Tuesday, July 03, 2018

God's Books

Believe the contents of the open book or be punished by the sealed book.

Revelation 5:1 Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals.

Revelation 5:4-5 Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, "Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David's throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals."

Revelation 13:8 And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made--the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.

Some of the oldest books known to man are the sixty six books that make up the Bible. The Jews were meticulous about preserving God's word and making handwritten copies of it with a great deal of accuracy.

The Bible tells us about other books that God has that are even older. David says that God has a record of every tear, in Ezekiel God says that he will remove the false prophets from Israel's record books and in Malachi a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.

What a blessing it is to have the words of our creator to help us know him and have some understanding about who he is and what he expects of us. The thought that he took the time to speak to us is amazing, as small as we are and despite all of our flaws he gave us a book to let us know him.

The Bible doesn't tell us much about all of God's books but we don't need worry about their content. We don't need to try and understand more than God has made undeniably clear in the sixty six books that we have in our Bibles. God isn't going to give us a pop quiz on material that isn't covered in his word. (Deuteronomy 29:29)

We need to read God's open book so that we can know what he expects of us. The open book tells us about a day of judgment that is coming for all of mankind after God's children are safely at home with Jesus.

There is a sealed book that will finally be opened and God's wrath will be carried out as the final battle with Satan takes place. The Lamb that was found worthy to take the sealed book from God will reveal it's contents a step at a time to carry out God's plans. (Revelation 5:1-5)

There are thousands of promises from Genesis to Revelation, so many of them have come true that it is safe to assume that the promises that haven't happened yet are going to be accomplished.
Revelation 20:11-12 And I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.
The final judgment of mankind will be done with some more books, there will be the book that has a record of all of our deeds and there will be the Book of Life, the first book that God will use will find us in great need of a Savior and his second book will validate if you have one. 
John 3:3 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God."
The Book of Life is the record of all of the citizens of Heaven, everyone that is recorded in this book is a citizen by birth, there won't be any illegal immigration into this country and there won't be any discrimination based on your color or the place of your first birth.

Have you become a citizen of God's eternal kingdom? Find out how you can have peace with God that starts now and last for eternity.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Worship The Redeemer

Sooner or later we are all going to do it.

Revelation 5:9-14 And they sang a new song with these words: "You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For You were slaughtered, and Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 And You have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth."

11 Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. 12 And they sang in a mighty chorus: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered--to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing."

13 And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: "Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever." 14 And the four living beings said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.

When Jesus called for John to visit Heaven the entire population of Heaven is worshiping the creator (Revelation 4:1-11) until the worship music suddenly stops. The abrupt silence came as God presents his scroll that has been protected with seven seals. (Revelation 5:1)

There must have been great anticipation as they all pondered the contents of God's book that were known only to him. He was ready to reveal the mysteries contained in his book but it seemed like nobody could possibly meet the qualifications to take such a book from his right hand. (Matthew 13:11)

A "strong angel" knew that he wasn't even qualified as he called out "Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?" John was grieved that there seemed to be no way to learn about the contents of God's book. Would we ever know more? (Daniel 12:8-9)

John can stop crying because the all knowing and all powerful Lion has been revealed and he has the right to reveal the contents of God's sealed book because of his submissive and sacrificial death as the Lamb of God. (Matthew 28:18)

The Gospels reveal the Lamb of God to us who came in meekness to be judged as our Savior and the provider of God's grace. God's love story for us continues in the Book of Revelation as it reveals to us the promised Lion who will came in majesty to be the judge that will govern and carry out the return of God's kingdom. (Genesis 49:9-10, Matthew 6:10)

Why did they have to look around for Jesus? In this scene Jesus isn't at God's right hand, the church is in Heaven so there isn't any reason for him to be there in that location interceding for us, Jesus isn't seen until he steps up to take the scroll from God's right hand. (Hebrews 10:12)

