Waiting………….

 

By John Singleton Copley – abcgallery.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11222497

How good are you at waiting?  For most of us, we don’t want to wait for anything. Instant gratification!  That’s what we want.   We have been conditioned to think we have to have everything right now!  However, there are things in life about which we have no control!  If you can imagine that!  We also like being in control!  Instant gratification and control! Yes that’s the world in which we live.

We are waiting for our first great granddaughter to be born.  She will not arrive until sometime in October 2017.  We are planning and shopping and anxiously awaiting the precious moment when we will see her face to face.

 

I Corinthians 13:12  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been known.

 

 

But for now we must WAIT.  We can pray for her and her mommy and daddy.  We can pray God will watch over her.  We can ask Him to help her grow into a healthy happy little girl.
WE WILL STILL WAIT!
WE WILL NOT FORGET ABOUT HER!
WE WILL NOT ACT AS THOUGH SHE ISN’T COMING.
WE WILL PREPARE FOR HER ARRIVAL.

Acts 1:1- THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: …..
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
(The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ac 1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
The angels ask the disciples at the ascension of Jesus, Why are you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.”

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen
(The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Mt 28:16–20). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, departed from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
(The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Lk 24:50–Jn). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
(The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Mk 16:19–20). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

This is the last of Jesus ministry on earth.  He commissioned the disciples to GO.  Teach. Baptize. Proclaim the good news until I come again.   He will return just as He said!
What did the disciples do? They worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.   They waited just as He told them for the Holy Spirit’s power to come.  They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.

Are we waiting with expectation?  Are we carrying on with the commission Jesus gave?

For now we see dimly through the mirror, but soon we will see him face to face!
Just like with our wonderful little granddaughter, we wait with expectation!  But we don’t sit down and do nothing.  We work.  Her parents are working.  There is much to do while we wait

Jesus is Coming Soon by Chris Tomlin

https://youtu.be/fFlPdNJAdOY

Let your anticipation be joyful.  God is still doing great things for us.

In Jesus’ words, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jn 14:2–3). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

Treading While We Wait with great anticipation

Freda Reynolds

Generation XYZ

 

 

Luke 3:23  “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,”

Luke 4:22 And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them,…..”

Matthew 13:55   “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary,

Jesus is THIRTY years old when He FINALLY leaves home.  Now for some of you parents who still have your young adult children living with you because they cannot live on their own financially and you are not able to support two households this is Good News!  Jesus is still at home because He is the oldest son, and He is responsible for the care of His mother and His younger siblings until they are old enough to provide for themselves and assist with caring for His mother.  He has been trained as a carpenter by Joseph, His earthly father.   The emotion of the loss of Joseph and the overwhelming responsibility of His role in the family required years to work through- as anyone who has lost a parent at a young age knows all too well.

Was this a trial for Jesus?  Think about this with me.  At the age of twelve, He knew He should “be about His Father’s business,” but then goes home to be obedient to His parents (Luke 2:49). How much restraint did this require?  How much patience did Jesus have to exercise?  My biggest question is WHY?  In Jesus day, by the age of eighteen most were married, raising families, and “on their own.”  Jesus was not married.  He was just working from home.  By now, He is a son, brother, uncle, friend, and a breadwinner.

When my three young adult children were coming in and out like our home had a revolving door hauling with them furniture, household goods, and school books, supplies, and all their “important stuff they could not live without”, I became a bit frustrated.  Can I get an AMEN?  But, one day, I read this!  Jesus was thirty before He began what He came to do!  Whew!  I decided right then, to give my poor children some grace!  And I made sure to point this out to their dad who was more frustrated than I. If Jesus was thirty, surely it was okay if mine were not quite ready to begin what they were born to do!  Maybe I had not been a complete failure as a parent.

Adults all living under one roof is difficult.  It is not like the Waltons!  Personalities are set.  Each adult has their own agenda.  The previous rules no longer apply.  Adults are now accountable to God, not mom and dad, but they live under the roof they did not pay for but they think “it’s their house.”  This is a time of great friction and consternation.   Hostile words are often hurled.  If you have lived through this you know exactly what I am talking about.

