Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Two Sides of the Tomb:

On one side, Jesus' followers were:
1. Perplexed  Lk 24:4
2. Unbelieving 11
3. Sad   15
4. Foolish  25
5. Slow of heart to believe  25

But then, on the other side:
1. Their eyes were opened  31
2. They knew Him   31
3. Their hearts burned within them 32
4. They declared, He is risen indeed!  34
5. They were granted PEACE  36
6. They were understanding  45
7. They were worshiping Him  52
8. They possessed JOY!   52

Which side of the tomb are you on this morning?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Jesus Fit the Battle of Jericho

Luke 19:1  And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

Interesting tidbits regarding Joshua, Jesus and Jericho.

1.   Joshua and Jesus are the same name, one is Hebrew, the other is Greek.
2.   Joshua, Israel's general, was confronted by Jesus, the captain of the Lord's host on the way to Jericho. Josh 5:13-15
3.   Jesus didn't have to march 7 times around the city, He entered in and passed through.
4.   In the old days, the walls came down, now Jesus tells Zacchaeus to come down.
5.   No doubt He contemplated His roots in this town, that is, His great, etc. grandmother Rahab, the harlot.
6.   Surely He considered that red cord dangling from her window with which she let down the spies, thinking about the scarlet cord of redemption that He would soon provide by shedding His blood for the sins of the world to lift up fallen man. Josh 2:18
7.   Achan sought forbidden booty in this town, Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. Lk 19:10
8.   Joshua’s army would go on to suffer defeat at the hands of tiny Ai because of sin in the camp. Jesus would suffer at the hands of wicked men, go to Calvary, just outside the camp, but gain the ultimate victory by His resurrection.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

God uses small things

Sticks and stones and donkey bones
Pots of water, manna in the sky,
Quails on the wing and pigs on the fly

Josh’s long day, a little bit of spit and a handful of clay
A den of lions, a furnace of fire,
A rooster’s bold crowing and an angelic choir

A floating axe head and a cripple carrying his bed
A star in the east, a Babylonian feast,
With writing on the wall, and Jericho’s fall

Rough wood and some nails, a cat o’ nine tails
A rock hewn tomb, merely a borrowed room

God seems to joy in deploying small stuff
Unexpectedly used as diamonds in the rough
But as I reflect, I realize the unusual choice
God used even me as His heart, His hand, His voice

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pray, Don't Faint

Luke 18:1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Do you recall what happened in Gethsemane when Jesus was praying? The disciples dropped off into snore mode. Jesus tasked them with watching and praying in that difficult hour. Instead they were languishing in la-la land.

His rebuke to them included the adage, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."

Indeed, the flesh never wants to pray. Play? yes, pray? no. Sleep? sure, supplicate? not really.

Prayer is a real battle. Honestly, a sweet hour of prayer is as rare as an Edsel in operating condition. I think most Christians would opt for a tooth extraction over a season of prayer.

We are invited to come boldly before the throne of grace to find grace and help in time of need, but we generally refuse that invite with a shrug of the shoulders and a "No thanks, I got this."

But, here's the deal, Prayer changes things! It changes the heart of the one doing the praying and it moves heaven with its passion, sincerity and regularity. As well, after bathing a matter in prayer, that issue will never be the same. Whether God answers with a “yes,” “no” or “wait,” the matter is guaranteed to change.

In this passage, Jesus, our prayer-mediating High Priest, assures us that prayers spoken by faith which bombard heaven incessantly will be speedily answered.

So, what is the important matter you have wished to bring to God, but which your flesh rebels against? What is the need which has been borne half-heartedly a time or two on prayer wings yet is still unresolved?

Hearken to the words of Jesus when He instructs us to always pray and not faint.

Pray early, pray often, pray in faith, pray in Jesus' name, pray in agreement with another saint, pray according to God's will and you will receive a positive answer from the throne.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Luke 15:1  Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

Why did tax collectors and sinners flock to hear Jesus?

1. He reached out to them when the religious leaders looked down on them and despised them. (2)
2. He cared for them. He called the publican Matthew to be a disciple. Mary Magdalene, a sinful woman, became a chief follower. Others became evangels of His grace and power. He healed them, taught them, ate with them, forgave them.
3. He taught them practical life lessons (3, Etc.), whereas the religious leaders were teaching cold facts without practical application.

In short, Jesus met the needs, presented challenges and offered hope. The Pharisees imposed religion, Jesus offered a relationship. 

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

What ever happened to...

Lk 8:38  Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39  Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

So many people were touched by, healed by, fed by the miraculous hand of Jesus. We wonder what ever became of them. The Word gives us follow up on some of them. Here is one. The Gadarene man who had been possessed was cleansed and restored to society. There, he told all about the great things Christ did for him.

Some churches are full of people who were touched by the grace of God and are living to tell about it. But not all follow through. We would not have room in a church 10 times the present size of ours to hold all the people whom God has miraculously delivered if they were as tenacious as this man from Gadara in a willingness to follow Him and spread the good word.

If you are reading this, you are probably one who has been changed, touched, delivered. Are you publishing throughout your whole city how great things Jesus has done for you?