would get them in trouble I’d say, “Think about it!” I didn’t know it at the time, but I was giving them biblical counsel.



Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs­17:28



One quick view of the daily news proves this caution isn’t being applied very often. People talk and talk even though they don’t know what they’re saying. We should all think before we speak. A great benefit of being silent is we can listen better. One’s closed mouth allows their two ears to work better!



We all need to apply this wisdom to our lives. I think the world would be a better place, and a lot more peaceful. Amen?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Get Ready

Throughout the story in John 11, Jesus said everything was occurring for God's glory. We have seen over the last few days that there was a lot of emotion and confusion, but Jesus was ready to show His glory!


 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”  Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” - John 11:38-44



Who doesn't love this story? Many consider this Jesus' greatest miracle. 

Listen for Jesus' voice today - come out of "graves" that are keeping you from being in His presence! Take off the "grave clothes" of this world and bask in His glory!

Live for Him and join in proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord! Amen?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Brokenness


Martha may have been disappointed and somewhat frustrated, but she had faith and knew her brokenhearted sister Mary had to come to see Jesus!

After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”  When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.  When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” - John 11:28-37

Mary was very discouraged and emotional. She makes the same statement to Jesus concerning her brother's death, but it comes from her heart. It touches Jesus... and He weeps with her. 

What a beautiful scene of love, tenderness, and compassion from our Savior! Is your heart broken? Cry out to Jesus - He understands and will cry with you. Amen?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Possibilities


We have all been frustrated or disappointed in someone or a circumstance. The sister of the man who died really believed if Jesus would have come when He was notified that Lazarus would still be alive.

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.  Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.  “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” - John 11:17-27

Martha had faith but she didn't have the experience or knowledge that Jesus has authority over life and death. There is much to be learned here. We cannot base God's supernatural power on our human understanding. Remember the song, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to..."

Praise God that we can grow in our faith and believe, "All things are possible in Christ"! Amen?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Go Back


Doubting may be in our human nature, but it should have no place in our spiritual trust in God. As we continue the story in John look at the confusion of the Disciples.

And then he (Jesus) said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”  Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” - John 11:7-16

The Disciples really didn't understand what Jesus was saying. All they knew was that going back to Judea was not going to end well for Jesus (and probably them). Sometimes we get so focused on our self that we miss what Jesus is trying to tell or show us. 

Today, slow down, take a deep breath, look in a mirror, and ask God to please repeat what He has been saying to you! Then be obedient. Clarity is a beautiful thing... Amen?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Right On


When speaking of God's timing my friend would often say. "Four days late and right on time!". This of course is true. God's ways and timing are not ours - many times. It also refers to an event in the Bible from John chapter eleven. This story sets the tone for what the world would experience over the next ten days. With Palm Sunday coming next week I feel it would be good to revisit one of the greatest miracles of Jesus' ministry - bringing his friend back from the dead!

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. John 11:1-6

This is an incredible account in Jesus' ministry. One of His closest friends is deathly ill and Jesus doesn't rush to his bedside. Have you ever felt like this? You cry out to Jesus and then you don't hear His voice or feel His presence? I'm sure we all have, but know this - He does hear you. His way of dealing with your crisis might be totally different than what you had in mind.

Trusting in God means that we will do it His way and in His time (even when we don't understand or like it). Maybe God seems to be running late these days... or maybe we should ask Him to increase our faith.

Amen?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Listen and Obey


Let he who has ears to hear, use them” Jesus used this phrase eight times in the Gospels and eight times in Revelation. Look at James 1:22-24 –  22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. Don’t just listen but obey!



Look at the parable of the seed and the Sower found Luke 8:4-8  4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”



In all four cases the seed, the Sower, and the message are the same. What’s different? – It’s the listener!



Listen and obey God’s Word. Amen?