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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Jesus asked a paralyzed man a curious question.  “Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6)  Sounds like a pretty crazy question, actually a stupid question.  Of course, idiot, who wouldn’t want to be healthy. 

Now let’s bring it into today, to your life now where it counts.  You have a lot of emotional baggage.  Hurts and pain from the past of words spoken to you, actions taken against you, bad decisions you’ve made.  All these things gnawing at you day by awfully long day.  You’ve heard there is someone who can help you, but you really don’t know much about him.  Some people think he’s great, some think he’s a charlatan.  None the less, he offers you hope. 

But there’s an even bigger problem than trusting him.  Can you handle the change?  You’ve had these feelings for so long.  You’ve managed to deal with them and hide them somewhat effectively.  Well, except for the sudden outbursts of anger that appear from nowhere against your family and friends.  Your inability to really get close to people has actually protected you, hasn’t it?  And who wants to appear weak, especially in front of their Christian friends who tell you “just put it all behind you” like Paul did and “run the race” (Philippians 3:13-14).  What Paul put behind him was his accomplishments, not his emotional pain (Philippians 3:4-7).  Paul let go of his achievements, but he gave his pain to Jesus. 

When we give our pain to Jesus, its not necessarily a painless process.  Often we’ve hidden it down deep within and must dig it back up to be able to present it to Him.  A lot of people don’t want to go through this process.  They would rather suffer with the “known” instead of risk facing the “unknown”.  Like the demonized man of Gerasenes, who lived in the caves, roaming around cutting himself (Luke 8:26-36) , somehow we believe Jesus will torment us and not deliver us.  Like, we’re not in torment already?  Jesus came to set us free.  Free to love.  Free to have joy and peace.  Free from guilt and shame.  He offers all of this to anyone who is willing.  Are you willing to give your pain and hurt to Jesus?  Would you like to get well?

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I love reading my New Living Translation of the Bible, but it has a unique little quirk to it.  It shows some verses found in a few translations as footnotes.  Such is the case with John 5:3-5:

3 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.[a] 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.

Footnotes:

  1. John 5:3 Some manuscripts add an expanded conclusion to verse 3 and all of verse 4: waiting for a certain movement of the water, 4for an angel of the Lord came from time to time and stirred up the water. And the first person to step in after the water was stirred was healed of whatever disease he had.

Perhaps verse 4 was added later to the manuscripts to explain why all these people were at the pool of Bethesda.

Have you ever wanted people to read the footnotes of your life instead of what they just see?  The whys and wherefores of the decisions you’ve made.  “Why in the world would she feel that way about what was said?”  “How could she have done that?”  If only they could read the footnotes.  Then they would see the things that had happened to you in the past to cause you to think and receive input from others the way you do.  I understand why the man was at the pool now.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t make much sense to hang out with a lot of other sick people.  Why not just stay home?  Well, there was no hope at home.  Nothing there could make him well.  At least, at the pool he had a chance. 

How close to the water had he gotten in these 38 years?  Right next to the water, but never close enough to be healed.  How many people are in churches today, sitting right next to someone who was healed of this or that disease or illness, yet they are still suffering after all these years.  And what is their suffering?  Paralyzed by fear, loss of all hope, tormenting illness or pain, unrelenting grief over guilt or loss of a loved one, remorse or regret.  They come week after week, yet no relief is found.  Still there is that small glimmer of hope.  Hope that someday, somehow, relief and deliverance will come. 

One day Jesus did come for this man.  And instead of the man seeking out Jesus, Jesus sought out him.  Jesus seeks us out to save and deliver us from ourselves.  As the man looked to himself and the others around him to get him into the water, he found that man’s help is sporadic and erratic at best.  It got him to the water, but not in the water.  But now the water has come to him.  Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus comes to us?  We don’t have to go searching for Him in our own strength or rely on the spiritual strength of others.  Yes, the Living Water is standing by.  Jump in, the water’s great.

