Today’s reading is Acts 21: 1-15 Paul knows what is going to happen. In many ways, he is modeling what Jesus did. Jesus knew that He was to go to the cross. He knew what was to happen. He was … Continue reading
Today’s reading is Acts 18: 18-23 Paul was always moving. Never sat still. Always had a mission. Always “up to something” if you will. He was driven. He had a fire within his bones to tell folks about Jesus. Man, what … Continue reading
What do you delight in, in life? What is it, in life, that is truly beautiful? That is truly good? That truly gives life and purpose? Our world spins ever so quickly, it seems doesn’t it? There needs to be … Continue reading
I am currently teaching a Bible Study at St. Matthew’s on Tuesday afternoon. We’ve walked through the book of Judges earlier but right now we are looking at some of our favorite Psalms. I mention it every so often, but … Continue reading
Today in Luke 10: 17-19, we see Jesus’ disciples return from a mission with much success. And we see they, as well as Jesus, celebrate what happens. But, we see that Jesus tells them not to lose focus on what … Continue reading
The Gospel calls us to do things, that seem very counterintuitive. Things that do not make much sense in this world, in this culture. We are told in our world that we are what matters. That our plans, our goals, … Continue reading
One of the constant reminders of our faith, truths about our faith is this. Where is it that our strength comes from? 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31 today tells us exactly where that is:
26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’
Paul is speaking here to early believers, that were not powerful or wealthy, or had any status at all. He’s telling them, remember, God will take the weak, so that when they boast, they have to boast in the Lord.
God will take the humble, the small, the insignificant and use them. He will use them, so that when they win the battle, there can be no doubt. The victory is because of the Lord.
I once heard a Rabbi say the reason why God chose the nation of Israel in the Old Testament was because He could not find a more insignificant people. That way, with every battle, He would have to the receive the glory.
Look at what the text says in verse 30 – He (God) is the source of your life in Jesus Christ. In other words, our life, our hope, our everything, they are in Jesus Christ. Jesus is our all in all. If we have Him, we have all that we need. If we do not have Him, we have nothing.
Jesus is our life. With Him, there is peace in the storm, there is sense in the madness, there is purpose, there is life.
Without Him, we could have everything, but in the end, have nothing.
Jesus is life. Really. He is. He is life.
And we know Jesus because God has called us to Himself. He is the source of it all. All that is good, all that is pure, all that is life.
It comes from God. That is where life comes from. It all comes from God. And as long as we remember where our life comes from, we will have the joy that comes from that life.
Today, remember where life comes from!
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John the Baptist is one of the coolest characters in all the Bible to me. One of the reasons why is because when you read his story, he has such courage. Man oh man, he’s not afraid of anything. He says what he needs to say, sometimes in a VERY bold way, and he does what he needs to do.
He said what he said, wore what he wore, did what he did with great courage.
You ever wonder what his secret was?
What was it that he had that gave him such courage? Well, when we read his story, this is what we see. We see that he knew that he had one job in life, and that was to point to Jesus. Everything he did was for that purpose. He did in everywhere and in every way.
He pointed to Jesus. And was the source of his courage. He knew that if he did what he was supposed to do, that was his purpose. And all would flow from that. Listen to what happens today in John 3: 27-30:
27 John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Here’s John, who is a big deal, has people coming from everywhere to hear him preach. Folks are talking to him, saying are you the messiah? Are you the one that is to come?
And John says – no! I am not the one. I am a friend of the one. I point to the one. But I am not the one. And then he says that great statement in verse 30 – He must increase, but I am must decrease.
Wow. That’s a tough thing to say, isn’t it. Jesus must decrease. We’re good with that one. That one’s cool.
But I must decrease. I’m not so sure about that one. I’m not sure that I want to decrease. That’s tough.
But John knew that he had to. He knew his life was not his own, but it was Jesus’. And the only way that he would be able to find true life was to decrease. Because living for himself would never lead to life. Living for Jesus would lead to true life. Now, and for all eternity.
He had to decrease. Jesus had to increase. That’s the secret. That was where his courage, his purpose, his life came from. He knew that if increased and Jesus decreased, he’d never find life. But, if he did all that he could do to point to Jesus and point others to Jesus, he’d fine life. And that life leads to courage.
Today, how about us? We were made for that very purpose. To point others to Jesus.
Today, may we live out our purpose. And if we do that, we will find the courage that we desperately need. Today, may He increase and we decrease.
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I’ve been trying something recently. I read somewhere that one of the reasons that we get tired in the afternoon hours of the day is because we are dehydrated. So, what I’ve been doing is drinking more water, especially in that afternoon time. See, what I used to do was just drink more coffee, that’s kind of my answer to everything – more coffee. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
So I’ve been drinking more water, and you know what? I think it’s working. I was thirsty, but I didn’t really even realize it. Drinking that water has helped me feel better and have more energy. And I didn’t even know that I needed it.
Listen to what it says today in Psalm 84: 1-4:
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.Selah
I love that verse – my soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord. Our souls are thirsty for God. Our souls long for that communion with God, that worship of God. That’s what we are made for; that’s what we are created for. To know God. To love God. To worship God. To be in relationship with God.
That’s our purpose. That’s what we are made for.
But here’s the thing. We get so busy, we don’t realize that we are thirsty for Him. We know something is wrong, we know that we don’t quite feel right, we know that something is off, but we aren’t sure what it is.
What is it is that our souls are thirsty for God. And we have tried so many other things, and nothing satisfies. No work, not pleasure, not status, nothing. We remain thirsty.
Our souls long for God.
But here’s the thing. God desires you, as well. He wants you to be in relationship with Him. He is love, and being love, He desires for you to walk with Him. So, today, if your soul is thirsty, and really, all our souls are thirsty, know that there is living water that will satisfy. Our souls have been crying out, but we may not have realized it.
Today, drench your soul in His grace, His presence, His worship. You are loved, you are valued, you are pursued. Today, we need God. And God desires us.
Today, may we find our strength and our life in Him.
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One of the great blessings in life is to celebrate the ways that God works and moves. Sometimes, in our bid to stay humble, we can forget to give testimony to what God has done. Now, we do want to be careful, making sure that God gets the glory for whatever good happens in life, but we need to stop and realize what God has done.
It says in Revelation 12:11 the devil is defeated by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. In our lives, we should, as often as we can, stop and testify and thank God for what He has done and is doing.
So today in our text, something surprising happens. Listen to what we see in Luke 10: 17-20:
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
But don’t rejoice because of that. Rejoice because your name is written in heaven. We don’t rejoice today because of what we’ve done. Or what God has done through us. We don’t rejoice because of any of these things.
We rejoice because we are His. We rejoice because He has given us life, life now, and life for all eternity. We rejoice because we know the source of our life and our hope.
We rejoice because God has made us His very own.
Our identity is not found in what we do. Our identity is found in who we are. We are His. That’s where our joy comes from.
May we never forget that!
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