Archive for October, 2017

Whose turn is it to serve? (John 13)

October 31, 2017

16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant[c] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.  John 13:16-17

This past weekend our church had a major outreach event targeting our community.  The results were amazing as our church family served together and they served others.  One of the most amazing moments came at the end of our event as so many people stayed around to serve.  No one asked, “Whose turn is it to serve?”  Everyone just served.

As Jesus entered the upper room with the disciples it was clear that 11 of the disciples did not understand all that was taking place.  Jesus knew because He is God.  Judas knew because Satan had made it clear to him that now was the perfect moment for betrayal.

As we read John 13 we see Jesus standing up from his place at the table.  We see him walking over to where the servants were standing.  He takes a towel and wraps up around his waist.  Wait a minute, is Jesus taking the duties of the servant?  Our answer is obvious as we see Jesus pouring water into a bowl.  He turns and begins to wash the disciples feet.  Was it Jesus time to serve?  Peter did not think so.  Jesus is the Son of God.  Why is He serving the disciples?

Three important thoughts are here for us:

I. Jesus sets the example of the attitude for a Christian, Vs: 1-11.

II. Jesus explains the example to the disciples, Vs: 12-30.

Jesus say’s, “I have served you and you need to serve others.”  Luke 11:28 says, “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.”  Certainly we know there are people, like Judas, who are imposters in the family of God.  But true Christians have a heart to serve.

III. Jesus gives us His expectations for our lives as Christians, Vs: 31-34.

As we serve one another people around us will know that we are Christians as they see the love of God flowing from us.

As I thought back to our weekend together, I realized our community knew who we were by the way we were living our lives.

Father I pray for all who read this today.  May they follow the example and fulfill the expectation set by Jesus.  By this our communities will come to know who we are and they will seek to know why we are as we are!

Why would you do such a thing? (John 12)

October 30, 2017

Mary therefore took a pound[a] of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3

As we open our Bibles on this Monday we are met with the joyous fragrance of love in the home of Simon the Leper.  We read of Mary who gives her best to the Lord.  Question, “Why would she do such a thing?”

Our answers most likely will vary based upon where we are with God:

  • Judas answer was, “she is wasteful.”  But we know the back story of why he said this.
  • The other disciples were drawn into the same view.
  • Jesus honored Mary for her insight to what was about to happen in His life.

I often wonder if Mary had any of the perfume left and if so did she use it as she and the other ladies wrapped Jesus body for burial?

Take a moment and ask yourself, “why would anyone give their best to Jesus?

Here is how the Psalmist would answer this question: Psalm 116:5

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.

Our God gives to us what we do not deserve (grace).  Our God went to the cross to pay the price for our sins (This is His righteousness).  Our God does not give us what we deserve (mercy).

Take time to read Psalm 116 in its entirety this day.  You will discover the Psalmist proclaiming his love for God.  God had heard his cry for mercy.  God had delivered him from the very depths of the grave.  His soul had been delivered by God.  This is why he will praise Him, pray to Him, give everything to Him, and live for Him.

Brothers and sisters, the reason Mary did what she did is because she wanted to give her best to the God who was giving His best for her soul.

Much to consider on Monday!!!

A certain Man (John 11)

October 27, 2017

11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. John 11:1

The story of John 11 stands, for me, as one of the all time greatest miracle stories in the Bible.  As one reads the story it might seem to be a story about a certain man named Lazarus.  But the truth is, this chapter is about another certain man.  This certain man is the theme of every chapter of the Bible.

Before I write more about the certain man, lets look at the chapter under 9 headings with you filling in the details:

  • Jesus three closest’s friends are in need, Vs: 1-4.
  • Jesus is 2 days away by foot from his friends, 10:40-42.
  • Jesus waits 2 more days before leaving for their home, 11:5-6.
  • Jesus informs the disciples of Lazarus death and the faith moment that was coming, 11:7-17.
  • Jesus offers encouragement to Martha, 11:18-27.
  • Jesus shows His love and compassion for His friends, 11:28-38.
  • Jesus commands for the stone to be taken away, 11:39.
  • Jesus pray’s to the Father, 11:40-42.
  • Jesus calls Lazarus from the grave, 11:43-44.

