Who is Jesus to you?
August 28, 2016, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

Jesus, my strength when I am weak
Mark 8:29-30 “And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.”
When we read this remarkable passage, naturally our attention focuses upon “You are the Christ (the Messiah)!.” The Holy Spirit gave Peter insight into the real Jesus. Prior to this, we read of the current politically correct answer to whom Jesus was. Each recognized that Jesus was unique and a special person. There was something about Jesus that others noticed. But the cultural view of Jesus was insufficient. It lacked insight into who He really was. Peter’s answer correctly saw the Jesus was the Anointed of God, the Conquering King for whom the Jews longed. Peter, and perhaps most of the disciples saw Him in a way that others missed. So why did Jesus then “charge them that they should tell no man of him”? You would think that since others missed this, Jesus would want these guys to shout out to all the truth about Him. You know what? He did. The problem was that at the time Peter answered, they didn’t know the whole truth because of Bible ignorance. If you look at verse 31, you see that Jesus began to teach them the truth. The Anointed One, the Christ must suffer, be rejected by the Jewish religious authorities, and be put to death. But the great news, the Messiah would RISE AGAIN! The common view of the Messiah during the time of the disciples was that He would rescue the Jews from Roman control. The Messiah would come as the liberating King, saving the Jews from oppression and slavery at the hands of the Romans. So Jesus didn’t want people following Him for that reason.
Jesus had a much more important mission ahead of Him, planned from before Creation, that He would rescue all people from the chains of sin, death, and Satan. In order to do this, He would suffer and die. Old Testament prophets mentioned this, but the Jewish leaders passed it off because it wasn’t appealing. He had to teach them the truth about the mission of the Messiah. So what He was saying was this: don’t speak until you have the real story of the Gospel.
God wants us to share Him to others. I think He would want us to make sure that we share the real truth, that He rescued and liberated us from the penalty and power of sin. We are new creatures in Him and in God’s view, as righteous as Jesus. We are His and we are in Him. Is this the reality of your relationship with God in Christ Jesus? What is your answer to the question, “Who do you say I (Jesus) am (is)?


A Strange Reason to Rejoice
August 20, 2016, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , ,

jump for joy

I Peter 1:6-7 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

Doesn’t is seem a little strange to read a passage of Scripture that talks about rejoicing during trials?  Okay, I know that this is a message found several times in the Bible, but really when things are going great it is easy to rejoice but how about when life is falling apart?  For me, it is abnormal to my nature to rejoice when everything is goings in ways that I consider bad.  Guess what, this passage is even stranger that our first glance suggests.  Let’s look at the verse.  First look at “greatly rejoice”.  It comes from a Greek word, which is written in the present tense here and occurs 11 times in the New Testament, with three of those times in I Peter.  The correct translation would be something like “always jump for joy”.

I guess this leads to the question we are to ask “WHY?” especially considering some of the up and down experience that are a part of each person’s life.  Peter tells us in the verses at least three reasons we can jump for joy.  First, our experiences in this life are temporary.  Notice “though now for a SEASON”.  The things we deal with are limited, especially with eternity in view.  They are not permanent conditions.  They had a beginning and they will have an end.  Here’s the great news:  God is already at the end, just like He was at the beginning.  Nothing catches Him by surprise and nothing is out of His control.

Second, notice the phrase “if need be”.  There is a purpose in why we go through these experience.  We need them.  Perhaps John Piper has it right when he observed “this is God’s universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world.”   Paul talked about knowing the “fellowship of His sufferings.   Charles Swindoll concluded “the path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss.”  Peter knew first hand that when we go through things in life, we can be emptied of self-reliance and able to be filled with God and His strength.  Remember the encouragement to be filled (controlled) with (by) the Holy Spirit.  He is our strength but we can also respond to life in a Christ-like way when we have the Fruit of the Spirit.

Third, perhaps the greatest purpose is “that the trial of your faith . . . might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.  As Elisabeth Elliot observed, “we want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others”  That is a life that brings praise, honor, and glory to Jesus.  Joni Eareckson Tada, who knows something about being emptied of self through the event of life observed “the greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God.”

So, here is my final thought about these verses.  The word “heaviness” signifies physical or emotional pain or distress that brings extreme sadness into my life.  When Jesus questioned Peter about whether he truly loved Him after his three denials, Peter was grieved (the same Greek word).  He was heavy through the experience of his failure.  When Jesus experienced Gethsemane, a form of the same word, it demonstrates that human life is full of painful experiences.  Yet in both of these we see that sweetest victories came in the midst of great sufferings.  The distress comes in many various forms, some of which show the reality of our relationship with Christ.

How about you?  In the midst of your life today, what experiences are you facing?  Jump for joy because God is using them to show the reality of your relationship with Him and transforming you to be like Christ!  What you really believe is what you live.  What does your life say you believe?  Jump for joy!  God’s got this!

My Choice
August 6, 2016, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , ,
Psalm 16:8-9 “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.”
David can speak with confidence that God is always with Him because of the intimate relationship that he has with God. His only true sense of safety is found in the times of life that David has completely trusted in God. There were those times in David’s life when he trusted in himself instead of God. At those times, there was no sense of being safe and there was not a sense that only God was good. Verse 1 in this psalm is a prayer and the remaining verses tells why David knows the Lord is always with him. The concept of “at my right hand” is the place of honor. God is at the place of honor in David’s life, so his priorities are correct. There are no other gods. He alone is to be fear and trusted. When that is true, we can pray with confidence for Him to preserve us. In verse 9 we have a total commitment shown to God of flesh and heart, or the outward actions and the inner thoughts being in submission and communion with God. Today, I hope your confidence in your relationship with God is reflected in this psalm. Put your trust in the Lord and honor Him as God.trust the Lord

Lord, Who Lives With You?
August 5, 2016, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?  who shall dwell in thy holy hill?  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.  He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, not taketh u a reproach against his neighbour.  In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord.  He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.  He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent.  He that doeth these things shall never be moved.  (Psalm 15:1-5)

Interesting question and a remarkable answer.  David asked the Lord a question about the type of person who would live in His tent on His property.  The answer is a little surprising because while it originally uses terms like “walking upright”, “working righteous deeds” and “being honest in the heart” it soon turns to how we treat others.  Look at verses 3 to 5 and see that God has expectations on how we should treat others.  These expectations deal with attitudes, actions, words, who we respect, and how we use the money that God blesses us with.  Do we reflect the culture in which we live in these areas or do we reflect God?  The person who show God’s reflection is the person living with Him.  Where are you living today?

