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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Personal Touch


What is the nature of Christian experience, what does it involve? John, who was one of the original twelve team members, shares in his writings about the personal nature of his experience with Jesus. This can help us to understand a little bit of what it’s all about. The first thing that jumps out at me about John’s experience is that it involves a...Personal Touch

Second hand experience is not good enough. You've probably heard it said that God has no grandchildren, and that is an absolutely true statement. We cannot count on our heritage, church affiliation, nationality, or even our own good works to replace a personal experience with Him. We must individually place our trust in what Jesus has done for us. We must meet Him personally.

The experience you have with Jesus is uniquely your own. No two people will have the same experience. Some come to Him with tears, some with laughter, some with great relief, others with solemn awe at the magnificence of it all. But I have never yet met a person who said they didn’t feel something, when they met Jesus. 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” - Romans 10:9-13

Now there may be times down the road when you don’t feel that way anymore. That’s when it is comforting to know that our salvation is not based on how we are feeling at the time. 

It is one thing to simply believe the gospel--it is quite another to experience Him and to KNOW that He is your savior. Like the stack of stones that reminded the nation of Israel of the time that God stopped a river so they could cross, the memory of a Personal Touch from Jesus can be an anchor to Hold our faith especially during times of trouble.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Game Time


 There’s a difference between observation and participation. I remember as I was growing up hearing my parents say to me on more than one occaision, "Just wait until you have kids of your own, then you’ll understand." I don’t suppose that any of your parents ever said anything like that to you, but mine said it regularly. The thing that is so frustrating about that statement is that it turned out to be true. There is something inexplicable about parenthood, something that can never be understood by hearing about it, reading about it, or thinking about it. It has to be experienced. 


Like parenthood Christianity is something that must be understood primarily by experience. Christianity is more than just a statement of faith, more than church membership. It is not merely a philosophical position. It is a faith experience. You can’t buy Christianity, and you don’t inherit it from your parents. You’re not on the team just because you sit in your arm chair and watch it on television, for that matter you’re not a player anymore than the home audience just because you sit in a Church pew. Christianity must be personally experienced!

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face[i] in a mirror.  For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.  - James 1:22-25



 Christianity is not a sideline experience. Genuine faith in Jesus requires personal involvement. It's time to get in the game! Amen?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Taking Down Giants

The moment you know what God wants of you is the moment to do it. He doesn’t expose sin in our lives so we can take care of it later. It requires immediate attention. We all know the story from 1 Samuel 17 about when a boy named David went to fight a giant named Goliath. By God's power and might David beat him. David fought against other "giants" in his lifetime; pride, lust, enemies, betrayal, and dishonesty as well. 

What is the Giant that stands in your way? When you face your giant do you see victory or defeat? One way to know the answer is when you look in the face of your problem do you see the giant or Jesus?

There are three key areas needed for victory over the giants in our lives.
1. Humility - don't call attention to yourself. Always seek first the kingdom and honoring of God in your actions
2. Integrity - let your yes be yes and your no no. Always be honest and take the high road in your decisions.
3. Courage - have the strength to stand on Godly principles. Always be assured where you strength comes from. 
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9

The choice is yours. The time to make it is now. Ask God for the strength to win.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

NO BS

I have been so convicted lately about my worship, praise, and gratitude. It seems to be such a temptation during times of trouble to focus on the trouble and not the Creator of the universe. You start to live in a vacuum with a goal of just getting through the day. 


God is so much bigger than that. 

Your crisis is small compared to eternity. Jesus deserves your focus and adoration now more than ever. Magnify Him and not your hardship. Focus on the praise and not the problem!

Much of this has to do with your BS... and sometimes other people's BS leads you away and not towards God. Your BS? It's your belief system! Is God only almighty and awesome when times are good? No He is the same wonderful loving Father even when you are going through life's valleys. Turn your heart and mind completely over to Him. 
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

Allow His BS (Belief System) to become yours. No kidding or... - well you know. Praise God with all you got today. People will notice how much nicer you are, and it will put a smile on God's face.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sharing the News

What do you think about evangelism?  “The lost” are so important to God. Are they important to you?  In Luke 15:1-2 we see the setting and audience for three of Jesus’ most famous parables (stories).  Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus is teaching through storytelling. He wants His listeners to understand how God operates, and how they can be part of His plan. The Pharisees and other church leaders did not want change or to upset their plans. They “never done it that way before” and they were not going to start now.

Funny how things haven’t change much in 2,000 years. People are still ‘stiff necked and hard hearted”, and Jesus message has not changed. It’s not about us – It’s all about God! This week think about the “lost things and people” in your world.


