Digging  The  Word


I am digging into God's word everyday because it really is God's word and I want to know what he said.

Do You Really Know Jesus?

Church membership, small groups and even faith doesn't mean you really know Jesus.

 

John 14:7-11  If you had really known Me, you would know who My Father is. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him!"  8  Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."

9  Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father! So why are you asking Me to show Him to you?

10  Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak are not My own, but My Father who lives in Me does His work through Me.  11  Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen Me do.

Do you know Jesus? I mean really know him? It isn't a strange question. There was a time in the United States when just about everybody knew who Jesus is but those numbers have slowly declined. But just because they knew who he is doesn't mean that they really knew him as a close personal friend.

The Bible tells us that in Jesus' small group they didn't all know him and some of them knew him better than others. We saw recently that Judas didn't get it at all and he wasted three years of his life living a lie. The other disciples didn't really know him fully or they wouldn't react to situations the way they did.

Philip proved that he didn't really know when he asks Jesus "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus has been with them for all this time telling them that he is God (John 10:30-33) and yet they are still confused.

Philip is the same guy that Jesus asked “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” (John 6:5) If he really knew Jesus he wouldn't have any doubt that Jesus could feed them even if there wasn't a basket of bread and fish.

I cannot criticize Philip for what he didn't know, I have to ask myself if I really know Jesus, does the average church attender or small group participant really know Jesus? What level of intimacy is my relationship to Jesus?

The average person in Jerusalem may have had physical or factual knowledge of who Jesus is but it didn't have an affect on their life. Even the people that were against Jesus had this much knowledge of him but because they stopped there and didn't go any further in their relationship with him, out of ignorance they came to the wrong conclusion about him.

We need to know Jesus deeper through a relationship built on faith or else we will be in danger of forming the wrong opinion about him. This is the depth of knowing that scripture refers to between Adam and Eve in Genesis 4:1 and this is the depth of relationship that Jesus uses in John 17:3.

John 17:3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

The apostle Paul mentions a deeper knowing of Jesus in his letter to the Philippians. This deeper knowledge of Jesus causes your perspective of worldly things to change.

Philippians 3:8-10  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ  9  and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.  10  I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death,

The value of knowing Christ and holding him above any other love in this world is pretty radical. Paul was educated, he had position in the religious system and he was known for being a devout Jew that obeyed the law but none of this was important to him after he received a deeper knowledge of Jesus.

We can be too much like Paul, we know enough about Jesus to make us dangerous, we can come to some radical opinions about him and do some stupid things. We can value our own ability and our social status above the value of knowing Jesus better and allowing him to be in control.

Perfect Unity

John 14:19-21  Soon the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me. Since I live, you also will live.  20  When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.

21  Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them."
The Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father takes up residence in the life of a believer!  This is such an incredible thought! Jesus will send the Holy Spirit to be our Advocate, he will live within us and help us know the truth so that we can live in unity with the three persons of the trinity. (John 14:16-17)

John 17:23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

I need to go beyond just knowing Jesus and take it to a deeper level. The burning desire of every believer ought to be to know God better, to know Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I mean really KNOW them and be a real follower of Christ.

I should be diligent to be "Digging the Word" so that I might know and I should allow what I know to affect the way that I live. Once I began to cultivate this deeper communion with Christ it made me hungry for more, I have no desire to return to my previous shallow life being a careless Christian.

I need to remember Jesus words at the beginning of John 14 and realize that I can live with a heart that isn't troubled if I have faith and if I live it out my faith in obedience to his commands. (John 14:1)

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I Am The Way, The Truth And The Life

Jesus answers important questions that have eternal consequences.

 

John 14:3-9  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am.  And you know the way to where I am going."

"No, we don't know, Lord," Thomas said. "We have no idea where You are going, so how can we know the way?"

Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.  If you had really known Me, you would know who My Father is. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him!"

Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."

Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father! So why are you asking Me to show Him to you?

This post jumps right into Jesus' classroom, he has been teaching his disciples their final lessons before his death, these lessons will have to sustain these guys through the dark days ahead. The disciples have already had their world turned sideways and their perspective on the Messiah has been challenged, they have more questions and doubts than ever.

The beginning of John 14 is a very popular portion of scripture and with good reason. this may be the climax of everything that Jesus has taught them in the past three years, some of life's most important questions are answered here.

Jesus told them in the previous verses to not doubt him and don't be upset by what is about to happen. If they trust in God the Father then they can trust in the Son as well and then Jesus tells them that they have very good reasons to do so. (John 14:1-2)

I Am The Only Way To God


Jesus is going ahead of the disciples to get a place ready for them and he promises that when everything is ready he will come and get them. Thomas had to speak up and ask how they would know the way to where he is going, Thomas wants to get there so logic says that he needed to know more information.

Thomas didn't realize that the journey is a spiritual one, Jesus wasn't going to a physical location so getting there wasn't something that Thomas needed to do for himself, he didn't know that Jesus would come back and personally escort him there when it is time.

I Am The Only Source Of Truth


What is truth? The question that Pilate asked during Jesus' trial is an important one for each of us to answer. Some say truth is a power trip used by some to control the masses, to some, truth is subjective and based on preference or opinion, others believe truth is a popular consensus created by the culture.

Truth is far more than facts. It’s not just something we act upon. It acts upon us. We can’t change the truth, but the truth can change us. It sanctifies (sets us apart) from the falsehoods woven into our sin natures.

Absolute truth is unpopular and inconvenient, absolute truth is demanding, you don't get to decide what is right. If something is absolutely wrong then your only decision is whether you are going to do right or do wrong. I don't get to redefine what absolute truth is going to be. Our society and the church has distorted the truth of scripture and adopted new teachings on social issues but God hasn't changed his mind.

I Am The Only Giver Of Eternal Life 


Death has been defeated and my faith gives me peace and joy! If the only thing you did was believe on Jesus so that you won’t go to hell, then you are missing out on the everlasting life the Lord wants to have with you right now. Eternal life is not just a destination to go to after you leave this world, it is also a relationship to be enjoyed now, it is a relationship that begins in this world that keeps on growing until we experience it eternally in heaven.

My relationship with God should grow closer and closer while I am here even though it can never become what it will be when I am in his presence without my sin nature and the cares of this world getting in the way.

The Promise From God

Galatians 3:16-17, 29  God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn't say "to his children, " as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says "to His child"--and that, of course, means Christ.

17  This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking His promise.

29  And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you.
God's promise to Abraham is still in the process of being fully realized, the promise that through the Messiah all of the true descendants of Abraham would be blessed, Jesus has begun the work that will be completed in each of us when we cheat the grave and arrive in the presence of God the Father.

I am so unworthy and completely undeserving of the promise that God made to Abraham, just as Abraham didn't do anything to gain the approval of God, I am at least as bad as he was. 

God's Promises - Psalm 12:6, 71:22, 91:4, 119:140, 145:13

Eternal Life In John's Gospel - John 1:29, 36, 3:14-16, 5:25-25, 10:9, 10:17–18, 11:25, 14:9, 19

I have a place in my Father's house that he is preparing for me. I don't have to figure out how to get there because he will personally escort me there! Thank you Lord for your amazing love that has prompted you to do so much for me. 

Faith Brings Peace And Joy

Faith in Jesus gives me peace with God and the greatest joy!

 

Romans 5:1-11  Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  2  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.

3  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  4  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

We all face situations that make us ask "Why?" Our hearts can become troubled when God doesn't make sense to us. In my previous post I looked at Jesus concern for his disciples and how they would handle the emotions that could be overwhelming after he is crucified. Jesus taught his disciples that they should not let their hearts be troubled by the events that would soon take place. (John 14:1)

Today in Romans 5 I am following up with some of the verses that I discovered during my study for the post "Why?" Paul taught the Romans a similar lesson about the impact that faith has on your state of mind and your happiness.

Without faith we are condemned by God because of our debt of sin but thanks to God he has made it possible for us to be justified and be made free from sin by Jesus work on the cross. Now I am God's friend just like anybody that I read about in the Bible.

Paul Teaches The Romans About Faith - Romans 1:17, 3:22-31, 4:5, 9:30, 10:10

Faith has always been necessary to please God, before Jesus came Abraham's faith was in what God was going to do through the Messiah, our faith now is in what he has done through Jesus.

My Eternal Hope

Romans 15:13  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
My hope that comes from God and the work of Jesus accomplished on the cross gives me complete joy! An issue that I had no ability to overcome has been handled in the only way possible. Now all of my other problems seem very small in comparison to the sin problem that God has solved, the joy of that thought spills over into every area of life, all of my other cares are nothing in comparison.

How believers maintain peace:


Through remaining in Christ - John 15:4-7, 16:33
Through living by the Holy Spirit - Romans 8:6, 14:17-19; Galatians 5:22
Through obedience to God’s word - Joshua 1:8-9, Psalm 119:165-167
Through prayer and meditation - Philippians 4:6-9, Psalm 1:1-3; Isaiah 26:3

-Dictionary of Bible Themes on BibleGateway.com

Thank you Lord for faith that brings me to a peaceful relationship with you! I know that I will not be disappointed because I have the Holy Spirit in me as proof that our relationship has been restored for eternity. (Romans 5:5-11)

Why?

Don't let your heart be troubled when Jesus doesn't make sense to you.

 

John 13:36-38  Simon Peter asked, "Lord, where are You going?" And Jesus replied, "You can't go with Me now, but you will follow Me later."  37  "But why can't I come now, Lord?" he asked. "I'm ready to die for You."  38  Jesus answered, "Die for Me? I tell you the truth, Peter--before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know Me.

Life is so difficult and seems out of control, things do not add up and we cannot make sense of what is going on, we have all been through those times when you just want to scream at God and ask him if he really knows what he is doing. That is the situation these eleven men find themselves in.

Not too long ago Jesus caused quite a stir when he raised Lazarus from the dead, they must have thought that the coming Kingdom was about to be established, instead Jesus leaves the crowds and takes them to a village in the desert, these guys were never able to figure out what was going to happen next.

Why are we out here?

This couldn't have made any sense to the twelve disciples. They didn't realize that even as the religious leaders were purifying the people in preparation for Passover they were simultaneously plotting Jesus death. (John 11:54-57)

As Passover drew near Jesus went back towards Jerusalem and stopped in Bethany where he had dinner with his friends. While they were at the dinner Mary came into the room with expensive perfume that she used to anoint Jesus.

Why is Jesus talking about his burial?

They could have had a church fund-raiser and used the money to help the poor. They all blindly went along with Judas and agreed that this was a big waste of money. (John 12:1-8)

Now this is more like it they must have thought as they walked on toward Jerusalem and saw the crowds running out to meet them as they sang their praises for the arrival of the Messiah. But instead of capitalizing on the momentum and taking charge he is deeply troubled and starts to pray. (John 12:29)

Why is Jesus talking about defeating Satan?

This crowd just wants somebody to make today a better day and improve the outlook for their future. Get rid of the burden that the Romans had them living under. Obviously Jesus was opposed to the plan that the crowd was pushing for and his kingdom was a disappointment to them.

Why is everything not as we thought?

There was so much chaos and unanswered questions on that day. Isn't he the Messiah? We just gave him a Messiah's welcome when he came into the city. Isn't the Messiah going to live forever? (John 12:34-36)

We thought that Jesus was our leader and now he is acting like our servant and washing our feet! What do you mean that you are going somewhere and I have to stay here? We thought that our small group was solid but now we have learned that one of us has been living a lie and Jesus tells us that the rest of us will all desert him.

Why would Jesus treat us this way?

 In the middle of all of the turmoil that the disciples are going through, none of them had much thought for the emotions that Jesus was feeling. He was with his small group yet he was all alone. None of them showed any interest in Jesus' suffering and offer up any comfort.
"Now My soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to Your name."
We gave up three years of our life for him and now he is leaving? They had to wonder how safe they were because Jesus enemies also hated them. Would they be the next to die?

Despite the feelings that Jesus had, his deep sorrow and grief, nobody else notices! Yet he is so in touch with their feelings and he is so concerned with their ability to cope with the circumstances even though he knows that they will desert him later that same night.

Don't Be Troubled

John 14:1-3  "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me.  There is more than enough room in My Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am.
When your heart is troubled Jesus calls on us to have faith in him and his promises, "you cannot see God but you believe in him therefore believe in me even though you won't be able to see me anymore." A lot of confusion about what was going on was due to their misconceptions about the Messiah which are getting blown away but they still needed to know that their faith was not in vain. (1 Peter 1:8)

They still had every reason to believe in God and in his son Jesus. They had every reason to believe that they have a home in heaven that is being made ready for them and when it is ready he will come back for us. You only prepare a place for someone if you are confident of their arrival, we don't have to worry about getting their on our own, Jesus himself will come to get us and escort us into the Father's house.

