Archive | July 2019

Luke 5:16 ” But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

During His ministry here on earth, Jesus often sought out quiet places to pray.  But why?  It tells us in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”  The answer to “why He did this” is in what happened the night before.  The town of Capernaum had witnessed Jesus healing someone in the Synagogue…and so later that night the entire town converged at the house where Jesus was staying…bringing in tow every sick and demon-possessed person they could find.  And it says Jesus healed them.  When we give much, our emotional gas tanks gets low.  And the only way to fill them is to find a place of quiet reflection so that God can renew us .  Jesus was practicing the discipline of silence in order to replenish, restore, refresh, and revive His soul…and it’s something we could do well to imitate.

I Samuel 28:5-7 ” When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, ‘Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”

Saul had rejected the Word of God…so the Lord had rejected him as king over Israel. (I Samuel 15:26)  And so when Saul sought help from the Lord…there was only silence.  So enter the witch of Endor, a sorceress and medium for the occult that Saul knew was absolutely wrong to consult.  When we become impatient with the Lord in what we see as a delay…that’s when we often take matters into our own hands and do things that are completely contrary to God’s Word…simply wanting something to happen…even if it’s wrong.

Mark 13:5-6 ” Jesus said to them: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in My name, claiming I am He, and will deceive many.’ “

Before you can correctly spot something that’s a fake or counterfeit…you need to be able to readily identify what’s genuine and authentic.   That’s because, if you can easily recognize the real thing, a phony one won’t get past you.  In this verse Jesus is warning us of impostors…people claiming to come in His name,  but instead speaking delusional and deceptive words.   Jesus cautions us here that this is how many will be deceived…with empty words… coming from a worldly viewpoint… clothed in a spirit of falsehood.  How can this happen you ask?  Very easily, for if people don’t know the true nature and character of Jesus…if they’ve never heard the Good News of the Gospel and experienced Jesus in their own life… they won’t be able to recognize a fraud.

I Chronicles 29:17 ” I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity.”

David was known as a man after God’s own heart,  and in this prayer  we see him understanding that God examines the heart to determine the essential character of a person…especially integrity.  For David knew that the Lord took delight in those who conducted themselves in a upright, just, and fair manner towards others.

Romans 8:18 ” I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

For many of you today this Scripture may be difficult to accept.  That’s because today you’re right smack-dab in the middle of trials, suffering, loss, injury, or sickness…and the idea that any light and momentary trouble is achieving in you eternal glory that far outweighs any trouble you’re going through is just a little too hard to take. (II Corinthians 4:17)  Or that you should be rejoicing that you can participate in the sufferings of Christ so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. (I Peter 4:13)  In this verse God is not discounting your suffering…your loss…the traumatic experience you’re going through right now.  Rather, He understands and He’s giving you the  grace and endurance to persevere through it.

Genesis 50:15 ” When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?’ “

The brothers of Joseph had acted very abusively towards him… none of them denying the brutality he had been put through.  So now that their father, Jacob, was dead, the brothers were fearing the worst…that Joseph would  repay them for what they rightfully deserved.  And Joseph  could of easily put them to shame for all the wrongs they had done to him…but he chose not to.  To take the moral high road, to not repay evil with evil, to bless rather than curse can be a true testament of your faith.  For it shows to everyone that you’re a victor and not a victim.

Hebrews 7:25 ” Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.”

What does the Gospel mean to you?  I’ve been thinking about this all week in preparation for a meeting this Sunday.  To me, it boils down to Religion vs Relationship.  It’s the difference between ceremony and connection, liturgy and linkage, ritual and relationship.  For Religion is mostly man-made, piling on the things we can’t do…while a Relationship with Jesus Christ is about freedom.  It’s about freedom from sin and death and freedom from the Law we can never keep.  But the biggest difference between Religion and Relationship is this…Religion can’t save you.  Only Jesus Christ who lived a perfectly sinless life has the ability to bring you into His glorious Kingdom and eternal life…it’s only through Jesus that you can make your way back to God.