Tag Archives: Jesus

Death at the Hand of God.

Genesis 38

Does God lie in wait to take out evil people like an army sniper? That seems to be the case with Judah’s sons Er and Onan. Scripture is very clear: these were bad men – and God killed them.

So are we to assume this is God’s MO? That if you are bad enough He just mows you down, gives you cancer, or a bullet in your head?

Yes. And no.

God wants us to know death is a part of the curse handed down because of Adam’s sin. God causes death for every human being because all have sinned and the wages of sin is death. But common sense – and life – tells us there are some very evil people in the world living to a ripe old age.

So no, God doesn’t make it a habit of killing sinners, Aren’t you glad? We don’t know why God chose to kill Er and Onan like He did. And He doesn’t owe us an explanation. But what happened to them is not a blueprint for God’s dealing with people.

In fact, Scripture repeatedly shows us how patient God is with us sinners, how quick He is to forgive a repentant heart, how He longs to save whosoever believes. Look at how many chances God gave the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Read in the New Testament what Jesus did for sinners when He went to the cross.

I think the lesson here in Genesis is that all of us will die at the hand of God. Some will die young, others will live to be 100 years old. Our deaths won’t have as much to do with whether or not we were good or bad, as it will have to do with God’s Sovereignty.

Death will end life on Earth for all of us unless Jesus comes back first. That is His Sovereign will.

I see Er and Onan dying in their sin, because I believe had they repented we would be reading about that. That makes me want to warn us all. Because we are going to die.

My prayer is that we will be ready to die by accepting the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus. Your death could come today. My death could come today.

The question is: are we ready?

Why The Tree?

Genesis 1-3

We can question why God placed that tree in the middle of the garden knowing it represented sin and separation from Him, when He created us to fellowship with Him. We could, as some do, accuse God of playing a sinister game with the victims of His creation.

Or we can recognize and be thankful for the fact that He created us with dignity, intelligence, the ability to choose to do the right thing. Yes – He knew given the choice, we would sin. But He didn’t leave us hanging.

He did what needed to be done so that when we do the right thing – when we choose Jesus – He looks at us through the perfection and holiness of His Son.

Right from the start God began painting a picture of His plan to redeem us. He placed a tree in the center of the garden. Then He very clearly said that tree was the difference between life and death. Choose wisely, He warned.

There is another tree in the center of your life. God very clearly tells us it’s the difference between life and death. I’m sure you know that tree is the cross of Jesus. And I want you to hear God’s clear warning:

Choose wisely.

Today is the first day of 2022. I hope you know Jesus as your Savior and have made Him the Lord of your life. But if you haven’t, today would be a great day to do that. Begin this year with a clean slate, a pure heart, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ who died on a cross to save you.

That’s why the tree. Choose wisely.

(I Timothy) The Richest Man In Town

What does God think about the health and wealth/prosperity gospel as preached by the likes of Myer, Copeland, Jakes, Hinn, Robertson, Osteen, etc? In I Timothy 6:2-10 He’s pretty clear. The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit calls it false doctrine, godlessness, and the teachers conceited know-nothings, “whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain.”

He goes on and says some people who crave wealth have actually walked away from the faith. It’s that serious.

Please change the channel. If you are listening to prosperity preachers you are in danger. God is asking you to be content with what you have. Not simply resigned to it, but actually ok with it. Content.

Do you take joy in your relationship with Jesus, or would you find a bit more joy with a heftier bank account? You are in danger if you equate God’s blessings with material gain. Believing there is a correlation between God’s blessings and wealth is believing false doctrine.

Be content.

Now that doesn’t mean don’t work hard. In 2 Thessalonians God, through Paul, makes it clear if you don’t work – you don’t eat. He talks to rich people in 1 Timothy without condemning their wealth.

Be content with what you have. Use what you have – little or much- for the glory of God. The widow gave a few pennies, but Jesus commended her as though she’d dropped a million dollars into the offering plate. (Luke 21)

Besides, if you know Jesus as your Savior, if He is Lord of your life, you are already the richest man in town!

(Acts 16) How Far Are You Willing To Go?

It seems that immediately after the Church leaders made it plain that a Gentile did not have to be circumcised in order to be considered a believer, Paul had Timothy circumcised. Paul had been strongly against the circumcision requirement. So was he being hypocritical when he insisted Timothy be circumcised? What gives?

Well, first off, Timothy was already a believer. He had already accepted the saving work of Jesus by faith. His circumcision was not a step toward salvation. He was already saved.

So why on earth would he go through that painful surgery if he didn’t have to?

Timothy wasn’t circumcised for his own benefit. He did it for the benefit of the Jews who needed to hear the Gospel, and he knew the Jews would not easily accept the word of an uncircumcised man.

Paul and Timothy were picking their battles. It was the Gospel they wanted to preach, not the value or uselessness of circumcision.

Sometimes we get so caught up in little details and opinions that the Gospel isn’t heard. What is more important: what the preacher wears on Sunday morning (and I’m talking to you who prefer suit and tie AND you who prefer jeans and t-shirts), or is it what he says from the pulpit that matters?

Is it more important to hear drums or an organ accompanying the singing, or is the preaching of the Gospel more important? King James, NIV, or the Gospel being explained through the text?

Timothy was willing to go as far as having that surgery to clear the way for the Gospel. How far are you willing to go?

(John 19-21) What About Him?

Do you ever look at the guy down the street and ask, “Why does he have it so easy?” or look at your co-worker and wonder, “Why does she get all the recognition?” Maybe concerning your own hardships you hear yourself pray, “Why me, Lord? What about him?”

Peter was in that boat. Jesus had just described Peter’s future and gave Peter a glimpse at his own death. It wasn’t pretty. So in response Peter pointed to the disciple John and asked Jesus, “What about him?”

Maybe Peter wanted to be sure John didn’t get off easy, or maybe he wanted his own death to be the more impressive of the two. Maybe Peter had genuine concern for his friend John. I don’t know. But I think we all need to hear Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question.

Basically Jesus said, “It’s none of your business.”

When we begin to hear the “why?” questions in our heads we need to hear God tell us the same thing: It’s none of your business. How God works in the lives of other people is totally up to Him and has nothing to do with how He works in ours. God deals with all of us in many different ways, but with a common goal: the salvation of us all.

Do you trust God? Then know that however He is dealing with the guy down the street, that co-worker, or you, is done by a loving, compassionate God who just wants each of us to come to Him, to accept what Jesus died to provide – the eternal salvation of our souls.

Don’t waste time worrying about what that looks like in anyone’s life but your own. The “what about him?” question is none of your business.

(John 15-18) In Jesus’ Name

Do you end your prayers with the words, “In Jesus’ name?” I do. It’s the way I was taught to pray. But I don’t always give it a lot of thought.

Love ya. See ya later, alligator.

Here Jesus tells us why we should pray “in His Name.” In fact, He says if we do, we will get what we pray for.

Abracadabra!

Is praying in Jesus’ name the magic words to getting what we want? On the surface, it would appear so.

Then why am I still overweight?

If I pray in Jesus’ name, why am I not receiving what I’m praying for? My CSB Apologetics Study Bible (Holman Bible Publishers; 2017) says this on page 1332:

“‘In my name,’ corresponds to ‘according to my character’ and that is parallel to other texts that require us to leave room for God’s will to overrule ours.”

So when I pray in Jesus’ name I have to ask myself if what I am praying for is according to His character.

“Dear God, take away COVID.” Am I asking God to take away society’s deserved punishment for rejecting Him? I don’t know why this virus exists. But judgment is part of His holy character.

“Dear God, let me win the lottery.” Is greed or material wealth part of Jesus’ character?

God’s character is holy, just, loving, compassionate… Do I form my prayers according to His character? Praying in Jesus’ name isn’t merely tagging on a few words at the end. It’s adopting the mind of Christ, focusing on His character before we utter a word.

It’s praying, “Not my will but Thine be done,” and meaning it, trusting His character to do all things well.

In Jesus’ name.

(John 6:47-59) Eat Your Fill

I bet you think I’m talking about Thanksgiving dinner, right? Wrong. In fact, my thoughts today might cause you to lose your appetite all together.

I gotta be honest. Jesus’ words revealing Himself as the Bread of Life is gross. If a person didn’t know how often Jesus used metaphors and spoke in parables, they would be right to be disgusted by Jesus’ words in this passage. Be warned, my friend, before you turn to John 6.

But Jesus is not talking about cannibalism. He is not inviting anyone to gnaw on his physical flesh or drink the blood running through His veins here. It is true, however, that people who feed on Him will live forever.

Confused much?

Think about what Jesus is saying while using His body as an example. Being a Jesus-follower isn’t merely a nod at His diety, or acknowledging He is the Savior. Christianity isn’t merely a set of rules to follow, although obedience is certainly proof of being a Christian.

Jesus’ example of eating His flesh and drinking His blood tells me there is something uniquely different about being His. It’s an all-in, total transformation from the inside out. Here’s the correlation: when we eat and drink physical food and water, it enters our bodies and becomes nutrients, calories, energy and makes us healthy and strong. Eating and drinking sustains life.

And that’s what Jesus want to do in us. When we “take Him in,” He becomes our energy, strength, and spiritual health that will help us in this life and take us into eternity. He will transform us from weak, sinful people, into strong and healthy eternal individuals. It’s not about these rundown flesh and blood bodies. It’s about our spirits and souls.

