Wash Your Neighbor’s Feet

“So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”

In the days that Jesus lived, people wore sandals and walked to get where they were going. As you can imagine, that made for dirty feet! Typically, it was a lowly job, and the lowest servant’s job, to wash the feet of anyone who came into the house. Jesus took on that role to make a point. Let me ask you, have you ever had anyone offer to wash your feet? (It would be unusual to visit someone today and have them offer to wash your feet. We wear shoes, so it’s not as if we need the dust washed off.) Years ago, my pastor and his wife illustrated this story by asking a couple of members of the congregation to allow them to wash their feet. I was one of those people. It was an honor, but also very a humbling experience. To have someone I honored and looked up, washing my feet. Servants who lead; leaders who are servants. The very best and most effective leaders are servants.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:12‭, ‬14‭-‬18‭, ‬34‭-‬35 NASB1995

We fail mightily today at following this commandment. Remember, Jesus gave us the most important commandments.

“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:35‭-‬40 NASB1995

I think, if more of those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, would claim and live these verses, our world would undergo a dramatic change. It starts with me. What do you think?

It’s FINALLY Over

“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the LORD, that he will instruct Him ? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:11‭, ‬14‭-‬16 NASB1995

What a year this has been. I don’t need to recap it; too many others are already taking that on. Just like every year since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden, 2020 has been crammed full of deceitfulness, lies, misunderstandings, cheating, backstabbing…. if man could do it, he did. Just because the year is over at midnight tonight, don’t expect tomorrow to be any different. We still live in a fallen world that won’t see any substantial change until our LORD Jesus Christ returns.

Does that depress you? Does it mean that we have no reason to live each day?

Not at all! As Christians, we aren’t constrained within the thought processes of natural man, because through Christ, we are super natural. We are beyond this world! Oh, we still have to live here and deal with the natural world and all of it’s defects, but we don’t need to be bogged down in the details. Even though the enemy has temporary power and control in the earth, our GOD has control over our spirits! The enemy can manipulate our surroundings and events in our lives to try and make us miserable, but it’s all temporary. Our bodies will return to the dust they were made from, but our souls, our very beings, cannot be touched by that snake when we belong to Jesus Christ – Creator, LORD of the Universe, Saviour of all who love Him, and our Friend.

Start the new year of 2021 on a high note by allowing Him into your heart. There is NO better friend! Come as you are, “warts and all”. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms, my friend.

When I Am Weak

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB1995

When I am weak…… That’s easy. Its pretty much 24/7. Even when I think I’m strong, I’m weak. I’m weak in the flesh. I’m weak in my faith.
Lord meet me in my weakness. I trust that You are good, that You have me and my future in the palm of Your hands. If You are all I have, that is enough. If You are all that I’ll ever have, You will forever be enough!

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1‭-‬5 NASB1995

Do you have God’s strength? Are your weaknesses covered by His strength? Christ alone is the answer to all the trials and persecution we are dealing with, today and every day.

Know God? Know Peace.

No God? No peace!

Come to Me

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls . For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NASB1995

We receive Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Jesus says “Come to ME.” That is the ultimate statement of salvation. HE, Jesus, the Christ, the One and Only Son of the Most High God, will GIVE you rest. We aren’t talking about a church or a creed or a doctrine, but Jesus alone.

Who can receive this gift of salvation? “….ALL who are weary and heavy-laden” – anyone; everyone who is weighed down by sin and guilt and will accept His salvation. We can’t earn it and we don’t deserve it. “Our merits merit nothing, Christ’s merits merit everything.” No matter what anyone else teaches or claims to know, this is fact: Christianity is NOT a religion of scales, it is a religion of the cross.

Jesus says “Take my yoke: submit to my authority.” When we submit to Him, we don’t become like a slave. He wants us to listen and learn to be like Him: Jesus is gentle, humble, accessible, tender, open, accommodating; He is not harsh or “trigger happy”. His yoke is well fitting, not uncomfortable or difficult. By abdicating control, it allows us to rest in body, soul, spirit.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” Ephesians 3:14‭-‬20 NASB1995

Begin the new year a new person. Accept His Gift of Salvation today.

