Children of God — We Become God’s Children by Adoption

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Child of God

This is stunning. As disciples of Jesus, we are the chief objects of God’s fatherly love. I become God’s child through faith and then encouraged by Scripture to imitate my heavenly Father in my daily living. God adopts me.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as children by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with the Messiah, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. | Romans 8:14-17

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“Jesus sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven.” ~John the Baptizer

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I am not immune to competing for my spiritual faction (aka denomination). I think it is best. I think Jesus cares. I am wrong.

John the Baptizer is still baptizing. Jesus, as a part of His ministry, is starting to baptize as well.

John’s disciples got into an argument with the establishment Jews over the nature of baptism. They came to John and said, “Rabbi, you know the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan? The one you authorized with your witness? Well, he’s now competing with us. He’s baptizing, too, and everyone’s going to him instead of us.”

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Self-control — It Affects the Whole Person Including Physical Self-control

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Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.  Image result for self controlIt is physical and emotional self-mastery, particularly in situations of intense provocation or temptation. It isn’t talked about alot and I surely can use more of it in my life. I can use a ton of it.

Paul reminds me “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

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God’s Goal — To Live with His People

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God’s Goal

God has goals in mind. He will accomplish them. When I miss God’s goal, that is known as sin. I miss God’s goal. I am a sinner. That much should be clear but if it isn’t, it is a starting point.

Jesus the Messiah’s basic aim was to do his Father’s will. As a slave of Jesus, I have the same objective, which Jesus the Messiah and the Holy Spirit enable me to achieve. I can’t do it on my own. I can do it with the power of the Holy Spirit. Now that is some VERY good news.

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“Why are you playing these games with me?” ~Jesus

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Image result for testing jesus mark 12Jesus has a serious question for me. Jesus wants an answer. Jesus will patiently wait. Jesus is smiling. Jesus isn’t mad.

Why am I playing games with (testing) Jesus? I don’t have a good reason. I am sometimes afraid of what total commitment looks like. I know Jesus wants everything. Jesus won’t put up with me holding back. I seek to change the subject by asking questions that aren’t relevant.

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Kindness — God shows it to His people

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I want the quality of compassion and generosity in my life. I need to learn how God loves the weak and poor. It is demanded of me as a slave of Jesus. I see the kindness is shown in the words and deeds of Jesus the Messiah.

In Galatians 5:22 I learn that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

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“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” ~King Solomon

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Image result for gentleness jesusI have seen it way too often. Something that starts simple escalates. It turns into all out war. My drive to defend myself and “be right” creates a verbal death spiral.

Gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Jesus challenges me to a goal of being gentle with others. That is a demonstration of God’s love.

There is good news! God has given me the Holy Spirit who teaches me the way of Jesus. That is stunning in that I don’t have to depend on my own evil ways. I am a new creation in Jesus.

A gentle response defuses anger,
    but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. | Proverbs 15:1 (The Message Bible)

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Wisdom — Understanding God’s Word

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Wisdom

I need wisdom. I need understanding. Wisdom and understanding is a God-given perception. With it, I can see the nature and meaning of things, resulting in sound judgment and decision-making. In particular, it gives me the ability to discern spiritual truth and to apply it to human disposition and conduct.

Biblical wisdom refers to practical skills associated with understanding and living a successful life. Wisdom is often associated with trust in and fear of God (Deut 4:6; Prov 1:7).

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“What you believed could happen has happened.” ~Jesus

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Image result for authority of jesusJesus challenges me. Jesus wants me to believe. When I do, Jesus is loving, kind and faithful. Jesus wants to heal me. Jesus wants to heal all of us. God is in an amazing mood.

As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, “Master, my servant is sick. He can’t walk. He’s in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I’ll come and heal him.”

“Oh, no,” said the captain. “I don’t want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine. I’m a man who takes orders and gives orders. I tell one soldier, ‘Go,’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

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Peace — These Prophecies of Peace are Fulfilled in the Coming of Jesus the Messiah

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. | Galatians 5:22

Image result for peace with GodThe most prevalent focus to the concept of peace in the New Testament is the messianic peace accomplished by the Messiah and experienced by the Church. “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.” (Acts 9:31).

In the Old Testament, the concept of messianic peace referred to both the absence of hostilities and a reconciled relationship with God and others in the context of the new creation.

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Joy — Disciples Have it Even in the Face of Opposition

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Today I choose joy

Do disciples have joy even in the face of opposition? Absolutely we do. Jesus is kind and thoughtful. I know that. I am joyful. I am filled with the Holy Spirit who confirms it to me. I am growing joyful fruit. It is a wonderful gift from Jesus, my Master and Owner.

Note that it was not a sometime kind of thing. It was continual. The early disciples were always joyful and happy. It is just who they were, like Jesus. This is where I get to say one of my favorite things. God is in a good mood!

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“Are you listening to this? Really listening?” ~Jesus

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Image result for jesus is in chargeJesus is clear and Jesus has a question for me.

Am I listening to Him?

“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.

“Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it’s useless, good for nothing.

“Are you listening to this? Really listening?” | Luke 14:33-34 (The Message)

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“Happy are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” ~Jesus

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Image result for mercy of jesusI want mercy in my life. Compassion is a wonderful gift from God. I am challenged by Jesus to replicate it in all of my relationships. I am to be a person of mercy. It will bring me happiness and mercy in my own life. Now that is some very good news.

“Happy (aka Blessed) are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” | Matthew 5:7

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Justice — God’s Justice is declared through God the Father

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Image result for justice mercy faithfulnessIs God fair? Yes. God’s justice is without any partiality. I can trust God completely.

