“We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us.” ~Apostle John

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John was one motivated man of God. He saw first hand the unique relationship Jesus had with God.

  • Jesus and God were perfectly in sync. Never ever out of touch at all. Jesus always hit the mark, doing what He saw His Father doing, saying what He heard His Father saying. Union and communion of the highest order.
  • The promise is that I can enjoy the same relationship with God as well. Jesus has made it all possible. I can enjoy that same communion too.
  • This is God’s goal for us. Unity with Him and those who love Him. The fruit of communion with Jesus is joy. Wow!

“We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus the Messiah. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!” ~Apostle John

Source: 1 John 1:3-4

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“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich; restrain yourself!” ~King Solomon

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I have a goal. I have a plan. I have dreams. They involve money.

What does wisdom say about that?

  • What is my goal for wealth? I am overwhelmed with messages about wealth and retirement. They are everywhere I turn. Jesus says “Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (Luke 12:33-34)
  • Am I willing to wear myself out to get it? Trying to get wealthy will wear me out. There just enough hours in the day and there is always more to do.
  • Do I understand that wealth is fleeting? Jesus says “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
  • What is God’s goal? God’s goal for me is focus on Jesus and being a good citizen of the Kingdom of God. God wants me to love. God wants me to use my money to be generous to others.

“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich;
    restrain yourself!
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
    wealth sprouts wings
    and flies off into the wild blue yonder.” ~King Solomon

Source: Proverbs 23:4-5

Money

“All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!” ~Jesus

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Jesus is looking. Jesus is going to challenge me. Am I ready?

  • What will I give? Jesus is looking. Jesus knows what is going on. His message to me will be on target. No general suppositions on his part.
  • Will I give a little? It isn’t that difficult to give. In America, in particular, we have a culture of philanthropy and giving. It is safe to assume it will only be a little of what I can afford. I could do more. I could do a lot more!
  • Will I give it all? Will I give when I can’t afford it? That is the question today. Jesus has something he wants me to do. Will I do it?

Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, “The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!”

Source: Luke 21:1-4

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“It is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening.” ~Author of Hebrews

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Am I mature in God’s ways? Am I eating solid food? Can I teach others what God is saying and doing today?

  • Am I being intentionally difficult? Do I have a bad habit? Will I choose to be mature?
  • I can teach others if I cultivate the habit of listening to God. I can be of help if I learn from what I am hearing.
  • Being able to distinguish what is right is something I must practice. It doesn’t come easy but it produces growth for me and my family.
  • God’s goal for us is to be mature. We should be wise enough to be able to teach others. Will we have the discipline to learn what God is doing in our lives and to learn the lesson God has in mind for us? Will we break the bad habit of not listening.
  • My mantra should be “Listen to God and learn”.

I want to be mature. May I listen and learn.

“I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.”

Source: Hebrews 5:11-14

“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith.” ~Apostle Peter

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2 Peter 1-5In God’s world, He wants me to be mature in my faith. I must focus on building not standing still and admiring what has already been built.

  • There are certain building blocks, where the focus leads from one to another. Am I building on them every day?
  • My time and attention needs to be on God’s goal for me. Jesus has given me a list of goal areas to plan around. Jesus challenges me to grow and not stagnate.
  • Jesus has also empowered me with the Holy Spirit to help me become mature. I can’t do it on my own. It is all about Jesus.
  • Faith alone isn’t enough. I  must build on the foundation of faith daily. Faith, on its on, isn’t enough for maturity.

“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.” ~Apostle Peter

Source: 2 Peter 1:5-8 (The Message)

Here is the list of the seven to focus on, building on our foundation of faith:

  1. Good character, virtue and excellence
  2. Knowledge and spiritual understanding
  3. Discipline and self-control
  4. Passionate patience and steadfastness
  5. Reverent wonder and godliness
  6. Brotherly affection and friendliness
  7. Generous love

 

For Church Leaders: Relevance is defined by how relevant the experience is

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Why are you so skeptical? ~~Jesus (Mark 2:8-12 The Message)

There are a lot of skeptical religious leaders when it comes to embracing the digital aspects of our ministries and churches.

For the connected disciple (church member), the journey is evolving (albeit very, very fast). That shouldn’t surprise you but it is good news. Your ministry hasn’t been left behind completely. Disciples (your church members) have changed though.

Their experience of you and your ministry may not be what any of us would want it to be. In this case, relevance is defined by how relevant the experience is in a world where we can be connected anywhere, anytime. Passion for the ministry is a part of amazing experiences which includes digital aspects that are core to the ministry and not “add ons”.Radical Sayings of Jesus

How you personally decide to react or lead is up to you. It, of course, is not about technology. What is the journey of getting closer to disciples and staying relevant really about? Here are some ideas:

  • Creating a culture built around the discipleship experience of Jesus and His followers being the focus of all you do. It will include digital experiences as the norm.
  • Empowering ministry staff to do what it takes to create amazing experiences for the connected disciple.
  • Opening up the floodgates of innovation for God including all aspects of digital experiences.

Just saying we want to get closer to the disciple won’t get your senior team on board. While a connected discipleship revolution is at your door, someone (meaning you) needs to convince the senior Pastor that change is imperative. Without that we will fail.

You know that most Ministers don’t use social networks personally. While they have smartphones, their primary utilization is for email, reading the Bible and looking at the calendar to know where to go to next. Trying to make a case that this is about technology will be a losing battle.

What is the future of your ministry built on? It isn’t about how Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, tablets or real time-time geolocation check-ins evolve. The future of your ministry does depend on the power of God to help you create relevance and the ability to at least understand technology to be able to make decisions about new opportunities. It does require the ability to strategically adapt to the new opportunities to create a compelling advantage for Jesus. Have you conducted a weekday morning video worship service on Google+ Hangouts or GoToMeeting?

But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. ~~Jesus (John 4:23 The Message)

Hmm. “Where you worship will not matter.”

So much of this is about change. There is a technology revolution occurring. Other ministries are beginning to understand this. But it is also about a whole series of real-time revolutions that are seizing how our connected disciples (church members) live which impacts their experience with us and with God. Expectations are moving fast. We can’t afford to get left behind.

The kind of change we are talking about involves three things:

  • Listening
  • Learning
  • Adapting

 

“Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life.” ~~King Solomon

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My dad was a very wise man.

  • My dad always said it is easier to tell the truth than to lie. His logic was that a liar has to remember who he said what to and that is tough to do. Eventually you will get caught. He had a point. He was a wise man.
  • We can choose a hard life where we completely miss God’s goal for our life. It is in fact an evil life. It is a hard life. If is not the life God has in mind for us.
  • The easiest life to live is the right life, the moral life. God gives us the power as a part of His new plan for us. Jesus shows us the way. God’s goal for us is that we are pure, just like Jesus is pure. We are to be holy.
  • What is God’s goal for me? Jesus challenges me to live a moral life. Anything else is an evil life. It is easier to live the moral life. It is uncomplicated and very simple in its approach. My goal is to love. That is it!

“Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life.” ~~King Solomon (Proverbs 11:5)

“After Job had interceded for his friends, God restored his fortune—and then doubled it!” ~Moses

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Am I praying for my friends and family? How much time do I spend interceding for them? None? Some? Enough?

  • Job was in a world of hurt. He had lost everything. It is a painful story to read. Yet, at the end, he didn’t pray for himself, he prayed for his friends. Job had realized he was nothing and God is God. Nothing is impossible for Him. As Job said, “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans.” 
  • And so Job quit living on rumors of God and encountered Him directly. “I admit I once lived by rumors of you;  now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!  I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” What a change this made in Job’s life.
  • After that, he could pray for his friends. And my oh my, how God blessed him. God is God. He is completely in charge and does what He sees fit. The story of Job is a little confounding in that regard because my tendency is “to judge” God for acting so harshly with Job.
  • But God is God. We don’t always understand His ways but He challenges us to trust Him always. And so, in spite of it all, Job was blessed.

