Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mary: A Song Of Trust

Trusting God when I lack understanding and I don't have all of the answers.


Luke 1:38 Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true." And then the angel left her.

Luke 1:46-55 Mary responded, "Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. 47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! 48 For He took notice of His lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.

49 For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me. 50 He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear Him. 51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. 52 He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands.

54 He has helped His servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. 55 For He made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever."

There are not very many people that can say that God has spoken so vividly as he did to Mary, I have not heard of anyone that has knowingly had a conversation with an angel from God, I have to wonder how you or I would respond.

Mary already knew what happens to unwed mothers and now through no fault of her own she is in that predicament.  This is a huge change in her life, Mary would never be the same, people would treat her differently, would they ever believe that she didn't do anything wrong? Would she ever have a husband, would Joseph go through with the wedding? Would all of the men shun her? Would she be allowed to live or would she have to run away from home to save her life?

The biggest question was how could she raise the Son of God? There are a lot of books on raising boys these days but they didn't have them in her day and this boy wasn't just any boy. The gospels say almost nothing about Jesus for thirty years of his life. We don't know anything about Mary's parenting skills or what happened to Joseph.

Mary's response to the angel was amazing, she must have still had plenty of questions and reasons to hold back her trust in God but she told the angel that she was willing to allow everything that he said to happen to her.

Mary's song has three sections:

✔  God Always Uses An Ordinary Person (Luke 1:46-49)

Mary's blessing was not something that she earned, just like you and I, she was unworthy and had no special goodness. God chose to favor her by his design, God has never been one to show respect for anyone because nobody has ever deserved it.

If Mary could come back to earth and tell us anything it would probably be to "call me blessed but don't go any further!" She doesn't have an super powers or special status with God, Mary is just another frail, imperfect human being just like all of us.

Mary’s song of praise reflects her total submission and deep gratitude to God for what he was doing through her despite her shortcomings and sin nature. Mary's song was similar to the song of Hannah whose son also came about under special circumstances and whose son would serve the people as a priest. (1 Samuel 2:1-10)

✔  God doesn't use the rich and powerful (Luke 1:50-53)

Mary expands her praise from God's goodness to her to his goodness and power in general to all mankind and especially for his people. Mary shows greater humility in the fact that she didn't dwell on herself but she went beyond herself to include all of us.

God's blessings are for everybody and we should celebrate everyday but especially at Christmas. Have you ever thought about the fact that God uses anybody, no matter what status that we put on people that doesn't make any difference, God will use anyone who trust him.
Video:  Mary Did You Know - Pentatonix

✔  God was being faithful to the promises he gave to Israel (Luke 1:54-56)

Israel didn't trust God to come through with his promises, if you were in their shoes and you had heard the promises from previous generations and you didn't see any evidence that they were about to come true during your lifetime then you wouldn't be any different. (Genesis 22:17-18)

Our human nature makes it difficult to let go and trust God despite the evidence, Noah, Abraham and so many others had to look beyond their own reasoning and believe the promise.

Trust is difficult but to trust with all of my heart is a new level of difficult, my own wisdom and understanding gets in the way, I start to analyze the situation and even though I want to trust with all of my heart my understanding makes me fearful and it gives me really good reasons to stop trusting.

My security and my God given reasoning abilities can work against me so that I hold back but I need to remember the next verse tells me that I better not be impressed with my own wisdom. God may ask you to do the unreasonable, my wisdom may clash with his plans to redeem the world and display his glory, his plans may not include me living a safe life to a ripe old age. Mary's plans for her life were so much easier that God's plans!

God has announced great news and promises to me, I need to respond with complete trust despite what my head may think, I need to follow with all of my heart. God's blessings to me are mind blowing. I know that I will inherit a glorious home in heaven someday so I need to trust him and not be focused on having the best life now.

What is your response? Are you blessed or entitled? Can you truly trust God with all of your heart?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thank God!

Thank you Lord for supplying for my every need.