Being just Himself, God calls on me to act justly. It is important. Justice, mercy and faithfulness. Big deals in the world that Jesus is Master of.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23)

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“The Master is my light and my salvation —  whom shall I fear?” ~King David

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Image result for no fear in loveI have a number of things I am afraid of. God is God and Jesus is working with me to iron those things out. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is not going to let me fears hide in the dark. Jesus brings them out into the light.

The Master (aka Lord) is my light and my salvation —
    whom shall I fear?
The Master is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid? | Psalm 27:1

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Patience — Jesus Patience with God’s Timing of Events

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Image result for patience of jesusJesus the Messiah’s life was lived under the shadow of the cross. He was concerned that people should understand his ministry and therefore he exercised great patience, being directed by the Father in the priorities and timing of his work.

As a disciple and slave of the Messiah I am called to demonstrate patience in all my relationships and circumstances. Jesus has shown me His mercy. I must show patience to all I have a relationship with as well. I need help with this. There is good news. Jesus has given me his Holy Spirit to guide me.

Jesus knew why God had sent him into the world. Jesus was going to complete every task that God had given Him to accomplish. There was an hour where that became real.

  • John 12:27 (NASB) —  “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.”
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Slave — Am I a Slave or a Servant? Does it Matter?

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“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave (dŏulŏs) above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave (dŏulŏs) like his master.” ~Jesus | Matthew 10:24 

Am I a slave or a servant? Yes! I am both. It isn’t an “either/or” issue. I am afraid, however, we ignore the slave part a lot. We love to talk about being a servant. Books, videos, sermons, songs and more. We even created this new thing called a “servant-leader”.

Does it matter? Yes, it matters a great deal. Being a slave is the essence of the life of a disciple of Jesus. It is not to be ignored. It is essential.

I want to talk to you about a word? Really? A word? A word in the Scripture that says something that has not been heard much in “the church” in America, or the English speaking part of the world. I’m in shock, really, that it hasn’t seen much visibility. It seems it is somewhat of a taboo issue. We do need clarity on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and to follow him.

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“Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.” ~Jesus

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Image result for children of godThis is stunning. As disciples of Jesus, we are the chief objects of God’s fatherly love. We become God’s children through faith and are then encouraged by Scripture to imitate our heavenly Father in our daily living.

I also become a child of God by being “born again”. I was born as a child of my earthly father. He did what he could for me in raising me well but it had its limits.

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Gentleness – In Dealing with the Wayward

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Related imageI wander off. I am wayward. I drift. It happens.

It happens to others I know. What is my attitude? How should I act?

Jesus calls on me to be gentle. Gentleness is the character of love.

Isaiah 40:1–2 (NASB) —  “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.  “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.”

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“No one is going to eat fruit from you again—ever!” ~Jesus

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Image result for why jesus cursed fig treeWhy in the world would Jesus curse the fig tree?

What was He up to?

This happened during the week before His crucifixion. Jesus had entered Jerusalem a day earlier amid the praise and worship of the Jewish people who were looking to Him as the King/Messiah who was going to deliver them from Roman occupation (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11).

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Love — The Love of God is Revealed in the Cross of Jesus the Messiah

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Jesus demonstrated His love for me by dying on the cross so that I can be reconciled to God the Father. Jesus has sealed me with the Holy Spirit. The death of Jesus is how I know what love is. Now this is some good news!

I must confess that I am not the best at this. I am challenged many days. Let’s dig in. There is much to learn on how to love.

1 John 3:16 (NASB) — We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

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“Escape quickly from the company of fools; they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.” ~King Solomon

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Atheist

Scripture portrays fools as those who have rejected God and his ways and are unable or unwilling to appreciate the wisdom of knowing and obeying him. A great example is “A fool has said in his heart, there is no God.”

So what to do? Argue with atheists? Have wonderful debates over theology and dogma?

Not hardly. They are a waste of our time. They are a waste of our words. Jesus warned us to not cast our pearls before swine. Continue reading

Hell — Temptations to Miss God’s Goal (aka sin) Must be Dealt with Drastically

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Image result for hellDo you believe in hell? It is interesting that a much higher percentage of people believe in the existence of heaven than believe in the existence of hell. It’s natural for people to want things to turn out well in the end, both in life and, apparently, afterwards. Roughly seven-in-ten (72%) Americans say they believe in heaven — defined as a place “where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded,” according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. But at the same time, 58% of U.S. adults also believe in hell — a place “where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished.”

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“Some [of the disciples], though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.” ~Apostle Matthew

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Doubt and Jesus

Am I a doubter? If I am honest, yes, there are times I doubt. So did some of the 11 disciples. They all went on to serve Jesus in a mighty way. Thomas, while famous for being “a doubter” wasn’t the only one. John the Baptizer, the cousin of Jesus, had doubts.

Do I hold back? Of course I do. Some times I refuse to be clear about who Jesus is. Afterward, I kick myself. I am ashamed. Jesus uses it as a way for me to learn to be a better disciple. The power of the Holy Spirit always convicts me.  Continue reading

Mary and Joseph, the Parents of Jesus — Too Poor for a Sheep

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Image result for jesus moneyJesus is born. We all know the story. Apparently Mary and Joseph couldn’t afford a sheep for the sacrifice. As allowed, they substituted the less expensive turtledoves or pigeons.

Those in better circumstances were commanded to bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, and a turtle-dove, or a young pigeon, for a sin-offering. It is evident, from the offering they made, that although Joseph and Mary were of the seed royal, they were in very lean circumstances. Continue reading

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Image result for mother's dayMy mother was a woman of hope. We would talk and she would share them with me. Mainly they were hopes for me. She wanted a “better world” and she wanted it for her children. Born in the middle of the great depression. Everyone, including her husband, off at war. Surely there was a better way. She worked hard to make sure we could have it.

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

I Wait and I Wait. The Longer This Waiting Goes On, the Deeper the Ache.

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Image result for friendsOver the years I have been fortunate to develop some really good friends in my journey with Jesus. I thank God for every one of them. They are so important in my life.

The most precious ones I met when I was a college student and spent summers in North Carolina in a program called “Disciplined Life in the Messiah (Christ)”. I was there 3 summers and 50 or so different ones would come each time. I had the honor to be on staff. I’ve lost touch with many. We are scattered about in California, Florida, Boston, L. A., Europe. All over. Continue reading

The authority of Jesus — It is limited by the Father

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Image result for authority of jesusWhat gives Jesus the right to speak and act on his Father’s behalf in forgiving sin, pronouncing judgment and promising eternal life to those who believe in him?

Jesus is the Son of our Heavenly Father, God. God is God. God gives His son authority. That is the way in the Kingdom of God. Continue reading

“Whether few or many is none of your business. Put your mind on your life with God.” ~Jesus

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Will of God

It is none of my business.

That is the stunning message from Jesus that He wants me to know. I am not to worry about a lot of things I am worried about.

What is my business?

My focus has to be on what God wants me to do. Am I loving God with every fiber of my being? Am I loving everyone I know and meet? My life with God is what I need to get focused on. Doing what God wants is my business. Continue reading

Joy — The Holy Spirit gives Joy to Jesus the Messiah and to Those who were Anticipating His Birth

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Image result for joy of jesusThe Holy Spirit brings joy to believers, giving them an inner contentment and happiness which is not dependent upon external circumstances.

The Greek word is χαρά chara, (khar-ah) meaning  calm delight:— gladness,  greatly, to be exceeding joyful.

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“If I have done anything in life worth attention, I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother.” —Booker T. Washington

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Image result for mother's dayMy mother always defended me no matter what. She could calm me down. She would sooth the hurts like no other.

If I have done anything in life worth attention, I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother.” —Booker T. Washington

So who do I owe who I  am to? It is my mother. She showed me how to love. She showed me how to be strong. She showed me how to work. She showed me how to care.

Jesus didn’t call me to be Christian. He called me to be a disciple.

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Think HappyJesus didn’t call me to be a Christian. He called me to be a disciple. Jesus is my Master teacher.

I will smile even when I am hurting. I will be happy even when I am unhappy. It’s called strength! It is called the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus counted it a great joy even when He went to the cross for me.

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“Make sure I’m fit inside and out so I never lose sight of your love, but keep in step with you, never missing a beat.” ~King David

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Image result for keeping in step with jesusGod has given me a goal. I need to keep in step with Jesus. Jesus kept on track. Jesus does everything His Father wants Him to. Jesus is obedient.

Make sure I’m fit inside and out so I never lose sight of your love, but keep in step with you, never missing a beat. | Psalm 26:2-3 Continue reading

Miracles of Jesus — Examples of the Authority of Jesus over Natural Forces

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Image result for miracle jesusThere are so many amazing and supernatural acts of Jesus, revealing and confirming his Messianic credentials, and the coming of God’s kingdom. The miracles of the Messiah are to be seen as an integral part of his ministry, then and now.

The Greek word for miracle is δύναμις dunamis, doo´-nam-is. Think of the power of dynamite. It is stunning and amazing power, i.e. the power of the Holy Spirit from God the Father. Continue reading

“Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.” ~Jesus

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Image result for water into wineMothers, you have to love them. They want us to do something. We might as well do it. Jesus understood that.

It was a wedding. It is a special time for family and friends. They didn’t plan well. They are running out of wine and that is going to be a problem. The mother of Jesus intercedes.

The mother of Jesus steps in. She knows her son Jesus can take care of it. While He hasn’t done any public miracles yet, she has probably seen the power of God on Him. She knows this is no big deal. Continue reading

God is Good — We see it in His Work of Creation!

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Image result for god is goodAll God’s perfect qualities are made freely available to all for the benefit of the whole world. God is good. Jesus alerts us that God alone is good. God is good, kind, thoughtful, compassionate and loving. God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for us. God is good y’all.

Because God is good, God is in a good mood. It is a myth that the old testament (aka covenant) is all about an angry God. As James alerts us “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” God never varies from being good. At all. Ever! Continue reading

Hypocrisy — Its Expression through Insincere Motives

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Image result for hypocriteHypocrisy is an outward pretense masking an inner reality. Jesus condemns hypocrisy, especially in matters of faith. As a follower of Jesus, I should express my commitment to God in my words and my deeds, as well as in my inner motivation. There should always be alignment of my heart, my mind and my actions.

Jesus is clear and Jesus detests hypocrites. Jesus calls it out all the time. My contempt allows me to ignore its reality in my life. I must change my mind (aka repent). Continue reading

“A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.” ~King Solomon

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Image result for define pretentiousHere is something for me to assess.

Am I being pretentious?

Am I pretending and showing off what I have trying to make it more important than it really is?

Am I a happy with the simple life?

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life. | Proverbs 13:7 (The Message Bible) Continue reading

False Doctrine — Is it of human origin and not from Jesus the Messiah?

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Image result for false prophetsJesus, the Son of God, is the Messiah. God sent him to live among us, die for our missing God’s goal (aka sin), be resurrected from the dead into an incorruptible body and ascend to heaven to be seated at the right hand of God as King.

We have 4 books that tell the good news (aka gospel) of Jesus. We have his words. We know the truth about why He came and where He now resides. This is not about acceptable theology or opinions of those who are weak in faith. This is about those who are deceived themselves and would deceive us as well about Jesus. Continue reading

“But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret.” ~Jesus

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Image result for fasting jesusI am thinking this part of the Jesus Manifesto has been ripped out of most Evangelical and Protestant bibles. I don’t know the last time (if ever) I’ve heard a sermon or teaching on fasting. This is a Jesus thing, not an old covenant (aka testament) thing.