What does Jesus want you to do about it? May we share God's truth with the world around us, and put a smile on His face. Amen?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Strong Enough

Top of Form
One song that has encouraged my wife and I over the last ten weeks is Strong Enough  by  Matthew West. I don't know of the circumstances in which he wrote the song, but surely it was inspired by what Paul wrote about his struggles.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:10 
So whatever "thorn" you are dealing with today (cancer, loss, depression, heartache, brokenness) remember to accept God's grace and strength. It is enough...

You must, You must think I'm strong,
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me, Forgive me if I'm wrong,
 But this looks like more than I can do On my own
I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up, I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough, Strong enough
For the both of us
Well, maybe, Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally, Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up And reaching out
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up, I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough, Strong enough
Cause I'm broken, Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God and you are strong, When I am weak
I can do all things, Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be, Strong enough, Strong enough
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be, I give up
I'm not strong enough, Hands of mercy won't you cover me


Make this your prayer today - Lord right now I'm asking you to be, Strong enough, Strong enough

Greater and stronger is He that is in you! Amen?

Monday, August 25, 2014

S-T-E-P-S

Consider all the teachings that are out there on steps for Christians -  Steps in.. Sharing your faith…Growing your church… Growing in your faith… For church membership…Peace with God… Building small groups…Helping Leaders..., etc. The step idea comes from 1 Peter 2:21, To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. Today consider the S-T-E-P-S acronym.

S – Start developing your relationship with God. 2 Thessalonians 1:We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

 

T – Talk to God about everything. - Matthew 6:8-14. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done,  on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
E – Experience God with others. Hebrews 10:25 Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
P – Prioritize your faith. Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. Developing a relationship with your Maker needs to become a top priority. Soon, you will see why. His love, protection, provision, wisdom, comfort and joy are just a few examples of how He will justify being your new priority in life. This paradigm shift may not happen overnight, so you will need to take time from your day to sit and seek him. Take time from your week to meet with other Christian men, go to church. Find answers to your questions about God, creation, heaven and hell, the spiritual battle going on, your purpose, and yes, even God’s perspective on money.
S – Serve wholeheartedly - Ephesians 6:7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, Give it all to God, and you will be glad you did. Take steps toward Jesus today. Amen?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Barriers that Immobilize Us

Today I want to talk about three barriers that keep us for where God wants us to. In other words what keeps us from moving from Here to There. 

Closed eyes - It's not the root but the fruit that people see in our lives. Are your eyes open to the problems of others. In Ezekiel 22:30 it says, "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none."

Closed minds - After we see a need we mus have it in our hearts to walk towards it not act like it doesn't exists. Nehemiah heard of a need and did something about. Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.  They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.  Then I said: "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,Nehemiah 1:2-5 He spoke with the king and rebuilt the walls.

Closed hearts - We close our hearts out of fear many times, but fear is the absence of faith. Even when we feel we are powerless to move God can give us strength. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says, To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Strength found in weakness is only found with an open heart,

God desires us to be open and available to His call on our lives, and move us from our "here" to His "there". Are you willing to take that first step? Each one will bring you that much closer to the goal. Amen?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Here to There Again

Here is where you are at right now – spiritually, financially, in relationships, career, education, mentally, emotionally, and faith walk with Jesus Christ. We need to spend time looking at how we got “here”. What could you do that you're not doing now?

There is where you should be. Not always where you want to be, or where your friends tell you. It’s not even in some cases where you thought you would ever go. But it’s God’s place for you. Under His wisdom, His guidance, His direction, His provision, His Power, and His Will you can get to “there”! We need to spend time looking at how to get “there”. There is all about the doing and the being. What must you do to be where God desires you to be?

The Land Between is neither here nor there. It is a place you must go through, experience, learn, and grow from. It's where you are formed and refined to be there.

Consider Jesus' response to the criticism of His preaching and teaching as found in John 7:16-19, Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.  If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.  He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.  Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?"

God's Word, the truth, will prove to be our directions on this journey. We need to open our eyes, minds, and heart to what God has in store for us. We must be honest with ourselves on where we are and why then take that first step to get where God wants us to be. Amen?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Opportunity Arrows

In 2 Kings 13:14-19 the King says to Elisha – “If you are going to leave us then make sure you leave us with some strength from God”.  Elisha puts his hands on the Kings hands to illustrated the process of spiritual instruction, guidance, and coaching. This is a picture of how God places His hands over weak human hands to do supernatural things. (Psalm 144:1) The prophet was about to mentor him in a whole new realm of warfare.

