Month: March 2016

The Forgotten God

  

A sinner can no more repent and believe without the Holy Spirit’s aid than he can create a world. • Charles Spurgeon

New Testament

  • Luke 24:44-49
  • John 14:25-26; 15:26; 16:5-15
  • Acts 1:4-8

In Francis Chan’s book, “The Forgotten God” he writes: “Having read the Scriptures outside the context of contemporary church culture, you would be convinced that the Holy Spirit is as essential to a believer’s existence as air is to staying alive.” I could not agree more.

As you read these words of Jesus, you clearly understand what the role of the Holy Spirit is. Imagine Jesus saying that it was actually good that He was leaving. Why would He say such a thing? Because the Holy Spirit, as the third person of the Trinity, would always direct people to Jesus, to whom all authority and power have been given. 

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit always, always work in perfect harmony with one another. What a glorious and powerful truth this is!

Holy Spirit, teach us all that you have to teach us. Reveal the deep things of God to our hearts as we read through the Scriptures. Guard us from every temptation that would seek to distract us from God’s plan for our lives. In Jesus name…amen. 

Advertisements

The Second Coming

  

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. – Jesus

New Testament 

  • Matthew 24:36-44; 25:1-13
  • Mark 13:32-37
  • Luke 21:25-28, 34-37
  • John 14:1-3
  • Revelation 19:11-16

Jesus is coming back!

Years ago I was praying about starting a church in another city. I went to scout out the land, the harvest was ripe and workers few and I was ready to go. The only problem was, there was a pastor there who discouraged me from coming, as it turned out he was concerned that I might draw some people away from his church. Needless to say it was quite disconcerting. Shortly after hanging up the phone, another pastor friend of mine who was in the other room put it into perspective. “Ron,” he said, “The Lord is coming back!” In other words, the one who was discouraging me, momentarily forgot the importance of that truth.

Jesus is coming back and we must live our life accordingly. We must hold loosely to the things of this world. We must live our lives purely that upon his return he might not find us doing things that dishonor His name. And, we must tell others about Jesus, diligently spreading the Gospel lest people be left behind.

Next month I will celebrate my 63rd birthday, and I can tell you without hesitation that Jesus is coming back. I have watched things digress to the point where I know that the signs around speak loudly of this truth.

“Maranatha!” Come Lord Jesus Come!

Lord Jesus, as we anticipate your return, we pray that you would help us to live in the reality that you are coming back and that no one knows the hour when that will be. Holy Spirit, do a work in us individually and as His church, that we might always be ready. Empower us to be the heralds of salvation through faith in the name of Jesus. Maranatha…Amen!

The Ascension

  

In this life, Christ is an example, showing us how to live in his death, he is a sacrifice, satisfying for our sins in his resurrection, a conqueror in his ascensions, a kind in his intercession, a high priest. • Martin Luther

New Testament 

  • Matthew 28:16-20
  • Mark 16:14-20
  • Luke 24:50-53
  • Acts 1:4-11

I love reading about the Ascension of Jesus. There is so much we can learn from His final words to the apostles.

God has given all authority to Jesus, in heaven and on earth. We are to preach the Gospel to all nations, and then make disciples of those who respond to the Gospel. What does discipleship look like? Teaching people to observe the things that Jesus has commanded.

Discipleship must always be done in the proper order. Trying to disciple a person who has not yet received the Gospel, is an exercise in futility. It is like chasing the wind, you are never successful. It may seem that you are making progress, but there will come a time when the person just isn’t interested anymore.

We must guard ourselves from hardening our hearts to the reality of the resurrection and the things that Jesus taught. Otherwise we will not only mislead others, but we will find ourselves trying to do His work in our own strength. This always ends up in disaster.

Jesus is going to come back in the same manner as He ascended. What a great and glorious day that will be!

Oh Lord, may we maintain a kingdom perspective in the things that you have told us. Help us, by the Holy Spirit to live our lives in the reality that you could return at any moment. Give us a boldness to preach the Gospel to all people, and then the patience and sensitivity to make disciples, always teaching them to observe the things that you have said. In Your name we pray…Amen.

Burning Hearts

  

Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us? – Man on the Road to Emmaus

New Testament

  • Luke 24:13-32

I love walking. I love walking alone. I love walking with others. In fact, it is not unusual for me to have ‘walking meetings.’ I don’t know what it is, but there is just something special that happens when you walk and talk, that doesn’t happen otherwise.

