We fail him and yet he loves us

He knows and yet he loves us anyway.

John 18

“Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants[e] and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself…..,

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.”

Jesus said that Peter would deny him 3 times before rooster crowed. That is exactly what happened.

What does this mean for us? It means God know our failures before we fail them. Yet, and yet, he still loves us. I don’t get it but I receive it.

It’s early Sunday morning. Join me in worshipping this great and awesome and forgiving and merciful God. Our church service starts at 10. Find a church and join us in celebration of Gods great love and mercy.

Even if church isn’t an option please Receive his forgiveness today. He is waiting with love to forgive us.

Meekness, power under submission

Meekness is power under submission. In the dictionary there should be a picture of Jesus next to the word.

John 18

“When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”[a]

10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

When the soldiers fell to the ground, was it Angels doing sweep kicks to the back the knees? It could have been the force of his breath. The one who created the air and the wind that moves it was speaking. Maybe the ground was yanked like a throw rug. However it was accomplished it shows that Jesus was in charge even while he was submitting to His Fathers’ plan to be arrested, tried, convicted and executed.

That plan would lead him to die on a cross. That death would change my eternity. Change eternity for all people. We now have a way back to our Father God. The door, the path, the way, the only way is through Jesus death on the cross.

He went willingly because he loves us. Will you accept his gift of life today? If you have already accepted His gift, will you tell someone who hasn’t heard the good news yet? God has forgiven our sin. We can come home.

Finished

I am damaged goods. I’m not just talking about my body. My heart, my soul are damaged. They are always wanting their own way. I am sitting in church listening to songs about how much God loves me, but my mind keeps flashing back to my failures, telling me I don’t belong here. Then over all the other voices and memories I hear Jesus words from the cross, “it is finished”.

Jesus finished the work it took to forgive my sins. I entered black with sin, but bathed in his red blood I am washed white. I don’t understand it but I cling to it like a drowning man to a life raft.

Join me if not in this place at least in this position. I have Asked Jesus yet again to cleanse me and his blood is just as effective today as it was the very first time a I called out to him to save me.

Church starts at 10 am here but there are church’s every where and if you can’t make it to church Jesus is available 24/7 and makes house calls.

Join me.

Is change possible?

Can people really change? Does meeting Jesus and having him become our master really have any affect on us?

(Col 4)

Once upon a time there was a slave who lived in Colosse. He was a young man born into slavery. He stole some money from his master and ran away to the big city of Rome. He was hoping to lose himself in the crowds. In stead he met a man named Paul who introduced him to a God/man/savior named Jesus. This slaves name was Onesimus. Paul had this to say about the character of this guy; “He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.”

And this “Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus,[b] who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.”

The second quote is from the book of Philemon. Philemon was Onesimus’ owner. How strange to own another human yet he did and it was within his rights to do anything to his slave. Paul asked for mercy and forgiveness.

The name Onesimus means useful.

Jesus can change people from useless to useful. He can set the the heart of one enslaved free, even if his body is still owned.

There are many modern slaveries that we get sold into. Jesus can set us free by washing away sin and breaking chains, spiritual chains the keep us locked into patterns and behaviors.

Can people change? Hmmm. Can Jesus change people? Yes.

God loves puppies…and us

Get a long little doggy?

No, get along little doggy.

Colossians 3 (and a tiny part of 4)

The next bit of bible I’m going to quote is how to get along with people. How to live in community. The very next sentence is a very controversial, counter cultural bit of advice. The way our society recoils at it you would think it said that God hates puppies. God doesn’t hate puppies. He loves puppies. You know what he loves more than puppies? Us. People. Men and women. And he wants us to live in the best possible way. Since he created us he probably (probably?) knows how we can best live. He gives us the manufacturers recommended way to use this thing called life.

Here it is:

” 18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers,[c] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

4 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.”

Jesus loves us and has died to pay for all of our sin and now he lives forever and we can too, with him.

If we fail….when we fail at the above list of interpersonal relationships we have forgiveness in Jesus.

I recently read this in this very same book;

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[d] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

Get along little people.

He stoops down

I don’t know much about other religions so I cannot really write much about them. What I understand is that in most faiths that are not Christian the practitioner must reach out to their God, they must appease.

The God of Christianity is different. The God I believe in has this quality about him where he stoops low, bends down to reach out to us. My God has done the appeasing through sacrificing his son. My God has been and continues to be gracious, stopping low and giving me what I do not deserve.

There is an story in John chapter 8 that is an excellent example of God’s graciousness.

“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.”’

John 8:2-11

Jesus stooped down to write in the dirt. We don’t know what he wrote. I speculate that he was writing names and dates of the dalliances of the men who were holding the stones to condemn this woman. This shows his grace and mercy to both the woman and to the men. The woman was rescued, her accusers silenced and all involved were handled with gentleness and love.

God loves sinners. That’s good because that is the only kind of human available to him on this planet. We all are sinners. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…” and yet because our God is a God who stoops down, the verse continues, “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23,24

I believe in a good and loving father God who is gracious and merciful. As a Father He disciplines those he loves. He has stooped down to rescue me, to rescue us. Jesus, God’s only son willingly sacrificed himself for us. He died, was buried and rose again the third day. He now is in heaven with our father preparing a place for us and interceding for us.

God is today, stooping down and asking us all, “will you receive my gift of life and forgiveness through Jesus today?”

He adds this, “I love you, please come home…”

Today, will you respond today?

How much are you packing?

We’re all travelers, my advice? pack light.

(Col 2, Matt 6)

Mary and I were talking last night as we sat out under the stars and watched the planes fly over. Seeing the planes makes us think of our adventures in Italy last year. We want to go back but we would change one thing. We would pack lighter. Images of the two of us taking busses, trains and boats with 3 suit cases pops into our heads. It was comical.

Have you ever been lugging around baggage (or is is bagging around luggage?). Carrying more than is comfortable? It’s so hard. Pulling around a huge box of stuff that seemed so very important at the time. It was meant to be an asset but in actuality becomes a liability.

I went to a family gathering this last weekend. One thing that happened there is that it reminded me of baggage that I carry of things done in my past. Things done Not to me, but by me.

Colossians 2 says this about our sins:

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[d] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

I know Jesus has forgiven me, but I haven’t done the next step and and confessed and repented to the offended. With every year it seems more difficult to do. Soon. I’m really tired of carrying this luggage or lugging this baggage.

I don’t hold any grudges, not with my family anyway but that’s another set of bags that we can drag around with us.

There is a warning at the bottom of the Lord’s Prayer, one that states Our own forgiveness hinges on whether or not we forgive others.

“9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]

but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Forgiving others is like having your luggage sent ahead, like checking it at the gate. Something I wish Mary and I could’ve done on our leg of the trip that took us to Venice so we both could enjoy all that we were experiencing.

We are all travelers. How much luggage or baggage are we carrying unnecessarily? My goal is to lose as much as I can so I can be free to enjoy the journey. All of the “Venice’s” of this life are much easier to enjoy without baggage.