Monday, March 31, 2008

Peace Be With You

John 20:19-23 Peace Be With You

20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together and locked the doors of the place because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20:20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 20:22 And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 20:23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.” NetBible

The first thing that Jesus says to the disciples is “Peace be with you.” He says it again once they recognized Him. When He comes into our lives He brings His peace to our hearts, an understanding that we have found our place in Him. Who we are and why we are here is understood. The meaning of life is revealed. The disciples rejoice when they realize that Jesus has returned, overcoming death and bringing promise of new life for all.

“Peace be with you.” He says again before breathing on them the Holy Spirit Who sustains and nurtures that peace that comes from God. Just as He came to the disciples when they were alone and in fear, He comes and is in our midst through the Holy Spirit. The same peace given the disciples then is given to us. He is with us.

“Peace be with you.”

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blinded By The Darkness

2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV)
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 4:4 (MSG)
4 All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won't have to bother believing a Truth they can't see. They're stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we'll ever get.

Blinded by the darkness
Bought and sold in the commerce of the world
Unable to see their plight
Unable to tell darkness from light
They pass by that which saves
Not knowing they choose death over life

Friday, March 28, 2008

The King Is Coming

Luke 19:26-27 (NIV)
26 "He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.
27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me.'"

Jesus tells a parable in which servants are given money to take care of while the master goes away. The master is gone for a long time, but finally returns and looks to each one to see what that servant has done with what has been given. Those that accepted the money and put it to good use were rewarded. There was one though that hid the money and did nothing with it. What was given to that servant was taken away and given to another.

In verse 27, Jesus speaks harsh words of what will come to pass. For those who do not accept the gospel, the gift of forgiveness and salvation, they will be judged by their own actions. They will be viewed as enemies and slain. How we respond to Jesus is a serious matter. It is not just a warm fuzzy thought that makes us feel better, but the one thing we better get right. The King is coming.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


John 16:7-11 (NIV)
7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:
9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;
11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit that was to come after His death and ascension. It is through the witness of that Spirit that the world is confronted with the sin of man and the righteousness of God. They stand in stark contrast to one another. Jesus provides us with the pathway that leads from sin to righteousness. The Holy Spirit helps us to see sin and righteousness from God’s perspective and judgment. We can fall upon the grace of God and believe in Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We can then be assured that we are made righteous before God through what Jesus has done. But He leaves it up to us.

Jesus said He came to save the world, not to condemn it. Those who do not accept Jesus condemn themselves, just as the prince of this world now stands condemned. He will judge each of us based on our response to Him.

The conviction of the Holy Spirit can lead to life or death. Let us choose life with thanksgiving and praise to the One who makes it possible.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New And Living Way

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NKJV)
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

The writer speaks of entering into a new and full relationship with God. When Jesus died on the cross the veil of the temple was ripped from the top to the bottom. No longer was there the barrier to the most holy place. No longer was man separated from the presence of God by sin. God provided a way for us to come to Him, which is our faith in this man named Jesus, the Son of God.

We can step through to a new and living way of life, now and for all eternity, for we enter into the house of God. A temple made with our hands is no longer needed. The temple has been replaced by the body of Christ. We serve a living Lord who lives in us. We are His body on earth until He comes again.

So then let us draw near God by this new and living way and give thanks for what He has done.

Friday, March 21, 2008

So Shall We

Mark 16:1-6 (NKJV)
1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.
2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
3 And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?"
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away--for it was very large.
5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.

Jesus overcame death. He left the tomb. He is risen. He lives. Because He lives we have new life. The stone of the tomb was rolled away and He came out. In the same way, He rolls back the stone of sin in our life that keeps us in the darkness, bound in the chains of death. He calls us to come out to live, to really live in the fullness of life, into the light of the world, who is Jesus.

He who overcame death says that if we believe, put our trust and faith in Him, we will also overcome death. We will be with Him. How can we not believe the One who has already done this, who has demonstrated that He is the Son of God and that all power is His?

He has overcome death
So shall we
He has risen
So shall we
He lives
So shall we
He is with God
So shall we

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Good Life

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG)
22 But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments,
23 not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way.

Many people think that following Jesus means giving up on the good things of life and that being a Christian means no more fun. Just the opposite is true. It is only possible to truly live if we invite the Spirit of God to break down the barriers erected by the self centered heart, to heal our wounds, and to open our hearts to God and each other.

Not accepting Jesus means never knowing the good life. It is like having an empty jar of honey and thinking that the jar is pretty neat. Having a taste of honey changes everything.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Who Do You Look Like?

Luke 20:21-25 (NKJV)
21 Then they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:
22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, "Why do you test Me?
24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?" They answered and said, "Caesar's."
25 And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Jesus answered those who tried to trap Him into saying something they could use to bring charges of sedition against Him to the Roman authorities. Jesus used this opportunity to confound those conspiring against Him and to speak to us today.

The question is whose image do we reflect in our lives? Those who have placed their trust and belief in Jesus have become children of God. We are sealed in His love by the Holy Spirit. We are given new life and lives as a gift from God. We become God’s own and owe everything to Him. It can be easy to lose sight of this and have Jesus ask the question of us, “Why do you test Me?”

