Monday, August 29, 2016

Listen Behold (day 11)

Mark 4:3 Jesus says “Listen! Behold,”

Just the first 2 words for now.

So often we read over things and don’t pay attention. Verses of God’s word become familiar and we can repeat them but have put no thought into what they truly mean.

These are the words of Jesus! Do we value them?

Think of some item that you received, whether you purchased it or it was a gift. If you truly valued it, you would look at it from every angle, you would take care of it and keep it clean. You would study all sides of it and spend time just looking at it.

These are the words of Jesus! Do we value them?

Jesus is about to share a valuable truth but only a few will get it. Only a few will listen and behold what he wants us to know.

Will You?

At the end of this parable Jesus say “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And when He was alone, they who were about Him, with the Twelve, asked Him concerning the parable. And He said to them, “To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to those outside, all these things are given in parables” Mark 4:9-11

Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables, but those who valued his words were given the mystery of the kingdom.

If we will dig in and allow the Word of God to examine our lives, He will show us our need more clearly and show us the way to peace and rest. Jesus has said, “I have come so that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”  This is for disciples but not for the multitudes.

Oh Lord, I have been one of the multitude, and I have in the multitude been alone and lonely. Please give me grace to find grace to listen and behold, so that I can come to more of that abundant life that you desire so much to give me. Thank you with all my heart that your desire is to give me this life. Thank you that you have done everything necessary to make it available to me. All praise and glory go to you in all things, in Jesus wonderful name. Amen!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Amazing Invitation, Amazing Provision (day 10)

Jesus says, “Come to me…learn of me”
How can we come to him and learn about him?

Jesus was “with God and he was God” but he emptied himself and took the form of man and lived among men so that we could see the “glory as of the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth.”

And we are instructed to learn to think like Jesus. “Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  In order for us to be able to do this we have to have someone who is like us so we can follow him. Jesus had to become like us in every respect so we could know that he understands our weakness.

He was made just like us and he was tempted in every way we are tempted but he did not agree with the lusts and desires of his flesh. Instead he said “not my will but thine be done.”

Not only is it God’s will that we become like Jesus; He also made it possible by giving us the perfect high priest who understands our every weakness. And he has shown us so we can understand how true this is and begin to get an idea of how great and wonderful it is.

As we look back at the wonderful thoughts from the last 6 days let us become very happy.
Think about these words from 2 Peter 1:3-4

According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Praise, honor and glory be yours always, Heavenly Father for the wonderful gift of salvation that results in transformation and being conformed to be like your wonderful son Jesus. Expand our understanding to see how unspeakably wonderful and precious this gift is. The forgiveness of sins and the transformation to be like Jesus, in whose wonderful name I pray. Amen.

Very bright and very loud fireworks should be included here.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Called to His Purpose (day 9)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  (Romans 8:28-29)

The first part of this passage has been a comfort to many people for a long time and is a popular verse especially in time of trouble. But look at it and consider what it means. What does it mean to love God? Is that just the idea of loving some unknown goodness?

So many words have had their meanings watered down to the point that there is no power in them. People love their cat, or they love their car, or pork chops, or a suit of clothes. And then they love their children, or their wife, or God. The same word! Does it mean the same thing?

This passage goes on to say that it involves being called. Possibly we could say, this person has an inner voice that is telling him to live according to God’s purpose or will. This has little to do with Heaven and Hell, it is more to do with what is right.

So possibly, loving God has to do with hearing that inner voice and setting my intention to obey that calling.

Do you hear that voice?

If you hear that voice within, be very happy, because God has made you so that you could become like Jesus. That’s just what it says.

At this point there is a temptation to think about this person or that person. That is a distraction. This verse, this word is for you, now.

Will you be called according to His purpose? Will you be transformed into the image of His Son?