So how did Jesus survive?  He watched His words.  He thought before He spoke.  He spoke kindness or He was silent.  (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 15:18, Luke 6:45)  He did not add to the hostility.  This alone proves He was PERFECT!  If I had been Jesus I would have zapped somebody!   When my Stoic was coming and going through the revolving door,  one day he was a bit verbal to me.  He has a tendency to have low blood sugar and fortunately for him, I remembered this.  I asked him pointedly, “When was the last time you ate?  I would suggest you tell me it has been a long while, and I would suggest you get something to eat because if you are not hungry I am fixing to knock you out!”    He took the hint, opened the refrigerator, poured a glass of milk and grabbed a couple of chocolate chip cookies.  It is funny now but that day, he was on very thin ice.

For parents, letting go of control over these young adults is a constant tug of war.  This leads to a less than ideal environment to live in.
Jesus undoubtedly experienced these and many other frustrations.  His family dealt with His exasperating perfection and always being right.  Family life is both wonderful and wanting.  I have come to believe Jesus’s family might have been challenging Him, even before He began His ministry.

Jesus probably had to listen to more than one immediate or extended family member ask Him when He was going to “get on with His life,” or “find a girl and get married,” or half a dozen other “helpful” comments about His age and what may have appeared to be a total lack of motivation.

Timing is everything in God’s plan for Jesus and for each of us.  Moses began leading the children of Israel at the age of eighty.  Sarah had a baby at ninety.  Noah was 500 years old when he started building a boat and had three sons.  Joseph was about 30 when he explained dreams and still spent more years in prison before pharaoh needed his expertise. We are never too old to be used by God.  His ways are sure not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). He displayed this even in the life of His own Son.  This is God’s way of asking us to give grace to our children as they wait on God’s timing and give ourselves grace as we too wait for His plan and purpose to develop in our own lives.  Eighty is not to old to begin.  Time is nothing to our Father  (Psalm 90:4, II Peter 3:8). Spiritual maturity develops slowly and the age of thirty represents this life milestone in Jewish culture.
Matthew 6:33-34 reminds us:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  (NKJV)

Whatever you are facing, seek Him!

Life Song by Casting Crowns

Treading in new understanding,

Yvonne Jones

Loss

 

 


At the age of twelve Jesus knew He was to “be about His Father’s business.”  But, then He waited.  And Waited.  And WAITED!  During the wait, he learned a trade from His earthly father, Joseph the carpenter.   (Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 6:3)  Jesus did not enter the ministry until age 30. (Luke 3:23)

Scripture is very silent on Joseph after Jesus is twelve years old.  Scholars believe Joseph has died due to his absence during Jesus ministry for Mary is often mentioned beginning with the very first miracle at the marriage in Cana. (John 2:1-12)  The other defining factor is Jesus making arrangements for His mother to be cared for by John after His death.  He would not have done this if Joseph were still alive.

The conclusion, Jesus “lost” a parent to death at an early age, leaving him responsible for His mother and siblings!  When a loved one dies, they are not lost.  In the words of Chonda Pierce, “that seems mighty irresponsible of us!”  We use this term because the word death is so final……………..or it sure feels final.

Have you lost a parent?  It matters not if you are six or sixty, the death of a parent is earth shattering.  Your sense of stability is shattered.  It rocks your world.  Even if you have a poor relationship with this parent, your hopes and dreams for reconciliation, recovery, or being reunited evaporate.  If you have said your final good-byes to both parents you know the feeling of being orphaned.  If you have been taken in by another and loved as a parent loves, you understand the gift of adoption.

Did this shape Jesus?  Absolutely!  In His humanity, His entire world changed.  In His Deity as well as His humanity, He hates death.  He tasted the bitter gall we all must taste:  the death of someone we love!  Jesus loved Joseph.  Joseph had cared for His mother and for Him from the beginning.  Jesus knew the sacrifice Joseph had made.  This separation broke HIs heart just like our hearts are broken when we are forced to stand at the graveside of a parent.

When I was eighteen years old, my Daddy died.  He was 48 years old.  He went to sleep and woke up in Heaven.  Angels rejoiced.  I mourned deeply.  I was never the same.  It changed our family in profound ways.  The center of the wheel was wrenched out and all the spokes went flying.  A mother was left alone with four hateful teenagers.  Can you imagine?  Yes, some of you can!  We each have a story of loss.  Heaven’s gain is our loss.  We must learn to rely on a Heavenly Father for security.  For direction.  For love.  For comfort.  For all the things an earthly parent provided to us.  But, how can we rely on this Father when He allowed this to happen to us?  This question screams for an answer and Heaven is silent.  (When Heaven’s Silent 2/20/17)

God NEVER intended for us to have to cope with death!  Let this sink in!  Indeed, His intent was our eternal walk with Him in the Garden He provided.  (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 3:8)  We are simply not “hard-wired” for death, disease, destruction, pain, suffering, and good-bye.  This is the struggle.  Jesus too lived among us and felt the internal conflict of this lack of “hard-wiring” even though He was the Son of God.  He was the Son of man as well.  He carried all our tainted DNA.  It has taken decades to come to this understanding.

