Jesus wrote on the ground with his finger…

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!

(Originally posted 3/21/2016)

The question and the answer

We are at the point in Matthew 26 where Jesus is going to make a statement that condemns him. He claims to be God.

What are we to do with this information?Here is what C.S. Lewis said about the matter,

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Here is the story from Matthew 26:

“57-58 The men who had seized Jesus took him off to Caiaphas the High Priest in whose house the scribes and elders were assembled. Peter followed him at a safe distance right up to the High Priest’s courtyard. Then he went inside and sat down with the servants and waited to see the end.

59-61 Meanwhile the chief priests and the whole council did all they could to find false evidence against Jesus to get him condemned to death. They failed completely. Even after a number of perjurers came forward they still failed. In the end two of these stood up and said, “This man said, ‘I can pull down the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62-64 Then the High Priest rose to his feet and addressed Jesus, “Have you no answer? What about the evidence of these men against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the High Priest said to him, “I command you by the living God, to tell us on your oath if you are Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “I am. Yes, and I tell you that in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.”

65-66 At this the High Priest tore his robes and cried, “That was blasphemy! Where is the need for further witnesses? Look, you’ve heard the blasphemy—what’s your verdict now?” And they replied, “he deserves to die.”

67-68 Then they spat in his face and knocked him about, and some slapped him, crying, “Prophesy, you Christ, who was that who hit you?”’

It isn’t a crime to claim you are the son of God, if in fact you are the son of God.

Jesus is the son of God, I say is, not was, because he lives, he is alive today. He suffered, he died, he rose from the dead, he ascended into heaven and he is returning some day, one day, possibly soon.

Our eternal destiny hangs in the balance of our answer to this question: What do you believe about this man Jesus?

(Originally posted 10/06/2017)

Another look at forgiveness

Psalm 25

Do you ever wake up at night a rehearse all the stupid things you’ve done? The feeling of shame wraps you in a suffocating hug. Where is the escape hatch? Where is tag out button? How can we get separated from our past? It’s like our shadow, we can’t get away from it.

We have 2 options: forgetting it, or forgiving it.

“6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,

for they are from of old.

7 Do not remember the sins of my youth

and my rebellious ways;

according to your love remember me,

for you, Lord, are good.

8 Good and upright is the Lord;

therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

9 He guides the humble in what is right

and teaches them his way.

10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful

toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

11 For the sake of your name, Lord,

forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?

He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.[b]

13 They will spend their days in prosperity,

and their descendants will inherit the land.

14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;

he makes his covenant known to them.

15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,

for only he will release my feet from the snare.”

God forgives sin. Jesus died to take away the sin that we confess to him. The memories don’t go away but we can cling to him and his forgiveness.

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 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.”

40 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,[c] 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?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 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.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”’

Forgiveness is a prayer away.

(Originally posted 10/05/16)

The mission of the church

Acts 3.

“6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”

As a child I spent 21 days in a hospital bed. I was a complete surprise to me when I was able to try and walk that my legs would not support me. I just crumpled to the floor.

This healing then is actually two-fold. The beggar was not only given the ability to walk but also the strength to walk.

Then Peter uses the miracle as a platform from which he told everyone there about Jesus.

Jesus said that we would receive his Holy Spirit so that we would be Empowered to be His witnesses.

Are we as a church, the whole body of believers in Jesus experiencing this power now? Where did the power to heal go? What changed? Is wasn’t God. Jesus Christ is same, yesterday, today and forever.

It feels like being late to the party. When you arrive the people there say “oh, you should’ve seen it, wow it was great!” Or when the old timers reminisce about the good old days, “back in my day…”

It is today. I am here now. What miraculous signs will God do through us today? I’m Praying for healing for cancer patients, for babies hanging on for life in crisis pregnancies, for people healing from surgery, for GERD, for rashes that won’t go away, for food allergies and the list goes on. For marriages, ones in bliss and ones on the rocks. God please hear and heal and touch. Show us us your power God. Most important God, save us from our sin. Forgive us and clean us.

(Originally posted 10/05/15)

New start

Psalm 25

“Oh Lord I give my life to you”

That is how Psalm 25 starts. That is the very best way to start a psalm or a day or a new chapter in life. I have a friend who recently said something like that. He gave his life to Jesus. He became a follower of Jesus.

Psalm 25 seems to be a good place for a new believer to read and study. 3 times in the psalm the writer requests forgiveness.

“Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord. For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins. Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins.”