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When you take communion at church or at your home, for that matter, what does it mean to you?  Most of the sermons I’ve heard represent it as a time when you are to review your life, repent of any sins that are still lingering between you and God, and remember the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross for all of us.  All of these things are well and good, but I believe there is so much more involved here that we are overlooking.

In Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22, Jesus gives His disciples the cup of wine, speaking either of His blood representing a New Covenant or being poured out to forgive our sins.  He also breaks the bread to be eaten and states it is His body being broken for us.  While handing out the bread and wine, He instructs them to remember Him whenever they do this. 

Paul goes into greater detail in I Corinthians 11:17-34 as to the meaning of this remembrance.  In verse 26, he explains that by doing this, we are continually recalling what the Lord has done for us until He comes again.  Verses 27 – 31 hold a wonderful key for believers to be excited about, or fearful, depending upon how you look at it. 

In verses 27 – 28, Paul speaks of sinning against the body and blood of Jesus if we take it unworthily and that we should examine ourselves first.  Most sermons refer to this portion of instruction as seeing if you have any unconfessed sin and repenting of such if found.  However, I believe that this is not the total picture of what’s supposed to be happening here.  Of course, we always have a break in our relationship with Jesus when we have sin in our lives that we have not repented of, so that does need to be taken care of. 

Verses 29 – 31 tells us that if we have the Lord’s Supper without honoring His body, we are eating and drinking judgment upon ourselves.  This is the reason many are weak, sick and have died.  But, if we examine ourselves, we will not be judged by God in this way.

So what does all this mean today, now, in 2009?  How are we not honoring the body of Christ?  Jesus did a whole lot more for us than just pour out His blood for our sins.  Isaiah 53:4-5 explains ALL that He did for us.  “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” 

Jesus has taken our sorrows.  We do not need to carry them any longer ourselves.  We can give Him our broken hearts and He will heal them for us.  He will take our guilt of past mistakes, heal our emotional woundings of the past and give us peace in our minds and lives.  He has taken the punishment for our sins and offers us a new and vibrant life through Him.  He will heal our bodies.  So many of the diseases we face today are because of the emotional conflicts and woundings we carry in our spirits (anger, bitterness, rage, shame, guilt, unworthiness, regret, unforgiveness, etc.).  Jesus came and died to bring us into freedom; into a new way of living and thinking.  Many medical studies have been done reporting that unforgiveness plays a big part in the cause of arthritis and other diseases (Baseline of Health Foundation article), (Washington Adventist Hospital article May 2008)(WebMD article) , (Health Spas Guide – South Africa article), (Health Unlimited Ministries article).

When we do not believe in Jesus for ALL He has done for us, we do not honor Him and we bring God’s judgment upon ourselves.  This judgment is not necessarily punishment for our actions, but inaction because of our unbelief.  If we do not believe Jesus can heal us emotionally and/or physically, we forfeit this wonderful blessing and are left to our own devices to deal with this pain. 

The next time you take communion, please think about everything Jesus has done for you.  He is still alive and well, fully powerful and faithful to meet your needs right where you are.  Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).  He is our hope, our peace, our deliverer, our healer.  God bless you.

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Recently, while meditating on God, I saw an unusual picture.  Those of you who are from the South (U.S.) will understand what I’m talking about here.  I saw a round pan of cornbread.  Next to it was another pan of cornbread, but this was a cast iron pan with 5 or 6 individual molds in the shape of little ears of corn.  These make the cornbread look neat when cooked.

I was wondering what this meant. Usually, I don’t associate Jesus with cornbread.  But as I asked the Lord what this was, He told me that people look at Him in different ways.  Some people see Jesus as a pan of cornbread.  Everyone taking nourishment from the same type of person.  Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life”.  These people understand that there is only one Jesus, and all may partake of Him, but He is still the same for everyone.

Other people, however, have made their own “Jesus”, shaping Him into the mold they have formed.  Just like in the corn cob pan where you can sprinkle nuts in one slot, peppers in another, maybe a little honey in the next one, these people have made Jesus just the way they want Him to be.  He’s serious about this sin, but not really that concerned about that one.  He is just love, so He won’t really punish anyone who disobeys Him – love wouldn’t do that.  I can pray for anything in Jesus’ name and He will give it to me, that’s what the Word says. 

