Archive for March, 2013

This Is A Good Friday? (Exodus 40; John 19)

March 29, 2013

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”  Exodus 40:34

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and died.”  John 19:30

In the Joseph household we have for the last almost 21 years looked forward to Friday.  Friday has been the designated day for daddy to be off from work.  Through the years we have had so many good Fridays!!!  However, along the way there have been some bad Fridays when I have had to work.  Our children were especially disappointed when they were younger.  I can remember once when one of our children asked, “Do you have to work today?  It is Friday!”

This morning we come to John 19 on a most appropriate day, “Good Friday.”  This is the day when the church celebrates the events of John 19.  Look with me at the events of John 19:

1.  We see Pilate who does not know what to do with “The Man,” Vs: 1-12

Pilate has Jesus beaten in hopes this would suffice the crowds.  But it does not, “They cry out, crucify him!”  Pilate questions Jesus further and discovers Jesus is the one who has authority.  Pilate wants to release Jesus but feels the political pressure of the moment.

2.  We see the People who do not know what they are doing with “The Man,” Vs: 12b-16

They are so confused that they cry out, “Caesar alone is our king.”  So is the overwhelming power of darkness.

After this John gives us many snapshots of this Good Friday:  We see Jesus being hung between two thieves.  We see the soldiers arguing over the clothes of Jesus.  We are moved as Jesus cares for His mother.  We read of his death and his side being pierced.  The last scene is of Jesus being buried.

At this point one must ask the question, “What is so good about this day?”  The answer comes from Vs: 30 “It is finished.”  Jesus work on the cross was completed.  Jesus took all the wrath of God for our sins.  Our atonement was paid (Matt. 27:46).  We call this day good because His payment for our sin was sufficient.

Yes, I weep for what Jesus endured.  Yes, I repent of my sin that caused him to suffer so.  But at the same time,  I rejoice because his payment made it possible for me to be pardoned from my sins.  So I can say, “This is a good Friday because I have been forgiven!!!”

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Drinking From The Cup (Exodus 39; John 18)

March 28, 2013

“From the blue and purpose and scarlet yarns they made finely woven garments, for ministering in the Holy Place.  They made the Holy Garments for Aaron, as the Lord has commanded Moses.”

“So Jesus said to Peter, “put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”  John 18:11

Yesterday, Sherry asked me to help her get some coffee cups off our top shelf of one of our kitchen cabinets.  As I got the cups down I realized I had not seen these cups in years. Sherry asked, “Is it ok for us to get rid of these?”  These were the first cups we had 21 years ago!!!  I thought for a second and said, “No problem.”  You, see I am not a coffee drinker so the cups had little value to me.

This morning we see two significant passages in our More for Christ readings that have great value to every believer.  Exodus 39 gives us the requirements for the Priest’s robe.  Each part of the robe has spiritual significance that points us to the Great High Priest Jesus Christ.  These robes could really only be spiritually worn by one man, the God-Man Jesus Christ.

The very Son of God would come into the world and He would be rejected by men as the True Hight Priest.  But still yet He was.  We see this clearly in John 18 as Jesus faces denials, trials, and ultimately his sentence to the cross.

When the soldiers come to take Jesus, Peter sets up and cuts off the ear of one of the Priests servants.  Jesus heals this man and rebukes Peter.  Peter did not understand that Jesus must drink the cup.

The cup Jesus is speaking about is the cup of the wrath of God, Psalm 75:8.  Jesus Christ would make full payment for our sins.  Jesus payment was in his death, burial!!!  This payment was sufficient.  The resurrection was God’s proof to us of His acceptance of Jesus sacrifice.

You and I are just three days away from Easter and only hours from Good-Friday.  Today I celebrate Jesus drinking of the cup.  And unlike my zero connection to the coffee cups at home, I have great connection to the cup of God’s wrath.  Jesus drank the cup for me.  I look forward to the day when I can bow before Jesus who will be robed in his priestly garments.  Oh what a day that will be.  But until then I will praise him in the midst of the people who live on this planet earth.