“After Job had interceded for his friends, God restored his fortune—and then doubled it!” ~Moses Job 42:10

Is it an interruption? Or is it God? Am I focused on the plan or the planner Jesus?

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Is it an interruption? Or is it God?

  • Is it an interruption? I live in in a world where I see much of what happens as an interruption. Why do I think that way? I have a plan. That is plain and simple.
  • Whose plan is it? I have plans for my time. Life is scheduled out very precisely. It is clearly my plan and not God’s. I didn’t even ask him much less listen.
  • An “interruption” comes. But is it? God has a goal for me. I need to be focused on what Jesus wants me to do right now. Forget the plan, God has action he wants me to take today.
  • What if it is God wanting me to show His love to an employee in need? What if God wants us to spend some time with our family? What if God wants us to give some money to the homeless person?

Have I been too focused on the PLAN and not the PLANNER Jesus?

Different question with an amazingly different answer.

May God help me see Him in the moment.

“Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom.” ~Apostle Paul

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Do I think I am wise by being up-to-date with the times?  If I do, I am being very foolish. That doesn’t mean anything to God.

  • Am I fooling myself? It is highly likely I am. Being up to date doesn’t make me wise. I am being lulled into thinking otherwise.
  • Is this a good thing? I really enjoy my “news reader” on the internet. I keep up with 100’s of stuff (feeds) a day. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, LinkedIn, email, etc. I am hyper-connected.
  • Does this make us wise? Others follow the news on TV or radio all the time. We all have our versions of how we keep up. We can be up to date in real time. “Breaking news”!! We can know so much. If we think that makes us wise, we are in for a rude awakening. Such thinking is actually foolish. God’s ways are different.
  • What is God’s goal for me? God wants me to be his fool. Seriously. How much time do I spend connected to Jesus and what Jesus is thinking? Really, compared to my connections to this world, how much time do I  spend connected to His world? God’s goal for us is that we should be wise. His wisdom, manifest through us, is all that matters.

“Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture, He exposes the chicanery of the chic.  The Master sees through the smoke screens of the know-it-alls.” ~Apostle Paul

Source: 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

 May I connect with Him and know what He is thinking.

“Know this: GOD (Yahweh), your God (Elohiym), is God (Elohiym) indeed, a God you can depend upon.” ~Moses

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God is GodIt means a lot that God is God. At first, when you think about it, that sounds redundant. Of course God is God. It sounds like saying Jesus is Jesus.

That is His name. But what does His name mean?

  • What does God’s name mean? Not to get technical but a literal translation from Hebrew is Yahweh is also Elohiym. Yahweh is then the given name of God, Elohiym is one of his many titles, the supreme ruler.
  • This is now like saying Jesus is God. Or more importantly, Jesus is the Messiah (Christ). Jesus his his name and the Messiah (Christ) is his title.
  • S0  ….. our God (Yahweh) is the supreme ruler (Elohiym) of the universe. Period. It is important to remember who our God is. He is like none other nor can He be. From before the universe existed, our God has always been. He is like none other.

“Know this: GOD (Yahweh), your God (Elohiym), is God (Elohiym) indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. But he also pays back those who hate him, pays them the wages of death; he isn’t slow to pay them off—those who hate him, he pays right on time.” ~Moses

Source: Deuteronomy 7:9

“So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.” ~Author of Hebrews

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Are we ready for some rest?

  • I know I am to rest. So here is a promise that is considered current and available to all of us. It is something I can have today.
  • God is at rest. We can be to. We have to keep at it every day. Jesus said pray “Give us this day”. All Jesus did was do what He saw His Father doing. He was obedient. And His Father is at rest. We can be too.
  • It is a question of obedience. When we humble ourselves, deny what we want and obey God, we find rest.
  • It is God’s goal for us to be at rest. Let us be persistent, keep at it and take advantage of this promise. It is a promise for today. Letting go and letting God is about ceasing to strive to do what we want so God can take the burden and do what He wants.

And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience. Hebrews 4:8-11

 

“Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.” ~King David

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We are asked to stand in awe of our mighty God. He is God. And there is a promise.

  • Why is this important? If we stand in awe of God, we will lack nothing. Now this also requires that go after Jesus. He is available to me but I have to go after Jesus. No sitting around and waiting. Jesus would go off and spend time by himself hearing and seeing what His Father was up to. Hearing and seeing what God wanted to happen. I need to seek Jesus out. He is good. He wants to be found.
  • What is God’s goal? We can also be taught how to stand in awe of Him. There are those people of God around us that have insight for us. They have prophetic words for me. They have words of wisdom for me. They see the way and can guide me. God has a goal for me. It starts with standing in awe of Him. He is God. He then wants us to seek Him. Then it moves to us teaching our family about God. We must speak the truth about God and we must seek peace.
  • What should I do? I need to tell the truth about the Messiah Jesus and His ways. Opportunities abound. The harvest of souls is ready. The worst lie is the unspoken truth about God being God, good and great. Opportunities abound!!! I should seek peace. It is mine if I pursue it. 

Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 

~~Psalm 34:9-14

 

“Do you think you’re about to be promoted to heaven? Think again. You’re on a mudslide to hell.” ~~Jesus

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MudslideJesus spent a lot of time in the town of Capernaum. In speaking of them, He is direct in letting them know what is going on.

  • I think the message is to be careful. Being the center of healings and a spiritual movement doesn’t guarantee anything. It is all about our relationship with God and with others.
  • What is our goal? The goal is to follow Jesus, love God and love everyone else we meet or know. That is it.
  • Our first order of business is to make sure we are listening to God and focused on His goal for our life. This is about obedience to God’s goal for our life. God is God. God is in control. It is only about Jesus and what he wants.

“Do you think you’re about to be promoted to heaven? Think again. You’re on a mudslide to hell. The one who listens to you, listens to me. The one who rejects you, rejects me. And rejecting me is the same as rejecting God, who sent me.” ~~Jesus

(Luke 10:15 The Message)

 

“I’m working for the Lord, and even though the Lord’s pay isn’t very high, his retirement program is.” ~~George Foreman

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YGeorge Formanou have to love George Foreman. I’ve met him a couple of times and he is the real deal.

  • Who am I working for? George knows who he is working for. He is clear it is Jesus. Just ask him.
  • What do I get out of it now? While George is very successful, he is clear where his treasure should be.
  • What is my future reward? George knows God has a tremendous “retirement program”. Do I know that our God is in a good mood?

 

I’m working for the Lord, and even though the Lord’s pay isn’t very high, his retirement program is. ~~George Foreman

The Parable of the Spare Change

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Great modern day parable. Love it!

Mitch Teemley

Brandon was converted at 12, but slid away at 17. He’s been dancing on the line ever since. Here’s how he sees things:

millennial-cool-young-guy-sunglasses-10So I lost my job. On Labor Day. Hah. Which isn’t funny. Actually it kinda sucks. Everybody tells you what you wanna hear: “It’ll work out. You got this!” Only nobody means what they say. And God’s no different. He says tell him what you want and he’ll answer if you pray real hard and crap. But then nothing. Nada.

Then my car gets smashed up. And it isn’t even my fault. Well, it could be, maybe, but… So my mom covers it, and now I owe her fifteen hundred bucks. And you never want to owe my mom anything ‘cause she’s like, “Aha! Now I control you.” She doesn’t need the money. She just wants the power—I owe her money so now she can tell me…

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“So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out.” ~Caleb

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As I get older, I want to be like Caleb.

  • He was one of the 12 Moses selected to go into the Promised Land to see what it was like.
  • Only he and Joshua thought they could conquer their enemies. The other 10 didn’t believe God and his promise. Caleb knew that God is God.
  • That resulted in Israel wandering around in the desert for 40 years. I’m sure this frosted Joshua and Caleb. Caleb chose to believe what Moses promised him. Caleb was patient for 40 years. Now that is some real patience.

