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Showing posts from February, 2012

To See is Everything

After getting my feet back on the ground and recovering from a marathon journey back home, I can once again "think"...so here goes another thought on this journey of Jesus towards the cross.

I read this morning from John 9...a passage that is "fun" to read...makes me smile every time.  Why?  It's a story of a healing...but after the healing the drama begins...and it has everything to do with "Seeing" versus staying "Blind".  Here's how the story is introduced:
John 9:1-5 (NLT)
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.
2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.
4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.
5 But while I am here in …

Faith again

Today's reading is from:
Mark 4:35-41 NLT
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
It's interesting that the disciples respond by saying "who is this guy?"

They, like us struggle to believe God would care and do something with w…

Faith and Faithless

Today's reading may seem a bit disjointed.   Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?  What does it have to do with what followed in the Temple?
Here's the text.
Mark 11:12-24 NLT
The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.

When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

When the leading priests and…

Friendly Pruning

Today we're reading about pruning.
John 15:1-17 NLT
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

“I have loved you even as the …

Journey to the cross

Even tho it's time away I want to blog on what Christ has done for us as we journey through this is season of Lent. I'll do more when I return. Today let's all read John 12:1-11.
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A Psalm of Perspective

Today in my readings I came across Psalm 90.  I read it in the New Living Translation, and it struck me how beautiful it was, and how true also.

Psalm 90:1-17 (NLT)
1 Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!
2 Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.
3 You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!”
4 For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours.
5 You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning.
6 In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury.
8 You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all.
9 We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan.
10 Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain …

Sabbath

When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is forbidden on the sabbath.” He answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He went into the house of God and ate the sacred bread, though neither he nor his men had a right to eat it, but only the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and they are not held guilty? But I tell you, there is something greater than the temple here. If you had known what this text means, ‘It is mercy I require, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:2–8

Today is a gathering day for our church.  I have the privilege of being with dozens of people who come to a gymnasium with folding chairs in order to worship God, and learn from his word.  What a neat people I have to share God with.
There's farmers, housewives, electricians, bankers, food process…

A Morning Prayer

As I continue to take time to look at how prayer fits into my walk with Christ, I'm amazed at the way in which prayer was so integral to worship in the Old Testament.
We all know the story of Jesus entering the Temple and overturning the money changers tables.
It's one of the more shocking things, among a number of other ones, that he did to make a point.
Matthew describes it:

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"
11 The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
12 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
13 "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" Matthew 21:10-13 (NIV) 


Matthew makes it clear, this is Jesus acting in a Prophet's role…

A Morning Prayer

The morning is a time to pray and I often use the Psalms and prayers to begin the day with God.  This morning I thought I'd share a couple that I've used over and over again.


"My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge; you are worthy of praise. Psalm 18:2

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD."  Psalm 31:24

"Lord help me not to be anxious about anything on earth, but to love all things that are of you.   While I am here I am among all things passing away, but you said 'let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me.'  So I give to you this morning all that is on my anxious heart, and I place my trust in you for the rest of this day.  I pray you'll help me to sense your presence as the day goes along, and with the power of your Spirit, lead me to the fulfilling of your purposes, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen"

A Journey of Desire

Philippians 1:21-23 (NIV)
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!
23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;


It was the band U2 that sang the words, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."

I've been reading a new book of late.  It's another one by one of my favorite authors, John Ortberg. He has a knack for writing in such a way that I find myself thinking, musing, and praying.  So I enjoy his reads quite a bit.
He said something in this book that got me thinking.
"Something has happened, something terrible.  Something worse, even, than the fall...  In that great tragedy we lost paradise...what has happened since is...we've gotten use to it."

Scripture says that Satan blinds the minds of those that don't believe (2 Cor. 4:4), and the prophet said, "the p…

On Fainting and Prayer

The theme of this title comes from the King James Version, which is what I began reading and memorizing from in my early walk with Christ.
Luke 18:1 (KJV)
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

A more modern rendition of the passage is from the New Living Translation:
Luke 18:1-8 (NLT)
1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.
2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people.
3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’
4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people,
5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge.
7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end…

New Adam, New Creation

I'm teaching this Sunday from Luke 4, specifically from the first part of the chapter on the Temptation  by the Devil of Jesus in the wilderness.
My problem is one of what to say, what not to say about that.

One of the things I've spent time thinking about, but don't think I'll have the time to explore is this idea of what the Temptation scene means in itself.  In other words, not just the specifics of the temptations themselves - which are important - but what the purpose of Luke was in the importance of this event in and of itself.

This leads me to the fact that the first Adam failed in trusting God and saw humanity's seed permanently corrupted by the sin nature.
Here's some notes I began to write but I know I'll never get to...

Genesis 2:15-17 (NLT)
15 The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
16 But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— 17 except the tree of the knowledge o…