Do You Hear It?

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?

Said the night wind to the little lamb:
“Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite”

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy:
“Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea”

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king:
“Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold”

Said the king to the people everywhere:
“Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light”

– 1962, Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker

Are you listening? JESUS is the answer; the only answer to all of the trials and tribulations and troubles we are dealing with – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The Child Who left His Throne wants to give you peace. We still have to live in this sinful world, but we have a choice. Live in worry and fearful anticipation of what might happen, or be at peace in your heart.

I have troubles, and I would love to be able to see past them. I have concerns about where my country is headed (the phrase “to hell in a hand basket” comes to mind….) No matter what, I know that no matter what happens, my God is in control. If I should die tomorrow, or in the next 5 minutes, I’m not afraid, because I know where I’m going, and it’ll be FANTABULOUS.

Do you hear what I hear? The Glorious sound of the celebration of my Saviour’s birth, Who came to die and cover our sins with His blood; Who was resurrected on the third day, and returned to heaven to prepare a place for me! Can you say it for yourself?

The angels and all of Creation are joining in the song!!

Patriots and Christians

As Christians, and as Americans, we have been through many trials over this past year. If President Trump isn’t confirmed as president for the next term, we will be facing even more trials. Here’s the question from my devotional this morning that really stood out to me.

“Can [GOD] trust that when your life doesn’t go as planned you’re still going to honor Him and trust Him and live for Him? Don’t make the mistake of thinking your trials are wasted seasons. When you’re living a life to honor God, nothing is wasted. Every trial you go through has significance when the Savior is involved.”

My life hasn’t gone as I had it planned for years. I haven’t honored Him, or trusted Him as I know I should. It’s time I trust in the LORD. If we stand our ground, and defend our rights that are being trampled left and right, we will face even greater trials over the next 4 years. In WWII there was a saying “Praise the LORD and pass the ammunition.”

It may come to that again in order to preserve our freedom to worship as we believe. Are you ready?

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope…..” Romans 5:3‭-‬4 NASB1995

Thank God!

A Psalm of David:

I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing praises to You before the gods. I will bow down toward Your holy temple. And give thanks to Your name for Your Lovingkindness and Your Truth; For You have magnified Your Word according to all Your Name. On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

“All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD. When they have heard the words of Your Mouth. And they will sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the Glory of the LORD. For though the LORD is exalted, Yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your Hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your Right Hand will save me. The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your Lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your Hands.” Psalms 138:1‭-‬8 NASB1995

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Everything is a gift. Be thankful for His Mercy, Pardon, Patience, Lovingkindness, Truth. “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,….” Psalms 92:1‭-‬2 NIV

Pray. God delivers His promises in fulfillment of His Word. Don’t forget to say Thank You, Jesus! “….. to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,….” Ephesians 3:19‭-‬20 NIV

Remember God’s Pre-eminence. Eventually, EVERYONE will give thanks and praise the LORD. ALL of Creation will praise Him. He is our protection. Be thankful for all the troubles that have MISSED us. God’s Grace and Mercy will sustain us. He gives us Purpose. He will complete and accomplish His plans for me. God made me and He has a purpose for me!

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

“….. being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV

Thank God for His fulfillment!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 NIV

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

In The Storms

Michael W. Smith, in his devotional Still, writes this:

Recently when I went to the mountains, they were hidden by a thick layer of smoke from wildfires. Their beauty was concealed. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t see them! Then the next day it began to rain. The temperature suddenly dropped and the rain turned to snow. The strong winds blew the snowflakes around in heavy swirls. It looked like a blizzard in September! When the storm cleared away, the mountains were revealed in striking beauty. The smoke was gone. The trees and mountaintops were blanketed in white.
The following day, the snow melted and the green appeared. The birds sang, the creek flowed, and the sun warmed us. As the land appeared to wake from death to life, God spoke to me and awakened my heart.

