Monday, October 31, 2016

Sent to be a watchman

1The word of the Lord came to me: 2“Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. 5Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. 6But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’
7“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die foratheir sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved. (Ezekiel 33)

Thoughts: Ezekiel spoke to a people who were not listening to his call to repent and come to God.  God came to Ezekiel and told him that he would be like a watchman looking out for danger.  The watchman's responsibility is to tell the people of danger- not to absolutely persuade them that the danger is coming.  Some think that because they are not skilled orators or persuaders, that they have nothing to say to their neighbors.  But as God told Ezekiel- I have appointed you to sound out my message- whether they listen or not.  If watchmen did not warn people, then they were not doing their job.
     We are all sent up on the watchtower.  We can see the danger ahead if we do not start living right.  The danger is not only found in not pleasing our Maker- that should be enough- and would mean we would lose His blessing.  But the other danger is a growth of pride, a growth of immorality, a lack of trust and hope, a growth in selfishness and lack of altruism.  When God is forsaken- generations rebel against each other, distrust, division, and detestation happen.
     Our call is to speak even if no one listens.  We are sent to be watchmen on the wall.  We are sent to speak out.  The radar man at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 saw the Japanese planes coming- and sent the warning in.  But no one listened.  There were some warnings of the 9-1-1 attacks- but no one listened and those who suspected did not sound their warning loud enough.  Our task is to warn people of the dangers we see- and hope & pray they listen.  

Prayer: Lord, when we see wrong, do not let us be silent.  Help us to see and hear what needs to be seen and heard.  Give us grace to do your will.  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sent Where We Go

. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Thoughts: Wherever we go- we are called to be witnesses.  If we stay in our city- we are to be a witness. If we go to the next place over or to the ends of the earth- we are to be a witness (marturos).  The witness doesn't have to be on purpose.  It might be involved with the work or schooling we are doing.  So this week, think of being sent by Christ to wherever you are going.  You are deployed by Him to be an ambassador to those you meet.  

Prayer: Lord, Give me eyes to see an opportunity to witness for you. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Jesus Sends

21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)

Thoughts: Jesus was sent to us.  He came down to our level.  He came to understand who we are, to sympathize.  But He also came to redeem us, heal us, forgive us, teach us how to live and pray.  He pointed us up to the Father.
     It is interesting that Jesus sends with words of peace.  Sending is not the way of worry and the snuffing out of life.  We are sent out of a wish of peace.  The way to have peace is to answer the call of the One who made us, Redeems us, and loves us.  Mark couples this idea of sentness- with words that remind us that nothing will harm us if we do God's will- whether handling snakes or drinking poison.  Those who test such things in the mountain churches find that the snake occasionally will bit, and the poison will hurt. Most of the times these testers are not trying to answer the call to be sent when they do this.  But the message is danger cannot snuff out our lives.  If you want to hve peace in the face of danger and worry- then answer God's call.  There will be heartaches, illness, and problems along the way.
      William Borden was heir of a large fortune, and a graduate of Yale who made a radical conversion to Christ.  He left his world of business, answering a call to be a missionary to the Muslims in Egypt.  But when he got off the boat in Egypt he became gravely ill.  Many wondered if he had wasted his life.  His mother found this in his Bible:
"No Reserve"- when he made the decision to leave business and fortune to go into missions.
"No Retreat"- when his father told him he could not come back to the family business after he left.
"No Regrets"-- when he was dying on his deathbed.
     A sent life is a purposeful and peaceful, non-regretful life.  

Prayer: Lord, Give me grace to answer your call.  Give me grace to have your peace when I do it.  


Friday, October 28, 2016

Christ as Prophet, Priest and King

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come... 5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, (Revelation 1:4,5)

Thoughts: Part of learning Christ is learning what did he do?  Jesus fulfilled in the ultimate way the key offices of prophet, priest, and king.  He is the faithful witness- meaning He speaks on behalf of God, and He speaks faithfully and truthfully.  He did not waiver in His speaking the truth.
He is the priest who frees s from our sins by His blood.  He makes a sacrifice for us- Himself on the cross.  He mediates between God and us by this sacrifice as a good priest would.  He is also the King of kings- the "ruler of the kings of the earth."  There are those who indicate that if they are elected all the problems of the world will be solved.  But Jesus is the ruler of the kings.  Christ's purposes will be achieved.  His will will be done. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your great work.  Thank you that you speak to us, mediate for us, and rule for us.  Give me grace to trust in you.  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Son of Man, Son of God

