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)

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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!

The Space Between Grief And Hope

God wants us to face overwhelming trials with faith as we draw near to our hope in Jesus.



John 11:23-27  Jesus told her, "Your brother will rise again."  24  "Yes," Martha said, "he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day."

25  Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying.  26  Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?"

27  "Yes, Lord," she told Him. "I have always believed You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who has come into the world from God."

A lot of people are unhappy and confused about Jesus, the message that Lazarus was sick and needed his help had reached Jesus in plenty of time. Some of the people at the funeral were baffled by the fact that Jesus could have just spoke the words and Lazarus would be healed without Jesus coming to see him.

Four days later Lazarus' family was dealing with their loss when the word gets back to the house that Jesus has made his way into their village. How could he show up so late? When the message about Lazarus was given to him he wasn't that far away so where has he been? There isn't much that can be done now.

Jesus encourages her with the thought that she will see her brother again and that death isn't a permanent condition for God's children. Jesus asked her if she believed and she confirmed that she knew that he is the Messiah but that hope didn't get rid of her grief. Jesus didn't expect it to end her sadness, he didn't ask her if she felt better now that she had that resurrection theology straight in her head, according to Jesus it was not how she felt that was important, but what she believed.

Ephesians 2:6  For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

We have amazing hope but still there is an empty void that will not be filled right away, if ever, so we still have grief but it is tempered with the hope that we will be reunited with that person again. This trial will test our faith, it is a lot easier to talk about our faith as a theory than it is to exercise it, it is easier to believe that all things work together for good than it is to believe that this individual trial is for good.

There are seven qualities of overcoming faith that will help us work through life’s overwhelming trials and losses:


1. Overcoming faith takes overwhelming trials to the Lord.
2. Overcoming faith trusts that God is in control of all our circumstances.
3. Overcoming faith does not limit God.
4. Overcoming faith trusts in the promises of God regarding eternity.
5. Overcoming faith personally applies God’s truth in the present.
6. Overcoming faith centers in the person of Jesus Christ.
7. Overcoming faith believes what it knows and grows from there.
From Bible.org "Overcoming Faith"

As Jesus approached Mary and Martha differently he does the same for us, with Martha he talked to her about her belief but with Mary he sympathized and wept with her. Jesus told us that apart from him we cannot do anything and if we have have him we can do anything but sometimes our emotions overrule the facts.

Emotions Are Okay

John 11:33-36  When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within Him, and He was deeply troubled. "Where have you put him?" He asked them. They told Him, "Lord, come and see." Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, "See how much He loved him!"
Emotions are okay, even Jesus was emotional, our emotions can be opportunities to grow. In our grief we learn to pray, in our weakness we learn of his strength, in our sorrow we learn more fully about his grace.

All of this annoys us, none of it is fun or comfortable but God knows that we grow more like him the most when our lives are less satisfied with the things of earth. If we were fully content and satisfied with our time here on earth then we wouldn't long for heaven so much.

1 Thessalonians 4:13, 18  And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. So encourage each other with these words.

You may be tempted to run the other way but you should come to Jesus. We tend to think that God doesn't love us when we suffer, we think that our circumstances are proof of the level of love that Jesus has for us and bad stuff must happen because he is angry with us. (Romans 8:35-37)

Grief doesn't stop happening but we also have hope that should never stop. That's where we are until Jesus returns, somewhere between grief and hope.

Hope And Glory

Jesus is the only one that can heal our land.

 

Hear our cry, Oh King of heaven 
Jesus hope to every heart 
We are lost, without Your glory 
We are lost, without you God 

Be the fire, that burns within us
Flames of love that purify
Send the power and Your salvation
Let us see Your kingdom come

Only You can move the mountain
Only You can heal our land
Chris alone our hope and glory
Chris alone in You we stand

Turn Your eyes and show us mercy
How we need Your Father’s love
Lead us home and out of darkness
With Your gospel burning bright

Only You can move the mountain
Only You can heal our land
Christ alone our hope and glory
Christ alone in You we stand
(Repeat)

We believe our God is mighty
We believe our God is here
We believe our King is coming
Christ alone in You we stand

Praise the Lord our God is mighty
Praise the Lord our God is here
Praise the Lord our King is coming
Christ alone in You we stand


Right Question, Wrong Motives

Unbelief eliminates all of the evidence that Jesus is God.

 

John 10:24-33  The people surrounded Him and asked, "How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly."

25  Jesus replied, "I have already told you, and you don't believe Me. The proof is the work I do in My Father's name.  26  But you don't believe Me because you are not My sheep.  27  My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.  28  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me,  29  for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father's hand.  30  The Father and I are one."

31  Once again the people picked up stones to kill Him.  32  Jesus said, "At My Father's direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone Me?"  33  They replied, "We're stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God."

