Tag Archives: Jesus

Judging others

“Isn’t this the carpenter?” Mark 6:3.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Job 21, and Mark 5-6.

The folks in Nazareth where Jesus lived cannot elevate Him in their thinking.

Jesus now had a following and instead of being excited about it the locals are offended.

Certainly a lesson for all of us: Don’t judge others.

Don’t underestimate people.  God works in mysterious ways.  He also works in people we aren’t expecting Him to work in.  Think of David, Joseph, and Gideon to name of few.

It is easy for long-time believers to look down on young believers.  Since we “veterans” have been close to God for so long, we assume that we know more.

Some of the folks in Nazareth remembered Jesus as one of them.  Now He wasn’t.  He didn’t speak like them.  They weren’t ready to elevate Jesus in their estimation.  Sadly, He left a place where He should have been honored.

I must be willing to step up if that is what God wants.  I can’t under-estimate what I will be able to do in His strength.  A God-given role may not be well received by our friends.

“Lord, You are in control.  You control clouds and waves.   Empower me to rightly represent You in the midst I’m in.  Forgive me for ever thinking less of any other believer.  You love them too. You are a great God.”

We must be happy in the role God gives us; whether it’s lead or stage crew.

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Jesus demonstrates

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her……” Luke 7:13.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ezra 1, Psalm 84, and Luke 7.

As a believer, how am I supposed to live?

We want to live the way God would want us to live.  We want to be able to rightly represent Him in our midst.

So, how’s that done?  The Bible tells me.  If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus.

I want to know how to live pleasing Him so I watch what He did in the Bible accounts and try and live accordingly.

In today’s verse, we see how Jesus reacted to the adversity of someone else.  A young man was being taken out to be buried.  His mother was part of the procession.  Jesus came upon this scene and look how he reacted: His heart went out to her.

Jesus knew what to do.  He immediately felt badly for the woman.  He didn’t just slow down and let the funeral procession go past Him.  He stopped and paid attention to someone in need.

That young man was raised from the dead by Jesus.  Just imagine what a scene that must have been!

There are often people in need in my midst.  Many of them I don’t know personally but I can see, or read about, their misfortune.  How should a Godly person react to things such as this?  Again, Jesus is the ultimate role model.  He felt their need in His heart.

One responsive thing I can certainly do is to pray.  Today there was a fatal shooting in a mall in Burlington, Washington.  That’s not in my midst, I know, but it came into my “midst” via the internet.  I pray for the families connected to the tragedy.  I pray for the care-givers that are there in that mall.  I must not just look at that news and immediately move on wondering instead when the Red Sox are playing today.

“Lord, thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for examples of proper Godly behavior.  Enable me to see the needs in my midst as You do and to react to them in as Jesus did.  I need all the help in this area that You can give me!  I love You, Father.  Enable me to show Your love in my midst.”

How did Jesus react to people in need?

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Where did I lose Jesus?

“When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers.” Luke 2:45-46.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ezekiel 47-48, and Luke 2.

In one part of these verses we have the reality that Jesus is among the missing.  In the other part, He is located.

Two questions: (1) Can we lose contact with Jesus? and (2) Do we know where to find Him?

No doubt to me that the answer to the first question is a resounding, “Yes!”  It happens to me way too often.  I read Brother Lawrence’s, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” and know for certain that I’m not there.  Far too much time goes by in which God gets beyond being even a distant memory.  I flat out lose track of Him.

Solution?  Picture Him being in my presence full-time.  Realize how disrespectful I am when I ignore Him.

How quickly can I find God when I’ve abandoned Him?  Upon realization, I must pray my brains/heart out begging to reunite with Him.  Oftentimes I have a layer of sludge to work through to restore my relationship to Him.  BUT it’s worth it!

Isn’t it true, that after you locate something valuable that you’ve lost, you find yourself mindful of that formerly lost item more frequently in the immediate future?