So, fast forward. Eventually Joshua leads them all into the Promised Land. They fight for 5 years. Caleb comes to Joshua one day and says

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.

Caleb remembered what God had told him. He held onto it for 45 years. He never wavered. So he continues his conversation with Joshua.

So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.

At 85 he wants to go and fight some more. He is strong and vigorous. He is ready to go at it. He wants what God promised him and he won’t stop until he gets it.

So … I want to be like Caleb. Seriously. I want to be like him. I want to fight to the end. I want to be as strong at 85 as I was at 40.

Source: Joshua 14:6-12

“Hope unswervingly.” ~Apostle Paul

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Hope Unsweringly

Can I hope unswervingly? It is an essential question. Can I? Will I?

  • With the power of the Holy Spirit, I can. On my own, I get lost. It is up to me to trust in Jesus.
  • This is an essential item. Without hope, I am lost every day. In fact, every minute of every day. God’s goal for us is to be hopeful.
  • Without hope, I will fail to fully participate in God’s world (Kingdom). Hope doesn’t not stand on its own though. Coupled with trust and love we are complete.
  • And so, when I am filled with Jesus and the power of His HOLY Spirit, I hope unswervingly. I don’t deviate from hope at all. This leads me to maturity. This leads me to completeness.

“But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” ~Apostle Paul

Source: 1 Corinthians 13:13

“God not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it.” ~~Apostle Paul

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We know what we are thinking. We do it every minute of our waking hours. A steady stream of thoughts.

  • Most of the time no one else has a clue what we are thinking. We are mystery to others including those we are closest to.
  • That is the same with God with one huge difference. God knows what He is thinking BUT He lets us in on it. He doesn’t hide what He is thinking from us.  We have Good News from Him all the time if we listen. He has a plan. He is revealing it to us every day. 
  • How amazing that God loves us so much that He lets us in on what He is thinking, what He wants to do and how He wants to do it. Jesus, the Messiah, has a goal for us. God is going to let us in on it.

May we know it and do it.

Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it.” ~~Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 2)

“Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!” ~Jesus

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Am I willing to take the risk of faith? Jesus challenges me to be persistent. What are the implications to my faith?

  • How long will I have to wait? The woman in this story waited 12 years. She had tried everything. This is a common them with Jesus. God could have healed her earlier.
  • What is the real story here? She finally heard about Jesus and took action to seek him out. She took a risk. It was a risk of faith. She didn’t sit at home. She went after Jesus.
  • How does Jesus respond? Jesus honors her faith. Jesus heals her. Jesus blesses her. Jesus knows that action goes hand in hand with faith. Jesus really appreciates persistence and taking a risk.

A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years—a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before—had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well.” The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with.

At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said, “What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you’re asking, ‘Who touched me?’ Dozens have touched you!”

But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story.

Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”

Source: Mark 5:25-34

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“Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious— don’t get infected.” ~King Solomon

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Wisdom is challenging. It sounds great but it isn’t easy to do. This advice about anger and bad tempers is important. God has a goal for me. It is to pleasant, meek and to encourage others.

  • I get to chose who I hang out with. It is important to ignore angry people. I will get infected. It’s a fact!
  • Do I have a “bad temper”? We all get angry and have a temper. How frequent is it? Do I have a bad temper? Am I always angry? Something to think about.
  • What is the consequence? A bad temper is contagious. Others around us, our family and friends, all can get infected.

Don’t hang out with angry people;
don’t keep company with hotheads.
Bad temper is contagious—
don’t get infected” ~King Solomon

Source: Proverbs 22:25

Anger

“Am I so decrepit that I can’t deliver?” ~God

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Lately I have been thinking about what our Father is not. I don’t know why that helps but it frames what He is better.

  • Is God decrepit? I think all the time about how powerful He is. But He is not decrepit. That frames His power better. He is never weak. He is never overwhelmed. He is more powerful than ever!!!
  • How powerful is God? His power is absolute and complete. He has the power to do something and the power to reverse it. Think about that. Sometimes we can get something done but can’t undo it after.
  • What about God’s power? God can undo what he has done. His power is complete. He is not decrepit.

May I see and understand His absolute complete power!!

So why didn’t anyone come when I knocked? Why didn’t anyone answer when I called? Do you think I’ve forgotten how to help? Am I so decrepit that I can’t deliver? I’m as powerful as ever, and can reverse what I once did: I can dry up the sea with a word, turn river water into desert sand, and leave the fish stinking in the sun, stranded on dry land . . . Turn all the lights out in the sky and pull down the curtain.

Source: Isaiah 50

 

“Many get invited; only a few make it.” ~Jesus

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Jesus loved to tell stories to make his point. This one is about a wedding celebration that the guests didn’t want to attend. They refused to come. They were destroyed because of their arrogance. A second group was invited. Most of them made it but not all.

  • Why is this important? I am invited to God’s celebration. I get to choose whether to attend or not. I must choose to celebrate the wedding. I must be prepared.
  • What is Jesus telling me? Even being invited, doesn’t mean I will get to stay. I must be up to following Jesus. It won’t be easy. It is a challenge. My place at the wedding is ready.
  • How should I react? I should humble myself. When invited, I must do my part by choosing to attend and be “properly” prepared to be there and stay there. There is no “automatic” in God’s world. Jesus decides who gets to stay.

Jesus responded by telling still more stories. “God’s kingdom,” he said, “is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn’t come!

“He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feast!’

“They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his shop. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up on the messengers and then killed them. The king was outraged and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city.

“Then he told his servants, ‘We have a wedding banquet all prepared but no guests. The ones I invited weren’t up to it. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.’ The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet was on—every place filled.

“When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn’t properly dressed. He said to him, ‘Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!’ The man was speechless. Then the king told his servants, ‘Get him out of here—fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.’

“That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Many get invited; only a few make it.’

Source: Matthew 22:1-14

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“I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead.” ~Jesus

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Jesus is all about getting us ready for what is coming. Jesus doesn’t leave me in the dark. Jesus is very clear with me.

  • Why is this important? “I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead.” Jesus wants us to be prepared. He has told me in advance. My job is to get ready.
  • What will the churches think? “They are going to throw you out of the meeting places.” Jesus warns me that my church may kick me out. The message of Jesus is good news but not all religious leaders welcome it.
  • Is my life at stake? “There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor.”
  • Surely they understand? “They will do these things because they never really understood the Father.” No, they don’t understand Jesus. I can’t assume they do. I must be clear what Jesus wants. It may get rejected.
  • What should I do? “I’ve told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you’ll be well-warned and ready for them.” Jesus challenges me to get ready. I can’t plead ignorance.

Source: John 16:1-4

“Then neither will I answer your question.” ~Jesus

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Jesus asks a question

It is stunning and kicks my rear end, but Jesus doesn’t have to answer my questions. Jesus is the Son of God and he answers to no one but his Heavenly Father.

  • Jesus does what he does best, he teaches me. “One day he was teaching the people in the Temple, proclaiming the Message. The high priests, religion scholars, and leaders confronted him and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?” I am about to learn something from Jesus. It is coming. My job is to be ready.
  • Jesus asks a question. Jesus answered, “First, let me ask you a question: About the baptism of John—who authorized it, heaven or humans?” It happens a lot. Jesus is going to ask me a question. He expects me to answer. Jesus can’t be ignored. That is just the way it is.
  • What is the answer? “They were on the spot, and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ the people will tear us limb from limb, convinced as they are that John was God’s prophet.” They agreed to concede that round to Jesus and said they didn’t know. The truth is I really don’t know. I have no clue.
  • How does Jesus respond? Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.” Jesus doesn’t owe me anything. He can answer or not. His decision about that is final.

Source: Luke 20:1-8

“Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority?” ~Apostle Paul

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Recommendations. Endorsements. Credentials. References. Likes.  The way of this world.