Listening In (Exodus 38; John 17)

March 27, 2013

“These are the records of the tabernacle,” Exodus 28:21

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to the heaven, and said, Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.”  John 17:1

Suddenly we realized, “We were not alone and we were being listened to.”  Yes, Sherry and I were trying to have a private conversation that was being listened in on.  Question, “Who could it be?”  The answer, “King John!!!”

Brothers and sisters, the Bible gives us the wisdom as to whom God is.  In our More For Christ readings we discover the love God has as we listen in to His prayer to the Father in John 17.

The outline of Jesus prayer is in three parts:

Jesus prays for Himself, Vs: 1-6

Notice how Jesus was always concerned about the will of the Father.  Also notice how Jesus is ready to go home.

Jesus prays for His disciples, Vs: 7-19

Jesus asks for the disciples to be kept in the Father’s hand.  Jesus asks for His joy to be fulfilled in them.  Jesus asks for them to be kept from the evil one.  Jesus asks for them to be sanctified in the truth.  Jesus asks for them to be commissioned and sent to the world.

Jesus prays for those who would become disciples, Vs: 20-26

Jesus wanted for there to be unity in the Church.  Jesus wanted the world to know who He was.  Jesus wanted the believer to see His glory in Heaven.

Brothers and sisters this is an amazing prayer to listen in on.  I am amazed at how the first two parts of Jesus prayer have and were completely answered.  I am also amazed at how the third part of his prayer is still be fulfilled.  You and I were the object of his prayer.  This day, I am praying, “May Jesus prayer be fulfilled in my life.”

Oh how we need to listen in again and again to the prayers of our Lord!!!  Just as King John desired to hear our conversation we should desire to want to hear and understand all that Jesus prayed.

Where Is Your Helper? (Exodus 37; John 16)

March 26, 2013

“He also made the table of acacia wood…” Exodus 37:10

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.  But if I go, I will send him to you,” John 16:7

“Where did my helper go?”  This was my question as I found myself kneeling alone in a flower bed that my helper and I were building as a gift for Sherry.  What made things even worse was that I had prepaid my helper and now he was gone.  To add insult to injury, “My helper was off helping someone else.”

Question, “Do you ever find yourself in need of a helper?”  In Exodus 37 Moses has great help in the skilled craftsman who are making the different implements for the temple.  In John 16 Jesus gives us a promise of the greatest of helpers, “The Holy Spirit.”

Notice what John writes concerning the Holy Spirit:

1.  He convicts the world, Vs: 8-11

He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.

2.  He clarifies the Word, Vs: 12-14

The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us!!!

Each time we read God’s Word we are reminded of Jesus teaching.  Here we discover God’s abiding presence and his abundant power in overcoming the world.  Oh how I encourage you to read this chapter with longing eyes!

The Holy Spirit is the helper!!!  Unlike my helper he is always there and he is always directing.  The Holy Spirit has the power to help me and to help you at the same time without diminishing his ability.

Today I want to challenge you to think about those areas where you need help.  Question, “Have you submitted them to the Lord?”  Jesus encourages us to ask in his name.  When we ask in his name we will receive the help of the Lord.  Be assured your cries of submission will not fall on deaf ears.  They will fall on divine ears who will help you!!!

A Portrait of our need (Exodus 36; John 15)-

March 25, 2013

“They still kept bringing a freewill offerings every morning,”  Exodus 36:3

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  John 15:12

Often I receive emails or information in the mail that immediately evokes praise to our God.  Usually these emails or letters contain pictures of people who are in deep despair and darkness.  Recently I received such an email from Malawi Africa.  The pictures told the story of poverty.  Immediately I began to praise my Lord for His provision. But the pictures also showed the impact of the gospel as our missionary friend, Brother Ovie, was baptizing 70 people in a local river.  Again I praised my God for His provision of salvation in our lives.

This morning the people in Exodus 36 we using their talents and giving their treasure for the building of the tabernacle.  Oh what a portrait of our need to be givers of our talents and treasures to God.

This morning the Disciples in John 15 were giving a portrait of their need to abide in the vine of Christ.  Without his life they could not bear fruits of a righteous life.  Again I was challenged to praise God for the spiritual fruit in my life.

Question:  “Are you connected to the Vine?”  If so Jesus teaches you to be committed to the Vine, John 15:4-15.  Ours must be the task of obeying his commands and ours must be the task of loving him and loving those around us.  As we do these things we will experience so many wonderful things including an effective prayer life (Vs:16).

