Saturday, March 31, 2018

THE Tomb is EMPTY

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.  And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.  Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.(John 19:38-42)
Know one really knows where Jesus' tomb is today. Some say at a church site in Jerusalem. Others say near the crucifixion site outside of the city. Well, we knowmitnis nearby the crucfixion site as John wrote. We know it was sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers. We also know it is EMPTY!

He is alive! He awaits for us to join Him in eternity one day but also to join Him in fellowship today!  Do you know Him? SONday is coming someday. We must be ready before that day . . . .

Lord

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Real "Communion"...Unique Relationship!

"Communion" is defined as the saying of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a spiritual level. But for Christ followers, it is more. It is a deep desire to not only remeber what Christ did for us, but to join with Him and none another in intimate and unique RELATIONSHIP.

I am excited today to share this unique relationship with middle school students today as I demonstrate the washing of feet and celebrate our unique relationship with Christ in classroom communion!

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”  “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.(John 13:2-17)
 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.(Matthew 26:26-30)

 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner[d]eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (1 Corinthian 11:27-29)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Get things in order...Remember Mom!

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)
I remember praying for God's mercy for my mom, whom I could not communicate with for her last ten years of life due to dementia. My close friend and confidant, the one who knew me best, no longer knew me, her baby son! God finally took her home in July of 2016 while I was serving on a mission trip in New Orleans. She was now cared for by the King! She would be in good hands! It was answered prayer!

My prayer is similar for my mother-in-law today, battling lung cancer against all odds for the past five years . . . have mercy Lord...care for her as only You can. Don't allow her to suffer so much pain after caring so deeply for so many for so long.

Jesus knows our love for Mom. He cared deeply for His mother. No doubt they spent much time together as Joseph probably passed away early on in His life. He was grieved to see her suffering so at the foot of the cross! He directed John, the youngest apostle to look after her. It was hard to leave her, but He left her in good hands.

May we honor our moms in such a fashion Lord . . .

 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Heroes, Legends, and THE GOAT!

Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away. (John 19:14-16)
On this "DAY of Preparation", God the Father was actually preparing the sacrifice. Thought the priests were busy preparing at the Temple, God was doing a new thing . . . what would become our permanent sacrifice, yet no one recognized it! Jesus was becoming the Passover Lamb for all mankind.

Who is our king (King)? We all have our heroes, legends and G.O.A.T.s. But really, WHO IS OUR KING? Who rules . . .Who reigns . . .Who over-rules . . .Who is in control?

At this time of reflection, remembrance, repentance, and renewal, we all need to decide WHO IS KING of our lives. We must choose now while there is time or the decision will be made for each of us later!

Lord

Monday, March 26, 2018

SONday is Coming!

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.  And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.  Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

Pilate’s Decision

 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him,crucify Him!” (John 19:1-6)
False accusations and ridicule can bring embarrassment to any one. However, to face public ridicule, to be falsely accused at that, can bring shame and devastation to the individual, the family, friends and legacies to come.

Yet Jesus turned it all into an eternal victory for us all!

The entire world... family, friends, neighbors and visitors from around the known world saw and heard of this Christ...this crucifixion. It was done for all to witness.  The "King of the Jews" proved wrong and crucified . . . .

. . . . Ahhhhhh, but SONday was coming!

Friday, March 23, 2018

I have no choice....

 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.(John 15:12-15)
What a challenge to love anyone today. Yet when we look at love in a biblical sense, as Jesus loved, it becomes clearer if not easier.

Jesus demonstrated love through the ultimate sacrifice of His life. It wasn't enough to leave the perfect confines of heaven, He came to a sin-wrecked earth and gave His very blood so we could be called friends of God!

Jesus says I am His friend . . . but only if I do as He commands: LOVE OTHERS! So really, I have no choice!

Lord, help me to love others out of love for You!( John 14:15)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Unbelievable

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. (John 14:12-14)
What a statement...unbelievable actually! Yet Jesus said it, so I believe it. I . . . me . . . . yes I . . .will do greater things than Jesus did?