Is it not an Old Testament exercise, we ask, enjoined by Moses for the Day of Atonement, and after the return from Babylonian exile required on some other annual days, but now abrogated by the Messiah?

Did not people come to Jesus and ask: ‘Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast’? And is fasting not a Roman Catholic practice, so that the medieval church developed an elaborate calendar of ‘feast days’ and ‘fast days’? Did it not also become associated with a superstitious view of the mass and of ‘fasting communion’? Continue reading

Meekness — Required by God

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Image result for meekness is not weaknessJesus is clear that I will be more than happy if I am meek and gentle. I will in fact inherit the earth according to the “Jesus Manifesto”.

To be meek means you are “showing patience and humility, gentleness … easily imposed upon, submissive”. The meek one doesn’t throw fits or fly off the handle under pressure. A good synonym is “gentle”. A meek person is under control.

Jesus challenges me to learn from Him. Jesus is gentle. Jesus is humble. Jesus shows me how to have compassion and love. That is some good news!

Matthew 11:29  — “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Continue reading

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” ~Jesus

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Did God abandon Jesus? It is a stunning question.

From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around midafternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? | Matthew 27:45-46

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Goodness — God is pleased with the good works of his people

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How am I doing with being selfless on behalf of others? Image result for jesus calls us to do good worksIt is a pretty telling question if I answer it honestly.

  • How am I at giving to the poor?
  • Am I visiting the sick?
  • How is my prison ministry going?

Goodness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit of God. Goodness is the quality of being or doing good. In the fruits of the Spirit, I think I have to see them in tandem. Do I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? If so, I probably also have goodness.

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

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Jesus asks very penetrating questions of me. Jesus is patient. Jesus is waiting for my answer. What will I say?

Why do you call me, ‘Master, Master,’ and do not do what I say?” ~Jesus | Luke 6:46

Jesus continues on. As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are 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. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Continue reading

Faithfulness — Is seen as steadfast commitment to God in unwavering devotion

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Image result for be faithful to GodFaithfulness is the proper response to God by his covenant people; seen in a steadfast commitment which reflects God’s own faithfulness to the covenant. Encouraged in all believers, it is especially important in leaders.

I am called to be faithful and trustworthy. I am challenged by this some days. When I think about it and focus on it, I execute God’s goal. Some days, like a sheep, I wander off.

I am thankful for the good Shepherd who finds me and brings me back home.

The good news is that God is always faithful. That is just the way He is. He has always been patient, waiting for me to come back to Jesus and follow Him. Continue reading

“Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” ~Jesus

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Image result for greedGreed is very insidious. It creeps into my life and I don’t recognize it at all some days. I have grown up in a materialistic culture. Who knows how many commercials I have seen touting things I should want. I am told I need them.

Do I? Do I need them? Will they really help me?

Someone out of the crowd said, “Teacher, order my brother to give me a fair share of the family inheritance.”

He replied, “Mister, what makes you think it’s any of my business to be a judge or mediator for you?”

Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” | Luke 12:13-15 (The Message Bible) Continue reading

44 Questions that Jesus Asks in the Good News According to Matthew

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Jesus Questions

It is stunning how skillfully our Master Jesus, the Messiah, uses questions (read more here) to teach vital spiritual truths.  Jesus never asked a question because he needed to know the answer.  He used questions the way a surgeon uses a scalpel, to delicately cut into a new level of understanding.

Compiled here is a list of questions Jesus asked in the good news according to Matthew.  Though it is probably not exhaustive, it is an extensive collection of interrogations still demanding answers of us. Continue reading

“Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” ~Jesus

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Jesus continues with His radical Manifesto. We all know what it is like to be hungry or thirsty. We can’t think of anything else until we take care of the hunger or thirst.

It consumes us. Nothing else matters!

What about my spiritual hunger and thirst?

Happy (aka Blessed) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” | Matthew 5:6 (ESV) Continue reading

Hope — I can hope based on scripture as the word of God

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Image result for hope in godI need to find more hope. God is good and in a good mood. Justice, while lacking here some days, will be done. Beyond faith, I need hope.

It is right for me to hope. Hope is the total grounding of my confidence and expectation in God’s goodness and providential care even in the face of trouble.

The mere sound of the name of Jesus causes me to remember to hope. I need to focus, with confidence, that what Jesus has promised will happen. Jesus is faithful. Justice will triumph!

Before you know it, his justice will triumph;
    the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even 
    among far-off unbelievers. | Matthew 12:21 Continue reading

“May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.” ~King David

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Image result for hope in jesusI have enemies. You have enemies. When we follow Jesus, that is reality. When we speak out for Him, we are attacked. Some days I get focused on the enemy and the pain. I need to focus on Jesus.

May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you. | Psalm 25:20-21 (NIV)

In Jesus, I have been made a new creation. I’ve shared His death and resurrection to a new life. I’ve been born again. I share the integrity and uprightness of Jesus. Jesus has defeated death and the evil one. As the Apostle Paul reminds me, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Continue reading

Self-control — The mark of a wise person and aspect of a disciples character

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Image result for self controlSelf-control is a fruit of the Spirit. It is physical and emotional self-mastery, particularly in situations of intense provocation or temptation. It isn’t talked about alot and I surely can use more of it in my life. I can use a ton of it. Paul reminds me “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

It is worth pointing out while it is called “self-control”, it comes from the Holy Spirit. It is not something I can just will, on my own, to happen. But it is still self-control. I have to make choices. Continue reading

“We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” ~Apostle John

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Image result for glory of jesusJohn saw it with his own eyes. Imagine that. John was there for the transfiguration. John saw the glory of Jesus! John has some good news for me.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish. | John 1:14 (The Message Bible)

The good news (aka gospel) of John is so different from the other 3. John has a clearly different take. John is known as “the one Jesus loved”. We had the 500, the 120, the 72, the 12, the 3, and the 1. John didn’t place himself there. Jesus did. John deserves to be heard in a unique way. Continue reading

Children of God — We become children by new birth

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Image result for children of godThis is stunning. As disciples of Jesus, we are the chief objects of God’s fatherly love. We become God’s children through faith and are then encouraged by Scripture to imitate our heavenly Father in our daily living.

