Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day of Authority

   Last night Jesus went back to Bethany where his dear friend Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived to eat and spend the night. This morning all those years ago while Jesus walked out of Bethany He was hungry. He saw a fig tree with leaves on it. A Fig tree is different than other fruit trees, the figs bloom before the leaves appear.  If a Fig tree has leaves , it should have fruit.  This Fig tree had lots of leaves, and no fruit. Like other times Jesus used things the people could relate to and understand, He used this Fig tree to teach the disciples something very important. His time was at hand and He wanted to teach them everything they would need to know when He left at the end of the week. Jesus said to the Fig tree, “May you never bear fruit again!”   When the disciples saw the fig tree withered and dead the next morning they were perplexed and asked Jesus about this. They had seen Jesus heal the sick, make the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the lame walk.  They had seen Him raise Jairus’ daughter, a widows son and Lazarus from the dead.  All that was very amazing indeed!  But, they had never seen Jesus curse anything.  This made a big impact on the them. When  Jesus spoke to them about the Fig tree, He was using it to show His disciples how the people of Israel were behaving, well - misbehaving.  They looked like they were doing right and were living for God, but they did not accept God’s Son,  Jesus.  They were fake.   Jesus was showing them that religious pretenders did not and would not ever bear fruit.  Just like the fake and fruitless Fig tree, these people were cursed. They knew He was very serious about the lesson He was teaching them.  The disciples did not want to be empty and fake on the inside and only pretending to be living for God on the outside.  They would listen very carefully from now on to everything Jesus had to say.  Then, they would do what He said.  They wanted to be good men that Jesus could call His friend.   

   But, so like Jesus it did not stop there. Jesus told them something that is great news for us still today that believe Him and have made Him Lord of our lives. He told the disciples that if they really have faith in God, and would not doubt Him or His Word, they could do things like this and more.  If it is God’s will, we can have whatever we ask for.  We have to know what God says we can have, and we can find that in our Bible.  All we have to do is just believe what God says is true, ask for it and receive it.  That is how we receive salvation and everything else from God. What wonderful news!!!!!!!  Jesus was telling the disciples that the authority He had, they would have too.  He was going to leave that power with them, with us. It is the power from the victory we will see at the end of the week. Tonight Jesus will go back to the Mount of Olives and sleep.  That is where He went to stay when He had to get out of the public’s eye after He had raised Lazarus from being dead.  He knows this night is one He must get rest because tomorrow will hold much for Him to do.

   Thank you Father for the patience you showed us through Your Son Jesus with every parable and lesson You taught us!

Day of Praise!

   Jesus knew He was going to do something this week that would leave His disciples and anyone else that believed in Him, the power and authority to do great and supernatural things. He knew this would be the longest and hardest week of His life here on Earth. Prophecy like Zechariah's came true today all those years ago:

Rejoice, O people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your King is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious,
yet He is humble, riding on a donkey—
riding on a donkey’s colt.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem, some people laid down their clothes for Him to ride into town on. Others cut branches from Palm trees and laid them down for Him. They knew He was the King God sent. The people gathered around Jesus as He rode into town. They were cheering saying,

“ Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
Hosanna in the highest!”

Hosanna means to “save now” and “we adore you”. So, what the people were saying was, we know You will save us now and we praise You for it. They were right, and they were doing what the Psalmist said would happen in Psalm 118. What they did not understand was just what would have to happen for that to come true.

     Jesus set the people right that were exploiting the Temple, answered demeaning questions the religious leaders taunted Him with and did so in love and healed the blind and lame that went to see Him at the Temple this day. The whole while those evil religious leaders were plotting to kill Him and would work hard at that for the rest of this week. This is still though, a day of PRAISE!  What do you praise God for?

Praising God for His unchanging and unconditional love,


Monday, March 16, 2015

Saint Patrick, humble Scotsman that took God to Ireland.

    Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s day. This holiday for many is a great excuse to pinch and kiss people, wear green and drink green beer, drink Guinness Stout, Jameson Whiskey, Baileys Irish Cream, eat corned beef with cabbage and potatoes, soda bread, believe in leprechaun’s and pots of gold, act Irish for the day and party. Be that as it may, March 17 is all about a humble Scottish man that loved God. 