Oh how I hope this day finds you in praise and prayer to our great God.  He is our lifeline and we are to be his fruit-bearers!

We Need You Lord (Exodus 33; John 12)

March 22, 2013

“But I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people,” Exodus 33:3

“Though He had done so many signs among them, they still did not believe in him,” John 12:37

Dear Lord, “I need you this hour and every hour of my life.”  Brothers and sisters this is an honest prayer from my heart to my God.  Question, “Do you need to pray in such desperation today?”

Our More For Christ readings give us strong reminders of our need for the Lord:

In Exodus 33, Israel begins her journey from Mount Sinai toward the Promised Land.  As they begin, they are shocked when the Lord says he will not go with them.  Moses intercedes with God, “We are only distinct when you go with us.”  

Moses intercession is a picture of Christ who is our intercessor (Hebrews 9:16-22).  Only as Christ walks with us can we have victory in this life.

In John 12 we find Jesus headed to the cross to make payment for our sin.  Along the way Mary pays honor to Jesus (12:1-8).  The crowds give witness (12:9-19).  Jesus gives witness to the people’s need of repentance (12:20-26).  The chapter ends with a sad commentary on the fact that many do not come to Jesus because they love the applause of men more than the approval of God.  In this, I am broken when I realize how people say, “I need the Lord,” but in reality they only want his blessings!!!

On this Friday, I confess I need the Lord every hour.  Not only for my salvation, but for my sanctification, and for my purpose in life.  Lord, help all who read this to come to a settled place where you are all in all!!!

You Are Sick For His Glory (Exodus 32; John 11)

March 21, 2013

He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it,” Exodus 32:20

“But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of Man may be glorified through it,” John 11:4

“I believe God can use this for his glory.”  This statement was made by two different people facing two different circumstances.  One was a man who was facing prison time because of his robbing of a gas station.  The other man was facing prison time because he along with four other men were trying to start a church in Iran.

Question, “Can God use both of these situations for his glory?”  In the later case we certainly see how this could be.  But how about the guy facing jail time?  How could his circumstance be for God’s glory?  Here is the answer, “If he repents of his sin and show a pattern of a changed man, then and only then can God be glorified in his life!

Question, “Are you facing any circumstances that could or could not be for his glory?”  Consider our More for Christ readings:  In Exodus 32 Israel has made herself a Golden Calf.  God judges her for her rebellion!  This day was not glorifying God.  In John 11 Lazarus is sick and dies.  This day would glorify God.

The key difference is in that Lazarus was living for God.  Israel was rebelling against God.  Take some time and look at the difference.  Here is a suggested outline of John 11 to help you in your studies:

1.  God will be glorified through your sickness, Vs: 1-5

2.  God will be glorified in-spite of your sickness, Vs: 6-16

3.  God will be glorified in the midst of your sickness, Vs: 17-37

The final footnote of the passage teaches us (Vs: 41-44) that God was glorified in this sickness.  Brothers and sisters I am always amazed as I read this chapter.  Lazarus was sick, died, and resurrected, all for the glory of God.

Question, “Could God use your circumstance for his glory?”  Hear the Word of the Lord, “If you would believe, you will see the glory of the Lord,” John 11:40

Rest My Brethren (Exodus 31; John 10)

March 20, 2013

“It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”  Exodus 31:17

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch the, out of the Father’s hand.”  John 10:29

Recently I was talking with a brother in our church who words for the Ford Motor Company.  In the midst of our conversation he said, “I worked 60 hours this week and that did not include the hours of driving to and from work.”  When I figured that time and the time he spends at the church, I came up with 76 hours.  My brother stands in need as do most who read this blog, “Of rest and refreshing!”

In Exodus 31 we find two lines of thought:  First there is the ability to work (Vs: 1-11).  This ability is given to us by God and we should work and worship for his glory. Second, there is the ability to rest (Vs:12-18).  God prescribed a time of solemn rest for his people.  We too need to follow this method of taking time to rest before our God.

