Not good to be alone

You are not alone! You were never made to do it on your own!

:This is true in so many ways. God is always with you. Even when Jesus went to be with the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit so that we would have a comforter, a counselor, our ever present help in time of need. As a great friend and the guy who helped me become a published co-author with him said today:

REMEMBER the counselor that was given us in the Holy Spirit!! Right in our hearts!! We don’t need to find it, call it, email it, text it…. The Holy Spirit is with us all day everyday!! We don’t have to worry, be bitter, be discouraged, be anxious, be aggravated, be irritated, be proud…
We just have to breathe and remind ourselves that we are made in the likeness of Jesus!! We need to be humble servants.
And remember, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples!! Even Judas!! Knowing what he was about to do!! WOW!!!!
How powerful can our message to others be if we live in that light? We can be the light of Jesus in the darkest places because of that great gift!!”

And in God’s Word we continue to hear and read the words “One another” because we aren’t supposed to do it alone. So not only aren’t we alone, we aren’t supposed to be alone. God even noticed that with Adam back when it all began:

18 Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. – Genesis 2:18

which is why God created Eve. So as we start this day, we need to consider how we can stay connected and in alignment with God’s will and plans for our lives.

This morning’s reading (John 16-18, Psalm 114) opens with Jesus sharing with His disciples as He is preparing for His ultimate sacrifice and preparing them for what is ahead. He expresses how he isn’t going to leave them alone, but will send the Holy Spirit:

4-7“I didn’t tell you this earlier because I was with you every day. But now I am on my way to the One who sent me. Not one of you has asked, ‘Where are you going?’ Instead, the longer I’ve talked, the sadder you’ve become. So let me say it again, this truth: It’s better for you that I leave. If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you.8-11“When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.12-15“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’16“In a day or so you’re not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me.” — John 16

Hearing someone say they are leaving, but that they will be sending someone else who will be your helper, your comforter, your friend, can bring some relief but will generate a bunch of questions too. It’s a good thing because even more is able to be revealed, but what about all the time that was spent and invested?

 17-18That stirred up a hornet’s nest of questions among the disciples: “What’s he talking about: ‘In a day or so you’re not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me’? And, ‘Because I’m on my way to the Father’? What is this ‘day or so’? We don’t know what he’s talking about.”19-20Jesus knew they were dying to ask him what he meant, so he said, “Are you trying to figure out among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘In a day or so you’re not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me’? Then fix this firmly in your minds: You’re going to be in deep mourning while the godless world throws a party. You’ll be sad, very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness.21-23“When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there’s no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you’ll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You’ll no longer be so full of questions.23-24“This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!25-28“I’ve used figures of speech in telling you these things. Soon I’ll drop the figures and tell you about the Father in plain language. Then you can make your requests directly to him in relation to this life I’ve revealed to you. I won’t continue making requests of the Father on your behalf. I won’t need to. Because you’ve gone out on a limb, committed yourselves to love and trust in me, believing I came directly from the Father, the Father loves you directly. First, I left the Father and arrived in the world; now I leave the world and travel to the Father.”29-30His disciples said, “Finally! You’re giving it to us straight, in plain talk—no more figures of speech. Now we know that you know everything—it all comes together in you. You won’t have to put up with our questions anymore. We’re convinced you came from God.”31-33Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” — John 16

We don’t have to be afraid! God has a plan and it is good. His plans are greater and better than our ways and our plans. We make plans, but He guides our steps. We aren’t alone, for He is with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. That’s right, when we are adopted into God’s family, we aren’t abandoned, but we are adopted and part of God’s s family forever!

Are you following after Jesus? Are you a follower? Check out this prayer He spoke over you and for you:


1-5Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it’s time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.
6-12I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).
13-19Now I’m returning to you.
I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn’t join the world’s ways,
Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways.
I’m not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I’m consecrating myself for their sakes
So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.
20-23I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.
24-26Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.
– John 17

We weren’t left to be alone, but unified. We weren’t left to be divisive, but unified. So let’s come together and allow God’s hand to work in and through us that others may come to know the truth, the hope, the love, and the glory of God. It’s not too late! As long as we have breath in our lungs there is time to get the Word out.

God doesn’t get surprised! Jesus knew what was going down even before it happened! Even in the garden! He knew His time was coming and He was sharing the truth of the situation with His disciples. He wanted us to be able to know why He gave His all for us – that we could and can be reconciled to God! He also wanted us to know that He was bigger and stronger than death by conquering it and overcoming the things of the world that would try to hold us back. He wanted to make sure we knew how much we are loved by telling us in advance what would happen and His plans so that we can look for it and be able to affirm it and hold onto it as we walk forward.

