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Tag Archives: Jesus

Prisoner for Christ

I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. 10 I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. 11 I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God. 12 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the things that have happened to me have actually advanced the gospel. 13 The whole Praetorian Guard and everyone else knows that I’m in prison for Christ. 14 Most of the brothers and sisters have had more confidence through the Lord to speak the word boldly and bravely because of my jail time. (Philippians 1:3-14, CEB)

Even though Paul is in prison he is still hopeful and knows that God will not let him or the Philippians down.

Do we have that kind of faith?

To look into the unknown and say, God started something good here and God will bring it to a close?

That is hard. But Paul praise for the Philippians and for each of us that we will see Christ as our help and guidance and an assurance of the things that will come because of the promises we have from Christ that He has fulfilled.

So trust in Christ and know that even in the worst of place God is always with you.

 

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Warning

11 Brothers and sisters, don’t say evil things about each other. Whoever insults or criticizes a brother or sister insults and criticizes the Law. If you find fault with the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge over it.12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, and he is able to save and to destroy. But you who judge your neighbor, who are you? 13 Pay attention, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such-and-such a town. We will stay there a year, buying and selling, and making a profit.” 14 You don’t really know about tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes. 15 Here’s what you ought to say: “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast and brag, and all such boasting is evil. (James 4:11-16, CEB)

Do not look on someone else’s life and insult or criticize them, for you really have no place to do that. You need to be concerned with your own self and life and making sure you are right with God.

Because none of us know what tomorrow or the next 10 minutes will bring. We can only be assured of the here and now.

So love others as God loves you and say you will do things if the Lord wills it.

And in all you do share God’s love, every where you go.

 

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Let it go

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I assure you that it will be very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 In fact, it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” 25 When his disciples heard this, they were stunned. “Then who can be saved?” they asked. 26 Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible for human beings. But all things are possible for God.” 27 Then Peter replied, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you. What will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “I assure you who have followed me that, when everything is made new, when the Human One sits on his magnificent throne, you also will sit on twelve thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And all who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms because of my name will receive one hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:23-30, CEB)

There is nothing we can do to make it into heaven.

But there are many things we can do to keep ourselves out. Or at least that is an impression I get from this lesson. If you are in love with your stuff and can’t let it go, then your stuff will keep you from heaven.

We need to not be worried about stuff and what we will get, but what Jesus has called us to.

We will get more than we could possibly imagine when we follow Christ, but that isn’t why we follow, because then we won’t get it. It is a very interesting catch 22.

And if we try to be last to be first that won’t work either. God knows our hearts and why we are doing what we are doing.

So just be and love as God loved you, and follow after Jesus loving everyone along the way, because that is what God told us to do.

 

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Power

This is the third time that I’m coming to visit you. Every matter is settled on the evidence of two or three witnesses. When I was with you on my second visit, I already warned those who continued to sin. Now I’m repeating that warning to all the rest of you while I’m at a safe distance: if I come again, I won’t spare anyone.Since you are demanding proof that Christ speaks through me, Christ isn’t weak in dealing with you but shows his power among you. Certainly he was crucified because of weakness, but he lives by the power of God. Certainly we also are weak in him, but we will live together with him, because of God’s power that is directed toward you. (2 Corinthians 13:1-4, CEB)

I wonder how does Paul know that the Corinthians are sinning, and what is their sin?

Whoever they are they were sinning and have continued to sin.

God has the power to stop us from sinning, but when will God stop those who are sinning, and what sin will warrant this?

Sin for some is a list of rules that we must follow, like not wearing clothing of mixed fibers, or eating the dairy of an animal with it’s meat, or eating bottom feeding fish… All of these are things that most if not all of us break that are rules in the Bible.

So what is sin and what were the Corinthians doing?

How can we know we are living the way God calls us to live if we can’t define sin?

 

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Might

13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. 16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. 17 God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:13-17, CEB)

This passage is often quoted or shown on signs at sporting events, or at least one verse is.

God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him won’t perish but will have eternal life.

Which means if I don’t believe in Jesus, I will not have eternal life and will perish. And if that was the end of the Bible or the text that would be true. But it isn’t the end.

Jesus continues with verse 17, which I think is way more important in the whole understanding of our lives.

God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Jesus didn’t come to judge us for everything that we did wrong. Jesus came so we might be saved. Might. Not if you don’t believe you will perish, but the ability to be saved. Jesus came to save the world. Not to judge it.

We make the Bible out as a book we have to follow or wee will be damned to hell. No the Bible is a source to help us see who Jesus is and how Jesus wants us to live in this world. And it is a help to point us in the direction of Jesus who came so that we might be saved.

Jesus loves you as you are, created by God and beautifully and wonderfully made. Know that you are loved and Jesus came to save you.

