Tag Archives: Jesus

Critical Christians

I’m going to pick on someone a little bit. If you’re reading this, I love you!

I posted something on Facebook one day and I had a misspelled word or something. I’m that person, so immediately I got onto Facebook to correct it. And as I finished I had a comment from someone, almost immediately, on the correction I needed to make.

My response: while I was correcting, you were criticizing. I use this example, not to call out anyone, but to call out everyone, because that’s what we do. We criticize, not knowing that that person is making corrections…

Jesus set a great example of patience with people. I don’t think He ever expected anyone to immediately get everything right in their lives. I think He knew that mankind typically required a process of change. And when I think about Jesus, I often think of the criticism of the Pharisees. They had more to say about the people Jesus hung around than anyone. They couldn’t believe He would interact with tax collectors and harlots, people who in their opinion, were filth.

But in such a rush to criticize both Jesus and these people, they missed the fact that meeting Jesus made them want to correct their lifestyles. They watched other people’s salvation stories when they could have had their own. They missed the opportunity to congratulate instead of critique. The opportunity to commend instead of condemn.

I’m afraid that even today, we will still miss it. We’ll miss an opportunity to join Jesus at work or to praise His work because we’re too busy wondering why He’s wasting time on them. We’ll get so sidetracked on who God is working through that we miss the fact that He is working.

It’s not my job to wonder if God is making the right choice. It’s my job to know He is. So when He chooses someone’s life to correct, it would be good to not criticize them. But it would be best to congratulate them.

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.  There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich.  He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

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Put a Little Love in Your Heart

Proverbs 17:9 (NLT) Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,

    but dwelling on it separates close friends.

I don’t like arguing with my husband or anyone. I don’t like disagreeing with people. I don’t like being hurt and having to forgive. Who wants any of that, right?

Today, I read Proverbs 17:9 and I thought about my roll in a person’s forgiveness story. Now, I’m not saying people should hurt you just so you forgive them over and over and over. I am saying that every time you forgive a fault against you, you do your part in preserving love.

Every time I forgive my husband or vice versa, our marriage grows a little more love. When forgiveness takes place, love prospers. It’s dwelling on mistakes that strains the relationships.

Is it easy to forgive? Not always. It is right to forgive? Always. If we’re placed on this earth to love and forgiveness makes love prosper when we do, forgiveness is that much more important.

I believe, we’re most like Christ when we serve and when we forgive. Christ didn’t have to do either, but He chose to. He chose to set the example. Surely I can do both because I need to. Really, I believe God is saying, just put a little love in your heart.

If Jesus can forgive crucifixion. Surely, we can survive and find a resolution – India. Arie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxMLZjqZ8wE

 

 

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Third Time’s the Charm

Why do we get upset with God for questioning us when He knows us better than we know ourselves? When He knows our past, present, and future, how do we find room to get testy with Him?

John 21:17

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

I find it interesting that Peter was hurt that Jesus asked him the question three times. Coming from a guy that denied Jesus three times, you would think he would understand the need for the repetitive questioning. But, we do this too. We get impatient with God and quickly forget the eternal patience He has had with us. We get bothered when we have to receive the same lesson, but neglect to mention that we’ve refused to learn from it. Yet, when God asks us do we love Him, we have the nerve to get offended. As if the offenses we’ve committed against Him wouldn’t be reason to ask.

God sees our hearts. So it’s not like He doesn’t know if we truly love Him. I just think that God likes to reveal our hearts to us. So sometimes He has to ask. Sometimes you have to retest. Sometimes you have to repeat. As my friend says, you have to revisit and revise. And it’s what you find on the retest that reveals what you are. It’s in those moments that you get the answers to the questions God asked you.

Every now and then, the third time really is the charm. You just don’t know it yet.

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Need to serve

I imagine there were a few moments in the life of Jesus that He said, “God, help me.” Let’s think about it. In some of the most serious moments of discussion and conversation His followers were debating their own importance.