Seized in the Garden at Night
1Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.
2-4Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
5-6He said, “That’s me.” The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
7Jesus asked again, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
8-9“I told you,” said Jesus, “that’s me. I’m the one. So if it’s me you’re after, let these others go.” (This validated the words in his prayer, “I didn’t lose one of those you gave.”)
10Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant’s name.
11Jesus ordered Peter, “Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I’m not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?”
12-14Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.
15-16Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.
17The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”
He said, “No, I’m not.”
18The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm. — John 18

It is interesting how various translations and view points capture various parts of the event. The one that caught my eye was the ear for Jesus put it back on. God’s plan was bigger than the disciples could have known. Jesus wasn’t going to let anything stop Him from accomplishing and completing the plans He had come to accomplish. He was to be the ultimate sacrifice for ever. We couldn’t do it on our own. We can’t do it on our own. We weren’t supposed to be alone! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, He is the way for us to make it into Heaven. And until our time has come, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide, our counselor, and our friend.

Jesus knows what will happen. Jesus even foretold what would happen. He loves us just the way we are but too much to leave us there. Don’t give up hope or faith because you slip up. Don’t give up! Don’t walk away because you made a mistake, ask God for forgiveness and He will forgive you. He is the God of the second, third, … chances. We see what pressure can do to great men of the Bible, but we also see how God’s love is so much bigger and embraces them back. Be it with Jesus and His disciples or even the story of the lost son.

19-21Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard.”
22When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!”
23Jesus replied, “If I’ve said something wrong, prove it. But if I’ve spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?”
24Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.
25Meanwhile, Simon Peter was back at the fire, still trying to get warm. The others there said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”
He denied it, “Not me.”
26One of the Chief Priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
27Again, Peter denied it. Just then a rooster crowed. — John 18

Jesus was walking right into the ultimate situation. The place He could give His all for us to be able to be reconciled to the Father. The Law shows us how much we need a savior. Jesus shows us there is a way because He has come to save us!

28-29They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn’t enter the palace because they didn’t want to be disqualified from eating the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and spoke. “What charge do you bring against this man?”
30They said, “If he hadn’t been doing something evil, do you think we’d be here bothering you?”
31-32Pilate said, “You take him. Judge him by your law.”
The Jews said, “We’re not allowed to kill anyone.” (This would confirm Jesus’ word indicating the way he would die.)
33Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”
34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?”
35Pilate said, “Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?”
36“My kingdom,” said Jesus, “doesn’t consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But I’m not that kind of king, not the world’s kind of king.”
37Then Pilate said, “So, are you a king or not?”
Jesus answered, “You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.”
38-39Pilate said, “What is truth?”
Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, “I find nothing wrong in this man. It’s your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the ‘King of the Jews’?”
40They shouted back, “Not this one, but Barabbas!” Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter. — John 18

We are heading into Easter weekend. The timing of this reading and the passion week always amazes me because God knows exactly what I need and where I am at. So today, let’s continue to press forward and walk in His ways. Let’s hold onto His truth, looking to walk in the miraculous, walking in unity, walking with God because WE ARE NOT ALONE!


Big Enough

Nothing is too big for God!

Ever been in a situation where what was in front of you seemed so big that you weren’t sure how you were going to make it? Ever been in a situation where what was in front of you was so big that you knew the only way you could make it was if God showed up? Notice the difference in perspective? Notice the difference in focus? Where are you looking? What are you focusing on? Where are you putting your hope and trust? Do you need help? Do you want to believe? Nothing is impossible for God!

Have you ever heard about the mustard seed?

31Another parable He put forth to them, saying:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,32which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
– Matthew 13
20So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.21However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
– Matthew 17

It doesn’t take a lot and if you are struggling, turn to God and ask for help! Consider what happened when a man was asked if He believed:

17Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” 19He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”20Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. 21So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
23Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
24Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
25When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”26Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
– Mark 9

Have you ever heard about the odds of a wealthy person getting into heaven? Nothing is impossible with God!

23Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.24And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
– Matthew 19

God is never late! God’s timing is perfect! His glory and is power are reveal in His timing! People may start to lose hope or faith because they think God is late. People may say things or act out because they think that God didn’t show up! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Don’t lost hope! Don’t lose faith! Put your trust in God! In today’s reading (John 11-12, Psalm 112), we see such a situation when Jesus didn’t make it back in time while Lazarus was only sick. But God had other plans, He wasn’t late, He was right on time for all He wanted to accomplish in and through this event.

