Friday, May 22, 2009

Jesus had just finished feeding more than 5,000 men, women, and children with five loaves of bread and two fish. He had walked upon the rough seas of the water as the disciples were rowing furiously to go to the other side. The next day, people came looking for Him again, seeking more food. Jesus warned them not to work for mere food for the day, but the bread that brings life eternal (John 6:27). After all Jesus had done…they wanted more things, not more of Jesus.

“I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NET)

We see miracles every day; the birth of a new born baby…the healing of a cancer patient…the sunrise…the germination of a dead seed into a fruit–producing plant. These are things we sometimes assume will happen, or can happen, yet are miracles just the same. We come to expect the unexpected. Yet we tend to forget it is God in the middle of it all. We too want more things from Jesus more than we want more of Jesus.

We are consumed with the things we need in this world but we should be consumed with the One who provides it all.

Jesus said “This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:58 NET)

We must be consumed with the Bread of Life…our Savior Jesus Christ! We who claim to follow the Lord must be obsessed with Him, inspired by Him, devoted to Him, and living for Him! He must be our focus and our passion.

What do we hunger and thirst for? In this all-consuming world, are we the followers of Jesus Christ known by our hunger and thirst for Him and His ways?

More…more…more…of Jesus! Let us want more of Him and be more like Him!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Standards of Living

>“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”
(Romans 2:1 NIV)

Do we realize God’s judgment of men is according to our own standards? The Jews had eagerly consented to the condemnation of the Gentiles. They were elated in it. The Jew had cheerfully assumed the bench of the judge. He pronounced the Gentiles guilty of God’s eternal wrath. The Jew sentenced them to eternal suffering. However, in doing this the Jew condemned himself by placing himself under his own principles. Jesus taught;

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive.” (Matthew 7:1-2 NET).

By this our Lord meant that when we set ourselves over others as their judge, we have imposed upon ourselves the same standard of measurement. In our days of situational ethics and relativity, some tell us that they do not feel it is wrong to lie, to steal, or even commit adultery. We can well afford to be tolerant concerning our own behavior, but if we are consistent then we must agree that it is acceptable for our children to lie to us, for our neighbors to steal from us or for a friend to violate the sanctity of our marriage.

Reality is that no one reaches the standard…God’s holiness and perfection. He is not so interested in the standards we set for ourselves as those we set for others. It is by these standards that we ourselves will be judged by God. Very few of us would wish to be judged by these standards, but the Scriptures tell us this is the case. Since the Jews have passionately condemned the Gentiles, they have assumed for themselves the same standards. Yet they are blinded to this reality. Paul will soon explain that judgment will come first to the Jew! (Romans 2: 9-10)

Woe to each of us if we live this life of double-standards. I pray that I can first see the beam in my own eye, before ever even attempting to point out another’s failure. (Matthew 7:3-5) While we are called to judge our fellow believers, will we do it by God’s standards? God has granted me so much grace…so much mercy. I must extend it to others and in the process we all can encourage one another to aim for God’s standards for each of us…holiness. Beauty for ashes…strength for fear…love and encouragement rather than hatred and condemnation: How different would our relationships be within our families, neighborhoods, and work places?

He’s returning soon…what will Jesus find us doing in relation to others?

Storms and Faith

Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him.  Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesu...