Confession With Passion–2 Peter 1 Final

Peter’s confession is unrivaled in passion and in credibility.  Here, he is writing to the church–soon before being hung upside down on a cross, letting them know this is a passion he gained through eye witness experience.  This same Peter–that denied Christ the night of his arrest.  The Peter that told God he did not like his cooking on a roof in Joppa.  The Peter that avoided the barbeque when Paul and kosher Christians showed up to meet with Gentile Christians–now is telling what he saw and heard that would convince anyone of the deity of Christ!

We are the same. We can go from fear to Fanatic by simply clinging to the truth of Christ as it has been shown in our lives.  We have all seen and experienced the difference the relationship has brought in our lives.  We have done great things and we have failed–but, no matter what we can stand before others and passionately tell them What a difference he has made in our lives.  We simply need to remember and cling to the countless times he has intervened on  our behalf.

We need not be afraid–He loves us as we are and knows us as the frail children that we sadly remain.  We simply need to also know him for the mighty God he is and follow him accordingly!

God Bless You

For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life,[e] 15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.

16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”[f] 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines[g] in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,[h] 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

The Qualifications and Nature of Leaders–Titus 1 Part 2

It is so important to pick the right leaders.  History teaches us that as the leader goes–so goes the group. Paul was outlining to Titus the qualifications of those he would appoint as leaders in the Church.  As we  review the list, we see an obvious truth–A good leader will manage his own life and his own family.  The qualifications do not look at prestige; they revolve around treatment of others, personal choices and family values.

In our walks, our lives should be showcased in humility, love for others and care for our families–we should be the example of that person people are glad to see coming.  We should be chaste of heart. In addition, as leaders we must be devoted to loving our spouses– and raising our children to love–not loathe God.  As in all things with God, We do not have to be perfect to lead, simply committed and submitted to walk in a way that honors him and to lead our families to do the same.

God Bless You

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

I Timothy 3 Part 1–Leadership

It is no small thing to lead.  Everyone has some desire to control and be in charge, but, few truly want to be a leader. The main reason is that leaders have to epitomize the qualities of selflessness and humility.  In order to be a great leader, one needs to put aside one’s personal desires and focus on the needs of those they lead. They show that in their image among the community, in the way they raise their family and in the way they decide personal and corporate goals.

In addition to attitude, leaders must be properly equipped. They cannot be new and inexperienced.  It is not because such folks are not smart or don’t have good ideas, it is because their newness and inexperience exposes them to falling for the tricks of pride and self importance.  Such tricks abolish humility and expose the leader to falling into traps and thinking themselves as experts that know better than those they are to listen to.

Bottom line–a Good leader takes the role because of their desire to serve and their ability to do so humbly. If they need the praise and power in order to lead, they are not the ones that should be leading.  How do we know, ask their friends, neighbors and look at their family–it becomes apparent.

God Bless You

If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap.

I Samuel 24 part 2–The Inevitable Truth of God’s Power

Saul knew he was licked. Or so it would seem.  David could have easily killed him and taken the kingdom that was given to him.  But, David trusted God and spared Saul’s life.  In a moment of lucid thought, Saul was able to see and hear the truth.  David was clear—I could have killed you, but that is not my task.  God sees what is happening—he can and will decide the right course.  Saul knew that was true and that he should never have taken the path he chose—so for the time he simply asked David to spare his family and then he went home.

Even evil can see God’s work and leadership.  In difficult moments in life, we see the worst of us do noble acts.  We see the seemingly godless people come to the realization of God and His power.  What is sad, however, is that when we who know the truth act as Saul did, and intentionally choose independence from God over freedom in him; then we become people we would neither recognize or want to be around.  But, even in those times and places in our journey, we can wake up and turn back…Saul did.  When we repent, God is faithful to forgive and restore—if we submit to His leadership. There is no magic formula, there is no quick fix.  There is simply our daily commitment to follow God and his eternal commitment to protect, provide and lead us to an eternity with him.

