Sunday, August 31, 2014

The True Vine

John 15:1-6

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Ouch. A word for us all. On one hand a wonderful word; on the other, not so good.

Jesus says He's the true vine. He used a lot of illustrations people would understand because of the culture back then. He spoke what the people would understand, to their occupations. He spoke of sheep and shepherds; sowing, reaping; fishing; landowners...and more.

Anyone familiar with growing grapes for wine would understand this. Even a gardener would understand. In order to produce a good crop or good plant or multiple flowers, pruning must be done. It all starts with one main, healthy vine. If branch growth from that vine is to remain healthy, all dead or weaker branches must be removed so the stronger, healthier ones can grow and produce the desired crop. Think about this next time you are working in your garden!

Jesus starts out by saying that these disciples of His are already clean because of the word He has spoken. Remember, He had been with them for three years teaching them His words. They had been abiding in Him. They had received Him, followed Him, obeyed. Almost all of them would go on to bear more fruit.

Jesus says that He is that main vine. It all begins with Him. And we choose to abide in Him as one of the branches or we do not. We hear His words and are made clean (the washing of the Word...Ephesians 5:6), even bear fruit, or we do not. He knows! He knows who He needs to prune, or who He needs to cut completely off. Each of us needs pruning in our walk with Him. I definitely do!

His idea of bearing fruit is not so much the things in the world, but what we are doing to show Him to others. We do not bear fruit in our work, hobbies, friends...unless through these things He is known. Do people hear about Him or know that we are part of that true vine? That is true bearing of fruit.

He says we can do nothing without Him. If we rely on self or others, or money, status, He is not the true vine. We are branches about to be cut off if we do not look to Him. Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was a branch utterly cut off. He was with Him for three years, heard His words, but in the end was a withered branch.

Here's the scariest, true part...the words remind me of what we have been told will happen if we do not seek the Lord. In Him, and only Him, is eternal life. (There is an afterlife for all of us.) But we must first recognize Him as that vine and become one of His branches that abides in Him. We do not have eternal life without HIM, despite the doctrine of other religions. It's not about the good we do in this life. He must be the center of it all...the main vine.

Without Him we will be cut off and thrown in the fire. It's reminiscent of the scriptures:
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭6-8‬)

He is the true Vine...the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End, the holder of eternal life. He created our beginning. Will He be our End? We are ALL guilty of one or more, maybe all, of the sins listed above and deserving of eternal death, that lake of fire. But the good news is: He IS the Good News! He has come to seek and save the lost, which we all are, like those lost sheep He talks about. Lost until we enter by the Door to come into relationship with Him, the True Vine.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (‭John 3:16,3‬)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

To Come Through

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Again! I'm still thinking about this. I'm going back to the two words comes and through. This time I'm putting scripture to the definitions I found. 

To come from one place to another's. From the world to Christ. We are all part of the world till we know the truth, He reveals sin and grabs hold of our hearts to forgive. We are no longer then part of the world when He, the Truth, enters in. If you were of the world, the world would love it's own, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19)

To come into being. We become a new person. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2Corinthians 5:17)

Come forth. Jesus called Lazarus from death to life. He calls us from death in our sin to eternal life in Christ. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." (John 5:24)

Be established. Jesus as our foundation. Established in Him. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6)

To go; to follow one. Become followers of Christ. To go and be disciples of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as He did, as His disciples continued to do. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the world." (Acts 1:8)

Emphasizes separation. Separation from the world. Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (‭Romans‬ ‭16‬:‭17-18)

Leave space (previously occupied by another). Jesus fills the heart over the things of the world. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (‭Ezekiel‬ ‭36‬:‭26‬)

Make room, give place, yield. We shake off self and self centeredness and give place to Jesus. We yield to Him as He yielded to His Father. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

Pursue the journey for which one has entered. Run the race set before us. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬)

Become his adherent; someone who believes and helps to spread the doctrine of another. Become HIS adherent. Be His disciple and preach His messages, both hard words and encouraging, loving. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. (‭Acts‬ ‭10‬:‭42‬)

Through (or by)
By the means of. There is only one way as I've said before. Always only one way. "I am the door. If
anyone enters by Me, he will be saved..." a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh... (‭John‬ ‭10‬:‭9, Hebrews‬ ‭10‬:‭20‬‬)

For this reason. Ah, for this reason! To worship and glorify God because He has given us eternal life, righteousness through Him, spiritual healing, freedom in Christ. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (‭Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭14‬)  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (‭1Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭11‬)

Why have I gone a little further in my digging? To show that scripture backs it all up. Knowing Jesus.  A whole new world. It's amazing!

1John 5:20 - And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

But the Helper

John 14:22-28

Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. 

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I."

Always with the questions! I know I have a lot of questions these days too. Sometimes God reveals the answers, sometimes not, sometimes they will come later.

Jesus was asked how would He manifest Himself to His disciples but not to the world. His answer, while lengthy, was the Helper, the Holy Spirit. But to receive the Holy Spirit we must meet a requirement: love Him, let Him reside in us, be in Christ and obey Him. He will, as other scriptures state, then open up His Word to the mysteries of God. Many in the world do not want God's manifestation.

The Holy Spirit teaches those things that once seemed too difficult to understand. Instead of picking up the Book and reading and losing interest, the Holy Spirit stirs and excites us to the Word of God. As we learn and take to heart what we've read, He also reminds us of what we read when we might be required to speak or as a confirmation of something, or encouragement to us, or help us discern if something we hear preached is false. The Holy Spirit...only comes upon our becoming born again, by the same Spirit.