 

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How to pray

“When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying many words they’ll be heard. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask. Pray like this:

Our Father who is in heaven,
uphold the holiness of your name.
10 Bring in your kingdom
so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.
11 Give us the bread we need for today.
12 Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
13 And don’t lead us into temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

14 “If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:7-15, CEB)

This is a wonderful model for us to learn to pray from. But have you noticed we really don’t use this as a model, but we pray the words above. Jesus didn’t say, “When you pray, say these exact words.” He said, “Pray like this:”

So why then do we have to say these words each week win worship?

Why can’t we use them as a model?

Gracious daddy,
remind me of how different you are.
Help me see your presence all around me here and now
so we will do what you need us to do here.
Make sure everyone has what they need
Help us to acknowledge when we are wrong
and to forgive those who have wronged us
guide us down your path for us
and pull us out of the mud when we willfully walk in. Amen.

That is a model for how we can pray everyday!

 

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Philadelphia

“Write this to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:
These are the words of the one who is holy and true, who has the key of David. Whatever he opens, no one will shut; and whatever he shuts, no one opens. I know your works. Look! I have set in front of you an open door that no one can shut. You have so little power, and yet you have kept my word and haven’t denied my name. Because of this I will make the people from Satan’s synagogue (who say they are Jews and really aren’t, but are lying)—I will make them come and bow down at your feet and realize that I have loved you.10 Because you kept my command to endure, I will keep you safe through the time of testing that is about to come over the whole world, to test those who live on earth. 11 I’m coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your crown. 12 As for those who emerge victorious, I will make them pillars in the temple of my God, and they will never leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from my God. I will also write on them my own new name. 13 If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. (Revelation 3:7-13, CEB)

Things are going to get rough.

Maybe things already have gotten rough…

And we have little power to do anything about the things happening around. Except to stay true to our faith and calling that God has given us. And when we are victorious in this, God will have those who were not bow at our feet and make them realize that we have been showing them all along the ways of God.

So hold fast in your faith and do not be shaken. We can not change the world, but we can be a witness to the world.

Share God’s love in all you do!

 

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saving vs losing life

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and legal experts, and that he had to be killed and raised on the third day. 22 Then Peter took hold of Jesus and, scolding him, began to correct him: “God forbid, Lord! This won’t happen to you.” 23 But he turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stone that could make me stumble, for you are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. 25 All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them. 26 Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives? 27 For the Human One is about to come with the majesty of his Father with his angels. And then he will repay each one for what that person has done. 28 I assure you that some standing here won’t die before they see the Human One coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:21-28, CEB)

What are you focused on?

Peter was just given the keys to the kingdom, the power to loose sin, and bind sin. He can forgive as Jesus forgives, and here he has lost his focus.

Peter knows what he and the other disciples have talked about happening, but has forgotten that the way we envision things is seldom the way it happens.

To quote a great opening to a movie, My Sister’s Keeper starts out, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans…”

God has things ready to go, and sometimes we get in the way, but God still gets the job done.

So be like Peter from last week, led by the spirit, focused on God. And try not to be like the Peter from this passage that is right after last weeks, stumbling over yourself because you think you understand what needs to happen better than God. Don’t make God laugh, make God smile, by following where God guides you. And know that while you carry your cross, God is always with you.

 

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healing of many people

14 Jesus went home with Peter and saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and served them.16 That evening people brought to Jesus many who were demon-possessed. He threw the spirits out with just a word. He healed everyone who was sick. 17 This happened so that what Isaiah the prophet said would be fulfilled: He is the one who took our illnesses and carried away our diseases. (Matthew 8:14-17, CEB)

Here is a passage that has some issues we think as we read it. Jesus went into Peter’s home and saw Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with a fever. So Jesus healed her and she went and started working in the house again. Now working in the house was where most women were in Jesus’ time, but that is not to say that that is where women shoudl be now. But the point of this is Jesus not only healed her but restored her to the community. She was able to do what she was to be doing when she was not able to by being with a fever.

That is what Jesus did for all He healed. It was not just curing them of infirmities but restoring them to the community.

Has Jesus restored you to the community?

 

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Children of the Light

Therefore, imitate God like dearly loved children. Live your life with love, following the example of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. He was a sacrificial offering that smelled sweet to God. Sexual immorality, and any kind of impurity or greed, shouldn’t even be mentioned among you, which is right for holy persons. Obscene language, silly talk, or vulgar jokes aren’t acceptable for believers. Instead, there should be thanksgiving. Because you know for sure that persons who are sexually immoral, impure, or greedy—which happens when things become gods—those persons won’t inherit the kingdom of Christ and God. Nobody should deceive you with stupid ideas. God’s anger comes down on those who are disobedient because of this kind of thing. (Ephesians 5:1-6, CEB)

Nobody should deceive you with stupid ideas…

Hold my drink and watch this…

We should not follow after those who lead us astray, but rather follow after Christ and be imitators of God.

We should be thankful for what we have and show the love that we have been given to the world, so that they might know that same love is available for them.

How do you imitate God?

 

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