When we ask Jesus to come “into our hearts,” we are asking Him to fill us completely, to become in us what we need for living today and forever. Just like food does for our bodies, Jesus does for our souls.

And Jesus isn’t talking about an occasional taste here. A nibble of food now and then isn’t enough to sustain a physical body. Neither is an occasional connection with Jesus. Read these verses. Jesus is talking about gorging ourselves on Him!

Take a bite. Read His Word. Take another bite and put your trust in Him. Eat some more by spending time with Him, growing in your knowledge and love of Him, allowing Him to transform you, strengthen you, direct your steps so that you look more and more like the One who fills you to overflowing.

Eat your fill. Then eat some more. You can’t get too much Jesus in you!

(The Book of Luke) Meet Your Savior

What does it mean to me that Jesus rose from the grave, that he died, was buried, and lived again? What does it say that many people who witnessed his very public death, watched his body placed in a tomb, then days later sat and talked with him, touched his flesh, saw the nail prints in His hands?

To me, it’s the difference between holding to a belief system, and holding to the Truth. If Jesus died and rose again, I can only bow to His power and proclaim, “He is God.” If He can do that, I can know His Words are true, said with authority no one else has.

I don’t have to hope I know the Truth. He is the Truth. If I see Him through eyes of faith, I see the Father. If I confess my sin He is faithful to forgive. If He tells me He’s preparing a place for me in eternity, I can know that’s exactly what He’s doing.

If you have doubt about the God/man Jesus, I challenge you to read Luke’s Gospel with the determination to hear the Truth. If you read it hoping to reenforce your skepticism, you’ll miss what God wants you to know. Put your doubt aside. Read it assuming it’s true, rather than assuming it’s false.

And meet your Savior.

(Luke 21) Mind-Numbing

Jesus, talking about what was and is to come, said something that has me thinking. Verse 34 says:

Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly like a trap.

I get the carousing and drunkenness. Alcohol dulls the senses, muddles the brain. Someone in that state is physically unable to focus because of the drug in his system. But why would Jesus put worry in the same mind-numbing category?

Do you think our society is plagued with worry? It seems people worry about COVID, whether or not someone is vaccinated, racial issues, the economy, the very future of our society. There are still people who refuse to leave their homes because of worry.

Some of the things people worry about are real, others are imagined or exaggerated. But Jesus doesn’t make that distinction here, does He? It appears He believes any worry is as mind-numbing as alcohol.

Sitting here and going over this in my mind, I am beginning to see the implication here. If we worry, we’re not thinking clearly. If we worry, it’s hard to focus on anything else. If we worry, our minds are on ourselves and our situation. And if that’s true – our minds cannot be on God.

Now here’s where I see worry like drunkenness. One drink or one moment of worry can be controlled. We put the bottle down, or we change our thinking. The second drink makes it harder to resist a third. A second moment of worry makes it harder not to continue to worry. And when drunkenness or worry overtakes us, our minds are numb to the things of God.

Verse 36:

But be alert at all times, praying…

You can’t be alert with alcohol in your system. I get that. What stands out to me today is the idea that worry has the same effect.

God has a lot to say about worry in His Word. If you are one who struggles, let me suggest that you get out a concordance, or Google “Bible verses about worry,” and let God encourage you.

Be alert. And pray.

(Luke 12) Given Much

I’ve heard it said that people who haven’t heard the Gospel will be judged less severely than those who hear and reject it. I’ve even heard it said people who never hear about Jesus will get a free pass. And often, the people who believe that will use 12:48 as the basis for their belief. But is that what Jesus was saying here?

We need to ask ourselves about whom Jesus is speaking – and to whom he is saying it. Is He referring to saved and unsaved people? If you go back to verse 41 and read this whole section, you’ll see He is referring to believers. He’s talking about servants, managers, which begs the question – whose servants are they and whose property do they manage?

This message is for His disciples, those who have been given much!

We who are believers, students, servants of God, will be accountable for more when He returns. The longer I walk with Him, the sweeter the walk, and the more responsibility I have as His child.

You don’t hold a first grader accountable for passing a twelfth grade exit exam, and you don’t reward a twelfth grader for knowing only what a first grader knows. And, yes, God punishes both for not knowing what they are given at their level of understanding.

So don’t use this verse as an excuse for not supporting missions or evangelistic efforts, thinking people would be better off if they never hear about Jesus. The truth is, Jesus is still the only way to the Father.

And you will be held accountable for what you do about that with the knowledge you have received. If you are a believer and have dealt with your own sin at the foot of the cross, you’ve already been given much!