When we come to the New Testament, John 10, we come to a study about the only one who can give us true rest.  In Christ we can both rest from and in our work.  I hope you will give time to this chapter.  I am going to list 5 self-disclosures of Jesus from John 10:

1.  The Salvation in Christ, Vs: 1-6

2. The Sufficiency of Christ, Vs: 7-10

3.  The Faithfulness of Christ, Vs: 11-14

4.  The Sovereignty of Chris, Vs: 15-25

5.  The Security of Christ, Vs: 26-30

Brothers and sisters, as we look and understand Christ we find the secret to rest. We can rest our minds in knowing that in whatever we face, Jesus is the victor.  We can rest our bodies because we know that Christ is the provider of all we need.  We can rest our souls because we know Jesus is the source and keeper of our salvation.

So brothers and sisters come alone before Jesus and rest!!!

The Light on Display (Exodus 30, John 9)

March 19, 2013

“That it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the Lord, so as to make atonement for your lives,” Exodus 30:16

It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him,” John 9:3

One of my favorite things to do while Sherry is shopping at Sams is to visit each food display.  I find it very interesting to sample the different types of food that are on sale for whatever week.  Recently I was able to sample strawberries.  The goal of these displays is for you to purchase the item on display.  After sampling the strawberries, I found myself placing a package in Sherry’s cart when she came by.  In my case, the display worked.

Consider our More for Christ readings:  In Exodus 30 we find God’s continued instruction for how to conduct oneself in the Tabernacle.  In each of these specific guidelines we find the light of God’s glory on display.  Each time the people would come, they would be reminded of God’s glory which was on display.

In John 9 we find the Light on display.  Jesus encounters a blind man.  This man has been blind since birth (A picture of our spiritual state).  As He sits outside the Temple, the disciples wonder the why of his state.  In this moment Jesus reminds us of God’s purpose (The light will be on display).

Here we see several things: 1.  The light is at work, Vs: 3-7  2.  The light is at war, Vs: 8-34  3.  The light wins the day, Vs: 35-41

Finally we understand John 8:12 “I am the light of the world.  He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 

Jesus has come to this world to work the Works of God.  He does this by bringing light to what was dark.  The world does not understand the light (Vs: 2-7) and religion opposes the light (Vs: 9-34).  However the light wins the day (Vs: 35-41) as Jesus is calling men to come from the darkness into the light!!!

Question:  “Does your life and my life reflect the light of Christ?”  The fact is, “God intends for our every action to be on display.”  Allow me to encourage you to shine His light before a dark and sinful world so that they may see the Light of His glory!!!  When we display the light we fulfill our intended purpose.

Dealing With The Light (Exodus 29; John 8)

March 18, 2013

Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them, that they may serve as priests.”  Exodus 29:1″

I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins,”  John 8:24

“Don’t open those blinds.”  These were the emphatic words coming from John’s lips as I attempted to wake him up a few Saturdays ago.  The problem began when we allowed him to stay up too late on Friday night.  Now he was compensating for the late night by sleeping very late the next day.

This morning we consider God’s instruction to the Priests (Exodus 29) and God’s instruction to the religious leaders (John 9).  In Exodus 29 we find God instructions:  1) They were set apart to serve (Vs: 1-39)  2) They were set apart for covenant fellowship (Vs: 40-46).  In this we see the light of God going before the people.

In John 8 Jesus is facing much opposition to his light.  With each verse we see the great divide between those who follow and those who do not follow the light. First, lets consider those who “Do not follow the light:”

1.  They do not understand the I Am

Their lives are blinded and they believe that he (Jesus cannot be the way).

2.  They do not know the I Am

Because of this they chose to live life in the darkness.

3.  They will die in their sin

How tragic that the Son of God was before them, but they would not come to Him.

4.  They were dedicated to following their father

We are shocked when we read that, “Satan was their father.”  In the same way, He is the father of all who fail to come to the light.

Now let’s consider those who follow the light:

1.  They follow Jesus

Such people become his disciples

2.  They keep His Word

The Word becomes the guidebook of life.

3.  They are set free to live out His Word

Oh how thankful I am that God has brought us to the light.  This very day I challenge you to deal with the light.  Do not pull the spiritual shade and live in the shadows of nothingness.  Follow Jesus in the Light because He is the Light.