Silver Worth Having
August 4, 2016, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book


For the oppression of the poor, for the sighting of the needy, NOW WILL I ARISE, saith the Lord;  I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.  The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalm 12:5-7)

In the midst of a culture in which the godly and faithful have seemingly vanished, David writes both a prayer and a word of encouragement.  The prayer is directed to God, which is the right response.  In the midst of difficult times, stay focused on the majesty of God.  He is never out of control.  We need to remember that He is the Sovereign Lord of All.

Second, remember God will always keep His words.  The image of refined silver stresses the value of God’s word.  To completely purify silver, it was heated until it become liquid.  The impurities would rise to the top and be scooped off.  Once the metal cooled, it was re-heated and the process repeated until it had gone through the process seven times.  At that time the refiner would be able to see his reflection in the silver.  The character of God is clearly seen in His pure words.  His words are valuable and they should be treasured by us.

The passage ends with the promise and the encouragement that God’s Word can be counted upon to be true.  That’s the treasure.  Jump into your treasure today and find a treasure worth having.

Who Are You Living For?
August 3, 2016, 6:22 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

jesus sends you

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” is a statement recorded in Philippians 1:21.  This verse is a statement of Paul’s philosophy of life.  From a murderer to a missionary, the life of Paul is not the story of a super Christian and what he achieved because of his love and discipline.  Rather it is the story of God, doing amazing things through ordinary people who may best be described as “messy misfits”.  Paul believed God and trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the complete payment for sin.  By redeeming us, God fixed us in a way we couldn’t.

But redemption also involves Christ starting a process of transformation within us.  Remember, we are to come to Jesus and then follow after Him.  Along the way, we will deny ourselves, and ready ourselves to die for the cause of Christ.  While some may give their physical lives for Christ, we all can daily become the living sacrifices that yield all of us to the complete control of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

For to me to live is Christ is giving my best because Christ did.  For to me to live is Christ is making important in my life that which is important to Christ.  For to me to live is Christ is to be obedient to God’s commands, especially to love God with my all and to love others as myself.  As Christians we should be guided by this philosophy.  We want to commit our all to do everything for the glory of Christ.  For to me to live is Christ is allowing God to point others to Christ with my life of devotion and love for my Savior.  For to me to live is Christ brings me into unity with my brothers and sisters who are also following Christ.  Though different in many ways, “for to me to live is Christ” unites us.  Let’s give our all to let Christ live through us so that others will see Christ and not me.  “For to me to live is Christ” is life lived the way God intends.

For to me to live is Christ will involve me giving my best in reading the Word, and then putting it into action.  It will involve me memorizing and treasuring God’s Word  in my heart.  It will involve putting into actions my love for others as well as my love for God in all that I do.  “For to me to live is Christ” is letting Christ be glorified in all I do at all the time; and at the same time making the decision to all the time to glorify Christ in all I do.

When Political Correctness Killed
August 2, 2016, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

Mark 15:9-10, 13    “But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?  For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. . . and they cried out again, ‘Crucify him’!”  The world we live in today is one shaped by current conditions and attitudes that are popular and seemingly accepted by many people controlling information.  It wasn’t different in the time of Jesus.  In a world devoid of social media or network news, the Jewish religious leaders did a remarkable job in changing the masses attitude toward Jesus within a week.  Met by a multitude of supporters and fans that may have numbered in the upper thousands as their king early in the week, it seemed as if Jesus had a mega-church just waiting to get a building in Jerusalem.  What Jesus was promising, at least in their minds, was something they could get behind and be a part of. After all, Jesus could do just about anything!  There seemed to be no limit to His miracles.  In many people’s minds, Jesus could defeat the Romans and set up a Jewish based kingdom and they would rule.  He was an unbeaten force.  But then the opposing forces began to work.  Piece by piece, they began to chop away at Jesus.  Jesus supplied some of the ammo by talking about His death.  As long as He was a force that could be stopped, the people were in.  But they couldn’t take the risk of being on the losing side.  The religious leaders did the rest, placing doubt about Jesus’ ability and character.  Accusations of crimes, though unsupported by facts, nevertheless accomplished their intended purpose of destroying the people’s confidence in Jesus.Reflecting the real culprit of the attacks, the people challenged Jesus to prove Himself to be God by coming down from the Cross.  Yet Jesus was proving Himself as God by staying on the cross.  What an incredible plan He was carrying out.  In the only way possible, God was providing redemption to all mankind by the unthinkable, the murder of God.  As He hung on the cross in His beaten condition, Jesus was showing what true love looks like.  Everything about Jesus proved He was God, that He was supernatural, that He was the Messiah.  Yet the people closed their minds to what their eyes could clearly see as they yelled out for His death.  By here is an important thing to remember, their cries to crucify  Jesus didn’t cause His death, He chose death because He loves us.  What are you shouting today?  Oh save us or crucify Jesus!jesus or barabbas