Jesus was telling His disciples not to be worried about His leaving, that they would be covered. We can all have this assurance for anything in life. Despite that prognosis, that phone call in the middle of the night, whatever trial might suddenly occur, we CAN have peace in and through Christ. We CAN rejoice in our afflictions because we know He is by our side. But the first step we must take is what the disciples did...they dropped what they did and followed. Not that we quit jobs, marriages, family, physically sell all (but it is possible), but we turn our focus on what we have always thought important...and jobs, marriages, family, physical things make up those these...and look to Jesus. Place Him in the center of our lives.

In Christ is the fullness of joy. Even in difficult times. He went to the Father for our sins. If we want to go to the Father upon our death, we must go to and go through Christ. We can be filled with the Holy Spirit and be transformed, settled in our own spirit when things go wrong. He's worth it.

Psalm 16:7-11 - I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For 
You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

But Through Me

John 14:6 - Jesus said to them, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

I'm stuck! Not really. I was thinking about something in the above scripture. I had to go back to it which was part of a blog a couple posts ago. While that blog was about Jesus being the way, the truth and the life, I really needed to add to this. Good thing it came later. It would have been too much!

I had an impulse to look up the words comes and through. We can believe, as I say often, that we know Jesus. But there is a difference between knowing who He is and knowing Him. Those who understand this...well, they understand it!

Jesus says He is the way, truth and life. Okay. Got it. But He goes on to say, "NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me." I know I've emphasized this before too.

I looked up in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible the meaning of these two words. We understand what these words mean in our everyday life. But if we dig deeper we can see some amazing things for this section of scripture. Maybe this seems dry, but it can also totally open up the meaning.

Come(s): to come from one place to another, used both of persons arriving and of those returning;
to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find;
be established, become known, to come (fall) into or unto;
to go, to follow one.
To come into being, arise, come forth, find. All words denoting an action. We are told to seek God. That means an action like arising and coming forth. Take the first step, come forth from where we are to know God. When we do we become established in Him and become known as His children. We follow Him.

I dug deeper into root words for come. More definitions:
denotes motion or progress;
hence to "come" and arrive at, as well as "to go."
It also primarily signifies "to walk", "take steps."
But here's the one that said it all: always emphasizes the idea of separation, change of place and does not note the external and perceptible motion. Emphasizes separation. We are called out of the world to follow Jesus. I read does not note the external and perceptible motion, as in walking and taking steps, but rather like something that takes place in one's heart.

Further digging:
to leave space (which may be filled or occupied by another),
to make room, give place, yield.
We are to replace the things of this world with the things of God. Become yielded to Him. If Jesus fills our hearts not much else matters. This is what He wants. Devotion to Him...for our well being.

Even more:
to pursue the journey on which one has entered, to continue on one's journey; to depart from life;
to follow one, become his adherent.
We pursue Christ and remain on this journey of life with Him. We depart from our old selves, our old lives and follow Him...become, as another definition stated, someone who believes and helps to spread the doctrine of another. The more I dug the better it got! How these words used in this scripture in the original Hebrew open up the meaning. Amazing. Maybe it's just me!?

Knowing Jesus is an internal coming to Him. A heart thing, a change of heart, believing heart, knowing heart. God has done a marvelous job of clarifying His own words! He has given wisdom and understanding to His Son to recite these very words...because Jesus and the Father are one.

So on to the word by. Stand by! Picture these words in your mind. Definitions: through, in, by the means of, by reason or account of, for this reason, just to name a few. There is no other way but by Jesus. He said so Himself. We must be in Christ. That means we must what it says above Him, depart from our old ways, follow Him, pursue the journey with Him as we spread His doctrine, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other way to heaven. We cannot work our way. It's not about a religion or a denomination. We go to the Father through Jesus Christ alone. He did all the work when He died on the cross. We do it by faith. He is the ONLY Mediator between ourselves and God. Not one other person can do it. It's not about angels or saints or pastors or priests or rabbis. It's about Jesus Christ only.

Anyone, anything else is idolatry...meaning, from Strong's Concordance: image or likeness; whatever represents the form of an object, either real or imaginary; used of the shades of the departed, apparitions, spectres, phantoms of the mind, etc.; image of a heathen god; a false god...external or outward appearance, form, figure, shape. God told us never to worship an idol...or any other man. We are to bow to Him alone...and since He is invisible, to be worshiped in spirit...and in truth.

A lot to take in. We are, simply, to go to the Father through Jesus Christ. No one or anything else. No one gets to the Father any other way but by THE Way, truth and life. We come to Christ in faith, not being able to see Him but knowing Him in our hearts and spirits. We follow Him.

For through Him [Jesus] we both [Jews and Gentiles...meaning all people] have access by one Spirit to the Father. whom we have boldness and access [to the Father] with confidence through faith in Him [Jesus]. (Ephesians 2:18, Ephesians 3:12)

Friday, August 22, 2014

I Will Manifest Myself

John 14:18-21

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. 

Do we really know Jesus? Or do we only know of Him?

When we go through trials do we automatically reach out to God or do we go into panic mode? Do we bow our heads and ask for His help, His guidance or do we seek someone else's advice, or just fret? I'm talking big things here, although we are to be in a constant state of asking for God's help, not just at that time of trouble.

