TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence

January 19, 2017

When things go awry in life, we love to assign responsibility or fault to another. That is what we call blame. We love to play the blame game, but it is not a new phenomena. We can go back to the beginning to see this in Adam and Eve. Genesis 3 tells us that after man had violated God’s law, sinned in other words, he first hid. Seeing that he could not conceal his sin or wrong, what did Adam do? He blamed God and Eve. “But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”” Adam tried to assign fault to God and Eve for what he did wrong, but TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence that God did wrong.

Now fast forward to the incarnation, man still is trying to blame God, but TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence. Let’s see it in

Mark 14

53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.

57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him:58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’”59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

Try as they may, all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law “were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.” They could not find any evidence to convict Jesus because there is no wrong in Christ. Similarly, we too try to find reasons to assign blame to Jesus when things do not go the way we desire them to go. We begin to assault God’s character. We say things like “If God loved me, he would not let…” We say things like God why didn’t you stop that from happening. We say things like God is not fair. We say things like Why is God doing this to me. TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence. 

When we suffer disappointment, hardship, loss or tragedy, many times we blame God because we lose sight of who He is, His character, and what He has done, His power or work. We forget Peter‘s admonition “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”We forget that God has given us power over sin, but has not taken us out of the presence of sin. For those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, Paul tells us why they blame God in 2 Corinthians 4:4.  It says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Lastly, we all forget that we can TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence that God has done wrong just all those who sought to find wrong in Jesus at His time before the cross.

Our false thoughts and statements are no more effective and valid than those who falsely testified against Jesus before the all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law. I warn all who call Christ Savior and Lord to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. We have been commanded to demolish argument and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. When we do, we see the lies that we may believe in blaming God; “21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:21-22).

TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence. If you still think God is to blame, we need to again stand on the Word in Proverbs 28:26 which says, “Those who trust in themselves are fools,     but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” Lastly, you should know that Paul tells us “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence. Believe it. 

But the Scriptures must be fulfilled

January 17, 2017

Time is a consuming concept. While God exists outside of time because of His eternal nature, man, while constrained by physical life, is confined by time. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, …” When it was time to for God to reveal that Abraham would have a son with Sarah, she laughed at the impossibility of it. In that same passage, the time for judgement for Sodom and Gomorrah was revealed. When Hezekiah was told that he would die from his illness, he desired more time. When they ran out of wine at the wedding, Jesus’ mother wanted Him to fix the situation. He said to her, “ “Woman, why do you involve me?  My hour has not yet come.”

What determines whether it is time? Jesus answers it in Mark 1:15. Jesus said, “The time has come,The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Furthermore, our passage today in Mark 14, Jesus sheds greater light on whether the time has come when He said, “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.

At the inception of the text here, Jesus knew His time to be offered as a sacrifice was about to come. That is why He went to the garden to pray. Jesus raises the matter of time again with the crowd that came with swords and clubs to capture him (v.48). He said, “Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. ” Why didn’t they arrest Jesus any of those times that He taught people? Jesus answers it. It was not time, but now it is time for Him to be arrested. Why is it time? Jesus said it would not be time “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

Jesus gives us insight into the events of our lives. Just as there were appointed times in Jesus’ life for the plan and character of God to be revealed, it is the same with us. God has determined the time and place for us to live (Acts 17:26). As Ecclesiastes informs us, there is a time for everything. God has seen and determined our unformed bodies and all the days ordained for us were written in His book (Psalm 139:16).  In Mark 14, Jesus shares when and why things happen in time – But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

What does that have to do with us? Romans 8 tells us that “26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 

For the follower of Christ, our lives are full of moments that are designed to conformed to the image of Christ (v.29), so that He will bring glory to God by glorifying us as we enter into the presence of Almighty God. What time is it? Time in of itself means nothing But the Scriptures must be fulfilled, so I am grateful for time. God is working in all of us who follow Jesus His plan to conform us to the likeness of Christ. Hallelujah. 

TRUST: We Are Never Alone!

January 16, 2017

In previous post such as More Claims: Whose the real prophet?TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet, and TRUST: The Prophet, Promise and Power of Christmas, I have shared that Jesus is more that Savior. He is God. He is the true prophet, and He fulfills prophecy.v TRUST: We Are Never Alone!