Yes, that is what the Bible says, but we must put it in the context that it was said.  In John 14:11-14, Jesus says that anyone who has faith in Him will do the things He has been doing and even greater things.  If we ask anything in His name, He will do it to bring glory to the Father.  This certainly puts a different spin on the “ask and I’ll do it” theory, especially if we are asking for purely selfish reasons. 

Jesus is Jesus.  He is Himself.  He does not fit neatly into our own little mold of what we want Him to be.  He is so much more.  More than we can comprehend really.  We so foolishly think we can manipulate Him to do what we want.  How very, very foolish we are.  When our wills are in tune with His, when our wants are the same as His wants, when our goals are His goals, then we “ask and receive”.

Do you sometimes wonder why your prayers aren’t answered?  I know I have.  The question then is:  Which Jesus have you been feeding upon?  Your own or the true Bread of Life who offers Himself to everyone.

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As I start the New Year, I think of resolutions I’ve made and mostly broken.  Over the past few years, I’ve discovered a much more meaningful way to start my year that leads to great blessings.  This is by fasting.

Strange as it seems, by giving up something instead of trying to get something has made all the difference in my life and my family.  When I make a resolution,  it usually revolves around what “I’m” going to do:  lose weight, be kinder, earn more money, stop smoking, etc.  But the pleasure is in finding something to do where I’m not in control. 

When I fast, my primary goal is to know God my Father, Jesus my Savior, and Holy Spirit my Teacher better.  I may also be praying for loved ones who are sick or don’t have a relationship with Jesus or special needs.  But the pressure is off of me to make any changes happen.  These needs are given to Jesus; He is the one who intervenes in these situations and He is so much more able to touch people than I am.

Actually, I began fasting in January while attending Free Chapel in Gainesville, GA, where Pastor Jentezen Franklin has been holding church-wide January fasts for several years.  During January, the church goes on a 21-day Daniel Fast beginning

January 4 this year.  The story of the first 10-day Daniel Fast is found in  Daniel 1:1-15 .  Daniel again fasted for 21 days as described in Daniel 10:1-14 . Daniel, as well as others in the Bible including Jesus, fasted often.  

The 21-day Daniel Fast at Free Chapel consists of eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and some grains during the period, while staying away from all breads, sugar, and any meats.  The Daniel Fast blog has some great information about the spiritual and physical issues involving the fast.

This fast is an absolutely wonderful way to get closer to God, cleanse your body physically, spiritually, and emotionally, and lift up others in prayer to the God who can do the impossible.  May you be blessed during this time and may abundant blessings be with you and yours during the entire year.

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One cold, winter night, a farmer heard an irregular thumping sound against the kitchen storm door. He went to a window and watched as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the warmth inside, beat in vain against the glass. Touched, the farmer bundled up and walked through the fresh snow to open the barn door for the struggling birds. He turned on the lights and tossed some hay in a corner. But the sparrows had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house and hid in the darkness, afraid.

The farmer tried various tactics to get them into the barn. He laid down a trail of Saltine cracker crumbs to direct them. He tried circling behind the birds to drive them toward the barn. Nothing worked. The birds couldn’t comprehend that the farmer, a huge alien creature, desired to help them. The farmer withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window. As he stared, a thought hit him like lightning from a clear blue sky: If only I could become a bird, one of them, just for a moment, then I wouldn’t frighten them so. I could show them the way to warmth and safety.

The farmer then recalled the greatest story he had ever read. The book began being edited around 1400 BC, was written by a number of men from different countries who had never seen, nor in any way communicated with one another. Each of these men were given a piece of the story from what the shivering sparrows would relate to as a huge alien creature. Each piece of information related to a future event that would show them the way to warmth and safety. This future event was the arrival of Jesus.