Jesus says He will come to us. Here He is still preparing His disciples for His departure through His death. He is telling them that because they have followed Him and have believed all He says, that He is in them and they in Him. They love Him. (Except Judas) They have witnessed all He's done and they have heard Him. But even though He will leave the world, He will send the Holy Spirit to take His place.

To receive that Holy Spirit of power we must receive Christ. And when we do, we, too, can witness Him and hear Him...through His Word, in our own spirits. He clearly reveals Himself through the pages of the Bible. If we love Him, want to know more of Him, these become a greater part of our lives...wanting Him to reveal more of the things of God. This comes through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we take the time to know Jesus intimately He does manifest Himself to us. The definition of manifest is: able to be seen, clearly shown or visible, easy to understand or recognize. Is He to you? It becomes obvious who He really is. And He changes who we are in the process. We know Him, not just know about Him.

We've all heard the saying it bears repeating. Jesus bears repeating. I repeat myself because the whole of what I have to say is about Jesus. Plain and simple. I'm not a fancy person; I'm just me. I write about what is most important. I know Jesus as my Savior and everyone would benefit from this relationship. I also understand not all want to hear it.

If a person truly wants to know Jesus, He will manifest Himself to them. He will send His Holy Spirit. He will make Himself known. He wishes that none perish. Sometimes He has to wait for just the right time to open one's eyes. But we still have a choice as to whether we want to take the time to know about Him more than just what so many believe is this "distant God." He does not need to seem distant.

He shows (manifests) Himself to us through blessing us. He brings peace and comfort and hope. He settles spirits when trials occurs. He brings that peace that passes all understanding...

He wants to manifest Himself in those who truly love Him, who love His Father. He says if we truly love Him, know Him, follow Him and heed His commandments, He will never leave us or forsake us. When difficulties arise, He will be there to be our hope. Even if those difficulties (illness, financial failure, loss of family, home...terrorism) result in death. I want that. I want to know that He is with me, that through the trial I need not fear because my eternal life is secure...that because He lives, I will live also. Only Jesus can assure one of this.

Has He manifest Himself in your life?

John 6:40 - This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spirit of Truth

John 14:15-17

If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 

Jesus was telling His disciples they will not be left without a part of Him remaining with them in the power of the Holy Spirit. He had to leave them (die) for this to occur. I'm certain this is how we come by faith to Christ since we can no longer see Him physically face to face. Remember, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one.

When I came to Christ it was first through the power of the Holy Spirit that caused me to realize a need. When I acknowledged that need and called on the name of the Lord, I was then filled with the Holy Spirit. It only happens when we receive Christ into our hearts.

Then, as little marginal notes written in my Bible state, the Holy Spirit becomes our teacher, counselor, comforter, truth. It's a promise that God said we would receive to have a better understanding of Jesus' truths which are in the Bible.

If we do not hold to all that the Bible says, if we don't agree with everything, we do not have the Holy Spirit. It's that simple. Am I convicted because of some of the things written? Yes. Because I know there are times I don't want to hear something. I admit it. It doesn't mean I don't agree; it's an area that still needs work on...also through the power of the Holy Spirit...and my submission.

Jesus says in His own words, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive...because some in the world do not know Jesus in the way He requires. And the Spirit does not live in them. These are hard words. They will offend.

What does Jesus require? Most assuredly*, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Most assuredly*, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said this to you, 'You must be born again.'" (John 3:3,5-7)

Oh there she goes with that born again stuff! No...there He goes with those words. If it were not true, Jesus would not have said it. Being born of water...and Spirit. It is through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). 1Corinthians 5:50 says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. It's a spiritual thing, which is imperishable. Flesh is perishable, spirit is not. Our spirits will live either in the kingdom of God or in hell.

With the help of the Spirit of God truth is revealed. All that the Bible claims will come alive. Things that would have offended one will now be understood...or should be. I've heard of even some believers not believing every word in the Bible. That's the enemy deceiving, spreading lies.

When one becomes born again and receives the Spirit of truth, it means He dwells in you and will be with you.

... He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. (1John 4:6)  It's pretty plain:

Romans 8:9-11 - But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 

*of a truth, so be it, amen 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Most Assuredly, Amen

John 14:11-14

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Or in the King James Version, most assuredly is stated verily, verily... Words Jesus used to make a point! Meaning: Strong's Concordance: firm, faithful, of a truth (beginning of a statement), amen (at the end of a statement) or so be it. From Webster's: Without a doubt. I also came across this:

The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related -- in fact, almost identical -- to the Hebrew word for "believe" (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean "sure" or "truly", an expression of absolute trust and confidence. (HMM)

This is Jesus. Truth, faithful, firm (like the Rock He is), sure. What He says He means. There is no guile in Him. There is no deceitfulness. Just pure truth. Can I hear an Amen?!

The words most assuredly stood out in these verses for me. When we come to Christ we can, without a doubt,  be assured of a lot of things. We can be sure what He tells us is truth...that He and the Father are one and if we believe in Jesus, or here in the case of His disciples, since they had seen Him, we/they can know we've believed/seen the Father.

When we come to Christ we are filled with the Holy Spirit. "Verily, verily" is then made clear. Truth begins to become clear, our beliefs begin to change as we begin to change. None of this could happen without Jesus first needing to go to the Father...He needed to die so He could be resurrected, so people would see and believe. And so it is for us. We need to die to be resurrected to eternal life. We need to go to the Father through Jesus, His Son. No other person. No other way.