If you had read this for the first time or you are reading this for the first time, ask yourself, Who is the certain man in the chapter?  The one we look to is Jesus!!!

In every trial, tribulation, or moment of truth it is Jesus who is the certain man we look too!!!

Here is what we learn about Jesus from this chapter:

  • He is a friend of sinners.
  • He is the resurrection and life.
  • He is the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.
  • He is a God of compassion who enters into our hurts.
  • He is calling men from death to life.

Wow!!!  I say it again, Wow!!!  Jesus is the certain man I need in my uncertain times.

Something that is impossible (John 10)

October 26, 2017

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28

Each year it seems that are new inventions that cause the impossible to become possible.  For example, my father was told three years ago that one of his heart values was becoming weak and needed to be replaced.  This would demand open-heart surgery which is a major life-changing surgery.  Never would it have been thought possible to do it any other way.  But last year the impossible became reality as my dad had a new procedure in which the doctors were able to go through one of his arteries with a small mechanical value that could be placed inside his other value without doing open-heart surgery.  The impossible happened.

So, the question is, “Is there anything impossible in the coming years?”  Scripture answers this question with a yes answer.

                                 CHRISTIANS CANNOT GO TO HELL

This is the amazing truth I gain when I walk through John 10. How is this impossible?

                                 BECAUSE OF THE POWER AND PROTECTION OF GOD

In John 10 there are no less than 5 points that drive the above points home:

  1. God has established his church, (We are His flock).
  2. Jesus is the vested leader of his church, (He is the shepherd).
  3. Jesus is the Savior of the church, (He is the doorway).
  4. Jesus is still building His church (More will come).
  5. The Trinity together protect the church (No one can take away what God has given).

R.C. Sproul has written: “God protects His sheep from perishing according to the infallibility of divine grace.  We cannot perish because of His power to protect, Romans 8:30.” Cited from Reformation Study Bible.

Brothers and sisters, not only cannot we not perish but we cannot live our lives as thought we are not saved if we are saved.  God’s Spirit has made us alive and we will live a life according to His life in us, I John 2:19; I Peter 1:6-9; Phil. 1:6.

Father this is good news today.  I pray that you lead me to lead people to Jesus as their shepherd.  I thank you that He is the doorway to heaven.  I am honored that I am welcomed in.  Praise God!!!

Can God cause good to come out of bad? (John 9)

October 25, 2017

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

“Well, Father what can you do with this mess I have made?”  These were the words I offered to God in prayer as I thought about a moment of failure.  Quickly the response came, Keith I can turn bad into good if you give the situation to me.

These words came rushing back to me as I read John 9 this day.

Jesus has slipped out of the temple from the sight of those who are trying to stone him (John 8).  As He leaves a bad situation He encounters another bad situation.  Here is a blind man sitting by a temple gate. The disciples have the view that this man is suffering from the results of either his own sin or his parents.  Jesus quickly sets the disciples straight.

Certainly, it is true, some suffering is as a result of our own sin or someone connected with us.  But more often it is simply the result of the fall (Romans 5).  Jesus makes an amazing statement that brings great hope to broken people who do bad things.

Jesus has the power to turn our bad into good!!!  Paul restated this in Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a]for those who are called according to his purpose.

The key is in loving God.  If we enjoy rebellion and if we savor sin our bad things will continue to be bad.  But if we repent of our sin (Acts 3:19) and embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God will take our bad and turn it into God.

This happens in John 9.

We see the grace of God extended to the blind man.  Jesus heals Him.  We see the journey of the blind man from physical blindness to physical sight and we see his journey from spiritual blindness to spiritual sight.

Now this man is a testimony of what God can do.  Jesus brought light into the world.  Now we who have repented and have been born again are lights to a dark world that God can turn bad into good!

Yes, you and I will still do bad things from time to time (we are not perfect) but God will always cleanse us and use us for His glory.  So take heart when you fail.  Quickly repent, reset, and live for the glory of God.