Let us be reminded of how we should live in response to our loving Father, learning and giving to Him as we should. Whose likeness do you carry?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Delight of Life

Psalms 1:1-2 (NIV)
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

There is a way to live that is right, that rises above the base nature and futility of man’s thinking. His Word is for this purpose. The psalmist speaks of the blessings that arise from walking in the way of the Lord. One of the blessings is the peace that comes as a result of seeking after the things of God. We don’t always get it right, we often fall short, but we have the Lord Himself helping and guiding us on our way. His love will overcome all things.

There are many who belittle belief in something bigger than themselves. They do not realize that view is keeping them small. They miss out on the delight of life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Where Are You Looking?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
18 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.

Perspective makes all the difference in our lives. We give meaning to events and react to those events based on what we believe. Understanding the big picture gives us the big picture view. Knowing that true reality rests in the unseen eternal life of our Father strengthens our hearts and allows peace to exist in the midst of struggle and uncertainty. We are renewed by His Spirit that allows us to look beyond the moment to that which is to come.

May our peace rest in Him.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Veil

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NIV)
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NIV)
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

His light shines on us whether we believe or not. The non-believer experiences the light like a stone. The light shines on that person with no effect. The light does not reach the heart, but bounces off the surface.

But something totally different happens for the believer. It penetrates to the inner man, reaching into the heart. When we turn to that light and receive the Spirit, we begin to transform. As we become more like Him, we increasingly reflect that light. We become the light of the world as we reflect the Lord’s glory. We gain freedom in the Spirit. We are no longer facing death, but are growing in life and light. We are free to come into the presence of God because of His Spirit within us.

Lord, help me to reflect Your light so that others might see You.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Moses and Jesus Parallels 2

Exodus 1:15-17 (NIV)
15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah,
16 "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live."
17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.

Matthew 2:16 (NIV)
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Parallels between Jesus and Moses:
Both faced a decree of death as infants by the rulers at the time. Fear was the motivating factor. The king of Egypt feared the increasing number of Israelites in his kingdom might pose a threat to stability of the nation. Herod feared the loss of his power with the prospect of a new king being born.

As it came to pass, the two kings had reason to fear. Moses eventually led the Israel out of Egypt. Jesus brought a different kind of kingdom to this earth that does overcome the world and removes the power of death. He will come again to take us out of this fallen world and bring us to new land just as Moses did for the Israelites long ago. All this is done by the power and plan of God.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Everyone Who Calls

Romans 10:12-13 (NIV)
12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

The new covenant made available by Jesus calls for faith in Him, and through that faith the saving grace of God is extended to all who call upon His name. God is no longer to be considered the God of the Jews only, but for everyone. He gave His Son for the whole world. We can all be sons and daughters of the one God, our Father in heaven.

He will richly bless those who call upon His name
And they will be saved

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Until I Went Into The Sanctuary

Psalms 73:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence.

Psalms 73:16 (NKJV)
16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me--

Psalms 73:17-18 (NKJV)
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.

Psalms 73:23-26 (NKJV)
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Sometimes we might wonder and question the benefit of following God. How is it that those who do not profess God, or openly deride such belief, prosper? Why do we often struggle? This psalmist speaks to that question, of his own questioning. He says he struggled with that issue until he went into the sanctuary of God. Then he understood the bigger picture.

God is with us. Life is not about the glitter and trinkets of this world, but seeking after God and the glory that is to come. The sanctuary of God is His presence in our hearts, for we are living temples of the living God. His dwelling in us brings His strength and counsel in the midst of our weakness. His life brings life to us. That is our portion forever.

The more we enter that sanctuary in reverence and awe, the more we will feel His hand and hear His voice, and the more we will understand. He is near. Enter where He is.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Moses and Jesus 1

Exodus 1:8 (NKJV)
8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

Exodus 1:11 (NKJV)
11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.

Luke 2:1-5 (NKJV)
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

I was looking through John Hagee’s book, “Beginning of the End”, the other day. In it he lists 27 distinct parallels between Jesus and Moses. Moses is seen as a “type” prophet who foreshadows Jesus. This is an example of how the OT informs us and is part of God’s revelation to us today.

The first parallel finds both Moses and Jesus coming to the Israelites at a time when they were under foreign rule. When Moses came, the Israelites were in Egypt and were viewed with distain and suspicion. Jesus found Israel under the dominion of the Romans.

When Jesus comes again He will find us likewise in a world under the dominion of sin. Scriptures say He will lead us out of this world into a new place, a restored earth.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Based On Knowledge

Romans 10:2 (NIV)
2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

Being passionate can be a good thing, but only if it is the right thing. Even then, one can miss the mark. Paul speaks of his brethren, the Israelites. Their fervor for God was without question, but they were off the mark on how to seek and please God. Paul says that their efforts were not based on knowledge. The knowledge he speaks of is what God desires as revealed by Jesus.

We won’t understand it all perfectly, but we know that the One we worship is the source of all truth. Truth is relative only in the sense of our relating to the One that is Truth. If we base our thinking on anything other His revelation, then we are in danger of being misguided in our seeking.

May our prayer be to humble ourselves and to seek God. May He grant us the wisdom and peace we seek.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

He Is Not Far

Acts 17:26-28 (NIV)
26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
28 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

The very fabric of our existence is God Himself, for in Him we live and move and have our being. Accepting or denying this understanding does not alter the reality of God. It does not change the truth of the matter, but it does affect how we live. All creation contains clues to His handiwork, all moments have within them the opportunity for seeing and knowing God.

The purpose of life here is that we might seek God. He is not far but may be too close to see. Reach out. You may find Him in those ordinary things around you, things you take for granted, or don’t usually see. He is not far.