Monday, January 23, 2017

"Look and Live"...

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." - John 3:14-15
"So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live." - Numbers 21:9
Let's consider the words of an old gospel song by William A. Ogden today, "I’ve a message from the Lord, hallelujah! This message unto you I’ll give, ’Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah! It is only that you “look and live.” The quality of faith has always been the key to spiritual life with the Lord. It's all settled when we "look and live".
Jesus dealt with a religious leader who was raised with all the legal demands of Pharisaical teaching. His question in verse 9 says it all, "How can these things be?" Nicodemus was so tied to doing that he couldn't understand the simplicity of faith. Jesus took Him back to the moment in Numbers 21 when life was restored by gazing in faith at a bronze serpent. From the days of Moses to those of Jesus, to this day, it's always been the same; a new heart will only come to those who "look and live".
Have you ever turned your eyes to Calvary for forgiveness and new life my friend? And do you exercise that same faith every day by turning your eyes upon Jesus to find strength for the journey? Another old gospel song by Helen H. Lemmel calls to us as well, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace." From the first  moment we turn to Jesus for life to every daily challenge, the life of faith is all wrapped up in these three words, "look and live".

Sunday, January 22, 2017

More Amazing...

"... Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” -- John 2:9-10
You shop for a new car. The salesman treats you like a long lost brother and after your purchase you're lost again. The car you buy is absolutely amazing for a while, then time passes and it's not so amazing anymore. That's how life is: things seem to get less amazing every day. Is there anything that gets more amazing over time?
Our Lord's first miracle tells us so much about his future ministry in our lives. When we first come to the Lord it is so amazing. The sense of peace and joy is overwhelming and we wonder if the feelings will last. But as time passes the peace and joy only grows stronger and deeper. Far from the way of our world, when the Lord does his work, it only gets more amazing over time.
It was best said in Isaiah 55:2, "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare." Choose wisely my friend and look to the Lord for his provision. When he blesses, it only gets more amazing over time.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Share your joy!

"Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus." -- John 1:40-42
I wanted to tell the world the day I got engaged. I also wanted to tell the world the two days that my sons were born. We all have exciting life changing moments that motivate us to tell the good news to as many people as possible. Why do we make such an effort to spread the news? It's because we want everyone to share in our joy. 
When Andrew found the Lord and spent time with him, the very first thing he did was tell his brother. He was excited about finding the long awaited Messiah and he wanted everyone to know. He was overjoyed with his discovery and couldn't keep it to himself. He wanted everyone to share his joy.
Since you came to the knowledge of the Lord how has your life changed? Has the Lord blessed you in tremendous ways? Who have you told about these wonderful things? Why not be an Andrew today and share your joy with everyone?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Waves of Grace...

"For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." - John 1:16
I grew up on eastern Long Island. The ocean was my constant haunt and the beach is to this day my favorite place to relax and reflect. Yesterday I turned 66 and the Atlantic waves have pounded through at least 60 of those years. Yes, sometimes in quiet moments I can hear the crashing surf hammering the shore, one wave followed by the next... wave upon wave.
The works and wonders of God's creation speak to us daily of His amazing grace. This grace is the spectacular gift of God that comes to us in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His grace we are saved (Ephesians 2:8) and by His grace that we are strengthened (2 Corinthians 12:9). On the day I came to Christ His grace came crashing into my life and every day thereafter His grace has hammered the shores of my very soul... grace upon grace.
Are you distressed by the pressures of life my friend? Do you feel overwhelmed by unending demands from every corner? Well, come to the shores of Calvary and be swept away by the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Allow this amazing grace to cast your every sin into its depths (Micah 7:19) and restore your life like a newborn babe (1 Peter 2:2). And if that day has already occurred some time ago, then be refreshed and strengthened by that same grace that saved your soul... let it wash over you, grace upon grace.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What are your priorities?

"Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?" - Luke 5:23
Which is easier... to build a house or a home? To build a house one only needs various building supplies and tools coupled with the right skills. The work can be completed in a few short weeks for anyone to purchase. On the other hand a home takes intangible qualities and innumerable years to achieve. The measure of a Godly home far outshines a well built house.
Likewise, a forgiven soul far outshines a healthy body. To bring healing cost the Lord only a well spoken word, but providing forgiveness cost Him his very life. Consider this; that which is easy lasts but a moment, but that which is hard lasts forever. Yet, we tend to put much more value on that which grows old and easily slips off the scene.
Are you all about the soul or the body my friend? Are your prayers filled with a wide variety of physical needs? Do you spend significant amount of time building the body for good health and looks? That's easy to do, but how committed are you to that which is hard? Jesus made the hard spiritual issue His priority and the easy physical issue secondary. What are your priorities? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Go Deeper...

"And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” - Luke 5:4-5
During the gold rush of the nineteenth century R. U. Darby quit digging for gold and sold his machinery to a junk man. The junk man sought good engineering advice and picked up where Darby left off. The junk man found an abundance of gold just three feet from where Darby quit. Sometimes it pays to go deeper.
Peter and company were tired and discouraged when the Lord asked them to "Put out into the deep". Yet, out of obedient hearts they followed His counsel and let down their nets. As a result "they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking." (Luke 5:6) The Lord always knows when we should press on and when we follow His advice great blessings will come. It pays to go deeper with Jesus.
Have you grown tired in your spiritual digs my friend? Are you weary in your kingdom labors? Has the fruit been minimal and benefits few? Don't give up, just seek the counsel of the Lord and press on with all your might. In His time and by His grace... it will pay to go deeper.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Good News ... Bad News

"And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth... When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath." - Luke 4:22, 28
I grew up in the New York metropolitan area and have been a New York Yankee fan since the days of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. This is not very unique since there are more Yankee fans than anyone could number. There is one characteristic about New York fans that proves to be a tough nut to swallow; when the team wins they're loved and when they lose it's the wrath of Khan!
From the very beginning of His ministry the Lord experienced a similar contrast. When His words were gracious, the crowds loved it and when He spoke convicting truth they were filled with wrath. Such people are still with us today; those who are happy to feel good about themselves but never guilty before God.
When you speak to others about Christ my friend, never hesitate to give the bad news and good news. While many people only want to hear comforting words, without the whole truth hearts will never experience conviction. And without conviction there won't be repentance toward God and faith in Jesus. The Lord always told the whole story and so should we.