1-3A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”
4When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”
5-7Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
8They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?”
9-10Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can’t see where he’s going.”
11He said these things, and then announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.”
12-13The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.
14-15Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”
16That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, “Come along. We might as well die with him.”
17-20When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.
21-22Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”
23Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”
24Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”
25-26“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”
27“Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.”
28After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.”
29-32The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33-34When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?”
34-35“Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.
36The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”
37Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”
38-39Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!”
40Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41-42Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”
43-44Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.
Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

Have you blocked the opening where you thought it was good as gone or dead? Would you ask God if he were to resurrect it? Would you remove the blockage and open up that door again? Do you realize that nothing is impossible with God and for God? Don’t lose hope, put your trust in God! Do you need Jesus to do something big in your life? Do you believe He can? Ask Him to help your unbelief if you are struggling and allow Him to do the miraculous in and through your life! Luck won’t help, but miracles is where the power is found!

Are you encouraging and pressing God’s plans forward? Are you trying to stop or get in the way so that people won’t believe? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light! Share what He is doing and has done in your life with those around you so that you can build up their faith! Victory is won by the blood of the lamb of God, Jesus the Christ, and by the words of our testimonies. So let’s work together with Jesus to help save lives from the pit of hell, from the grip of the deceiver, from the lies of the devil and bring them into the light of life where they can spend eternity with God rather than separated from Him for all of eternity. Even when others are plotting, God’s hand is at work. He can get people to say things that later will prove the point. Jesus came as the lamb of God, the final offering to reconcile man to God if man would only believe.  We can see this all materialize as we continue into God’s Word for today’s reading:

45-48That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”
49-52Then one of them—it was Caiaphas, the designated Chief Priest that year—spoke up, “Don’t you know anything? Can’t you see that it’s to our advantage that one man dies for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed?” He didn’t say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation, and not only for the nation but so that all God’s exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people.
53-54From that day on, they plotted to kill him. So Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews. He withdrew into the country bordering the desert to a town called Ephraim and secluded himself there with his disciples.
55-56The Jewish Passover was coming up. Crowds of people were making their way from the country up to Jerusalem to get themselves ready for the Feast. They were curious about Jesus. There was a lot of talk of him among those standing around in the Temple: “What do you think? Do you think he’ll show up at the Feast or not?”
57Meanwhile, the high priests and Pharisees gave out the word that anyone getting wind of him should inform them. They were all set to arrest him.
– John 11

We all have a part. We all have a purpose. We all have a calling on our lives. Ring…Ring…Ring… Will you pick it up? It’s for you. Nobody else, just for you. If you have been walking with Jesus for years, months, days, hours, or you haven’t started yet. Will you pick up the receiver and receive what God has in store for you? Will you hear the message and receive it and take action? Will you pick it up and run with it, walking with Jesus in an intimate relationship so that you don’t have to go it alone? We all have a part. God’s plan is that nobody would miss out. Maybe there are people in your part of the world, the country, the state/province, the county/region that you could be speaking hope and life to. Maybe there are people who need a little bit of light in their lives and you have been put there for such a day and such a time as this!

He came the first time in peace – riding on a donkey. He will be coming back on a white horse for the final battle. He came as the ultimate sacrifice to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way. He is coming back to shut down the devil’s plots and setup His kingdom through a new heaven and a new earth. We don’t have to wait for His second coming, but can rather receive Him now so that we can live a good life now rather than waiting till we get to Heaven. On this earth we will have troubles, but we don’t have to walk in fear, because Jesus has already overcome the world. Don’t try to wait for the last second, but start your relationship with Jesus today. It’s more than a religion, it’s a relationship! It’s getting to walk and talk with God with every step and every breath of every day! Jesus fulfilled the prophesies! Jesus completed the task He needed to do since none of us can or could do it on our or in our own power. God’s plans are better than our plans, God’s ways are greater than ways.

Life is to be so much more than just a routine. Life is to be so much more than just a busy schedule. Life is to be so much more than just carrying the weight of it all. We read in today’s reading how Jesus explains:

 “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

24-25“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.
26“If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.
27-28“Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”
A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.”
29The listening crowd said, “Thunder!”
Others said, “An angel spoke to him!”
30-33Jesus said, “The voice didn’t come for me but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me.” He put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death.
34Voices from the crowd answered, “We heard from God’s Law that the Messiah lasts forever. How can it be necessary, as you put it, that the Son of Man ‘be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35-36Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.”
– John 12

If God brings you to it, He will get you through it! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Put your trust in God! Allow Him to work in and through your life! Glorify Him in how you live and what you say! Let’s live lives that give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Are you more interested in the approval of God or the approval of men? What is going to manage/control the things you do and say? What is going to be your motivation for moving forward? Do you believe enough to live it?