Acts 3:19-20

19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus

What Abraham saw (John 8)

October 24, 2017

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” John 8:56

There are days when what we see leaves us exhausted.   I recently had one of those days as I spend the entire day visiting and caring for our church families who were facing a series of difficult moments.  As I ministered I took heart in knowing that each of those families were followers of Christ.

As we look at John chapter 8 we see Jesus coming to the temple after the Feast of Booths.  The crowd gathers to hear Jesus teach.  Suddenly the moment was interrupted by the Scribes and Pharisees.  It is clear from the text: “These leaders were walking in darkness.”

Jesus speaks words of liberation to the woman caught in the act of adultery.  However Jesus teaching does not affect the darkness in these men’s lives.  As Jesus debated with them, many in the crowd believed.  To these people Jesus directed them to abide in Him.  As they did they would live in freedom.  Still yet the scribes and Pharisees remained in the darkness.

By verse 39, one can clearly understand that what they were seeing was totally different from what Jesus was telling them to see.  Finally the debate comes to its climax when Jesus said, “Abraham looked forward to seeing me and he did.”

This may raise some questions for you as it did for the people in the darkness.  How could Abraham see Jesus if He lived 4000 years before Jesus walked among men?  Answer, before Abraham there was the “I Am” (Jesus Christ).

Abraham’s life was filled with moment after moment when he was pointed to Jesus and His coming to be the Savior of the world.  The high moment would have been in Genesis 22 when God provided for Himself a ram.  Paul in Galatians 3:7,9 teaches us that Abraham was saved by faith in the Messiah that was to come.

The leaders did not see this truth, but Abraham did.  Now the question turns to us, “What do we see?”  Here is what I see on this Tuesday:

  1. I was born as a sinner, just like the woman in John 8.
  2. Only Jesus could bring me to the place to see that I am a sinner in need of a Savior, John 8:11-12.
  3. It is Christ alone who can set me free from the bondage of sin, John 8:31-38.
  4. Today I follow the leadership of my heavenly Father, John 8:39-48.
  5. Some day, I will see Jesus face to face, John 8:58.

So when our days become difficult we must look up because our redemption is drawing nigh.  So when we meet people who are in darkness we are to point them to the light within us so that they will come to the light.

Oh how I pray you see amazing things today!!!

What do you want? John 7

October 23, 2017

17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s[e] will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. John 7:17

With the changing seasons of a person’s life, he or she will answer our blog question differently.  For example, when an infant is asked, what do you want, their mind goes to either food or closeness.  When a person is training for an athletic event they will respond to the question with, “I need time in the gym.”

Question: What do you want in this season of your life?

In John 7 we are interacting with different people who are in different stages of life, with viewpoints of what they want:

  • We see Jesus who was wanted and was following the Father’s schedule, Vs: 7.
  • We see His family who were seeking to impose their viewpoint on Jesus, Vs: 5 “they did not believe…”
  • We see the Jewish people who were divided in their opinion as to who Jesus was, Vs: 8-30.

The chapter ends with a city in division.  The reason for their division was the situation of their hearts.  Some believed and many did not believe.

This is really important here: The Devil loves it when people are divided in mind, heart, and life. He wants people to do anything but to come to the desire to do the will of God.

To do the will of God leads to the following “want to changes.”

  1. New Life is given, Vs: 37-38.  This life is birthed by the Spirit.
  2. New way of living with a new Lord.
  3.   A Spiritual G.P.S. is now directing the heart and mind.

Here was my prayer this morning: “Lord I want to know you more in and through your Word.  I want to do your will. Lead me to be sensitive to your movements in my life and in the world. Lead me to not walk in the flesh but in the Spirit.  Lord I seek to bring glory to your name in everything.”

So, what do you want to do?

There must be more (John 6)

October 20, 2017

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. John 6:15

As I stood before the group it was good to know that the group wanted to know more about God.  This group came at 5:30 AM to study God’s Word so that they could know more of Him so that they could tell others more about Him.

