Tag Archives: Christianity

Don’t be shocked!

Are you shocked by the love that is offered by Jesus and His disciples? His grace transcends the barriers between those who are visibly sinful and His perfection. He longs for fellowship with those who know they are unworthy. 
Luke 15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and dinners were all drawing near to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Perhaps if you find yourself shocked by His love for the unlovely, you must repent of a Pharisaical attitude. Jesus loves a truly repentant former Pharisee too. 

Excuses, Excuses

As a teacher, I often am responsible for correcting students during recess time, in order to keep them as safe as possible. While some climbing on the playground equipment is good and healthy and is to be encouraged, climbing on parts of the playground that are not designed for that purpose, and/or participating in certain forms of wrestling horseplay is dangerous and needs correction. 

Several students have apparently decided that they need daily reminders not to engage in unsafe play. Invariably, these same students always immediately interrupt the correction with some sort of excuse as to why they were engaged in this behavior, why they believe the playground rules that are posted on the wall don’t apply to them, or quickly put blame on another student. I grow tired of the daily excuses offered by students who know better.

How often do we who are believers give God excuses for our bad behaviors despite knowing what He commands us to do and not to do, even knowing that His commands are for our own benefit? 

Even the blessings He has prepared for us are pushed aside when we offer excuses for not listening to the Lord. There are consequences – sometimes immediate, sometimes in the future – for our excuses. “But they all alike began to make excuses…For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste My banquet.” (Luke 14:18,24)

Rather than offering excuses for why we would rather live life our own way instead of God’s way, let us realize that the Lord has our best interest at heart, and put His priorities ahead of our own. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Obedience brings true blessing.

Arm Yourself!

Luke 11:21-22

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must take care to guard our heart with the full armor of God, that we may be prepared to fight against heresy and even the subtle ideologies that go against what Jesus had said in His Word. We must be well-acquainted with what the Bible actually says in order to take a stand against the lies that Satan throws our way.

Ephesians 6:10-17

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Even Jesus had to use correct Scriptural context in order to shut down Satan’s misquotes of Scripture.

Matthew 4:1-11

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus replied, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.” “Away from me, Satan!” Jesus declared. “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him, and angels came and ministered to Him.”

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

Fully Awake

Full text – Luke 9:28-36

“28Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. 34As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!’ 36And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.”

As I read this passage today and heard it read during the morning sermon at church, one concept really stood out to me. Like the disciples, during Jesus’ prayer time, we often are exhausted, “heavy with sleep,” weigh down mentally, emotionally, and physically with all our cares. 

Of course, some physical rest is important for our well-being. Even God rested on the 7th day of Creation, in order to set an example for us. If we allow rest to take the priority in our lives, however, we will miss out on some of the most amazing things God has for us to witness. 

For these disciples, it was only when they were fully awake that they saw the glory of God and the amazing event that He wanted them to witness. Enjoy the rest God wants you to have in order to refresh your body, mind, and soul, but be diligent also – be fully awake, ready to see all that the Lord wishes to show you!

Power Over Fear

Luke 8:22-25 

“22 One day Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us cross to the other side of the lake.” So He got into a boat with them and set out.
23 As they sailed, He fell asleep, and a squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24 The disciples went and woke Him saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Then Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters, and they subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” He asked.
Frightened and amazed, they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him!” ”

We may not all be fisherman or sailors, but all of us have or will experience some type of “storm” in our life. The Lord never promised to make our life easy just because we are His followers. In fact, He promised to be with us during the storms of life, which means He promises that they will come.

While it’s tempting to either try to conquer what life brings our way in our own strength, and even more tempting at times to just give up and allow them to overtake us, Jesus asks us to consider, “Where is your faith?” Our Creator and Sustainer, Jesus is so powerful that when we take a step back and look at Who He is, we realize that He is truly Someone in Whom we can trust, since He is more mighty than anything in all of Creation. We see that He can conquer anything thrown at us. 

This kind of power should comfort us. Those of us Who have Him as Savior and Lord can take our fears and give them over to Him, with our faith placed in His power. He overcomes.

Seeds & Lamps

Please read Luke 8:4-21.

Those of use who have listened to God’s Word and are obedient to its commands have open hearts to the Lord. Jesus said that it’s like a gardening example – we are like good soil that, when the seed of the Word of God is cast into it, produces a good crop, with good fruit.

We who have received and accepted the message of the Gospel must share it with others, that they might also have the opportunity to allow the Word of God to change their lives as well. Jesus gave us anther way to picture this – we are like lamps that radiate light into even the darkest corner. It reveals the truth about even the most hidden areas of life.

Lamps themselves cannot change another object into a lamp, but their light can reveal what is already there. Only the Light of the World and an open heart (aka “good soil”) can covert a dark object into a lamp. Only God can transform a person from being wicked to being righteous.

Perfume & Hair

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Luke 7:36-50

“36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

The religious leaders of the day did not show much honor to Jesus, even the honor that was custom in the culture at that time when you had a guest in your home! In contrast, this woman, a person from the street corner, recognized the greatness of Jesus and the darkness of her son. She as truly grieved for her sin, begged for His forgiveness through her humility, had faith that Jesus could forgive even the most vile sins, and honored Him as King with anointing.

Jesus tells us that she was forgiven of her sons because of her faith, but that the Pharisees who didn’t even honor Him with the most basic practices of respect, lacked the humility and faith needed in order to be forgiven of their sins.

Let us be more like the woman – recognizing God’s greatness and the magnitude of our sin, rather than only trying to appear religious to others. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)