I did not see Him, nor talk to Him, nor see Him die, but there were witnesses from His time, His disciples and more, who have taken this occurrence to the ends of the world. Christ's death has been spoken of and believed to be true for 2,000 years. I heard the truth one day and believed from someone who had heard the truth and believed, all the way back to 2,000 years ago. Today it is by faith we believe. This faith is even greater because of ...the evidence of things not seen. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭1‬) The Word never changes, God remains the same. The truth of Jesus Christ never changes.

We are asked to believe. And when we truly believe God will give us what we need. He first gave His Son, now He gives His Holy Spirit, the power of God, to help in our belief, to understand those things we could not understand before, to be witnesses, to speak the words of truth to unbelievers.

We can ask for anything, according to God's will, and He will give...according to what He knows we need. It's not always what we think or the way we expect. This is part of our faith in Him and part of our faith can come in the waiting. He promises He will always be there in the midst of the wait...most assuredly, verily, verily and amen. 

2Corinthians 1:20-22 - For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Way, Truth and Life

John 14:1-10 

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe in Me also. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."

Thomas said, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father.' Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works."

I have tried to put into words what Jesus is explaining to His disciples. I understand it. Blog after blog has stated it. I feel I don't want to just repeat myself.

It's very clear: Jesus is the only way, only truth and brings the only life. We must know Jesus. Not just of Him but really know Him. When we do all He has said above is perfectly clear.

I felt so bad for these disciples because while they were with Him they still didn't know all He was about to do...or even what they would do. But there's no excuse for our not understanding. We know why He came, what He did for us, what the outcome is if we receive Christ ourselves.

He did what no man has ever done or will ever do. If we rely on any clergyman for anything but leading us to Christ alone, we have not trusted in what Christ did for us. We are trusting in man.

I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to Myself. Where I am, there you may be also. Where I go you know. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

I...I...I. It's all about Him. He has done it all and continues to. He alone is the way, truth and life. No man in the world or in any church can do this. We must be pointed only to Christ. Our prayers are to go to Him. We pray in Jesus' name. THE name above ALL names. No other name, no other person.

As I was writing this I realized I was singing a song in my head: Our Master.

Our Master our Savior
You are Lord our King
Our Master our Savior
We give our praise 
To our King, To our King

You are the everlasting Father
The beginning and the end
There is no one that can take Your place
There is no other name

No one goes to the Father except through Him. We must reject all other teaching. No man, only Jesus. No other name except the name of Jesus.

1John 5:20 - And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Name Dropper

Philippians 2:8-11 - And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I'm a name dropper. His name is Jesus. I know Him. He's my Lord and Savior. I'm sure you've heard of Him too. But do you know Him like I do?

He's even written a Book. I have several copies. I'd be glad to give one to you. It's been a best seller for hundreds of years. It is a true account. It's sort of history, biography, autobiography. It's interesting, intriguing and enlightening, even filled with mysteries. It's filled with hope. It's worth the read, really. It has a little of everything for everyone.

This Book was written to show us this Jesus I know. It's like He comes alive. And you know what else is amazing? The story about how Jesus died...and yet He lives today. He died for me...He died for you. He was resurrected that we might see what happens to us if we believe in Him and believe in what He did for He was resurrected, how we will be again some day after we die our earthly death...if we choose to know Jesus...and become a name dropper.

Yes, I'm a name dropper. It's because His name is the only name worthy of talking about. He has accomplished more, not for Himself, but for each of us, than any person ever could. We can never be greater than He, nor wiser, nor have more love, compassion and forgiveness. But He's certainly willing to share some of that wisdom, love and compassion with us. And the forgiveness...He's willing to give all He has to any who want it. And while we certainly can be judgmental, His judgment is greater because it can determine where our eternal life will be if we do not heed those judgments, truths.

Oh, the Book He has written speaks of commandments and obedience and sacrifice and death and life, but it's all for good. You see, according to Jesus, we wander like sheep in this world. We are lost because we do not have One greater to follow. Have a problem with following authority? Well, that might be a problem, but He can change that too! We base our lives on things and money and competition, achieving, getting ahead. We feel we must be liked by our friends, approved by our family...always looking for the pat on the back by someone.

In Jesus' world none of this matters. His idea of life says we do not need all those things. What's the saying, less is more? He offers greater spiritual rewards, lasting rewards, things man cannot take away. In fact, He doesn't see one person as greater than another. All He sees are sin filled people living as they desire, doing what they want to do. Some, however, meet Jesus. Someone dropped His name into a conversation (probably more than one person, more than one conversation) and it began to change them. These people were touched by God. They saw the light (of the world). Now these people put a greater priority on loving and serving Jesus than loving and serving man. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

Why? Because Jesus has so much more to offer than man. He has the greater wisdom, compassion, love, forgiveness. And when we recognize what He has to offer is better than what the world has to offer, well, we go for it. We take hold of Him. Jesus opens eyes to greater things. He tells the truth and doesn't mince words. He calls sin, sin. And He never changes His mind about it. Sad thing, though, some don't like to hear about their sin so they turn their backs on Him...and turn their backs on real life. They loved the things of the world more. But like I said, He never changes...sin will
always be the sin pointed out in His Book. Cultural or societal changes or political correctness will not change the truth of His Word. Man or God?