Victory In Jesus: Romans 8:35-37, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Hebrews 13:6, 1 John 5:4-5

Don't let your heart be troubled when Jesus doesn't make sense to you. Faith in God and in Jesus is the cure for a troubled heart, believers should be the most peaceful people but in reality we are not much different from the rest of the world, usually this is due to a lack of faith. If you're discontent, worried, anxious, or otherwise in need of comfort, the reason can be that you don't trust Jesus as much as you should.

We do what the disciples did, we have all of the same confusion and questions, we focus on our problems and trust in their power to wipe us out more than we trust in God. We know that our ultimate future is very bright. When we arrive at our father's house he will take care of all the hurts and the needs of his children, there won't be any unmet needs and no wanting for anything.
Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won't become weary and give up. 
Just like Jesus looked beyond the present sufferings to his future glory, we should keep our eyes on the higher purposes of God and realize that these troubles that we have in this present world are very temporary. (Romans 8:18).

Thank you Lord for caring for me, help me to realize the impact of that, since I know you care for me I know that I can trust you for every situation that I don't understand. Help me to grow in faith so that I won't let my heart be troubled when you don't make sense to me.

I Don't Deserve You

I don't deserve your love but you give it to me anyway!



You're the first face that I see
And the last thing I think about
You're the reason that I'm alive
You're what I can't live without
You're what I can't live without

You never give up
When I'm falling apart
Your arms are always open wide
And you're quick to forgive
When I make a mistake
You love me in the blink of an eye

I don't deserve your love
But you give it to me anyway
Can't get enough
You're everything I need
And when I walk away
Take off running and come right after me
It's what you do
And I don't deserve you

You're the light inside my eyes
Give me a reason to keep trying
Give me more than I could dream
And you bring me to my knees
You bring me to my knees

Your heart is gold and how am I the one
That you've chosen to love
I still can't believe that you're right next to me
After all that I've done

I don't deserve your love
But you give it to me anyway
Can't get enough
You're everything I need
And when I walk away
Take off running and come right after me
It's what you do
And I don't deserve you

2 Chronicles 5:13 The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words:

“He is good! His faithful love endures forever!”

At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord.

Psalms 86:5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

Jeremiah 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.

Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)


You Are Mine!

I'm amazed that I am yours and you are mine!



Nothing in this world
Nothing in this whole wide world
Could ever take me from your hand
Even if I run away
And I don't have the strength to make it back home
I know that you will guide me

Cause you are the one who picked me up
Brushed me off and called me loved
You showed me I am yours

You are mine
Jesus, you are mine
I know that I'm unworthy
Completely undeserving
I'm amazed, I'm amazed
That I am yours
And you are mine
You are mine

Even when I can't feel you
Even when my soul is crying out
And it looks like I have nobody

Lord, you'll be the one to pick me up
Brush me off and call me loved
Yes, I know that I am yours

And you are mine
Jesus, you are mine
I know that I'm unworthy
Completely undeserving
I'm amazed, I'm amazed
That I am yours
And you are mine

I am home, I am home
I am home here with you
I am home, I am home
I am home here with you

Oh, Jesus I am home, I am home
I am home right here with you
I'm blessed to call you... mine
I'm amazed that you are... mine

I know that I'm unworthy
Completely undeserving
I'm amazed, I'm amazed
That I am yours
Oh, I'm amazed
I'm amazed
That I am yours
And you are mine
You are mine

Are You Amazed?

Psalm 139:1-6, 17-18 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.  You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!  18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

An all knowing God who is totally pure and completely knows me and how impure I am still loves me !

On my best day I am never close to deserving what God has given to me! It is amazing that he knows me and he still wants me!

If you are not amazed by God's love and his huge desire to have a relationship with you then there is a big problem. If he isn't that amazing to you then you don't understand just how good he is and just how bad you are.

Thank you Lord for your amazing love!

Real Christ Followers

The imitations can be so close to the real thing that you might be surprised.

 

Matthew 7:20-23  Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.  21  "Not everyone who calls out to Me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter.

22  On judgment day many will say to Me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.'  23  But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God's laws.'

In my previous post "Living A Lie" we saw that all of the disciples were deceived into thinking that Judas was one of them. Everyone in the room at the Last Supper was shocked except for our Savior, Satan had produced such a superb counterfeit Christ Follower to the point that the eleven guys that Judas was in a small group with didn't have a clue.