I also become a child of God by being “born again”. I was born as a child of my earthly father. He did what he could for me in raising me well but it had its limits.

While the phrase “born again Christian” sparks some derision, the truth is evident in what Jesus says. I want to see the Kingdom of God. I have to be born again. The Greek word ἄνωθεν anōthĕn, an´-o-then means from above. Continue reading

“This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” ~God

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Image result for listen to JesusGod has a goal for me. It is a job I must take seriously. Will I?

And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”  | Mark 9:1-7

What does God want from me? Listen to His Son Jesus. It is a simple and straightforward challenge. God didn’t make it complicated for me. I can understand what God said as it is one sentence. Listen to Jesus!  Continue reading

Kindness — God shows kindness to all, evil and good.

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Related imageIn Galatians 5:22 we learn that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

The quality of compassion and generosity, characteristic of God’s dealings towards the weak and poor, and demanded of believers. The kindness is also shown in the words and deeds of Jesus the Messiah.

I desperately need more kindness and compassion in my life. I need to judge less and love more. That is the way of Jesus. That is what Jesus calls me to do. I know I want others to be kind to me. I need to be kind and compassionate no matter what. Continue reading

“The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it.” ~King Solomon

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Image result for brood of vipersOh no! Here we go. If I could just keep quiet. If I could just control my tongue. I love to gossip like the next person. Beyond gossip, sarcasm is for me a killer. The sharpe rebuke that shuts someone I care about dearly up or provokes them to anger. Yikes!

The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it. | Proverbs 12:13 (The Message Bible)

Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk, and so the innocent escape trouble. (NASB)

Continue reading

Peace — Through the Father’s provision for the believer

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Peace of God

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” | Galatians 5:22

God’s ultimate provision of peace is discovered in the person and work of Jesus the Messiah. It is only through the Messiah that peace with God can be achieved and maintained.

There are times I am clearly not at peace. I am not at peace with myself and I am not at peace with God or Jesus. Something is wrong. I may or may not know it but it becomes evident in my anxiety and worry. I am not convinced, at that point in time, that God is good and has my best interest at heart. Continue reading

“You know that Passover comes in two days. That’s when the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.” ~Jesus

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Image result for when i see jesusThe religious leaders were afraid of a riot. Now that is rich. They arrested Jesus during Passover anyway and there was no riot.

The religious leaders had Jesus crucified. They were not going to let Jesus spoil things and take over. They were not going to have that at all.

When Jesus finished saying these things, he told his disciples, “You know that Passover comes in two days. That’s when the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.”

At that very moment, the party of high priests and religious leaders was meeting in the chambers of the Chief Priest named Caiaphas, conspiring to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. “We don’t want a riot on our hands,” they said. | Matthew 26:1-5 Continue reading

Justice — God’s justice is impartial

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Image result for justice mercy faithfulnessJustice is a term used for what is right or “as it should be.” Justice is one of God’s attributes and flows out of His holiness. Justice and righteousness are often used synonymously in the Bible.

Since righteousness is the quality or character of being right or just, it is another attribute of God and incorporates both His justice and holiness.

Is God fair? Yes. God’s justice is with any partiality. I can trust God completely. Continue reading

“This is war, and there is no neutral ground.” ~Jesus

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Image result for jesus defeating satanJesus knows what I am thinking. There is no hiding. Jesus will shine the light on my indifference. I must make a choice.

Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Any country in civil war for very long is wasted. A constantly squabbling family falls to pieces. If Satan cancels Satan, is there any Satan left? You accuse me of ganging up with the Devil, the prince of demons, to cast out demons, but if you’re slinging devil mud at me, calling me a devil who kicks out devils, doesn’t the same mud stick to your own exorcists? But if it’s God’s finger I’m pointing that sends the demons on their way, then God’s kingdom is here for sure.

“When a strong man, armed to the teeth, stands guard in his front yard, his property is safe and sound. But what if a stronger man comes along with superior weapons? Then he’s beaten at his own game, the arsenal that gave him such confidence hauled off, and his precious possessions plundered. This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse. | Luke 11:17-23 (The Message Bible) Continue reading

Rest — The absence of anxiety 

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Related imageWe all need rest. It is essential.

I am anxious about so many things. Anxiety is insidious. There is no rest when I am wallowing in my concerns.

I am a worry wart. I recognize it can be exhausting. When I don’t trust Jesus, I don’t rest well.

There is good news. I can give my anxiety to Jesus. He will take it for me. I hear Him say “I’ve got this!” Continue reading

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” ~Jesus

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Image result for obey GodJesus continues His Manifesto (aka The Sermon on the Mount). Jesus is getting close to wrapping it up. Jesus doesn’t let up. There are some big deal things left to say. Jesus is going to say them. I need to hear them and obey them.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ | Matthew 7:21-23

Many evangelistic churches make a big deal about the “profession of faith” and it is not to be diminished. That is only the beginning. When all we hear, Sunday after Sunday, is about the profession, we need to find a new church to spend time in. We are not learning as disciples should.  Continue reading

Patience — Jesus the Messiah’s patience brings about God’s salvation

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Image result for patience in sufferingJesus the Messiah supremely displays God’s patient character in his work of salvation. The patience of Jesus the Messiah is seen in his relationships with people and in his perseverance through trial and suffering to death.

