Where You Are

There's no one I love more than You!



I lived
Heart on a wire
Hand in the fire for so long
But You've shown me better
A new kind of love
It's ever the one I want

I'm lifting you higher, higher
There's nothing that I'd rather do
A sweet elevation of praises
There's no one I love more than You

I never knew a love like this before
The kind of life that I cannot find on my own
I've seen the world but I have never been so sure
That I want Your heart
God, I just want to be where You are
Where You are
I just want to be where You are

Your love, like nothing I've seen
My wildest of dreams don't come close
Life never no better than living like this
I cannot resist You Lord

And after all this time with You by my side
I can't imagine what it'd be like on my own
I've made up my heart, this love is all I've got
And You're the only one I know worth living for

A sweet elevation of praises
There's no one I love more than You

Draw Near To God

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 7:25 - He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 11:6 - Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who draws near to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Living A Lie

Judas wasted his life pretending to be a disciple.



John 13:1-2  Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to His Father. He had loved His disciples during His ministry on earth, and now He loved them to the very end.  2  It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.

John 13:10-11  Jesus replied, "A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you."  11  For Jesus knew who would betray Him. That is what He meant when He said, "Not all of you are clean."

John 13:25-27  So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, "Lord, who is it?"  26  Jesus responded, "It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl." And when He had dipped it, He gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.  27  When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, "Hurry and do what you're going to do."

The last Passover meal that Jesus would be around for was full of surprises, first there is the way that the location was revealed to the disciples (Luke 22:7-14), then there was Jesus taking on servants work and washing dirty feet during the meal, and then the greatest of surprises is that one of the disciples is going to betray him.

The news that someone would betray Jesus was a complete shock and nobody could say that they had a good reason to suspect Judas or anybody else. Judas has covered his real character so well that there was only one man that knew who he really is. There would be a lot of trouble if anybody knew, Judas was protected by the fact that it was so well hidden, I am sure that they would have turned on Judas.

It is important to note that Judas was not a true believer; he was a hypocrite. He had never believed in Jesus (John 6:64-71), he had not been bathed all over (John 13:10-11), and he had not been among the chosen ones whom the Father gave to the Son (John 13:18; 17:12).

If I had this information about someone that was going to harm me then I wouldn't stay quiet about it and I certainly would not serve them by washing their dirty feet or allowing them to sit at the place of honor at the table. Jesus kindness in serving Judas was the last opportunity to soften his hard heart.

Have you considered what it would be like to be a hypocrite living everyday with Jesus? Judas has seen Jesus know a man's thoughts on more than one occasion so he must have been troubled with the dread that Jesus knew that he was a fake and that he would divulge his real character.

John 6:63-64  The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe Me." (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn't believe, and He knew who would betray Him.)

Judas teaches us that sinners need more than a good example to be saved, Judas had the best mentor he could have possibly had, everything that he had seen and heard should have given him a very awesome testimony but instead he has a very sad one.

Judas teaches us that we will encounter people that are not saved in the most religious circumstances. In every church there is a Judas that is so cleverly disguised that we will never know their true identity.

Wheat or Weeds

Matthew 13:27-30  "The farmer's workers went to him and said, 'Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?'

'An enemy has done this!' the farmer exclaimed. 'Should we pull out the weeds?' they asked. 'No,' he replied, 'you'll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.'"
As long as we are in this world we will be forced to live with weeds, they are so easy to sow that the enemy just broadcast the see and then he "slipped away" without tending to them. (Matthew 13:25) The enemy knows how to produce very convincing counterfeits and that it is quite a challenge to know the difference.

We will always have deceivers and hypocrites in our midst, even in the church, and we will have to be patient to determine the difference. It will be difficult to know the difference until the fruit is produced and it is ready to harvest (Matthew 7:15-20)

Throughout church history there have been attempts to get rid of these sinful people but the trouble with that is they are never fully eradicated and the true wheat is often damaged in the attempt. The bride of Christ must keep herself pure and get rid of obvious false teachers but we must be careful and we must realize that we cannot possibly get rid of all of the weeds without damaging the wheat and harming its ability to produce fruit.

God is sovereign and he will not be fooled, we should examine our own hearts before God, we can fake it and fool all of our friends but the cost is extremely high if we reject the Light of the World and step out into darkness. (John 3:18-21, John 8:12)

Trust Me!

If I could just be as faithful as God is to his promises.