But the good news is...there is this Man. The name I've dropped many times. The name that causes people to cringe or squirm, end conversations or get angry. But it's only because they don't know Him like I do, like thousands of others know and thousands more have known. If He could take twelve ordinary men and change them and cause them to propagate His words, He can do the same with anyone. He changed their lives and He can change any life. That sin that one doesn't want to hear about...let me tell you, when He forgives of it, there's no condemnation...just forgiveness. The load is lightened.

Remember I said He died but came back to live and lives today? He lives that you might know Him and through forgiveness of your sins you too can have everlasting life. It seems inconceivable, but it's not. I fought knowing Him. But once that fight was over I wished I had done it sooner. And I am glad I allowed myself to know Him.

About the Book again. It's the Bible. If you want to know this Jesus, don't do like I tried many times! Don't start from the beginning. Start in the Book of John. It will introduce you to this Man, Jesus. You will meet Him, hear Him. If you should get to knowing Him and He gives you His Holy Spirit for added understanding, then delve into Genesis and beyond. But you need to know Him first. Read it slow and read with intent. Ask Him to introduce Himself in a way you alone will understand. He so would like that.

Being a name dropper for the Lord is worth it in the end because you do it for His glory. That may seem arrogant but He has, after all, died for our sins. He carried the weight of sin and guilt on His body when He was beaten, scoffed, bruised and bloodied, and when carried the cross to Calvary and was crucified. He suffered immeasurably for our sins. No one can ever imagine the pain He went through for the sins of the world. And He did it without complaint, in total submission of Himself to His Father, for you...and me...and all people. Yes, I'll drop His name. It's Jesus!

Ephesians 1:19-21 - ...and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More For His People

Matthew 9:17 - Nor do they put new wine into old wine skins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

Jeremy Prochazka evangelized a message for us Sunday. It was for our church but certainly for any other church desiring more of God. God has something deeper for those who desire it. He's never done. He's never done teaching or revealing. His mysteries are endless...for those who seek them. We can never have enough of Him. We are to search out the deeper things of God. And if we do He will not disappoint.

Jeremy told us he was grabbing a bite to eat on his drive to Milwaukee from Russellville, Arkansas. The music in the fast food restaurant was loud enough to hear the lyrics. The words were by the Rolling Stones: I can't get no satisfaction. It hit him like it might for many: that seems to be the way of life for many. Never satisfied. Always wanting more, searching for something but nothing totally satisfies.

Well, hey...we can be satisfied in Christ. He will fulfill our desires. Just not as one would think. When we continually seek the things of God, seek what He deems best, we WILL be satisfied. And yet...there is this endless supply. If we continually seek His things, we will never be full, but satisfied! He always has more. That excites me because it's the kind of thing I want to keep searching for. It's like an urging for more. And that more is the better thing!!

When we come to Christ we become new persons. The old man is dead. A new person now lives. Jeremy shared a song with us...The Old Man is Dead. This old man has left his past and now seeks new and better things. Like the scripture above states, you can't put new wine in old wineskins. We can't put the same old stuff into our new man without corrupting it. We choose to be new. We remember where we came from and choose not to go back.

I have heard that if we feel we have lost touch with God, we should go back to the last time you felt a touch from Him. Sometimes that's going back to the day of surrendering to Christ. That day we knew that we knew! But Jeremy pointed out we don't need to go back that far. We can consider what we were yesterday or two weeks ago when we had a touch from God. We just always move forward. It made me think about how just reading His Word and seeing something new, or getting a different or additional insight into a scripture any given day, maybe even a few minutes ago, is also part of that moment in time. We just keep growing and going forward. We press on...toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

God always has more for us. It reminded me of something similar another evangelist said a few weeks ago: God's grace does not grow, it is complete; we just see more of it. We can't take God's grace too far or have too much. He has an endless supply for His people (Tyler Owens). 

God always has more of something. He is eternal, endless, has more than we can imagine. He's willing to give as we desire to receive. We must become like the new wineskin. That means becoming new in Christ first of all. If we become complacent, set in our ways, feeling we have gone as far as possible, then we have become as dry as an old wine skin! We have become dry and brittle  and need refreshing. Like the way old wineskins were treated, we need to be soaked in water and rubbed in oil. Today, however, we are refreshed by Jesus, the Living Water, and filled by His Spirit, symbolized by oil.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? ... (2Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭17‬, Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭18-19)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hear the Heart of God

Matthew 24:21 - For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of time, no, nor ever shall be.

Why does he have to be in jail for loving Jesus? These were the tearful words spoken by a little girl whose father, Saeed Abedini, an American pastor, is in an Iranian jail because He is Christian. A headline states: AMID ETHNIC CLEANSING OF CHRISTIANS, ISIS NOW MASSACRES IRAQ'S YEZIDI MINORITY (Breitbart, August 5). They are imprisoned and dying in the mountains with little food or water because ISIS has deemed they are a minority religion. Christians in Mosul told to leave, convert or die. Children being beheaded. The heartache and tears. The fighting between Israel and the Palestinians. How about the crime, moral degradation and societal standards, political correctness, corruption, squelching of God and His name in the US?

All we see happening in the Middle East and around the world does not come as a surprise to God. What causes it is sin and evil that has run rampant. It grows worse. We have seen it in the Bible, but it grows like leaven in today's world. It will have to come to God's end someday because it is all about Him and I believe it will happen soon. How much more can we take? And do we dare think that it won't come to the US? What about this bit of news: In 2009 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS leader, said See you in New York when he was released from a US detention center in Iraq. Shouldn't that cause some concern over here?

