Some Thoughts about Guilt

5This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-9)

God is willing and able to hear and answer our prayers and He wants us to talk to Him…about our sufferings and disappointment because He only allows them in our lives for our good…so that we might grow and be able carry not only more of our own burdens but the burdens of brothers and sisters…but we can’t come understand that if we don’t first believe fully in Him…take our burdens to Him…and leave them there in such a way we are able to forgive ourselves.  So many times I have found that my suffering and disappointment was self-inflicted.  I had done something with consequences that made life difficult to bear.  I had chosen to allow what others thought and said affect how I feel and see the world…and I didn’t like what I saw.  I chose to get in my own way and not allow God to work in my life.

I, like anyone else, do (and did not) like to feel guilty.  Like an unwelcome guest, guilt shows up at the worst possible time and does not go away no matter how much you wish it would.  The truth is, however, that we need guilt!  It is the only proper response to any offense, whether a selfish thought or a premeditated murder.  Even a nonbeliever wants a burglar to feel remorse for his theft.  Why?  Because he should!  Guilt exposes the truth that we wish to avoid:  we have all sinned.  John puts it this way; “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (v8).  But John does not leave us with this dismal picture of ourselves…instead he goes on to paint a glorious portrait of a forgiving God.  This is our hope:  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (v9).  Guilt does more than just deliver the distressing news…it unlocks the door to forgiveness.  Progress, change, reform, and most important of all, God’s forgiveness all start with confession.

Confession works against the worst part of human nature, the part that imagines itself to be better that it really is.  What person has not felt, “I’m’ not perfect, but I’m’ not as bad as my next-door neighbor”?  This mindset always stops short of confessing; it would rather ignore or ease feelings of guilt than admit them…but only open confession of our sins will completely cleanse us.  Only when we admit what we are…sinners, unworthy of God’s grace, can we make a fresh start.  Only then can we truly get out of the way and let God forgive us…so that we can forgive ourselves…so that we can forgive each other.  Let go and let God.  This keeps small things from becoming big things…and keeps life filled with hope and happiness rather than doubt and self-loathing.

CS Lewis said that “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.”  As children of God…trying to do good…having the perfect Image to compare ourselves to…we are going to feel bad about ourselves and our circumstances.  That is not the end God wants for us…He doesn’t just want us to feel Godly sorrow for nothing…but to feel Godly sorrow so that we will repent and experience His grace.  We can never know how much we need freedom until we try to unload our burden of sin.  God’s forgiveness will liberate us to begin anew on the path of righteousness…in each moment that we boldly approach His throne of grace during every day that He blesses us with.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Unload on your Father…leave it at His feet…and allow His grace to wash over you and His angels minister to you so that you might live cheerfully (in any circumstance) to serve and glorify Him.

Prayer

In Heb 4:16, we find that God has promised us grace for the moment, that we should “…come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”

We have this grace (God giving us what we do not deserve) and mercy (God withholding from us what we deserve) because of Jesus Christ…our Savior, our Lord, our High Priest, our Elder Brother…the First Fruits of our Salvation.

Jn 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The Word (Jesus) became flesh (Jn 1:14-18) to show us God…to reveal His will for us.  Jesus loved His father…and Jesus endeavored to do His Father’s will.  And while doing this in the flesh, here on Earth, Jesus demonstrated by His example and His teaching how one is to live who loves God and strives to do His will.

Consider Matthew 26:36-46:

36Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”  37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”  39He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?  41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”   42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”  43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.  44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” 

Jesus repeatedly taught through His example the necessity of prayer to God and went out early to be with His Father.

Here, Jesus is now faced with the most dreadful event of His time on Earth in service to His Father.  His time of betrayal, judgment, torture, and crucifixion is at hand and Jesus is sorrowful.

Though no doubt the physical suffering and anguish He was about to endure was a terrible realization and burden to bear…Jesus is sorrowful and deeply distressed because the reality that the sinless Son of God would bear the sins of the world and face separation from His Father.

And His response….PRAY…taking His burden to His Father…pleading with Him, making His sorrow known to the One who could help Him…and laying it at His feet.