As Jesus steps up all of the inhabitants of Heaven break out into song, their song explains why Jesus is the only one that is qualified to take God's scroll. Because he submitted himself as our substitute and died for our sins he is worthy of all praise and honor.
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
When we get to Heaven we will finally see the infinite worth of Jesus and the natural reaction will be unhindered, spontaneous praise without anything getting in the way. When we meet him face to face we will know him fully and we won't have our carnal man getting in the way of the worship he deserves.
That's His favorite song of all, Is the song of the redeemed
When lost sinners now made clean, Lift their voices loud and strong
When those purchased by His blood, Lift to Him a song of love
There's nothin' more He'd rather hear, Nor so pleasin' to His ear
As His favorite song of all
- Phillips, Craig & Dean "Favorite Song Of All"
Since we are all going to bow the only question is when. Will you choose to practice worshiping now or wait and do it when it is too late? If we bow before Him now we will receive salvation but if you wait to bow before Him at the final judgment then condemnation is your eternal destiny.

Saturday, April 28, 2018


There are crowns in my future instead of the punishment that I deserve.

Revelation 2:10 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.

Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.

Revelation 4:4 Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads.

It would be a shame to reach the end of our time here on earth and realize that we didn't do very much that had eternal value. It is sad that few people are interested in knowing how to live for things that have eternal significance that will earn us an eternal reward.

It may sound strange to you that God's children are supposed to be working, don't be confused by this work, we aren't working to become his child, we are working because we are his child. Our work is not to achieve acceptance into Heaven but rather our work is because we are so grateful for Jesus work on the cross to give us what we could never attain on our own.

We have heard of the judgment seat of Christ but that really isn't a good translation for what is going to happen there. The children of God have already been accepted and their sins have been covered so this judgement is really an assessment of how many rewards you have gained or lost. We have no reason to fear what will happen when we meet Jesus. (John 3:18; 5:24; 6:37; 17:23 / Romans 4:7-8; 5:1; 8:1 / 1 Corinthians 1:30, 11:32)
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have--Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials--gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
On top of the incredible privilege of eternity in the presence of God we also have the potential to earn crowns if we do not waste our life on worthless things. What a shame to build on the foundation of Jesus with building materials that are so cheap, easy to get and even easier to burn.

We need to build with gold, silver and jewels by doing the right things and by doing them with the right motives and attitudes. This is a real "paying it forward" that will last for eternity.
Five Crowns For God's Faithful And Obedient People:
The Imperishable Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-25, 1 Peter 1:3-5)
A garland or wreath that would soon fade away was the crown that was given to the winner of the early Olympic style games. It is amazing that so much extreme work went into receiving a crown that would last a short while.

The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
God the Father's free gift unto his children, promised to everyone who loves the Lord and eagerly waits for His return.

The Crown of Rejoicing (Luke 15:7, Philippians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 3:9)
Also known as the soul winners' crown. Will you meet people in Heaven that are there partially because of your influence?

The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4, Romans 8:18)
The shepherd's crown that is reserved for those that take care of the flock. Those of us that heed Jesus' words to Peter to feed his sheep will be rewarded.

The Crown of Life (James 1:12 / Revelation 2:10)
This crown is for all believers, but it is especially dear to those who endure sufferings, who bravely follow Jesus to the point of death.
God's people have always been promised rewards for obedience, his guarantee of blessings can be seen throughout the Bible and while Jesus was here he repeated the promise. (Deuteronomy 28:1–14, Mark 10:29–31)

Man made crowns are used to focus our attention on the one wearing the crown but in Heaven our crowns will draw attention to the giver of the crowns and bring him greater glory. Instead of pride or envy when we see somebody with a greater crown there will only be great joy and amazement that God's son would personally reach out and give us our reward.

Can you imagine how amazing a crown must be that is created with the building materials that they have in Heaven? What will it be like to have that amazing crown given to you by Jesus instead of the eternal punishment that you deserve?

Lord help me to stay focused on the work that you have for me and not be distracted by worthless things so that you will be pleased. It  is amazing that I will receive eternal life with you and on top of that I will also be rewarded for my service to you.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Worship The Creator

We will not worship as we should before we get to Heaven.

Revelation 4:8-11 Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the One who always was, who is, and who is still to come." 9 Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the One sitting on the throne (the One who lives forever and ever), 10 the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the One sitting on the throne (the One who lives forever and ever).

