Psalm 130/John 9 “Abandoned but Remaining Steadfast”

psalm 130 abandoned god knows2Psalm 130:4: “But you are willing to forgive so that you might be honored” reminds us of the words of Jesus regarding the blind man’s condition “It was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Imagine being the blind man(John 9) as he experienced sight for the first time. His senses were acutely tuned to voices and sounds but now it is coupled with the faces of those he meets. Imagine as he hears and sees the neighbors protesting his sight; his parents and their befuddlement, but it is the last that he cannot understand. He is dismayed when he hears the religious leaders say “this man is not from God.” Yet this is often what we too hear from the unbelieving when God cleanses and us. Listen to the words of Peter: “they are astonished…they vilify you.” Yet this we know; without His forgiveness we could not stand in his presence but now like the blind man who has been healed we are healed of our sins and all because as the Psalmist said: “He IS willing.” And when we face the naysayers, like the blind man, we must rely upon the Lord and in fact “rely on him with [our] whole being.” We now yearn more and more to experience the depth of his lovingkindness and Jesus will not fail us.

Beloved, when the world abandons you recall that even if all abandon us God has not forgotten you because He was willing. We can rely upon Him.

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Jesus is the ONLY Door and the ONLY Good Shepherd!

john 10 door shepherd2The religious leaders were distressed, not joyful, over the healing of the blind man (if you missed it read the post on John 9: Is Jesus Your Messiah?) . These religous leaders did not consider the newly sighted “miracle man” to be part of the “flock,” but instead because said they do not “know” the Law and thus are they are accursed. (see Jn. 7:49) They saw themselves as a “fraternity” with rights and privileges and the “miracle man” just did not qualify! Jesus will now reveal to them the heart of the matter which is they are the evil shepherds Ezekiel spoke about and he is the Good Shepherd. What an indictment! They not only cursed the blind man but excommunicated him from the “flock.” It is in that context that Jesus comes and finds him in the Temple. That is what Jesus does when we face others who seek to destroy our faith. He comes to us and we hear his voice. We recognize him and fall down and worship him.

Did the “fraternity of Pharisees” get it? Jesus pointed out that they not only got it, but they were condemned because of it. When the LIGHT was revealed they chose to return to their father the devil because their deeds were evil. Jesus pointedly told the disciples “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” Leaven is hidden to the spiritually blind but revealed to those who see spiritual truth. The bllind/now seeing man “got it” and Jesus ministered to him as a tender Good Shepherd does.

Jesus is the Only Door and Only Good Shepherd! Do you know him?

Stop and Pray for your leaders that to hear the voice of Jesus. And, when you hear something that doesn’t sound right, be a Berean and examine it to see if it is true.

You can find the “Is Jesus Your Messiah” here: https://www.facebook.com/bible.org/ and this one will be uploaded on November 13th. Come and join us as we walk through the NT, Ps and Proverbs each day.

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Is Jesus Your Messiah?

john 9 once blind now see2John 9 is the greatest story ever told about what occurs when both physical and spiritual illumination happens in a person’s life.  The LIGHT came as a witness and a sign to the unbelieving; yet some continued, as they do today, to read the False Book of Assumptions; refusing to believe the evidence and thus stand before God condemned.  The glaring evidence of both physical and spiritual blindness is revealed that we might consider the words of Jesus to the Pharisees “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains.”

How do we react when God provides concrete evidence of a changed life and they stand “in our face?”  Do we honor God or are we like the three groups who witnessed the “miracle man” yet refused steadfastly to believe? All of the neighbors, the parents, and the religious leaders were witness to not just a physical change but a spiritual change as well–yet they refused to accept it from God. The neighbors scoffed and the parents were ensnared by fear. The religious leaders claimed to follow Moses but what about following God?  These are now without excuse because they wanted signs to authenticate Jesus. The “miracle man” stood as a work of God as prophesied in Ex 4:11 and Psalm 146:8. They stand guilty of unbelief.

How about you when you are confronted with the evidence? Can you say: “I once was blind but now I see?” This is God’s grace.

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What Book Are You Reading?

john 8 word of truthBook clubs abound. Their choices run the gamut from mysteries to romance and more. However, there is one book that many are reading today titled “The Book of False Assumptions.” The chapters are titled: How to win heaven by good works, How to win heaven by your ancestry, How to win heaven by your religion, How to win heaven (you fill in the blank with your ideas.) But, those chapters are listed in the book of lies written by the master liar himself, Satan.

John 8:39-41 We are from the lineage of Abraham; Our lineage assures us of our ticket to heaven. Jesus replies, “If you are Abraham’s children, you would be doing the deeds of Abraham.

John 8:42-44 We have one father, God. Jesus replies “If God were your Father, you would love me,” vs 44 “You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires”

John 8: 52-56 We obey and follow the book of the Law written by Moses. Jesus replies: you do not! The evidence is clear—it says “thou shalt not murder” but you want to kill me.

One false assumption is that when we get to heaven God’s balance sheet will show we have more good works than bad and because God is a loving God and he would not send me to hell. But when eternity comes they will find that it is not their ancestry, their religion, their works, even their words that will get them into heaven. The truth is that   “you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works so that no one can boast.”