Psalms 65:1-13 For the choir director: A song. A psalm of David. What mighty praise, O God, belongs to You in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to You, 2 for You answer our prayers. All of us must come to You. 3 Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, You forgive them all. 4 What joy for those You choose to bring near, those who live in Your holy courts. What festivities await us inside Your holy Temple.

5 You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. 6 You formed the mountains by Your power and armed Yourself with mighty strength. 7 You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. 8 Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, You inspire shouts of joy.

9 You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for You have ordered it so. 10 You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. 11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. 12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. 13 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!

Thank God! I mean really do it. We say a lot of things that we don't really mean in our culture, our words are not used very accurately, it is "amazing" how much we use the word "amazing." We use the short sentence "thank God" a lot without much concern for really being sincere.

Thankfulness is the only proper response for all of our blessings, followers of Jesus should be the most thankful people on the planet, as children of the king we have been given everything for doing so little. The child of God has the assurance that all things work together for our good so how can we not be thankful for all things? (Romans 8:28)

Thank God For:

God's Grace - The Savior of Sinners

Praise God he has a people that are chosen to live eternally with him. God has given me the privilege of being a priest with direct access to him, he answers my prayer and forgives my sin without any interaction with anybody else. (1 Peter 2:9-10, Revelation 1:5-6)
Romans 5:2 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.
God's grace proves him to be compassionate and generous to sinful rebellious beings, shielding us from his wrath, forgiving them, and giving on us his righteousness.

God's Government - The Ruler of All Nations

He is “El Shaddai” the Almighty God who rules all of creation, he is sovereign over every kingdom and government, and his sovereignty will never end. Things look out of control but God's rule and final authority will bring everything to a peaceful conclusion when the temporary ruler of this world is dethroned.

God chose a people to rule so that the nations around Israel would have a witness to the power and blessings of the rule of God over a nation. God's children were a light to the Gentile nations around them and now as followers of Jesus we are the light and the testimony to the goodness of God and his rule in our lives.

God's Goodness - The Provider Of All We Need

The Lord will provide, Jehovah Jireh, the creator of every good and perfect gift. God supplies everything that is needed for everything that he has created, he sustains everything but he gives special care to his own people.
Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
In a land full of opportunity and such amazing resources it is easy to rely on ourselves, pride laziness and indifference. It is easy to make idols out of the blessings and worship the things instead of the giver of the gifts. We are easily tempted to forget, to take for granted, and to ignore God who takes care of our every need, especially our spiritual needs.

Thank you Lord for supplying for my every need. You gave me grace, love and mercy and you have gone way beyond that and blessed me beyond measure.
Giving Thanks In Everything (

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Compromising Church

A difficult environment never justifies compromise.

Revelation 2:12-17 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the One with the sharp two-edged sword: 13 "I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to Me. You refused to deny Me even when Antipas, My faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan's city.

14 "But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching.

Everyone worships someone or something, Satan knows about this God given desire and he has limitless options to help you direct your worship where it doesn't belong, religious beliefs is a wide open category where you can pick and choose.

The church has always been in a battle to keep everything that isn't truth away from their beliefs. It is so important that most churches have a page on their website to tell you what their essential core beliefs are.

Compromised beliefs have been around from the beginning of time when mankind decided to turn away from God's rule. From that day on world history has been filled with substitutes for the truth that we find in God's Word.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
Jesus was pleased with the church in Pergamos for their stand for the truth in spite of severe persecution but they were not faultless. False teaching from the pagan culture that they lived in was being tolerated.

They didn't get any extra credit because they lived where Satan had so much influence. Judgment will come upon every church that accommodates the culture and seeks acceptance from man.

The world doesn't need a compromised church, they need to know that we have something that is worth living and dying for, the message of the gospel is too important. Jesus doesn't tolerate compromise, Jesus didn't look at their good side and ignore the bad and he didn't make excuses for them because of their difficult environment. The church must be a pure bride without blemish if it is going to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb.