Jesus saw His earthly father die, be buried, and when Jesus arose and the graves came open, (Matthew 27:52-52)  I suspect the first person He looked for after seeing His Heavenly Father’s face was Joseph, His earthly father, then John, His cousin,  Elizabeth and Zechariah, His great aunt and uncle!  I can tell you this, when I close my earthly eyes to have them open in Paradise, right after I thank Jesus for His gift to me of salvation, I have some faces I cannot wait to see!!!!  (Hebrews 12:1)

To grieve deeply is as it should be!  When we do, we recall how this world was meant to be.  We come to understand just a little bit of Jesus angst at the tomb of Lazarus:  To grieve much is to love much.  (John 11:1-44)

Jesus, was in all ways tempted like as we are.  Death is a trial.  The temptation arises in how we deal with the loss of anyone we love by death or distance.  Do we become angry, bitter, depressed, disengaged, despondent, shaking our fist at heaven, or do we follow the admonition of I Thessalonians 4:13: “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”  I have known both utter despair and divine hope as I moved through the process of coping with these profound losses.  Jesus too felt the losses in His life maybe far more than we do, since it is His creation that expires.  (He too “had an expiration date.”

May we come to grasp, Jesus does understand our suffering.  (Hebrews 2:18)  He hates death and this is why He came.  (I Corinthians 15:55-57, John 14:1-4)

 

 

Where I Belong  by Building 429
https://youtu.be/he32vwlKQPY

Treading in hope,

One of my Beauties just reminded me that “even the darkness is a gift and we learn much in the dark.”  This is soo very true and makes the light oh so much brighter.

Discouragement, Failure and Disappointment

 

 

 

 


Live Like You’re Loved  by Hawk Nelson
https://youtu.be/Q_r47Xhkf20?list=RDQ_r47Xhkf20

John 21:1-3

After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way.  There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples.  Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing’.  They said to him, ‘We will also come with you’.  They went out, and got into the boat;  and that night they caught nothing.

We are on a journey through the resurrection (Easter) to the Day of Pentecost.  50 Days of Feast for Israel.   We have looked at the appearance of Jesus after His resurrection.

This week we see Jesus on the beach by the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus had met with His disciples before.  Peter was named particularly when Jesus told the women to tell the disciples and Peter to meet Him in Galilee.  Theologians think this very spot may have been where He expected to meet them.  Jesus had met with the disciples but now days may have passed and nothing more.  Our dear friend Peter, not known for his patience, decides he has had enough.  “I am going fishing!”   This probably was not just a decision to go for the day!  It was a return to a former life.  Jesus isn’t going to set up a kingdom.  He is not going to overthrow the Romans.  We saw Him after that Sunday morning but now he has disappeared again.  Peter, Peter, Peter.

Now not only does Peter return to fishing but others follow also.  Discouragement is contagious!

Jesus and Peter haven’t yet spoken about the night he denied him.  I would imagine that he has nursed and rehearsed that evening many times.  Have you ever let someone down?  Maybe you have been the person disappointed by another’s actions.

I want to focus on something that almost if not all of us have to deal with at some point in our life.  DISCOURAGEMENT, DISAPPOINTMENT, AND FAILURE.

Peter what a study in human behavior!

Impatient, outspoken, bold, prone to speaking before he thinks, jumps to conclusions!  Ever hurt anyone by your words?  Ever ignored, avoided or said something about someone to keep from getting in trouble?

Peter did! I have! I ventured to say you have too!

In the story today, Jesus fixes breakfast for them after they have fished all night and caught nothing.

#1.  Jesus is always waiting to restore relationships.

