Monthly Archives: January 2019

“But What About John?”

“But What About John?”

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:15-22)

Peter got a little distracted here. After Jesus revealed to Peter what would happen to him in later years. Peter protests, “Wait, what about John?”

Jesus gently says “Not your business Peter, John is my business, and your business is to follow me.”

Both Peter and John where martyrd. Peter crucified upside down at his request. Then John, the Romans tried to boil him alive but he ended up exiled to the Isle of Patmos where he wrote Revelations.

Yet the timeless truth so powerfully packed in the passage is, Jesus has his own unique plan for our each individual lives.

Personally, for all of us, the temptation can be to compare ourselves to much with others. God does not desire us to do that. Rather, by focusing only on Christ, His desires and plans for us, we can become the best versions of ourselves He desires us to become.

Sure Peter did not at first fancy Jesus’s words about His plan for him. Yet later on Peter it has been said, asked to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die right side up like His Savior did.

Not all of us will be martyrd. Yet daily martyrdom can come by often just deciding His way over our prefered way. There is an agony sometimes in this. I know it, and you know it.

However, the blessing that bloom out of letting Him have His way with us and in us become sweat and worth the sacrifice!

Often our wills are in conflict with The Lord’s, and as we grow and learn to submit more to His Lordship, we eventually see the wonderful result.

I have testimony of this personally. Walking with Christ for a little over 9 years, I have had my moments of great struggle and times I even got resistant ans frustrated with the Lord. Yet as I have grown and seen what wonderful things he brought about, I have no regrets. I do not have a moment where I look back on sone hardship and say “That was a waste”

To the contrary, I am glad God did not give into my whiny and impatient demands at the time.

Trust your Father in Heaven and yoir blessed Lord. He is good and has your best in mind!

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Heavens inhabitants/ Pt 2 of 3

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 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. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12)

We left off in the last post with “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”

Today we will pick up with: Beatitude 5—

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

How do we arrive at being merciful? Only by having great mercy experienced in our own life. Jesus encounters a woman who lived a sinful life, and she shows her love for him by breaking a very expensive bottle of perfume and washing his feet with her tears, then drying it with her hair. Why? Well first of all, feet washing was customary for a slave to do for those who came to a household. Yet she does this for Jesus, humbling herself and not caring who thought what of her for doing so. One of the religious leaders protested,

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

(Luke 7:39-42)

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

(Luke 7:43-47)

How can we possibly begin to truly forgive serious sins of others against us, unless we know God has forgiven our sin? The truth is, if we don’t know the depth of the Lord’s forgiveness of us, we cannot let go of the sins of others that have deeply wounded us. After all, our sins wounded Christ and He gave himself up to suffer in our place so we can be forgiven.

Yet one who does not know this amazing grace cannot really love and forgive like we are called to.

Beatitude 5 and 6—

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

These two are actually more relatable then we may realize. Purity of heart is more then just not having a heart that is filled with impure and immoral lust. Thats a huge part. Yet inward purity, includes right motives, right attitude, as well as a grace and benevolent good will toward others.

Psalm 24 and Psalm 15 both seem very similar when they say “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord” as well as “Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?”

—-Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. (Psalm 24:3-4)

We are saved, we no longer live for idols or put our hopes in false gods. The world’s people chase their gods, money, success, sex, fame and praise of others. Yet as believers we know that as it is written “Better is one day in your house, better is one day in your courts then a thousands elsewhere”

This does not mean temptations don’t come. Yet as believers who are born again, we aim to please Christ and walk in his ways, not indulge our sinful natures like we used to.

Psalm 15 then says:

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

(Psalm 15:1-5)

As we grow in our faith and years of developing in Christ occur, we should notice more and more victory. Greater progress! After all, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” [Philippians 1:6]

Being a peacemaker and purity of heart are closely related. Peacemakers don’t enjoy starting trouble they don’t have to. Divisiveness and a contentious spirit are not overflows of pure heart, but stem often from pride, envy or bitterness. We are told many times in the Word to put off such things. Also deception is a sign of impurity of heart. Guile and flattery and deceiving others flow from an impure heart/

[Conclusion wait for Pt 3]

Heavens inhabitants/ Pt 1 of 3

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 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. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12 –

Overall the changed life that we receive through faith in Christ will conform us to model these qualities. Beatitude 1, (3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God”

Lets examine what this must mean though. Obviously not everyone who is poor or everyone who is rich, is going to heaven. This is not monetary but a posture of the heart, meaning humble.

In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (Psalm 10:4)

•In order to really get saved and receive God’s great mercy through Christ Jesus, we must come to terms with our sin and realize, we are not worthy of heaven, forgiveness, or good. We must humble ourselves and acknowlege that we are desperate for mercy not deserving of His favor. We must acknowlege our own sin and inadequacy, both to make up for our sin or be anything other then sinful without divine intervention and aid.

