For This Reason He Was Born

Screenshot (1405)

Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked.  (John 18:35–38, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “What is truth?”  Can you find it on social media?  Can you find it on the internet?  Can you find it in your favored political party?  Can you find it on the network news (you choose the network)?  If you are like me, you treat all of these with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Much that masquerades as the truth is really personal opinion or what the teller wants the truth the be.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a place to go, where no matter what, you would find the truth?  For many people, apparently not.  But there really is such a place.  Jesus said He “came into the world to, to testify to the truth.”  But many want to change His Word to be something else than what it says.  For them, the truth that Jesus testified to is an “inconvenient truth.”

My Advice – Jesus asked His Father, “sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”  (John 7:17, NIV 1984).  Be sanctified (set apart to a sacred purpose) by the truth of the Scriptures.  Rather than trying to conform the truth to your lifestyle, conform your life to the truth. “Everyone on the side of truth listens to [Jesus].

Worthy of Disgrace

Screenshot (1360)

They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”  (Acts 5:40–42, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Imagine being flogged and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus.  Many people around the world today, and throughout history, have not had to imagine this (and even worse things).  For people like me, who have yet to face this, it is humbling.  At least it should be.  For what we face is mere inconvenience (ridicule, rejection, disrespect) in comparison.

Next, imagine not only continuing to teach and proclaim the good news that Jesus is the Christ but also rejoicing (feeling or showing  great joy or delight) for being counted worthy (important enough) to suffer such disgrace (strongly and generally disapproved of) for the name.  All the while knowing that even more (or worse) is to come.  Also humbling, as all too often we grumble over our “inconveniences.”

My Advice – Be worthy of disgrace for His name.  Because it is the name before all other names.

Close Encounters

Screenshot (1302)

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  (Isaiah 55:10–11, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Last week, you might recall my blogs regarding a flat tire leading to re-connecting my brother with a long-lost friend and sharing the Gospel.   If so, then you know that encounter did not work out the way we had hoped it would (yet).  Well, over the weekend the story took a new twist.  While grocery shopping I spotted another old friend (Ken) from High school that I had not seen in probably 10 – 15 years.  As we talked, he told me, “say, I hear you ran into Ron at the car dealership the other day.  I also hear he and your brother spoke on the phone.”  Strange, don’t you think?

My AdviceOne day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  (Luke 5:1–6, NIV 1984). Sometimes, when you let down your net, it comes up empty.  And then again, you never know.  “It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  Continue to pray for Ron, and now Ken as well.

The Turn of the Screw

Screenshot (1812)

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NIV 1984).

Images – There’s inconvenient (image on the left) and there’s INCONVENIENT (image on the right).  This morning I had my new tire mounted.  I kept my $175 screw from my recent inconvenience (see yesterday’s musings).  While there, I ran into a friend (his name is Ron) of my brother that he graduated High School with in 1972.  My brother had witnessed to him numerous times over the years, but had lost contact with him several years ago.  I chatted with Ron for a few minutes and found out that he had numerous health issues.  In his own words, he is “surprised he’s still alive.”

Last week I wrote that there are three ways that to respond to the Gospel, accept it, reject it or postpone your response.  Ron falls into the last camp.  He has been close to accepting it, but has never committed.  I also wrote that postponing is not something that can be done indefinitely.  Eventually, refusing to commit is rejection.  For someone who is “surprised he’s still alive,” Ron is running out of time.

I was able to get Ron’s contact info and passed it along to my brother, who plan’s on calling him tonight (last night when this gets posted).  My brother is a natural at relational evangelism and I know the topic of salvation will come up.  So, re-thinking random, chance, coincidence and odds (yesterdays blog), who knows but that the screw found its way into my tire to permit my brother to reconnect with Ron “for a time such as this.

My Advice – For my readers who are believers – please pause right now and pray that Ron will be receptive to the Gospel message that he will undoubtedly hear once again from my brother.  To my readers who are not yet believers, allow the INCONVENIENCE of the cross into your heart.  There is no more convenient time than now.

________________________

Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

 

Serving God’s Purpose in Our Generation

Screenshot (1764)

Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid.” (Genesis 50:19–21, NIV 1984).

For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you [Pharaoh] and your people [Egyptians] with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:15–16, NIV 1984).

Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  (Esther 4:13–14, NIV 1984).

For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.” (Acts 13:36, NIV 1984).

Musings of Others – “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – President John F. Kennedy.

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here so nobly advanced.” – President Abraham Lincoln.

“What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?” – Sir Winston Churchill

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela.

My Musings – A few among the great people of history who made their mark on the world. And whether they knew it or acknowledged it, they served God’s purpose in “his [or her] own generation.”  But it is not just the great that serve God’s purposes.  God has called us to a specific time and place to serve His purposes too.  The world may take “little note, nor long remember ” what we do, but God will.  We may never fully “know what results come of [our] actions,” but God will.  The “significance of the life we lead” may seem insignificant to others, but not to God. Each of us can serve God’s purpose in “our own” generation and “for a time such as this” and then pass the torch to a “new generation.”

My Advice – Only the purposes of God will count for eternity.  Isn’t that the kind of mark you’d like to make?  “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”  (Acts 17:26–27, NIV 1984).  Seek Him.  Reach out for Him.  Find Him.  He is not far from you.  This is your generation.  This is your time.

__________________

Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

 

 

We Must Obey Who?

Screenshot (1753)

Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”  (Acts 5:27–29, NIV 1984).

My Musings – A time is coming, it may be sooner rather than later, when we may be commanded “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

My Advice – We must “judge for [ourselves] whether it is right in God’s sight to obey [men] rather than God.”  When it comes right down to it, what will we do?

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.  (Acts 4:13, NIV 1984).

Let’s hope that having spent much time “with Jesus,” “the courage of Peter and John” will shine through us and astonish all who take note.

Will I Proclaim? I Will Proclaim!

Screenshot (1744)

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.  One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.  They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”  (Psalm 145:3–7, NIV 1984).

My Musings – What strikes me about these verses is the phrase “One generation will commend your works to another; will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty.”  Is this a generation that speaks of the glorious splendor of God’s majesty?  If not, does the fault lie with this generation or the previous generation for failing to commend His works to the succeeding generation?  Trick question.  The fault lies with both.  Certainly, a generation is handicapped when the previous generation is lax in their responsibility to pass along the glory of God.  However, “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  (Romans 1:19–20, NIV 1984).

My Advice – As is often (always) the case, my advice applies as much to me as it does my readers.  So, if you are of my generation (more years behind you than ahead of you), recommit to sharing the glory of God and the Gospel of His Son to all, but especially to those who will be left to pass it along to the next generation when you are gone.  This model has worked remarkably well for 2000 plus years.

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”  (2 Timothy 2:1–2, NIV 1984).

If you are of the younger generation, with much of your “three-score and ten” left, stop making excuses.  Today is the day of salvation if you do not know Christ as your personal Savior.  But, if you already know Him, there is no better time than today to begin being accountable to the Great Commission.  Become a believer and follow Him.  Then become a disciple and teach others to follow Him.

How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if [fill in the blank] is God, follow [it].”  (1 Kings 18:21, NIV 1984).

________________________

Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”