Saturday, March 17, 2018

Great Upset!

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. John 20:6-7

So, a #16 seed defeated a #1 seed last night in the NCAA basketball tournament, not sure I can top that. I'm being disingenuous of course, every one who believes in Jesus knows the story of how a man beaten, scourged, and crucified got up on the third day, folded his burial handkerchief and came out of his tomb alive. As upsets go, that story cannot be topped, but the great upsets of the Bible go on.

A nation of former slaves was trapped against the Red Sea by an army, well-armed and well-mounted on the best chariots of the day. The former slaves walked across the dried up sea bed between walls of water to freedom and a new life; the army was drowned when they tried to cross behind them.

The star persecutor in the Pharisees was on the way to Damascus to continue his string of victories, when he was stopped by a light shining into his darkness. Paul returned from his defeat by becoming a champion of the Lord's kingdom.

Sports upsets are interesting to us, but they don't hold a candle to the upsets of the Bible. The work of the Lord Jesus Christ has upset many an earthly power, including all of those little sand castles we once trusted in back in our lost sheep days.

Enjoy a happy St. Patrick's Day in Christ Jesus!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Authority and Power

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:1-2

Power and authority: yes, there is a distinction between those two; one might be described as the ability to do a thing while the other is the legal right to do it. Jesus gave to the Twelve both the ability to make a demon or a sickness go away and the legal right to do so. A magician through some sort of arcane spell may gain some power over a demon, perhaps to make it go away or to gain something from it. I have no idea how to do this and don't particularly want to know. On the other hand, unless granted by the sovereign ruler of Creation, that magician has no authority. Power is available in many forms but authority can only come from the top, the reigning authority Himself.

Our government has some authority over us, but none over a tornado. It would be cruel indeed if God had granted authority over tornadoes to each state governor, for example, and not one of them over the years had stopped any of the many tornadoes that have taken life and property from us. Of course, as far as we know, no government has yet achieved power over a tornado either, or maybe it has.

The detonation of a large enough nuclear weapon would most likely vaporize even the largest thunderstorm, the thing that spawns tornadoes. However, the cure would be much worse than the disease. While that power may be sufficient, we the people have not granted to our elected government the authority to wage war on tornadoes with nuclear weapons, and hopefully we the people will never be so foolish.

All this Friday morning babbling of mine about power and authority brings up an important point: we often wish for the power, even in prayer, but don't always ask for or even accept the authority. It sounds a bit strange, I know, but I have noticed this thing in me too. Jesus did not hand out the power without granting the authority, which He being the Son of God always delegated from His own authority granted by God. It may be that the old man of the flesh in me desires the power to do as he pleases, while he fears the authority which would have the power used as God pleases. The reborn spirit of the saint within me, perhaps weary of the constant abuse of power the man of flesh has done, seems to fear both the power and the authority. And thus, I end up accomplishing little for the kingdom of God.

My head is spinning now.

What I need to remember is that God the Father is sovereign and that He has given all authority in Heaven and on Earth to the Son, and what authority the Son has granted to me, He will not have me carry alone. Thank You, dear Lord.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Broken Relationship

Hear, my children, the instruction of a father,
And give attention to know understanding. Proverbs 4:1

Fathers are to instruct their children, and no father is better at that than God our Father. Of course in order to gain that instruction we must pay attention. Unfortunately, we often spend our time seeking attention in place of paying attention. In this age we have so many avenues to gain that attention too.

Sometimes in one or more of these attention-seeking avenues we hear of a stunt so foolish as to cost a person his life, and we are left to wonder where the instruction of a father fell short. Yet, we also understand the desire for attention that led to the foolishness. In the broken relationship that man caused in Eden, we lost that walking with the Father in the cool of an evening that Adam enjoyed. Now, the Father desires our attention in prayer and supplication but He does not always get it. We desire the attention of the Father but do not always realize that we have it. We also desire the attention of those we share this Earth with, and so the quest for attention from us that sometimes goes too far and strays into foolishness.

How much might we learn today if only we would give attention to the Father?


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Comparative Christianity

​They covet fields and take them by violence,
​​Also houses, and seize them.
​​So they oppress a man and his house,
​​A man and his inheritance. Micah 2:2

So, how goes the time change? Cruel question to ask for sure. So cranky was I made by this latest time change that I noticed my brother in Christ had gone and bought the best house in town. I was jealous. "Why not me?" I asked the Lord. Down the street I saw coming out of the jewelry shop a sister from our church and she was fairly dripping with glittery jewels. I was jealous, and I asked of the Lord, "Why not me?" Then almost blowing my knickers off, the scion of our pastor blew by me in his new sports car. "He shouldn't have that," I bellowed covetously toward the Lord's throne, "it should go to me!" Time to change the time back I guess.