Pride keeps more people I’m sure out of heaven then any other cause. Pride hardens the heart to one’s own darkness and sin so they see it as not serious or justifiable. Thus, a proud heart is a heart that is hindered from even seeking Almighty God in the first place.

Beatitude 2, (4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Upon realizing our sin, our guilt, this should result in some grief over it, some contrition. Does not necessarily mean every person who has gotten saved literally weeps, but there comes an earnestness, a indignation and alarm over our ways that we seek to rid our lives of such ways of living. Real repentance is in the heart.

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Joel 2:12-13 –

The truth though is, the repentant heart shows its self through actions but it starts in the heart. People in those times tore their clothes to show grief and sincere sorrow. God is after far more then just an outward show but an inward change.

Beattitude 3. (5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.)

Meekness, its not weakness but surrendering our desire to get even and trusting God to justly judge. It is not making use of power or position to do evil back to someone who wrongs us. Why? Because we owe Jesus! We all at once grieved Him with our ways, yet He saved us, He did not use power or his position as Son of God to get even with us, or those who crucified Him. Yet came to save those who’d believe. There is a judgement by God for those who totally reject Christ and die in sin. However, Christ suffered willingly to save those who believe, and entrusted Himself to God.

Beatitude 4. (6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.)

One mark of a true Christian is a desire to live to please the Lord. Though we stumble in many ways we should have this changed heart toward God and desire to please Christ in all we do!

We see: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

(Ezekiel 36:26-27)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Spiritual Abundance

Many crave riches, popularity or any number of things. Yet “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow to it” (Proverbs 10:22)

Before you get the idea that I am saying following Christ means lots of wealth, I am not saying that. Yet I will tell you, the little I do possess with the Lord’s blessing makes me feel very wealthy and prosperous and blessed even if I am not a rich millionare.

Infact, I feel my lot is very blessed without lots of money. Contentment and joy in what blessings we do have is happiness. After all, to always crave more, is disatisfaction and sorrow.

For example, there are people who seem to have it all, yet they still feel empty, sad, and envy others even! Yet we think they would not be the kind of people that would be disatisfied since they have so much already. Yet the truth is, it is not a possession issue, but a heart issue.

We can aquire much yet still thirst for more! That is not a problem of merely possessions or gaining more to he happy, rather it shows us that something in wrong inside us when we are like that.

The blessed person is not one who can get more, but rather rejoice and find enjoyment with what God has already blessed them to enjoy!

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Here is how sin corrupts us all as human beings,

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

(Ecclesiastes 2:26)

Lets examine what this truly means. For one, apart from the abundant life Jesus teaches comes from him in John 10:10, we are hungry to fill the void with all sorts of things that may numb us but not satisfy soul hunger.

“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come to give them life, and life abundantly” (John 10:10)

The abundant life is not made up of what we get, how much money we make or what we gain in life but by being in this wonderful relationship by faith in Jesus who loved us, and gave himself for sinners, we taste a love that satisfies the soul!

Before that we had the task of “Chasing the wind” and pursuing elusive happiness in idols of the world, possessions, money, this thrill or that, sex, excitement, for some alcohol, drugs, romantic attachments. We all I am sure have had a variety of things we chased to try to make us happy.

Many non Christians even have said “I just want to be happy” and isn’t this so human though, being made in the image of God, we long to be happy. There is no sin in this yet sin causes us to seek this in things that are not God, things that will fail us, things that do not truly fill our heart’s void!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 –

God created every human being with a desire for immortality and happiness. Even the sinner has some semblance of God’s divine finger print.

What Jesus came to do was to redeem us from sin that has marred us, and deformed us to do wrong. Yet the Lord is gracious, full of mercy and compassion and wants to restore our true life to us!

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

(Isaiah 55:1-3)

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39)

Rest In His Strength

Rest In His Strength

(Lamentations 3:21-26)

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

(Isaiah 30:15)

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

Often in trials and difficulties our first human response is panic, anger, getting worked up or grumbling. Yet these two verses above show us a better way, a way that won’t drain pur strength. Trust and obedience as we wait for God to come through.

However, humanly we do not do this naturally but God can use circumstances beyond our control to teach us this.

It takes away energy to get worked up or frustrated. As we foolishly get all stressed out over things we have no control over, we let our true strength be drained away.

Our source of strength is Christ, yet as we take our focus off Him, we lose our vitality and strength. That is why we are told what we should set our hearts and minds on.

[Colossians 3:1-9]

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

Our life is in Jesus Christ, so we are called to fix our eyes and minds on the things of the Lord! The Apostle Paul also gives us some things that will help us filter what we choose to meditate on, think upon, and dwell on in Philippians 4:8

1.) True

2.) Noble

3.) Right

4.) Pure

5.) Lovely

6.) Admirable

7.) Excellent

8.) Praiseworthy

As a byproduct, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

[Philippians 4:9]

God wants our thinking to be consumed with Him. God wants our minds to be clean, pure and “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15)

As we let more of Christ’s thinking rule in our lives, the less opportunity thoughts of sin or negativity have place to get in.