John 11:14-15 - So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Here, Jesus allows a man he loves, Lazarus to die to show His glory so the unbelieving would possibly believe. Jesus also loved Mary and Martha…Jesus spent the last weeks of his life in their home at least for some amount of time. It was said they were as close as family to Jesus. Jesus put these woman thru a fair amount of pain for four or more days as they mourned the loss of their brother. Wow, such pain. Short-term pain for a long term gain. We don’t know who believed as a result of Lazarus resurrection. I would think there would have been many as this story when racing thru the community. This got me thinking about short-term pain for long term gain. Pain is part of creation and part of God’s plan to strengthen us.
Like a muscle, it needs to be torn and put thru short term suffering for the longer term strength. The more short term stretching, tearing, pressure and pain, the stronger the muscle. “Deep core strength”. We can see how God works even in our own bodies. If we spend our lives in avoidance of pain we could easily be weakening ourselves and those that we love.
Embracing short term pain for the riches of the Glory of God is worth it. Maybe we give up some sinful pleasures or we give of our virtue to aid another. In any case, the challenge before us is that pain does strengthen us. Embracing the challenges of life and the trials which will surely come can be a positive sign of growth. Pain equals gain.
June 12, 2014
John 8:31-32 - To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“You will know”… is translated into one word, ginóskó which means “to come to know” or maybe better stated, “to grow into knowing, or learning thru process of taking it in”. This word is used when describing an intimate relationship, “to know a woman”. The “knowing” of Jesus is experiential. The word implies an investment, to know deeply over time, and to experience Jesus time and time again as someone personal and deep. To the Jews who believed in Jesus, He was saying, “Hold on to what I have told you, given you, shown you, and taught you over the time you have seen me.” The truth of Jesus’ teaching and life lessons comes from walking with Him. Holding on to the truth shown to us over time. The deep personal stuff.
Jesus has shown me mercy. I can see it throughout my entire life. It is a steady, constant and familiar lesson He has given me time and time again…Mercy. He has not treated me as my sins deserve. He has given me patience, love, understanding and FAVOR. Looking back, I can see a lifetime of lessons learned…and the road ahead, more lessons to learn. Intimacy takes time. Relationship takes time. Look back. Can you see God’s hand in your life? Rick Warren says it this way… “We come to know God better as we begin each day by asking Jesus to show me how to get a little closer and show YOUR love a little better”.
John 9:41 - Safer still.
John 9:41 - Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
I got to thinking this morning about what I claim to be truth. I claim Jesus to be the son of God and the savior of the world. Safe. I believe God, thru His son and Holy Spirit, desires a personal relationship with us, His creation. Safe. I believe in heaven and the afterlife. If the others be true, the latter is also safe. I would confess to these being absolute or at least an axiom. Beyond this, what can I see? What do you see? What principle or statement of truth would we stake our lives upon.
One principle Jesus was consistently frustrated with was how the Pharisees used religion to manipulate the populous for the purpose of self-aggrandizement. Using the human interpretation of scripture’s “rules” to control and motivate by guilt. I do pray the modern church would turn to love and step away from legalism. Love is blind. Or is it? Lets grow in love and show grace toward sin. Being aware of the sin within ourselves and blind to the sin of others allowing God to hold those accountable to Him and not ourselves…safer still.
Mark 1:15 - “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Charles Spurgeon spoke on a Thursday night Bible study of the good news…”And, once again, we have to bring this good news,—that the Lord has not only made a way for his poor wandering children to come back to him, but he has provided all the means needed to bring them back.”
Our God and Father has provided all we need to come back to Him. He is already here. we just need to return to him. Believe and receive… All we need! This is such a wonderful, truthful statement for our entire world. In this scripture, Jesus is telling us to repent (turn around and walk the other way) and believe the good news. The good news is Abba has provided as way for to be reconciled back to God with eternity for all of us.
Thank you Jesus.
My Father in Law, Moses Vegh, died on Saturday, January 25th, 2014. I was at his deathbed and watched a man of God go into eternity…we read scripture all night and he was constantly saying, “Randy, I know the good news, I know the source of the good news and I am about ready to meet the good news…if I’m not healed.” Watching a man of God who “knows” the good news is hopeful and brings freedom. Run to Jesus, HE is the good news for all of us and our eternity.
John 8:45 - I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
Accepting the truth. These men, the Pharisees, didn’t want to believe the truth Jesus was teaching because it would change reality for them. What happens when Jesus teaches us and our reality changes? Our values change and what we thought about Christianity takes a turn from tradition to a different life. What is Jesus’ idea of truth?? He has high value for the poor and much lessor value to the religious practice…Jesus is life to the sinner and death to tradition, legalism and man’s structure. How do we find Jesus in the current traditional structure? This is my challenging thought this morning. What does Jesus say is truth…?
I made a rather bold statement in teaching this past weekend saying “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do”. How do we start with love, acceptance and understanding FIRST. Jesus called us to love in 1 Cor. 13. What does this love look like? Let’s begin with unconditional love and let Abba do the convicting. God does the judging, we do the loving. The Bible is the measurement for truth…LOVE AND CARE FOR THE POOR….our response to His word is to love.