2 Timothy 2:11-13 This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

Trust me! Usually when you hear those words you know that you need to proceed carefully, but not so when the one saying "trust me" is our God, unlike other people around us, when God tells you to trust him you can take it to the bank.

"If" is a tiny little word with a lot of power, it is a word that invites us to make a choice, in this scripture we have choices with huge consequences. Paul wrote this message to Timothy, who was being mentored by Paul, he gave Timothy an invitation to a new way of life.

This is not the kind of invitation that some preachers are offering today, it isn't an invite to health, wealth and happiness, rather it is quite the opposite. Paul is saying that if we die to self and if we endure hardship, then we will reign with Jesus. Thankfully your "best life" isn't going to happen on this side of glory.

Paul's invitation looks a lot like the invitation that Jesus gave us:

Mark 8:34-38 “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul?

38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

It is only an offer, nobody is pushing you into anything, the offer that Jesus made to us is to be his follower, sounds like a good idea, but what does it take to be his follower?

There are two things that I must do and two things that I cannot do. Jesus said that to be his follower I must not be selfish, or ashamed and that I must take up my cross and give up my life. Jesus said that if I want to really live then it has to be in a way that doesn't indulge my human tendency toward self preservation.

God Can Be Trusted

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Just about everybody trust somebody, but how do you decide who you are going to trust in? Here are a few people that would help you with the answer:

✔  Joshua reminded the children of Israel that "every promise of the LORD your God has come true" (Joshua 23:14)
✔  Abraham knew that God would be faithful to his promise.  (Romans 4:20-22)
✔  King David spoke of the Lord's faithfulness over and over again. (Psalm 25:10, 31:5, 33:4)

God asks that we give up a lot to follow him. That shouldn't be such a scary thing for us to do when we realize that his faithfulness is worthy of our trust. It is amazing how unsafe it feels to give everything to the one that loves us the most.

Help me Lord to trust in you one hundred percent.

How Is Your Serve?

Jesus condescended the most because he loves us the most.

 

John 13:3-6  Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God.  4  So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist,  5  and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him.  6  When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You going to wash my feet?"

This is Jesus last Passover celebration, his Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus knew God's timetable and that his final hour was drawing near. You and I would be very self-centered in this situation, just like the disciples were as they sat at the table with Jesus but instead of worrying about himself he is concerned with the men that he would leave behind and the strength of their faith.

On many occasions Jesus was asked who he is, where he came from and why he thought that he had the authority to scold the Pharisees. John tells us that Jesus knew that he came from God, he would return to God and he knew that God had given him the authority to do God stuff. Yet he did things that we wouldn't expect God to do.

It is difficult to imagine that Jesus had authority over absolutely everything, we can't even comprehend what that means, when we say that somebody has authority over something we know in our heads that the authority covers certain boundaries. A school teacher has authority in certain areas that we can clearly define but Jesus rules over things that we don't even know about.

Should the ruler over absolutely everything be my servant?


"No," Peter protested, "You will never ever wash my feet!"

Jesus stepped down from the highest position and humbled himself, he made the greatest leap in condescension, we will probably never understand why he loves us so much that he would make this giant step from greatness to the lowliest servant.

Only humble people love, and your capacity to love is directly related to your capacity to humble yourself. The less interested you are in yourself, the greater your capacity to invest yourself in somebody else. The lower you go in self-concern, the higher you go in concern for others. -John MacArthur

I have never considered the connection between loving and being humble. Jesus willingness to be so humble and come down so low from his superior position in heaven is incredible. That level of selflessness is far superior to the love that we have that is self serving and seeks to gain something in return.

Shouldn't Jesus announce that I am his greatest follower?


Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank. 

These guys were so busy arguing about their rank and how well they were doing at following the Rabbi that they missed one of the most important qualities of a Christ follower. Think about this, the hands that control the universe, including all the angelic host, humbly washed the dirty feet of twelve undeserving apostles! And that includes the feet of the betrayer!

Unworthy Servants

Luke 17:7-10  "When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, 'Come in and eat with me'? No, he says, 'Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.'

And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey Me you should say, 'We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.'"
I am an unworthy servant that has a hard time thinking of myself as I should, my level of gratitude for what God has done for me is severely lacking because of my perception of who I am and what level of despair I was in without my Savior doesn't really sink into my head. Pride gets in the way of seeing myself the way that God sees me.