The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." (Matthew 26:24)

10Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.  (1 John 5:10-13)

Thoughts: Christ is called "the son of Man" and "the Son of God."  These are not two antithetical titles.  Jesus can be both at the same time.  But they tell us about Jesus.
     He is the Son of Man.  He came down to us, suffered for us, knows what it is like to hurt.  He understands us.
      He is the Son of God.  He is the essence of God- the exact representation of His being on earth.  We see God when we see Jesus.  He is one being in two substances- both of the essence of man and of the essence of God.  Jesus, the God-man, is able to sympathize but because He is God can do more than just sympathize.  He is the all loving and all powerful God.  As such, we can pray to Him and trust in Him. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you are both God amd Man.  Thank you that you understand, but also can help.  Have mercy on us.  

Christ our Restorer

5He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.  (Revelation 21:5-7)

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22,23). 

Thoughts: Christ is not only the creator and redeemer- but also the restorer.  In Revelation 21 it speaks of Christ wiping every tear from our eyes.  Then it says that He will make everything new.  He is the Alpha and Omega- the beginning and the end.  Christ is not only the creator but the One who is there at the end- making all things right.  They will be so right that the pains and sins of this life will seem distant and insignificant.  As a woman forgets the pains of labor so that another child is possible, so God will wipe our tears but renew our minds in heaven.  He restores things to the way they should be.  He rewards those whom He made good, granting them peace, and strength.  
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you are the restorer of all things.  Thank you that you are able to set things right- to raise the dead and to give renewed life to all who ask of you.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Learn of Christ Our Savior

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God
our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope ...  (1 Tim. 1:1)

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the
righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious ... (2 Peter 1:1)
while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the
glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ ...  (Titus 2:13)

Thoughts: Long before the last New Testament book was written the title of Jesus became "God our Savior."  It is amazing that a man is described as God.  But it is also very important that this God did not just let us be- but came to save us.
    He came to save us from sin. Sin no longer controls.  Jesus releases us from the power of sin to control us. The cross is a visible symbol and the real power of His sacrifice.  As Isaiah said of the cross, "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
     He came to save us from evil.  He sets us free to do good.  Evil and evil powers no longer have their grip on us.  The image is that the devil and evil has us in its grasp and Christ paid the ransom to set us free.
     He came to save us from hopelessness.  So many live their lives without hope.  Christ gives us a living hope.  He is not just a dead teacher/philosopher, but a living hope.
      He came to save us from meaninglessness and drift.  With Christ there is a reason to live.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you cared enough to come and cared enough to risk your life to save us.  Help us to learn more and more about this, so we may appreciate you more.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Christ the Creator

For by Him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)

In the beginning was the Word.  And the Word was with God and the Word was God.  Through him [Jesus] all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made (John 1:3).

But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all thing, and through whom He made the universe (Hebrews 1:2).

Before Abraham was, I am.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

You are worthy, O Lord [Jesus], to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things adn by your will they exist and were created. (Rev. 4:11)

Thoughts: Sometimes, we can get the wrong view of Jesus- if we only look at Jesus from a shallow perspective and do not dig deeper.  There is an old heresy that is easy to believe (but does not jive with scripture) called modalism.  It is the belief that God the Father made us, then came down to earth as Jesus, and then lives now as the Holy Spirit.  But this is a shallow view.  The trinity idea is that God exists forever before time, during time and after time in three persons- father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Jesus is not simply God squeezed down for 33 years on earth, as if there was no Father when Jesus was on earth.  [Remember at his baptism- The Father's voice; or Jesus' continual prayers to His Father? Or the Spirit's coming down on Jesus at his baptism?].
     If we only look at Jesus the way Hollywood depicts Him- then he is whipped, mocked, and crucified, and teaches us how to live.   But the second person of the Trinity, Jesus was at the Creation- before Abraham.  This is where we have a big disagreement with the Muslims.  Islam sees Jesus as an important example and great prophet- but not as Creator.  The Jesus Seminar "scholars" (like Borg and Crossan) do the same- Jesus is an example, a teacher, but not Creator and not one to be worshiped.  They think the disciples turned the message of Jesus around into this.  But the Gospel writers (like John 1 and the earliest Christian writers showed this was not a slow- evolving turn around, but an easy belief.  Thomas fell at Jesus' feet in worship saying, "My Lord and my God."  The disciples worshiped Him when he calmed the waves and winds (showing His control over creation).  The healings show Jesus could restore creation.  The exorcisms show He has power over evil- restoring creation to good.  Often times after one of these miracles the restored worships Christ. He accepted worship- for He not only believed He was worthy- He WAS AND IS AND WILL BE WORTHY!  Jesus is Jehovah- He is Jehovah (Yahweh- YHWH) in the Flesh.  But HE is Lord of heaven, Lord of earth- Lord of all and as Creator and Redeemer of Creation worthy of worship.  He has the whole world in His hands- He is the Creator, Redeemer, and Restorer of Creation.  He cares about the world and shows that care by coming down into the world; showing He can restore the world; and there is a sense that His death/resurrection was to redeem not just the souls of the elect but His redemption affects all creation- bringing hope, light, and life.
     As the Creator- He is worthy of our worship- our time- our talents- our money- our all.  Everything we have is from Him (Rev. 4:11).  Learn Christ.  Learn that He is more than what we see on the surface, in the paintings, in the skeptical writings.

