Sinmaster (John 8)

We often try to think of ourselves as our own masters.  We have free will, sure.  But the things we do with that free will… they’re things that we’re told to do.

Jesus offers us freedom in serving Him.  It sounds backwards, but that’s the way the world wants us to see it… backwards.  However, Jesus wants us to see things just as they are.  He wants us to know the truth.  And to do that, we must continue in His word.

We can, of course, choose to go “our own way.”  But that’s a deceptive way of saying it, because really it isn’t our own way.  It’s sin’s way.  If we reject Christ, we become slaves to sin.  Sin becomes our master.  All of us have sinned, and allowed sin to have dominion in our lives. 

And sin doesn’t like to let its servants go.  It pulls them deeper and deeper into servitude.  It will let them think they are the master if that’s what it takes to keep them.

If we want true freedom, we must become a servant.  Sounds confusing, but if we want to understand the truth of it then we simply need to continue in His word.  We need to love and obey Christ.  Only then will we know the truth that sets us free.

Daily Bread (John 4)

One of my favorite passages is here in John 4.  Verses 31-34:

Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

We often make it a point to eat at least three meals a day.  We constantly think about what we’re going to do for fun either when we get off of work, or over the weekend.  We save money to buy things that we think we’ll enjoy.  With 168 hours in a week, we think mostly of self fulfillment.  It seems God gets the leftovers, maybe 8 hours if we’re feeling generous.

Leftovers are such humble things,

We would not serve to a guest,

And yet we serve them to our Lord

Who deserves the very best.

We give to Him leftover time,

Stray minutes here and there.

Leftover cash we give to Him,

Such few coins as we can spare.

We give our youth unto the world,

To hatred, lust and strife;

Then in declining years we give

To him the remnant of our life.

-Author Unknown.

Jesus smacked this idea in the face with His life here on earth.  He was sustained by doing the Lord’s work.  We must change our minds and our hearts so that we are sustained by doing His will.

Don’t be fooled by the devil’s schemes.  He wants us to try to get bread out of stones, but we must remember… man lives by every word that proceeds from the Father’s mouth.  True life can only be found in Christ.  We live in Christ by doing the will of the Lord.  It’s how Jesus found His nourishment.

God said in 1 Timothy 5:6 that those who live for pleasure are dead even while they live.  They constantly go to the earthly wells, just like the Samaritan woman did in our John 4 text.  But Jesus pointed out that those wells cannot satisfy.  He said we must drink of the eternal well.  Ever notice how He gave this message twice in this passage?  Both to the Samaritan woman and to the disciples.  It’s the same idea. 

Self service leads to death.  Doing God’s will brings life.

Job 23:12 says I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.  

I’ve mentioned food a few times in this post.  

Is your mouth watering and your belly rumbling from hunger? 

Are you full to the brim from your last meal? 

Are you devouring a gourmet meal right now?

 

feast1

 

I’m speaking of spiritual food.  What portion of His will are you putting on your plate?.

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Taken too lightly (John 3)

Reading over John 3, where Nicodemus speaks with Jesus, it’s almost comical to see the lack of understanding that Nicodemus had.  Jesus said a man must be born again and Nicodemus, a teacher, responds with “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born again!”  And then after Jesus explains it, he again asks “How?”

This idea, as well as many many others in Scripture, seem so easy to interpret.  But we also have a couple thousand years of study to work with.  Nicodemus was hearing this concept for the first time.  He had nothing to work with.

But I wonder, are we as impacted by this as Nicodemus was?  We understand the basic principle, but have we taken it to heart?  I fear we haven’t.  I fear we’ve instead written it off as just another thing we understand, without giving it much thought.

Being born again.

It’s not some cheap cliche.  Jesus didn’t use those.  And it’s not some empty philosophy, Jesus didn’t use that either.  No, what we have here is something of great significance.  Something more significant than whatever you’re likely going to do when you finish reading this post.  More significant by far than this post could hope to be.  This was Jesus saying that a man must no longer be who he is.  And not only that, the man must now be someone new.  And at the same time, he will still be himself.  Now it doesn’t sound so cliche, does it?  Wording it that way makes us think, at least a bit more.

A man by the name of Rich Mullins once cried out to God from the depths of his heart…

“Save me from trendy religion that makes
Cheap cliches out of timeless truths!
Lord save me!  Please, save me!”

May we be saved from trendy religion.  May we read the Holy Writ with a childlike wonder.  May we gaze upon the face of God clearly, without the vail of self-righteous piety that keeps us from recognizing just how small we are, and just how much we need every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Have you been born again?

Get personal(John 1)

I’m noticing already a pattern here in John 1.  Jesus seems to directly work towards revealing what’s on the heart of the one He’s talking to.  While that may not be some earth shattering discovery, it does validate a practice which our culture seems to frown upon.

We’re often told that one must develop a close friendship with someone before dealing with them on personal issues.  That we must bow to impersonal religion that, coincidentally, is mocked by the same people who try to force us into it.  But in many of the examples we see in the Bible, the messenger of Christ was direct and so very personal… even with strangers.

If you study and meditate on the Bible, you will more likely have love and the Word of God on your heart when you deal with people.  And if you have His word on your heart then you have the Words of Life, and you can trust that those Words will work their way into the hearts of men.  You don’t need to always focus on working up some great oration on current events or politics or whatever, you just need to point their heart to Jesus.  And when you give a person directions on how to get to Him, remember that they must start that journey from where they are at.

God’s Word will not return unto Him without serving its purpose.  And He does not place you into people’s lives at a particular time and a particular place without expectation that you will use that exact time and exact place to glorify Him. 

Use His words directly with people. 

Reach into their hearts exactly where you encounter them.

Show them that even in the fleeting moments they are important to you and to God. 

And show them they are important by being personal. 

Don’t dance around the hearts of men, be like Christ and dance with them…