I believe that Jesus is saying that we can build upon His work if we just allow His Spirit to work in and through us. It is a matter of faith. As we commit to His will great things will happen.

Lord help me to allow Your Spirit to work great things through me. Let others see You and not me. (John 3:30)



Monday, March 19, 2018

Seeing is Believing

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 that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.(John 14:8-11)
Seeing is believing. However, faith works the unseen and unbelievable. While it is natural to want to see proof, we have seen enough evidence of God at work to believe. At some point, faith must be enough!
 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed arethose who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
Lord, help me to live by faith so those who doubt may see You!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Soles for Souls.....

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. (John 13:12-15)
Jesus was about to wash the soles of the disciples' feet. He was however heading to the cross to wash our souls of sin! They did not understand then and we still cannot comprehend His sacrifice today. However, we are eternally grateful.

We now must do the same for others; sacrifice, service, salvation. Our life should point people to the cross.....the same cross Jesus was pointing toward.

Lord help me t

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Seeing and Serving

Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”  So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LordAnd He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day.  Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished. (Deuteronomy 34:4-7)
We read here that even at 120 years old, Moses has lots of energy and great vision! He had lived a full life, despite issues with the Egyptians, the Jews and even with God! Yet He walked with God and He SAW God and He SERVED God in spite of his issues.

Moses clearly saw the Promised Land. But he would not see it in person...only from a distance. He had served God despite the issues he had. He had been honest with God and God had been honest with him. What a friendship. What a relationship!

SEEING and SERVING . . . right up until the end.

Despite my issues God, help me to truly SEE the vision You have for me and help me to SERVE You right up until the end. I want to SEE You!



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Titles....

Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. (Deuteronomy 33:1)
Though Moses had died, his words lived on . . .  even today! He had written down the words before his death and they were penned and written, probably Joshua, in third person. What a "man of God" indeed!

What a privilege to have that title . . . better than any degree, certificate, or title. What a goal to pursue!

Wouldn't it be nice if the only criticism one could have of us if they accused us of being a man, woman, or child of God!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

No Higher Place . . .

And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them. (Deuteronomy 28:13-14)
 These are some very simple instructions for the Jewish people then, but also for us today...put God first! Leaders do not have to be rich. Those without money are not poor!

There is a very wise saying that goes something like this: There is no higher place to be than at the feet of Jesus. 

If we honor God, love Him and His ways, and love people, than we will be a leader. We will be rich. We will be respected. We will not put God to shame nor will we be ashamed.

Can this be our prayer today: I choose to serve You Lord and not this world....Lead me!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Striving for a CLEAN heart....

He set the laver between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar, and put water there for washing; and Moses, Aaron, and his sons would wash their hands and their feet with water from it.  Whenever they went into the tabernacle of meeting, and when they came near the altar, they washed, as the Lord had commanded Moses.(Exodus 40:30-32)

God requires a clean heart. No sin can enter His presence. While we may be cleansed from the eternal penalty and price of sin through Christ, we must remember that for Him to walk with us today, we still need to repent of current sin. God requires a clean heart, clean hands, and yes, clean feet!(1 Timothy 2:8) Confession and repentance clears a pathway for effective prayers (James 5:16) What we say . . . What we do . . . What we touch . . . . Yes, even where we go can separate us from close fellowship with the Lord.

Beware . . . Keep a close check on our actions that we do not take the Lord's presence lightly. Though we may sin, in repenting daily and often, we reflect our love, respect, and obedience to the Lord.

Lord, cause me to reflect daily upon my sinful desires and Your holiness. I can never be close to Your character but I can strive . . . .

Friday, March 9, 2018

Who is this God?

Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LordAnd the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,  keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty,visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”(Exodus 34:5-7)
Who is this God that is so powerful and demanding yet so loving and forgiving? He calls Moses up again and comes down to meet him!  He not only forgives and forgets, but He gives even more by His grace! Moses must have been blown away. I know I am!

But read these words (Exodus 34:19)......
“And none shall appear before Me empty-handed."
God is an awesome God for sure, yet we are warned to not come before Him empty-handed. He demands from us sacrifice . . . a living sacrifice now that He died and overcame death for us!

