Tag Archives: all about Jesus

Curb Cut

Until recently, I never knew what a curb cut meant. I actually have two curb cuts that I clear of snow and ice every winter season. Over the years, I have called them ramps as I tried desperately to ensure that the winter mayhem was removed from their presence. The main objective in my mind was to ensure that those who needed to use the ramp to get onto the pavement or to cross the street were able to do so with no restrictions or limitations. Trust me, the winter slop did not make it an easy task. The curb cut on the west side seems to flood more often than not.

This week, as I was walking my dogs, I came upon something new on a curb cut. Someone decided to place a portable basketball hoop directly in the middle of the passageway. It made using the ramp to get on and off the pavement impossible. The passage was completely blocked so the dogs and I had to navigate another way. 

In life, there are always many ways to navigate. As Christians, we are to ensure that the passageway to Jesus is open. We are not meant to allow our pride, our egos, our pharisaical beliefs and judgments, our personal agendas, our sinful nature, or anything for that matter, to block a child from returning to the Father through Jesus. Sadly, this is where we oftentimes fall short.

Today, ask the Spirt if you have become a stumbling block or if you are a bridge. Are you pointing people to Jesus or have you become a portable basketball hoop blocking the way? How can you be more of a bridge to Jesus? How can all that you do and say point to Him? Lean into Him and trust Him to keep the path clear as you seek His will. May all you do glorify Him!

“Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.” – Proverbs 3:6 [CEV]

“When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [CEV]

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Living with Him

In Psalm 27, David demonstrates why he is known as the man after God’s own heart. The one thing, the ONE THING, that he sought from God above all else is the privilege of living with Him. We don’t read of a grocery list of wants and desires for material things. We don’t read of David wanting for his own safety above all else, despite David spending much time being chased or being involved in battle. Above all else, he wants to enjoy the presence of God.

This is what a true relationship with God is all about—about craving God, delighting in His presence, wanting to be near Him. If you do not have this desire for God and His Word, if you find it okay to not seek out God and spend time with Him for even a day, it is most likely that God is not first in your life.

If you are not yet at this point in your walk with Jesus, do not be discouraged. Draw near to God. As you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. Be intentional with your time. Carve out parts of your day to enjoy His presence and dig into God’s Word. As you continue to meet with God, you will grow in your relationship with Him. You will begin to see the privilege of living with God. You will want to spend more time in His glory and grace. You will begin to enjoy the sweet loveliness of His face and crave Him above all else.

“Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.”- Psalm 27:4 [TPT]

An Epiphany

Epiphany Sunday

Epiphany means…. A Sudden Realization of something…. 

But it also means Manifestation

Epiphany Sunday celebrates the Manifestation… the Revelation of God the Father in His Son Jesus Christ

IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS!!!

For some, it means writing with chalk on the front door to protect the house for the coming year. 

For some, if the Christmas decorations are not removed on the Twelfth Night, they must be kept in place for the entire year to avoid bad luck.

Today we will look at an Epiphany we can have in our walk with Jesus… we will look at how we can run well and leave a good legacy.

Typically, three moments in the life of Christ are recognized on this day… three moments that point to Jesus. 

1. Wise Men – Matthew 2:1-12… fell down and worshipped

Matthew 2:11 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

2. Baptism of Jesus – Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

3. Wedding in Cana – John 2:1-11 (ESV)

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 

11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

These three moments reveal God through Jesus Christ.

John 1:18 The Passion Translation (TPT)

18 No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor except the uniquely beloved Son, who is cherished by the Father and held close to his heart. Now he has unfolded to us the full explanation of who God truly is!

Jesus has the highest honor…

Philippians 2:9-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Not only do we have the Great Commission which commands us…

Matthew 28:16-20 New International Version (NIV)

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

But most importantly we are to raise up our children…

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 English Standard Version (ESV)

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 4:9-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’

Psalm 78:4 English Standard Version (ESV)

We will not hide them from their children,

but tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,

and the wonders that he has done.

We think often of our legacy… as we run the race we discussed last week, we think…  How can I leave a legacy? How can I leave a mark on the world? 

But too often, our legacy is all about us… about our name

We want to make sure people remember us… people to remember our victories, our trophies, our good works.

Our Legacy…. Only Jesus

Casting Crowns “Only Jesus” song…

Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself

Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else

Make a name the world remembers

But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams

I got lost in the light when it was up to me

To make a name the world remembers

But Jesus is the only name to remember

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I, I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won

Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done

‘Cause all that really mattered

Did I live the truth to the ones I love?

Was my life the proof that there is only One

Whose name will last forever?

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I, I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

Jesus is the only name

Jesus is the only name

Jesus is the only name to remember, oh

Handle With Care: Fasten the Zipper

Week 4 – Fasten the Zipper

[John 17:20-23]

CARING FOR UNITY

Why?