What book is on your reading shelf today? The book of assumptions or the book of truth called the Bible?

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What Can We Learn from a Fool?

King Solomon has taught from chapter 1 how we might observe and learn to be wise. Today in chapter 26 his focus is on the fool. “The dullard or fool is not merely a man of low intelligence. He is the kind of fool who is obtuse [that is not quick or alert in perception] because of smug overconfidence.” [Jewish Study Bible] So why spend time studying the “fool or dullard?”  “Just as our Lord did not forbid us from discerning the character of fools, the Book of Proverbs commends this assessment as a necessity for those who would be wise.” [Bob Deffinbaugh]

Who is this person? He is the one that says there is no God and thus he responds according to his folly. A fool considers himself to be wise in his own eyes and is blind to the ways of truth and the giver of wisdom “Each…does what he considers to be right…in their own eyes. ”[Judges 21 They are noted by their argumentative spirit, blameshifting, ox stubbornness and when reproved lack discernment that they might learn from their mistakes. The fool is characterized by the quote: “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

Principle to glean:  We should look in the mirror. If we see the warning signs of a fool don’t walk away but learn and change! [James 1]

prov 3 trustaThe bottom line?  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.” [Prov 3]

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“Go and Tell—Come and See”

psalm 126 come & see2Consider this question: What has God done for you? He has restored you from captivity of the enemy. You are now, as the Paul told the Galatians, free from his dominion and his ways. You are now free to rejoice and walk in the Spirit. Listen to the psalmist: “we thought we were dreaming.” And when we experience new life through Christ and the scales of darkness have been removed, it seems just like that. We are so overcome with the blessings that have been poured out upon us that we “laughed loudly and shouted for joy.” The Lord has indeed accomplished a great work in our lives at the point of salvation and because of that we should “Go and Tell” saying “Come and See.”

It begins with prayer: “Father, there are many who are captive in sin; release them by your power. Prepare me to plants the seed of the GOOD NEWS. May I shed tears as I plant so I can shout for joy when the harvest of souls happens.”

Jesus taught the parable of the sower to show us what will transpire as we seek to share the GOOD NEWS with others. Our seed will fall upon many different soils but there will be one that will bear fruit and we will rejoice with the angels in heaven when they are released.  We will come in with a shout of joy carrying our sheaves of grain.  “Go and Tell—Come and See.”

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A Radical Change ….from Outlier to Acceptable

Mike S. Adams wrote an intriguing book titled “Letters to a Young Progressive.” One of the chapters is titled “The Law of the Outliers.” If I understand him correctly, he is saying that outliers are those who are outside the mainstream of society that want us to bend to their way of thinking and behaving. How are we to respond in a multi-cultural society when it seeks to undermine biblical principles? Basically, we can only respond in Christ’s love and by showing them through practical and biblical means that God has standards that are righteous and he will hold us accountable to those standards either here or in eternity.

In John 4 Jesus meets an “outlier” or a “Five Time Loser.” She is not seeking for others to change to accept her ways, but she teaches us what it must be like to be the “Scarlet Woman” in society.  We can learn some valuable lessons in what he does and how it turns out. and thus gives us a challenge.

john 4 living water 4aJohn interweaves dialogue with theology using Jesus’ words and pictures of water. Ch 2: water is turned into wine. Ch 3: man must be born of water and spirit. Ch 4: water is seen as both refreshing and life giving.  Into this John retells Jesus’ encounter with the “five-time loser” woman who is castigated and imprisoned from society much like Hawthorne’s scarlet lettered woman. She is the “outlier” or “outsider.”  In chapter 2 John introduces us to Nicodemus, accepted as the teacher in Israel, outwardly pure but inwardly unrighteous.  Jesus opened his eyes to see his spiritual need and he left still wondering.  Chapter 4 offers a  contrast and a glimpse into what society rejects: the outsider, the unclean, the women of ill repute defiled by Mosaic Law. These are our today’s street people, the homeless, and the addict. What are we to do with these? Houston, TX vote showed us one way to respond: reject that which is unbiblical. But also there are states now that say marijuana should be accepted. Really? Is that Jesus did? 

This  woman who has been married five times and now is “shacking up but is unmarried” is what I call the “five-time loser.” She has learned how to move and live in a world in which she is unacceptable. Into this, Jesus steps as a pilgrim weary and thirsty to reveal her spiritual need and He as Messiah. She says “give me” and this what he world asks without considering the long time ramifications. Yet Jesus will offer her something greater: a life-giving transformation if she is willing to take and drink.  Jesus met her where she lived and moved and that is what we as disciples are to do even if it means on a street corner, or at a coffee shop or a well. The need is the same: all need living water and Jesus is the giver of it.  We must meet their spiritual need.

The end result? As the scarlet woman’s heart is opened we see her go and tell others to “come and see.” Do we do the same? From the lips of the townspeople: “They said to the woman, “No longer do we believe because of your words, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this one really is the Savior of the world.”

Who is the outsider in your world that needs the life-giving drink from the fountain of life: Jesus the Messiah?

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