And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, 11 "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and they exist because You created what You pleased."

The Revelation of John continues in chapter four with an invitation to step into Heaven. The Book of Revelation started with Jesus as he is today, the glorified Jesus at work among the churches, giving us instructions on how to do church.

John's vision keeps progressing and now the church age is over in chapter four and we can logically conclude that the rapture of the church has occurred. The progression of John's vision is from the Church Age on earth to the throne of God in Heaven. Combine that progression with what we know from other scriptures and you can see that God's children are safely with him when his wrath is poured out on those that are still on earth in chapter six. (1 Corinthians 15:52 / 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

John is called up to Heaven to encourage us of how wonderful our future is. What an amazing sight that John is attempting to describe for us! John's experience is much different from any of the popular accounts of people that claim that they have been to Heaven. Unlike all of those stories everything that John sees in Heaven revolves around the throne of God.

God is on His throne and around the throne are beings that represent God's people, they have been given white robes and they have received their crowns which they will give back to God as they worship him.

God is in control, which is what we should expect from the one that is on the throne of Heaven. Despite the persecution that is going on back on Earth, which John is experiencing, the persecuted Christians should never doubt his power or his wisdom.

We suffer with so much discouragement and worry because we forget that he is on the throne and he is in control despite all of the chaos around us. We should not entertain the idea that evil is going to win.

God is being worshiped, which is what we should expect from the ones that are seeing the one who is on the throne of Heaven. As good as you may think your worship is, it is nothing in comparison, in Heaven God is truly being worshiped fully and correctly.

It is impossible in our current condition, to worship God as he should be worshiped, we will not comprehend the value and worth that should be given to God and worship him properly before we get to Heaven. As long as our old sin nature is a part of who we are then we will be distracted with our thoughts, our pride and our sinfulness.

While we wait for our call to go to Heaven we should learn more about how to worship and practice doing it.
The inner essence of worship is to know God truly and then respond from the heart to that knowledge by treasuring God, prizing God, enjoying God, being satisfied with God above all earthly things.

And then that deep, restful, joyful satisfaction in God overflows in demonstrable acts of praise from the lips and demonstrable acts of love in serving others for the sake of Christ.
-John Piper
It is clear in scripture that worship is more than just singing a song at church and then going home until next Sunday. Praising God begins with preparing our heart and then honoring God with our lips but it doesn't stop there. We tend to forget that worship continues long after the church music is over. (Psalm 50:14, Isaiah 29:13, Hosea 14:2)

Our worship continues through the preaching of God's Word and through our acts of love that show the value of God by what we are willing to sacrifice to serve others. When I present myself as a living sacrifice to do good for someone else I am declaring the worth of God in my life and I am making God look more glorious to the ones that witness my good deeds. (Matthew 5:16, Romans 12:1, Philippians 4:18, Hebrews 13:15-16)

Everything that we say and do and the lifestyle that we live should draw others to "come let us adore him."

Sunday, April 01, 2018

I Have Been Rescued!

There is good news for the captive, Good news for the shamed, He's our rescuer!

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 shamed
There is good news for the one who walked away
There is good news for the doubter
The one religion failed
For the good lord has come to seek and save

He's our rescuer (hey)
He's our rescuer (hey)
We are free from sin forever more 
Oh how sweet the sound (hey)
Oh how grace abounds (hey)
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, the life
Yes, the good lord is the way, the truth and life (hey)

So come and be chainless
Come and be fearless
Come to the foot of Calvary
For there is redemption
For every affliction
Here at the foot of Calvary

Rescued From Darkness
Colossians 1:11-14 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Back To The Garden

I was made to be royal but I was torn from the garden.

Video: Crowder - Back To The Garden

I was born to be royal
I was made to be free
But I was torn from the garden
When that devil lied to me

I was formed from the soil 
I got dirt inside of me 
But I was born to be royal 
I was made for glory

Take me back to the garden 
Take me back and walk with me 
For Your presence I am longing 
Take me back God, take me back!

