Lent: Day 10 – Jesus brought people to true healing. If the Pharisees did not want to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, what and why did they care so much about the good works that he did on the Sabbath or any other day? If the Pharisees truly believed in God, why did they not trust that God would discredit Jesus’ actions? Why did they not put their faith in God’s judgment and authority? Why did they put themselves in place of God and subsequently transfer that authority over to the Roman officials? When we feel threatened, we often want to take matters into our own hands. Sometimes we even try to transfer those feelings on to someone else so that we don’t look like the “bad guy”. Any authority we have in addition to the authority and power we already have through scripture alone, is a gift and blessing from God. If we abuse the authority of our position, it can be taken away. The good news is that, like Paul, what we always have left is the authority and power of the Word. In times of struggle and confusion, we should lean on God’s authority and not our own. Don’t put your trust in those things that can be taken away, but only in those things that have and give eternal life.
Mark 2:23-3:6 ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’…The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
1 Corinthians 4:1-7 It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
Lent: Day 2 – It’s tricky. We say that we are Christian. We say that we have faith. Yet, our actions don’t reflect what we say we believe and we blame our life as it is, or at least as we see it, for our lack of faith. We begin our day with the words “If only…” conjuring up the spirit of the world we know and live in, allowing it to take precedent over the world God promises. Yet, the goal is to press on in this life towards that life God promises, knowing that through Christ we will in fact get there. We want to be reconciled, but where is “there”? What does “there” look like? How does “there” feel? What will I be doing when I arrive “there”? Consider this: perhaps today, “there” is wherever you are because God is willing to meet you in that place. “There” looks like whatever you see around you because all the earth belongs to God. “There” feels like peace, which passes all understanding of where you are, or what it looks like, because fear, anger, frustration and discontent has served no purpose, and won no victories. Ultimately, the beauty and comfort is, knowing that when you arrive “there”, you will find yourself imitating the one in whom you say you truly believe, living and responding in the presence of God’s promise because it fulfills the right purpose and glorifies Christ’s victory over the world. Perhaps, soon you will realize that “there” isn’t really a physical place at all? I told you it’s tricky, but keep the faith. God knows all the tricks.
John 17:1-8 …And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Philippians 3:12-21 …Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Habakkuk 3:1-0, 16-18
Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Is it possible that Peter’s denial of Christ was because he didn’t want to believe what was actually happening? This kind of denial is based in fear. We think denial protects us. We think denial will eventually make a situation go away. We even think that perhaps the situation is just an illusion or a keen diversion attempt by the enemy to keep us from believing in the true power of God. The fact is that if it were just an illusion there would be no need for the power of God. The works of the enemy such as fear are real, and we conquer fear by confronting it with our belief in the power of the Word of God. Even as newly transfigured followers of Christ, fear becomes a greater enemy. Previously, like Peter, when we journeyed this life with a veil, what was once used to protect us, now convicts us, because like Peter, it conflicts with what we now believe, as a result of being transformed by Christ. Peter’s multiple denials are not unfamiliar to our lives. More than once I myself have been there. Jesus knew that Peter would deny him (John 13:38). Jesus also knew that Peter would not always live in contrast with what he knew to be true within him self. He knows that about us too. We have only to be encouraged by his Word, and know that Christ is the faithful neighbor that we seek who always forgives and redeems us from all our troubles.
John 18:15-18, 25-27 …Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
Philippians 2:1-13 ... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Proverbs 27:1-6, 10-12 …Faithful are the wounds of a friend…
Psalm 9 …And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Consider this. What God has given us through Christ is the gift of his birthright. The spirit of God’s gift is love. The gift of God’s love poured out for us through his son Jesus Christ is meant to be mutual. That same spirit of love flows out of believers who have received God’s love within them. If we find our selves unable to love, then perhaps we are having a difficult time believing and trusting God’s love through Christ is given for us, and thus instead, we show suspicion, disdain or anger. Don’t allow the food of the world to be your strength. Know that God’s love is the birthright of the believer and live strengthened by its grace.