And in the same breath that He asks His Father to take this burden from Him…He restates His faith, “…nevertheless, not as I will , but as You will.”  He does it 3 times!

Jesus again demonstrates how we are to follow our Father in Heaven…how we should conduct ourselves as we endeavor to do His Will.

Consider these verses and let them guide your prayers today:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matt 11:28-30)

 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  (James 5:16-17)

 

Moments

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”

Believe it to be true…as we look back at our week…look back at our lives wherever we are…we find moments which are good/bad…sweet/sour…happy/sad…

All of us can say that.  But as we think about them, we need to remember this:  THEY ARE ALL GONE!

Jesus does not want us to get stuck in a moment.  The command over and over in the New Testament is to STAND!

Eph 6:10-20…tells us that we are to put on the whole armor of God and STAND against the wiles of the devil…

This call is not that we get STUCK.  It isn’t that we “stand” but TAKE A STAND…rejoicing in the day the Lord has made…be glad in it but continue to walk in Him…whether our moments are good/bad, happy/sad, the best/worst…Jesus wants us to keep walking!

Consider Jesus’ life…nothing more than a series of moments…just like ours…

Heb 2:14…Jesus shared in the same…whatever the experience/moment in your life…He came…became one of us…to share in our experience…our moments (how He experienced them).

Heb 2:17…because He had good/bad moments (sweet/sour, easy/hard)…because He was made like you and me in all things…He is equipped to be merciful and faithful to us in His role as High Priest (18).

Think about your life.  A series of moments connected in the framework of days, weeks, months, and years.  It was the same with Jesus.  His life was made up of a series of little moments.

When we consider Jesus’ life…we tend to lean in our thinking toward a day…the day that Jesus was crucified.  That day matters and is so meaningful because of the little moments in His life that led up to that day.

We know so little of Jesus’ childhood, yet we know He was tempted, grew in the grace and knowledge of His Father, learned the trade of Joseph, and He learned obedience (Heb. 5:8).

His life was made up of significant moments…baptized, His Father’s voice, driven into the wilderness, 40 days filled with temptation.  With each passing moment He resisted, kept a strong mind, restrained His speech, kept His behavior under control.

After all these moments, He returned in the fullness of the Spirit to preach the Gospel and He went to the cross.  That great moment that resulted in our forgiveness of sins.  He shed His blood and what makes His blood enough in that He was washed and pure and free of sin.  All His moments without blemish.  All His moments mattered and culminated in a perfect Life and a Great sacrifice.

As we consider our moments, it is easy to get stuck on those things which we are ashamed of and to get down on ourselves.  We can even throw in the towel and decide that this bad moment is what is going to define us.

But that is a lie of Satan.  Truly, we have HOPE in Christ Jesus…that no one moment will define you or me because of His forgiveness.

Heb 4:14-15…we see present tense weaknesses (plural)…we all have them…we have our moments.  We have our bad moments.  We fall short of the glory of God and we sin, and we are in danger of letting that define us…thoughts we shouldn’t think, slips of the tongue, and/or behaviors that don’t bring glory to God.

Heb 4:16…God doesn’t want us to get stuck there…He wants to come boldly…despite these weaknesses and bad moments.

If we didn’t have the bad then we wouldn’t need grace.  Our hope is that when we go boldly to the throne of God and confess our sins and offer our prayers…we obtain the mercy and grace in our time (moments) of need!

We all have our moments…AND BECAUSE OF JESUS’ MOMENTS WE CAN BE FORGIVEN!

Look back and reflect, but don’t get stuck in moments.  Jesus didn’t and He doesn’t want us to!

The call is to KEEP WALKING.  Whatever things are behind us…leave them there and forget about them.

Whatever else the past is…IT IS GONE!

No one moment can define you…don’t let it…let go and let God!

Where Does Suffering Come From?

It can come from God in the general, physical suffering and death unleashed in the world after man sinned (Genesis 3:16-19).  “And so God placed the curse on man and on his whole environment, thus forcing him to recognize the seriousness of his sin, as well as his helplessness to save himself and his dominion from eventual destruction.”  (Leon Morris, The Genesis Record, p. 126.)