Where will your questions lead you? Many times we ask the right question but our mind is already made up so we don't really consider the answer to the question. That's how the leaders in the temple approached Jesus, they had their minds made up, they could not consider the overwhelming evidence that Jesus is who he claimed to be. They were tired of Jesus claims and the threat he was to their power.

The religious leaders make it sound like it is Jesus fault that they don't believe. So they ask him to make it more clear this time, clarity isn't the problem, they just don't like his answer. How sad it is to be so blind that you have an closeup personal encounter with Jesus and you fail to see who he really is. It reminds me of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus, fell on his knees and asked the right question, got the right answer but he left without ever knowing Jesus.

Jesus Said:



✔  He Existed Before Abraham - John 8:56-59
✔  He is Equal with God - John 5:19-20
✔  He is the one that scripture foretold -John 5:39-40
✔  To See Him is the Same as Seeing God -John 12:44-50, 14:6-9
✔  He Could Forgive Sins -Matthew 9:6-8, John 8:23,24
✔  He Is the Judge -John 5:21-23
✔  He Can Grant Eternal Life -John 6:40, 11:25, 10:27-28
✔  He Was the Same as God -John 10:30-33
✔  His "I Am" statements say he is God -John 6:35-39, John 7:37-38, John 8:12, 58

Jesus was asked who he is many times and he answered them plainly each time. The prophets in the Old Testament all pointed to Jesus, John the Baptist said it, Jesus miracles said it and Jesus words said it "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

Jesus lets them know that they will never be pleased with his answer because they are not his sheep. Jesus sheep know his voice, they listen to him and follow him. His sheep hear the answer to the question "who is Jesus?" It makes sense to them, they have no problem believing that he is the Good Shepherd that they should follow.

John 7:17  Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.

Unbelieving hardened hearts will always produce ignorance. Jesus tells us that anyone that has the desire to know God will understand Jesus claims to be God. Unbelief eliminates all possibility of the evidence being considered.

Jesus doesn't back down or flinch the least little bit, he continues with a question that is going to make them more determined to get him on the cross, "Which of these good works has caused you to stone Me?” I remember that Peter asked these same leaders a similar question, "are we being questioned today because we've done a good deed for a crippled man?" (Acts 4:9)

Right Question, Right Answer

Matthew 16:15-17  Then He asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
Are you asking the right question? Are you asking objectively with honest intentions? Is your mind made up against Jesus before you ask?

The religious leaders could not answer the question the way that Peter did. His answer was the same when he was being questioned about the healing of the crippled man at the temple. (Acts 4:8-14)

Do you know the shepherd? He gives eternal life to his sheep. You are his sheep if he is your shepherd, do you hear his voice, do you recognize it and follow it, is he in control of your life?

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I Am The Gate

There is only one way to get to the safe place of rest that God offers his sheep.



John 10:1-9  "I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!  2  But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  3  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

4  After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.  5  They won't follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don't know his voice."

6  Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn't understand what He meant,  7  so He explained it to them: "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.  8  All who came before Me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them.

9  Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through Me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.

There are two people that were very important in taking care of the sheep, there was obviously the shepherd and there was a lesser known person know as the gatekeeper. We all know that the shepherd was the guy that owned the sheep and they spent most of their time with him out in the fields but we don't hear much about the gatekeeper.

Back in those days the shepherds would bring there sheep into a common sheepfold so that the would have a wall of protection around them during the night. Then the shepherds would be able to go home knowing that the sheep were in a pen and the only way into that pen was through the gate.

The gatekeeper was important for the safety of the sheep, he would accept the sheep from all of the local shepherds and then lock the gate or he would become the gate by bedding down in the opening. The thieves and robbers that tried to harm the sheep had to harm the guy that was being the gate or they had to try to climb the wall which was probably decorated with thorns around the top of it.

Since a live sheep would be difficult to get back over the wall it is very likely that they would slaughter the sheep right there in the pen. The reason they wanted the lamb was to have food or to have the fleece so either way the lamb was going to die.

The Gate Is Narrow

Matthew 7:13-14  "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
The sheepfold is Israel and God's children are the sheep. Jesus is the only gate that will give you access to God's kingdom and protection from the thieves and robbers. The leaders of Judaism tried to make it as difficult to gain access to God's sheepfold as they could, their false teaching took advantage of the sheep and caused Jesus to be moved with compassion. (Matthew 9:35-38)

Jesus wants us to know that his children have a place of safety and rest and there is only one narrow opening to get you there. (Matthew 11:28, 1 Timothy 2:5) These concepts are difficult for our world to understand. We want God to let us into the sheepfold by our rules, we don't want there to be one way in that he gets to define, we like to be in charge but we don't get to be the boss.

Thank you Lord for caring enough for such lowly, dirty and dumb creatures that you went to the extreme to give them an eternal dwelling place of safety and rest.

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 I rejoice in Your word like one who discovers a great treasure.   Psalms 119:162