    In the village of Kilpatrick, in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, Saint Patrick was born British to affluent parents.  The precise year of his death is unknown but most of those knowledgable agree it was between 460 A.D. and 493 A.D. Some credible religious accounts written indicate he lived from roughly 340A.D. to 440 A.D. Oddly enough, we do know he died on March 17. At the age of 16 he was captured in Wales by Irish raiders, then taken to Ireland to be a slave in the capacity of a herdsman. It is reported Saint Patrick has a dream while in captivity giving him a clear vision of God’s call on his life to take God and His love to the Irish. Hum... why am I thinking of Joseph serving the Egyptians? He escaped Ireland and rejoined his family, entered the Roman Catholic church, and became an ordained bishop. Returning then to Ireland he became the first missionary to that country, the very country that kidnapped and enslaved him. There he preached the gospel of Jesus, baptized Kings and Chiefs of government~ and in fact brought entire clan’s to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  The good work he did spread across Ireland. How do you spell revival? That so excites me. 

    There are legends about Saint Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes and using the Shamrock to illustrate the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. There is scripture that tells us since every thing we lost in the Garden of Eden was bought back for us by Jesus, including dominion over the earth, ridding of snakes would have been a possibility. Jesus used vinedressers, farmers, sowing seeds into different types of ground, sheep, goats, weeds, fig trees, and pieces of nature the people could understand to illustrate godly principles. Therefore, I do not think using a Shamrock to illustrate our Triune God is a stretch. And, the Shamrock is now the official flower of Ireland. At any rate, I think it is most notable that Saint Patrick obeyed God and went back to Ireland to share the love of God with those that captured and imprisoned him for six years.

    For Catholics in Ireland this a Holy Day of Obligation where they will attend Mass. For some it is a celebration of their Irish heritage. Some just like it because the river gets turned green and so does the beer they will so happily enjoy. For me, it is remembering and celebrating one man’s love for God that moved him to a place of inspiring forgiveness, and the life he spent devoted to sharing God with the world. Okay, and corned beef, cabbage and potatoes are my little fodder contribution to the day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Shona Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Loving a world that hates us.

   I belong to a group called, Practical Discipleship. I enjoy the questions we are asked in that group. Yesterday this question was posted, 
"What are your thoughts on John 15:18-16:6? How do we respond to the world that hates us?
I have never posted my answers here on my blog, but this time I just felt like I should. So here goes.

   Love them. It starts with obeying the only Law we have~ our Royal Law, but doing so wars against our flesh. Galatians 5:16 tells us that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. So, if we want to truly love these people, not be judging them and responding to them in a worldly fashion, we are going to have to draw on the Holy Spirit in us.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  
Matthew 22:37-39

Let’s do this step by step.
   First step, we are to love God. So what do we do to love God? We must experience His love.

We love Him because He first loved us. 
1 John 4:19

The only way we are going to be able to say, mean, and live out statements like King David did when he said,

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. 
Psalm 145:8-9

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me;Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 
Psalm 23


I will love You, O Lord, my strength. 
Psalm 18:1
..is when we spend time with Him, time in prayer, time in His word, and time worshipping Him when we are not in church~ alone. Like David it would be best to do it first thing everyday, and everyday. We must ABIDE in Him to know Him, and forgive the trite saying here but it is true; to know Him is to love Him.

   Secondly, since we are to love others as ourself, let’s take a quick look at loving ourself. My recommendation is to get your Bible out and look up every time the phrases, “in Him” and “in Christ” appear, then look at what that statement says about you, God’s child. Next, you need to fully embrace the complete work of the cross. Jesus did not cover your sin to have you thinking about it and sniveling about how wretched you are. (Please refer to those verses regarding being "in Him and "in Christ". Jesus took your sin away and you are a new creature, you are the apple of His eye!!! and the whole reason He sent His Son Jesus. God loves you, and if you have received His Son Jesus Christ, you are in God’s family. You are God’s child and His Righteousness!