Luke 22:20-24 (NLT)

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

“But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.

Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.

OK, so Jesus just told His disciples He was going to die and one of them was the betrayer that would make it possible. And what’s the topic of discussion amongst the disciples, which of them is the greatest?

I imagine Jesus thinking, are you kidding me right now? I just set an example. I just washed your feet. I displayed the importance of service. I’m about to die! And you’re arguing over who might be the greatest? 

But, wait a minute. Don’t we? Whose church sings the best? Whose programs are the best? Who gave the most money? Who has the most members? Let’s compare.

Why?

We have a human nature to associate greatness with accomplishments. Greatness with followers. Greatness with stuff. And God is saying, whoa, whoa, whoa! Greatness is none of those things. Greatness is sacrifice. Greatness is service. Greatness is my example. So unless you walk in my example, you will never walk in true greatness.

The greatest amongst us don’t need to be told. They only have a need to serve.

 

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The Funny Thing about Credit

Sketch160115715Do you ever think about how extreme and foolish the people who wanted Jesus crucified were? They seemed pretty bloodthirsty, and they didn’t seem to mind.

Read this:

Matthew 27:23-25

23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” 24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”

Wow, right? We want him dead. We want it to be our fault. And we want our children to be held responsible too. We want all the “credit” for this. But I think we all know the funny thing about credit. It’s really debt.

Which of them realized that their charge against Christ was the debt that He was on His way to pay for them? Do you?

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“FullFilled”

Full – containing or holding as much or as many as possible; having no empty space.

Fulfilled – bring to completion or reality

John 6:31-40 (NLT)

31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

We talk about having a full life often. But having a “full” life isn’t necessarily having a complete life, is it? It’s really just having a life that is occupied. A life that has no more space in it for anything else.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think our lives should be full. I mean who wants an empty life, right? However, the question at hand is what exactly are we filling our lives with?

Jesus said He is the Bread of Life and Living Water, and that those who believe in Him will never hunger and never thirst. As complex as it sounds, your hunger for the Bread of Life and thirst for Living Water is in fact the fulfillment you need in life.

In John 6:31, there almost seems to be an envy present amongst the FULLfilled-Recoveredpeople. “After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” And all along Jesus is present, the true Bread of Heaven (v. 32 ). A desire to be full physically, blinded the people from being fulfilled in all of their life (v. 33).

Yet, Jesus in His patience tries to explain it to them in John 6:35, 40.

In other words, the bread you seek, is me. That thing you seek to make you complete, is Me. I’m it. In Me, you can be full and fulfilled.

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Plot Twist

Plot TwistThe Pharisees were pretty lowdown. Let’s face it. As we read through the Bible, we pretty much get the feel that they were ridiculous. They were supposed to be upstanding citizens, yet they made it harder for everyone else. They were supposed to know the Scriptures, but didn’t recognize the Scriptures in human form. And they were supposed to be looking forward to the promised Messiah, but instead challenged Him.

At every turn they worked against Jesus, who was supposed to be the very being they were living for. And what’s crazy is that they did even worse things than what they accused Him of.

Mark 3:1-6 (NLT)

Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. 

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him. 

He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus. 

It wasn’t OK for Jesus to heal on the Sabbath, but it was OK for them to plot to kill on the Sabbath? It wasn’t OK for Jesus to give life, but it was OK for them to take it? Somewhere in their minds, this made sense.

And still today, somewhere in our minds it still makes sense. We may not plot to kill, but we do plan on getting drunk this weekend (Ephesians 5:18). We may not work on the Sabbath, but we do plan on sleeping with our boyfriend (1 Corinthians 6:18). We may tithe our 10%, but we certainly won’t give to the poor (Proverbs 28:27). Better yet, we may respect God, but we wont respect the government He has put in place (Romans 13:1).

We may not plot to kill Jesus, but we may plan to kill our own testimony.

 

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