Hope for today and tomorrow

My bible reading plan took me to 1 Corinthians 15 today. I was actually supposed to read it yesterday but in the confusion of this season of COVID 19 and staying home and working from home I got messed up on my dates.

All that to say that I read chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians and was very encouraged. It is a long chapter but I recommend that we all read it today.

I will quote some of it here but my hope is that I will whet your appetite for more.

“Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-9 – NLT

This is it. This is the good news in a nut shell. What’s the story of Jesus about? This. Jesus died for our sins and was raised to life again in 3 days. There were multiple witnesses to the event. It really happened.

Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and now we wait for his return. But what about all the thousands of generations of people who have died since then? The Corinthians had allowed a teaching to take root that said there was no resurrection of the dead. Paul had to correct this.

“But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.”
1 Corinthians 15:12-23 – NLT

And then Paul Gives us some examples of how life changes all around us.

“But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man. What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.”
1 Corinthians 15:35-50 – NLT

COVID 19 has the potential to take many lives. It doesn’t seem to be predictable who of us will get it and how it will affect us if we do get the virus. Does the thought of dying frighten me? Well I don’t want to suffer, but death itself according to Paul is just me being planted in the ground so I can rise up later being glorified. I will plant a weakened, broken body but will be raised up in glory.

The odds are 1 out of 1 of us will die some day. I have had all of my sin debt paid off through the blood of Jesus. I am ready. How are you doing? Need help paying off a debt of sin? Just ask Jesus. He is a gracious and generous forgiving savior.

I stated something earlier that wasn’t completely accurate. The truth is not all of us will die, if we are on the earth when Jesus comes back….”

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 – NLT

How can I pray for you and your family? Leave me any requests in the comments and I will pray with you and for you. May God bless you with his love and mercy and compassion today, may you have hope for today and tomorrow. 

 

 

Blind to the giving of sight

John 9

Blind to the giving of sight.

(Originally posted 4/2016)

“13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.”

It was one of the most miraculous things that Jesus did. He healed a man born blind. The Pharisees couldn’t see past the broken sabbath rule.

Jesus has come to heal.

They were annoyed with Jesus because he did heal. I am annoyed because he hasn’t healed yet, not completely. My grandson Jonah is getting better but it’s slow. I know 2 mothers who are bereft and bewildered because he didn’t heal their children’s cancer. Their babies had babies so now there are children without parents and parents without children.

God is not a genie that we control him. He is a loving father who knows best. We do not know but we ask believing that he can heal and that he will act.

I’m rambling. I went to my uncles funeral on Saturday and met my new granddaughter on Tuesday. Meanwhile 2 friends lost their kids to cancer. Life and death continue.

There is an eternity that sits just at the edge of our last breath. When we stop breathing we cross the border.

Jesus has come to forgive our sins and give us eternal life. Our bodies will die. We don’t know when or where or how. But we know it’s coming.

Have you decided yet? Who is this Jesus?

Even next to a dishwasher

Jesus called himself many things. He said he was the gate, he was the good shepherd, the way the truth and the life, the vine, the son of man, the I am, among others.

Jesus said more than once that he came to save sinners. He dined with a tax collector named Zacheus and said this, ‘”For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

I spent the first 20 years of my life “knowing” I wasn’t good enough for God. I went through bouts of struggling to be good and then failing and falling and rolling around in my failure.

Then one day that all changed. Because of where and when it happened it had to be the Holy Spirit that broke through. I was in the back room of my parents restaurant, it was Sunday so we were closed. I was getting breakfast for my very pregnant new bride, ( honeymoon baby) and the verses from Ephesians 2 came to life in my head and my heart.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I couldn’t earn Gods love and mercy. I already had it through what Jesus had done dying for me on the cross. Salvation, Gods love, it is a gift and I cannot deserve it, we cannot deserve it. We just need to receive it.

As I began to study the Bible with fresh eyes I saw many other verses that confirmed what I saw in Ephesians.