41Isaiah said these things after he got a glimpse of God’s cascading brightness that would pour through the Messiah.
42-43On the other hand, a considerable number from the ranks of the leaders did believe. But because of the Pharisees, they didn’t come out in the open with it. They were afraid of getting kicked out of the meeting place. When push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.
44-46Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, “Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.
47-50“If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.”
– John 12

So today is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s hold onto Jesus and step out in faith trusting and obeying what He speaks to us! Let’s pick up that phone that is a calling for each of us. We each have something specific God has planned for us to be a part of that is s much greater than anything we could have done on our own.

Final Destination

What you believe matters! What is the impact it has on where and how you will spend eternity?

This morning I read a post that made me think and consider everyone I know and everyone who reads this blog. This blog is more than just about good ideas, it is about sharing my story and my beliefs. This blog is to help others come to know and learn about God through my stories in life and how He is working in and through me. This blog is to help others realize the opportunity they have to come to know Jesus in a way that will allow them to spend eternity with God but not have to wait till then, but also get to live this side of life with Him too.

What do you believe? What impact does it have on your eternity? What will your eternity be spent doing? What have you been promised?

Is what you believe going to get you into God’s presence? Is what you believe something others can gain the same benefit from? Is what you believe something that guides you down a path of character and morality that ends with your home being in heaven and getting to spend eternity with other believers and with God? Is what you believe helping you get through this part of eternity living here on earth?

I know for me that believing in Jesus and doing my best to follow after Him makes a huge difference in my life. I know that He is with me every step of every day! I know He will never leave me nor abandon me. I know He loves me so much that He came and gave His life on the cross so that I could be reconciled to God the Father. I know that on the 3rd day He conquered the grave and was resurrected and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for me and everyone else who has put their hope and trust in Him.

Today’s reading comes from John 9,10 and Psalm 111. We continue to see in this reading that Jesus’ love for the hurting, the sick, the hopeless is so great. Jesus changes the paradigm from who did something wrong being the reason for people’s circumstances — it isn’t always cause and effect. We need to look at each situation from the angle of what can God do in this situation rather than trying to find judgment or guilt for others to carry. We are to be light! We are to shine love! We are to live lives that show others how much God loves them and that no matter where they are today, there is hope for tomorrow. We are to live lives that speak truth, hope, and love to others, for the truth is what sets us free! We are to live lives that will open up people’s spiritual eyes to what God really wants for them in their lives! God LOVES!

We first learn through Jesus’ encounter with the blind man…

1-2Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
3-5Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”
6-7He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw.
 – John 9

So let’s live to shine! So let’s live to love!

Will you allow fear and intimidation keep you from sharing God’s love with others?

20-23His parents said, “We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But we don’t know how he came to see—haven’t a clue about who opened his eyes. Why don’t you ask him? He’s a grown man and can speak for himself.” (His parents were talking like this because they were intimidated by the Jewish leaders, who had already decided that anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place. That’s why his parents said, “Ask him. He’s a grown man.”)
24They called the man back a second time—the man who had been blind—and told him, “Give credit to God. We know this man is an impostor.”
25He replied, “I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.”
26They said, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27“I’ve told you over and over and you haven’t listened. Why do you want to hear it again? Are you so eager to become his disciples?”
28-29With that they jumped all over him. “You might be a disciple of that man, but we’re disciples of Moses. We know for sure that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this man even comes from.”
30-33The man replied, “This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes! It’s well known that God isn’t at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will. That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of—ever. If this man didn’t come from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.”
34They said, “You’re nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us!” Then they threw him out in the street.
35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”
37Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?”
38“Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him.
39Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”
40Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?”
41Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.”
John 9

Will you help other people’s eyes be opened? Will you speak hope and life and truth into their lives? Will what you believe impact how you live? Will you be someone who is open to being used by God for His glory? Will you be someone who is going to stand up for another? Will you be someone who stands up for what they believe in rather than fall for anything?

Who can you trust?

1-5“Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”
6-10Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
11-13“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.
14-18“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”

What does it take for you believe something? How much evidence would it take? How much time would it take? Is someone’s word enough? Do you actually have to see it?

19-21This kind of talk caused another split in the Jewish ranks. A lot of them were saying, “He’s crazy, a maniac—out of his head completely. Why bother listening to him?” But others weren’t so sure: “These aren’t the words of a crazy man. Can a ‘maniac’ open blind eyes?”
22-24They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter. Jesus was strolling in the Temple across Solomon’s Porch. The Jews, circling him, said, “How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you’re the Messiah, tell us straight out.”
25-30Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.”
31-32Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him. Jesus said, “I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me?”
33The Jews said, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God.”
34-38Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”
39-42They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and stayed there. A lot of people followed him over. They were saying, “John did no miracles, but everything he said about this man has come true.” Many believed in him then and there.

Will you believe? Will you? It will change your life forever!