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 
Romans 6:14

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 
2 Corinthians 5:21

Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,... 
1 Timothy 1:5a 

We must keep our conscience good, letting go of all sin conscience.

   We can not give away what we do not have. We have to develop the love of God that was shed in our hearts. Years ago, Amy grant recorded a song called, “My Father’s Eyes”. This song talks about wanting eyes, spiritual eyes, that see others as God does. Let me say this out loud, if you are going to have the overflow of God’s love coming out of you, you are going to have to walk by the Spirit, in the Spirit, and stay in the Word and spend time with God.

   Back up a few verses from the text given in the original question. In John 15:12 Jesus kicks up the loving others thing a notch. He says this right before he lets us know how hated we will be by the world. 

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 
John 15:12 

If we are going to love like Jesus did, we are going to have to have an intimate, love relationship with Him. Period. That only comes from a person that has a yielded heart toward God, that spends time with God, and allows the Holy Spirit to flow in, through him, and out of him.

So, the answer; Love them, and love them like Jesus did.

My Father's Eye's by Amy Grant

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Israel is important to us because she is important to, God!

   I truly do understand the good intentions behind the saying, “God bless America”.  I blogged on this several years ago. I do however feel it is a sentiment of futility at best, and wonder if it isn’t a slap in God’s face??
   The futility part is that this country was founded and based on God’s Kingdom principles. Out of that we have been a country that has given to other countries of our financial resources, and come to the aid of other countries with our military. God blessed us from the beginning because we were founded on Him. We have maintained that grace through two centuries because we have honored that founding relationship. We are now a country much like the Israelites with their idol golden calf. This country puts many things before God. This country has certainly become the stiff necked, hard hearted lot we see in, Sodom and Gomorrah. Billy Graham once said, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Our government is now defending and promoting homosexuality, abortion, and under the current administration there is a shunning of Israel. Franklin Graham has said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt that this rise in the culture of death in our own country coincides with the embrace of an immoral, sinful, godless worldview that rejects Christ.” Neither of these men are alarmist, and both are spot on right. God has blessed us, and we have enjoyed much grace. Yes, we are right in asking God for His blessing on this country, we should always be praying for her, and her leaders. But, Christians need to stand up and be heard. You can have all the faith you want, but without doing something with it, it is dead.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14-17

   The time for “God bless America” to be the cry of the people was when our founding fathers were establishing this great country. Now it is, and truly always has been the time for Americans to offer up their praise and gratitude to God by BLESSING HIM. I am not going to go into any other conflict of sin this country is engaged in, but I will say this~ how we treat Israel is key to our destiny.

   God will not destroy the righteous with the ungodly. However, if America does not get their eyes off ungodly television and on the Word of God, get their hearts off of their own convenience and pleasure and fix their hearts on Jesus, get their backsides off the comfy seat of their choosing they are resting on and start seeking God and serving in the Kingdom of God, and vote for what is right and not what is seemingly good for their wallet, retirement plan, health care....., there is going to be a really big wreck~ and the aftermath is not going to be anything short of grievous, full of regret, and a colossally unnecessary state of affairs. Jesus was a Jew and the Bible sets out the future of Israel. It also shows God’s heart for the Jewish nation. Christians are adopted in and are the body of Christ, and we are now God’s chosen people also, but the Jews have always been His chosen people. "Social justice", as some like to claim they are interested in, rarely lines up with scripture, therefore God’s will, and will NEVER supersede or successfully usurp God and His Word.

   America, let us BLESS GOD by returning to Him, calling on His name and humbly pray for the healing of this land. Don’t wait until it is “trending” to do so (because it won’t trend), or until it is too late. Start now, please for your sake, everyone’s sake and for the glory of God get back to the Word of God, the Bible and a solid relationship with Him. 

“...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their
2 Chronicles 7:14

If you are reading this and not a Christian, please get to a local church that does know Jesus. Here is are two links you can go to and see about how to be a part of the family of God. It is a great and wonderful place to belong.   Link one, link two.