If I could wrap my head around the idea of how depraved I am then my level of gratitude would be increased along with my ability to love and serve the hurting world around me the way that Jesus did.

Help me Lord to see myself through your eyes for who I really am so I can fully appreciate what you have done for me.

My Election Predictions

Some bold predictions about our future.



1. God will still be on His throne regardless of who is elected (Isaiah 6:1).

2. Regardless of who is president, God will control their decisions (Proverbs 21:1: Ezra 6:22).

3. Regardless of who is president, Christians are to pray for them, not prey on them (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

4. Regardless of who is elected, we will get up… go to work… and honor God on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, etc, etc, etc.

5. Regardless of who is elected, it will happen in accordance with God’s will (1 Samuel 2:6-8, Isaiah 46:9-10).

6. Regardless of who is elected, it will not change the call God has given Christians to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-14).

7. Regardless of who is elected, God’s plan to bring about the return of His Son to set up His Kingdom will be that much closer! (Romans 13:11)

8. Regardless of who is elected, “Do not be anxious for anything (Including a presidential election!), but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 4:6-7)

9. Regardless of who is elected, Christians have no reason to fear or be afraid! (Revelation 2:10)

10. Regardless of who is elected, Christians are to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-7) unless they conflict with the laws of God, then Christians obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

I borrowed this from Pastor Ron  

Broken

This broken world can get you down.



Nehemiah 1:3-4  They said to me, "Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire."

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.

Most of us do not like broken. It may be a broken heart, a family that is torn apart or a broken body. It may be something inanimate that we cannot use anymore like a coffee cup or a cell phone; oh how we dread the broken cell phone.

The world that we live in is full of broken stuff. We see pictures from the news showing us how broken our world is. We see damage from a storm, governments that are crooked and people whose life has been changed from a senseless crime.

When we see something broken we are usually inclined to fix it or find someone that can. Nehemiah was a man that didn't like broken stuff. For him it was the news from home that Jerusalem was in ruins and that the city was unprotected from future attacks. Nehemiah was very emotional about the devastation of his homeland.

Sorrow and grief are natural and healthy emotions which are a natural reaction in the face of this world’s broken state. For the Christian sorrow is not forever and we know that the worst pain that we deal with is usually not going to last a long time. But there are a lot of people that do suffer without an end in sight and they have to wonder why their life is such a struggle.

My wife's favorite book in the Bible is Job because she wrestles with the same questions that he had. There doesn't seem to be any good reason for the struggle and that makes us shout out to God and question what he is doing.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

What is your reaction when others suffer? It is easy to become overloaded with the brokenness in this world. We can become calloused and uncaring but for the child of God that is not an appropriate response. How can we love God and our neighbor and then look away when we have the ability to help them?

God's children are uniquely equipped to have an impact on those that suffer. God’s love and the Holy Spirit’s power are both needed to help those that are broken around us. Suffering gives us opportunities to share God's love and comfort so that the people that we help can see that God has met their deepest need through his son Jesus.

There is a part of us that does not like for things to not be useful any more or not work like they should. I think that it must be a part of being created in God's image. God doesn't like things to be broken either and he has gone to great lengths to make broken things be restored to perfection.

Isaiah 53:5  But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

God loves us so much that he became broken in order to heal our brokenness. His perfect creation was marred by sin and the full range of consequences that sin produces. It may seem strange to us that God didn't make things perfect again right away, God's people have been waiting a long time for the New Heaven and New Earth to be revealed, we know he will follow through with his promise on his timetable.

Life Or Death

Have you died to this world so that you can be fruitful?



John 12:24-26  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels--a plentiful harvest of new lives.

25  Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.

26  Anyone who wants to be My disciple must follow Me, because My servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves Me.

The main story of the Bible is a story of love and redemption, love that was so extreme that it paid a huge price to rescue us, from Genesis to Revelation we get to know God and his sacrificial love for man.

God called the nation of Israel to be set apart as his chosen people, a people that would demonstrate God's love and point the nations to his salvation but they did not follow through. Instead they became prejudice and narrow minded, they stayed focused inward and they wouldn't live for God and glorify him. Sounds a lot like God's people today!

They didn't see themselves as a missionary organization that would share God's message of love and redemption. God's plan to save people from every tribe, tongue and nation around the world was opposed by his own people that were supposed to help accomplish God's ultimate goal but instead they became a hindrance.