Take me down to the river 
Down to Eden's crystal streams 
Where every sin can be forgiven 
Holy Ghost come set me free

Gardens have a special place in history, in the beginning life began in a beautiful garden and that's where the first battle with sin took place. The first Adam failed in a garden but later the second Adam stepped into a garden that was marred by sin to prepare for the battle that would change the world.

When you see the awesome start to human history back in the Garden of Eden you can't keep yourself from longing to go back there. To experience a sinless existence is an awesome thought but to also be in God's presence for eternity is definitely beyond comprehension.
Eagerly Waiting
Romans 8:23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us.

1 Corinthians 1:7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.

Philippians 3:20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior.

2 Timothy 4:8 And now the prize awaits me--the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing.

Titus 2:13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.

Hebrews 9:28 so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him.
I can't wait to get to the garden where there will not be any sin, crying, sadness or death. The river flowing through this garden will flow forever and the tree of life will produce everlasting fruit and best of all the glory of God will be fully revealed to us there!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Your Will Be Done

How radical am I for God's will?

John 17:1-5 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You. 2 For You have given Him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one You have given Him.

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. 4 I brought glory to You here on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring Me into the glory We shared before the world began.

When we hear somebody mention the Lord’s Prayer we think about the prayer that Jesus said when his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. Maybe you never thought about it but Jesus didn’t actually pray that prayer, Jesus wouldn’t have asked God to forgive his sins, he spoke that prayer as an example for us. (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4)

The prayer in John 17:1-26 is the longest prayer of Jesus that we have recorded in the Bible. It is our best opportunity to listen in as Jesus talks to his Father, it shows us the courage that Jesus had to stay with God’s plan despite the great sacrifice that it would require.

Jesus begins this prayer completely surrendered, safety and comfort are not on his mind, he is only thinking about God’s will and timing in his life. It is odd that the Giver of Life who would never have to die, willingly submits in obedience, He will choose to be subject to the curse of death. (Philippians 2:8)

God’s Timing In Jesus Life
(John 2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20, 12:23, 27; 13:1; 16:32)

Jesus never lost sight of his mission and purpose for being here. Imagine knowing that you came for a purpose and having to wait thirty-three years for God’s timing so that you can complete your mission. We can learn a lot from Jesus about how we handle delay in our lives, we get anxious and want God to hurry up, Jesus left the timing of events up to his Father.

Now the time is right and the shame and the pain would not keep him from completing his work. Jesus shows us that if we are going to do God’s will in this hostile world then we need to submit without hesitation to God’s sovereign plan to glorify Himself.

You will be inconvenienced and you will get dirty, you may have to go toward dangerous situations, live with uncertainty, or embarrassment. Life is full of risk, but the life that is lived for Jesus is even riskier, the side effect of living in the rescuing power of the gospel and being willing to rescue someone else is that you will have to live by faith.

Risk It All To Glorify God
(1 Samuel 14:1-23 / 2 Samuel 10:12 / Esther 4:15-16 / Daniel 3:16-18)

Jesus surrendered to the cross and we must do the same, He told us to pick up our cross daily and follow him, that certainly involves risk. God’s people have always been called to take risk, that’s the very nature of living by faith, we cannot see the outcome or the pathway but we step out because we are told to do so.
When we risk losing face or money or life because we believe God will always help us and use our loss, in the end, to make us more glad in his glory, then it’s not we who get the praise because of our courage; it’s God who gets the praise because of his care. In this way risk reflects God’s value, not our valor.
-John Piper “Risk Is Right”
God is most glorified in my life when I step out and rely on him no matter what is going on around me and how foolish my obedience looks to the rest of the world. The glory goes to God when the world sees me trusting him with absolutely everything.