Psalm 25:6-7,11,16-18 -NLT

God wants to lead us and teach us how to live our best possible life.

“The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.”

Psalm 25:8-10 – NLT

God wants the best for us. He offers us forgiveness, blessings, relationship and protection.

“Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.”

Psalm 25:12-15 – NLT

I will suggest reading and ingesting this psalm to my friend who is now a new member of my God family.

How about you? Have given your life to God yet?

Not my will…

The next story in Matthew 26 is about the garden of gethsemane. I don’t like this story. It pains me to see Jesus suffer and to see his friends fail him in his hour of need. I guess I identify with his sleepy disciples.

“Matthew 26:36-46 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”’

What happens if you pray for a problem to go away and it doesn’t go away?

Mercy Me has a song that I think deals with this.

Even if you don’t.

“They say sometimes you win some

Sometimes you lose some

And right now, right now I’m losing bad

I’ve stood on this stage night after night

Reminding the broken it’ll be alright

But right now, oh right now I just can’t

It’s easy to sing

When there’s nothing to bring me down

But what will I say

When I’m held to the flame

Like I am right now

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith

To move a mountain

Well good thing

A little faith is all I have, right now

But God, when You choose

To leave mountains unmovable

Oh give me the strength to be able to sing

It is well with my soul

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt

Would all go away if You’d just say the word

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good

All of my days

Jesus, I will cling to You

Come what may

‘Cause I know You’re able

I know You can

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow, I know the hurt

Would all go away if You’d just say the word

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul

It is well, it is well with my soul

Songwriters: Bart Marshall Millard / Benjamin Glover / Crystal Lewis / David Arthur Garcia / Tim Timmons

Even If lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Music Services, Inc

I see two things to learn here. The first is that God said he will hear our prayers. He has said that we can move mountains if we pray. But if the mountains don’t move, will we still trust in God? Jesus prayed that there be another way to save the world but he trusted God and God’s best plan.

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me, yet not as I will, but as you will.”

The second thing for me to learn is that Jesus knew what was coming, the whipping, the hitting, the spitting, the mocking, the beating, the thorns, the nails, the hanging by the nails, the pain, the spear, and did it anyway. He loves us so much he continued on in the plan that would destroy him but make a way to save all of us.

And now the offer is open to all of us, “if you will confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that he was raised from the dead, you will be saved”.

(Originally posted 10-03-17)

What’s my availability?

When I was a manager at a local fast food chain and we were looking to hire someone, one of our main concerns was what the person’s availability was. Finding someone who was willing to work any day at any time was like finding gold.

 

Reading Colossians 4 I came across the name of a guy that shows up 4 other times in the New Testament, Tychicus. When Paul found him, he found gold.

 

“As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.”

Colossians 4:7-9 – NASB

 

Paul was sending Tychicus to the Christians in Colossi as a messenger-and servant. This guy was committed to Paul and to the Gospel. He had that golden quality- open availability. He would go wherever Paul sent him, faithfully serve and then return to support Paul whenever needed. We don’t get many details about his life. How was he able to be so available? Was he young and single? Was he old and single? Was he married with a patient wife? Or an adventurous wife? Was he independently wealthy so travel and work were not an issue? Or was he like Paul and able to be content with whatever he had at the time? It didn’t seem to matter who he was sent to help or how much help was needed, he would just go.

 

I have a lot of stuff. My stuff needs to stay warm and dry. I need to stay warm and dry, (Need or want?) I work to pay for a place to keep myself and my stuff warm and dry. I have a wife who likes to stay warm and dry and safe. We both like to have food and clothing. This means more space, more stuff. My wife is very good at making our simple things look nice and be warm and welcoming. But because of our stuff, we are home bound.

 

I am not free to go like Tychicus. I still want to serve Jesus and be actively involved in expanding God’s kingdom. Since I cannot go there must be other ways for me to serve while I stay and work so I can keep me, my wife and our stuff warm and dry. We look for ways to help and serve.

 

I had a dream last night that a homeless man that in my dream, we had befriended, was pacing outside our house while being covered in snow, he was waiting to be invited in. He wasn’t bold enough to ask. This dream could mean that our warm and dry house may have a larger purpose in God’s kingdom. I don’t know. I do know that Tychicus is a hero of mine and I want to be more like him because he was a lot like Jesus. And he was available.

 

If we can’t be like Tychicus with his unlimited availability, if we can’t just get up and go, then what can we do to serve God’s kingdom while we stay?

 

Use me God, use us.