Then Elisha prophesied – You must strike and destroy them, and this was before he took the arrows! The King wasn't listening. He was waiting for something dramatic miracle to happen. His heart and faith were not in to it. He missed the warning and opportunity to change history. The King was polite instead of passionate. He sacrificed his nation’s hopes on the altar of public opinion (what would people think) and personal doubts (not trusting). The King failed to realize that he held the arrows of prophetic destiny in his hand.

We have the same opportunity when: “It’s time to pray, sing, listen and respond to the Word”. The passion with which we respond in the spiritual realm almost certainly predetermines our victory in the physical realm. When will we realize that the arrows of prophetic destiny are in our passionate praise and fervent worship? When passion comes down the aisle, presence comes back in the building. Remember Passion proceeds Presence. God has an incredible idea. He thinks church is about Him! In today’s fainting church should we be praying for a Holy Ghost defibrillator.

The King faced a divine opportunity when the prophet prophesied and handed him the arrows of deliverance – but he failed. The church is at a critical junction right now; a divine window in time has been opened. We choose our destiny by what we prioritize and make important. God wants us to choose between Him and the religious ideas we have about Him.

God is looking for people who will seize the arrows of opportunity and say, “If You said strike the ground, then we will obey although we don’t understand. All we know is to loose our passion for Your presence!”Are we that people? Are you that person?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who Is Jesus?

The entire world revolves around the question, Who is Jesus? The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day struggled with it mightily. In the end we see that religion by itself can interfere with your ability to answer this question. Despite the fact that the people were in the temple, it was the Sabbath, and that Jesus had not been charged yet, they responded to Jesus’ “I Am”, with an attempt to stone Him.
The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”  At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. - John 8:48-59

This action shows just how spiritually blinded to the truth they were. Only a redeemed mind can fully understand the realities of the living Christ. The conflict between light and dark still exists. Jesus, the Light, always wins.


Greater is He that is in me! How about you?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Loving Church

On Saturday night I posted this: Discover your future. Understand the present. Go to church tomorrow! It's amazing how much response it got. I am one who believes that Sunday is the greatest day of the week. I set my calendar around it (not vice-versa). The church was set up by Jesus Christ and it's His plan to reach the world with the Gospel. The church is an amazing creation. It is both organism and organization; a living thing comprised of a certain order, regular worship services, with doctrinal standards, institutional norms, and defined rituals. Without the institution of the church nurturing the flock and protecting the faith for two thousand years, there would be no Christianity.

I love the church because Christ loved the church. She is his bride--being washed clean by the word of God (Ephesians 5:25-26). If you are into Jesus, don't talk bad about His bride. Jesus died for the church, so be ready to do a little dying to self for the church's sake. If you keep in mind that everyone there is a sinner (including yourself) and that Jesus Christ is the point and not you, your dreams, or your kids, your church experience might not be as lame as you fear.

Perhaps Christians are leaving the church because it isn't tolerant and open-minded. But perhaps the church-leavers have their own intolerance too--intolerant of tradition, intolerant of authority, intolerant of imperfection except their own. Are you open-minded enough to give the church a chance--a chance for the church to be the church, not a coffee shop, not a mall, not a variety show, not a social club, not a rock concert, not a nature walk, but a wonderfully ordinary, blood-bought, Spirit-driven church with pastors, sermons, budgets, problems to solve, and a world to reach?


The Church, because it is Christ's church, will outlive American Idol, the NFL, and all of our grandkids. We won't last, but the Church will. So when it comes to church, be like Jesus: love it, don't leave it. Discover God's plan and purpose for your life now and for all eternity - a worthy investment. Amen?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thank You Jesus

 During the pilgrimage to Jerusalem the Jews would go through a horrible place called Baka. It was dry, desolate, and the home to robbers and murders. We all have to go through troubled times, but even in "Baka" there were wells and occasional rains. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka,  they make it a place of springs;  the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 

 Keep your head up and be obedient. God will make a way through the dry and desolate times in your life. - Psalm 84:5-6

We have access to God through Jesus Christ. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:18 We can approach Him and bathe in His glory.

Pray today like David. Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. - Psalm 5:8 (NLT) The Lord's burden is light and His instructions are easy - we just have to be listening and obedient. Amen?

