Archive for December, 2012

December 31.12 ethot

Luke 22:50 (47-53, Matthew 26:47–56, Mark 14:43–50, John 18:3–11) “And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

It was just a couple of hours ago; in the upper room that Jesus had told the disciples their situation had changed. Whereas before they could go out and preach the word without fear of attack or need of provisions, now they had to sell their coat and buy a sword.

Why wasn’t this a prime example of needing the sword?

May I suggest that the sword is for self-defense and not for ministry defense?

The temple officials could have picked Jesus up at any time, but then they would have to publicly explain their behavior… to justify arresting a healer and teacher. What Judas did was show them where Jesus would be privately. Now they could make up any explanation they wanted.

Any struggle would have played right into the chief priests hands. This is why Jesus got rid of any evidence of a struggle. Jesus came to give freely His life for man, not to have it taken.

I have a right to physically defend myself against a thief, but a responsibility not to in ministry.

Courage involves taking a stand for what is right when it costs you.

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Matthew 2:11 “Then, opening their treasures, they presented them to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

On this Christmas day it is my hope that we don’t forget to bring Jesus a gift as well. After all it is His birthday.

The gifts we bring to each other are usually expressions of gratitude or are just looking to make that receiver happy for that moment (recognition). The wise men brought gifts of recognition, because they understood Jesus to be a king.

The gift that would achieve both those goals is the gift of a committed life. It is a gift we can give everyday as we ask our Lord for His protection, provision and direction in our efforts to represent Him well during our time here on earth.

Initiative involves taking action to follow God completely.

Merry Christmas!

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Luke 22:36 (24-30, Matthew 26:33–35, Mark 14:29–31, John 13:37–38) “and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.

This verse stuck to me this morning because since my daughter is now a missionary out of country her security is more important to me than when she worked in Philly.

Something all of us need to realize and keep in mind daily is that since we have made a decision to follow Christ, completely, Satan is looking for opportunities to hurt us and anything we do for our Lord and Savior.

Yet, he can do nothing to us without permission, 22:13. This means, whether Satan understands this or not, what God permits works into His own plans for us and all mankind, whether we see it work out in the immediate or not.

Jesus knew this when He told His disciples to sell their coat and buy a sword. Now the two swords found by the disciples were probably part of the house security system, and Jesus said it was enough, that is we don’t want to go overboard with anything.

Responsibility involves always being prepared to defend your body, souls and spirit.

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Luke 22:27 (24-30, Matthew 20:25–28, Mark 10:42–45, John 13:1–17) “but I am among you as the one who serves.

What struck me about this verse is the word “one”. It is not capitalized so it is not a reference to Jesus as God humbling Himself to serve His creation. So then to what does it refer?

In John’s gospel we see Jesus get up and prepare Himself to wash feet. Although it was good that the disciples were intent to see what He was going to do and then say none got up and offered to help. Yet, Jesus didn’t expect help nor did He ask for it.

There are many decisions in life that we have to make and carry out on our own. We can get some advice on what to do, how to do, when to do and so on but the actual decision to do and getting it done belongs to the individual and no one else. Even in a team without each one doing their assigned job there can be no hope of success.

This Christmas holiday many of us will make an effort to get to church for special services. Don’t just go and hear… listen with the intent to do and then get it done.

Courage involves setting your fears aside so you can do what is right.

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Luke 22:15 (7-23, Matthew 26:26–29, Mark 14:22–25) “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;

Remember the first Passover? To force the Pharaoh to let Israel go the final judgment was the visit from the angel of death, Exodus 12. If you killed an innocent lamb and smeared it’s blood on your door post, when the angel would come by, he would Passover your house because of the sacrifice of that lamb.

Jesus is that sacrifice for us. With His blood smeared all over my life, death no longer has power over me. I can be free to live the life God originally intended for me. That last meal Jesus had with His disciples is echoed every time we participate in the Lord’s Supper.

It reminds us of the sacrifice He made for us (His blood so the angel of death will pass over those who believe in Him alone), the sacrifice we should make for Him (one life for one life, an exchange of earth bound expectations for heaven bound joy) and that He has promised to return for us (the Rapture) so we can finally eat again with Him when He establishes His kingdom on earth (the Millennium).

Decisiveness involves making a commitment now to insure success later.

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Luke 22:3 (1-13, Matthew 26:2–5, Mark 14:1–2) “And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve.

As a fundamentalist I’m aware that many get turned off when I speak about the reality of Satan, but just as God has His plans, Satan has his also.

There is no indication that like with His entry into Jerusalem there was any preparation before hand for the Passover meal, but it is not beyond the possible. I only stress this because Jesus lived a very carefully planned life.

In his mind from the very beginning Satan’s plan has been to keep God from accomplishing His plan. God’s plan has been to get man back to where he fits God’s original design. Because Satan knows he can never be God (Isaiah 14:13–15, Ezekiel 28:11–19), Satan’s only plan has been to keep God from His plan because there is nothing else he can do.

Again God’s plan for man is for us to be like Jesus, growing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (and in that order), Luke 2:52. Satan wants us to grow big, strong and stupid; he wants us to be in favor with men and forget God.

The naive assume there is no Satan, the fool accept Satan’s plan and the wise determine to find favor with God.

Alertness involves being fully aware of the consequences of present actions, words, attitudes, and thoughts.

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Luke 21:9 (5-38, Matthew 24, Mark 13) “When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.

I’m sure most of you haven’t been able to avoid the news about the tragedy in Connecticut. As unfortunate is that was the media is manipulating the situation to create a knee-jerk reaction in support of gun control. The same kinds of gun controls proposed now have been tried in the past with no change in the incidences of gun-violence. Gun control is not the answer to senseless violence.

A knee-jerk reaction occurs when you hit someone on the shin causing the leg to involuntarily extend. The phrase was used to describe an emotional reaction to whatever is going on.

I bring this up because man’s tendency has been to look for the signs of the end and when they find what they think is conclusive they react (as we have seen in our recent past) forgetting this one important fact, “the end does not follow immediately.”

The purpose of the events is to cause us to think carefully of what the right response should be. God does not want you to merely respond emotionally to His message. He does want you to reason through the decision you should make so you understand the commitment you are making when you say, I believe.

Alertness involves being fully aware of the consequences of present actions, words, attitudes, and thoughts.

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