God in Us

  • Friday, February 26, 2010
  • Sometimes it is best to have an expert at your side! A good friend recently alerted me to the proposed assessment value of my house. Having done the mother-in-law addition and increased its size, those who establish the taxable levels seemed convinced they should ask me for more money this year. My friend saw that on-line and sent me a text-message alert. Thus began, what was to me, an unfamiliar process.

    Others have related their stories so I was not totally ignorant of some of the necessary details, but clearly I was moving into previously un-navigated waters from my own perspective. So, in very uncharacteristic fashion (the fragile male ego in me finds it difficult to admit I don't really know what I am doing and be humble enough to ask for help), I sought out the counsel and advice of a number of friends with expertise and experience in this arena. Sometimes it is best to have an expert at your side!

    To Keep You From Stumbling

  • Tuesday, February 23, 2010
  • "...but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:19b

    God the Father, because of His incredible love for us, and Jesus the Son, because of His obedience to the Father and His incredible love for us, demonstrated mercy and grace and salvation that is literally "out of this world!"

    Those who Jesus chose were chosen "out of the world" and because of that extraction, are hated by the world. The world especially hates Him.

    We are to be "in" the world but not "of" the world, and yet we must admit at times, we are quite content to be part of this place. If we are not growing in Him, we risk the very real danger of "standing still" and becoming stagnated. And if we are standing still, we are even more susceptible to sin and temptation.

    To Keep You From Stumbling

  • Friday, February 19, 2010

  • "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling." John 16:1

    Former confidence and heady optimism were suddenly draining and anxiety was taking its place in their hearts. All their hopes had been pinned on Jesus...that He was the Messiah...that He was the promised King...that His kingdom would soon be revealed...that all the sacrifices they had made were about to be rewarded.

    Confidence was high and optimism was off the charts! Heading into that evening of feasting and fellowship, the greatest concern on the minds of the disciples centered on the question of which ones were about to be given the positions of honor. Confidence was high and optimism was off the charts! But to be forewarned is to be prepared...

    No Greater Love

  • Tuesday, February 16, 2010
  • "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you."

    "This I command you, that you love one another."

    Two commandments, both the same, with identical fervor, only a few verses apart. Jesus' call for us to love one another "bookends" this passage in John chapter 15.

    Hallmark and florists and the like celebrate love, especially on February 14th! But the love that Jesus declares and demonstrates is a love to the death, a sacrificial love, wrapped in obedience.

    His words promise peace and joy...

    "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." John 14:27

    No Greater Love

  • Friday, February 12, 2010

  • "Greater love has no one than this..." (John 15:13)

    It was the instinct of a mother's heart to protect her own. No time for weighing the consequences. No consideration of the value of one life over another. No time for rational calculations. It was simply the innate response of a mother for her child. It occurred in May of 2008 when the whole earth quivered and pitched in the devastating earthquake in China.

    "When rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman's house, they saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was somehow strange in that she knelt on her knees like a person was worshipping; her body was leaning forward, and her two hands were supporting an object. The collapsed house had crashed down upon her back and her head. So with many difficulties, the leader of the rescue team put his hand through a narrow gap on the wall to reach the woman's body. He was hoping that this woman could still be alive. However, the cold and stiff body told him that she had passed away for sure.

    The Best I Can Be

  • Tuesday, February 9, 2010

  • 1. Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." John 6:35

    2. Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

    3. "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." John 10:9

    4. "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." John 10:11

    5. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies." John 11:25

    6. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6

    7. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

    The Best I Can Be

  • Friday, February 5, 2010
  • Sorry. Just can't let go of that one particular verse in John's narrative recounting of Jesus' final hours with His disciples. Perhaps it's because of our own experience in the waiting through the extended drama of two adoptions. Perhaps its remembering how stressed out we were and then what incredible release and joy and the rush of adrenaline that we experienced when we all walked out of those courthouse doors, baby in arms...OURS!

    "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18).

    How many times have we looked at those incredibly beautiful kids and said, "What would their lives have been like, if...?" And then brought ourselves back to proper focus by remembering that their Sovereign Lord had ordained their life-path to be a part of OUR family. "I will not leave you as orphans..." Just can't get that verse out of my mind!

    Not Home Yet

  • Tuesday, February 2, 2010
  • Remember that first day of kindergarten for your oldest child? You had lots of last minute instructions and comments. "Mind your manners. Pay attention because you're going to learn a lot that will serve you later in life (well, maybe you didn't say that but you thought it). If it rains, I'll come pick you up. Here's the lunch I made you. Your teacher is real nice, and I know she'll love you. Try to get to know the other children." Any time someone you love embarks on something new that will take them away from familiar surroundings, thoughts like this run through your mind.

    In the last half of John Chapter 14, the events just prior to Christ's death on the cross are reported. And remember, He knew what was ahead. He was about to leave the constant companionship of the disciples, and He had some last minute instructions for them. These instructions apply to us even today, 2,000 years later. Pastor Tom highlighted some to give us a better understanding of this section of Scripture and to serve as an encouragement to us.