As a disciple of the Messiah I am called to demonstrate patience in all my relationships and circumstances. Jesus has shown me His mercy. I must show patience to all I have a relationship with as well. Continue reading

“Breakfast is ready.” ~Jesus

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Image result for jesus cooking breakfastThis is the third time Jesus appears to the disciples. They’ve been out fishing all night. They’ve been working. They have so much on their minds, better to do something productive.

What does Jesus do? What is he concerned about? Jesus doesn’t want their efforts to be in vain so He directs them on where to fish so they don’t come back empty handed. Jesus cares that they are hungry and fixes them some breakfast. Continue reading

Gentleness — In showing consideration to all

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Related imageGentleness is an expression of compassion, seen in God’s dealings with the frail and weak, and expected of believers in our dealings with others. I need more gentleness in my life. I need to banish harshness and impatience.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. | Galatians 5:22

Gentleness is a mark and a part of the character of a follower of Jesus. We know from Galatians 5:22 that gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. How do others know I am following Jesus? They see my gentleness. Jesus himself, in His Manifesto, said “Happy are those who are gentle (meek) for they will inherit the earth.” Continue reading

“And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?” ~Jesus

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Image result for jesus who am iJesus asks me lots of questions. This one gets to the core of the issue.

Who is Jesus?

Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?”

“Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’”

He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”

Peter gave the answer: “You are the Messiah.” | Mark 8:27-29 Continue reading

“It were better to have no opinion of God at all than such a one as is unworthy of him; for the one is only belief – the other contempt.” ~Plutarch

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Plutarch

I like to take comfort in my faith. Of course, I believe in God and Jesus. I have for a very long time.

But what do I think of others? Perhaps even some family members?

Consider the insight from Jesus. It is one thing to trust in God. It is another to trust in myself. Do I think, because “I am a good person” that I am righteous?

Big mistake! Continue reading

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why?” ~Jesus

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Image result for fire of hellJesus has some goals in mind for me. Jesus is clear what they are. Jesus warns me that there will be eternal consequences to not achieving them. Jesus is clear about “why”.

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’ Continue reading

“You cannot serve God and wealth.” ~Jesus

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Image result for wealthThe Jesus Manifest continues (Matthew 5-7). This is a critical teaching of Jesus. What should I think about money and wealth? I need to get clear on this. Jesus is!

Who will I serve? It is a stunning question. Jesus now explains that behind the choice between two treasures (where I lay them up) and two visions (where I fix my eyes) there lies the still more basic choice between two masters (whom I am going to serve).

It is a choice between God and mammon, that is between the living Creator himself and any object of our my creation I term ‘money’ (‘mammon’ being the transliteration of an Aramaic word for wealth). For I cannot serve both. Continue reading

Authority of Jesus the Messiah — Jesus’ authority underlines his divine status

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Image result for authority of jesusWhat gives Jesus the right to speak and act on his Father’s behalf in forgiving sin, pronouncing judgment and promising eternal life to those who believe in him?

Jesus is the Son of our Heavenly Father, God. God is God. God gives His son authority. That is the way in the Kingdom of God.

God doesn’t place any limits on what Jesus can do. God completely trusts Jesus to faithfully execute God’s plan. Now that is really something. Continue reading

“What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this?” ~Jesus

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Image result for joy of jesusJesus sounds upset. The day before he went through an amazing experience. We call it the transfiguration.  “While He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” God spoke to Him saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” To top things off, Peter, James and John had no clue what was going on. 

When Jesus said “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you?”, Jesus knew exactly how much longer He would be here. It would not be much longer. Jesus is going to complete every task His Heavenly Father has given. But still, there isn’t much time left. Tick tock, tick tock! Continue reading

Joy — It becomes real in our relationships

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Image result for joy of jesusJoy is experienced naturally in many circumstances of my life in Jesus and most importantly in relationships I have with His followers. It is especially important in the life of God’s people, who experience joy in response to all that God has done for us.

My joy should be a manifestation of God’s gift of joy to me. Jesus exhibited joy in His ministry on a constant basis. For the joy that was before Him, He suffered a cruel death taking my sins on Him, was raised from the dead in an incorruptible body and ascended back to heaven to take his rightful place of authority.

Jesus received great joy in His relationships. He gives us great joy in our relationships as well. Jesus is smiling! Continue reading

“Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.” ~Apostle Paul

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Image result for prosperity ministryThis is very common. I don’t think of it that way naturally but it is when you start looking below the covers. The first thing the Apostle Paul suggests is that there are many religious leaders in it for the money. 

My reaction is … Really? Yes, really. Paul warns us in Romans 16:18 “For such people are not serving our Lord the Messiah, but their own appetitesBy smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” I know I am naive. I like to believe the best about people.

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in the Messiah we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.” | 2 Corinthians 2:17  (NIV) For more, see here.

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When I choose to obey Jesus’s call to follow and be a disciple, what will it cost me?

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I want to follow Jesus’s call and be a disciple. What will it cost me? Am I prepared?

There is only one answer and it is simple but direct. I must give up everything!

 

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Does that mean?

  • Give up my family.
  • Give up my money.
  • Give up my house.
  • Give up my hate.
  • Give up my lust.
  • Give up my pride.
  • Give up my contempt.

It means exactly that and the list goes on and on. Give it all Jesus demands.

The call is simple. Follow me!

Jesus is walking along. Jesus turns to me and is direct. Jesus asks me if I will give up everything. Jesus is serious. Jesus is waiting for an answer.