They opposed God's mission for themselves in the Old Testament and now they stand opposed to God's mission for Jesus. The King enters Jerusalem and the expectation is high that he will start doing King stuff but instead he starts talking about death. He talks about his own death and the death of the people that follow him. How will he ever get people to follow him with this kind of talk and how can all of this dying be a good thing?

Jesus death caused new fruit to be produced


Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

Our sins against God are capital offenses with God Himself as our judge, and according to divine law our crimes deserve the death penalty. By shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserve and offered us His righteousness and became our substitute.

Jesus said in Matthew 20:28 that he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” By his sacrificial death he made it possible for us to be righteous, our sins have been paid for, without Jesus death Heaven would be a lonely place completely free of any human.

The seed had to die, it has been planted and now the fields are full of a bountiful crop ready to be harvested.

Our death causes new fruit to be produced


For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 
And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory.

Do you realize what happens when the fields are harvested? The produce dies, and after the produce dies the seed from the fruit is planted again and then there is an even greater increase in production. Jesus death was the first seed which produced many more seeds and now as each of us dies to ourselves we produce many more seeds.

“Getting rid of the ‘self-life’ is like peeling an onion: layer upon layer—and a tearful process!” -A. T. Pierson

Jesus asks us to see our life here the way that he sees it. Do you hate your life in this world, do you hate what your life is, full of its sin and self-centered and godlessness? Are you willing to abandon what the world has to offer? Have you really died to yourself or are you holding onto the controls?

Those are difficult questions to ponder, our insecurity and fear get in the way of allowing somebody else to be 100% in control, it probably isn't possible to go all the way.

Count The Cost

Luke 14:27-28  And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?
As the Bible tells us, it isn't enough to believe in Jesus, the demons do that and yet they don't surrender control of their life to him. That's where dying to self comes in.

Death to self sounds like a high price to pay, that is why Jesus warned us to consider how much he is asking and what is required to take up your cross and follow him. It is better for the cause of Christ that you don't start and then fall away, unbelievers will look at your life as an example of why they shouldn't bother to trust in Jesus, they get the wrong impression of what following Jesus looks like.

Jesus didn't die to offer us a comfortable, wealthy "best life now." If I love my life in this world then I will live for this life and I will live for the same things that unbelievers live for but if I die to myself and live for Jesus then I will be a another planted seed that will produce a plentiful harvest of new lives.

(1 Corinthians 15:20, Colossians 3:3-4, 1 John 2:15-17, Romans 6:5-8)

RELATED ARTICLES

Four Things Jesus Didn't Die For (thegospelcoalition.org)

Successful Living

The children of God have a bright future.



Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Philippians 4:13  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Deuteronomy 31:8  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Everybody feels like Charlie Brown from time to time but keeping the defeated attitude isn't a place for a child of God to stay.

The Lord has plans for his children, he gives them the strength and courage to do them and he gives us victory over our circumstances. God's children have the ultimate source of hope despite our circumstances we know the ultimate victory is ours.

I Didn't Feel Called

Are you supposed to be somewhere else?

 


This video has some tough questions about our faith and our obedience. Are you called to do something? Are you supposed to be serving somewhere else? Are you waiting for a burning bush?

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

To truly follow Christ means He has become everything to us, it is difficult to comprehend how extreme the word everything is, I don't think that any of us really go extreme in desiring God. We say we want to know him but we don't cultivate the relationship, he has called us to know him and live for him

Are you called?

1. God calls weak people and supplies for them (Exodus 3:1-8)
2. God calls all people to faithful obedience (1 Samuel 3:1-10)
3. God calls his people to speak truth in dark times (Isaiah 6:1-8)
4. God calls his enemies (Acts 9:1-6)
-The Mysterious Nature of God's Call (unlockingthebible.org)

How often do we see needs and think that somebody should fill the gap in that situation? What if it was our opportunity and we missed it? We have all felt that internal nudge to do something, you see a need, you feel some tension inside, but just like the disciples you say "this is all I have."

What do you do when Jesus tells you to do something impossible? You tell God that there is no way that you have the resources or the skill set, you are not equipped, you are scared but God says "I don't care, bring what you have."

You may tell God, "I am not someone that meets that kind of need, I am somebody that prays for somebody to meet that need. I'm just a prayer warrior" But God says "I don't care, bring what you have."