  • Is this God’s way? It is definitely not.
  • Should I be focused on the ways of the past? No, I should be focused on how great God is. I should be focused on the fruit that the Holy Spirit is producing in my life. The results that the Holy Spirit brings is the only “reference” I should need.
  • It isn’t asserting my own authority that means anything. It is God’s authority, made clear by His Holy Spirit, that makes a difference. The Spirit of God and the fruit of changed lives is all I  need. This is the present.
  • Endorsements, etc. are the past. What is happening now is what is important. What is God saying today? What is God doing today?

Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. The Messiah himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it. ~~2 Corinthians 3:1-3

May I live today in the power of God’s Spirit and His authority.

May that be all I need.

“God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked.” ~King David

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King David was a very wise man who had seen a lot. He had real enemies who wanted to kill him.

Where did King David to for help?

  • Who is God? God is a God who provides us a safe-house. Jesus is a sanctuary for us.
  • What does God want from me? God’s goal for me is to relax. God is God and in charge.
  • Why is this important? There are no regrets when we take refuge in God. We are never sorry that we come to God.

“God’s a safe-house for the battered,
    a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax;
    you’re never sorry you knocked.” ~King David

Source: Psalm 9:9-10

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“Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” ~Jesus

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It was a nice day for a boat ride. I’ve been on them before. It is a beautiful day. You take off. You didn’t know there was a storm brewing that you couldn’t see. It turns ugly. Real ugly.

  • Jesus knew what was going to happen. Jesus didn’t warn anyone. “Life” is going to happen. There will be storms. Jesus doesn’t protect us from going through them.
  • Jesus sleeps through it all. Jesus knew how it would all end. Jesus had faith that God would see him through it all. God did.
  • The disciples heart is revealed. They don’t think Jesus cares. I am the same way. Some days I find it hard to believe, based on the storm I am seeing, that God cares at all.
  • Jesus diagnoses the problem as a lack of faith. The real problem I have is one of faith. I can chose to believe that God doesn’t care or that he does.
  • Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus speaks the word and the storm calms down completely. Nothing is impossible with God.

Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”

They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”

Source: Mark 4:35-41

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Coward definition

“Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” ~King Solomon

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Forgive to ForgetMan, this is tough. Now Solomon was an amazingly wise man. So this is good advice.

Here are three steps. It is interesting in that Solomon links not reacting with forgiving and forgetting.

  • Don’t react and say it. Just “hold my tongue”.
  • BU. Whether what they say is true or not, I can forgive what they say.
  • Forget. It is much easier to not react if it is the “first time” someone says something we don’t like. Forgetting makes that happen.

“Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” ~King Solomon

Source: Solomon (Proverbs 11)

May I hold my tongue. Really Lord.

Help me. Make me smart. Amen.

“Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” ~Apostle Paul

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The Apostle Paul is wrapping up his letter to the Ephesians. There are many things we need to do. He has a good summary for me.

  • Use every weapon Jesus has given us. We have a lot at our disposal. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation must be applied in my life.
  • God’s word is a great weapon. This is his living word and his written word. I can use it against my enemy, the evil one.
  • Prayer is not to be ignored. When I am faced with evil, I can talk with God and he will hear me.
  • Finally, I am to encourage my brothers and sisters in the Master Jesus. I am to help keep their spirits up.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Source: Ephesians 6:13-18

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“Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.” ~Jesus

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Jesus challenges me. Am I ready?

  • Jesus shows me the way. The miracles of Jesus show me what God can do.
  • Jesus challenges me to do the same. I must have faith. It doesn’t have to be large, my faith can be small.
  • I must lay ahold of God. God is ready. Am I? It is not about me. It is about God. That is all I need to know and I do know it.

Early the next morning Jesus was returning to the city. He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree alongside the road, he approached it anticipating a breakfast of figs. When he got to the tree, there was nothing but fig leaves. He said, “No more figs from this tree—ever!” The fig tree withered on the spot, a dry stick. The disciples saw it happen. They rubbed their eyes, saying, “Did we really see this? A leafy tree one minute, a dry stick the next?”

But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.

Source: Matthew 21:18-22

“Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.” ~Jesus

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Jesus is clear and direct. He always is. Here are some things I need to understand.

  • It is all about Jesus. When I am connected to him (as a branch to the vine), I have an abundant life.
  • Apart from Jesus, I am deadwood. Without my connection to Jesus, I cannot produce anything. I will dry up and be cast away as firewood. God is God. I am nothing without his son Jesus.
  • Connected to Jesus, I am at home with what Jesus says and I mature. Jesus listens to me and acts on my requests. Jesus knows what I need. Jesus and his Father are in a good mood.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.” ~Jesus

Source: John 15:5-8

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“Do your best, prepare for the worst — then trust God to bring victory.” ~King Solomon

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God has given us all the gift of wisdom. It is amazing what we learn in the wisdom books in the Bible.

So what is today’s lesson?

  • Jesus challenges me to do my best. Jesus is clear what the best is. It is to love. That is challenge.
  • It is useful to prepare for the worst. God knows what will happen but I don’t. No matter what, God works out everything for my good. Jesus prepared to be brutally murdered and sacrificed for us. He did not ignore that reality.
  • I must trust God. The victory is his, not mine. Jesus knew he would die but he also knew God would be victorious and raise him from the dead. And God did. The worst turns into something better.

“Do your best, prepare for the worst—
then trust God to bring victory.” ~King Solomon

Proverbs 21:31

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“I don’t suffer fools gladly—and you’ve acted the fool!” ~Jesus

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Uh oh! This isn’t good. Jesus tells a great story about different gifts given to different servants. One utterly failed. What can I learn from this?

  • Jesus has trusted me with a little or a lot. Jesus has given me a gift and expects me to make the most of it.
  • Jesus has high standards. Jesus doesn’t change his expectations for me because I didn’t get as much as others. Jesus expects me to be responsible.
  • I can choose to be wise. It is my choice what I do with what Jesus has given me. I am not a victim.

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Is Jesus a respectable religious leader? A Mr. Rogers with a beard?

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Jesus

Is Jesus a respectable religious leader?

  • Jesus is not interested in being a “respectable religious leader”. He is not Mr. Rogers with a beard. Jesus is powerful and very direct. Jesus challenges me every day.
  • Jesus is in charge of everything. Seriously. Believe it. God has given everything over to Jesus. There is not a thing Jesus isn’t in charge of.
  • All Jesus does is what He sees the Father doing. His power and authority come from God. Jesus is obedient and challenges me to do what God desires. That is mainly to find a way to love.

May I know that God is God.

Jesus does what He sees the Father doing.

May I do the same.

“Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all.” ~Jesus

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Jesus had a few things to say after his resurrection and before he ascended to heaven. Jesus was angry that they hadn’t believed the others who had seen him alive. His message after he took them to task was:

  • Where should they go? Go into the world. Jesus always emphasized that he was the savior of the whole world, not just the Jews.
  • What should they say? Announce the good news to everyone. My focus should be on good news and what God is doing.
  • What should they do? Baptize those who believe.

Still later, as the Eleven were eating supper, Jesus appeared and took them to task most severely for their stubborn unbelief, refusing to believe those who had seen him raised up. Then Jesus said, “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all. Whoever believes and is baptized is saved; whoever refuses to believe is damned.”

Source: Mark 16:14-16

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“You put us in charge of your handcrafted world.” ~King David

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King David has some great insight into God’s goal for us.

  • God is God and God made this world. This isn’t our world, it is God’s. Everything starts with God.
  • God put us in charge of the world he has created. We don’t automatically “inherit” things. It is God’s gift to us. It is my job to be responsible.
  • Our job is to act on God’s goal for us. God has a plan for us. I must follow up on what God wants me to do.

“You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
    repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
    even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
    whales singing in the ocean deeps.” ~King David

Source: Psalm 8:5-8

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“What do you want from me?” ~Jesus

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This is important for me to know. It is, in fact, critical.

