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Did Jesus miss an opportunity?

As I consider the account of Jesus on the cross, between the two thieves, I can’t help but think that Jesus missed an incredible opportunity by not witnessing to the other thief. You know, the one that was not repentant? Didn’t He have all the reasons to convert him, especially when he was about die?

A verse that I read many times before was brought to my attention changed my view of Jesus and my relationship with God entirely when I finally understood it:

John 14: 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.

Whoa, when I finally understood that Jesus did not say anything that He was not told to, that blew me away. Apparently, Jesus was not supposed to say anything to the other thief. Of course, He did talk to the popular thief, the one who pleaded in Luke 23 42 … “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus hears his plea and assures him in the next verse: “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

We cannot ask ourselves WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) because the decision we have to make is what is God telling us. 

With the woman at the well, it was a different story. Jewish men did not even associate with Samaritan women, yet Jesus initiated that conversation: John 4:7 “Please give me a drink.”

What Jesus did was rely on the Father:

John 5: 19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.

And verse  30 

“I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.”

So we clearly cannot base our decisions solely on what Jesus did when He walked the earth, but what God is telling us to do or say today. Of course, there is much to learn and model from reading about our Master, but if we are to imitate Christ as Paul suggests in 1 Cor 11: And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. then we should seek and submit to the Father’s will as Christ did: Luke 5: 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. 

Prayer and knowledge of God’s Word are keys to knowing the Father’s will. Consider the famous prayer in Gethsemane:

Matt. 26: 39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

This show’s Jesus humanity and that He sought God during this time of crisis to seek God’s will and of course soon after this He allows Himself to be taken captive, clearly the will of the Father, but not what the disciples had in mind.

I’ll leave you with this verse:

John 15: 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Are you remaining in Him?

 



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What do you do with what God has blessed you with?

Proverbs 11: 

24 Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.

25 The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

After reading this, the thought occurred to me “Maybe I should write about generosity this week. Nah, not much here, and I’d rather not anyway”. Move along folks, nothing to see here…

I have a confession to make. I am not a natural giver, I am a taker. I am the youngest of two brothers and I did not learn to share. My wife would tell you this. I am especially selfish when I eat. I could be eating a brownie right beside my wife and the thought of giving her a bite of it may never cross my mind. Giving back to God has not been easy for me either, but I’m working on it. 🙂

I tell you this because I needed to write about this more than you probably needed to read it.

“Give, and you will receive.”

So I dismissed the idea of writing about generosity until I read

Luke 6: 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Wow, read that again. This is pretty clear, isn’t it? I think it is incredible how the Holy Spirit works in my life. Once I read this, it was clear to me.

Also read this parable: Matthew 25:14-30 (parable of the talents)

God blesses us in so many ways, not just monetarily, but also with skills, knowledge, friends, attitude, hospitality, etc. The list could go on, but I think you get the picture.

I believe that God blesses us so that we may bless others.

2 Cor. 1: 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

All of a sudden, it strikes me that this is so much BIGGER than simply tithing or giving someone a some of our chocolate bar.

Check out this verse, when Moses is recollecting the 10 commandments and reminding Israel of the events since being slaves in Egypt.:

Deut. 5: 5 I stood as an intermediary between you and the Lord, for you were afraid of the fire and did not want to approach the mountain. He spoke to me, and I passed his words on to you.

Do you realize, as a child of the Living God, that you may be the ONLY intermediary for certain people in your life? You have been given knowledge about God that many people you know have no clue about. There are many people that are afraid and running from God, maybe those people would listen to you. I’m not saying that you need to go “preach” to those people, but when an opportunity comes up for you to share your knowledge about God, I pray that you consider sharing what you know. That’s something to pray about.

I know that this seems far different from the verse that we started off with, but I am discovering that whatever God is giving me, there is a purpose for it, and I have a responsibility to share it, as I am now.

What has God given you? skills, talents, knowledge, brownies 🙂 Look for ways to give, and you will not be disappointed. I’ll leave you with this:

Acts 20:35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’



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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Are you choosing life or death?

Proverbs 11

18 Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.

19 Godly people find life; evil people find death.

Memorizing verse 18 should keep us focused on the long term, the end game; and I love the simplicity of verse 19, it’s almost like the Bible in a nutshell, isn’t it?

But here’s my question, if godly people find life, how can we become godly?

Here’s some insight:

Titus 1

1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.

Wow, these 2 verses say a lot, including:

  1. You are chosen
  2. You can learn how to be Godly by knowing the truth
  3. Truth gives you confidence of having eternal life, which God promises; reiterating Proverbs 11:19

So how can we know the truth?

John 14

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Of course, Jesus is the Truth, and I think we all can conclude that the more we know Him and become like Him the more godly we’ll become. Because, after all, He is God.

John 1

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

I love this passage, don’t you? Jesus is Truth AND He is the Word personified. The Message of God the Father, His Word, was sent to earth to show us who He really is. As it states in Colossians 1: 15a “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.”