Blessed Heavenly Father, thank you so much that you have this wonderful will for my life. I always need your help to realize your purpose, help me to be ever conscious of my need and of your wonderful help. All praise and glory to you forever. Amen.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Answer for All Temptation (day 8)

Jesus, our high priest, is able to understand our weaknesses. When Jesus lived on earth, he was tempted in every way. He was tempted in the same ways we are tempted, but he never sinned. (Hebrews 4:15)

What does this mean? Read this next passage.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no man: but each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is full grown, bringeth forth death.  (James 1:13-15)

When I have a desire that is different from what God would have for me that is a temptation. If I follow that desire, if I entertain that desire that is when I sin. Jesus had desires that were different from God’s will, but he said, “Not my will but thine be done.” (Luke 22:42) That is the way he overcame sin and if we will follow him and say the same thing when we have desires contrary to God’s, we will overcome also.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 John 2:1)

Have we sinned? Absolutely YES each one of us, over and over. Do we have sinful desires within us? Again yes! Do we have to continue the pattern of sin and forgiveness? NO, each of us can go to war and begin to say, “Not my will but thine be done,” when we are tempted.

We each one will stumble and fall many times. That doesn’t matter. What matters is; will I, will you, decide that we will begin today to learn to overcome sin as Jesus did.

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for your gift of Jesus to be our savior and to be our guide and help on the way to full salvation. We always need your help to be conscious of our weakness and your willingness to see us succeed. All of the strength is yours and all of the glory is yours always and forever. Amen.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Truly Someone to Follow (day 7)

For it is clear that it is not the angels that he helps. Instead, he helps the descendants of Abraham. This means that he had to become like his people in every way, in order to be their faithful and merciful High Priest in his service to God, so that the people's sins would be forgiven. And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered. (Hebrews 2:16-18)

This looks like it says that Jesus was just like me. In fact, it seems to say that it was necessary for him to be just like me.

This is amazing and it makes Jesus even more wonderful for me. If he wasn’t just like me, how could he show me how I am supposed to live. He says, “follow me.” I can only follow someone who has my same characteristics and limitations. Jesus did!

For both he that sanctifies and they that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Hebrews 2:11)

And Jesus says, Behold, my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:49-50)

Jesus truly did identify with us and is therefore supremely equipped to show us the way to draw near to the father and to enter into full salvation. He has gone this way before us to show us how to live (Hebrews 12:2). Let us each one decide absolutely to find the grace to follow where he leads.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so very much that you have made Jesus just like us in order to be the perfect sacrifice and the perfect pioneer to lead each of us back to obedience and salvation. Help us to have receptive hearts to follow more and more faithfully. In the name of our perfect savior and elder brother, Jesus; Amen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

vi. Change Your Mind (day 6)

Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, did not consider being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

The mind of Christ
What an exalted sounding idea! Right up until you look at what it meant for our Lord Jesus.

Try to think if you will of the scope of Jesus’ condescension. Try to get some idea of what it was to have been there before time began, and then to have had a principal role in the creation and the maintenance of absolutely everything. Then he lowered himself to be born to the family of a simple carpenter in a very primitive time and in an unpleasant political situation, on purpose.

So, if this is the mind of Christ and we are told to have this mind, is there any task that I can justify thinking that it is below my dignity or too dirty or unpleasant for me to do?

What an amazing challenge! There is absolutely no possible way that any of us can accomplish this command from God’s Word without God’s wonderful assistance. But God’s will for us is that we succeed. So his help is assured.

Blessed Father in Heaven, here we see a command that is surely impossible if we do not learn to lean fully on you for the help that only you can give. Help us each one to be growing daily in the ever present realization of our need for your living help to do your will.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Begin at the Beginning (day 5)

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1-4)

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God? Really? If you do take a few moments to read these verses again and really think about how big these statements are. Really STOP and think!

This is Jesus!

These words are true!

To add anything to these words or to explain them only seems to confuse or dilute the intention. Let us each one look seriously at these words of introduction.

Father in heaven you are the author of all life and Jesus is our savior and our guide for all things. Speak to me the fullest meaning of these words that I can understand. Overwhelm me with your majesty and with the majesty of Jesus.