November 18, 2018

What I read today

2 Chronicles 32; Job 9-10; Amos 6; John 17; Hebrews 2-3

Jesus spends 26 verses telling us a few simple truths.

First is that God loved each of us so much that Jesus came to earth.

Second, that Jesus gave us his very words to guide our lives and our thoughts.

Finally, the world will not accept the message and may not accept those who believe Jesus teachings.

November 17, 2018

What I read today

2 Chronicles 31; Job 7-8; Amos 5; John 16; Philemon & Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1 verse1-4

“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 

He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. 

When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”NRSV

November 16, 2018

What I read today

2 Chronicles 30; Job 5-6; Amos 4; John 15; Titus 2-3

When Hezekiah became King, he conducted a major renovation project.  He rebuilt the temple, fixed the alter, put the Levites and Priests back in charge of the church.  He did a lot.

But then he set about handling the most challenging task.  The task of rebuilding the spiritual life of both Judah and Israel.

It had been a long time since the Passover was celebrated.  So long that people actually probably didn’t even remember ever celebrating it.

They were late with the repairs, so they missed the chance to do it during the biblically accepted month.  So they moved the celebration out a month.

They called all of Israel, not just those in the kingdom of Judah, Hezekiah extended the invitation to any and all throughout the nation.

Many laughed.  Why would this crazy king want to dredge up this old tradition?  Who needed that anymore.

But many did come.

But the people had forgotten the rules.  They’d forgotten to ritually purify themselves.  So Hezekiah did the only thing he could.  He asked God for forgiveness and God freely forgave.

I don’t think that God was worried one little bit about whether or not the Jewish people followed the rules to perfection.  God accepted each and every one of them in the exact state they were in.  Poor, meager sinners who desperately needed to hear the good news that God loved his people and wanted to forgive them in spite of what they’d done.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

November 15, 2018

What I read today

2 Chronicles 29; Job 3-4; Amos 3; John 14; 2 Timothy 4 & Titus 1

In his final words to Timothy, before Paul’s execution, Paul sends a message to Timothy.  It’s loud and clear.

Things are going to get dicey my son.

People were scared.  Nero was going after anyone who proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah.  He had blamed the Christians for burning parts of Rome.  Now anyone who proclaimed Christ as Savior was subject to execution in some of the most horrible ways.

Paul’s message to Timothy was simple.  Proclaim the good news no matter what.

It doesn’t matter what unbelievers say or do.  Our mission is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.  Nothing more nothing less.  We’re not to water it down or change it to make the world happy.  We are just supposed to proclaim it.

It doesn’t matter if people don’t want to believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  We need to keep preaching it.

It doesn’t matter if people don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God.  We need to keep proclaiming it.

It doesn’t matter what the world thinks.

What God thinks is the only thing that really matters.

November 14, 2018

What I read today

2 Chronicles 28; Job 1-2; Amos 2; John 13; 2 Timothy 2-3

When we were first married, I wasn’t going to church very much.  In fact, I did everything I could to avoid going to church.  After I was confirmed I pretty much walked away from the church I attended as a young person in Woodstock, IL.

We were married in a small church in Wilmot, WI.  At our wedding both the Pastors who had confirmed me showed up for the wedding.  I hadn’t seen either of them in a long time and hadn’t stepped foot in the church there in many years.

Eight months into our marriage Cara went into premature labor 3 months early.  In 1984 that was not good. The care for premature babies has come a long way since then, but in 1984 the odds of survival were not good.

I was sitting in a waiting area while the prepped Cara for an ultrasound when the mother of a young man I had been confirmed with saw me sitting alone.  She came over and sat next to me and asked what was going on.  I was so shaken up that I could barely tell her.

A few hours later as the doctors and nurses were preparing my wife for transport to prenatal ICU in Rockford one of the nurses came in and said there was someone to see me.  I walked out and there standing at the desk was Pastor Ken Ahlstrand.  He told me that if we needed him at anytime day or night to let him know.  No matter what he was there.

It’s hard to understand the impact of a visit like that, in a time like that.  That’s what being a servant is.  It’s not about preaching the grandest sermon, or being biblically correct or getting every doctrine just right.  It’s about being there and showing love and kindness for someone who needs it.

November 13, 2018

What I read today

2 Chronicles 27; Amos 1; John 12; 1 Timothy 6 and 2 Timothy 1

If you’ve ever been by a campfire or a wood burning fireplace, you know that you have to continually keep putting more wood on the fire or eventually it will go out.

Our relationship with Jesus is the same way.  We have to work at it.  We have to keep it growing by going to church, reading the bible, praying and spending time studying.  If we don’t, the world around us will engulf us and push our faith to the back of our lives where it can eventually burn out and disappear.

November 12, 2018

What I read today

2 Chronicles 26; Song of Songs 5-6; Joel 3; John 11; 1 Thessalonians 4-5

I sometimes wonder why Jesus did what he did.  Why would you leave paradise and come and live as a human being in a world such as the one we live in?  Why would you endure the struggles of day to day life?  Why would tolerate a divided society that always seems on the edge of chaos?

From the fall of man to today, I just don’t get why God puts up with us.

Then I read John 11.

Each one of us will one day die.  It’s a statistical fact.  We’re all finite human beings with a limited shelf life.

Lazarus was no different.  He’d endured a sudden illness and passed away.  The families grieve the loss of a son, a brother and a friend.  We’ve all lived through the same many times before in our own lives.  Jesus arrives and sees the devastation and pain and does the unexpected.  He weeps.

What caused Jesus to do what he did?  What caused him to step out of heaven and walk to the cross? It was his compassion and love for you and me.  He still weeps for you and me.  Jesus still weeps when we endure the pain of a loss, or the tragedy of death.  Jesus is still there when we endure disease or personal trial.

When mankind fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, he could have wiped everything out and started over.  But his love for his creation caused him to set in motion a plan that would allow us an out.  A plan that would give each of us the opportunity to live in his grace and mercy even though we did not earn or deserve that chance.  His love is what brought him here to earth.

This short passage, “Jesus Wept”, tells us exactly how much Jesus loves each and every one of us.