Peek-a-boo I see you!

John 8

What if God knew our secrets?

“8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”’

We don’t know what Jesus wrote with his finger on the ground. We can only guess. The Text says that the older men left first. This was a society that esteemed elders and they would’ve been in the front. They would’ve seen what Jesus was writing first. I believe Jesus was writing out the list of each mans dalliances, names and dates.

Who was without sin? not one in that crowd. There is no crowd where the outcome would be any different. No one is without sin.

The one man who lived his life without sinning, Jesus, stood there completely justified to condemn this woman but instead he forgave her.

What if God knew our secrets?

He does.

He knows all of them. He knows all of our past. Here’s the hard part to understand, he still loves us. Jesus knew us and and our sin and yet went to the cross to pay for them all, to pay for us all.

I did some stuff, bad stuff. I was young and stupid. I cannot undo what I did. I recently met an older gentleman who knows part of my story. I can’t see him without thinking about that part of my life and feeling shame and remorse. He only knows part of my story. God knows it all. Every detail. Every motive. Every move I made, he was watching me. He has enough on me to condemn me for eternity but instead he has forgiven it all.

Jesus paid it all. It’s not fair, but it’s true. I walk away forgiven.

Thank you Jesus. You have set me free!

Family resemblance

Family resemblance. We look for it in our kids and in our grandkids. We tend to claim the good traits. Not so much those things that we wished we wouldn’t have passed on.

What is God’s will for our lives?

God’s will is that we would be made to be more like Jesus. He wants us to look like part of the family.

Romans 8:29
“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.”

How is that possible? We are sinners and he is God/man, perfect in every way.

We can be Made to be more like Jesus when he is living inside of us. When he is the voice in our heart leading and guiding and correcting and reproving.

How can Jesus, who is God, live inside a human?

I don’t know how exactly how that it is accomplished but Gods Holy Spirit will come and live inside us when we receive Jesus as our Lord and savior.

What must we do to make that happen?

In Romans Paul said it works like this: “8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[d] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 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. 10 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. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

Up to the point of us saying those words, “Jesus you are Lord”, we have been the boss of us, after saying those words Jesus will be the boss of us. We shouldn’t take that transition lightly. The management has changed.

What is next? Well, what happens when a new baby is born? The baby is swaddled and fed and cleaned and taught and the process is repeated millions of times over until the baby begins to feed and care for itself. A new Christian is a baby who will need care. Christian spiritual baby care is found in a healthy church and in healthy Christian friends.

We need to find our Christian family.

Matthew 12 Jesus talks about what makes up the Christian family.

“46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Find a church where the people exemplify Jesus.

Yes church is part of the Christian life like family is part of the human life. We need each other to support, care for, protect, teach, cleanse, diaper, feed, train and so much more. We need community. We need family. We need each other.

Fill it up! (My heart)

It’s spring and it time to start preparing those garden beds. We clean them out, clear them out and if we don’t get back to them right away and get them planted they are immediately filled back in with a new crop of weeds.

Aristotle has said it, nature abhors a vacuum. If you remove one thing, other things rush in to fill the space.

This is true of our hearts as well as our world. In Matthew 12 Jesus says this about cleaning out a human heart.

“43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

When we accept Jesus as our savior he comes and lives inside of us. He lives in our hearts by his Holy Spirit.

John 14 says this; “23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

And in John 17 he prayed for us saying this; “20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus wants to fill the vacuous void inside of us. If he doesn’t, something else will.

Will we let Jesus come and live in our hearts today?

My list

Is someone writing all of this down? My mistakes? My willful disobedience? Is there a record of wrongs in some file drawer? No human knows the total of my sin. No one person has the complete record of all of the wrong I have done. Well….Jesus is a man but he is also God…and He knows it all.

And yet…he has chosen to forgive me. All of it.

The next section of Matthew 12 Jesus mentions some notorious people. He doesn’t mention them to point out their sin, he mentions them to point out their state of being forgiven.

“38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.”

The religious leaders of Jesus day who prided themselves on a righteousness based on following the rules will be condemned by notorious sinners who repented.

Then let’s talk about The sign of Jonah, Jesus will die and be swallowed by death and the earth. This planet he created and the curse that was placed on it would swallow him. But not for long. Three days later he will rise from the grave and live forever. The earth and death and the curse of sin forever broken and beaten.

I quote this next verse a lot but it comforts me. I hope is does you too. I know I’ve done wrong, so does God. He knows it all and yet he has forgiven me.

“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.”

I am forgiven. That is good news.

Have you heard it yet? We have been forgiven.

Have you received it yet?

All aboard!

The door was closed.

She couldn’t get on her flight.

She missed it and no one could or would help her.

I was at Seatac. I was at my gate early. Not bragging, just saying I was there early. Next to my gate was another gate flying somewhere far away, Texas maybe? I had seen this lady on the other side, the main terminal. She was being seated in a wheelchair by an airport worker. When she showed up at her gate she was walking. Earlier I had seen the airlines hostesses walking the length of the terminal calling out names of missing passengers and heard multiple announcements asking for passengers to go to the desk, announcing boarding and then final boarding. Then they closed up the desk, walked through the doors and boarded the plane. After all of that happened the lady showed up. She was at the right gate but she was late. She couldn’t find anyone to help her. She walked through the seats asking for help, loudly asking for someone, anyone from her airline to help but they were all in the plane already.