I have always been fascinated by the events that surround these two men as they walked to the village called Emmaus. They were discussing the events of the week when unbeknownst to them, Jesus joins them. He asks about their conversation and they are shocked, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have you not known the things which happened there in these days?” 

I smile as I think about Jesus’ response, “What things?”

There is so much to consider about Jesus, so much that I never grow tired of pondering it. I never get tired of going for long walks and talking to my Lord about such things. He is more than happy to discuss and always eager to reveal the profoundness of His truths to my heart.

Sometimes my heart burns when I read and think about what Jesus has said. It is the only kind of heartburn I like. I want more of it.

Dear Jesus, by the Holy Spirit reveal the deep things of God to our hearts this day. Guard us from the busyness that seeks to take us away from that which should be most important to us, You. 

He is Risen!

  

 

Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” – The Angel to the Women at the Empty Tomb

New Testament 

  • John 20:1-31

I love artwork, and because I come from a family of artists, I am blessed to have a fair amount of original art hanging in my home and office. While the painting above is not original, I do have a large print of it hanging in my office. It is one of my favorite pieces of art. It is a depiction of John (on the left) and Peter running to the tomb that first Easter morning.

There are so many things to discover in this text, written by John himself. Take time to enjoy it, read it over and over again, and savor every word. Imagine what would have gone through your mind and heart if you were John or Peter or one of the women who first discovered the tomb was empty. Try to capture the emotion of the moment when you first heard that your closest friend and Lord, whom just days before you watched die, was no longer in the sealed tomb where he was laid.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?, the Angel said, “He is not here, but is risen!” It is clear that they did not understand what was taking place at the time. In fact we understand more today as those whose lives have been changed by the resurrection of Christ, than they understood at the time. We must never take this for granted.

He is risen indeed!

Father God, words cannot express our gratitude for your perfect plan of redemption and Jesus’ willingness to take the wrath which we rightly deserved upon Himself that we might be saved. Thank you for the testimony and power of the resurrection which validates all that you ever said about our reconciliation to you. We look forward to spending eternity in Your presence. In Jesus name…amen. 

March – Day 25

  

I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress. • Ronald Reagan

New Testament

  • Matthew 28:11-20
  • Romans 16

Old Testament 

  • Psalms 71
  • Deuteronomy 33-34

Faith is a wonderful thing, but very difficult. Why? Because faith is believing something you cannot see. The disciples doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead, even after seeing Him. Oh that we would reflect on the change He supernaturally made in our lives that we may never doubt. This is how we know that “He is Risen!”

I want to be like Phoebe, whose only mention in the Bible is that she was a helper of many. What a great legacy to have! You can bet that she avoided those who caused divisions and offenses contrary to the Gospel.

What a great man Moses was. Like Paul, he fought the fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. He is one of my heroes of the faith. How great that at the age of 120 years old, his eyes were not dim, nor was his natural vigor diminished. I pray that for myself.

Man tends to want to make shrines of people. I believe this is why no one knows where Moses’ grave is, to this day. You can’t make a shrine or a holy site for someone where no one but God knows where they buried.

Heavenly Father, to you alone, all wise, be the glory through Jesus Christ forever. You are our trust. You have upheld us from our birth. May our mouths tell of your righteousness all the days of our lives. In Jesus name…amen. 

March – Day 24

images-2

Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are – mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does. – Warren Wiersbe

New Testament

  • Matthew 28:1-10
  • Romans 15:14-33

Old Testament

  • Psalms 70
  • Deuteronomy 32

Don’t you just love this picture of these dear women holding the feet of Jesus and worshipping Him? What a great picture of how our hearts should be each and every day.

Pride is an awful thing. Paul knew this as well as anyone, but once he understood the grace of God to have saved him, from that point forward, he was only interested in speaking of the things that Christ had accomplished through him.

There is no God like our God. We must set our hearts and minds to worship Him. He is a jealous God. It is good to learn from the tragic mistakes of the children of Israel who ignored the warnings and sacrificed to new gods, false gods that they did not know.

Disciples, followers of Jesus, do the things that He has commanded!

Oh Lord, may we always make haste in seeking after you. You are our Rock and all greatness is ascribed to you. You are perfect in all your ways. Worthy of all of our worship. May the greatness of your love draw us to sit at your feet and cling to you always. In Your glorious name we pray…Amen.