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Source: Matthew 14:25-35

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Contempt – Issues of doctrinal differences of opinion

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Image result for theology doctrine policeAm I a member of the “doctrine police” constantly issuing heretic alerts? That is a good question to ask. Why? It might be more about contempt for the opinions of others than heresy. Please read on!

Do I hold fellow followers of Jesus in contempt because of what they believe? What if my contempt is around something that is a weakness of faith and not heresy of doctrine?

It could be that some of our doctrinal disputes are really about theological opinions that aren’t offered by false prophets and heretics. This may seem like a fine line but maybe it isn’t sometimes. There were many old ways of thinking that Jesus and the new covenant leave behind. Like what, you say? How about circumcision? How about what Paul is referencing here in terms of what can and can’t be eaten? Continue reading

“It’s done . . . complete.” ~Jesus

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Image result for jesus on the crossJesus came to complete every task God, His Father, had laid out for Him. Jesus, earlier (John 5:38) had said “These very tasks, as I go about completing them, confirm that the Father, in fact, sent me.” 

And so … It is done. It is complete. There is nothing else to do except be raised from the dead, by the power of God and ascend to Heaven. Jesus has now ushered in a new agreement (aka covenant or testament). His blood poured out for us complete that transaction. The blood of Jesus has cleaned me up from all sin. It is done. It is complete.

A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. After he took the wine, Jesus said, “It’s done . . . complete.” Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit. | Source: John 19:29-30 (The Message)

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Miracles of Jesus — Raising the dead!

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Image result for resurrection lazarus quotesThere are a number of examples of this stunning miracle in the Bible. Notably, 3 are attributed to Jesus. This is the pinnacle of the miracles Jesus would perform under the power of the Holy Spirit as the Son of God. They culminated in the resurrection of Lazarus who had been dead for 4 days.

In John 12 we learn the effect this had on those who knew Lazarus. The large crowd of the Jews then learned that Jesus was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.” Continue reading

“If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God” ~Jesus

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Image result for embarrassed of jesusSo now we are down to the real issue. Jesus has laid out the case for what it takes to follow Him (Mark 8:34-37 The Message). It is all about Jesus and not about me. I have to sacrifice my selfish ways and submit to Jesus as my Master.

Am I proud of my relationship with Jesus and who He is? Am I ashamed and embarrassed?

If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.” ~Jesus | Source: Mark 8:38 Continue reading

God is good — God demonstrates His goodness in His actions!

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Image result for god acts goodGod not only is good but more importantly, God does good. God acts on His goodness and demonstrates it to me every day. I may not see it because that is because I am not looking. Jesus has a goal for me. The goal is to see how good God is to me.

Jesus came to bring good news through what He does. That was His mission from His Father. I’ve seen Jesus. He was smiling a lot. I have not always seen Him that way. I think I’ve always confused His directness, particularly with the religious leaders of His day, with grimness and anger.

Jesus demonstrated how good God is by tirelessly healing the sick. Consider this. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures,and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:22-24) Jesus showed God’s goodness every time He could. Continue reading

“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” ~King David

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Image result for psalm 23This translation is from The Message. We all recognize Psalm 23. The traditional translation of verse 6 is “Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life.”

I want to live in the world where God’s beauty and love chase me every day of my life. I do, I do, I do! Imagine seeing every minute of every day that way? Imagine living life that way? Imagine?

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.  Even when the way goes through Death Valley, ’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.  You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.  ~King David | Psalm 23 (The Message Bible)

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Hypocrisy — Where does it come from?

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Jesus is clear. Jesus hates hypocrites. Jesus calls it out all the time. My contempt allows me to ignore its reality in my life. I must change my mind (aka repent). This is imperative!

Hypocrisy is an outward pretense masking an inner reality. Jesus condemns hypocrisy, especially in matters of faith. Followers of Jesus are to express our commitment to God in our words and our deeds, as well as in our inner motivation. There should always be alignment of the heart, the mind and my actions. Continue reading

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” ~Jesus

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The backdrop to this is the feeding of the five thousand. It is a truly stunning miracle. Jesus was moved not to allow the crowd to go hungry. Jesus took care of their physical needs since they couldn’t afford to take them out for a meal. They were very impressed.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” ~Jesus | John 6:26-27

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“Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.” ~Jesus

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Jesus is very clear and straightforward. I don’t know why it stumps so many “Christians”, the government and homeless nonprofits, but it does.

I get lots of pushback from disciples of Jesus on giving money directly to the poor.

What do you do if walking down the street or driving your car and someone asks you for money? Do you give? If not, why not? Continue reading

“Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” ~Jesus

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Image result for false prophetsJesus warns us in Matthew 7 where we hear Him say Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing” 

Jesus is serious. There won’t be just a few. There are many of them. Their goal is to mislead us. And they are. It is sad.

Again, Jesus warns us!

“Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This good news of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” ~Jesus | Source: Matthew 24:11-12

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“The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.” ~King Solomon

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Image result for jesus truthWe all know people who have something to say about everything. Is this me? Is this you? Think about it.

It is true that you can’t know something about everything. We all know it. The more I talk about things I am really ignorant about, the less “truth” is contributed to the conversation.

I need to cultivate the habit of listening and learning. That requires that I pontificate less.

The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words. ~~King Solomon (Proverbs 10:19 The Message)

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False Doctrine — It contradicts the good news of Jesus the Messiah

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False prophets

Jesus, the Son of God, is the Messiah. God sent him to live among us, die for our missing God’s goal (aka sin), be resurrected from the dead into an incorruptible body and ascend to heaven to be seated at the right hand of God as King.

We have 4 books that tell the good news (aka gospel) of Jesus. We have his words. We know the truth about why He came and where He now resides. This is not about acceptable theology or opinions of those who are weak in faith. This is about those who are deceived themselves and would deceive us as well about Jesus. Continue reading

“Who touched my robe?” ~Jesus

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Image result for Jesus hemorrhageAm I thinking, if I can just touch Jesus, He will heal me?