Slide God into this: If I often lose track of God, how do I dare to profess that He has great value to me?

“Father, I need You every second.  Forgive me for “losing” You so easily.  You are valuable to me.  You are my God.  Prick my conscience when I get loose from You.  I love You, Lord.”

How can we live unaware of God’s presence?

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According to the Old Testament plan

“’In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:’”  Matthew 2:5.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading:  1 Samuel 17, Psalm 9, and Matthew 2.

An undercurrent in the Old Testament is that a King is coming to right the wrongs in the world and to transform things into the way they should be. This King will be anointed with God’s own powerful Spirit.

Information about the circumstances of this Messiah’s entry into the world are found in the Old Testament.

The second chapter of Matthew has three direct connections to Old Testament prophets (Micah, Hosea, and Jeremiah).

The Old Testament is a single lengthy story that lacks an ending.  In it God choses a people (Israel) to use to clean up the wickedness and rebellion in His creation.  It turns out that the Israelites are just as wicked and rebellious as those they were supposed to clean up.  Something else is needed and there were numerous references in the Old Testament to a future King who would be able to make things right for the whole world.

The OT ends before that King appears.  But in Matthew the Old Testament references begin to find fulfillment in Jesus.  Bethlehem is where Jesus is born.  Egypt is where Mary and Joseph take Jesus to escape Herod.  The anguish of families over Herod’s ruling is described.  This Jesus is the King that God is sending!

This is part of the Good News for the Jews.  The King described in the Old Testament is in their midst.  Shepherds heard angels.  Wise men saw a star. However, many weren’t sure that Jesus was that King.  Herod was fearful of competition so he deviously tried to kill young Jesus.

“Lord, how comforting it is to see the connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  You are indeed that coming King of the Old Testament.  You are the Messiah.  You have destroyed sin’s power.  You have ushered in the new life in You with the resurrection.  Thank You, Father, for taking care of me.  Enable me to do the work You want as I await Your return.”

Jesus was the coming King referenced in the Old Testament.  The OT trail is very specific.

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I’m the needy one ……… and so are you

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” Mark 6:34.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Numbers 21-23, and Mark 6-7.

When I first read this verse my thinking was, “I want to be like Jesus and show compassion on the needy.”

After another reading I changed my arrogant tune. How? I realized that I needed to be part of the needy “crowd” in the story.

To look at myself as a “helper” indicates that I foolishly perceive myself as having something to offer others on my own. I don’t. I must see my own neediness. I will never be one of God’s assistants!

The folks in the Mark 6 story walked miles to get close to Jesus. They were willing to walk as far as it took to be in His Presence.

Certainly a lesson for me: How far will I go to solidify my position near Him? What will I give up? What will I delay doing or having? I need to show passion about being in His Presence.

The other piece to this verse is the reality that Jesus truly cares for us in the crowd. In this story, He had every reason to avoid the crowd. He was tired. It had been a long day and night.

But the God we love saw their neediness. He knew their aches. He knew their pains. He knew what they needed to learn. And so Jesus took time to tell them the things He knew they needed to hear.

I must be willing to follow Him at all costs because He has everything I will ever need. I must be a full-time, following, member of the crowd chasing Him. I must pursue Him with no preconceptions of my own worth apart from Him. I am needy and He has, and is, all that I need.

“Lord, I thank You for the Bible. There are so many stories about how I should live. Help me to internalize Your Truth and live it out in my midst. Help me, God!”

Do you arrogantly believe that you can “help” God?  You are spiritually blind to think that.

My wonderful wife at Plum Island Reserve.

My wonderful wife at Plum Island Reserve.

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Are you afraid to leave your comfort zone?

“When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” Mark 5:15.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Numbers 19-20, Psalm 28, and Mark 5.

Jesus was not overwhelmed by the demon-possessed man. Jesus knew the problem and He knew the solution.

Evil is in the world. Not sure? Watch the news. Most of what you’ll see is the result of a world dominated by the forces of Satan.