The world doesn't need a judgmental and unloving church either, they need to hear the truth that will save them from eternal punishment but they also need to know that the church people are sinners that haven't forgotten their condition before the Gospel.
Let’s not compromise by seeing how close we can get to right; let’s stand on God’s promise to walk so close to Him that almost right becomes evil in our sight.
-Franklin Graham
God doesn't want any compromise at all but most of us look for the minimum amount of good that we need to do to please him. We go so far as to judge others that look less good to us but we don't know their circumstances. It is easier to look Christ like in some situations more than it is in others, we don't know what they have been called to stand against, they may have resisted far more than I have ever encountered.

Instead of just good enough we need to be seeking to become more like Jesus and stand for truth when it destroys our popularity. There isn't any room for this faulty logic when you realize our mandate is to be holy just as our God is holy. If we are new creations then we shouldn't look so much like our old self. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The Danger Of Compromise (
The Sate Of Theology (

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Suffering Church

Their suffering increased their riches in Jesus' eyes.

Revelation 2:8-11 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the One who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive: 9 "I know about your suffering and your poverty--but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan.

10 Don't be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life. 11 "Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.

It is easy for the cool and comfortable church to draw big crowds and be successful in the ways that man measures success but that isn't the kind of church that Jesus is pleased with. The church that did not get any reprimand from Jesus was the church that was the least cool and comfortable.

The church at Smyrna was doing church right, all of the potential trouble makers are already long gone from this congregation, if church isn't going to be cool and comfortable then the hypocrites are not going to stick around. The casual attenders that rarely come except at Christmas and Easter are not going to attend this church.
Eighty and six years have I served Him and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me? You threaten me with the fire that burns for a time and is quickly quenched, for you do not know the fire which awaits the wicked in the judgment to come and in everlasting punishment. Why are you waiting? Come do what you will.
The members of the congregation were persecuted by the Romans and the Jews. They were persecuted by one group for refusing to say, “Caesar is Lord” and the other group persecuted them for saying "Jesus is Lord." The Romans would take away absolutely every material possession for not bowing to Caesar and the Jews would throw them out of the synagogue for their belief in Jesus. Historians tell us that Smyrna was the location of mass executions of Christians who refused to bow their knee to Caesar.
2 Corinthians 6:10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
Just as the church is Ephesus appeared to be an awesome church through the eyes of man the church in Smyrna seemed to be poor from a human perspective but Jesus saw them differently. God's ways are always opposite from our ways, in God's economy the poor are rich, the lost are found and the dead are alive and the circumcised are the uncircumcised. (Romans 2:27-29, John 8:44)

Their stand for Jesus caused them to lose everything but in reality their suffering only increased their riches. This church was serious about storing up riches that the world cannot take away. (Matthew 6:19-21, James 1:12)
“To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus. The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ. Maybe this is why we sit back and settle for a casual relationship with Christ and routine religion in the church. It is safe there, and the world likes us there. The world likes us when we are pursuing everything they are pursuing, even if we do put a Christian label on it. As long as Christianity looks like the American dream, we will have few problems in this world.”
-International Mission Board President David Platt
The prized American dream can get in the way of our dreams of working for our eternal kingdom. We have our roots dug down so deep that it doesn't look like we are planning to leave. If we really believe our Bibles then we should live like we are leaving and we should be sending our treasures ahead of time instead of being so attached to the world's treasures.

The church in America should use it's freedoms to serve more and make disciples more zealously both in our country and abroad. If your church is a cool place to be where life is easy and safe and the biggest persecution that you have is from another church attender that doesn't affirm your worship preferences then your church is due for a makeover.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

When Love Grows Cold

The church in Ephesus looked good on the outside.

Revelation 2:1-4 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven gold lampstands: 2 "I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don't tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for Me without quitting. 4 "But I have this complaint against you. You don't love Me or each other as you did at first!

Ever visit a church that you have never been to before? Maybe you are looking for a new church home and you want to know that the church that you are considering is really a good church. You can visit a few weeks or maybe even read some reviews online but you can't be sure that the church is really a good church. We may be fooled but Jesus has the eyes to see the true condition of the church. (Revelation 1:14)

The church in Ephesus looked great, they had ministries and programs, they had good teaching, they defended the truth and didn't tolerate false doctrine but they missed one thing that Jesus wanted to warn them about.