One of my favorites is in Romans 5.

“6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

While we were still sinners Jesus died for us. He wasn’t waiting until we were good enough. He meets us where we are, in our sin and fallenness.

The blessings we can receive from God don’t stop with salvation. If God did not hold back his only son, what else will he give us so that we can succeed in telling the world about Him?

These verses from Romans 8 also confirm our salvation in Jesus and Gods gracious and generous heart towards us to share our story with the world.

“28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] 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.

More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus called himself many different things, they all boil down to one thing, he is the one sent by God to save us, save you and me. He said it in many different ways so that in case we didn’t catch it in one story we might get it in the next. Jesus came to save sinners. We are all sinners. We can be nice people and still be sinners. It’s in our deep down human nature. Only Jesus can fix it.

Today would be a great day to receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

How about it?

The carpenter at work

One truth about Jesus and my life following jesus.

He won’t quit.

He will not give up on me.

He has plans for me and he will keep building toward that goal.

Even if I tear down what he’s doing as he’s doing it.

He will not quit on me.

This is true for all of us.

It is true for me and it is true for you.

Another thing that I believe is true for every follower of Jesus. At one time all of us will experience a version of what the apostle John experiences that he recorded in Revelation

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”

Revelation 5:1-6

There has to be a time when we see Jesus as the lamb slain. We have to see Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin

And.

And we will see him as the Lion of Judah. Lions are the king of The jungle. Jesus is the king. Is. Not was. Jesus is the living King.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10

These verses show us this same thing, Jesus as Lord, the lion, the king, and we believe that Jesus is the sacrificial lamb, that he died but now lives forever. The lamb that had been slain standing in the middle of the throne.

I encountered Jesus in these two ways. And now he promises to complete the project he has started in me.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:3-6

My prayer for any and every person who reads this is that they will see Jesus as the Lion and the lamb and that they will do as I am doing, stumble on toward completion.

I do wood working. My favorite part of any project is the design and build part. I dislike the finish work part. The tedious sanding and coat after coat of paint. The filling in of nail holes and all the other things that go into “finishing”. Jesus loves it all, every part of the process, he doesn’t tire of it, any of it.

Where am I in my own finish process? I don’t know.

How do you see Jesus? Is he your Lion? Is he your Lamb? He wants to be.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

I am following a reading guide that is in the back of the Jesus Centered bible that My wife Mary bought for us. Yesterday’s reading was Matthew 28, the last chapter of Matthews Gospel. Today’s reading is the last chapter of Luke, chapter 24. Both of these cover the same period of Jesus’ existence. I almost said Jesus’ life there but they start out with ladies coming to prepare a dead body, Jesus’ body. But when these ladies arrive at the tomb, they see 3 things. The first thing that they see is the stone rolled away. The tomb that Jesus ‘ body was laid in 3 days earlier had been carved out of rock and the door to the tomb was a huge round stone that had been rolled into place. The stone was rolled away. The next thing they saw was angels. The angels asked them, “why do you seek the living, among the dead?”

Next they stated a truth that has changed not only the world but changed eternity, “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”’

Luke 24:6-7 – NLT the third thing those women saw was an empty tomb.

The very last part of this story wasn’t some thing they saw but some one. The women who had come to the tomb to anoint a corpse instead were the first humans to see our resurrected savior Jesus!

I post a lot about Jesus dying. It is a very important truth that Jesus died. He was dead, all that was left of him was a corpse and that corpse had been lain to rest in a stone tomb. He was a great man, a great teacher, a sinless man. He was perfect. And he was killed. That death was very important because that death paid for every single sin mankind will ever commit. Jesus died. Good men die all the time. But Jesus is different from all the other good men that died in that he didn’t stay dead. All the other good men who died decayed and turned back into dust but Jesus, because he wasn’t just a man, he was and is the God/Man. Fully man, fully God. He rose from the grave. We don’t mourn his death and visit his grave, we celebrate his resurrection and marvel at his empty tomb!