Prayer: You are Lord of heaven, Lord of earth- for you created all things and are worthy of my worship.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Walk as Jesus Walked

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6 TLT)

Thoughts: To learn Jesus means to learn to live as Jesus did.  To know Jesus means to have such a relationship that you would know what He would say or do and be confident in that knowledge.  It is the skeptic who says this is impossible.  But the believer believes it is not only possible to follow Jesus but to know His path and to believe His teachings in the Gospels.  To believe in Jesus means in some sense to trust in the testimony of the eyewitnesses and Gospel writers of the New Testament.  If we cannot trust the eyewitnesses, would we rather trust modern skeptical scholars who write 2,000 years later?  Christians are called to  be Christ followers- to follow His teachings about love and grace- but also follow His example of turning the other cheek, patience, and humility among other things.  There is always room to learn more and to grow in faith.  As we follow Christ, we grow in our knowledge of Him along His path. 

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to live as you would.    

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Learn and Imitate Christ

And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT)

Thoughts: To learn Christ is to study Him, but also to imitate Him.  We cannot die for all as Christ died, but we can sacrifice for others, and go to be with others as Christ came to be with us.  We do not have to be ministers or full time Christian workers to imitate Christ.  As we follow in His steps, we learn how to live.
    Life is actually short compared to eternity.  In this short life, we have the opportunity to know the infinite angles, infinite beauty, infinite wisdom, infinite grace of Christ.  There is always more to learn, and as we live, facing different circumstances, we learn even more. 

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to know you well.  Give me grace to know your heart and how I should act.  Let me imitate you in my life.  

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ears to Hear

 13This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Matthew 13:13-15)

Thoughts: The beauty of Jesus' use of parables is that it sticks with the hearer.  The hearer may not fully understand al the meanings and nuances- but the basic plot is remembered.  People will not hear because their hearts are hard or calloused.  Jesus wants us to open our hearts to Him so we can see and hear and experience God.  Jesus came so we might hear a Word from God.  He is the incarnate Word- to show us He cares.  

Prayer: Lord, Give me ears to hear.  Help me to point others to hear you too. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ears to Hear

7Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Rev. 2;11)

Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Matthew 11:15; 13:19; 13:43) 

THOUGHTS: Does God speak?  Does the Spirit speak?  People of faith can see things others can't and hear things others cannot.  For example, people of faith see a purpose- a design; hear a calling- a Word of direction and hope.  The enemies of Jesus' day- the Pharisees, Saducees, Herodians and Romans heard Jesus' words- but did not accept them as truth.  The words were valid but they could not listen for their hearts were hard.
      I was watching a football game on TV.  It was a close call.  The announcer said, "It seems to me it was a catch in bounds- and one group of fans will agree with me wholeheartedly. But the other team's fans will argue that it was clearly and without doubt the other way."  As my mother told my aging father who complained of deafness, "You hear what you want to hear."  Our will and our heart help our ears to hear.  God's Spirit awakens us to hear.  If we allow ourselves to wake up and listen we will hear the beautiful music of God- speaking to our hearts; His Word penetrating to our core. 

Prayer: Lord, give me ears to hear- so that I may hear what you have to say to me. 

RCA symbol: "Listening for His Master's Voice" 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

God Listens- We Should Listen

13“ ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty.  (Zechariah 7:13)

Thoughts: Is it right for us to close our ears to God but then expect God to listen to us?  This passage points out the irony of our demanding that God listen but then refusing to listen to our Maker. God cares that we do what is right- and the first thing is to be willing to listen to our Lord.  
     It is important for us to know that if we want God to answer our prayers and listen to our cry; we should also see it is important to listen to God.  