Jesus came to make things better but sometimes “better” involved the unexpected.

The folks in today’s story would have agreed that finding a cure for the wild man in the graveyard would be a good thing. But in this story, in Mark 5, we find out that the village folks were first of all afraid and then they wanted Jesus to leave the area. No evidence of rejoicing.

What happened? They were uncomfortable with Jesus. They saw His powers as great enough to cure someone but also capable of doing damage to them.

The village folks saw power that was obviously out of control. Why? Those pigs wouldn’t have been destroyed by someone in control of what they were doing.

To these folks, the wild man from the tombs, even before he was healed, was less dangerous to them than Jesus. The wild man was confined and the folks knew all about what he did. Jesus was out of their control. What might He do next? Instead of being overwhelmed to their knees in thankfulness, they were sure instead that He be told to leave.

My ways are not God’s Ways. Do I have parts of me that I refuse to let Him into because I fear what might happen? That’s what the village folks did.

The village folks in this story had seen two examples of what happens when Jesus comes into an area. Not knowing what good/bad (in their opinion) might happen next caused them to prevent any future plans Jesus might have had for them from happening.

“Lord, I give You complete control of my life. Forgive me for resisting the changes You want me to make. I have seen snippets of what You are capable of. You are amazing. Change my life where it needs changing. Fill me with You. Prick my conscience when I mess things up so that I can make corrections. Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

If your life belongs to God then the changes that come will work together for good either now or later.

+6 steady

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Jesus by my numbers

hwfm-August-9“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.’” John 11:32

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – Jeremiah 3-4 & John 11)

Both sisters did it. First Martha and then Mary.

Jesus was not on hand when Lazarus was dying so to them that was why his death wasn’t prevented.

“If only you had been here,” each started when they met Jesus.

The disciples knew that Jesus had intentionally delayed His arrival in Bethany (where Lazarus was) so that they (the disciples) would see His glory.

How often we “regulate” God by our parameters. We decide what should be and fault God when it doesn’t go that way.

“And His understanding no man can fathom.” This is out of Isaiah 40. We can’t and won’t be able to figure out God’s Ways………….ever!

God knows best. If I am trusting Him completely I can accept what happens with that in mind.

God is not limited. When the sisters said that Lazarus had died because Jesus had not been where Lazarus was, they were limiting God.

There is a story in the New Testament of a soldier who had an ailing servant in another place. The soldier believed that Jesus did not have to physically come to the place where the servant was in order to be healed. Mary and Martha didn’t have that faith.

God is omnipresent. Therefore, I can pray for someone elsewhere and know that location does not limit God. That is a wonderful truth!

“Lord, I thank You for Your Word. I thank You that You are unlimited. Forgive me for trying to give You my structure. Your Way is always best. I love You, Father.”

 

 

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Jesus is the Son of God

au 23If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.”  1 John 4:15

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – Jeremiah 31-32 & 1 John 4)

This really brings things down to the nutshell level!

How do I go about witnessing?  I believe that just-getting-started Paul’s formula is a good one.  He preached who Jesus was and what Jesus did.

This verse simplifies the process even more.  My witnessing must center on Jesus being the Son of God.  Without that focus, the train is already off the tracks.

Acknowledging that Jesus is God’s Son is part of believing that what He said and did was important.  

What He tells us to do we want to do.  His Word (Bible) becomes our guide.

We are in constant communication (prayer) with Him because He lives in us and we live in Him.

“Lord, I want to please You in everything I do.  You are the Son of God.  I thank You for dying for my sins.  I thank You for confirming Your power over death by rising from the dead.  I thank You that You are preparing an after-life place for me.  What a place that will be!  Forgive me for my lifestyle that denies You.  Continue to prick my conscience when I stray.  I desperately need that!  Help me to manage my time so that at the end of the day I am rejoicing in You instead of trying to restore my relationship with You.  I love You, Father!”

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