This church was in a very pagan city with a culture that must have been influenced by the temple dedicated to the worship of the goddess Diana which was located there. Ephesus was an important and famous city, the temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, they had games that rivaled the Olympics, a library and a large amphitheater.

This church had an awesome start, the ministry started with Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos worked at the new church plant and then Paul came into town and reaped a great harvest. Timothy served there and John was also there until his exile to Patmos. (Acts 18:24-28, 19:23-41)

The message to the church in Ephesus is that what we do for the Lord is important but so is why we do it! The church was serving sacrificially, they were defending truth and they were enduring persecution but their motivation was wrong.

You can be very busy serving God but if you are doing it just to follow the rules instead of it coming from an overwhelming love for him then you are no better than the religious leaders that Jesus was talking to:
Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied, "You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind."
Jesus spoke those words to some of the best people on earth. A lot of the religious leaders were really very good people that followed the rules and tried to do exactly what the law said they should do. The problem with that is, even the best religious leaders of Jesus day with good intentions, were guilty of serving and sacrificing without loving.

It may surprise you to learn that the church that is passionately serving must be careful to be passionately loving as well because it is possible to serve, sacrifice, suffer persecution and physical abuse and yet not really love Jesus Christ. Without love for Jesus it's just religion!

If you can be a church that does not passionately love Jesus in a persecuted country then the odds that a church in the United States does not love Jesus properly is very high. We live so comfortably that we begin to rely on ourselves and forget about the source of our blessings.
Psalms 32:11 So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey Him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
The intensity of my love for Jesus needs to burn strong everyday. His love for me never fails but my love for him needs to be cultivated and nurtured at all times. It will be so awesome when we get to live without sin and there will not be any competition from the world for my affection.

I need to stop and take time to remember the work that God has been doing in my life and continue to fellowship with him everyday because I love him and want to serve him joyfully.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Believe, Be Sure About It And Be Ready

John's advice is still important today.

The apostle John was a close friend of Jesus, he was in the inner circle of the disciples, he is the man that took care of Jesus' mother for fifteen years after Jesus' death and he was an early leader in the church.

John's books are very significant part of the Bible, he gives us more of the teachings of Jesus than any other gospel writer, he also wrote the most unique book of the Bible from the vision that he experienced while he was exiled to Patmos.

We can see in John's books that he wants us to believe in Jesus, be sure about it and he wants us to be ready for his return:


John 20:31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
John wrote his first book out of a desire to help you believe. It is easy to find something to believe but there is only one belief that is going to get you to heaven. So what are we supposed to believe?
  • Jesus the man is also one hundred percent God. (John 1:1-3, 14)
  • Jesus came from the heavenly world to reveal God to the human race. (John 1:18, 3:13, 5:18-19, 6:62, 8:23, 8:26, 14:9, 14:11)
  • Jesus came to live with us with a normal human body. (John 4:6-7, 9:6, 12:3, 19:34)
  • Jesus came to be the sacrifice for our sins and give us eternal life with him. (John 3:14-16, 6:27, 10:10)
Eternal life is only available by belief in Jesus and his work on the cross as a substitute for the punishment that I deserved.

Be Sure

1 John 5:13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.
John's next book was written to help you be sure of what you believe. The same man that was unclear and lacked faith in who Jesus was wants to help you with your belief.

What you believe is so important to John because just like every other Jew, John held onto false beliefs all of his life, his beliefs didn't get straightened out until after Jesus came back from the grave. Nobody understood that Jesus first coming wasn't going to be his last.

In John's three letters he wants to reassure troubled believers that they really do have eternal life so that they might enjoy it. (1 John 1:3; 3:18-19; 4:13; 5:13 / 2 John 5)

Be Ready

Revelation 22:20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
The first coming of Jesus was to give us eternal life and when he returns he will come to give us our eternal reward. Unlike the first time, when he returns again it will be too late to clear up any false beliefs, it is extremely important that you believe and that you are sure about it.
10 Things Christ Promises To Reward (

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Oh how sweet the sound, Oh how grace abounds, We will praise the Lord!

