For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Who you are doing something for makes the world of difference. Just look at how different people become when they are aware of a camera filming them!
Picture the Lord of the universe, and then imagine what you are doing is important to him, and noticed by him. There you go...
When you've exhausted all your options, this verse speaks a great deal of hope.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD, Isaiah 55.8
I hang out with Christians a lot, and as a pastor I wonder if they are trying to impress me with their spirituality - and by spirituality I mean in this case, all the pointed fingers at evil society. And sure, there is plenty to point fingers at.
But we live in sin - of course there is going to be sin, and selfishness, and a lack of morality in this world. And so many Christians seems to get confused with their mission - rather than point people to Jesus, they go ahead and try and fix the latest problem they see around them. (At least talk about fixing it anyway).
And when we can't fix problems and issues as fast as they arise, it sure is nice to remember:-
God has a completely different approach. Our ways are not His ways. Hallelujah.
I learn more about God through a series of paradoxes - and this is a great one. You see, Jesus is both our High Priest, and our Sacrificial Lamb.
That means that our representative in Heaven is both perfect, and understands weakness.
It means our Savior not only died for us, but lived for us too.
It means He's is qualified, and understanding.
It means he can lead us to better while saving us from our worst.
This is such wonderful verse from a a terrific chapter from an awesome book.
There are a lot of things to worry about. Money, work, politics, your house, your car, you reputation... and if you have kids this worry just seems to go up ten fold! Plus added to all of earths worries comes the inborn anxiety for some of us. We don't even need a reason to worry, we just do any way!
And if you have reached a certain age, you probably by now have some tools to help you with fear, worry, and anxiety.
- Relationships with friends and family.
- Pharmaceutical drugs.
- Varies herbs and plants (legal and otherwise!)
- TV and various forms of entertainment.
- And many have various addictions who's root can go back to some fear, worry anxiety etc...
And some of these things really can help - for a time at least in some cases. But real help comes from God - your Creator, your Savior, and your Comforter.
Jesus says here in this verse as He's talking about when he leaves His disciples, that they should not worry. Because He was leaving behind His peace. This is the peace that Jesus had here on earth. For Jesus knew His mission, His purpose. And you, as his follower, can have this peace too.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made - Psalms 139.14
You know... I question this verse sometimes.
Why do I crave such unhealthy things. Why do I want the things that hurt me in the long run?
Being fit is hard work. Getting your body in shape, or somewhere to where I'd look in the mirror and go yes - now I am fearfully and wonderfully made! But my potential to get sick, or hurt is pretty huge. And that is without talking here about getting old.
But this body lives in sin. In that garden by that tree we ate the forbidden fruit. Women go through pain in child birth, and us men have to work hard to see the fruit to our labor. This is what sins does, and my mirror me seems to be exhibit "A".
But when I bleed, my blood thickens so that the bleeding stands a chance of stopping. This is pretty cool. And you know... I breath all day long without giving it a second thought - even when I'm sleeping!
Sure - I look forward to a new body (which is promised). But with a little care and attention, this one isn't so bad. For I truly am fearfully and wonderfully made.
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (ESV)
henever church politics, and judgment, and dogma cloud the view of Jesus, I reach for this verse to remind me what we are really supposed to be about.
Such a simple, wonderful verse, that puts everything in perspective. If you know Daniel at all, and Nebuchadnezzar's dream in the 2nd chapter... then you'll know that despite Nebuchadnezzar believing in the power of God, he didn't like the message of the dream, and made is own image, one that suited his ideas. He leant on his own understanding.
We have the opportunity today to go a better way. With all our heart.
This is Moses' song after crossing the Red Sea. I can only imagine the adrenalin and emotion flowing through Moses after this. And while I've never walked through a Sea on dry land with a million people, I do have my "crossing the Red Sea" moments, and I too praise God for them, and I praise Him for who His is to me and my life. Today as I write this, this is my song too.
We can wax eloquently about the effects of the cross... and why Jesus had to die rather than wave a magic wand or overlook sin. We can support or debunk predestination, and there's the various methods used for interpreting Revelation . . . and so on.
But this verse, talking about a dream Joseph was having to explain Mary's condition, the Bible simply says "She will have a son, and you are to name in Jesus - for He will save people from their sins.
There it is. All in one nice little verse. Thanks for sharing Joseph.
Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
I love this verse. For no matter what is going on in my life (or yours), Jesus has got it covered. We can weep, and weep as though there is no solution. But wait. The Lamb.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
Even though we know verses like this, and we remember Jesus asked us to take up our cross and follow him, and that this following is the narrow way - we still come up surprised when we suffer for his sake in some way.
But this is a war we are in, and the enemy does not play fair. Life is hard, and there is no easy way out. So when life's trials hit, see it as a sign that Jesus is in control, and live for him daily. Meantime - do as this verse says - focus on the rewards, the future, the victory.
Amen (so be it).
As a child, I remember the ending of each Sabbath worship service came with a benediction and blessing. Everyone seemed to have their eyes closed after the final hymn - except me. I would watch as the preacher blessed us by raising his hand over the congregation and recited a well worn script.
Now I find myself in this position. We’ve largely dispensed with the hand raising, but at the end of every service I find myself wanting desperately to connect the power of God with His departing people - and I too have a script. And I often go one of two ways, or… sometimes two of two ways...
The first part is of my own creation - well as much as anything I ever say in the pulpit is part of my own creation. I ask God to be with His people until we meet again, “on another Sabbath day for worship and fellowship”. In this, I acknowledge our constant need to gather and so do not ask God for his help beyond the next time we’ll be together to ask for his help. After all, this salvation and living with Jesus is all about the relationships, and its hard to have good relationships when we never meet.
The second part is from Numbers 6.24 & 25. Here God tells Moses what to tell Aaron to say when blessing the people - and it is beautiful.
24 ‘May the Lord bless you, and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’
I’ve used this under so many sad, trying, testing and yes, even hopeful circumstances. And when I say it, I cling to the promise that comes in verse 27:
“Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”
May you all be blessed.