Christianities true value can be seen in the number of cheap imitations that there are. Counterfeiters do not waste their time producing pretend copies of something that isn't real and very valuable, a lot of effort goes into making false cash or precious gemstones or even imitation of expensive medication but nobody is making fake versions of cheap things with little value.

That's one of the ways that Satan proves to us that Christianity is valuable and real. Other religions do not have a problem with fake versions, nobody has ever seen a false Buddhists or a fake Hindu, I know that Christ and his teachings are extremely valuable because of all of the effort that Satan puts into making counterfeits.

You even heard it from our president, “Well, there were Christians a thousand years ago who slaughtered Muslims.”  Those weren't Christians, by the way, those were false Christians who belonged to a false Christian system, but that’s the kind of strategy that goes on all of the time surrounding Christianity.

-John MacArthur "Traits of a True Believer"

There is a lot of talk about being a Christian, many funerals do the injustice of labeling someone a Christian when their isn't any real evidence, what a tragedy that is! The people that attend such a funeral will understand a false gospel and feel comfortable about their eternal relationship with God.

So how do we know who the true Christians are?  Who are the true followers of Christ? If Judas was able to trick eleven guys in his small group then how can we be sure about our own small group?

It is difficult for us to know because the heart is where the real change has to take place. Anybody can put some effort into changing the outside, I can follow the rules and do what is expected of a Christ follower for long enough to fool anybody, but real transformation comes from the heart.

Ezekiel 36:25-27  "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  26  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.

I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  27  And I will put My Spirit in you so that you will follow My decrees and be careful to obey My regulations.

A new heart and a new spirit has to come from God, the inner spiritual transformation has to work its way out to the outer physical transformation, too often we try to change our exterior with the hopes that it will sink inward. The Bible tells us that is the wrong direction.

Heart Issues: Acts 15:9, Romans 2:29, 2 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Timothy 2:22, Hebrews 10:22

From the inside a new creation comes about from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God from nothing. The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward self. The old things are replaced with new things that are full of life and the glory of God.

Empty Words: Psalm 55:21-23, Proverbs 26:23-25, Ezekiel 33:31-33, James 2:15-16, 1 John 3:18-19

We have all heard the parable of the two builders that built their own homes, they might have the same architect, same floor plan and they were probably in the same neighborhood because they both weathered the same storm but without a solid foundation they will have drastically different outcomes.

Spiritual activity without a proper foundation is the easiest way to seem like you have been changed by the gospel, you don't have to dig or pour a footer, you just pick a place and start building, your house may resemble the true believers around you but without the proper foundation it is all going to fall. (Matthew 7:20-27)

Examine Yourself First: 1 Corinthians 11:31, Matthew 7:4-5, Romans 2:1,

Real followers of Jesus have a new birth, a new heart and new desires, they are Spirit led and obedient to God's Word. Real followers of Jesus are strangely different, what they hated before are the things that they love, going to church and studying God's Word are no longer a chore. All of the stuff the world loves is seen as garbage and so they strive to die to their old way of life.

Ye call Me Master and obey me not,
Ye call Me Light and see me not,
Ye call Me the way and follow me not
Ye call Me Life and desire me not,
Ye call Me wise and acknowledge me not,
Ye call Me fair and love me not,
Ye call Me rich and ask me not,
Ye call Me eternal and seek me not,
Ye call Me gracious and trust me not,
Ye call Me Noble and serve me not,
Ye call Me mighty and honor me not,
Ye call Me just and fear me not,
If I condemn you, blame me not.
It may sound like a long checklist of things to look for in someones life but it can all be summed up with the word love. It's that thing that Jesus said that we should be known for and since the world is pretty good at love that means that we will have to be really extreme at showing love in order to be set apart from the rest. (John 13:35)

These are the clues that somebody is a real follower of Christ. They have experienced a new birth, received a new heart, and enjoy new desires. All of these things make them a totally different person than they used to be.

Plenty of "good" people will end up in hell for eternity without God. Living a moral and descent life may fool your pastor, your friends or even your small group but it isn't going to fool God.

Your good works, church attendance, baptism, Bible study or prayer time isn't going to keep you from hearing Jesus say "I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God's laws."

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