Sunday, March 31, 2013

I Am The Resurrection

John 11:25 (KJV)  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
At Easter time, we’re reminded of the Resurrection.  Without it, Christianity loses meaning.  So, we focus on it.  We absorb its importance.  And yet, it’s not what Jesus focused on.

Friday, March 29, 2013

After This Manner Pray Ye

When I was writing my series on John 15, it struck me how important prayer was to our Lord, particularly in His final days on earth.  And, if prayer is that important to God, it ought to be just as important to us.

To start off, I’m going to go out on one of those spiritual limbs to create our foundation for this discussion.  I often hear people complain loudly about “religion”, ritual performed to supposedly please God.  In reality, it’s not the ritual that’s at fault, but the human heart that places the ritual in greater importance than the heart of the God it’s intended to worship.  When we look at the content of the prayer Jesus used to teach His disciples how to pray, that becomes obvious.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Let God Speak to You

We're modifying our publishing schedule slightly to fit some other things in our schedule.  So, guest posts and videos will be on Wednesdays -- at least till further notice.  Also, this is one of the last personal devotionals from Todd Parsons.  No, nothing serious has happened.  But Todd's job and work schedule have changed.  Previously, he had some meditation time, the results of which have sometimes been shared here.  I still get to see some of the devotional material that blesses Todd.  But, since it is the published work of others, we can't post that here.  So, without further ado, let's get to Todd's starting verse.

God said, Let there be light; and there was light. -- Genesis 1:3.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Our Escape

The image is a Berber village in the Sahara desert.  It was made available at no charge by Joonas Lampinen.  We could go back to Biblical times and probably find places very much like it almost anywhere in the desert.  It reminded me of a series of messages that were preached awhile back at the church I attend.  Escape was the series topic. One of the things that was mentioned was the ancient cities of refuge.  There were six in Israel, named after attributes that pointed to the grace of God.  The more I thought about the need for refuge, the more I realized How important our need for it is.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Translating the Language of the Church

Some recent thoughts from our friend, Pastor Allan Leitner:

"There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church." 1 Cor 14:10-12 ESV

Zeal to experience and zeal to build. A desire to understand and to be understood.

I was so built up by the translators in Montreal on our recent trip there. The whole Church up there truly is amazing but I was thinking this morning about those people who stood in the gap specifically for the purpose of translating French to English or vice versa.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Should We Be Impressed, Yet?

Matthew Cook just recently wrote a post titled “Whose Eyes Do You See Through”.  It’s worth reading.  In it, he talked about our perceptions.  The natural vs. the spiritual.  And that got some things rattling around that enclosed space between my earlobes.

Friday, March 15, 2013

John 15:22-27 From Hatred to Comfort

Last time, we looked at Christ’s very bold statement that He highlighted sin by His presence, statements, and actions.  And what we saw was interesting.  If you’ve ever gone into a city tenement basement with a flashlight, you may have seen a bunch of rats scattering from the light.  That was Christ’s effect on the sins of His time on earth.  Sinners either got away from Him or they stayed and the sins departed.  The result was that sinners had an opportunity to repair their relationship with God.  As we continue, His statements are no less bold and unique than what we looked at last time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

John 15:21-22 Love and Deception

John 15:21 (KJV)  But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
That’s where we left off, last time.  Much of mankind being in a pickle because they didn’t know or understand God.  And, when we think about the next verse, we can understand why.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

John 15:20-21 Knowing Who God Is

John 15:20-21 (KJV)  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

There are only two options in verse 20.  When we follow Christ, we either meet some level of opposition or we fellowship in obedience.  The next verse says it’s because of our relationship with Christ.  But have you ever wondered how that happens?

Friday, March 8, 2013

By Hearing

It’s not often that I end up with two posts published on the same day, even if one is a guest post.  But the backstory makes it interesting.  My week had been “interesting”, to say the least.  So I missed any mention of this weeks theme (or, maybe, forgot it) for our G+ Christian bloggers community.  At 1:30 this morning, I found out it was “faith”.  But, at that point I was ready for bed and posted a guest devotional from one of my favorites, Todd Parsons.  As you know, we’ve been writing about John 15.  I’ve also been doing a 31 day reading plan from YouVersion called “Deeper into Scripture”, which seems to focus on a theme for each week  And, when I finished today’s reading, it seemed that the community theme, the place where we’re parked in John 15, and this week’s theme in my reading plan came together to create an interesting picture.  One we need to look at.

Staying In The Pot

Todd Parsons is our guest poster, today.  This one goes back a bit.  But it fits where we are in John 15.  When we're undergoing trials, God has a reason for it.  And we come out better than when we went into them.  Take a look at Todd's meditation on it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

John 15:17-20 Love, Hate, and Protection

We left off, last time, saying that there was a reason for loving one another, today.  And there is.

John 15:17-18 (KJV)  These things I command you, that ye love one another.  18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

That’s quite a contrast.  Think about the implications of that contrast.  They’re physical, mental, and spiritual.  Think about Luke 11:23a, “He that is not with me is against me:”.  Let’s look at the whole picture.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

John 15:12-17 Servants to Friends

John 15:12 (KJV)  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
That sounds pretty simple.  But let’s look at the following verses.

Friday, March 1, 2013

John 15:9–11 Abiding Joy

John 15:9-11 (KJV)  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

What a way to start a post!  Jesus, speaking to the disciples, says that He loves them as the Father loves Him!  And, if we apply “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), then it applies to us, too!  Perfect love from the the Father to the Son is mirrored by Jesus’ love to us!  When He says “continue” in that love, once again it’s meno – long term, with peace and rest.  Whether we consider that part of the sentence as a suggestion or a command, Jesus is telling us that it’s to our benefit to make a long time living arrangement in His love.