As meager as it is Lord, I give myself away today....use me to Your glory!

https://youtu.be/-AtqEByVMIs

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Seeing is believing

Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”  And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:15-18)
Moses pleaded for God's Presence. He needed to "see" and "feel" God. I do too! What about you? Others need to experience His Presence for the first time. How will others know if we don't reflect His Presence from within us? God needs to be "real"!

Yet you and I must "want" this Presence! Jacob begged the Angel: But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”(Genesis 32:26). Jabez pleaded for God's blessing. (1 Chronicles 4:10) How badly do we desire the Presence of God in our daily lives?

Lord, bless me today with Your Presence. Allow others to see and feel You throuh me!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Out of Fellowship...Scary Thoughts

 “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 33:1-3)
"Go to your room!  I don't want to see you right now! You are out of fellowship!" I remember similiar words from my parents. Well, maybe a bit different, but you get the picture I'm sure.

What if we heard that from God? He said just that to Moses about the Jews!

I can't Go with you right now. . .I might just destroy you!

But for grace! God once again relented through Moses' prayers and pleas. Moses realized he was nothing without God and he and his people could go nowhere without Him.

Are we in danger of hearing that from God? Have we forced God to back away or leave us to ourselves? What a scary thought!

Lord, I need You now and every day. Forgive me for causing You shame and hurt. Please allow me to feel Your presence and keep me at peace with You.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

God FORBID!!!!!

And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?” So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.  For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.” Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies),  then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.  And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’”  So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. (Exodus 32:21-28)

We often ask, "How could the Jews do such a thing right in front of God?"  How can you and I do it today? We claim to possess the Holy Spirit yet we outight and consciously choose sin day after day, excusing it away by saying "I'm trying", "Well, I'm not Jesus", or "God understands me". We blame others as Aaron did (Exodus 32:22-24). But in this case, many died! (Exodus 32:27-28)

Thank God for grace! However, that cannot excuse our actions. We must do better! God forbid! (Romans 6:15)

Lord forgive me for outright sin! Help me to see You more vividly and to choose You over my selfish desires.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Up the Mountain and Into the Darkness

 Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.  The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.(Exodus 24:16-18)
We get so caught up in the ways we "do church" today with our fancy buildings, complex productions, videos, fancy technology, scripted sermons, and the like. I am reminded this morning that while God still requires order, as He would direct Moses in the next chapter of Exodus (Exodus 25), many times real worship comes in the struggles and darkness prior to SONday services!

God called Moses UP the mountain and INTO THE DARKNESS! It had to be a physical struggle as well as an emotional battle. Not a burning bush this time. This would require some work and a lot of trust. Moses was then in the cloud with God for forty days! Many started having doubts below as well . (Exodus 32).

You see, when God calls us, many times it is lonely and many times folks will not understand. . . even abandon us. They won't like the challenges and struggles. But hang in. It is a long journey, not a day trip! After all, it is simple what God requires of us. . . . keep it simple!

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of youBut to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?(Micah 6:8)
 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Ministry of Reconciliation

Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,  they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.             (John 8:3-9)
Here is my philosophy: Sinners love to accuse others of sin so they can take the focus off their sin and put the focus in other's sins. Just a thought. . . .

Jesus, in this very familiar passage, places the question back on us . . . the accusers: Whoever is sinless here, throw the first stone! One by one, the oldest first, they all walk away, as we would have done. Do we condemn, even celebrate others sin, when we do the same and expect grace?

Jesus gently, yet honestly and even with a challenge, offers grace. Forgiveness yes, but also a challenge to "sin no more". Do not continue in this lifestyle, but follow after Me. Make a commitment to change.

Forgiveness . . . Repentance . . .Grace . . . We have this ministry of reconciliation to offer others what we have been granted. Lord, help me to recognize myself in others and offer the same You have granted to me; Your grace and mercy! (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

https://youtu.be/Mxz-c8MLAoU

one stable foundation,

Then  as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings  are here! ” ...