She tried crashing the door. She could see her plane still parked at the gate but she couldn’t get on.

When she crashed the door an alarm sounded and security personnel arrived rather quickly. But they couldn’t get her on the plane either. It didn’t seem to make any difference why she was late or how loud she got with her protests. She could not ride that plane. Even with a boarding pass she could not get aboard the plane.

It was a scene that played out in my life that I️ watched like it was a performance for me. It made me wonder and now over 2 weeks later I am still pondering it. As the character Scrooge says in the Christmas Carol, “why was I privy to this conversation?”.

At the same time I have Been reading 2 Peter. In chapter 2, Peter mentions some times when God’s timing and the peoples time ran out.

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;”

2 Peter 2:4-10

So did God show me this so that I would present it as a cautionary tale? As a culture we are constantly exposed to and driven by schedules and time tables. Is it a surprise that God also has a schedule and a time table for his plan for us? Not one of us knows God’s time table and schedule. Not even Jesus knew when it would be. Can we say that God is a meany head for having a schedule? Or can we say thank you to him for his patience thus far?

Further into his letter Peter had this to say,

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:3-9

My wife Mary calls me Debbie Downer because I see the dark side of things, I really don’t want this post to be that, a dark depressing tale.

God loves us. He sent Jesus to us not Just to say I love you, but to DO I love you. Jesus came to die for sins we cannot pay for or erase. Then he rose from the dead to lead us into God’s heaven. He made a way for us.

We get today. We have today to choose.

I don’t know the outcome for the poor lady who missed her plane. I do know the outcome of everyone who missed Noah’s boat. I do know the outcome for everyone who misses God’s grace in Jesus but I would rather talk about the splendor waiting for those who receive God’s great gift of forgiveness in Jesus.

Today, all aboard.

With our words

Matthew 12:33-37 Jesus continues to speak to the religious leaders. They have just said that Jesus is driving demons out by the power of Beezelbub, the prince of demons. I wanted to explain that so we can understand the tone of what Jesus will say next.

“33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

By our words we will be acquitted.

In Romans 10:9-10 we read this: ” 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. 10 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. “

I don’t want to oversimplify salvation. Confession and belief. It is with the words we say that we will be saved, along with belief that Jesus rose from the dead.

Entering into a relationship with Jesus is simple. Maintenance of that relationship and growth in the knowledge of Jesus and how best to live, isn’t easy.

It’s like buying a car (or a truck, shout out to my truck Rusty, winter’s over and the hiway is calling buddy).

The purchase of the car and ownership of the car are not the same. Once the car is ours it becomes our responsibility to fuel it and regularly maintain it. If we don’t, that car will cease to function. Either it will run out of fuel or it will break from lack of maintenance. Once we are in relationship with Jesus we need to maintain that relationship. We need to spend time with him in prayer and reading the Bible, spend time with other Christians, Christians with a deeper faith that we can learn from, and ones with a newer faith than ours to help them with life.

The analogy breaks down when we look at the purchase. We aren’t buying our relationship with Jesus, rather he bought us. He bought us back from slavery to sin and death. He paid with his life by dying on the cross for us. He rose again from the dead guaranteeing us eternal life.

“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.”

My biggest fear in writing these posts is that I will give incorrect or incomplete information about who Jesus is. I want the world to know him and believe in him. Believe today that Jesus died for our sins and 3 days later he rose from dead and is now alive forever.

It’s with our words that we will either be acquitted or condemned and today is good day to be acquitted.

With our words

Matthew 12:33-37 Jesus continues to speak to the religious leaders. They have just said that Jesus is driving demons out by the power of Beezelbub, the prince of demons. I wanted to explain that so we can understand the tone of what Jesus will say next.

“33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

By our words we will be acquitted.

In Romans 10:9-10 we read this: ” 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. 10 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. “

I don’t want to oversimplify salvation. Confession and belief. It is with the words we say that we will be saved, along with belief that Jesus rose from the dead.

Entering into a relationship with Jesus is simple. Maintenance of that relationship and growth in the knowledge of Jesus and how best to live, isn’t easy.

It’s like buying a car (or a truck, shout out to my truck Rusty, winter’s over and the hiway is calling buddy).

The purchase of the car and ownership of the car are not the same. Once the car is ours it becomes our responsibility to fuel it and regularly maintain it. If we don’t, that car will cease to function. Either it will run out of fuel or it will break from lack of maintenance. Once we are in relationship with Jesus we need to maintain that relationship. We need to spend time with him in prayer and reading the Bible, spend time with other Christians, Christians with a deeper faith that we can learn from, and ones with a newer faith than ours to help them with life.

The analogy breaks down when we look at the purchase. We aren’t buying our relationship with Jesus, rather he bought us. He bought us back from slavery to sin and death. He paid with his life by dying on the cross for us. He rose again from the dead guaranteeing us eternal life.

“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.”

My biggest fear in writing these posts is that I will give incorrect or incomplete information about who Jesus is. I want the world to know him and believe in him. Believe today that Jesus died for our sins and 3 days later he rose from dead and is now alive forever.

It’s with our words that we will either be acquitted or condemned and today is good day to be acquitted.