Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Show me the money

John 2:13-22…

Jesus is not against commerce, He is against manipulation. His face is always set against those who would use the people, in the name of ministry, but for the sake of money. If you are to follow Jesus, be sure that He will be driven to drive out those who defile the house of God.

It is with the same furor He will fight against the love of money within your own soul. He will not hold back, but will fashion whatever means necessary and available to overturn the tables of trade you wish to do business with. You don’t bargain with God, you bow to Him. Would you attempt to manipulate God or His people, or yourself, by placing filthy lucre above the faithful Lord? You must see with spiritual eyes and let Jesus drive the evil from you, His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19).

If you think with your old ways you will not understand why Jesus is so adamant and fierce against the tyranny and treason in your heart. If this be the case, Jesus will seem like a wild warrior, upsetting the whole balance of your mindset. You will question whether this is truly God’s will, and miss the spiritual message in His movements.

If you are truly saved, if you are truly His temple, you may destroy the work in your life for a moment, but He will resurrect once again to dominate. The false idols and ideas in your heart, no matter how long they have lingered, no matter how calcified the conscience, they can be shattered in a near instant by the mighty power of Christ. Let Him have full reign.

Jesus is coming for your treasure, so that He may be your treasure (Matthew 6:21). Do you trust Him in your house; is it now become His house? If He is to be master, you must answer this question. Is your soul a place of prayer, or is it a den of thieves?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Moments without motion

John 2:12…

Just because we are supposed to run hard after Jesus doesn’t mean we don’t need to rest in Jesus. We want to “get after it”, whatever the “it” is, instead of resting right there with Jesus and His people. Sometimes your responsibilities for God can keep you from God.

Our moments of the miraculous movement seem to be so fulfilling, and we may have trouble resting and refueling when we are in our stops and silences along the way. Not much seems to be going on, but where Jesus is, that is where you need to be. Jesus takes time alone, but He is never alone, others are always near Him. Still, Christ looked for times of relative quiet.

Now, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is in us, and sometimes we are following along with others as Jesus is headed somewhere, and sometimes we are following along with others as Jesus stays awhile somewhere. The move of God isn’t always moving like you think. The dream in you may linger at times and places. Sometimes going, moving, doing, sometimes finding, resting, and waiting. The most important part of any of this is that we pay attention to what Jesus is about, and follow along.

Capernaum served the Savior as a sort of headquarters. Do you have a resting place of solace? Being called to be a pilgrim and a pioneer doesn’t mean called to be a vagabond or nomad. We are all called to “full time” ministry, but we are also called to enjoy the times with Jesus and His people where we are moved into the moments without motion.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The best for last

John 2:1-11…

Situations come into our lives, or we enter into them, and these situations provide an opportunity for Jesus to demonstrate who He is. Usually the situation is some event or emergency that, without the grace of God, the cause is lost. Those that know Jesus will ask Him to intervene, but do not be surprised when He examines your motives for asking. Your sense of spiritual timing must be attuned to His if He is to act. He may indeed act, but He wants you to know that His overall purposes must be kept in focus by the faithful.

Obedience is a key at this point. We may not understand all of the orchestration of the music, but we must direct all the singers in the song to the sound of the Maestro’s voice. Jesus will transform our old, watered down ways into the new wine of the messianic age (John 15:5). God’s purpose is to take man in his brokenness, his emptiness and his lifelessness, and give to him life; this is what He does with us (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Be sure to travel beyond the joy of having Jesus enter into the situation, and beyond the celebration at just how wonderful He does things. We must look to the One who does these things more fully because of these things. Are you enjoying the good graces of God without giving proper glory to God? He only does what He does because He is who He is. The celebration of victory will fade, but the celebration of the Victor must live on.

Our Lord takes His time and saves the best for last. Be aware that Jesus is like this. You may marvel at His presence and power in your life and situation, but He will enlighten you further and embolden you faster as you faithfully travel with Him through the unfolding drama of the dream in your life. Run hard after Jesus; the best is yet to come.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Are you going somewhere?

John 1:35-51…

As we truly seek God, those who are leaders in our midst will acknowledge the move of God, and we will find ourselves in the place where we now are called to move forward. We must make sure that we are truly following Christ and not simply following men, and Jesus will ask us to examine ourselves to see if this is so. We took a step of faith to get to where we are now, but now we must follow further, we must continue to come along the path.

God will gather others along those journeys that are also being called to follow Christ in an ever deepening way. We may be the first to branch out on the Vine, and when we proclaim what we have found, and as we are faithful to bring others in, Jesus will confirm His presence. God is orchestrating the move in others as well, and unbeknownst to you, Jesus will call pilgrims on the Way who will meet you for a shared destiny.