Pocketful Of Faith

Take this pocketful of faith, It is all I have today, I'm giving it all.

 

I don’t want to get there
At the end of it all
Looking behind me
To see there was so much more

Take this pocketful of faith
It is all I have today
I’m giving it all
I’m giving it all

CHORUS
You will always have my heart
Everyday I’ll trust You more, oh God
Take this pocketful of faith
It is all I have today
I’m giving it all
I’m giving it all

VERSE 2
Leaving the safety
Here at the shore
Beyond the horizon
I see there is so much more

Take this pocketful of faith
It is all I have today
I’m giving it all
I’m giving it all

BRIDGE
Anywhere You go I’ll follow
When You call my name I’ll run
Lead me on into tomorrow
Light my way like the rising sun

It is a good idea to schedule an inventory of your life on a regular basis if we are going to live as passionate followers of Christ then we have to make sure that we are really doing it. There are so many other things to choose to live for that it is easy to get distracted and off course. If you wait to long to look back then you will discover that there are times when you have wasted time and energy on things that didn't matter.

It takes faith to be obedient and passionately follow Christ, to jump out of the deceptive safety of being normal, it takes faith but thankfully it doesn't take a lot of it. Just a pocket full of faith is all you need to get started on the road of following Christ.

It is scary to ask God if I am playing safe or if I am truly following him with the degree of passion that he desires. Do I really want to know the answer? It may require that I make big changes, nobody likes big changes, big changes are painful changes.

Following anywhere is my goal, he moves, I move, he calls and I answer, he leads and I follow. I must die to self so that I can live with fewer regrets and accomplish the work that God has for me to do.


Following Jesus

Following keeps on happening one step at a time no matter what happens.

 

John 12:12-19  The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors  13  took palm branches and went down the road to meet Him. They shouted, "Praise God! Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the LORD! Hail to the King of Israel!"  14  Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:  15  "Don't be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey's colt."

16  His disciples didn't understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into His glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about Him.

17  Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising Him from the dead, and they were telling others about it.  18  That was the reason so many went out to meet Him--because they had heard about this miraculous sign.  19  Then the Pharisees said to each other, "There's nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after Him!"

Jerusalem was probably in a state of chaos, there were crowds in the city with their animals for the Passover celebration, and there were people that were amazed that Lazarus was back from the dead. It reminds me of the commotion that Mary and Joseph experienced when they arrived in Bethlehem to register for the census.

The excitement goes a little bit higher when the word gets out that Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem. A crowd begins to parade out of the city to meet him as he comes to town.  The Pharisees are annoyed at the welcome party that Jesus received and unsuccessfully tried to persuade him to silence the people, they told Jesus but he told them that "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!" (Luke 19:38-40).

The crowds were amazed by Jesus. 

The thing the Pharisees most feared was happening right in front of them and there doesn't seem to be a way to stop it. "Everyone has gone after him!" And why not? Jesus has made their dull life of oppression and poverty so much better. He has fed thousands, given them help with their physical ailments and brought back relatives that have died. Following was easy and for a while it made their life better.

But are they really followers of Jesus? They followed him around but that didn't make them people of faith anymore than going to church makes you a Christian. A fully committed follower knows that Jesus isn't the key to your "best life now."

The Pharisees were amazed by the crowd.

These guys were deceived into thinking that they needed to worry about losing their position and power but Jesus knew better. Jesus knew that the crowds wanted something that he wasn't going to give them, Jesus knew that they didn't understand the mission that brought him to earth, he knew that they would turn against him in a few days. Jesus would disappoint the crowds when he didn't leverage his influence to overthrow the system.

Maybe it wasn't their position or power, maybe some of the Pharisees really believed that they were doing the right thing, in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 God instructed them to kill false prophets, maybe some of them believed that they were obligated to get rid of Jesus in the same way that Saul was persecuting the early church.

The problem with that thinking is that the Pharisees are the real false prophets and teachers that are leading the people astray. Somebody should be throwing rocks at them!

Following Has A Price

Luke 14:25-28  A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,  "If you want to be My disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison--your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple.

And if you do not carry your own cross and follow Me, you cannot be My disciple. But don't begin until you count the cost.
Jesus didn't smooth talk his way into getting followers, he didn't give the itching ears the stuff that they wanted to hear, Jesus told the crowds that following him was not going to be easy. Many times he told the crowds that his committed followers would have to make great sacrifices.