Question:  “What did the people in John 6 know about Jesus?”

This large crowd knew that Jesus was a miracle worker.  This large crowd included 12 disciples who were going to be tested by Jesus.  They had a small view of Jesus in this moment, looking only to earthly resources to solve the need before them.

In this moment, by the sea, Jesus reveals more of Himself to the crowd.  What was their response?  “We want you to be our king?”  This seems so good, but it is revealed that they were only following Him because of what they could get.  Surely there is more to being a Christ-follower than Jesus being just our provider of the stuff we want?

I have come to understand that there is more and more about God to discover every day.  This is why Jesus said:

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Each day God intends for us to come to Him.  When we do our spiritual hunger is met with the richest of spiritual food called the attributes of God.   Each day God intends for us to believe in Him.  As we do, we never become dry in faith and we are always progressing forward having our thirst fulfilled at His feet and in His work.

Many in that crowd in John 6 walked away from Jesus because they did not want more.  They only wanted the earthly and not the eternal.  I want to challenge you to be careful to never get trapped in the earthly.  This happens as we skip our daily time with God.  This happens when seeds of doubt sprout and take over in the garden of faith.

Here are the words of Peter and they are the words of my testimony as well:

 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 

Is He really? (John 5)

October 19, 2017

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. John 5:18

Yesterday morning I came across this headline on, “President accused of being a pathological liar.”  I immediately began to question the writer of the article simply because we now live in a world of situational ethics.  Sadly we often do not know what is true and what is not true.

The above statement leads me to this all important question: “Is Jesus really who He says He is?”

The context of John 5 leads us to understand that this question is being debated.  The debate is fueled by the under-current of hatred toward Jesus by the religious leaders.  Remember how John made this clear in John 1:11, “He came to His own and they rejected Him.”  They did not believe He was the Son of God.

Every move Jesus made was critiqued, criticized, and condemned.  Even the man who was healed by Jesus did not change their minds.  I want to challenge you to consider this question: “Is Jesus really God?”

In Verses 19-30 we find no less than three reasons why the church believes Jesus is God:

  1. We see Jesus unity with the Father, Vs: 19-20.
  2. We see Jesus power of life, Vs: 21.
  3. We see Jesus authority to judge all men, Vs: 22.

Because of these three reasons we make the following conclusions:  Because Jesus is one with the Father, He has complete access to the Father.   Because Jesus has the power of life He can live spiritual life to men.  Because Jesus has all authority, He is the one who is Lord.

Brothers and sisters, let’s make this personal.  Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord?  He is the mediator by whom we have access to God, I Tim. 2:3-5.  Do you possess eternal life?  This is only a yes if Jesus is your Lord.  Do you find yourself forgiven by God?  This is only a yes if Jesus is your Lord.

Feast on the Words of John 5:26-29

26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

I believe He is who He says He is.  Because of Him I have life in His name.  In this world of situational ethics, we can trust one to always be true.  His name is Jesus!!!

The correct position (John 4)

October 18, 2017

36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  John 4:36-37

One of the most mind-blowing events that takes place in my life is when God connects me with someone who needs Him.  I never get over the honor that God would place me in the correct position to intersect a seeking sinner.

In John 4 Jesus put Himself in the correct position to meet with a woman who was hurting.  This woman’s story is well documented in John 4.

As I read the chapter I gain an understanding of the truth Jesus proclaims to this sinner.  He offers her living water that only comes from Him.  It is amazing that God can meet a person in the spiritual desert of life with life-giving water.

I wonder, do you and I have a desire to get in the correct position so that God can use us?  The disciples seemed to be in the wrong position because Jesus sent them away from this moment.  When they return, it is clear they cannot handle the correct position.

Jesus instruction to them and to us is clear.  We need to understand how important is to get into the position where we are willing to share the living water of Christ with all people.  Yes, all people need Jesus!!!

It is only those who are willing to share the living water that find themselves in this mind-blowing moment of seeing a seeking sinner come to life.  I look forward to what God is going to do in me today.  I am ready, how about you?