Some may question the new movement, but this is because they are of a discerning maturity, and this will provide the opportunity for Jesus to prove Himself once again. Then those who look with true eyes will revel in it, not rebel against it. Jesus will cause them to see even greater things as the movement manifests.

The old way paves the way of the pioneer path. Are you settled on the side of the road, or are you following along with Jesus?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Are you tempted?

Matthew 4:1-11 / Mark 1:12-13 / Luke 4:1-13…

Just when you get started on a journey of faith, this is when the enemy of your soul will attempt to stop you in your tracks. Wherever God is moving, Satan is sure to be there to try and limit the effects (Mark 4:15). He may go for a while, but he will always come back. And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Christians shouldn’t be ignorant of this (2 Corinthians 2:11). The world wants to feed us, the devil wants to enflame us, and the flesh wants to indulge us (Romans 13:14 / Ephesians 4:27 / 1 Peter 2:11 / 1 John 2:16). We must take up the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17-18) like Jesus did (Deuteronomy 6:13, 16, 8:3), and resist the devil (James 4:7).

Make no mistake; Satan is out to get you, too (1 Peter 5:8). However, we rest in the knowledge that our Champion has defeated the devil (Hebrews 2:14-18). We can win the battles because Jesus has won the war. Even when we fail to live up to the faith, our Heavenly Father gathers us back into His arms (1 John 1:9 / James 4:8 / Romans 8:1, 39).

The dream lives on, it has been proven, the second Adam (Romans 5:12-19 / 1 Corinthians 15:45) did what the first failed to do. Satan used all his best weapons, when it seemed Jesus was at His most vulnerable, yet nothing could stop our Champion, our victory is secure. Jesus in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the Jews were tempted in the wilderness, and the question is, will we make it out of the wilderness? Will we cave in to the pressure, or enter in to the throne room (Hebrews 4:16)?

When you are tempted, don’t give up on Jesus.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Here comes God

John 1:29-34…

When the movement of God is moving toward us, we do right to proclaim it and to perform in it.

We have the witness of promise. John had been given a word by God, and he proclaimed it faithfully, and Jesus was the fulfillment of that word. We know what the Word of God says, and we are looking for it to be fulfilled in our life. Jesus is the fulfillment of the redemption (Isaiah 53:6 / 1 Peter 1:19 / 1 John 3:5), and He will fulfill the Word of God to you (Romans 8:28 / Galatians 1:4 / Philippians 1:6 / 2 Timothy 1:12).

We have the witness of practice. John had been given a way by God, he came baptizing, and Jesus showed up right there in his daily diligence. Do what you know you should do, and Jesus will be revealed to you, in your daily life (Matthew 6:33 / Colossians 1:27), and through you, to others who come in contact with your life (Matthew 5:16 / Acts 4:13 / Philippians 2:15).

We are left here on earth so that our lives will tell others about Jesus. You witness to others about Christ with your voice, your vocation, and your values. If we will be about the business of the kingdom of God, we will see the revelation of Christ clearly because we are looking for Him by living for Him.

God will show up. We will see unmistakable evidence. The acquaintance becomes a near reality and the power of the Holy Spirit is manifest, and suddenly we know this is it!

Behold the Lamb indeed…

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Baptizing Jesus

Matthew 3:13-17 / Mark 1:9-11 / Luke 3:21-22…

Jesus was saying something that John didn’t seem to understand. John had been telling people to be baptized and he emphasized how unworthy the religious leaders were. He said come on you snakes, you get baptized too, you are definitely deserving of condemnation, you are definitely not worthy of the kingdom of God. John said they should be looking for the Christ and yet Jesus steps up and says here I am to be baptized.

John started to resist. Jesus is not a sinner, He has not broken God’s law, but Jesus said it must be done. He says that because He is identifying Himself with you. He is proclaiming and dramatizing what will happen to Him when He turns Himself over to be arrested, indicted, crucified, and buried. God is enacting in advance what will happen when He raises Jesus from the dead and declares Him to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4). God voices His acceptance of Jesus, visibly sending the Holy Spirit as a sign.

Jesus not only died the death we justly deserve but lived the life we should have lived (Romans 5:10, 19). On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He lived your life so He could treat you as if you lived His life. That’s the Gospel (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The physical represents the spiritual. You are identified with Jesus through water (Galatians 3:27). You are baptized into His body (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Jesus is identified with you through submission (Romans 12:1-2 / 1 Peter 4:12-19). He is baptized into your body (Galatians 2:20).