What is it going to take for people to understand? Just because it isn't affecting our day to day lives because it's "over there," doesn't mean we are immune. We may have killed bin Laden, but it's not the's like that leaven...growing.

It still is so all about God. It's about His desire that all would look to Him. While others believe all religious roads lead to heaven, He has told us for thousands of years that there is only one way and one truth to that one life and that is through His Son, Jesus.

My heart goes out to those who dismiss this. My heart aches that there is truth in the scripture that says ...narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:14) There are few who find it. And even then there are those who think they are on that narrow road and yet He says Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21) Not everyone...but he who does the will of the Father. And yes, it is a difficult way because those who do dismiss this scoff and persecute those who do.

Yet Jesus told us He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)  I'd rather be on the right side on the right path and suffer the consequences of this world's persecution than to not see Jesus in the end. He died for my sins. He died for all men's sins.

We cannot stick our heads in the sand. It has always been through conflict or oppression that God showed His mercy upon His people...and those who have called on the name of Jesus are part of His people today. Not that we say, Yeah, I know who He is. But that we actively seek Him daily. That we put aside religious differences and denominations and know the one, true God who died for all. That we put aside all the things we deem so important in life and pay heed to Him daily. Not that we ignore family and friends, or stop life as usual, but that as we go about our lives we keep Him in the center of our lives.

Everything I see happening I see through His eyes. Like Israel when they were in captivity in Egypt, it was that they would see who He was through the oppression, through the plagues, through their freedom, through their wilderness wandering, through their eventual end in the land God promised them. He was with them all along. They grumbled and complained but every so often they would recognize by Whose hand they were being saved and they would repent of their ways.

By Whose hand they were being's the same hand we are being saved even today. Many understand why Jesus came. Many should be more thankful in their lives for this. Many should be more interested in the things of God than the things of the world. People go to church--or not--and think God will just put up with their lifestyles of the world, that they can live in any way they wish without regard for Him. And that heaven is the ultimate end...for matter what. Not so.

None of us is perfect. Life goes on and it has to. But if God is not the center we will find out which path we are on some day...the wide one or the narrow one. Remember, the narrow one has very few on it. There is only one way to know for sure who Jesus is. It does not come with the territory of going to church, a certain religion, but through a relationship.

But we need to understand what that relationship entails. It starts when we realize we have a need for Jesus. It starts with dropping our pride. We must admit we are sinful, which really means dropping the pride. We must admit we need a Savior...who is Jesus Christ alone. Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden until they sinned, separating us from God. He wants to bring that same relationship back and it only happens through Jesus. We must drop the idea that we can, in our own strength and wisdom, do all things. Instead we must believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

I realize not everyone wants this and will reject it. I realize many will still cling to their original beliefs. I realize the road will remain narrow until Christ returns. I also realize that time is short. What we see in this world has been told to us will happen before Jesus returns. I also realize that many will continue life until the disaster hits too close to home...and I guess if that's what it takes... But we are told to seek Him while He still can be found (Isaiah 55:6). None of us knows when we will die. We might think we are invincible but what about those who die instantly in vehicle accidents, heart attacks, drownings, drive by shootings, or just stumbling, falling and hitting one's head? Even golf balls kill!

Why does this pastor need to be in jail for loving Jesus? Why does anyone who loves the Lord need to be criticized? Like I said, what we see happening in the world is setting the stage for Christ's return. We should all be ready. It is not God's desire that all perish but that none should. He is a God of judgment as well as love. Too many believe only in the love half of Him. It's time to understand this. Have you heard my heart? It is God's heart too.

Lord, turn hearts toward You. Open blind eyes that they may see You. Let them seek You while You may still be found. Oh the joy and peace amid the wreckage of this world's troubles one can have. It so saddens me that worldly devices keep people from You. That's the enemy's plan...he makes it so sweet a deal one cannot refuse. Open blind eyes that they may see You and give them the hope You offer. 

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

And It Was Night

John 13:23-30

Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?"

Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly." 

But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.

Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.

Jesus had just told His disciples one of them would betray Him. And Peter wondered who it was.

The Bible has a lot to say about light. Creation began with earth having no form, was void and in darkness, until God brought light into it. And He said it was good. The first mention of good in the Bible...and it's about light. There were no words to say darkness was good...just that light divided it from the darkness.

We see best during the day, when there is light. Jesus is called the Light of the world. We wander daily in darkness (and death) until we see the light of Christ. He opens spiritually blind eyes that they might see. When we allow Him to open our eyes, truth is made known to us. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (John 3:19-20)

Evil emerges at night, as was seen by Judas' betrayal. In darkness there is a threat of death. Fear is more likely to also emerge when we cannot see. Nicodemus, a priest who wanted to know more about Jesus, went out at night to meet with Him because he feared being found out by the Pharisees and never again allowed in the temple. Jesus' arrest happened at night (later on that...).

We have been told that Jesus will return one day. Those who have seen and known the Light will rejoice in this. Those who have not known Jesus will not be so glad. The darkness of their lives will be exposed because of the Light. Jesus will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. (1Corinthians 4:5) Evil will be exposed.

We need Jesus. We need to know the truth. If we avoid Him, we live in darkness. We will have more fear...of each day, of our future...because fear lives in darkness. Jesus is the Light of the world. He brings us truth, hope and a life without fear. He brings us His Word, the Bible, filled with truths which is a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths (Psalm 119:105). We will not stumble because He is the Light that shines before us in the darkness of this world.