It is difficult to value our forever life that we cannot see over our temporary life that we can see. The ability to put our lives completely into God’s hands and follow no matter what is a real struggle that most of us want to avoid. Very few people in our safety minded culture come to the point that the disciples came to.
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus–the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
-Apostle Paul
How radical am I for God’s will? We pray a lot about knowing God’s will, but few of us really want to know what that looks like. The number one prayer request from Christ followers living in the safest country on the planet is for safety. I don’t know of anybody praying like that in the Bible. God’s people chose to do God’s will despite the risk that was involved and they prayed that they would have even more boldness. (Acts 4:23-31)

In every life that is lived for the Lord there will be a moment when a radical step of faith is required in order to please God. I need to be willing to allow God to achieve his agenda through my life and I need to be okay with being uncomfortable and insecure when God shows me his agenda.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Jesus Children Are Overcomers

Trouble is going to happen but it isn't the end of my story.

John 16:29-33 Then His disciples said, “At last You are speaking plainly and not figuratively. 30 Now we understand that You know everything, and there’s no need to question You. From this we believe that You came from God.”

31 Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? 32 But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving Me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with Me.

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

The fact that you have the technology to see this blog post says that you probably have a very comfortable life. The odds are that you probably live in a culture that offers you a comfortable lifestyle and instant everything.

But none of the toys and conveniences that are so abundant can guarantee you an easy life. There is heartache and misery all around, some of you have had a miserable existence, people that you loved and trusted have let you down, friendless, beat up and unloved, you find yourself all alone and hopeless.

That is the kind of people that Jesus had around him during his stay on earth, His people were beat-up and tired, they had been raided and pushed around by foreign governments, they were being used by their own religious leaders, His people were desperate and He was sad for them. (Matthew 9:36, 11:28-29, 15:32, Luke 7:13, 19:41, John 11:35)
Jesus Was A Man Of Sorrows
Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected--a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
Imagine coming to live here after being in Heaven for all of eternity past, imagine starting life over as a child, a child that is fully God but also fully man. Suddenly you feel pain, hunger and you require sleep just like everybody else yet, you are also God.
When Christ came into the world the first sound He heard was woe-the wail of those mothers in Bethlehem; and from the manger to the Cross, He was surrounded with sorrow.
-Dwight L. Moody 
Imagine leaving the perfection of the best place ever to come to a broken world so that you can go head to head with your worst enemy. What would it be like to know that you were here to die for people that don’t like you and for friends that would turn their back and run? (John 13:37-38)

Jesus gave up a lot to come and be “God with us” but he didn’t show any sorrow about what he lost by leaving Heaven. The main source of his sorrow was for the condition of mankind and the fact that His people rejected the only hope that could ever help.
Jesus Disciples Overcome
1 John 5: 4-5 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Followers of Jesus have the big picture, their immediate circumstances are not the end of the story, the trials and sorrows that they have today isn’t how it is always going to be. Jesus told the disciples that you will have these troubles but don’t let it get you down because He has overcome the world.

God is still governing this world, don’t let the daily battle get you down and cause you too much grief, there aren’t any term limits on God’s reign. He is in charge of the circumstances around us and He always will be. What we see as chaos isn’t a surprise or a source of concern to him.

This is not my home, and I will never feel perfectly at peace and perfectly comfortable here but I must continue to the the good works that He has planned or me to do until the day I die and overcome this world just as Jesus did.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Worst Day Ever

Things will get much better for God's children.

John 16:16-22 “In a little while you won’t see Me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see Me again.” 17 Some of the disciples asked each other, “What does He mean when He says, ‘In a little while you won’t see Me, but then you will see Me,’ and ‘I am going to the Father’? 18 And what does He mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand.”

19 Jesus realized they wanted to ask Him about it, so He said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see Me, but a little while after that you will see Me again. 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to Me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.

22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.

Are you having a bad day? Maybe a bad week or a month or even a longer season of life that is incredibly difficult. No matter what the length of the trial, getting through it can seem impossible, without hope you can get so caught up in the situation that you can’t see past it and you feel like things will never get better.

In today’s verses Jesus is speaking to his disciples on Thursday night just after the celebration of Passover, this last Passover celebration would be Jesus last and it is what we refer to as the Lord’s Supper. This night would be Jesus final opportunity to teach His disciples before He leaves them.

This Passover night was very eventful, first there was an awkward and confusing situation with Jesus washing the disciples feet, then there was the surprise departure of their friend Judas, followed by the prediction that Peter would deny Jesus three times.