The curse on man himself was fourfold: sorrow, pain and suffering, sweat or tears, physical death.  “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope…” (Rom 8:20).  Romans 8:20 seems to be an allusion to Genesis 3:16-19 and this reference to the past must surely be to the judgment of God, which fell on the natural order following Adam’s disobedience.  The creation was the recipient of the action indicated but only as a result of man’s sin.  God is the One who did the subjecting.  The curse of sorrow, pain and suffering, sweat, tears and physical death was brought about by God…but He did it with purpose…God subjected the creation in hope.

 It can come from God in specific cases to humble and/or strengthen…consider Israel (Deuteronomy 8:2-3), Miriam (Numbers 12:1-10),  and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:10-20).

It can come from Satan through God’s allowance…consider Job (Job 1-2) and Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  We must note, however, though Satan caused suffering for one purpose…God used each of these for very different purposes than the Tempter intended and in such a manner as to humble and/or strengthen one of His children.  God sees suffering differently than we do and His heavenly “forest” gets lost on us for our earthly “trees”.

Finally, it can come as the inevitable fruit of our own sins…“…the way of the transgressor is hard.”  (Prov 13:15)……be sure your sin will find you out.”  (Nu 32:23).  Sin has temporal consequences – physical, emotional and social.  “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed?  For the end of those things is death.”  (Rom 6:21).  Yet, at last, unless there is some direct link to our sin it is very difficult to know the exact origins of our adversity…and that is just as well.  For far more important than knowing why we are suffering, is our response to it.

Adversity and discouragement, regardless to its source, is one of God’s most effective tools to deepen our faith in Him and transform our lives.  “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.”  (Psa 119:67)…“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”  (Psa 119:71).  It is difficult for us to truly understand through our earthly lenses…it is only as we come to understand God’s perspective that we are able to respond appropriately.  What better example than in the anguish of Christ on the cross in regards to:  the influence of God…“…the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  (Isa 53:6)…the sufferings of Christ both humbled and strengthened Him (Hebrews 5:7-8).  The influence of Satan “…the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him…Satan entered him…”  (John 13:2, 27).  The influence of our own sins…“…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree…” (1 Pet 2:24)…yet it was our Savior’s trusting response to this awful suffering that enabled God to work by it something transcendently wonderful.

So it will be with us if we choose our response to suffering wisely – especially when we don’t understand why…“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Cor 4:17-18)…“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  (Rom 5:3-5)

At last, like that ancient blind man, what we suffer here is in order that “the works of God may be revealed in us.”  (John 9:2)  Our God is Holy…He is eternal…He is love…He is merciful…He is gracious.  Take comfort in that He will not give you more than you can bear…and in all your suffering or adversity or disappointment, whatever the cause, glorify your God and Father, trusting Him to work all things together for your good (Genesis 50:20; 1 Pet 1:6-8).

God has left you here for only a little while (1 Pet1: 6-9) not only for your sake…but for the sake of your brethren (2 Tim 2:10).  In your adversity…go to your Heavenly Father and your Elder Brother and your brethren to be sure…but take the time to see past your suffering or disappointment…see that God has begun a good work in you (Phil 1:6)…and be encouraged… so that you might be an encouragement to me and those of the household of faith!

Angels Among Us

You ever get a song stuck in your head…it is all you can think of…it is distracting in that it is all you can hear when there is nothing said?  Well I don’t have a song stuck in my head but rather a scripture:

“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10; NKJV).

Jesus is teaching his disciples of the importance of even one soul in what we call the Parable of the Lost Coin.  What strikes me about this verse is the awesome interaction between what we are doing in this world and what our Heavenly Father and His angels are doing in Heaven.

It is easy to lose sight of Heaven if we allow what we can see, touch, hear, smell, taste, smell…that is the physical world we live in…dominate our thoughts, speech, and actions.  Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom (Matt 6:33) and Paul tells us to seek those things which are above (Col 3:1)…because that is where Jesus is.  If we did this, wouldn’t that lower our anxiety…instill in us the awesome power of our Father…excite us about being in the Lord’s Body…fill us with peace and love for each moment God blesses us with?

