Tag Archives: Jesus

Taking Its Toll


I’ve been observing a lot of life events taking their toll on my friends and family members, and even myself lately. 
Sudden deaths, difficult goodbyes to those departing (not yet for eternity, but for places that seem an eternal distance away), scary medical diagnoses, job transitions, and more can really bring a person down.
Well wishes and hugs honestly only do so much for a person who has one, several, or maybe all of these hit them at once.
Many of those who follow Jesus begin to wonder where He is. Those who don’t follow Jesus may think that the luck of the universe is against them. Both may wonder if this life is even worth it in the end. 
Life has a lot of aspects that really do suck the hope out of any human being, no matter their beliefs. 
Some preachers say that if your life is hard and you aren’t financially blessed, you’re doing something wrong. They may blame your lack of faith in prayer, your lack of frequency in prayer, or a host of other possibilities.
Here’s the thing, though. God never promised an easy life for us on this earth, but He did promise to be with us every step of the way, through every kind of trial we face. God is faithful to His faithful, and He is faithful to the faithless. 
He won’t give us more than we can handle through His strength. As the saying goes,

“He Who brought you to it

Will see you through it.”

Find rest, weary soul. The burden is heavy, but Jesus carries our burdens with us, and His heart breaks with ours.

What do they think?

img_0820

 

 

Worship from the heart is more desirable to God than religiousity and excessive rule keeping. God desires our heart rather than empty practices that mostly serve simply to keep up the appearance of holiness in front of other people.

 

 

Personally, I have watched several of my friends come away from appearance-centered cultures and into the freedom that Jesus brings those who love Him with a sincere heart. It’s such a beautiful change to watch!
If we had to impress God and other people with our own holiness, we would all be in trouble! The only one we need to be good enough for is God our Father, and we only do that through the righteousness of Jesus.
Less worry about what other people think and more focus on pleasing and honoring God out of our love for Him brings joy to our lives. We all forget this from time to time – I know I sometimes do!

 

 

Let’s remind one another and remind ourselves through frequent reading of the Word that our primary focus is to love God through our obedience and through recognizing the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. Let us seek to deepen our relationship with Jesus and not spend the majority of our time anxious about how religious we appear to other people. Their opinion doesn’t matter in the long run.

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. 

In The Light

IMG_5456

My husband and I were talking about this concept before heading to church, then this passage was a part of the main sermon text today.

 
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” – 1 John 1:5-6

 
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Demons recognize Who Jesus is; the Devil himself quoted Scripture to Jesus. Quoting Scripture, whether in or out of context, doesn’t make you a Christian.

 
Being saved by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and following Him with a sincere, albeit imperfect, heart makes you a Christian.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:7-9

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

Jesus, the church, and leadership

  • Jesus is the head of the church.

Colossians 1:18 “Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.”

  • The body (of Christ – the church) is made up of many parts.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all of its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but many.”

  • Leaders are to equip God’s people for service to build up one another in unity, knowledge, and maturity.

Ephesians 4:11-13 “So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, do that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Perfume & Hair

img_9915

 

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)