It is a good question. Sometimes I believe yes, sometimes I don’t even think about it. I am forgetful of who Jesus is and the good news He has for me. I have faith but I need more faith.

Jesus was creating quite the stir. Multitudes were coming to him. They were hearing the message of good news. Jesus was healing them all. Every single one of them. They believed He could do it and he did. Continue reading

Meekness — Examples in the life of Jesus

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Image result for meekness is not weaknessJesus is clear that I will be more than happy if I am meek and gentle. I will in fact inherit the earth according to the “Jesus Manifesto”.

According to our dictionary, to be meek means you are “showing patience and humility, gentleness … easily imposed upon, submissive”. The meek one doesn’t throw fits or fly off the handle under pressure. A good synonym is “gentle”. A meek person is under control.

Jesus challenges me to learn from Him. Jesus is gentle. Jesus is humble. Jesus shows me how to have compassion and love.

Matthew 11:29  — “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Continue reading

“And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” ~Luke (Acts 13:52)

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Am I happy? Do you see my joy? Or am I just a grumpy old man most days?

In Acts we learn that “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52 (NASB) Note that it was not a sometime kind of thing. It was continual. They were always joyful and happy. It is just who they were, like Jesus. This is where I get to say one of my favorite things. God is in a good mood!

It is easy to forget about joy. It is essential in the Kingdom of God. The Beatitudes (aka The Jesus Manifesto) traditionally use the word “blessed”. Most translators agree the better translation is “Happy” or “More than Happy”. For the joy that was set before Jesus, he endured the crucifixion. The joy of the Lord is my strength. We have Good News (aka the Gospel). We are a people of hope! Continue reading

“Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.” ~King David

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Image result for jesus king of gloryWho is the King of Glory? King David is a warrior King. He spent much of his life fighting to secure Israel and establish God’s rule there. David, while an earthly King, knows who the real King is. Jesus is the King of Glory! Now that is some good news!

Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. | Psalm 24:7-8

News alert!

We serve a beautiful, majestic, and amazing King!

Good news. Jesus is the King of Glory!

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Faithfulness — Encouragement to be trustworthy

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Image result for faithfulnessI am called to be faithful and trustworthy. I am challenged by this some days. When I think about it and focus on it, I execute God’s goal. Some days, like a sheep, I wander off.

I am thankful for the good Shepherd who finds me and brings me back home.

The good news is that God is always faithful. That is just the way He is. He has always been patient, waiting for me to come back to Jesus and follow Him.

God is good! God is in a good mood. God will see me through to the end.

Faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. [Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.] Continue reading

“This is the end–for me, the beginning of life.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer — Right before they hung him (April 8, 1945)

Image result for dietrich bonhoefferOn April 8, 1945, Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is hanged at Flossenburg, only days before the American liberation of the POW camp.

The last words of the brilliant and courageous 39-year-old opponent of Nazism were “This is the end–for me, the beginning of life.”

Two days after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, lecturer at Berlin University, took to the radio and denounced the Nazi Fuhrerprinzip, the leadership principle that was merely a synonym for dictatorship. Bonhoeffer’s broadcast was cut off before he could finish. Shortly thereafter, he moved to London to pastor a German congregation, while also giving support to the Confessing Church movement in Germany, a declaration by Lutheran and evangelical pastors and theologians that they would not have their churches co-opted by the Nazi government for propagandistic purposes.

Bonhoeffer returned to Germany in 1935 to run a seminary for the Confessing Church; the government closed it in 1937. Bonhoeffer’s continued vocal objections to Nazi policies resulted in his losing his freedom to lecture or publish. He soon joined the German resistance movement, even the plot to assassinate Hitler.

In April 1943, shortly after becoming engaged to be married, Bonhoeffer was arrested by the Gestapo. Evidence implicating him in the plot to overthrow the government came to light and he was court-martialed and sentenced to die. While in prison, he acted as a counselor and pastor to prisoners of all denominations. Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison was published posthumously. Among his celebrated works of theology are The Cost of Discipleship and Ethics.

Source: Defiant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is hanged – Apr 08, 1945 – HISTORY.com

“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

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What am I to do? It all starts with listening. From there, as a follower of Jesus, I am to speak the Word of Jesus to unbelievers. Jesus promises that they are not just listening to me. They are hearing the words of Jesus. People are called upon to listen attentively to God’s word, to his Son and also to words of wisdom. Followers must not only listen to God’s word but also put it into practice. Those who refuse to listen to God’s word or to correction are condemned. They are rejecting Jesus.

Am I listening? Am I rejecting Jesus?

Later the Master [Jesus] selected seventy and sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he intended to go. He gave them this charge … “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.” | Luke 10:16 (The Message)

Who hears Jesus? The sheep, hear Jesus. Those who are willing to follow the voice of the Shepherd hear Jesus. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27 (NASB) Continue reading

Hope — God commands it!

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Image result for hope in godDante passes through the gate of Hell, which bears an inscription ending with the famous phrase “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate“, most frequently translated as “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Somewhere between where I am today and Dante’s description, I need to find more hope. God is good and in a good mood. Justice, while lacking here some days, will be done. Beyond faith, I need hope.

It is right for me to hope. Hope is the total grounding of my confidence and expectation in God’s goodness and providential care even in the face of trouble.

The mere sound of the name of Jesus causes me to remember to hope. I need to focus, with confidence, that what Jesus has promised will happen. Jesus is faithful. Justice will triumph!

Before you know it, his justice will triumph;
    the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even 
    among far-off unbelievers. | Matthew 12:21 Continue reading