Consider the boy with Elisha as the Samaritan army surrounded their city.  What anxiety he must have had…how certain he must have been that their doom was at hand.  After all, he could see it…he could hear it…he could smell it!  What did Elisha pray?  Why did he pray it?  What was God already doing?

He prayed that the boy’s eyes would be opened so that he might understand what was really going on…to have confidence in the Lord as Elisha did…to give him the rest of the story…that God was there…that He had sent His army.

“Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw.  And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  (2 Kings 6:17; NKJV).

The mountain was full of a heavenly army…with horses and chariots of fire…they were all around Elisha!  Because “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”  (Psa 34:7; NKJV).

God’s army of angels is innumerable…it cannot be calculated.

 “…many angels around the throne…and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands…” (REV 5:11; NKJV)

These mighty angels rejoice when even one sinner repents…and it doesn’t stop there.  They are not idle bystanders.  They are INVOLVED in our salvation.  They are “…ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation…” (Hebrews 1:14).

GOD’s angels serve GOD’s children…consider these examples:

Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego:  “Look!”  Nebuchadnezzar shouted.  “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire.  They aren’t even hurt by the flames!  And the fourth looks like a divine being!” (Daniel 3:25; NLT)

Peter:  “Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter.  The angel tapped him on the side to awaken him and said, ‘Quick!  Get up!’  And the chains fell off his wrists.” (Acts 12:7; NLT)

 We are not alone…not within the Body of Christ.  We have each other and we should rejoice in each other’s spiritual successes and rally around each other in times of need…praying always!  We also have our Father, our Elder Brother, our Comforter…and a host of angels who are watching, engaging, and talking about God’s eternal plan as it unfolds in our lives (Eph 3:10).

Pray to God that our eyes might be opened!  Praise Him in all His glory!

Surviving Storms

Do you trust God?  Our currency has written on it, “In God We Trust.”  But do we trust Him?  It’s easy to say we do, but it’s another to live it and believe it.  It’s easy to raise our hand in Bible class and say, “We should always trust God.”  However, it’s different when you experience a death in the family, or if your child is suffering, or when problems arise in the church.  You wouldn’t think that God’s people would need to be reminded to trust in God, but we do.  God’s people have always needed reminders.  This was true even for the apostles.  In the gospels, we read about the apostles going through a couple of storms.  They would have to trust in God.  We can learn some lessons from these stories as we think about different storms we will face.

Storm #1: Mark 4:35-41.  After a long day of teaching on the sea, Jesus told the apostles to cross to the other side.  Soon after, there arose a fierce (great) wind.  Water began to pour into their boat.  This was no regular storm.  Fear quickly set in the hearts of the apostles.  They cried out to Jesus for help, and He responded, Mark 4:39. It was Jesus who then questioned them about their faith.

Storm #2: Matthew 14:22-33.  After feeding 5,000 people with a boy’s sack lunch, Jesus told His apostles to get into the boat.  While the apostles were in the boat crossing the sea, Jesus spent time in prayer, Matthew 14:23.  By the time Jesus began to cross the sea, His apostles were far ahead of Him.  Instead of Jesus taking a boat to catch up to His apostles, He decided to go on a walk.  It’s here that we find Peter asking Jesus to walk on water, Matthew 14:28-29.  That took some FAITH.  However, as he saw the winds, Peter became fearful, Matthew 14:30.  What can we learn from these stories?

    1. Storms will come.  Life can change from calm to stormy quickly.  Trials don’t make us unique (as one man said).  How we respond to them is what will make us unique.
    2. Storms will reveal our faith.  Trials will reveal what kind of faith we have.  The disciples’ faith was shaken but then strengthened as a result of the storms, Mark 4:41; Matthew 14:33.  Storms can be useful for us as they will help us to draw closer to God.
    3. Know that Jesus cares.  He cared for His apostles, and He cares for us.
    4. Trust the facts and not your feelings.  Always remember God is in control.