  • Jesus is very interested in what I want from him. It is too easy to believe that God doesn’t care. Jesus only does what he sees his Father do. God is in a good mood and so is Jesus.
  • I need to be bold, making my needs known to him. Sitting around thinking I don’t need to say anything will get me nowhere. When Jesus is passing by, I must shout out for mercy.
  • Persistence is critical. When others want me to shut up, I need to get bolder and louder. I need persistent faith not more faith.
  • My needs move Jesus deeply. Jesus listens to me and is moved. Deeply. That is good news.

There is a procession to join. God’s miracles aren’t for me alone. My job is to follow Jesus.

As they were leaving Jericho, a huge crowd followed. Suddenly they came upon two blind men sitting alongside the road. When they heard it was Jesus passing, they cried out, “Master, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!” The crowd tried to hush them up, but they got all the louder, crying, “Master, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!”

Jesus stopped and called over, “What do you want from me?”

They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!”

Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession.

Source: Matthew 20-29-34

Experience Jesus

Heartfelt experience with Jesus

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” ~Apostle Paul

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The Apostle Paul challenges to know a few things.

  • God is at work in my life. He is in control. He is in charge. And everything He does for us, as a result of our love for Him, is for our good.
  • God is in a great mood. He is always in a great mood. He is good to the core and has my best interests at the core of His heart.
  • God has a purpose for me. It is my assignment not to question what is happening but to see God in it. What is His purpose for this circumstance right now? His heart is good. His love is pure. He is in a great mood.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” ~Apostle Paul

Source: Romans 8:28

 May we bask in God’s love and receive His purpose for our lives!

“Leave your impoverished confusion and live! Walk up the street to a life with meaning.” ~King Solomon

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What does Lady Wisdom say to me?

  • I’m living in confusion and impoverished by it. I should leave the land of confusion and begin to live. I have a choice. What will i decide?
  • I have meaning in life. Jesus has given it to me. The gift is available to me.
  • I should act like I have a life of meaning. Does what I do reflect the wisdom I have in my life? Can others see the meaning and feel it?

“Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
    Walk up the street to a life with meaning.” ~King Solomon

Source: Proverbs 9:6

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What is the main thing about the main thing?

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Image result for jesus rocksHere it is. It is the main thing about the main thing.

Our Father is in a good mood. He always has been. He always will be. His love for me is pure. He isn’t keeping a list of all of my sins. He isn’t frustrated with me at all. He is just tickled pink with who I am in Him.

The life He has given me as a gift is amazing. I didn’t do a thing to earn it. Never could. His love isn’t cautious at all. The most famous bible verse (John 3:16) starts with “For God so loved the world …”

Now how amazing is all of this. He so ROCKS!!!

May I know that God is good and in a good mood all the time. May I know He loves me all the time.

 

"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future." ~~Oscar Wilde

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Here we go.

  • We are all in the same boat. Saint and sinner alike. I have a past and I have a future.
  • Jesus challenges me to not get too carried away with myself. God is the judge, not me.
  • It is God’s gift that redeems me not anything I do. Obedience is my reaction to God’s gift.

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. ” ~Oscar Wilde

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“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me.” ~Jesus

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Trust Jesus

Jesus is getting down to the wire here. This is the final night before his death the next day. Jesus knows what is coming. He has a few things to say.

  • What is important to know? The main thing is to trust Jesus. It is easy to get rattled and lose courage. I must trust Jesus. God is in a good mood.
  • Where is Jesus going? To prepare a place for us. Jesus is getting things ready for me and for you.
  • Will Jesus come back? Yes, Jesus promises he will come get us so that we can be with him. Many have already gone on before me. My time will come and I will join them.

“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” ~Jesus

Source: John 14:1-4

“God is strong, and he wants you strong.” ~Apostle Paul

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Some things are amazingly simple with God. Here are a few of them.

  • God is strong. Nothing weak about him at all. Like the energizer bunny he just keeps going and going. He is always strong. He never sleeps. He doesn’t grow tired. He has always been strong and always will be. God is Great
  • God’s desire for me. God’s goal is that I will always be strong as well. He sent Jesus to die for me and so I can share in the power of His resurrection. That God has desires for me is very powerful.
  • Jesus gave His mighty Spirit so I can be strong. Jesus has given us all the weapons I need to be victorious. God is great.

So there!!!

“God is strong, and he wants you strong.” ~Apostle Paul

Source: Ephesians 6:10

May we always be strong, just as He is. God is great. His power and strength is astounding.

“So why are you now trying to out-god God?” ~Apostle Peter

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Can I out-god God? No, I can’t.

  • God is God. Peter laid in on the line with the early Christians who wanted to maintain the old agreement about the religious rules and regulations. He wasn’t having any of it. He knew something that is the main thing.God is God
  • I can’t out-god God! I can try to reach God by being good but it won’t work. It is only out of His generosity that I move beyond missing the God’s goal for me and operate in the realm where I fulfill His every desire.
  • Keeping the rules won’t get me into His world. Jesus has a new plan that has nothing to do with that. God is God. And God is great. Nothing is impossible with Him.

So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? Don’t we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us just as he did those from beyond our nation? So what are we arguing about?

Source: Acts 15:10-11

“I couldn’t be more pleased—I’m so confident and proud of you.” ~Apostle Paul

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Confidence in others

As we start out on the journey with Jesus, it helps to have leaders who inspire us. Sure, I need discipline, but I also need to know when I am on the right track. The Apostle Paul shows me how to lead:

  • Leaders let us know they are pleased with what we are doing.
  • Leaders are confident that we are going to make it.
  • Leaders are proud of what we do.

Of course, this all starts with God. God is in a good mood and is proud of us.

“And then, when we saw how Titus felt—his exuberance over your response—our joy doubled. It was wonderful to see how revived and refreshed he was by everything you did. If I went out on a limb in telling Titus how great I thought you were, you didn’t cut off that limb. As it turned out, I hadn’t exaggerated one bit. Titus saw for himself that everything I had said about you was true. He can’t quit talking about it, going over again and again the story of your prompt obedience, and the dignity and sensitivity of your hospitality. He was quite overwhelmed by it all! And I couldn’t be more pleased—I’m so confident and proud of you.

~Apostle Paul

Source: 2 Corinthians 7:13-17

“So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help?” ~Jesus

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Jesus challenges me. I don’t need more faith. I need persistent faith.

  • I must be persistent in my prayer and never quit. My faith must be persistent. If I believed yesterday, I must believe today.
  • I must be confident God will step in. I may not know when but it will happen.
  • God will stick up for me. God is in a good mood.

Here is the story Jesus told.

Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.

He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’

“He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’”

Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”

Source: Luke 18:1-6

Francis Chan | Why I Left The Megachurch I Created! How will people recognize we are the disciples of Jesus?

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Great story from Francis Chan on creating a mega-church and what led him to leave.

  • Many times Jesus challenges us to leave it all behind. God bless those who listen and obey.
  • Is it all really about the numbers and money? I think we know what Jesus thinks. It is really only about love.
  • What is “the church” really all about? What difference does it make in our communities? God has a plan for the church. It isn’t about the numbers. The church is about love. Here is what Jesus says! “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

“Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life.” ~King Solomon

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God’s Wisdom

There are a few really critical factors in living a life of wisdom.

  • I can’t ignore living a disciplined life. Wisdom doesn’t come by a haphazard approach. When Jesus teaches me a lesson, I must put it into practice every second of every day.
  • I must choose to live wisely. I get to decide. I can be foolish if I want to be. I get to decide to live a life based on the wisdom Jesus has given me.
  • I must resist the temptation to squander what Jesus has given me. My standing with God is a gift. I can reject the gift of God.

“Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
    don’t squander your precious life.”

Source: Proverbs 8:33

Is God’s word important for my life? 3 important questions to answer.

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Is God’s word important for my life? Am I living it out in my life?