The day is breaking and the disciples see someone on the shore.  Jesus calls to them. “Caught anything?”   “No!”  “Put in on the other side.” The net is them filled with 153 fish. At this point, John recognizes it is Jesus.  As many times, John discerns the spiritual and Peter acts.  Peter wants to get to Jesus first. Whether he has already talked with Jesus and asks for forgiveness we can’t be sure.  Peter doesn’t even try to walk on water this time, he jumps in and swims to shore.

#2. We need to learn to be quick to seek or to give forgiveness.

Jesus prepares fish and bread.  Then turns to Peter. “Do you love me?”..

“You know I do, Lord.” Three times He asks Peter.  The theology of this passage has been discussed many times.  Jesus isn’t asking Peter because of insecurities about Peter’s love for Him.  He is making a point as He always did.

#3. Love is shown by actions.

You have a calling.  I want you to go, love and tend to my kingdom.  The new way of worship and serving Me is now going to be in your hands.  Not just in your hands Peter but in every person who believes in me.

Peter then asks Jesus, “What about him? (John)  Jesus quickly tells Peter, “You take care of your responsibilities and leave others to me.”

#4.  Focus on what Jesus is doing in you.

Gratitude leads to joy and joy is how God intended His people to live.

Discouragement, failure and disappointments are all stepping stones for a closer walk with Jesus.

Diamonds by Hawk Nelson

Treading Like I am Loved

Freda Reynolds

Prejudice and Racism

 

First Century Nazareth Village https://youtu.be/pHst1FAC4bk

John 1:46   And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

Nazareth.   The place of Jesus conception;  The childhood home of Jesus once He returned from Egypt.  Nazareth is in the northern part of Judea.  An agricultural community known for its grapes.  It was an area known to be wicked and its people “mean.”  A community whose character was negative, to put it mildly, and yet living among this people was the Prince of Peace.  Nazareth is derived from the Hebrew word meaning “branch” and many theologians believe it is referenced back to the prophecy found in Isaiah 11:1-10:  There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

Nazareth was a small (population 500-1500) secluded, obscure hamlet, perched on a hill.  We know based on scripture it did have a synagogue for we read in Luke 4:16:  “And He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”  It was here in His hometown He declared His purpose and mission.

Among the Jews, Nazareth could be compared to the slums of the inner city.  It was held as a place of “ill repute” and it referenced its people with great prejudice as evidenced by Nathanael’s remark.   Remarks like this are felt among ethnic groups when prejudice is felt against a person, place or religion.    Jesus Himself said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.”  (Luke 4:24)  In fact, there was much prejudice, racism, and hate,  “They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff.”   (Luke 4:29)  There really is nothing new under heaven.  We see this kind of behavior against groups on the news nearly every night.  In this scripture the people of Nazareth are attempting to end Jesus life prematurely.  These were his “friends and relatives”!   We can ask the question, “ With friends like this, who needs enemies?”

God chose Nazareth to remind us He uses “unlikely places where not much happens,” to do some of His greatest works.  We need not look down our proverbial noses at the “unlikely” for God will use them every time.  “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”  (I Corinthians 1:27 NIV)  Maybe this is why Jesus spent most of His time going from village to village instead of the cities.  (Mark 6:6)

Here in the South, we are known for our prejudice, bigotry, and racism.  Sad, but true.  I would like to think we have gotten better but the facts point to how divided we still are.  Jesus Himself experienced first hand the cutting knife of prejudice and racism.  He was a Jew:  Hated by the world.  He was a Nazarene:  Hated by the Jews.  He was an itinerant teacher.  How could one so educated (a Rabbi)  be satisfied with such a lowly existence?  He was misunderstood by most everyone in His hometown except His own mother.

“The spirit of Nazareth echoes today in every ostracized and occupied city and country, where outsiders are expecting no good thing from.  Nazareth is our Detroit, Rio de Janeiro, Calcutta, Selma, Inglewood, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, Palestine.”  Jesus lived in the community of the least.    Are you from Slapout, Cuba, Brooklyn, Chinatown, Syria or some other obscure spot where you are considered a “nobody?”   Jesus was the gift to the world from a rural community and you are God’s gift to the world.    Nathanael was narrow minded and his comment regarding the tiny community of Nazareth reveals this attitude.  Phillip by simply saying “come and see,” demonstrated his recognition of the value of each human being regardless of their social status, heritage, place of abode, education, religion, or political view.