Prayer: Lord, give me a listening heart.  Lord, listen to me with mercy and kindness for the sake and name of Jesus Christ who died for me.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Listen Even If No One Else Does

4He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.5You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”
10And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. 11Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.” (Ezekiel 3)

Thoughts: Ezekiel is told to listen to the Lord.  He is also told to speak to the people for God- whether his hearers listen or not.  We are not called to only get results.  We are always called to please God and be faithful to Him.  In a results oriented, productivity driven culture, it is hard to recognize that being faithful to God sometimes bears little immediate results.  God is saying that He will help his servant be faithful- making him as hard to their sin as they are to God's Word.  We do not need to be afraid even if everyone turns away (like they did in Elijah's day).  Let us always seek to please God.  In the end, human popularity is fickle.  But God and one make a majority.  

Prayer:  Lord, let me value being true and faithful to you.  Help me to listen even if I am the only one doing so.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Listen for God's Blessing

7In your distress you called and I rescued you,
I answered you out of a thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.c
8Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!
9You shall have no foreign god among you;
you shall not worship any god other than me.
10I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11“But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.
12So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices.
13“If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
14how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes! (Psalm 81)

Thoughts: If your theology does not allow for God to answer prayer, then your theology is shallow and your God is both deaf, helpless, and useless.  This is the point of this Psalm.  God listens to our prayers- answers them.  He then invites us over and over to listen to Him in return and then He will bless us.  When we turn away from God- and refuse to listen to His voice and ways- making things up as we go, we forsake God and He promises to forsake us.  Yet God pleads in this Psalm- to please listen.  God holds the carrot out for us- if we will but listen- only listen- He will provide food for us (open wide your mouth and I will fill it- vs. 10); he would subdue their enemies; and they would know in whom they could trust.  But when we refuse to listen out of pride or a desire to make up our own way- God gives us over to our own way.  He allows us to "follow our devices" which leads away from His provision, His protection, and His love.  Listening- harkening, obeying, heeding- are all important ways we acknowledge God as God, and that He has a Word for us to hear.  

Prayer: Lord, give me ears to hear and a heart to respond to you.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quick to Listen

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19)

Thoughts: Listening establishes a relationship.  Listening to others helps establish a relationship to them  Listening to God establishes a relationship with God.  If we did these three things we would be much better off.  Being quick to listen means we are looking for opportunities to listen.  Christians should be experts at listening.  

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to listen to you and others.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Eating with Strangers

1The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,a do not pass your servant by. 4Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahsb of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
7Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said.
10Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” (Genesis 18)

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

Thoughts: Abraham may have thought he was entertaining three strangers, but these were special guests.  They predicted Sarah's pregnancy in a year and also the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for their immorality.  Ezekiel 16 comments on their immorality as consisting of "detestable practices (sexual immorality is often called "detestable practices") but also an unwillingness to help the poor and needy."  Abraham's faith, righteousness and generosity (he gave a tithe to Melchizedek) stand in sharp contrast to Sodom and Gomorrah's skepticism, immorality, and selfishness/lack of hospitality.   From this it is clear that God blesses kindness and hospitality but is unhappy with lack of hospitality.  We are called to welcome, eat with, encourage, and be generous toward others.  

Prayer: Lord, let me see the stranger who needs help and hospitality.  Then give me the grace to be kind to them.  Help me to remember you welcomed me in as a stranger when I could give you nothing in return.   

Friday, October 14, 2016

I'm Going to Your House Today

1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19)

Thoughts: Jesus did not just come to Jericho to be in a parade.  He came to care.  He cared for the sinner Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus was extra despised  as a tax collaborator with the Romans.  He could legally fleece his own people, getting more than required.  Not only did Zacchaeus seek Jesus out, but Jesus sought him out.  Zacchaeus climbed a tree in order to see Jesus.  Jesus went to his house- to be the guest of a sinner.  He was not worried about appearances, but worried about Zacchaeus.  We should not be skeptical about the ability of Jesus to go to anyone and change them.  This is the real power of the Gospel.  It is the welcoming, hospitable, life-changing power.  

