Jesus and The End

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This is my 11th and final blog in a series called “Jesus Said”. The purpose of this series was to take a closer look at the word of God and discover the message God has for us so we don’t drift away from the life He desires for us. Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 Today we are looking at what Jesus said about the end.

“Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Matthew 24:29-31

I used “the end” because this would be my last blog in the Jesus Said series, but it means so much more. As we approach December 25th and the birthday of our Savior Jesus Christ we are reminded that what started so many centuries ago in a barn will one day end with His glorious and mighty return.

It’s all connected, woven together from Genesis to Revelation with a golden thread that ties each word, lesson, truth and story together perfectly to tell the story of Jesus. The ultimate gift!

Jesus said a lot while He walked among us. We have talked about some strange things like what Jesus said about: gifts, rust, tears, fertilizer, salt and much more, but there is so much more. We can’t follow and obey Him if we don’t know what He asks of us. Jesus said this when talking to a group of Jews who HAD believed him, “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word.” John 8:37

We must make room for His word, know His word, trust His word, study His word and live the word. John says this in 1 John 2:3, “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.” Do you know Him? We know we do when we keep His command, but we must know them to keep them.

As the new year approaches, will you consider digging a little deeper into the Gospels and discover more about what Jesus said, thought and taught? I can’t think of a better way to start the year or more wonderful New Year’s promise.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours. Look for a new blog series called “Heaven Revealed” where we look at scripture to discover more about Heaven and our eternal life starting in January 2015!

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Jesus and Permission

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This is my 10th blog in a series called “Jesus Said”. The purpose of this series it to take a closer look at the word of God and discover the message God has for us so we don’t drift away from the life He desires for us. Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 Today we are looking at what Jesus said about permission.

The blueprints of our life don’t always turn out or happen the way we planned or prefer. What Jesus says to Simon Peter during the Last Supper and before He is crucified can be easily passed over because we are so focused on what Simon Peter does and the death of our Savior, but let’s take a close look at what Jesus says about power of permission.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Luke 22:31-34

Satan asked if he could test Peter’s faith. To sift him as wheat. Crazy, right?! Ever been through a time (maybe it’s now) in your life where you felt as if you were put through the grinder (or sifted)? I have. Satan has to ask permission, but when he receives it don’t miss what is so amazing. Jesus says this, “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” Jesus, the Son of God praying for us. For you and for me every time we are in a trail, feel as if we can’t take one more step or seem to have lost all hope. Jesus prays for us. Take a look at some verses from Job that support this idea.

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan  also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face. “The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:6-12

Permission! Not really the permission we want God to give, but if we consider it this way – nothing is out of the Master’s hand. He is with us, love us and praying for us in all things. We may only see the back of the cross stitch, but God sees the entire beautiful picture that is creating in us, through us and in what looks like a big mess is His beautiful plan.

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back of cross stitch illustrating what we see of God’s perfect plan from our perspective

 

 

May we all find rest in the truth of His word and His promises of protection more than we ever have in the upcoming year.

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the front of the same cross stitch, what God sees is the beauty of His plan for each of us

 

Jesus and Gifts

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This is my 9th blog in a series called “Jesus Said”. The purpose of this series it to take a closer look at the word of God and discover the message God has for us so we don’t drift away from the life He desires for us. Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 Today we are looking at what Jesus said about gifts.

You probably already know Jesus didn’t talk much about the gifts you buy online, wrap and give at Christmas or birthdays, but He did talk a lot about giving to others and it’s so fitting for this holiday season of Christmas I thought we would take a deeper look at three passages (although there are several more) where Jesus goes into detail about gift giving.

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Matthew 7:1-3 (NASB)

Ah, the gift of judgement. No one has that on their wish list. I’ve been the victim of it and I admit I’ve also dished it out. I’m a recovering “judger”. Not that I don’t catch myself every now and then, but thankfully the more I grow in my faith the quicker the Holy Spirit brings it to my attention and puts a damper on it. In these verses from Matthew, Jesus is reminding us that what we give will be given to us in return. Yikes! This week, let’s consider what we are giving to others: judgement or acceptance, love or hate, smiles or frowns, support or condemnation . . .  and make sure we are gifting what we would like in return.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35

Think honestly about this next question. What if you cooked everyone Christmas dinner and bought everyone the perfect gift only to discover that no one brought you one side dish or dessert to put on the table, neglected to even consider buying you a present to put under the Christmas tree and didn’t even offer up one “thank you”? How would you feel? Honestly and truly, how would you feel? I know the answer I should give, but I also know that isn’t the way I would respond. At least, not at first. I would need some time to pout and be resentful first, then I would pray and God and I would work it out. It’s easy to give to others who are in need and don’t have anything. We feel good about helping and being Christ’s hands and feet, but when we give to those who can give back and they don’t . . . well, our expectations change a little. This month, consider giving with no strings attached. As difficult is for my Southern roots to type this, consider not even expecting a “thank you”.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:27-31

Finally, Jesus gives us this most challenging concept of giving: give to anyone who asks, even if they are your enemy, curse you and slap you. This is certainly not a human response, but that’s what makes it so much more amazing when we are able to give in this way. We know it’s JESUS when we are able to give generously and freely to our enemies. It’s His power and not our own. When I am able to pull off something like this, I feel closer to God than ever because I know He is near and working a miracle in my human heart. If you have a story of a time God did this for you I would love to hear it. E-mail me!

I want to try to more give gifts as Jesus did. Surely, they are the gifts that can’t be taken away, stolen, never rust and can change lives in ways we could never imagine. His gift ideas are so much better than ours and can make lasting impressions on the hearts of those who receive and on our very own.

My all our gifts be given in the spirit of the Creator.

 

 

Jesus and Rust

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This is my 8th blog in a series called “Jesus Said”. The purpose of this series it to take a closer look at the word of God and discover the message God has for us so we don’t drift away from the life He desires for us. Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 Today we are looking at what Jesus said about rust.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Many of us have read this verse no less than a hundred times, but this reminder that Jesus spoke in Galilee so many centuries ago during His Sermon on the Mount seemed more than appropriate as we come off of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness.

So, today I’m going to ask, “Where is  your treasure?” Idols are always quick to take over our thoughts and hearts, but around Christmas it seems to flare up a bit more as our minds and lists start to resemble that of a Hollywood personal shopper. Buying, wrapping and delivering gifts, hosting, cooking, cleaning, Christmas parties and schedules packed so tight there is hardly a moment left to sit at the table with our families and reflect on the actual reason we celebrate Christmas.

Somewhere, beneath the wrapping paper, lists, guilty feelings of not being able to find and deliver the perfect gift, resentful feelings of the past and present that come along with family we visit with, pride about what we have given and received, jealously of the gifts and opportunities those around us receive that we could never have . . . somewhere, beneath all of those things, feeling and false treasures there is a child who was sent by a loving Father to carry the weight and sin of all the world from creation to His glorious return.

This gift, the gift of our Savior and all the love, kindness, forgiveness, grace, peace He offers can’t be destroyed. It can sit on a shelf, unaccepted and unacknowledged, but it can never be taken away, destroyed or stolen from us.

This December, as every day moves us closer to the day we celebrate the birth of Christ, I pray we all take time to remember and reflect on what Jesus said about rust and what He offers all of us is everlasting and can never be destroyed by it.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:13-15