I am writing this on 4/02/2020. We are in the midst of a pandemic. I have been pondering what this pandemic might mean and where it puts us on Gods timeline but every time I talk to people who are are smarter than me about this they remind me that no matter where we are on that timeline, how close or far from the end we are, it does not not change the message or the mission of Jesus’ followers.

Matthew 28 holds that mission and message, the verses have been called the great commission. Here is what Jesus said to us:

“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”’

Matthew 28:18-20 – NLT

We his followers have the very great and very important task of telling the world about our savior. Not ours as in “I’ve got a savior and you don’t!” But our savior, as in he died for us all, every human that draws breath, he died that all of us on this planet might have our sins gently and graciously washed away. We have that task. The last time it was counted 31% of the world has heard and believes this truth. 1 out of every 3 people. Can we his followers grow that number?

If you would like to become a follower of Jesus you can right here and right now, today.

Pray this simple prayer:

Jesus I confess that I am not perfect, I am a sinner, Jesus I believe that you lived, died and rose again and that your death pays for all of my sins. I believe that you rose from the dead and now live forever. Wash me clean Jesus. I love you Jesus, thank you for all that you have done for me.

If you prayed this prayer please contact me in the comments below. Thank you. Welcome to the family!❤️

You stink

You stink.

Middle Tennessee Abandoned Outhouses | Abandoned, Memories, Old barns

I was thinking about a person I know that did some really bad stuff. I mean besides me. This person hurt people, changed people, damaged them forever and was never caught. He died free. He will burn in hell. Unless….

I will also burn in hell, unfortunately all of us are destined to burn in hell…….why? We are all sinners. It’s like we are all deposits in a pit toilet and each of us wants to say “I’m not as stinky as that pile of poo over there” pointing with our little poo finger.

We are all poops in the same pile. All of guilty of some sin and so all sinners. We are all destined for the same place unless…..

Unless what?! Get me out of the septic system and out of the fires of hell!

I can’t.

But Jesus can.

He paid for all of our sins. Even the sins of that guy that I want in hell. But if Jesus has forgiven him then I must also forgive him. So I do. And I hope that he heard about Jesus before he exhaled for the last time.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16,17 NIV

Where are you with Jesus? Have you accepted his gift of forgiveness yet?

You stink but so do I. We all do. Get that taken care of please.

3 things in the sky

On the way to work this morning I saw 3 things in the sky. I saw 2 stars that were bright enough to still be seen in the predawn light of a March 31st morning.

Those two “stars” turned out to be Saturn and Venus.

The third thing I saw was so brief and so unusual I’m not really sure I saw it. I was driving in a SE direction and I saw a bright orange light. It looked like a chunk
Of paper flying, like when an ember gets lifted out of a fire by the heat, but it was falling. It was only there for a second. My copilot Steve Selig didn’t see it at all.

Matthew 14 tells us about the end of John the baptists ministry.

“14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.

6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.”

Johns place in the life of Jesus is so important yet so brief, it’s like that orange light I saw. It’s over before you can say “look over there!”

The time it took to do his job isn’t as important as the fact that he did the Job. He pointed the people to Jesus.

Ephesians 2:10 says that once we become believers in Jesus, we have a to do list to get done. I want so bad to see the entire list but God in his wisdom gives us one task at a time. Sometimes we may get a couple at a time but we don’t get to see the whole thing.

One thing we all have on the list is to go and make disciples, to tell our story of how Jesus has met us in our need and how he changed us.

I mentioned 3 things I saw. One was bright and brief. Two were bright and steady. Jesus is like that bright and steady light. He made the planets, hung them in the heavens. He died to pay for our sins and he rose from the dead to give us life, eternal life. Longer than the life of a planet.

I wrote this March 31, 2017. On this March 31st 2020 my commute is from my kitchen to my basement. I am working from home during the Covid 19 pandemic. The world changed almost overnight yet Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.