For most believers we read the word, but the word in not living in and through us. Francis Chan shares the importance of having the word of God live through you and through obedience following God.

  • Is God’s word important to me?
  • Am I living (doing) what Jesus challenges me to do?
  • Will I have eternal life because of God’s grace or because of my obedience?

 

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” ~Jesus

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Why? The words of Jesus haunt me. Why do I pretend that he is my Master and then not obey him?Aaaarg!

As parents, we know the frustration of asking our children to do something, only to discover they have completely ignored us.

  • Listen and do: You can almost hear the frustration in Jesus voice over the issue of listening and doing. This is key. It is useless to listen only. Obedience must follow.
  • My mission is to love. That is it, plain and simple. I really don’t have any other job. That is God’s goal for me.
  • Love lays a solid foundation for everything else in life. It will stand the test of time. It will earn my God’s favor.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”

Source: Luke 6:46, 49

May I have a well built house. May I put into practice what Jesus says. God has a goal for me. My job is to believe, be obedient and have faith.

“If you say so.” ~Jesus

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Jesus is at the end of it all now. He has been arrested, jailed and “at trial” before the Judge.

  • Jesus is brought before Pilate, who will judge his guilt or innocence. Pilate has Jesus very life in his hands. Pilate asks a very reasonable question. Pilate understands the accusation clearly. Is Jesus the King of the Jews?
  • Jesus answers, very wisely. Jesus doesn’t affirm or directly deny what he is accused of. This set his accusers on fire.
  • Having answered, Jesus becomes silent. Jesus is clear. Having answered, that is all he needs to do. In court, any attorney would object with “Asked and answered”. Pilate was very impressed.

Continue reading

“Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” ~Jesus

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If Peter was anything, he was nothing but bold. But it seems that he was also always asking for more.

  • When I have my eyes on our Master Jesus that is the way it is. Jesus wasn’t the only one to walk on water. Peter did too. He asked Jesus and Jesus said YES. Bold in God
  • Jesus had supernatural courage. He didn’t do anything but what he saw His Father doing. He had His eyes focused on God.
  • AND we serve a bold God. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, everything was alright. It was only when he looked away from Jesus, saw the waves, did he get in trouble.

God has a goal for us.  Let’s be Bold, Fear not, Have Courage, and don’t be Anxious.

May I have more boldness and fearless confidence.

Water longs to be walked on again!

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. 

At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”He said, “Come ahead.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus.

But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, ‘This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!’

Source: Matthew 14

“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you.” ~Jesus

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Jesus has a way he wants us to follow to work out our grievances against one another. If I am not willing to follow it, I should keep my mouth shut.

  • Jesus wants me to have the courage to go to the person, one on one, try to work it out.
  • I have to decide, is this worth an intervention? If it isn’t, I can just forgive and move on.
  • Now this is tough, do I want to take it to the whole church?

I don’t think most of us would ever get past step one. Step one is huge though. It forces me to think through do I just forgive and does the person need to know they hurt me.

Having done all that, what should I do? Jesus says start it all over again and focus on God’s forgiving love.

“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.”

Source Matthew 18:15-17

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“Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion.” ~King Solomon

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Here is the deal about wisdom. God has a goal for me. God wants me to be wise.

  • I need to be on speaking terms with wisdom. Wisdom needs to be as close to me as family, like a sister to me.
  • Insight, in addition to wisdom, is critical to my well being. Insight should be my closest friend, always with me.
  • Wisdom and insight together should be my close companions. They go hand in hand like trusted friends and family. They compliment each other.

Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
    Treat Insight as your companion.

Source: Proverbs 7:4

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“I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me.” ~~Jesus

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With Jesus I am faced with a choice.

  • Will I  dismiss Jesus? I can. I shouldn’t.
  • Will I avoid Jesus? That is more likely than completely dismissing Him. Avoidance may seem like a great strategy but it really gets me nowhere. Authority of God
  • Jesus declares to me in a very clear way that He has the authority of God, His Father. There is no level of subtlety in his assertion. I can accept Him. I can reject Him. I can avoid Him. What I can’t do is ignore the fact of who He is.

Jesus greatest desire and passion is that I accept Him and the life he has to offer me.

“I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me.” ~~Jesus (John 5:41-44 The Message)

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“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” ~~Napoleon Hill

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Napleon HillWhat does Jesus think?

  • God has a plan. What I can conceive is puny compared to God. Jesus challenges me to “think God”.
  • Jesus wants me to believe that nothing is impossible with God. Jesus knows it. Faith compels me believe it.
  • God’s word will come true, regardless of what I believe. God is God. I am not. I need to understand that and be clear on it.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” ~~Napoleon Hill

“My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene.” ~Jesus

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  • Jesus knows what is important. I think I do some days. I have my to do list. It isn’t always aligned with what Jesus thinks is important.
  • Holiness is the key to life. I get off track with things that don’t matter. They seem urgent to me. They seem to be the “right thing”. Yet, is the focus on holiness? If not, why not?
  • Not all of us are clean, even those who are closest to Jesus. Jesus chose Judas to be one of the twelve. He knew that Judas would betray him. In spite of that, Jesus put Judas in charge of the Good News Ministry finances. Now that was bold.

Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

Source: John 13:10-12

Heartfelt experience with Jesus

“I’ve come to start a fire on this earth! I’ve come to change everything, turn everything right side up!” ~Jesus

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Jesus is radical.

  • Jesus is the ultimate change agent. Jesus is the ultimate disruptor. Jesus upsets relationships. Jesus doesn’t make everything nice. Jesus will confront us. There will be conflict between what we want and what Jesus wants. Others may not like the change.
  • This is always His pattern. Jesus is not Mr. Rogers with a beard. 
  • Yes, Jesus is radical. And, He calls for us to be radical for Him. Have I set something on fire for Him today? Have I challenged something for Him today? Will I challenge myself today to follow Him and be His servant?

Here is the mandate from Jesus.

“I’ve come to start a fire on this earth! I’ve come to change everything, turn everything right side up! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to disrupt and confront! From now on, when you find five in a house, it will be— three against two, and two against three; Father against son, and son against father; Mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; Mother-in-law against bride, and bride against mother-in-law.” ~~Jesus (Luke 12)

Radical Sayings of Jesus

“You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith.” ~Jesus

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Here is the real deal about faith.

  • I think I need more faith. If I just had more faith, I could do X. Jesus challenges me to understand God’s goal for me.
  • Jesus knows that it isn’t true that I need more faith. Faith is not a question of more or less.
  • I either have faith or I don’t. If I believe God can do it and that he is in a good mood, I can act on my faith. God is God.

Jesus is right! It isn’t about ‘more’.

The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”

But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it.

Source: Luke 17:5-6

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“Thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must.” ~Apostle Paul

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What do I have on my to do list for the day?

What must I do?

Thanking God should be at the top of my list every day. When I thank God, particularly for others, I will love them. I can’t thank God for all the good in someone else and then hate them can I?

Nope, can’t be done.

Thanking God over and over for you is the key!

You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

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“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” ~Jesus

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What does it take to be a part of God’s family?

The answer is very straight forward. Jesus doesn’t hold anything back from me. His challenge to me is to do what God wants. Obedience is the core of everything in God’s world. Gods Plan - 01

It is not about my plan. It is all about God’s plan. He has one. Will I obey it? Jesus challenges me to do so.

Now here is some VERY good news. God’s plan is simple and straightforward.

In this day of complicated programs and books, simplicity rocks. The kids even have it on a bracelet. WWJD. “What would Jesus do”?

God’s plan is for me to do what He has in mind for me. All the time. That puts me in the family of God. Good news for sure.

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.  (Matthew 12:50)

“Take, this is my body.” ~Jesus

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Jesus sacrificed his body for me. Jesus has set up a sacred ritual for me to remember that precious act. What better symbol than the breaking of bread?

