Things we Leave Behind

 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.

Matthew 25:13-14 ESV

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One day all of us will take a journey. We will finish our final 24 hours on this planet and go to stand before the Lord. On an earthly journey there are some things we need to do to get ready. We might need to draw money from the bank, pack our suitcases and fill up the car with gas. In our preparations whether we know it or not we are making two decisions: what will we take with us and what will we leave behind.

In the same way we need to prepare for our heavenly departure. Jesus told us to be watchful because we cannot know the day of His return. For some that will be the day He splits the skies and descends from the clouds and for others it will be the moment in God’s calendar when we depart to be with Him. Whichever way we meet Him there are some things we must do today to get ready.

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First into your suitcase be sure to pack faith. Faith is God’s first gift and – Without faith it is impossible to please Him… Hebrews 11:6 But to travel with your faith you will discover that fear is taking up so much space inside your bag that one must be left behind.

 

Next we must be sure to find a place for hope. Hope is the gift that God gives us after faith and it gives us strength to keep going through all the weary miles of life. But to find room for hope we have to allow God to unpack our shame and leave it at the foot of the cross. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts … Romans 5:5

 

Last always remember to never leave love behind. The entire reason for our journey is not because God needs more servants to get stuff done in heaven, but because He wants children on whom He can lavish His amazing love forever! So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love 1 Corinthians 13:13

 

The Sweetest Name

While the song says, “Jesus is the Sweetest Name I know” in everyday life people respond most when you call their name. This was never more evident than the day Jesus rose from the grave.

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if  You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  John 20:16

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Mary never recognized who Jesus was until he used her name. In the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” one of the turning points in the relationship between Toula (played by Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett)  is when he suddenly realizes that he has met her before. “I remember you!” Ian exclaims. She is both flattered and embarrassed. On one hand she hoped he wouldn’t remember because she had tried to leave that part of her life behind. But on the other hand she discovers that she is loved not for who she is trying to be but for who she really is.

 

We need to remember names in a world that increasingly denies people’s eternal worth all the while demanding that they produce results that satisfy temporary needs. While Jesus always remembers our names it is a lot harder for many of us to do that sometimes even for our children or grandkids.

 

Ask the Holy Spirit today to help you and begin to greet by name, your neighbor, your cashier at the store or the nurse at your medical clinic. The moment their name leaves your lips watch how they turn to look at you and smile. With their name you’ve opened a door; next ask God how to go through it

A Seat at the Table

And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”  Luke 7:37-39

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When Simon invited Jesus to his house that day he thought that Jesus would be delighted to come. Though Simon wasn’t one of those plotting to kill Jesus, he was uncomfortable with His teaching and wanted to have a chance to question Jesus personally. Jesus accepted the invitation because He wanted to answer Simon’s questions, just not in the way that Simon had expected! Simon thought that he the situation under control, till that sinful woman entered and began washing Jesus’ feet. Simon couldn’t understand. A humble repentant faith was foreign to him. His faith meant obeying all the rules and regulations then feeling good about himself. But faith is more than just giving Jesus a seat at our table. Faith is seeing ourselves for who we are because we have seen Him for who He truly is! Think of what Simon missed. He had given no water, no oil, no kiss, in all the time that Jesus sat at his table. What chances will you and I miss today if we find only what we are looking for and not what He has planned?

But Then Face to Face

For now we see in a mirror dimly

But then face to face

Now I know in part

Then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three

But the greatest of these is love    1 Corinthians 13:12-13

The Bible tells us that now we see things in a way that resembles a dim reflection in a mirror. In Paul’s day it was common to use a polished bronze plate with a handle as a mirror. The reflection was both a little distorted and colored by the metal. The image was more or less true but still just a partial reflection of the true face.

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In Paul’s letter he is comparing that partial vision we have now, to the day when we will see face to face. Importantly, Paul does not say we are seeing a false image, simply a partial one. As Christians we see the general outline and some of the details, but one day we will see the full and perfect reality just as God does.

So how does God expect us to live since we have such a dim vision as we battle through today? Paul reminds us that while we do not yet see things as God does, we are left with three imperishable treasures: Faith, Hope and Love. When our mirror reflects dimly and we do not understand the trials and difficulties of today, Paul reminds us that God has given us faith to face them. When people or things we have always counted on change or worse, seem to fail, Paul tells us that God has provided an eternal Hope that will never fade. For moments, hours or even years when we battle rejection, mistreatment and physical or spiritual attack, he brings to memory the love, that bears it all, believes always and endures to the day of Jesus Christ. We see  today just a pale dim reflection, but one day we will see it all perfectly, just as God sees us now. We will understand it all then, but now we live by faith. We will possess the promises in their fullness then, but now we put all our hope in the God of those promises. We will be received into the loving arms of our Father on the day we pass through heaven’s door, but for now whether we are honored or despised, praised or criticized, accepted or hated, we stand by the love of God. He loved us and sent His only Son for us that when we believe in Jesus Christ we receive the reality of that greatest gift of all: the love of God!

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure            1 John 3:2-3

 

 

Mr. Nice Guy & Jesus Christ

“Jesus didn’t just die for nice people to make them even nicer…”         Pastor Steve BrownP1010180

A friend of mine once said, “I believe there are only two kinds of people in the world, good people and bad people” I replied. “But we don’t believe that at all. We believe we are all bad people but God can forgive us.”

“You’re trying to convert me!” she responded with a smile.

“Oh, yes I am ” I replied

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, the Bible tells us that Jesus took bread and wine and shared it among his disciples. He wasn’t doing that because they had all finally arrived at some kind of Holy perfection. In fact, that very night, Peter would deny him, Thomas would doubt him and everyone of them would run away and hide.

No Jesus gave us the bread and the cup to remember his death – for us- until He returns. No matter how bad the world gets and no matter the violence we face or deception of religious people who murder innocent lives for their God, Jesus love is still greater. God’s forgiveness is still more powerful. The cross of Jesus Christ will always be greater than anything in heaven or earth!

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.                         Romans 5:8 KJV

Do You Love Me?

John 21:15-18 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

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He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Three things Jesus tells us about His love

Feed my lambs and let me worry about feeding you

Take care of My sheep and I’ll take care of you

Keep leading My sheep to the green pastures and I’ll lead you all the way home!