Zechariah 13:7

“Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
    against the man who is close to me!”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered,
    and I will turn my hand against the little ones.

That is a prophecy concerning Jesus and His disciples. Now in Mark 14, we see the fulfillment of that prophecy and others. TRUST: We Are Never Alone!

43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.

In verse 27 of Mark 14, Jesus told them “ “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” The latter is a reference to Zechariah 13:7. 

When the crowd with swords and clubs came, we see in the text above that “everyone deserted him and fled.” It is not a slight against all who were following Him including the twelve, but it was a prophecy that had to be fulfilled. He also told them in John 16:33 that ““A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone.Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”TRUST: We Are Never Alone!

As with Jesus, God has promised and prophesied that He would never leave us alone.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.”
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace willbewithyou.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
TRUST: We Are Never Alone! If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, He has promised that you are never alone. Just as He told Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”, we have that promise too in Christ Jesus. No matter where you are you are never alone with Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

TRUST: The Deliverer Delivered

January 14, 2017

Literarily speaking, an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect. An oxymoron in the English language is any witty, ingenious, or pointed saying tersely expressed that results in contradictory terms used in conjunction: found missing, living death, Hell’s Angels, jumbo shrimp, fiend angelical, deafening silence, alone together or “She is just a poor little rich girl.” The title of today’s post, TRUST: The Deliverer Delivered is also oxymoronic.

Let’s see it in the text of Mark 14.

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him.

Romans 11:26 says,”and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.” Clearly, the reference is to Jesus. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17). 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” He would save sinners through His death. Jesus came to dieTRUST: The Deliverer Delivered

Judas’ betrayal was to deliver the Deliverer who would reconcile man to God. Colossians 1:22 tells us “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—” The only means for man to be considered righteous and pure is through the blood of Jesus. When Judas led the crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders, he only fulfilled TRUST: The Deliverer Delivered.  Jesus had prophesied this in Mark 10:33 which says ““We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles,” Furthermore, Romans 4:25 tells us that “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”TRUST: The Deliverer Delivered.

While oxymoronic,TRUST: The Deliverer Delivered reveals how any person who is justified receives that justification and eventual glorification. Here are a few more examples of Jesus oxymoronic statements:

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Matthew 5

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

The true deliverer in the bible is Jesus. In John 12, Jesus all but stated an oxymoron when He said, “27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!“His life and death was oxymoronic and the only means for our salvationTRUST: The Deliverer Delivered

TRUST: Who Betrayed Jesus?

January 9, 2017

“Whether for love, for money, or just for the fun of it, hideous betrayal never fails to make for a compelling story. From classic literature to contemporary fantasy, some characters are the best of the best (or worst of the worst, depending on how you look at it) when it comes to disloyal shenanigans. Below, we’ve rounded up the ten biggest traitors on the page.” (Barnes & Noble)

  • Peter Pettigrew, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Winston, 1984
  • Brutus, Julius Caesar
  • Charles Trask, East of Eden
  • The Marquise de Merteuil, Dangerous Liaisons
  • Edmund Pevensie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Dennis Nedry, Jurassic Park
  • Mr. Wickham, Pride & Prejudice
  • Danglars, Mondego, and Caterousse, The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Gollum, The Lord of the Rings

Betrayal is the deliverance or exposure to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty.  Before this past weekend, I thought the biggest and most infamous case of betrayal was with Judas Iscariot. His betrayal of Jesus Christ topped my list, but I was corrected. God conveyed to me who is the biggest betrayer of Christ. Before we get into that, let’s see where Jesus prophesied that He would be betrayed and the response of His disciples. TRUST: Who Betrayed Jesus?

Mark 14

17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”

20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

First, all of the disciples wondered or questioned themselves as to whether they would be the one who would betray Jesus. Scripture says, “one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”” In the vernacular, they were saying “Is it it me who would sell you down the drain.” They were unaware of their future actions and that of their fellow disciples, but Christ knew who would betray Him. TRUST: Who Betrayed Jesus? 

By reading the scriptures, we know it was Judas, but they did not know that. What God revealed to me, not necessarily you, was that I too betrayed Him just as Judas. I sell Him out. When I heard it, I said, “How?” God’s response was that every time I choose something, someone or myself over Him in disobedience, I am selling Him out for even less than 30 pieces of silver. TRUST: Who Betrayed Jesus? 