Perhaps the example is a bit extreme, but we do have this temptation toward comparative Christian living. We look at those televangelists and some of them do have some nice homes, airplanes, glittery jewels, and other things in their possession. We should thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon a brother or sister in Christ, but we tend to criticize and complain instead. In the test of humbly grateful vs. grumbly hateful we fail. Sometimes we even fall into that horrible covetousness where we not only want the thing, but we don't want our brother or sister to have it.

Paul rejoiced that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstance the Lord sent in his life. Envy and coveting are not content. Those two will constantly compare my circumstance with others and show how short I am, or worse. The worse is to come in ahead by their evil estimation and open the door to pride.

Peace, contentment, kindness, joy, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ are bestowed upon us; let us rejoice in what God has given!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Live Again

If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Job 14:14

Does it feel kind of like that this morning? The appointed time change has come once more and our twice annual self-torture begins again. Why call it a self torture, you may ask? We elected those bananas to serve in Congress, and since all of them serve us so well, it must be a self-inflicted thing, right? Perhaps it is time to remind our elected representatives to serve us and knock off these time changes.

Many a person is asking that question this morning, "If a man die, shall he live again?" Of course those questions are a bit facetious, but it nevertheless is a question Job asked in all seriousness having not yet seen the Redeemer. Our Lord Jesus is our answer to that question and soon we will celebrate again the holiday of His resurrection. If a man die, shall He live again? Yes! And He did it for us. He led the way, He is the way, and He will show us the way.

Great is our Risen Lord!

Friday, March 09, 2018

This Verse

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:12

This verse has caused so many questions throughout the history of the Church. Those same works of my Lord Jesus do not appear to have been done by me thus far in this mortal life. Many a Christian has wondered about this because, a bit of church singing, a little preaching, maybe a few writings here and there, these do not seem to add up to the resume Jesus compiled in just about three years of works done in His ministry, and of course none of us can compare our works with His death on the cross and resurrection. So, where are these same works that I am to do, because I most certainly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Opening the eyes of the blind, making the paralyzed to walk, curing the sick with a touch, and casting out of demons were all done in my Lord's works. I have done none of these things. Even the disciples struggled to perform them and failed at times. And these are just the same works, we haven't attempted the greater works He spoke of yet. Some ministers have excused us by way of saying, 'works greater in extent...' or something like that, but what does that even mean? Others avoid the question. Me, I would like an answer because I see great needs all around me.

Perhaps to begin, one could study how Jesus did His works; by what power and authority did our Lord do what He did?

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works." John 14:10

You see when I attempt to do those works on my own, I try to appropriate the power and authority of God. Jesus did no such thing. I think the key to verse 12 was given to us in verse 10. It is not a failing or shortcoming on my part that I cannot do the works of Jesus and greater works than these; God did the work all along through my Lord Jesus. The greater works are also keyed on what Jesus said, "...because I go to My Father."

I also might want to learn what Jesus considers a greater work. I tend like most of us to think of a number. If Jesus healed three sick people, then I must heal 12 to have a greater work. A simple mathematical sort of equation. However, God is not quite so predictable as I might think, as we have seen in many Bible stories. Jesus told them that he who would be greatest must become the least. Could that mean that a greater work by my Lord's definition might appear to be a lesser by mine? Once more I have raised more questions by attempting an answer!

Pray for guidance for all of us on this great day in the Lord!


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Jesus Chose That Guy?

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37 TNIV

Jesus chose the twelve men who would become His disciples. They are named, and one of the names agreed upon in the gospels is Judas Iscariot. Jesus chose that guy? Yes, the one who would go on to betray our Lord to His death was Judas the traitor. Jesus chose that guy to be one of the twelve, His disciples.

Jesus chose me too, and I cannot claim that my sin was any better or worse than that of Judas. While I am not one of the twelve disciples, being instead toward the other end of a long line of discipleship stretching out almost 2,000 years, my choosing of Him shows that He had chosen me already. You make the same claim and unless you happen to be a previously unknown paragon of virtue from your earliest decisions your sin probably is no better than Judas' either. We, together, make quite the collection of saved sinners and it is all due to our Lord Jesus. Not one of us can claim to have earned our salvation, and not one of us can claim to be better than that guy.

Unless, of course, you want to take up condemnation, and then you may want to review our verse for today. I don't want to be condemned; therefore, I will not condemn that guy, Judas, or that fellow over there, or that young lady on the street, or any other neighbor whom I am to love as myself.

Have a joyful day in Christ, even in those tough times down in Sidney.

Love, Bucky