But a breath.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. ”

Isaiah 40:7-8

Our God is Eternal. He is truly ever green. He is forever youthful and vibrant. He does not age, he does not tire, he does not wither or wilt. He never sleeps.

Even the best parent sleeps and slumbers but our God is eternally and always vigilant and poised to help. Watching and waiting, longing for us to say “Oh, hi father” and then tell him about our life, the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m seeing him as a watchful dad, peering down into the playpen of our life and smiling.

We fade we tire we wilt we die, but God is holy and does none of those, yet he understands when we do them.

I’m rambling but I wanted to remind myself, that my life is a season, it is a breath that vanishes but my God is eternal and he wants me to spend eternity with him.

I can do that because Jesus made a way. He died in my place, took the punishment that I deserve so I can receive the blessings that he deserves.

Mountain top experience

Did they have name tags?

When Moses and Elijah appeared on the mountain top and spoke with Jesus, how did Peter James and John know who they were? Did Jesus say, ” Hey Mo, how are you Elijah? What’s up?” Or was it just deduced from the context of the conversation?

Maybe there was an interduction? “Peter, James, John, this is Moses, the law giver, and this is Elijah, the mighty prophet..”

Let’s read the text from. Matthew 17.

“17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.”

The Jewish people were looking for a messiah, some one to come and shake off the oppression of Roman rule. They knew from the prophecies of the Old Testament that Elijah was supposed to come and usher in the messiah.

Here is Elijah, not an Elijah type but the real original Elijah standing before them. As a bonus the leader of leaders, a messiah of his own generation, freer of the Jews from Egyptian bondage, Moses, was standing there too. Two of the most influential humans to ever walk the planet. If they were talking to anyone other than God himself, they would be the ones to to listen to, they would have the message from God, they would be the star of the show but the voice from God said, “this is my son, listen to him”.

I think this scene may have been like a prize fight ring where the trainer and coach are in the corner encouraging and pumping up

The champion before he takes on the two ugliest and strongest forces known on earth. The forces Jesus was about to fight were Sin and Death. Up to that time these two, sin and death, were undefeated. Jesus was about to battle them not for himself but for us.

He will win. He did win. As he said from the cross, “it is finished”.

Jesus has defeated our enemies, sin and death. By defeating sin he removed the separation between us and God. Our debt is paid, the slate is clean and we have access to our loving Heavenly Father. By defeating death he took away the period at the end of the sentence so our life can go on with God. Physical death can now be the doorway to eternal life with God.

There is a questionnaire to fill out.

Who is Jesus?

What has he done for you?

It’s an open book test. There is a strong hint in Romans 10:9-10.

“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.”

He knew and did it anyway

He knew.

Jesus knew how he would die and he did it anyway.

Matthew 16 Jesus begins to tells his disciples that he was going to suffer and die.

“21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

He did it any way because he knew why he would die. Without his death as payment none of us would have a chance at having our relationship with God restored.

He died for me, a sinner. We can all say that sentence and it will be true, the sad part, being a sinner, and the happy part, that Jesus died for us, all true for each and every person.

If you didn’t know that yet, what will you do about it today? Don’t wait, act today. Decide. Will you receive the gift Jesus has given?

If you’ve read this and you heard it before and you acted on it and now are a disciple of Jesus, I am so happy but I have a follow up question, who have you told about this Jesus who loves enough to knowingly die in our place? 2/3rds of the world still hasn’t accepted his gift. There are many who need to hear. Who will we tell today?

Even for Christians, stuff happens

John 13

Dirty work

” It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

I’m not sure how we got away from this, the foot washing. I guess some groups still do it. It’s a Maundy Thursday thing. Some groups do it more often. I have washed feet but never have I had my feet washed.

Washing feet is an act of saying we are all human. I fail at perfection. No matter how well I cover up, conceal, perfume or otherwise hide my imperfections my feet will still sweat and stink.

Will you help me not stink? Will I help you not stink? Life is dirty. Feet get dirty. We can cover up or we can confess our human-ness and participate in keeping each other less dirty and less stinky.

It’s not just our feet is it? It’s my heart and my mind. My life and my actions. Will we help each other clean up our life and actions? Will we trust each other?