Make sure that you follow Jesus because of who he is not because of what you think he might provide for you. The truest test of following comes in the “even if” moments, even if my marriage falls apart, even if this cancer never goes away, even if I lose my job, even if we never get pregnant. Following keeps on happening one step at a time no matter what happens.

Isaiah 43:2  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Are you a part of the crowd or are you fully committed? The crowd questions God's love when the going gets tough. The crowd isn't going to keep on following when the goodies and benefits are surpassed by the struggles and disappointments that will surely come.

We question God's love in the difficulty but he knows that in those uncomfortable situations we grow and we make choices that increase our faith, he will put us in those situations on purpose because he wants so much more for us. It is only when we come through the tough times that our faith muscle gets exercised and it gets put on display for God's glory.

We are satisfied with where we are and who we are but God wants so much more for us. Our amazement with Jesus only requires us to use our brain. God is after our heart and that is what he needs to get us to be his committed followers!

Do we have the faith to follow Jesus one step at a time? Will we follow Jesus wherever He goes, knowing that it is God who leads the way?

Dead Man Returns

A rotting corpse is alive again and yet you still do not believe?!?

 

John 11:43-48  Then Jesus shouted, "Lazarus, come out!"  44  And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, "Unwrap him and let him go!"  45  Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.  46  But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. "What are we going to do?" they asked each other. "This man certainly performs many miraculous signs.  48  If we allow Him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in Him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation."

John 12:17-19  Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising Him from the dead, and they were telling others about it.  18  That was the reason so many went out to meet Him--because they had heard about this miraculous sign.  19  Then the Pharisees said to each other, "There's nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after Him!"

They asked for proof that Jesus is God and now they have the most amazing display of Jesus power and yet it didn't make any difference to so many. If any miracle should have resulted in every person present falling on his face and worshiping Jesus as God then this would have to be the one.

Four days of decomposing causes a body to do gross and smelly things that you don't want to think about. The Jewish culture back then didn't do anything to embalm the corpse, they wrapped the body and sprinkled spices on it to cover up the stink. This is the condition that Lazarus was in when the tomb was opened and yet this smelly corpse gets up and walks out and his decomposition is completely reversed.

Jesus asked Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Through this miracle she saw the glory of God on display through Jesus but not everyone did. Other people that saw the same event were not convinced at all. They reacted by reporting what Jesus did to the guys that are "in charge."

These two responses to Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead is a clear demonstration of the way we react to Jesus today:

If we believe in Jesus then we will see the glory of God


John 1:14  So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son.

Jesus said that Martha's faith would make her see, the writer of Hebrews tells us that faith is the evidence of things not seen, Paul told us in Romans 1:20 that we have no excuse. There is only one reason some people are so blind to the truth, Jesus tells us why, it is because we love the dark and prefer to be there and our adversary has blinded their eyes. (John 3:19, 8:12)

When John is writing down Jesus words that they would see the glory of God, he must have recalled his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration,  the incredible experience must have been a dramatic and life changing event.

Our inability to see God's glory is because we can be so full of our own glory, our pride and arrogance, our inability to see how disgusting our goodness is, distorts our view of God.

If we see miracles without believing then we are in great danger.


Hebrews 12:25  Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven.

They were “good church-goers” but they didn't have a relationship with God. They could not see and believe that Jesus is God. What further proof of God’s power could you want than to smell the stench of the rotting body as they rolled the stone from the tomb? You can see Lazarus laying there right where they put him four days ago, you hear Jesus’ loud command to come out of the grave and then you see him stumble out in his grave clothes without any signs of the decomposition that you just witnessed.

The writer of Hebrews warns us that we are in great danger if we refuse the evidence that God gives us. The Israelites refused the evidence and would not listen to Moses, in Jesus day he was ignored and rejected as the Messiah, and now we have even greater evidence yet so many of us don't see it.

The evidence of fulfilled prophecy, including over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, we have the eyewitness accounts of His teaching and miracles and we have an empty tomb, backed up by the changed lives of the witnesses that testify that he did come back from the grave.

Can you consider the evidence and come to the conclusion that Jesus is God? No greater evidence will be given before the moment that it is too late. Some day you will realize that Jesus is God. Make the right choice before it is too late!
 I rejoice in Your word like one who discovers a great treasure.   Psalms 119:162