TRUST: Who Betrayed Jesus? Then, God began to show me some of my sins. I was broken to the point of uncontrollable tears. I saw that it was not just Judas that betrays Jesus, but it was me too. More than that, God showed me that despite how broken I was at that very moment that I would soon again betray Him. TRUST: Who Betrayed Jesus?  ME!

As the day moved forward, God, just as He has been in scripture, was right in what He prophesied. I did betray Jesus. My pastor, Robert E. Benson, Sr., had led us in our annual prayer and fast for the church. The sermon following that were vices that we needed to rid ourselves. Those vices were fear, pride and selfishness. Soon after my brokenness over my betrayal. I betrayed Jesus again by being prideful and selfish. I will not get into the details, but needless to say, I was prideful and selfish. TRUST: Who Betrayed Jesus?  Me!

May we all see who we really are – sinners. I praise God that the only difference between me and Judas is that Christ has truly redeemed and reconciled me. I am forgiven of my sins and can be reunited with God both now and in eternity. Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? If you don’t, you may end up like Judas who beyond remorse and reconciliation. I don’t know the full extent of what Judas had to deal with, but Jesus said, “But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”” TRUST: Who Betrayed Jesus? You.

TRUST: You Will Find Things Just as Jesus tells Us

January 6, 2017

Some things in life are historical. They have happened. They are over and the only real significance and relevance is that they are being remembered. There are things in life that are done and said that will always be emblazoned in a person’s memory. Then, there are things that we all want to forget many of which we do as they are seated in the recesses of our minds. Rarely do we find things that are significant and relevant in the past, present and future. The Word of God is that way. Jesus, the living Word, is a part of what we call the Word of God as such we can TRUST: You Will Find Things Just as Jesus tells Us.

Let us see one example in our text today.

Mark 14

12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

TRUST: You Will Find Things Just as Jesus tells Us. This was true in the disciples lives. As they were preparing for the figurative and literal Passover, the disciples wanted direction in how to carry out the wishes of Jesus, so they asked Him “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” Jesus, as He did with them and us, provides a specific answer when our requests align with the will of the Father. Jesus told them where to go, what they would see, what to say, and what to do. We see all of that in verses 13-15.

What does the text tell us about the reliability of Jesus? The text tells us to TRUST: You Will Find Things Just as Jesus tells Us. Verse 16 says “The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover” Notice, the disciples did not deviate from what Jesus told them. They did not use a rationale. They did what Jesus told them. This whole encounter reminds me of the memory verse for my kids this week – Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” They called, and He answered by telling them unsearchable things they did not know.

TRUST: You Will Find Things Just as Jesus tells Us. Believe it, then obey Jesus.

TRUST: The Sacrificing Savior

January 5, 2017

I am not sure what it is about the human psyche or about our culture that sees and lives life through excerpts of life. We don’t see people, life or its events through a series of related events. That position contributes to having a very narrow perspective or understanding of people, life or its events. The past presidential election is a prime example. Whether one was for Mr. Trump or for Mrs. Clinton, many made decisions on narrow bands of life experiences and events. In the continuous improvement process, the first step is always to look at past performance data through a trend analysis then to develop your plan. Often, we live in the moment and make decisions that way. Many of us look at Jesus through that narrow vista of life, but I am here to say we must TRUST: The Sacrificing Savior.

Romans 5:6-8 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I have often read those verses through that narrow spiritual lens. When I read it, I focus on Christ’s actual death on the cross; however, this morning, God challenged that thought as I read through a few verses in Mark 14 that was sort of amazing. Let’s read it so, you can see what I mean.

Mark 14

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

We see Jesus’ interaction with two types of friends: one who beloved him showing it by doing what she could while the other was a foe who betrayed Him showing it by doing what he should not have. Really, both show how we make decisions either through that narrow perspective or through a comprehensive perspective. Regardless, God’s enlightenment of Jesus’ suffering is readdressed and highlighted. Jesus did not just suffer when they beat Him and crucified Him. He suffered as He entered this world as God incarnate. Let’s just take the Creator subjecting Himself to that which He created as one example. He gave up more than I can describe; however He shows that we can TRUST: The Sacrificing Savior. 