“But my feet have been in some really deep poop”.

We are all at times in deep poop. Life is at times, deep poop. Deep stinky sticky poop. Are we committed to clean others as we ourselves are cleaned?

Confession and forgiveness. Cleansing each other in a close and personal way.

Christianity isn’t living the perfect life. Christianity is living the forgiven and forgiving life.

The end of darkness

John 12

Are you in darkness? Jesus is the light of the world.

“John 12

Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews

37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

“Lord, who has believed our message

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”[h]

39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

40 “He has blinded their eyes

and hardened their hearts,

so they can neither see with their eyes,

nor understand with their hearts,

nor turn—and I would heal them.”[i]

41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”’

I am afraid of the dark. As a child it paralyzed me. As an adult I’ve worked past the fear, and I carry a flashlight. All of us with phones carry a flashlight. Jesus can be our spiritual flashlight.

Jesus being light and bringing light into our lives is one of the things that can make us uncomfortable. There are things done in darkness, or memories hidden in dark corners of our hearts, things done by us, things done to us that we want to stay hidden. Hidden and forgotten.

Jesus came to expose those things not to shame us or hurt us, but to forgive us and free us from the pain and the stench and the mess and the clutter.

Some of us are hoarders of bad memories.

I challenge all of us today to let the light of the world into our darkest corners so that cleansing and forgiveness can begin.

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

Who is this Jesus guy?

Who is this Jesus guy?

That is the most important question we can ever answer. Who is Jesus?

It’s not just a life and death question. It’s an eternal life or eternal separation from God question.

In Matthew 16 Jesus asked his disciples this very question.

“13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.”

In my mind I see Peter answering this casually, with a mouth full of the first century version of potato chips.

Muffled by the food in his mouth and crumbs tumbling out and he said it, “you are the Christ, the son of the living God…”

Only God’s Spirit can reveal this truth to a person.

I pray today that folks that read this post would stop and answer the question for themselves.

Who is Jesus?

For those of us who already know him, I pray there would be fresh revelation of what that means to us and to the world. For those who haven’t discovered who he is yet, may Gods Spirit shine it into your hearts.

Jesus is the messiah, the son of the living God.

Family Hug!

I want to give my self an out I want a free pass. I want a conditional release from the next few verses of 1 John 3.

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

1 John 3:4-10

I don’t sin any more, (for comic relief I want to add, I don’t sin any less either!) so what is the true meaning of this verse? Do we really have to stop sinning? Is that possible?

I’ve had these verses on my brains back burner for months. Here is one thing that I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me.

The prodigal son. (Luke 15). He left his father’s home, squandered his inheritance on prostitutes and parties. He came to his senses when he had lost everything and was hungry enough to eat pig slop but couldn’t even afford that. He decided to repent. He could not have been serious about repentance and stayed in the foreign land. He had to leave where he was and come home to his father to repent.

We cannot stay in our rebellion, our sin that separates us from God and say that we have repented. Will we fall, will we stumble? Does a baby learning to walk just stand up straight, point their face like flint in the direction they want to travel and never stumble or fall? No. At least I didn’t and my kid’s didn’t and my grandkids don’t. We stumble, we fall, we sin.

Where is the balance? How do we look at this and say how to live this out?

We go back to chapter 1 of this same letter.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:5-10

If God is our Heavenly Father and he loves us as his children, then as we learn to walk we walk in obedience, but we may stumble and fall, we may go the wrong way. My children stumbled, they went the wrong direction at times. I did not abandon them when this happened. I helped them up. I rerouted them if they were straying. If I did that, what more will our father God do for us who did not spare his only son but gave him up for us all?

What about addiction? I don’t feel qualified to speak to people struggling with addiction. I have my own battles and wounds in this area. All I can suggest is that to keep coming home. Keep leaving the foreign land that wants to suck us dry then feed on our bones. Leave that behind and come back to our Good Father. Where will he be? Where will God be when we repent? According to the story in Luke the Father will Be scanning the horizon looking for us to return.

“20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Luke 15:20

I so want that. I want To be hugged and kissed by my Heavenly Father, Forgiven. Will you join me in our Father’s embrace? Family Hug!