I look at all we are seeing in the world...threat of disease, threats of terrorism, the reality of persecuted Christians, even right here in the United States when we are no longer allowed to pray in public or take a Bible to school, and the evil that is Hamas and ISIS, and there's more...and this is the darkness creeping in. If this is fearful, Jesus is the answer. Knowing Him will not remove this evil until He returns. But knowing Him will give one a sense of peace and hope...that we know the truth, we know what will transpire before He returns and we know that in Christ all things will be for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). And ...the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Judas set about to betray Jesus by night. He allowed satan to use him. We all allow ourselves to be deceived by the enemy (into believing, thinking...whatever does not line up with His Word) when we do not walk in the light of Christ. We are all in darkness, a part of the shadow of death, until we receive Christ. Good news is He is still able to be found. We are to seek Him while there is still time and He can still be found. Allow the Light of the world into your life, that you might become His child.

You can see why Jesus is called the Light of the world. He takes the fear of darkness out of lives when we receive Him as our light. All throughout the Bible people came to the light, either of God or Christ. God was a pillar of light by darkness to protect the Israelites as they wandered in their wilderness. He can be the light in the wilderness of this world. He protects us from the deception, evil and death.

John 12:35-36 - Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

One Will Betray Me

John 13:18-22 - I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, "He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me." Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 

When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

As I read these words, it was as if for the first time, yet it was not. Prior to these words of Jesus we saw  the Passover meal (the Last Supper) in progress. We saw that Judas had been chosen to betray his Lord and Jesus washed His disciples' feet as an example of humility. Here He tells His disciples ahead of time that someone is about to betray Him...that they will believe He is who He says.

But what struck me most was this might happen daily. Bear with my thoughts here. Could it happen if one claims to know Jesus but in actuality they do not? It comes down to the statements I make frequently that it is not about just knowing who Jesus is but having a relationship with Him. It's not about denomination but about relationship. It's all about Jesus. He has done it all for us. His disciples carried on in His fashion...but they were not Him. It is about devoting our lives to Him alone, doing His will.

I was sitting with a woman I am getting to know for a bit yesterday. We were talking about a mutual friend who may be having surgery this week. This woman said she has been praying to two saints, one of whom I'd never heard of. She does believe God can heal a person completely. But why not pray directly to Jesus Himself if He is our Great Physician? And the best healing of all is our spiritual one, which is our salvation in Jesus Christ alone. With that security if surgery fails or illness continues, we don't have to fear eternity.

It's all about Jesus. No one else. And what I see in this scripture's about receiving Him and Him only that we might be received by the Father. He is the direct link. He is the Mediator. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. (1Timothy 2:5) No one else. There is no other reference to anyone else. And we are also told to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) I can't help but see that if we do not do this, we are, basically, rejecting Him.

Still, I cannot judge anyone. It is up to God. I can only pray that those who think they believe but do not will have their spiritual eyes opened. It is so easy to know Jesus. And so easy to just go directly to Him in prayer for any need. He is never too busy. He doesn't slumber or sleep! He wants to hear from each of us directly. No one else needs to be our mediator between ourselves and Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. Only God hears and answers our prayers.

So while there are many who go about their days thinking they know Jesus, they may really not. They have not received Him in the way He calls us to. It's something to consider...

Matthew 7:21 - Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


2Thessalonians 2:11-12 - And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

I was asked by a friend to read a book. It is called Unplanned by Abby Johnson. I'm not quite finished with it but feel a need to jot some notes down and share.

Unplanned is about a young woman who began her early career in Planned Parenthood; first as a volunteer, then as director of one center. It was her desire that women would be able to secure other means to prevent unwanted pregnancies and avoid abortions. It was her belief that was what Planned Parenthood was all about. And it seemed to be until...finances were an issue and abortions became their bread and butter.

I read some reviews and while most were five star, there were some who totally believed the book was a crock! A disgruntled employee with an ax to grind. Of course, with conviction, in either case, one is going to believe what they want.

I got to the chapter A Holy Hush. Previous to this you could see how God was working in Abby's life, convicting her, opening her eyes. This is where I believe those who did not like the book miss the point. They have not been touched by God's amazing grace. She had a heart open to receive. She allowed Him to work in her and had some difficult circumstances to go through.

She started the chapter with the words: God is a great choreographer, isn't He? Oh yes He is. I can attest to that. I know others can also. He often takes us, one step at a time, to a place where we are open to receive what He has to show us. And I pray skeptics will see that day in their lives.

First we have to have a very strong belief in God, at least a strong desire at any cost to know Him. Abby had been asking for this. Along with that desire comes the knowledge of truth. That truth is what separates people. Either we want to know it...or we don't. Sometimes it is a bitter pill, the truth. We don't want to hear because it goes against what we believe, how we live. So the door to God closes.

She goes on...I see how perfectly He positioned me so that when my eyes were pried open by His fingers, I'd have the clearest possible view. She adds, Now that the scales had begun to fall from my eyes, the guilt of countless abortions, including my own two, came crashing down on my shoulders. Anyone touched by God so pointedly, as Abby was, knows that feeling, and knows she did not make any of this up.

It's always all about God. When we see the truth about what He says about anything we change. The poor moral lifestyle we had, the ability to make excuses for the things He says are wrong, because "society" deemed them too binding, caused truth to go out the window. It's partly why Jesus died...because the truth was too difficult for some to bear. Yet He died for all those sins...every one of them...whether one believes it or not.