Are you baptizing Jesus, or do you resist?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Who are you?

John 1:19-28…

The religious leaders sent delegates to question John the Baptist. He made it clear that he was not the Christ. He was not the physical Elijah, although John was Elijah in the spiritual sense. He was not the prophet that Moses said would come (Deuteronomy 18:15). The Jewish leaders had it wrong (John 7:40-43), Jesus was who Moses and John spoke about (Acts 3:22, 7:37). People who are against God’s will use God’s Word and twist it to their own understanding (1 Timothy 6:3-5 / 2 Peter 3:15-16).

Just as the religious leaders didn’t believe the Messiah when He came, they did not see His herald for who he was. It will be the same for you. People are going to attack the message, and they will attack the messenger. Jesus told us that this would be the case (Luke 6:22-23, 10:16). It has always been that way, from the book of Acts until even this very day. People will question the move of God by questioning the credentials of the messenger, especially when it involves a call to move them into repentance.

They will say, “Who are you to tell me?” No matter who you are there will come times when you witness to someone who is smarter than you, better educated, and so on and so forth. But that isn’t the point. You are the one with the spiritual truth, the eternal truth, the most important truth. You are the most important person they will ever meet, unless and until they meet Jesus in truth. Point the way to Jesus; you don’t think you’re perfect, it means you follow the one who is.

We ought not to be offensive in ourselves, but the message of the cross of Christ is offensive to the natural mind already (1 Corinthians 1:18, 2:14). No matter how passionate our approach, persuasive our arguments, biblical our admonishments, and loving our appeals are, if God does not open the eyes of the spiritually blind, they will not see.

Who are you? You’re God’s messenger, that’s who (2 Corinthians 5:20 / 1 Peter 3:15-16).

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Christ the greater…gatherer

Matthew 3:11-12 / Mark 1:7-8 / Luke 3:15-18…

John the Baptist raised expectations about the coming Christ. In fact, he did it so well that people started to wonder if he was the Christ. Like John, we have to be careful to keep the focus on Jesus, and not what He is doing through us.

John said that if they thought he was making clear distinctions between believers, non-believers, and make-believers, they hadn’t seen anything yet. From the context we see that the Christ will truly separate the wheat from the chaff. He will deliver some to glory and some to doom.

You will see the wrath of man any time you even speak of the wrath of God, let alone making it an object of worship and adoration. However, John said this made the Christ a greater one than himself. John could speak of it; Jesus will do it.

John said Christ will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The power of the Holy Spirit is what unites all believers (John 3:5-8 / 1 Corinthians 12:13). But what is a baptism of fire?

Perhaps John is referring to one and the same event, with the fire representing the Messiah bringing the purifying fire of God to His people (Malachi 3:2). It may include the persecution that disciples go through (Mark 10:35-40 / 2 Timothy 3:12 / 1 Peter 4:12). If it is some separate event, it would refer to the fact that Jesus was going to baptize some into judgment; they would receive the unquenchable fire of hell. In any event, this isn’t something to achieve, it is something to be recognized. These events will happen.

The point is this: Jesus the Christ is going to make ultimate distinctions. Jesus will gather you one way or another, into the kingdom of light or into the kingdom of darkness. This is actually good news for those who will hear it.

Monday, January 22, 2018

So what’s next?

Luke 3:10-14…

A person who is different will want to act different. The people knew John the Baptist had been telling the truth, and they repeatedly asked John to tell them how these “fruits of repentance” would be manifest.

John gave specific examples of what a changed, repentant life looks like. He said we become givers and not takers. We become honest and content. If we have received mercy and grace, and if we know the great depths of this, we will in turn become people who pour out mercy and grace to others. Freely we have received, freely we give (Acts 20:35).

Repentant hearts look for repentant starts. Those whose eyes have been opened to the truth, these people will now look for ways to follow the Truth. For them, it isn’t just saying a few words; it is true repentance, a change of life, lifestyle, and a different course of living. The way of eternal life makes a change in the way of our temporal life.

Have you ever asked this question, do you look to the Word of God to show you where you should be different (Ephesians 4:17-32)? Are you looking for a path to follow, or do you just think that saying some prayer to God means He will just make your way His way? It isn’t “answer my prayer and then I will get on the right path”, it must be that we get on the right path, and we will find our prayers answered.

Believing in Jesus means we are following Him; we believe He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and so we go the way He goes. It isn’t just talk, it is a walk. Turning toward God means we are walking a different path. There are lampposts along the way. The Word of God is a lamp to our feet, it shows us what we are walking on, and it is a light to our path, it shows us where we are headed to (Psalm 119:105).

So, what’s next for you?