Thursday, November 15, 2018

He still weeps ...

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see,  Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept." -- John 11:33-35
The Doctor that delivered my first-born was a believer and a man of great empathy. When we would bring our son to his office with serious pain, Dr. Kolb would receive us with such kindness and understanding. This physician friend was always moved by our sadness and turmoil for our son, and his medical care was marked by his compassion.
The scene before us is so often presented with greater focus on the Lord's message and miracle rather than his incredible empathy. The shortest verse in the Bible may very well be the deepest verse in concept. The creator, sustainer, redeemer and coming King was deeply moved by the sorrow of friends and wept. His message and miracle was marked by his compassion.
Do you ever hesitate to take your sorrows and heartache to Jesus? While you know full well that he has the power to turn your world upside down and inside out, is he really moved by your brokenness? Be assured my friend, Jesus is deeply moved and I believe that He still weeps when his children weep.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Eternally Secure ...

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” -- John 10:27-30
The well known insurance company slogan "You're in good hands with Allstate" has been around since 1950. The original thought originated from the company commitment to the insured individual. The safety and welfare of clients was of utmost importance to Allstate. Where else can we find such security today?
Security is a very significant word that springs from this passage. Jesus wanted to convey to his followers the thought of protection and provision for all eternity. Like sheep who rest in the ever faithful and watchful care of their shepherd, Jesus carries his flock in his powerful, yet gentle hands... hands that were pierced for them.
How is it possible for you to be fearful in the face of eternity? If you belong to the Good Shepherd, you are someone for whom he laid his life down. Since his hands were pierced for you and still took death by the throat in victory, are they not sufficient to hold you firmly forever? Be secure my friend... be eternally secure!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

No record ...

"If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you." -- Psalm 130:3-4
I recently came across my sixth grade report card. Sixth grade wasn't my most stellar year academically. Yet, there it was, a written unchanging record of less than commendable grades. I suppose I could shred it or use it as kindling to start a warm winter fire, but the record still stands. It sure would be nice if some records just didn't exist.
How absolutely amazing, that the Omniscient God of the Universe has no record of his children's sins. With the Lord there is forgiveness and this gracious act is a most comforting and encouraging expression of love. Once forgiven, we'll never find an old time worn record of our sins anywhere. It just doesn't exist.
So, now you're forgiven my friend. What will you do with such a marvelous gift of love as this? Will you live any way that you want or will you strive to serve the Lord, with reverence? We have been forgiven with grace and purpose, live a life worthy of the One who keeps no record of your sins.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Only Today ...

"As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." -- John 9:4
Every morning, Monday through Friday, parkways across this land are jam packed with people headed to work. Then, as evening approaches, those same people make their way back home after a a busy day. While time passes and progress leads to great change, the work day remains much the same. The majority of people work "as long as it is day".
Some have called it the "Puritan Work Ethic", but the idea of working hard was embraced by our Lord long before there were Puritan Divines. He came to do all the work given by the Father in heaven while it was day. He led a focused life of productive effort accomplishing the tasks assigned. The Lord knew that night was coming "when no one can work."
How diligent are you in the work of the Lord? Have you a clear sense of his purpose for your life? Time flies for everyone of us and the night is coming. Will you be able to say that you made the most of the "day" you were given to accomplish the task assigned to you by the Lord? Work hard my friend, because "today" is the only promise you have.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Free Indeed ...

"Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." -- John 8:34-36
Over the years I've ministered to people who have suffered from substance abuse. For a very long time they believe that they are not addicted. They say, "It's just one drink, now and then". I grew up with family members that would have "just one drink, now and then." The truth was they were slaves to alcohol.
It doesn't matter how you package it, when you're addicted, you're a slave. We are sinners by nature and by action, and "everyone who sins is a slave to sin". You can deceive yourself by saying, "It's just one sin, now and then", but you're addicted. Freedom will only come to those who admit their condition and turn to the Son of God to set them free.
Will you stop and be true to yourself my friend? "... A slave has no permanent place in the family of God, but a son belongs to it forever." Sin must be admitted before freedom and a place in the family can be granted. Do you want to continue in life as a slave, or do you want to be "free indeed"?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Divided ...

"Thus the people were divided because of Jesus." -- John 7:43
People are divided for many reasons. Some hold different political views, others have different ethnic backgrounds and still others differ on social issues. There are those who will even fight for their favorite ball team. Still, none of the above can divide the entire human race.
Our verse for thought is factual and profoundly timeless. While no small passing issue can divide everyone for all time, Jesus does. He is the eternal watershed that divides all mankind. This is clearly stated in John 3:18, "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned". There it is; Jesus is the Mason-Dixon Line of history. There are those who believe and those who don't believe. The entire human race is divided because of Jesus.
What about you my friend? You have chosen or will choose to believe or not to believe and your eternal future lies in the balance. This is not a minor issue that you can ignore until it goes away. Every day you check the date on a calendar that is broken at the coming of Christ; B.C. and A.D. As time, so people, some are without Christ and some are with Christ... which are you?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Stuff that spoils...

"Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” -- John 6:26-27
Over the years there has been opposition to McDonald's Happy Meal toys. Some people believe that children only ask for happy meals to get the toy; they don't really care about the food in the box. Just imagine someone being more concerned with a toy that breaks in no time rather than a nourishing meal. Don't work for the stuff that spoils.
Speaking of food, there were numerous people who would follow Jesus anywhere, as long as he fed them. They were all about the momentary pleasure of a full stomach. But Jesus wanted more; he asked that people follow him for eternal reasons that would nourish the soul. He didn't want anyone working for the stuff that spoils.
Why do you follow the Lord my friend? Do you want some blessing in your job or special provision for your future? Are you satisfied with the immediate, and not really interested in the eternal? Jesus counsels every person who shortchanges themselves by seeking the toys of this world. He has so much more to offer... so don't work for the stuff that spoils.