Birthright; Share God’s love; Food of the World
‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ Even today we often find ourselves looking for a sign from God and one never seems to come. It is most important that at this kind of juncture in our journey, we know Christ for our self and allow our faith in him to carry us to the victory we can expect to receive. We realize that every moment in our lives is a cause for praise and stop looking for God’s presence in a sign because the sign of his presence is the belief that is within ourselves. It is then that we know that the new covenant has been made manifest within us. Instead of looking for a sign to come, we focus on the signs he has already given in this journey both great and small. We will be encouraged and know that God is faithful and will provide according to the order of Melchizedek, the high priest himself. In every circumstance we are both blessed and never forgotten.
Signs; Knowing Christ; Blessed According to the High Priest
In most situations, change is inevitable. In many, it’s absolutely necessary. “Go from your country, … your kindred, and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. God’s blessing for Abraham was to be rendered in some place other than where he was currently. Generally, it takes a willful character to pick up and go at the drop of hat, but with Christ, it’s just a matter of faith. God wants to bless us. So go ahead and cast your net on the other side of the boat and know that you will find fish!
Abraham’s Blessing is our Blessing; Making A Change
Some of us start out with a huge entourage of friends. As the years grow longer we realize there really is only a few who have hung in there with us today. There is no special cause except that people move away or simply grow in different directions. Somehow, regardless of the path we take there is that one friend who is right there ready to encourage and keep us honest with our self. It really only takes one person to believe in us, which helps us move forward in our journey and is willing to come along for the bumpy ride. That someone believes in you no matter what the situation; stands by you and supports you. We can always go to that person without judgment or expectation of something in return. Most importantly this person will cry when you cry, laugh when you laugh, and rejoice when you rejoice, a true gift. That someone I believe is God in the person of Jesus Christ, that is of course, only if you believe.
Song of Trust And Security; Unbelief Leads Us Astray; The First Sign
There is a difference between going after something because of what you can get out of it and going after something because you believe in its power or authority to change or transform for not only your life but the lives of others. A champion athlete learns through focus and discipline that being the best brings him fame and glory. Not until the champion realizes that focus and discipline also helps to increase self-confidence, positivity, and drive, then uses the benefits of that gift to help others gain focus and discipline, that it may enhance other lives in whatever they choose to pursue. Elijah was anointed with the gift of prophecy, yet he was running away from the people to whom he was to prophecy. God directed him to go back to the “wilderness” that existed in the city of Damascus! God has a plan and a purpose for the gifts he has given each us. He will protect us in his plan and he will guide us in his plan. In the end we will have participated in his greatest reward; that being the legacy of God’s enduring love.
Selfish Ambition vs. Power to Change; Stand Firm in God’s Call; Let God Reign
Merry Christmas! Today being Wednesday, and as we glide into the end of the year, I want to share something to help you get over what is commonly called “hump day.” I give thanks to God everyday for the people and support he has placed in my life. However, it took me a while to learn and remember that Christ alone is our one true mediator! Christ alone is our only redeemer! When seeking instruction and guidance, a good mentor understands (nor do they desire it) that they have nothing to gain or anything to lose by extending their wisdom to help you reconcile your life. While this life has many joys, it also has its share of hurdles, sometimes put in place by people we know, other times by people we don’t know. Mostly, we unknowingly put them there our selves because of the decisions we’ve made. Nevertheless, when struggling to make it to the next “whatever,” I have learned to first seek the one who pioneered this journey of faith and the only one who has perfected it. No authority on earth has reached that perfection. By God’s grace, know that the relationship we choose to have with Christ is what will either get us over the humps, help us to move around them, and on occasion help to dig our selves out from underneath them to reach the side that is redemption, reconciliation and peace. Let the Spirit of Christmas reign. Trust God!
One True Mediator; Pioneer and Perfecter; Peace
Merry Christmas! I know for myself that allowing God time isn’t the easiest thing for me to do, but when I put God first, time is always on my side! God’s word reveals that waiting on the Lord assures us of some kind of reward, whether it is an answer to a problem, strength for our journey, or the jackpot of wisdom in all circumstances. Each of us has our own truth that we don’t always fully perceive in one another. God alone knows all truths and has to work that truth out in each of us. Every day, as we relate to one another we have to allow God time to work in us while he is also working in other people. Eventually, “the Bridegroom will come,” and in the meantime, when he does, always be prepared to move forward and be blessed in the process. Let the Christmas Spirit of faith, hope and love reign!
Allowing God Time; When the Bridegroom comes; Make preparation