Video: Rend Collective "Rescuer"

He's our rescuer He's our rescuer We are free from sin forever more
Oh how sweet the sound Oh how grace abounds We will praise the Lord our rescuer

There is good news for the captive Good news for the caged
There is good news for the one who walked away There is good news for the doubting
The one religion failed For the Good Lord has come to seek and save

He's our rescuer He's our rescuer We are free from sin forever more
Oh how sweet the sound Oh how grace abounds We will praise the Lord our rescuer

He is beauty for the blind man Riches for the poor
He is friendship for the one the world ignores
He is pasture for the weary Rest for those who strive
For the Good Lord is the way, the truth and life
Yes the Good Lord is the way, the truth and life

He's our rescuer He's our rescuer We are free from sin forever more Oh how sweet the sound Oh how grace abounds We will praise the Lord our rescuer

So come and be chainless Come and be fearless Come to the foot of Calvary
There is redemption For every affliction Here at the foot of Calvary
The Gospel Is My Rescue
Psalms 56:10-13 I praise God for what He has promised; Yes, I praise the LORD for what He has promised. 11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? 12 I will fulfill my vows to You, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for Your help. 13 For You have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in Your presence, O God, in Your life-giving light.
What an amazing change of circumstances for the people that have become children of God! We have gone from absolutely nothing to children of the Most High King! The Gospel message is the greatest rescue story that had ever been told.

It is exciting to read the whole story from the beginning of trouble in Genesis to the ultimate hope that I have in the book of Revelation. There isn't any reason to get upset with the bad news that I see about how bad our world has become because this world is not the end of my story.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Say Amen

It's only by God's grace I'm standing here today.

Video: Matthew West "Amen"

Hey hey preacher man
Do you mind if I borrow that mic? (Uh-huh!)
You been talking 'bout
How everybody got a story
Here is mine
I was so lost, I was so lost
But now I'm found, yeah, yeah

Hey hey preacher man
Let's take a walk down by the river
Let the holy water wash over me
'Cause now that I've been delivered
I want the whole world
To know that I'm a new man now
And it's only by God's grace
I'm standing here today

If you're feeling what I'm feeling
Let me hear you say amen
If you're a new creation, amen
If you got that feel good in your soul
That hope that won't let you go
If you're feeling what I'm feeling
Let me hear you say amen

Every time I look back over my shoulder
I can see the life He saved me from
Every time I look back over my shoulder
I can see the life He saved me from
Thank God
Hey Church, now you see
This little light of mine
Well, my question is a simple one (Who's next?)
Come get it loud
I'm talking one by
I'm talking one by, one by one
Gonna testify
That it's only by God's grace
We're standing here today

If you're feeling what I'm feeling
Let me hear you say amen
If you're a new creation, amen
If you got that feel good in your soul
That hope that won't let you go
If you're feeling what I'm feeling
Let me hear you say amen

If you're a new creation, amen
If you got that feel good in your soul
That hope that won't let you go
If you're feeling what I'm feeling
Let me hear you say amen

New Life From Nothing
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him.

19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us.

We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
God took my nothing and created a new life, I didn't have anything good to help him out, what you see now was done completely on his own. My pride, my old passions, the things that I thought were important are all gone, God made a new man out of nothing. Amen!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

The Living One

The "Living One" gave me life so that I can give it back to him.

Revelation 1:17-18 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if I were dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living One. I died, but look--I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

John 1:1-4 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone.

We live in an age that is consumed with avoiding the inevitable fact that we will all stop living someday. We look for better ways to eat and exercise and we look to advances in medical technology to help keep us alive longer.

Still we are not the master of our destiny and we cannot change the fact that we are going to stop living in this world. It is really an unnecessary worry because living eternally is what we are all going to do. The only thing that you need to be concerned with is where you will be for all of that time.