In Mark 14, Jesus evidences once again that we TRUST: The Sacrificing Savior. He knew He was about to die. He would soon be condemned to death, handed over to the Gentiles who mocked Him, spat on Him, flogged Him and then killed Him. That is what we typical equate as the sacrifice of Jesus, but He sacrificed as He sat through all of their ungodliness of objecting that the woman wasted expensive perfume on Him as she anointed Him. He sacrificed as He allowed Judas to remain with Him though He was fully aware that He would betray Him when He selected Him and at this moment. Jesus sacrificed then entire time that He was on this earth which is why we should TRUST: The Sacrificing Savior.

Sacrificing is what Jesus expects of us. Paul echoes Jesus’ example and expectation in Romans 12 where He says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” How can we TRUST: The Sacrificing Savior? We show we TRUST: The Sacrificing Savior by living sacrificially unto Him. Are you ready to sacrifice today? Ask God to open your eyes to the moments where He calls you to live sacrificially today. Father, I pray that you would give make us “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”rf Do this in the name of Jesus and for your glory. Amen

TRUST: The Omniscient God

January 4, 2017

Life boils down to a lot of mini decisions. Our decisions determine actions and reactions which impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Therefore, it would be prudent to spend time on ensuring that we make good and sound decisions. Romans 12:2 tells us to “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In essence, the verse tells us that our mind should be influenced and directed by the Word of God. Then, Galatians 6:7-10 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Whatever we do, we will reap the same from what it is. Since that is the case, who will we listen to; who will we follow; to whom will we pledge allegiance? TRUST: The Omniscient God

The omniscience of God is that attribute by which He knows all things past, present and future. What is concealed from human sight is still known by God. Scripture accentuates the wisdom of God in all his actions, and often grounds this in his all-embracing knowledge. In Mark 14, we see the disciples live out TRUST: The Omniscient God. Just so you know, I subscribe and accept that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. Jesus is God incarnate. More than making a claim, we value evidence and proof. Again, Jesus demonstrates to His disciples that He his omniscient. Let’s see TRUST: The Omniscient God unfold.

Mark 14

12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Before we address this passage, I want to give us a few examples of Jesus evidencing His diety. As such, He provides us more reasons to TRUST: The Omniscient God. Remember in Mark 11:1-6? It is the account of the Triumphant Entry. Jesus told the disciples “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden.” It happened just as Jesus told them. In Mark 12:12-17, the Word says, “But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?”” They were secretly scheming against Jesus; yet, He knew their thought, intentions and/or motivations. In Mark 13:2, Jesus says, “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” His prophecy of the destruction of the temple comes to pass about forty years later. 

Now in Mark 14, Jesus gives specific details about a man carrying a jar of water, what to say to the owner of the house, and told them where they would eat the Passover and how it was already furnished and ready. Not only did Jesus know; He made all of it happen. TRUST: The Omniscient God. Let us find solace and resolve in what David spoke to Solomon as he was installed as king.

1 Chronicles 28:9

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

There is more than ample evidence to TRUST: The Omniscient God. Despite that, I want you to be able to comprehend, extend and contend your faith in Christ Jesus. Look at these verses that give more insight into His omniscience. I will close with the words of Hank Hanegraaff, “Since God knows everything, we can have confidence in Him and in His promises — not only for peace in this life, but an eternity of joy in the life to come. And aren’t you glad that he knows you, that He knit you together in your mother’s womb, that he fashioned you and knows exactly what you are designed to do — that all the days ordained for you are written in his book even before one of them came to be? Yes my friend, God does know all things…” TRUST: The Omniscient God

TRUST: in the Messiah or in Money

January 3, 2017

As I sat here reading and condemning Judas this morning, the Spirit of God conveyed that I am not any better than Judas Iscariot. I had to pump my condemning brakes. Of course, I asked what He meant, God said, “You face and fail the same test as Judas. Will you trust in the Messiah or in Money?” It led me to post will you TRUST: in the Messiah or in Money?  Money being a representative of an idol. Then, I heard all kinds of condemnations about idols leading our lives.

TRUST: in the Messiah or in Money is a choice that we all face daily.  In many cases, we are not even aware of the temporal and eternal consequences. In Mark 14 below, there is a contrast being presented to us between those who TRUST God and those who do not with Judas Iscariot being the betrayer de moment.