God didn’t want to scare man like the farmer scared the sparrows, so He told us in advance what was going to happen. Some of the hints of His arrival were:

He would be of the Tribe of Judah:  Genesis 49:10.   The exact time of His Coming:  Daniel 9:24-26.  He was to be born of a Virgin: Isaiah 7:14, in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2-5.  He would live in Galilee:  Isaiah 9:1-2.   He would work miracles of healing: Isaiah 29:18 and speak in parables: Psalm 78:2. He would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey: Zechariah 9:9.   He would be betrayed by a friend: Psalm 41:9, for thirty pieces of silver that would be thrown into the church and be used for the purchase of the Potter’s field: Zechariah 11:12-13.  He would be rejected by his own people: Isaiah 53:3.   He would be led as a lamb to the slaughter:  Isaiah 53:7.  He would be pierced through His hands and feet:  Psalm 22:16.  He would be crucified with criminals: Isaiah 53:12.  They would cast lots for His garments: Psalm 22:18.  His side would be pierced:  Zechariah 12:10.   Darkness would come over the land: Amos 8:9.  He would be buried by a rich man:  Isaiah 53:9.  He would not decay and would rise from the dead on the third day:  Psalm 16:10, Hosea 6:2.                     

There are many other prophecies of the arrival and life of Jesus in this great story. This pre-written story, recorded centuries before Jesus came is so astonishing in detail that it reads like an eye-witness account of His life and Work. But Why?

Why? Remember the farmer and the sparrows. We are the sparrows. We have all seen in past years where warnings were given to the residents along the coastlines of approaching hurricanes. Warnings that the people should evacuate for safer areas or evacuation shelters, only later to hear of the lives that the storm took and pictures of people standing on their roofs in disbelief. If only they had listened.

The Bible carries such a message to escape a coming storm. What storm you ask? One that you will not be able to evacuate from. We will all stand before God’s Judgment Seat and give account of ourselves ( Romans 14:10-12 ). Without Jesus, we will be left without a way into God’s house, Heaven. As you can see, God gave us the clues of the coming Savior long before His arrival. But most important, He gave us the teachings of Jesus, which would show us how to avoid the storm and a way to come in for the warmth and safety. The Bible says that Heaven will be so great that it is beyond our wildest imagination ( I Corinthians 2:9 ). Jesus said He had come so that you may have life more abundantly ( John 10:10 ). How can you become a Christian and know with certainty that you are going to Heaven? This is what the Bible says:

(1) Romans 3:10, 23  = We have all sinned. Adam introduced sin into the world. We do not start life with even the possibility of living it sinlessly (Romans 5:12-14).    (2) Romans 5:8 = God loves us anyway. (3) Romans 6:23  = Sin results in death and hell, but God offers the gift of eternal life through Jesus. (4) John 3:16 = God loves you so much that He gave His Son, Jesus, so that whosoever believes in Him shall be saved. (5)  John 14:6, Acts 4:12 = Jesus said that He is the only Way to Heaven. (6) Hebrews 9:22 = Jesus shed His blood as the only acceptable payment for our sin. (7) Romans 10:9-10 = Confess Jesus as Lord of your life and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. (8) Romans 10:13 = Call upon the name of the Lord. (9) Romans 10:17  = Accept the free gift of faith in Christ that comes by hearing the Word of God. (10) Acts 3:19 = Repent. Change direction. Turn away from sin and turn to Christ.

Will you pray to receive Christ and His forgiveness? “Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that You died for my sins and that God raised You from the dead. I admit that I am a sinner, and the best I know how, I’ll turn away from my sins and turn to You. I ask You to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving and forgiving me. With Your help, I will never be ashamed of You, and I will live for You the rest of my life. All of this I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.” What should you do next? Study and obey God’s Word, the Bible, and attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. May God Bless you and smile upon you all your days.

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“DANGER, DANGER, Will Robinson!” is a famous quote from an old television show from the 1960’s. Will Robinson, a young boy, and his family, were on a space ship, lost and unable to find their way back to Earth. Will has a trusty robot that is always warning him of pending danger with the above quote. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such a device that would keep us out of all trouble?