  1. Jesus Prays for Unity
  2. Unity points to Jesus

 

 

1 Corinthians 1:10 – I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. [ESV]

  • Agree in what you say / No division
  • Same understanding – Same conviction

Aim for Unity

  1. Stay Connected to the Vine
    1. Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches.
    2. Ephesians 4:16 – from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. [ESV]
    3. Knit together. Properly working as each other individually.
  2. One mind. One purpose.
    1. 1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. [ESV]
  3. Live your gifts
    1. Romans 12:4-5 – For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. [ESV]
  4. All about Jesus
    1. Don’t let pride get in the way.
    2. Romans 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. [ESV]

 

Psalm 133:1 – Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! [ESV]

 

 

Breakout Sessions

1) Read Romans 12:4-5 and Ephesians 4:15-16. Paul writes to the Ephesians about walking in unity. What did Paul say was important for us to do as followers of Christ in the Ephesians passage? Why do you think this action is important? What would be the result(s) of doing this? How do we ensure we are doing our own part? How do we encourage others to do the same?

2) Read Romans 12:16 and 1 Peter 3:8. These passages speak about the unity—one mind, one purpose—and the humility we should live by so we may live in harmony. How can we live with one mind, one purpose? How do we humble ourselves?

 

Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.

 

 

Liquid Offering

This morning, I thought I would enjoy a peaceful morning writing while drinking my coffee. With windows open and the dogs at my feet, it seemed everything was flowing smoothly. But then, as I was placing my coffee cup on the table, the mug placement was not completely on the table. I blame it on the sinus infection.  The coffee mug toppled over upside down in the bin of dog toys. It poured out everywhere. The cup was empty. Every crack and crevice of the dog toy bin was covered by coffee. No toys were spared!

When something is poured out, it is different than a spill. You control how much is poured out. You can stop the pouring at any point. If only that was true for my coffee spillage! What this means for our lives as a “liquid offering to God,” is that we can control what we will pour out and what we will hold back. Paul writes, “Even if I lose my life,” which tells us that the pouring out to God should not be controlled. We should keep pouring—giving everything of ourselves to the Lord.

Today, consider if you are pouring your life out as a liquid offering to God. Is every drop of your life reaching the cracks and crevices where God desires, just as my coffee spread out over the dog toy bin? Are you holding something back? Ask yourself if you have joy. Remember, Paul says that those who offer their lives share in the joy. If you are missing the joy, perhaps you are missing the offering.

“But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.” – Philippians 2:17 [NLT]

Except Jesus Christ

I love the verse for today. Paul said he “decided to know nothing among (them) except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” That is all that He chose to speak about when He was with them. It was all about Jesus.

He notes in the first verse that when he approached the people, he didn’t bring with him some fancy words or some human wisdom. He spoke of Jesus. He admits in verse 3 that he was fearful. He was anxious. He understood the great responsibility. We too have a great responsibility.

Allow the Spirit to move through you as you share Him crucified. What a great demonstration of the Spirit’s power. As verse 5 notes, faith should rest alone on the power of God. Don’t speak of anyone else or you may lead someone to rest their faith on you. Sharing Jesus has nothing to do with big words, fancy speech, or some difficult to understand theology. We claim nothing except Jesus Christ. We share nothing except Jesus Christ. We point to no one except Jesus Christ.

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2 [ESV]

If You

We often like to add our two cents. It could be sufficient to say a particular thing but we add a little more because it’s on the tip of our tongue. We direct people to a passage of the Bible and then continue onward with our position. Some of us take whatever position we are in and go beyond the position’s description. For some of us, we serve those who are disadvantaged—we get saddened by their situation or irritated by their constant needs. Paul tells us to “keep a smile on your face” and not to add to whatever it is you are doing.

When you are preaching, it should be the Word of God, not your own agenda. When you are helping someone, you help—you don’t take over the situation and become an enabler. When you teach, you be sure to focus on teaching the Bible and not drifting off. When you are providing guidance and encouraging people, you do not cross the line and become bossy, trying to get the people to take your counsel and force your position. When you are in charge of something, you are not to use it to your advantage and get people to do as you desire. If you are in a position to help those that are in distress, be sure to pay attention so you can answer the call and not miss the boat. If you work with those who are disadvantaged, you should not be depressed by their situation. At the same time, you should never let them cause you to get irritated.

This is a lot of do’s and do not’s. It sounds like a bunch of rules. But what Paul is saying can be simplified—whatever you are called to do, do it with a smile and always point to Christ. It is not about you—it is about Him. If you always aim to point others to Christ and it is all about Him and not about you, all of these “rules” will be followed. When we add our two cents, we make it about us. It can never be about us.

 

“If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” – Romans 12:6-8 [MSG]

Follow Unfollow

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]

We learn interesting things about people on Social Media. I quite enjoy getting to connect with people from around the globe, not simply as a number, but to be a part of someone’s life. In all honesty, the numbers don’t make the person—followers do not make a person. Jesus had many followers. Jesus has many followers. But Jesus didn’t collect people.

I have noticed that there are people on Twitter who go around following as many people as they can with the hope that the people they follow will follow back. Then the same people un-follow most everyone that they followed so they have a high number of followers. The numbers look good. Someone relatively unknown to most people can have thousands of followers.

What saddens me is to see Pastors and Christian Leaders doing this to people. What does this tell a person about you when you simply collect them? How does this make them feel about themselves? I never heard about Jesus trying to gather together a large number—a collection—simply for display. I never heard about Jesus tossing people aside as if they meant nothing because He wanted to look like He was in high demand.

Today, remember everyone is special. With Jesus, it is not about collecting numbers. He knows each one of us personally. Each one of us is special. We are not collected for any reason but love.

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