The Attacks Of The Devil

The Israelites never saw it coming!  By the time they realized what happened 24,000 souls were dead, Numbers 25:1-2.  Things seemed to be going well for Israel, but all of that would change.  How did this happen?  The devil attacked them.  He used Balaam and Balak to help God’s people to fall, Numbers 31:16.  The devil wants to defeat us, 1 Peter 5:8.  Sexual immorality is just one way that the devil will attempt to beat us.

Let me give you four other tactics that the devil has used against the church in the first century that he will use against us.  Let’s also consider how God’s people overcame those attacks.

    1. FEAR FACTOR:  Satan wanted to silence God’s people from speaking about Jesus, Acts 4:1-4; 5:17-23, 33, 40-42; 7:54-58.
    2. FAKE FACTOR:  Sadly, the devil achieved his mission with two Christians, Ananias, and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-5.  They lied to the Holy Spirit.  They were fakers.  While the devil won a battle, he had not won the war.  The people of God continued in their pursuit of spreading the good news, Acts 5:12-14.  They continued and so did the devil with his attacks.
    3. FUSS FACTOR:  The devil’s opportunity came in Acts 6:1-3.  Some complaints arose.  Certainly, the brethren would devour one another.  However, the devil’s plan didn’t work, Acts 6:7.
    4. FALSE FACTOR:  A controversy in the church occurred regarding salvation, Acts 15:1-11.  Some Jews believed the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved.  The truth prevailed.  God’s people prevailed.  But how did they do it?  Here’s how.

They kept their focus on Jesus.

    1. This is how they overcame the fear factor.  They prayed for boldness to stand firm during persecution, Acts 4:29; 5:40-41.
    2. This is how they overcame the fake factor.  The punishment that Ananias and Sapphira received was death.  Discipline was given.  It had an impact among the brethren, Acts 5:11.  Discipline is necessary today.  Being honest is still necessary today.
    3. This is how they overcame the fuss factor, Acts 6:1-6.  The apostles were concerned about God’s work.  They devised a plan to preserve unity.  It worked!
    4. This is how they overcame the false factor.  They stood on the apostles’ doctrine, Acts2:42. This must be our attitude.  The devil never stops his attack toward God’s people, Luke 4:13.  Therefore, we must always be on the defense.

One Word To Improve Your Marriage

It is one of the great blessings one can enjoy: marriage.  Yes, marriage is a good thing.  Marriage is from God, Genesis 2:23-24.  Marriage is a great blessing, Proverbs 5:15-19;  Ecclesiastes 9:9.   Marriage is to be a life long commitment, Matthew 19:4-6.

Sadly, there are those who are married who would not describe their marriage as a blessing, but instead as a curse.  Unfortunately, many marriages (even in the church) will end up in divorce.  That shouldn’t be.  How can our marriages be the way God wants them to be?  If you had one word to tell a new couple to remember as they begin their marriage, what word would you want them to remember?  Maybe words like “love” or “selfless” or even “forgiveness” come to mind.  Those are all great words and should be a part of every marriage.  But there’s another one I want us to consider: ETERNITY.  Have you thought about how thinking more about eternity will have an impact on our marriages?  As we think about our marriages, we need to be thinking about eternity.  Specifically, we need to remember the following:

Your spouse is made in the image of God.  They too were made in the image of God, Genesis 1:26.  Therefore, they are unique and important in the eyes of God.  This may feel like a “Duh” kind of point, but I think in the process of time we can fail to view our spouses correctly.  We can begin to see our spouses more superficially and fail to focus on the fact that they have a soul.  Remember they are made in God’s image.  Treat them right, Matthew 7:12.

God wants us to help our spouse go to heaven.  A husband and wife should be so concerned about the other because they are made in the image of God, that they will do hard things because they want their spouse to go to heaven, 1 Peter 3:1-7.  The sad reality, however, is that I’ve seen couples not help but rather hinder each other.  How often do you think a husband or wife is thinking about eternity as they contemplate committing adultery, forsaking the assembly, or are filled with bitterness?  Let’s do all we can to help our spouse to go to heaven.