Jesus keeps talking about leaving them, where is He going, and why can’t they go with Him? They were supposed to be rulers in His kingdom! If He is going to die then how will we see Him again in a little while? Why isn’t Judas back yet?

The disciples are at the beginning of the worst days in their life, soon they will see their best friend be brutally beaten, none of them can see that this dark moment is going to be the best thing that could ever happen. I cannot imagine seeing a friend die in such brutal agony. We like to think that we would have done better than Jesus’ friends did but I doubt that we would have reacted any better given the confusing and desperate situation.

Jesus doesn’t minimize their sorrow or tell them to man up. The same love and compassion that brought Jesus down here to live in this dark world with us is the same love and compassion that wants to ease their sorrow as he prepares his closest friends for his departure.
Romans 8:17-18 And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.
There is no way that they could understand that the bad days that are coming are nothing compared to the joy that is on the way. They will soon realize that the very event that brought them all of this sorrow is the source of their eternal hope.

The disciples excitement and joy after the resurrection is nothing compared to the joy that we will experience when we step into heaven and see Jesus in our forever home. I need to remember that Jesus is just as compassionate about my bad days as he was to his disciples.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Advocate

Jesus is leaving but he isn't leaving us alone.

John 15:26-27 “But I will send you the Advocate, the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.”

John 16:5-9 “But now I am going away to the one who sent Me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. 6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. 7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come.”

“If I do go away, then I will send Him to you. 8 And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me.”

The Lord’s Supper has just been finished and Jesus knows that His time with His disciples is coming to an end. Jesus was always up front with his disciples, he knows that they will have a difficult time with the events that are going to happen very soon, he is much more concerned for them than they are for Him.

During His ministry Jesus has explained to them many times that they would have a difficult life because of their association with Him. Jesus knew that the hatred that came at Him will be directed at his disciples after He is gone.

The opposition will require some help from a source that the disciples don’t know much about. They knew they had a great friend in Jesus, so great that it is distressing to see him go after only three years, but Jesus tells them that there is a better relationship that will come about after he leaves.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t get mentioned very much, we shy away from Him, maybe it’s because the spirit world seems too scary or magical and there are a lot of wrong ideas in religious circles about Him. The Holy Spirit does not typically draw attention to Himself and put Himself in the spotlight, most of the time His work in your life is quiet and unassuming. Because of this we give the glory He deserves to someone or something else.

The Holy Spirit was there with the Father and Son at creation (Genesis 1:2). He was there when Jesus was conceived, and there at His baptism and temptation (Luke 1: 35, 3:22, 4:1–2). The Bible tells us that Jesus performed his miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14–19).

When Jesus’s closest earthly companions betrayed him, denied him, and scattered, the Spirit walked with him all the way to His death, empowering him to offer himself freely (Hebrews 9:14). And the Spirit was there on Easter Sunday to raise him in power (Romans 1:4).

What as amazing and powerful companion He is, we are privileged to have him, He assisted Jesus in his ministry and we can also enjoy the benefit of his power in our ministry as well.

The Holy Spirit gives us gifts and helps us to use them properly. It is tempting to use our gifts for our own interest or to just say that we are naturally talented in a certain area and ignore the source of that talent. It is an ugly thing to see a gift being used in a self-serving or unloving manner.

The Holy Spirit strengthens us in the face of suffering and persecution, enabling us to confront a hating world and a supernatural enemy with all of his demonic helpers, such a powerful foe would be impossible to defeat without the power that Jesus told his disciples to wait for. (Acts 1:8)

The Holy Spirit guides us towards obedience, it is easy to believe that being more like Christ is a product of our own efforts but really it isn’t us at all, the ability to change comes about by the Spirit’s power within us.

I need to be sure that I am relying on the Holy Spirit in my life everyday. With Him I will be powerful in ministry, I will be more obedient to become like my Savior and I will use my gifts to serve others. I need to be in the word each day and praying for the Holy Spirit’s direction in every detail of my life and then I need to give him the credit for my gifts and abilities.