As children, there are dangers we didn’t know about; that knives could cut or that a liquid may be poison. We could not reason why it should be dangerous, nevertheless it was and we learned from others or the hard way. Today, we receive warnings all the time. Warnings of approaching storms, hurricanes, tornados, traffic signals, labels on numerous products of all kinds, and many, many more. We hear all the time of the failure of persons to take heed of these warnings. It is a fact that failure to listen to some warnings could cost you injury or even death. It’s just a matter of choice.

There are warnings given at times of things that are not detectable with our senses. While you cannot see, smell, taste or hear them, the fact is some of these dangers are real. Some gases and chemicals are not detectable, but they can cause great harm or death. You hear from time to time stories where an event took place, such as a gas leak in an apartment building, and of someone running through the building giving the warning for everyone to evacuate before it explodes into flames. What if you couldn’t detect the danger with one of your own senses? Wouldn’t you want to be warned? And after being warned, would you stay in the building and hope that it was all a lie? I know I would get out. Burning is said to be one of the most painful injuries you can receive. Therefore, what you do with the information you receive during your lifetime is important to the quality of life you have and the time you spend here. It’s just a matter of choice.

This brings me to another warning that is very real and it will be up to you as to how you receive it. This choice is real and it is yours. It is the ultimate of all dangers and just as real as the examples given. If you are listening, there is only one escape; all other routes lead to the wrong choice. This warning will affect you more so than the person running through the building yelling out the danger of the gas leak.

DANGER, DANGER (your name)! Hell is real and warnings of it have been given for thousands of years. You say, “I can’t see it and it hasn’t happened yet, so it doesn’t affect me”. You can’t detect the gas leaking into your home and it hasn’t exploded yet. If told about it, what are you going to do? Now listen to your heart as you read these next questions. Do you believe in good and evil? Which would you pick as a roommate? This choice IS yours.

We will all stand before God’s Judgment Seat and give account of ourselves ( Romans 14:10-12). Without Jesus, we will be left without a way into God’s house, Heaven. God gave us the clues of the coming Savior long before His arrival. But most important, He gave us the teachings of Jesus. And it is Jesus running though the hallways of your house this very moment trying to give you warning of the danger. He is the one who will show you how to avoid being with evil forever in Hell. The Bible says that Heaven will be so great that it is beyond our wildest imagination ( I Corinthians 2:9 ). Jesus said He had come so that you may have life more abundantly (John 10:10). How can you become a Christian and know with certainty that you are going to Heaven? This is what the Bible says:

(1) Romans 3:10, 23  = We have all sinned. Adam introduced sin into the world. We do not start life with even the possibility of living it sinlessly ( Romans 5:12-14 ).  (2) Romans 5:8  = God loves us anyway. (3) Romans 6:23  = Sin results in death and hell, but God offers the gift of eternal life through Jesus. (4) John 3:16 = God loves you so much that He gave His Son, Jesus, so that whosoever believes in Him shall be saved. (5) John 14:6 , Acts 4:12 = Jesus said that He is the only Way to Heaven. (6) Hebrews 9:22 = Jesus shed His blood as the only acceptable payment for our sin. (7) Romans 10:9-10 = Confess Jesus as Lord of your life and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. (8) Romans 10:13 = Call upon the name of the Lord. (9) Romans 10:17 = Accept the free gift of faith in Christ that comes by hearing the Word of God. (10) Acts 3:19 = Repent. Change direction. Turn away from sin and turn to Christ.

Will you pray to receive Christ and His forgiveness? “Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that You died for my sins and that God raised You from the dead. I admit that I am a sinner, and the best I know how, I’ll turn away from my sins and turn to You. I ask You to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving and forgiving me. With Your help, I will never be ashamed of You, and I will live for You the rest of my life. All of this I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.” What should you do next? Study and obey God’s Word, the Bible, and attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. May God Bless you and smile upon you all your days.

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