What a beautiful and apt analogy of the some of the things we go through in our lives. We can be in the midst of the ‘fire’, in complete darkness and chaos in our lives, smothering in smoke and flame, thinking things can’t be any worse. We want to give up in despair and hopelessness. Then the rains come. These can be soothing, healing rains, dousing the flames and giving us hope, or it can be a deluge, causing us to feel as though the last of our hope is being washed away. Life can turn into a blizzard of confusion, where we can’t see our hand in front of our face, lost and not knowing where it is safe to step. Am I on the path, or am I about to step off a precipice?

God is there. He is with us throughout these disasters.

In a fire, even with all of their protective equipment and training, people who fight fires can get burned, sometimes badly. Fire can be deadly, even to the most well trained firefighters.

In floods, rescuers wear flotation gear and take precautions, yet some are injured or killed every year.

In blizzards and storms, in avalanches, rescuers have specialized gear and training, and still some sustain injuries and death.

The LORD God is our protection. He is our trainer. His Book provides us the training we need, and the Holy Spirit provides our protection. Learning God’s Word outfits us with our armor, the protective gear that we need to survive the attacks of the enemy.

I feel like a majority of my life has been spent in the fires and the storms of life, without a lot of calm. Many poor decisions on my part have contributed to this, and because of the long reaching consequences of some of those choices, I don’t expect that my life will ever be ‘easy’. Even knowing this, there are many opportunities for me to see the smoke clearing, the rain ceasing, and the beauty of God’s Creation. The green appears. The birds sing, the creeks flow, and the sun warms me. The land – my land, my life, wakes from apparent death to life; God speaks to me and awakens my heart to His Beauty. I may forget, momentarily, but He always reminds me.

For the last few days, my city and state have endured an historic ice storm. Thousands of trees (and consequently vehicles and houses) have been utterly crushed and destroyed. Fierce winds have broken branches and snapped telephone and electric lines. Thousands are still without power. Millions of dollars in damage. Where is the good in this? How can God possibly use this?

Even before the first 24 hours were up, people were posting on social media that they were willing and available to help anyone who needed it, to remove branches, cut down trees, carry debris to the curb. That’s the Spirit moving! Even non-Christians are caught up in it, even if they don’t understand it. What an opportunity for God’s people. In the middle of our personal storms, we have the opportunity to reach out to others and show God’s Love.

The temperature is rising, the rain is stopping, and the sun is coming out. Today will be a good day.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord , ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB1995

I don’t know God’s plans for you. I don’t even know what His plans are for me! What I do know is this. I have to rely on Him, because without Him, I am utterly and completely lost.

Are You Ready to Die?

“The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 NASB1995

Are you ready to die?

I am.

Don’t freak out. I’m not contemplating suicide, and I’m not looking for a way out of this life, but I’m serious. I’m ready to die; I’m ready to leave this body and this world. Any time.

Shouldn’t all Christians be ready to die?

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4 NASB1995

I can be ready to go, and still be concerned by what I leave behind. I’m not anxious to die. I’m not looking for a way out. I’m just ready.

My first thought is that there are a few people who would be sad, and of course I don’t want to be the cause of any heartache. I worry a little about my dogs, because they wouldn’t understand why I deserted them, and because they have me really well trained. (No, they’re not spoiled! Heeheehee.)

God says we should be ready, anytime and any place. Remember what Jesus said about His return?

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Matthew 24:36 NASB1995 (also Mark 13:32)

I’d love to still be here when Jesus returns. Can you – or do you – ever consider what that will be like? What a triumphant moment! At the same time, though, I’m ready now. I mean, seriously, what on this earth is worth missing time in heaven, with my Lord and my family and friends that have gone on before me? Why do we mourn when Christians die in this earthly body? We should be throwing parties! When I die, whenever that time comes, I sincerely hope that there will be a big celebration. Positive and upbeat music, party favors, food….. I know I’ll be celebrating!

I think we mourn because we’ve been left behind and we’re missing out on the real party.

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:35‭-‬36 NASB1995

Whenever, wherever, however the day and moment comes that I leave this world behind, my most fervent hope is that people will remember me as someone who loved Jesus. Nothing else really matters.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NASB1995