The temptation to listen to the sneers of others and stay sequestered in Nazareth was as real for Jesus as for you and I.  It is a ploy of the enemy, who is always seeking to prevent the God given plans from being realized in our lives.  Even Jesus had to keep His eyes on the Father. (Jeremiah 29:11)

We must remember, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”  (I Corinthians 12:18)  We are where we are because this is where God has placed us to accomplish His purpose and plan in our lives and the lives we will intersect.  Be thankful for your race, your heritage, your descent, your occupation, your hobbies, your home, and even your wrong choices.    You are not a mistake!!!  Nathanael who once questioned if anything good could come from Nazareth soon came to understand “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”  (John 1:49)

It Must be You (Moses) By Bart Millard

Treading Among the Least of These

 

 

Sibling Rivalry

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?”  Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56

There is a vault of information contained in these 27 words!  We see Jesus’ occupation, His heritage, the names of His brothers, and the fact He had at least two sisters.  As one of four children, I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph trying to raise this brood of seven or more children.  I was a mom of two and oh my at the sibling rivalry that existed!  Have Mercy!  I could at least send each child to their room and separate them.  Knowing the culture of the day and the way the poor lived, Mary did not even have enough corners to send them too!

The sibling bond is complicated!   It is at times a love-hate relationship.   So many factors affect how we “get along” with our siblings.  Some of the factors include:  birth order, personality type, experiences outside the family, relationship with parents, and specific needs of the child to name just a few.   The University of Michigan Health System report states, “sibling rivalry is particularly intense when children are close in age, same gender, or when one is intellectually gifted.”  Can you imagine the challenge raising Jesus in the same household as “normal” children would create for this very young mother?  Just this thought alone makes me want to give her a bow!

Sibling rivalry is defined by the University of Michigan in this way:  “Sibling rivalry is the jealousy, competition, and fighting between brothers and sisters.”  (emphasis mine)  They further state this “is of concern for MOST parents of two or more children.  It continues throughout childhood” and I believe and have witnessed this rivalry continue into adulthood, and “is very frustrating and stressful to parents.”  Can I get an AMEN!   It has been present from the beginning of time and we see it in Scripture repeatedly in the lives of its characters; Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel, Joseph’s brothers, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and even in the life of our Savior!   This animosity between siblings can be intense and cause great pain and suffering in the life of one, both, or all family members.  This is the case in the life of Jesus.  Why is it we have the mistaken idea He led a simple, stress free, and idyllic childhood?  Another lie of the enemy of our souls?

Jesus was a child prodigy.  He was intellectually gifted. (Luke 2:47) He was different.  He was kind, compassionate, humble, respectful, obedient, studious, and helpful. (Luke 2:51)  Can you put yourself in the place of His siblings?  How would you like to try to compete with this?  The PERFECT child is in the house and NEVER gets in trouble because He does NOTHING wrong.  Poor Mary and Joseph.  If they said, “Why can’t you be like your brother?” once, I bet they said it a thousand times.  They were after all HUMAN themselves.  I am sure they must have struggled with not comparing their other children to Jesus.  I am sure they held Him up as a role model.  (I sure would have!)  I am sure they may have been guilty of showing favoritism.  All the things the experts tell parents not to do if they want harmony in the home and to minimize sibling rivalry.  So, Jesus in being HIMSELF found Himself at odds with even His family members from a very early age and it did not end until after His death.  Remember, not one of His siblings were with His mother at the foot of the cross.  They did not want to be even associated with Him and His cause.  So Jesus, because of His relationship with His mother, may have made her feel like a failure as a mom.  Even doing it all right, it came out wrong for others He loved.  Or so it seemed at the moment.

Mark 3:21 tells us, “When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. “He’s out of his mind,” they said.  Jesus had begun His ministry and people are thronging to see Him and this is His family’s reaction:  Let’s go get Him because He has lost His mind.  John 7:1-6 is an encounter between Jesus and His brothers who do not believe He is the Messiah and with tongue in cheek encourage Him to display His power and become famous.  This is classic tormenting by rivaling siblings.  This is a sibling saying, “you will amount to nothing.”

Parents do the best they can:  Personalities collide in the best of homes.  Jesus said “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:38-40) and “forgive seventy times seven.”  (Matthew 18:21-22)   Do you wonder like I do if He was ever “tempted” to slap a sibling senseless?  I believe He was!  The difference, in Jesus and me, is I did and He did not.  Just sayin!