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you have come to me.  Help me to show your kind of hospitality to others.  Give me eyes to see others as you see them.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Passover Last Supper

4When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:14-200

Thoughts: Jesus was eager to eat the last supper with his disciples.  The Passover meal was his last meal.  Passover symbolized God's delivering the people of God from the angel of death.  Jesus was about to die as our Passover Lamb (as John the Baptist said of Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." ).
     He also expresses twice that Jesus would eat and drink with us in the kingdom of heaven.  This means Jesus was not losing hope of eating and fellowshipping with them again.  But He knew this would be His last meal on earth.  In heaven, the sins of eating- rushing, inconsideration, over-indulging and endangering our safety will be eliminated.
      Jesus asked them to consider food and the act of eating it as a way to symbolize His presence and love.  Jesus made a new covenant- sealed with his blood- but symbolized by bread and cup.  

Prayer: Lord, we remember you and your deliverance. After we are delivered from this life, we look forward to eating and drinking with you in heaven.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Devoted to Good Eating

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)

Thoughts: In the church today we see the need to devote ourselves to teaching, to fellowship, and to prayer.  Perhaps we have been a little too silent and lazy in prayer, but even then, we recognize we ought to pray.  But what we miss is the need to eat and even be together.  We can listen to teaching remotely- but we can't break bread together without being together.  The early Christians knew that we ought not to be isolated believers- we need each other.
    Breaking bread together is a shared experience.  It is also how we experience Christ (Luke 24:30,31).  Jesus told us to remember him when we break bread- and this is not simply in the Lord's Supper.
     The spiritual significance of eating is not lost on Jesus.  He tells us to pray in His daily prayer that we are called to know- "Give us this day our daily bread."  God is the provider for us.  But the word "us" is often overlooked.  It is not give "ME" this day.  Bread is given to us together to be taken together.  The one miracle recorded in all four gospels is the feeding of the 5,000.  He uses the imagery of eating to describe Himself- "I am the bread of life."  "I am the living water."  We are called to partake of Christ- to take Him into our lives. We are to do this not merely individually- but together.
    The church is a family that is called to eat together.  Many see the need for family meals together.  It is no different for the church.  In eating there is communication, and a shared experience.  

Prayer: Lord,  be known to us in the breaking of bread.  Provide for us, and help us to lead grateful lives.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eating and Drinking with Jesus in Heaven

In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven's Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. (Isaiah 25:6)

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." (Luke 14:15)

29I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Mathew 26:29)

Thoughts: Jesus speaks of our eating and drinking with Him in heaven.  In heaven we can enjoy our fellowship with God- eating and drinking with Him- but without any problems that are associated with eating and drinking (no diabetes, digestive problems, anything that would threaten our lives).  In heaven the pleasures of earth do not go away, but become real and the desire to distort these pleasures with sin is gone. The symbol of the joy and satisfaction of Jesus is found in eating.  Food and the ability to eat it is a gift of God that is ultimately fulfilled in heaven where there will be no food shortages nor problems with enjoying this gift of God.  When God placed humans on earth they were in a garden with abundant food.  In heaven the tree of life and the fruits that never die live.  In other words, all our needs are met- but also our good pleasures are fulfilled. 

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to enjoy the gift of eating here, but also look forward to eating with you in heaven.  

... And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the
marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true ...  (Rev. 19:9)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Open to sup with Jesus

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

Thoughts: Jesus wants to come into our lives- into our souls.  He stands outside of us and asks us politely to let him in.  His grace is that He is there and inviting us to invite Him.  If we open our hearts to Him, He will come in and fellowship with us- eat with us, and we will fellowship with Him.
      The fellowship and oneness here is described as eating together.  To be able to eat with Jesus- to know Him personally and intimately is described here.  Almighty God wants to love us and have us love Him back.  he describes this as eating together.
     So this week we seek to eat together with another- to break bread and share lives together.  

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to respond to you and let you in. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Eating with Others

33For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” 

Thoughts: Jesus was for all people.  He wanted all people to know Him.  He did not care about castes or labels.  He would purposefully eat and drink with those who did not have great reputations.  Jesus did not care about being politically correct in the eyes of the cultural elite.  Instead He cared about loving others and pleasing God.  He knew that the esteem of people is hard to please.  John the Baptist was popular but was seen as two ascetic.  Jesus was popular but was seen as too loosey- goosey.  Jesus just wanted to love others- no matter what their reputation. In fact, he often said those who have been forgiven much love much.  So Jesus reached out to those who needed much forgiveness.  

Prayer: Lord, give me a heart for those who need you.  Give me opportunities to eat and drink with others who need you too.