The "Living One" is the reason I should not be afraid

The main story of the Bible that you need to understand is that Jesus has made it possible to change your eternal destination. The work of the "Living One" on the cross has made it possible to spend eternity with him if you accept the free gift.

Jesus is the source of all life, he can take it or give it, the Bible has plenty of examples of Jesus giving physical life back to people that have died. Remember The widow of Nain’s son, Jairus’ daughter and Jesus' dear friend Lazarus. (Luke 7:11–17, 8:52–56, John 11)
John 5:24, 26 I tell you the truth, those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. 26 The Father has life in Himself, and He has granted that same life-giving power to His Son.
Have you listened to Jesus message? Have you honestly checked out who he is for yourself? He has the power to give life in this temporary existence and he can also give you an eternity with him in the place he is preparing.

The "Living One" is the High Priest that I desperately needed.

The law of God that was passed down to the Jews through Moses stated that a substitute sacrifice had to be given in your place so that you didn't have to die for your sins. In order to be made right with God you had to go to the high priest and follow the steps that the law of God required.
Hebrews 7:16, 23-25 Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, His priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
Jesus is my high priest and he has declared me righteous! But before he became my perfect high priest he was the perfect sacrifice for my sins. The old system of sacrifices is gone because the perfect sacrifice is the final sacrifice and the new high priest is the "Living One" that will never die.
The "Living One" is the one I live for
Romans 14:7-9 For we don't live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose--to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 Either way, Christ's love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Before I accepted the great sacrifice that was given for my sins, it didn't matter how I lived, I could not do anything to change my eternal destination so it was up to me to enjoy this life while it lasted.

But now that I have been bought out of the slavery to sin, I don't belong to myself anymore, a high price was paid to give me eternal life, the one that purchased my freedom deserves to be Lord and ruler of my life.

I don't live under the restraints of the old law and I do not obey it to please the people around me. The Pharisees are not around anymore checking out my behavior to see how spiritual I am. Well they are not supposed to be but there may still be a few of them around.

My motivation to live a holy life that sacrifices self and glorifies God is out of love and gratitude for what the "Living One" has done for me. (Romans 7:4-6)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reacting To My Savior

Seeing the glorified Jesus will be overwhelming but I do not need to be afraid.

Revelation 1:17-18 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave."

When we think of seeing Jesus in heaven we usually think about the human Jesus that walked among the people and looked just like any other guy but if you study the book of Revelation you will realize that the Jesus that we look forward to seeing isn't going to look the same.

When John saw Jesus in the vision he didn't see a humble carpenter, he didn't look upon a familiar face and have an out burst of joy as we would when we see an old friend, John saw someone that was much different from the man that he knew.

Jesus is now in full glory, the glory that he has always shared with God, the Jesus that John saw in the vision struck him with fear and dread. John is overwhelmed by the holiness of God. John was instantly aware of his sinfulness and his depraved condition and was totally devastated. His immediate reaction is to fall down to the ground like a dead man. (Philippians 2:6-11)

John's reaction was fear but then Jesus reacted to John's fear with assurance. 

It was proper for John to react the way that he did but Jesus didn't want John to continue forever in fear, Jesus touched John and told him to "fear not!" This is similar to what Jesus said in Matthew 17:5-7 when the disciples witnessed the transfiguration.

John receives a touch from Jesus and an assurance that he doesn't need to be afraid. Jesus loves him and went to great lengths so that John could stand before Jesus without fear. Since Jesus is on our side and he will never die we don't have any reason to be afraid.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.
When we see God's glory contrasted with our sinfulness it will cause us to live differently. If we get close to God through studying his word and we see who he is then we will come to understand our situation without Jesus work on the cross. We will allow God to work in our lives and change us "into His glorious image."

A true Christ follower should be repulsed by their sinfulness, we should desire sin less and less as we get to know and see Jesus more, sin will look a lost less appealing to us and that will cause us to be a better reflection of God's glory.
Revelation 6:15-17 Then everyone--the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person--all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?"
We will all see what John saw and we will probably all fall down like a dead man! If you have a relationship with Jesus then you will not have to fear the appointment that we will all be forced to keep.