Monday, August 18, 2014

God's Light

When you are in times of trouble it may feel like you are in darkness. Being in the dark is scary; you can't see where you've been, where you are, or where you are to go. We see this battle in 1 John 1:5-2:2. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Listen to God's voice out of the darkness; through the Holy Spirit, His Word, or His messenger. Study and pray over John's writing in 1 John. He is giving us his testimony of how the Lord can and will lead you out of the darkness. Apply to your current circumstance and life.  
Seek, love, and live in His Light. There is no better place to be. Amen?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Truth Response

Have you ever encountered someone who believed they had “all the answers”? How frustrating was it trying to get them to understand they had something wrong? Jesus had the same encounter with the so called “wise” of His world. He left that hostile environment, and returned to the peaceful banks of the Jordan River.
Look at John 10:39-42 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. 40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.”42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.
There He found many who were considered uneducated and poor, but hungry for His truth. They accepted His teaching, healing, and claim of Messiah. It was the same message, but there was a vastly different response. People must respond to Jesus - some in acceptance others in rejection. Knowing who Jesus’ identity is not the same as “knowing” and accepting Him as your Savior.

What does it take to “discover” Jesus today? It’s all about the truth and responding to God’s great love, mercy, and grace. Amen?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Promised Land

The Promise land was God’s, and He was giving it to His People. So I (God) have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.- Exodus 3:8 They had God’s word on it, and now they had to go and claim ownership over it. The same is true in our lives. It’s not in the obtaining of God’s promises; it’s the occupying. The Lord’s Word is absolute. I love this visual: Jesus said, “It is finished”, and He sat down. Why? Because He had done His part – now it was up to us.

Remember Jesus said the harvest was plentiful, but the workers were few. Harvest is the result of something you do. God gives us people to share the Gospel with. It is part of your inheritance from your Father. That part has nothing to do with your action but with your identity. Do not become confused. The Lord has given us all we need. What have we done with it?

Before God’s people went into the Promise Land they were all blessed and given a task. We cannot enter into the land until all of us are doing our jobs. It’s that “body of Christ” thing – all working together…


What is God calling you to do?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Take Heart

Sometimes all we need is for someone to tell us, Don't give up! It's happened to me before, and you may be feeling that way now. I am reminded of Psalm 31:24: Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. You need to keep my your focus vertical and hope in God who says - Don't give up for I am with you always! The beginning of this Psalm is further evidence of His great grace. In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue, be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.  Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit;  deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

Jesus gave His life for you, so you have hope. It may be dark now but God's light is just ahead! Remember where your hope comes from and commit yourself to to doing life His way. He will deliver you from all your fears. Amen?


           

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Are You Ready?

I am so excited today to attend the Global Leadership Summit. It was at this conference two years ago that I heard this passage from Jeremiah 33:2-3This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ (The Message) It sparked something inside me that led to writing and preaching a series called Lessons for Life from Jeremiah.

It's incredible how God's Word can unleash your heart and mind - if you let it. The Maker of all things has something to reveal to all of us. Things beyond our comprehension but available through divine wisdom. I pray for the Holy Spirit to speak to you this day regardless if you're at a conference, working, vacationing, school, or anywhere else. He is able - call to Him. The Lord is listening.

Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That’s right—if you make Insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer, Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God. - Proverbs 2:1-5 (The Message)

Are you ready for His word? Listen up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Vision

The following three questions are asked on a regular basis in today's world. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Why Did God Allow That To Happen? They were also asked 2,000 years ago. Let's take a look at Jesus' response in John 9:1-7. As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi,who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.  “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Notice first that Jesus does not answer the first question: Why was this man born blind? He does answer the second question: What good can this tragedy produce? "so that the works of God might be displayed in him".

This story parallels the physical blindness of this man and the spiritual blindness of the Jews. The truth of our spiritual lives in turn parallels the reality of these teachers. We are all born blind. We are unable to see the real world, and the conflict between God and Satan. Therefore we miss the reality of Jesus bringing light into our darkness. Unless we allow the Savior to anoint our eyes, and to open them to the real world then; we will die in our sins. Are you blaming God or praising God today?
Beg the Lord to stop and help you. Do not let Him pass by! Pray that God will help us to see, so that we might behold the face of our Redeemer! Amen?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Out of the Darkness

Throughout the Bible we see the imagery of light and darkness representing God and evil. Today consider three components for coming out of the darkness:
1. God’s Light

“Light” represents truth, holiness, righteousness, and God’s Word Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. - Psalm 119:105 - 106

“Darkness” represents lies, evil, deceit, and works of Satan. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. - Proverbs 4:19
But Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. - John 8:12

2. God’s Love
Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection is for everyone who receives it.  Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.- Hebrews 9:27-28

3. Godly Living
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey My commands.” - John 14:15 We are to obey God’s commands, and live our lives as Jesus lived His. We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.  Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. – 1 John 2:3-6

Live, love, and share God's hope today, and the things of this world will grow strangely dim by the light of His glory and grace. Amen?