The thing is...we don't always want to hear the truth. If we don't hear the truth, don't listen, we can live our lives as we wish. Well, this is a very sad truth. She brought up another thing...pride. We all struggle with it. What if what we've believed for so long is wrong? We hate being wrong, so we would rather live the lie? It all starts with the truth Jesus spoke. It is eye-opening. It reveals the sins we've worked so hard to cover up. It's no doubt why the road is narrow that leads to eternal life.

Many call themselves Christians. But if they disagree with God's commands, are they really?  God creates all things. Abortion is murder. If He brought forth a life, no matter by what means, who are we to despise His creation? I know there are arguments as to when life is conceived. Conception is by God's hand; it is immediate...and good. What right do we have, as God's creations ourselves, to go against His Word?

Do we all perfectly keep His commandments? No. But if something becomes so blatantly clear, and we ignore it, we have gone against His command. Jesus, however, is merciful, and if we humble ourselves to confess these sins to Him, He will forgive us. If we confess any sin to Him, if it is truly heart felt, He will forgive us. He will show us what truth is. If we humble ourselves before an almighty God, and submit to Him, eternal life through Christ will happen. Despite all we've done, He will forgive, if....

Heavenly Father, I know for me it seems a daunting task for Your intervention into others' lives, but it is not a big task at all for You. Reveal Your truth to those who struggle with it. Soften hearts of unbelievers that they may know You. Change their hearts, O God.

Daniel 4:37 - ...praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I Have Given You an Example

John 13:12-17

So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

Jesus quite often spoke in parables to convey a message. He used ordinary daily life events, things we could identify with. Not only did He give examples of how His followers were to live, He was the example. All that He spoke was truth.

I think pride is the number one sin we all have. So much is linked to it. I think it is difficult not to sometimes be self-centered, to want our way. Anything we do to suit ourselves is pride...even in the littlest things. We can argue against it till the proverbial cows come home, but we all are guilty.

Jesus is talking here about servanthood, that each of us is not to act as though we are greater than the next person. He is our example, as He states. If Jesus was able to wash His own disciples' feet, and He was Master and Teacher, how can we not do the same?

Do we consider worthy of being someone we would serve? Or do we pick and choose? Be honest now! This sure is worth questioning. I'm not saying we give and give to promote dependency. I'm saying even in the day to day things, like not pushing ahead of someone else, or giving in to an argument even if we're right! Oh, we can think the more we give in the more we will be taken advantage of. Didn't that happen to Jesus? People wanted the healing, the food and followed Him for that. Some got it right and believed in Him...

Lord, help me to be more of a servant. Let me not put my desires above others. How we can so be determined we have to always be right. 

He has been our example. What an amazing example He has been.

Philippians 2:3,5-8 - Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Friday, August 1, 2014

If I Do Not Wash You

John 13:1-11

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?"

Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"

Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."

I can't imagine what it would be like knowing I was to be put to death for something I didn't do. In Jesus' case it was a false accusation. Those who adamantly did not want to see Him live would not receive the eternal spiritual life He came to give. And yet we see Christians today being told if they do not renounce their faith in Jesus they will be killed. He died for us; we may have to die for Him...for that spiritual life in Christ.

Here started the end for Jesus. The Last Supper. The final moments, the explanation to come for His disciples and what they were called to do. He called these ordinary men to do extraordinary things. He uses ordinary people. And all were used, even Judas. He was the instrument used by God to begin the arresting process.

But Jesus had one more thing to do. Wash the disciples' feet. It is the most humble of all acts. People all wore sandals then. It was a common thing to either wash your own feet before entering someone's home or a servant would do it. It was considered the most menial of tasks.

There was no mention of these disciples washing their feet. They were, according to other gospel accounts, busy preparing for the feast. So Jesus took care of it. And I certainly do not believe He didn't know He would. I certainly do not believe He knew a lesson was necessary.

I can imagine the looks on the disciples' faces. The humility, maybe shame that their Master was doing this. They forgot! It should have been them washing His feet. (But then, which one? Who would have humbled himself enough to do this?!) And Peter so totally objected. And again Jesus had to rebuke him! Poor Peter. His impetuous personality got him into trouble so often. And Jesus loved him just the same.

So what was the purpose? One of servanthood. He came to do the will of His Father. He came to die for us. That is the ultimate act of servanthood...humility and love toward one another. It teaches us that none of us are better than another. We should all be as servants. He had to wash their feet...all
part of the lesson.

The main point here is why Jesus came. He came to cleanse us all from our sins and give us His free gift of salvation. "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."  It comes in believing in Him, receiving Him into our lives, living for Him, taking the Gospel to those around us. When we receive Him we have been washed. It is something we only have to do once. The washing of the feet was a spiritual act of what we must do in our lives, one of constant sanctification. We must wash the dirt of the world off our feet.

Peter had been saved. He only needed to have his feet washed. As did the other disciples. What is truly an example is what I believe happened...Jesus washed Judas' feet. There is no evidence He did not. He must have known Judas would betray Him. Despite this Jesus loved him. I believe this tells us what we are told elsewhere that we are to love our enemies...a very difficult thing to do in our own strength. Lord, give me the same kind of love for all people.

Jesus was teaching these men a lesson. As He came not to be served but to serve, so should they. We might just get another glimpse of this later... But doesn't our own pride just get in the way many times?

Matthew 20:25-28 - But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”