God wants us to be in heaven too.  How we treat our spouses will have spiritual consequences for us, 1 Peter 3:7.  Let’s be wise and remember what’s at stake.  I realize we can’t control our spouses.  We can’t force them to do anything.  A person’s spouse may not do right.  But we can control ourselves.  Even if they aren’t thinking about eternity, we can!  What does God see when He looks at our marriages?  Let’s be sure He sees love, mercy, forgiveness, and us thinking about eternity.

King David: A Real Man

I love King David.  He did so much in his life.  David can teach us many valuable lessons.  He’s also a great reminder about what it means to be a man.  There’s much confusion in our society about the role of men.  What can we learn from David?

    1. David loved the Lord.  That’s what real men will do.  Real men will submit to the true and living God.  David certainly did.  He had faith in God.  He had a relationship with the creator of all things.
    2. David wasn’t afraid to show his emotions.  People today think that a man is a wimp if he shows emotions.  I say that’s silly.  Jesus wept.  David wept.  Read the book of Genesis and see how many times Joseph cried.  Real men have no problem showing their emotions.  David poured his heart out to God, Psalm 32, Psalm 9.
    3. David was a leader.  He solved problems (like defeating Goliath).  He took action when it was needed.  It takes courage to take action.  That’s what we must do.
    4. David was skilled at many things.  He was a musician, a king, a warrior, and tended to the animals.  As men, we need to have a variety of skills.  We need to be knowledgeable when it comes to how things work.
    5. David was not perfect.  However, he was able to own up to his mistakes.  Many (including myself) think about his adultery, his poor decision of numbering the people, and a list of other sins we could mention.  Yet we often miss the fact that David repented of his sinful behavior, Psalm 32 and Psalm 51.  That takes courage.
    6. David was a great friend to Jonathan.  Their relationship would make men today uncomfortable.  They loved one another, 1 Samuel 18:1.  Shame on people who try to change their close friendship and make it some sexual type of relationship.  As men, we need to learn how to be close to one another.
    7. David was a student of God’s word.  He had to make a copy of the Law for himself, Deuteronomy 17:18-20.  He spent time regularly in God’s word.

David was a MAN.  Both young and vintage men need to be reminded of him and learn from him.  Let’s be MEN.

I See This In Jesus

“I see this in Jesus, but do I see it in me?”  That’s a statement I read in a book recently.  It stuck with me.  I’ve been reading through the gospel of Luke this year and have learned a great deal about Jesus.  As His disciples, we are to follow in His footsteps.  I like to share some of the things I have seen in Jesus during my readings.  What I see in Jesus is what I need to see in myself.  It’s what we need to see in ourselves as His people.

    1. I see how Jesus relied upon God’s word when I read Luke 4:1-13.  As the devil tempted Jesus, He responded with “It is written.”  Jesus knew the word.  He believed it to be true.  But do we see this in ourselves?  God’s word is powerful.  We should trust it, believe it, and follow it.
    2. I see how Jesus focused on doing God’s work, Luke 4:42-44.  Jesus knew what His mission was and He would accomplish it, John 17:4-5.  I see an intense focus in the life of Jesus.  Do I see that in myself?  Do we see that in ourselves?
    3. I see how Jesus prepared His disciples to become fishers of men.  In Luke 5:10 it says, “And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”  During His ministry, Jesus prepared His disciples to proclaim the good news, Mark 16:15-16.  Making disciples is what Jesus wanted His apostles to do.  Nothing has changed.  As Christians, Jesus wants us to go and make disciples.  This was the mindset Jesus had.  Is this the mindset we have?
    4. I see how Jesus had compassion toward others.  In Luke 5:12-13, we see where Jesus healed a man who had leprosy.  If you know anything about leprosy, you know how terrible it was.  One who had leprosy would have been an outcast.  Jesus would change this man’s life.  Jesus has had great compassion for humanity by dying on the cross.  This is what I see in Jesus.  However, do I have great compassion and concern for others?   Do we see that in ourselves?
    5. I see how Jesus made time to pray, Luke 5:16.  I’ve only given you one example, but there are many when you go through Luke.  Jesus was busy but never so busy that He didn’t have time to pray.  This is what I see when I look at Jesus.  Do I see this in myself?  Do we see this in ourselves?