He told us before it happened that it would. Jesus created a beautiful sacrament so can continue to participate and remember.

What a wonderful God we serve. May I never forget what Jesus has done for me.

In the course of their meal, having taken and blessed the bread, he broke it and gave it to them. Then he said,

“Take, this is my body.”

Source: Mark 14:22

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“People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed?” ~King Solomon

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I find it way to easy to blame God. After all, he is in control, right?

On any given day, at any given moment, that is the easy way out.

Not my fault!

Jesus challenges me to look at my own heart. Jesus knows where evil comes from. Evil doesn’t come from God.

At a fundamental level, I need to look in the mirror.  Continue reading

“This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.” God about Jesus

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Image result for jesus transfiguration clipartJesus takes Peter, James and John with him. They will be his witness to what happens and what God says.

They were about to be present at a stunning time in our history.

God spoke and is clear. Jesus is God’s son. Jesus bears the mark of God. That mark is love. Jesus is the focus of God’s delight.

My job is to listen to Jesus.

Why? God said so! God is God. God has spoken.

God’s word is true and can’t be broken.

Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.

Peter broke in, “Master, this is a great moment! What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountain—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?”

While he was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”

When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. “Don’t be afraid.” When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus.

Source: Matthew 17:1-8

“Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial.” ~Jesus

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Breaking news! Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead so the religious leaders decide to kill Lazarus. Talk about not getting it.

OK, back to the real story. Mary spends a fortune on perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus.

Jesus knew what was going on. Jesus always does. Jesus can see into our hearts.

That is the real story here. Jesus knows. I can’t fool him. I shouldn’t try.

My focus needs to be on pleasing him.

Mary knew that is the main thing. The religious leaders didn’t know it. Judas didn’t know it.  Continue reading

“If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things.” ~Jesus

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Jesus challenges me. I must pay attention to the small things in my life. They are important and they are the precursor to the big things.

I must be honest. That starts with the small things. I build up credibility and confidence by moving from the small things to bigger things.

I can’t get to home by skipping first base.  Continue reading

“So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed?” ~King Solomon

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Wisdom is very practical. Nothing is going to happy by lazing around. We all know it but are a few who actually do it. Amazing what they can get done.

Everything starts by first getting out of bed and up and running.

I’m trying to remember all those stories about Jesus sleeping in. Hmm … none come to mind.

“So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
    How long before you get out of bed?”

Source: Proverbs 6:9 Continue reading

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all.“ –Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Laura Ingalls WilderSimplicity is the order of the day.

Jesus doesn’t make it complicated for me. His challenge to me is to love. That is it.

Love everyone I come in contact with. Love God.

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all.“ –Laura Ingalls Wilder

“When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did.” ~Apostle Paul

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Things are going to get rough. I am not going “to get my way”. That is a reality and I know it is true. I may not like it but that isn’t the issue.

My job is to follow orders. That is it. I must be a good soldier for Jesus.

I have to play by God’s rules. God is God and I must accept that. Anything else will lead to failure. I must truly think on this. God will make it plain to me. Continue reading

“Gratitude is our most direct line to God and the angels.” ~~ Terry Lynn Taylor

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This is clear and so very true. I can always talk with God.

No matter what time of day, I have something to be thankful for.

If I can’t find something to be thankful for, there is something fundamentally wrong that prayer won’t help at that moment.

“Gratitude is our most direct line to God and the angels. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for.” ~~ Terry Lynn Taylor Continue reading

“An evil and wanton generation is always wanting signs and wonders. The only sign you’ll get is the Jonah sign.” ~Jesus

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Jesus is direct. Jesus has no tolerance for the religious and their hypocritical ways.

I must take the warning from Jesus seriously. Jesus has given us all a sign. Jesus died, was buried, rose from the dead (the Jonah sign) and has ascended into heaven to be with God.  Continue reading

“Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.” ~King Solomon

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Jesus challenges me to be careful about the decisions I make. I must be disciplined in my approach to following Jesus.

I will reap what I sow. There is no way around that.

Jesus makes that clear to me. God’s goal for me is to be disciplined in my love. I must reject the foolish way.

“Death is the reward of an undisciplined life;
    your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.” 

Source: Proverbs 5:23

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“It’s not possible for a person to succeed—I’m talking about eternal success—without heaven’s help.” ~John the Baptizer

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I like to think I can do it all myself and that I don’t need any help.

I need to change my mind (repent) because that has me missing God’s goal for my life (sin).

I can’t succeed without the help of Jesus, the Messiah. That is reality and I need to get on board with that. It is all about Jesus and nothing about me.  Continue reading

“There’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.” ~Jesus

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Image result for jesus carrying sheep pictureJesus is happy. Jesus is rejoicing.

Jesus came to rescue me. I wandered away. I got lost.

Jesus noticed and came after me. He didn’t ignore my plight. Maybe you don’t need to be rescued. I did and I do.

There is joy in heaven. God is in a good mood. I see it every day.

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.” 

Source: Luke 15:4-7

“Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” ~Jesus

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God’s mercy

Jesus is clear. I need to tell everyone I know how Jesus, my Master and the Messiah, has had mercy on me. Jesus is in a good mood. He doesn’t hold me to account for missing God’s goal in my life (sin). Jesus, in his mercy, casts out the evil dwelling in me.

I was in a bad state. Some days I still am. Jesus cleans me up and sets me on the right way.

I must tell my story.

That is the challenge I have received from Jesus.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had done for him. He was the talk of the town.

Source: Mark 5:16-20

What is the suffering to joy ratio in Jesus?

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The most important thing to know and believe is that God is in a good mood. He loves me and has my best interest in mind. Jesus wants the best for me.

I do suffer a little. I know some people who suffer a lot. Jesus promised us that in this world we would have problems.

So … I suffer a little.

I have unlimited joy in the goodness of God.

The ratio isn’t even fair to compare. If joy equals 100 then, compared to that, suffering might be .0000001.

No comparison.

You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 ~Apostle Paul

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“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” ~~Carl Sandburg

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Carl SandburgGetting started, some days, is the only real option. It helps to think. It helps to plan. It produces results to do. Let’s get started doing.

I think of Abraham. God commanded him “to go” but didn’t tell him where. Abraham just headed out.

Abraham ended up in the promised land.

Abraham obeyed God.

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” ~~Carl Sandburg

“Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?” ~Religious scholars to Jesus

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Religious Charade

It is sad but religious people are consumed with “the rules”. Jesus knew it very well. He encountered it all the time.

Question to myself. Am I consumed about the rules and who is or isn’t following them?

I need to listen very close to Jesus. Jesus brings clarity to what is important. Am I on the side of Jesus or the religious leaders?

After that, Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?”  (Matthew 15:1-2)

"You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world." ~~Jesus

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Light does amazing things. It is very hard to replicate in a photo what it is doing some days.

Jesus requests that I be His light in this world. I have a mission to bring out the colors of God. I must shine like Jesus does.

I must obey Jesus and His command. He knows what I should do.

While I know that God is light, He also expects me to reflect His glory as well. I am to shine as a reflection of what He represents in the world. There is no hiding. There should be no darkness in my life.

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16 The Message)

“I must get rid of the underlying idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience.” ~Oswald Chambers

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Obey God

What can I do to get right with God? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Not a single solitary thing.

I have the law of God. I know the result. I miss the goal God has for me non stop, every day. His goal for me doesn’t change. Yet, I keep missing it.

Jesus comes with Good News. He died for me, took the punishment on for breaking God’s law and for missing His goal for me. He delivers me from the burden of punishment. There is nothing I can do to earn it. Trying harder won’t cut it. It is gift.

God is God. There is nothing I can do to get right with him.

“There is only one way by which I can get right with God, and that is through the death of Jesus the Messiah. I must get rid of the underlying idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience. Who of us could ever obey God to absolute perfection!” ~~Oswald Chambers

The Law and the Gospel | My Utmost For His Highest

“We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open.” ~Jesus

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I like to hide. I don’t like to be transparent. There are things about myself I don’t want others to know.

