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?

Abortion: BABY, or “Fetus”

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.
My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;

And in Your book were all written

The days that were ordained for me,

When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.

When I awake, I am still with You.

O that You would slay the wicked, O God;

Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.

For they speak against You wickedly,

And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalms 139:1321,23-24 NASB1995

What in the World?

A few days ago, I made a comment on social media.

“A German dramatist named Schiller in a play he wrote, said “Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.” I don’t believe in “gods”, but I am thankful that GOD is in control and all of the stupidity – on both sides – will end when He is ready for it to end.”

This is a response I received:

“So you are waiting for your god to end everything and all will be well? If your god is in control, it is doing a damn poor job for everyone.”

Are we waiting for our ‘god’ to end everything? I’m not waiting for Him to end things as much as I am waiting for Him to begin things! It isn’t fair to blame God for the state of our world. We did this, not God. Eons ago, when He created man and placed him in the Garden, God gave him free will. We choose what direction we go in. We choose who we go with. We have the choice of choosing a life of the world, or a life with Him.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” Psalms 133:1‭-‬3 NASB1995

A blessed life, a good life. We had a guest speaker for Sunday services January 31, Dr. Jonathan Murphy of Dallas Theological Seminary (and hailing from Northern Ireland originally). What he spoke on meshed with the thoughts I had begun here, and I’ve incorporated some of his thoughts into this.

We all know that life can change from blessed to bleak in a microsecond…. How often have you started out a day feeling good about your life, only to have something happen that throws you into a rage? The dog throws up all over the floor just as you are (trying) to leave for work. The kid drops or spills something, making a huge mess. Your spouse says something about your appearance, and it just goes all wrong. The store clerk completely messes up your order.

I love this poem Dr. Murphy quoted:

“To live above with the saints above

Wouldn’t that be Glory

But I live below with the saints I know

And that’s a different story”

– Dr. Mark Hitchcock

Doesn’t that just sum it up perfectly! We want to enjoy the blessings of great relationships in harmony, and from harmony, but that desire isn’t always realistic. It’s something we have to work at. Psalms 133 is a beautiful example of a life to strive for; in fact, the NASB calls it The Excellency of Brotherly Unit.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” Psalms 133:1‭-‬3 NASB1995

It begins with “Behold” – that is David, saying, “LOOK, watch God’s vision for us! Pay attention here!” He wants us to have harmony in our lives. Look at Genesis 1:1-2. God created harmony. “And it was good….” The wording of the psalmist is very specific “….how good and how pleasant ….” Living in harmony includes diversity, and is pleasurable in God’s design. The High Priest Aaron was the holiest person known at that time, and he represented all people in front of God. Here, he is being prepared head to toe with the precious oil, just as in John 12 and Mark 14, when Jesus is bathed in costly perfume. Harmony = sacred service to God. The “dew of Hermon” symbolizes moisture coming down to the dry lower regions of the land, soothing and refreshing; life giving. Verse three completes the circle with verse one: “For there* (in harmonious relationships) the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” For there – on the mountain of Zion, Jerusalem, where everyone, is in harmony when Jesus Christ, our ultimate High Priest, our only Mediator, Who prays over us, will return and bring life forevermore.

God does not bless squabbling and dissension.

When we fix our eyes on our High Priest Jesus Christ we want to behave and live like Him.

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus!

Friends, Christians, listen. Spiritual warfare is REAL. Spiritual warfare is not visible, it is obscured; it is well organized, and it is constant.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10‭-‬12 NASB1995 (read 13-18, too!)

These demonic spirits are in every place of power today, including the US Capitol. We are in an all out attack. Read Genesis: God created TWO genders, male and female – two genders, brought together in marriage. This is a fundamental truth that is being denigrated and ridiculed today, from the office of the president on down. How can a Christ follower support someone who is for “gender neutrality” and killing babies in the womb?

Make no mistake, Satan is alive and active. His goal is to obstruct Christians. No matter what he does, though, he cannot keep our prayers from reaching God! Delays to our prayers can be because of the warfare, where demons are fighting to keep angels from bringing us answers, but not because God isn’t listening or answering. As the end draws near, the demonic presence will intensify. Want the prophecy? Read Daniel 9.

This is the TRUTH: We overcome through Jesus Christ! We don’t fight FOR victory, we fight FROM victory. Stand firm. Jesus defeated satan at the cross. We are fighting from the position of victory and we CANNOT be defeated. Remember this! It will be actualized at the second coming. Meanwhile, satan is out on bail…. Each of us is bound in the snare of the devil, ONLY until we receive Jesus Christ into our life. We can ONLY be strong IN the LORD. The Armor of God IS Jesus.

Our mission is to further the proclamation of the victory of the LORD.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NASB1995

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, ” Ephesians 6:18 NASB1995

“SUBMIT THEREFORE TO GOD. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NASB1995

A.W. Tozer “It is not the praying sheep that satan fears, it is the Shepherd.” I pray that The Good Shepherd, the Lion of Judah, our LORD Jesus Christ, comes back soon!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16‭-‬18 NASB1995

Accept Him today, because this is the most important decision of your life!

His Grace

I need His Grace every day, every minute. What is it I am talking about, this Grace? Grace is the forgiveness we receive with our acceptance of Jesus Christ. Recognizing, acknowledging, that He is the Christ, Messiah, Son of God. He is of God, and He is God. He is the manifestation and personification of Grace.

“The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.” John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.” ” John 1:29‭-‬34 MSG

“Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.” ” John 1:50‭-‬51 MSG

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5‭-‬6 NASB1995

Have you opened your heart to Him? Just like James says, ask. Only a tiny bit of faith will open up a whole world of Grace.

“And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His Grace – the GRACE of the LORD Jesus Christ – which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:32 NASB1995

AMEN.

Starting Anew

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.

But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows….. that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:5‭-‬6‭, ‬9‭-‬11‭, ‬13 NASB1995

It’s a new day; a new year! Embrace it!

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.

Today is the Day!

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalms 27:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

And then, Jesus was born!

“So they [the shepherds] came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.” Luke 2:16 NASB1995

The Saviour of the world has been born, and He lives today. Celebrate His birth!