Living in a family is vital to our spiritual development and social training.  It is a microcosm of the world at large.  We are forced to interact with different personalities, wait to have our needs met, work together for the common good, and share the resources available to us.  All these trials can lead to the temptations of our individual lusts and pride.

For thirty years, Jesus remained at home dealing with the day in and day out experiences of being the oldest child, providing for His mother and siblings after Joseph passed away, and waiting on His Heavenly Father’s timing to begin His ministry.  As long as Jesus was doing what each wanted Him to do, I am sure it was pleasant.  But, when He said the word NO or disagreed, He was forced to deal with the unpleasant.

So many trials and temptations just come from living life where God has placed us.  Colossians 3:13 reminds us, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  What better place to learn this lesson than the family.  Romans 5:3-5 is our inspiration:  “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

For all of those of us who have lived sibling rivalry and caused it in our own children, take heart.  When we do our very best to “raise up a child in the nurture and admonition of the LORD, when they are old they will not depart from it.”  No, I do not know how old they have to be.  Just trust in the Lord with all your heart!  His Word will not return void.  It accomplishes all it says it will.  (Proverbs 22:6,  Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 55:10-11)

If you have a sibling, love them like Jesus.  It could be just what they are in desperate need of today.  Yes, it may be hard.  Eternity without them………..think about it!

 

https://youtu.be/fwuYE3QKZZk

Newsboys  The Family of God

Missing the Mark – The Great Commission

The Great Commission    Are We Missing The Mark??

I Corinthians 15:16-20

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are some of the last words of Jesus before he left his disciples in charge of spreading the gospel of the kingdom.  GO!  MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS!  How you ask?  We teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded.  We are to baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!  We have the promise that He will be always with us, even to the end of the age!

These words were a command.  They were not a suggestion. Jesus didn’t say, “If you have the gift of evangelism, do this!”   This was God’s way of bringing people into the kingdom.

God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always interested in relationships.  We build the kingdom by relationships.  We can only reach people when God draws people to himself.  Jesus provided “the way”.   The Holy Spirit convicts, teaches and leads to the truth of the gospel

For what are we responsible?  Cooperation with the Holy Spirit is our job.   Jesus wants to use us to share the good news of the gospel.

God’s plan includes the giving of spiritual gifts to empower Christians.  When each one exercises their gift, the plan works.  The future of the gospel is depends on this very generation.  If we to fail to pass the good news on to the next generation, the results could be devastating except for the grace of God.

Are we missing the mark?  The word used for sin is hamartia.  It means to miss the mark.  As Christians, are we reaching out to our world to speak the truth of the gospel to others?  I sometimes feel we gather in our holy huddles and expect the world to come to us.  That is NOT what Jesus meant when He said, “GO, MAKE DISCIPLES.”

Why is it so hard in our country?   I believe most of the time people really believe they are saved. They believe in God.  They are good citizens.  The stay away from the “big” sins.  BUT, there is no commitment to the things of God.  There is no hunger for the Word, there is no joy in serving God, and there is no desire for God. How can we say we love God, and hate our brother? (I John 4:20)  If we really love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, then we must love others.  Loving others is risky! Rejection and ridicule are always waiting in the wings.  Real love shares the good news that Jesus will give them eternal life.  Will we will have to give an account to Jesus because we did not share the gospel?  The choice is personal.  Each individual will have to answer for himself. However, we need to consider that it may be a word of encouragement that causes them to turn to Christ and be saved from the place that was originally reserved for Satan and his fallen angels.

GO and MAKE DISCIPLES!  Are you going?  While you are building relationships, are you sharing the good news?

We have a commission!  The fields are white in the harvest.  Go forth!  God promises to be with you.

Someone’s last words are usually considered important.  The passage in Matthew 28, the great commission, is one of the last statements Jesus makes.  He has appeared to the women, Peter and John, the disciples without Thomas, the disciples with Thomas, and Paul’s epistle to the Corinthian Christians says that Jesus also appeared to 500 others at one time.

Why are these appearance before the feast of Pentecost important?  They provided proof of His resurrection.  It also gave Jesus 50 days to give the final teaching and prepare His disciples for the new covenant of grace.

He will meet with the disciples one more time by the sea of Galilee before leaving.

For today, we focus on the command given to ALL Christians!!

Go! Share the good news!!

Fifteen  Greg Long

Freda Reynolds