Now, that is about me. It is not about God.

Jesus came that I might know God. Know him to the fullest. Know Him like God always intended. It is not about me. It is about Him.

Jesus demands that I be open and let everyone know the power of God.

God is God. God is in charge. Jesus is not hiding anything. At all.

“We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open.” Jesus (Luke 8)

Victory Over Sin Isn’t An Event

4th Quarter Musings

One of the blessings of being part of a community of bloggers is that I get to read some thoughts and reflections that are expressed with crystal clarity on topics that need to be brought to our attention. God is very big on remembering. On many occasions throughout the journeys of the children of Israel, God would tell His people to have feasts and erect monuments for the purpose of remembering. In the same way, reading purposefully what God has put into the hearts of others, is a helpful way of calling our attention to the truths of His word, to take back to the Scriptures which help us remember who God is.

This issue of victory over sin is a reminder of God’s grace and never ending love for us. The apostle Paul lamented that sometimes he did the things he didn’t want to do and didn’t do the…

View original post 1,426 more words

"I wasn’t naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; everything I did in hockey I worked for." ~~Wayne Gretzky

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Talent will only get me so far.

The most talented always work for it. They don’t depend on “the gift” to get them to the prize.

Jesus challenges us to work for the prize before us.

“I wasn’t naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; everything I did in hockey I worked for.” ~~Wayne Gretzky

It tickles Him to no end: A Poem

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There are times
that I seem to know
what I am doing.
Some times, not all times.
There are other times
I don’t.
There is no logic to any of it.
No wisdom at all some days.

I need wisdom.
I want His guidance.
When I need it,
I can simply ask my heavenly Father.
He loves to help me.
It tickles Him to no end.
AND,
I can count on His help.

I won’t be condescended to
when I ask for it.
He won’t make fun of me.

I need to ask boldly.
I want supernatural courage; His courage.
I need to believe
He will give it to me.
I can’t have any second thoughts.
He loves to help me.

“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” ~King Solomon

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Heart’s Focus

Jesus challenges me to be vigilant. If I don’t pay attention, I will drift. Jesus has given me the way of wisdom. May I pay attention and not reject him.

I must watch over my heart. The main thing to pay attention to is my heart. From my heart comes what I think, what I say and what I do. It starts with my heart.

Life starts with my heart. It is easy to believe my heart isn’t important but it is the key. David knew it. Solomon knew it. Jesus focused on it and challenges me to pay attention.

David was known as a man after God’s own heart. May I learn enough to have that said of me. Now that is a real goal to have.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” ~King Solomon

Source: Proverbs 4:23

Am I drifting away from the new plan of Jesus?

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New Plan - 1There are important things to get a grip on. The most important is the message of the new plan.

Why? So I don’t drift off. It is easy to drift. Staying on message is tough and requires discipline. The old plan was delivered in so many ways. By angels. By prophets. By Kings. The list goes on. When that message was delivered, nobody got away with a single thing.

The new plan of good news was delivered by Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God, himself. It is a message of amazing salvation and deliverance from my enemies.

The message has been passed down to us faithfully by so many starting with those who heard it directly from Him. We know it is the true message of good news because it is validated with gifts through the Holy Spirit. All sorts of signs and wonders come with it.

So … may I never drift off. May I stay anchored in the good news of the new plan.

“So be careful that you don’t become misers of what you hear.” –Jesus

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I guess there are some things to be a miser about. Jesus suggests, however, that God’s word is not one of them.

Jesus expects me to proclaim the good news of the Message He has given me. I should be generous with what Jesus tells me.

Jesus is generous to me. Jesus demands that I be generous as well.

God is in charge of His country. He is generous with His message to me. He expects me to be the same.

Something to be careful of for sure.

So be careful that you don’t become misers of what you hear.” –Jesus (Luke 8 )

"Invest yourself in everything you do. There’s fun in being serious." ~~John Coltrane

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Jesus wants us to invest ourselves. I am to be “more than committed” to him and his way. I need supernatural courage and boldness. I must invest myself in Jesus.

It is always serious but it is also fun. It is pure joy to see what God can do. It makes me sing and dance. I laugh out loud.

Invest yourself in everything you do. There’s fun in being serious. ~~John Coltrane

“This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders.” ~Apostle Paul

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We have a home that God is building and we are the bricks He is using us to make His building magnificent.

Jesus is making it in His country of supernatural courage (faith). What is amazing is that He is using us to create a place for Him to dwell.

We all have a place there and He wants to live in it. He has given us great gifts to benefit His people.

So … In God’s country:

  • We don’t have to wander around not know if we belong. 
  • His country of supernatural courage is where we fit in. 
  • We all have a place of honor in His world.

That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with the Messiah Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. Ephesians 2:19 -22

 

May I find my place in His building and fit in the right place.

“Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within. ” ~~King Solomon

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A man after God’s heart

God’s goal for me is to know what is right and to store it up in my heart.

I must constantly contemplate on what Jesus tells me. I must store up the words of Jesus like deep water. The drought will come. The river in my heart will help me through the days and weeks.

When there is trouble, where does my strength come from? It comes deep with the treasure of Jesus’ words, hid deep in my heart.

Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within. ” ~~King Solomon (Proverbs 20:5)

Unveiling clock showing 8,411 days left for Israel, Iranians rage against Jewish state 

Thoughts on culture, politics and more

Iran held major anti-Israel rallies across the country Friday, with protesters chanting “Death to Israel” and declaring that destroying the Jewish state is “the Muslim world’s top priority.”

Iranians participating in Quds Day rallies also called for unity among pro-Palestinian groups against the “child-murdering” Israeli government, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

So what does God say about all this? Consider Numbers 14:6-9 – “Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Israel: “The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land—very good indeed. If God is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against God! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have…

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“Watch what God does, and then you do it. Mostly what God does is extravagantly love you.” ~Apostle Paul

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Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father doing.

So, what is the Father doing?

Mostly just finding ways to love me. The more I keep company with Jesus, the more I will learn a life of love.

What I see Jesus do, I will do likewise. I will not be selfish or cautious in my love. I must be extravagant in my love. That is His way.

So, what do I need to do to learn to love more? Spend more time with Jesus.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is extravagantly love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how the Messiah loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5

“I’m up again—rested, tall and steady, fearless before the enemy mobs coming at me from all sides.” ~~King David

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In God, i have rest. Even though i know i am  at war, I rest, confident that God will see me through.

Perfect love brings me peace. The is no fear in His world. He is in charge and I can rest.

What a gift from our Father. His goal for me will be achieved. My enemy can’t touch me when I trust in Him.

So … I go to bed confident. God is God. God has put Jesus in charge of everything. I can be fearless.

I wake up rested and strong. I wake up fearless in Jesus, my Messiah.

I stretch myself out. I sleep. Then I’m up again—rested, tall and steady, fearless before the enemy mobs coming at me from all sides.” ~~King David (Psalm 3:5-6)

“So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.” ~James

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Do I want God to have His way in my life?

Of course I do. As I follow Jesus, that is what I want the most.

But it’s not like I don’t have a choice. I have a choice. God has a goal for me. I must seek it out and do it no matter what.

The Devil is presenting alternatives to me all the time. So before I can say yes to God, I have to forcefully close the door on the evil alternative by saying no to the Devil.

This is about my  inner life. There is a struggle. I need to make the choice. I need to make it now.

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. James 4:10 MSG

“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” ~Jesus

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Jesus on the cross

When Jesus was on the cross, redeeming me, he cried out it is finished. Here he tells the crowds, before that happened, that now was the time for judgement and how Satan would be driven out by His death.

What He said and did is very clear. It is not the future. It was taken care of and finished. Faith compels me to believe it. Not just “kind of” believe it but really believe it.

May I continue to experience His victory.

Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. John 12:31-33