To be certain, in order to be godly, we must know Jesus, personally and His Word, there is no getting around this. The Word teaches us how to pray (Matt 5:15), how to love God (Hosea 6:6), how to relate to others (Gal. 5:13 ), how to conduct our lives (2 Tim. 3:16) and the list goes on and on.

In summary, I’ll make one last connection:

Choosing to read the Bible and submit to the Lord in prayer every day is a daily decision to choose life. Read the Bible in such a way as to seek Him (Psalm 105:4; (2 Chron. 15:2 ).

Are you choosing life?



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Who is influencing you? part 2

Hi friends,

Previously I posted a message about being influenced, you remember, about the 12 spies Moses sent out (Numbers 13 & 14)? Since then a close friend gave me the following verse:

This is the Lord responding to Jeremiah after he was complaining a bit.

Jeremiah 15:19 

19 This is how the Lord responds:

“If you return to me, I will restore you
so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,
you will be my spokesman.
You must influence them;
do not let them influence you!

This and other ideas led me to expand on the reality of how we are influenced daily and how it affects us.

This is a verse that I think is most applicable to our being influenced by the world we live in:

Romans 12:2 

2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

This is cool, don’t we all want to know what God’s will is for us?

The problem is that there are very few sources in the media and in our surroundings that echo biblical beliefs and ideas.

More and more movies instill fear, many popular talk radio shows provoke anger, fear and all kinds of wasted emotion. Much of what is watched on primetime TV is violent and very sexual. It is very easy to get desensitized without even realizing it, it’s happened to me and I’m still fighting against it.

Don’t get me wrong, watching secular shows or being in tune with politics doesn’t always hurt, but when we immerse ourselves in it (the world), at least using more time than we spend with God, His people and His Word, then we become a part of it. How much you watch TV/movies and what you watch is between you and God and not for me to judge. This is between you and the Holy Spirit and you should it up with Him. I know for myself I have gone through seasons where I had to withdraw from certain shows because I was affected too much by them.

1 John 2: 15

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

We need to realize that God has set us apart:

Exod. 33:16

16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”

Ask yourself this question: Do people see God’s presence in your life?



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Who is influencing you? Part 1

Have you thought much about how you’re influenced? We all react in some way to the news we watch, the books we read and the friends we keep. How we are being influenced matters and as you read the following account you’ll see that how we’re influenced can be a matter of life and death.

In Numbers 13: 3 we read:

Moses sends out the 12 spies

“He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran.”

They report back…

“But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified.”

The spies disagree on how to frame it…

Caleb says: “We can certainly conquer it!”

However, the other men said “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 

The people choose to listen to the bad report

“Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 

Click here for the full story
We are all influenced by something. There are many people on TV, radio and news with bad reports, and no solutions. What I am saying is: the more we listen to what God has to say, the more peace and confidence we’ll have despite our circumstances.

The twelve spies all saw the same things. Ten spies cast fear and doubts among the people, the other two, Joshua and Caleb, had a different attitude.

God promised these Israelites that they’d conquer the land, but only 2 out of the 12 believed and had faith. I’ve heard there are over 7,000 promises in the Bible, but how can we know (much less remember) what God has promised us if we don’t read His Word regularly?

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11: 28-29

I won’t promise that your worldly circumstances will improve if you read the Word, but what I can say is the more you allow God to influence your life and the more you listen to Him, the less you’ll be concerned about your circumstances… and you can take that to the bank! 🙂



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Would you steal a donkey for Jesus?

Have you ever been asked by God to do something out of your comfort zone? Have you ever thought that the Lord might want you to do something but didn’t have the courage? Maybe you don’t think that God still talks to people. Maybe you never think about it.

I believe that God still talks to us, He just uses different ways. I think He can use people, the Word, circumstances and an occasional whisper from the Holy Spirit. Consider this verse:

The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” Acts 8: 29

How do you think Philip heard the Holy Spirit? I don’t think it was audibly, but a gentle “nudge” that led him to strike up the conversation with the Ethiopian eunuch.

Read these verses from Mark 11:

1 … Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’”

4 The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. 5 As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.

This is about as strange as Jesus telling Peter to take the first fish he catches, take the money from its mouth to pay the temple tax. (Matt. 17:27)

I wonder how the two disciples felt as they were walking up to the tied donkey with bystanders hanging out nearby. Do you think they were just a bit nervous or out of their comfort zone? Maybe after three years of seeing strange things and learning that every day was a new adventure with their fearless Leader they had no qualms about it. I don’t know.

What’s great about this is that I’ve learned that Jesus gave clear instructions and told them what to say in case they were confronted. When they did what they were told and said what they were told to say, they were successful.

Knowing that God never changes…

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13: 8

we can be certain that when He gives us something to do, He will most certainly tell us what to say when we are confronted and we will be successful as well, just as this passage reads.

I hope this message blesses your day. 🙂



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.