Mark 14

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

TRUST: in the Messiah or in Money – The chief priests and teachers of the law could never be accused of betraying Jesus because they never joined Him. They were opposed to and enemies of Jesus’ from the start. Their idol was not money but themselves or the perceived position and power they had been given by God. As we know, Judas sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. Judas, like many of us who call Jesus Lord, presented Himself as one who had aligned and allied with Jesus. Despite that, Judas went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. In Mark 10:32-34, Jesus said, “the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.Matthew 17:22-23 records the same thing where it is written “When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” TRUST: in the Messiah or in Money

The word for betray is paradidōmi (pä-rä-dē’-dō-mē) which means to give over or to deliver up treacherously. Judas gave over and delivered Jesus to the chief priests and teachers of the law just as Jesus had prophesied. It is another of example of TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet. The treacherously refers to the deception that is involved. With God, the true deception is with the deceiver not with God. God is omniscient. Just as Jesus evidenced that He knew Judas would betray Him, He knows what we are going to do too. In Exodus 20:3, God says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Each time that we choose someone or something over God, we are demonstrating idolatry. We present ourselves as one who is with Christ; yet, our actions reveal that He is not Lord in that decision. TRUST: in the Messiah or in Money

TRUST: in the Messiah or in Money.  It is our choice today – all day. Ask God to help you serve in the spirit of the woman who displayed Open Your Box to Give all You Have. Open your heart today to surrender and follow Jesus. He deserves all that you have because He gave all that He was to rescue us from the wrath of God. For those who reject Jesus as Savior and Lord, God’s wrath remains on youTRUST: in the Messiah or in Money.

 

 

TRUST: Open Your Box to Give all You Have

December 31, 2016

Okay, Christmas has officially passed. You don’t see lights, Santa, reindeer, or ribbon bows on boxes, but the same ills that plagued you still make you nauseous. You swallowed the world’s Christmas without Christ pill. Now, it’s back to the real without being healed and you walking with death but you trying to chill. I am not rapper, but that kinda explains how Christmas is presented in the world – a house without a foundation.  Now, we are at the eve of a new year. Life circumstances remain the same. Many are still lost and hopeless. The key is not to get, but to give. TRUST: Open Your Box to Give all You Have.

On this New Year’s Eve, I don’t offer you resolution, but I offer you a solution – Jesus, The Christ. I will let God’s Word speak for Himself. TRUST: Open Your Box to Give all You Have

Mark 14

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

We can dissect this text and the main supporting character, a woman with an alabaster jar. The bigger picture is not necessarily what she had done in the past, but who she is now and that was prophesied that it would be included wherever the gospel is preached. Do you want your act of worship to live on? If so, TRUST: Open Your Box to Give all You Have. 

This woman was criticized and commended. The commendation came from Jesus. As such, we need to focus our minds on that matter. Jesus said,”She has done a beautiful thing to me…She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” Are you doing what you can for Jesus? TRUST: Open Your Box to Give all You Have. The woman opened her box and poured an expensive oil on Jesus. She gave all she had. Jesus says as much “She did what she could.” Jesus knew He was going to die for the sins of man. He focused on how this lady attended to or comforted Him. She reminded Him of what God has said about His comfort in Psalm 71 and Isaiah 49. She stands as a model of what Jesus said in John 12:26 – “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”TRUST: Open Your Box to Give all You Have. 

We know in Matthew 25 that oil refers to being equipped, prepared and ready for the Bridegroom i.e. Jesus. The oil is reflective of the Spirit of God. Are we opening the box of our hearts to allow the oil of the Spirit to anoint us for service for Christ? In Mark 12:30 Jesus tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Again, I encourage us to TRUST: Open Your Box to Give all You Have. 

Be resolved in 2017 to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. To do less than that is to not do what you could. Remember, this is what Jesus commended the woman. She, supposedly a person of ill repute, is reflective of a friend of Jesus whereas Judas, supposedly a person of repute, is reflective of a foe of Jesus. Look how the two are contrasted. Judas looked at the waste of the expensive nard or perfume. Jesus saw it as a beautiful thing, an act of worship. Jesus does not require us to give expensive perfume, but He expects us to TRUST: Open Your Box to Give all You Have. 

Open your heart and give it to Jesus.