God Bless You

 12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you. 14 Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea? 15 May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”

16 When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. 17 And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. 18 Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. 19 Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. 20 And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”

22 So David promised this to Saul with an oath. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went back to their stronghold.

I Samuel 17 part 1–The Giant is Real and Large

Israel had a very real problem.  They had an enemy with a champion that was almost 10 feet tall. That champion wore armor that was heavier than most in the Israelite army.  That giant wanted to fight any soldier from Israel winner take all. From Israel’s perspective, there was little to win and everything to lose.  Anyone looking at what the army faced, they had a very real problem.  It was not only sheer fear that kept the volunteers from lining up, it was the thought of a failure leading to the capture of the entire army.  From Saul down everyone understood the size of the giant and the implications of failure.

In our lives, we also face giants.  Whether spiritual, emotional, financial or professional, those giants are most times very real and very large.  When facing them, we, like the Israelite army not only analyze the problem personally—but also we look at the effect it has on those we care about and care for. What we see, though is that through our eyes, many of the giants we face are simply too big and too powerful for us to face.  BUT, from the Lord God’s perspective, they are nothing.  As we face each day and each giant, we have to walk by faith and believe that GOD not us is charged with facing the giants.  He alone will met and defeat them no matter how real or large they are.  Sadly, it takes patience and faith to meet the giants and face them—but, as we will see, doing so can change the world.

God Bless You

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.[a] He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b]; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c] His shield bearer went ahead of him.

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

God as Warrior–I Samuel 14 part 3

When we follow God’s Lead, it can completely change the world.  Israel was stuck on the sideline—no weapons, afraid and hopeless.  Jonathan trusted the Lord and followed him into battle and God caused a panic, re-invigorated the Israelite troops and routed the mighty Philistine army. All because Jonathan followed the Lord into battle.

In our lives, there are times when the battle seems lost, troops defeated and hope completely gone.  But, as we continue to follow the Lord into Battle, he can completely change the course of the battle and the condition of our hearts. He gives strength to the weary and hope to the hopeless.  He brings victor out of certain loss and humility out of utter pride. If we remain faithful, he will lead us to victory in his time. We can never give up, give in or lose hope.  Help me, Lord to follow you into battle and to see your mighty hand disrupt and defeat our enemy!

God Bless You

Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.[a]

16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.)[b] 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Matthew 16 final–What Disciples are Carrying This Spring

Jesus the rock star was now Jesus the loving leader.  It would have been easy to simply leave the hard stuff out. People really enjoyed the free meals and the miracles.  The teaching was awesome, and the way he continued to make fools of the religious leaders was a sight to behold.  But—that simply was not the purpose for the visit.  Jesus came to restore the relationship destroyed by man’s sin and sinful nature.  That was a singular act of sacrifice.  This was the tipping point and probably the hardest time for Jesus—That is why the statement to Peter was so poignant—While directed at this lovable fisherman, Jesus was calling out from anguish—Satan actually did not mind rock star Jesus as much as he minded this leader that was about to change the world.

Today’s church struggles similarly—Technology makes worship quite a show.  The internet has made multimedia messages power packed with active animation, film clips and meaningful video to accentuate the heartfelt message delivered from the stage.  The show is great, the crowds large the message delivered worldwide.  But—it is so tempting to leave out the hard stuff.  There is so much need for messages of hope and promise that we hesitate to dwell for any period on holiness, stewardship and selflessness. We would not want to drive away seekers.  Sadly, that is not the purpose for the journey.  Jesus said it best”, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

We are here to live like we are simply passing through—the meaningful parts are 1. the legacy we leave behind and 2. the people we bring along’.

Help me, Lord to live like I am a real disciple!

God Bless You

 

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Matthew 8 Part 1–Faith

Faith is a great thing.  Jesus finished speaking God’s heart to his followers. As he was walking down the mountain, there was immediate evidence that the message was clearly received. Two men humbly came before the Lord and took him at his word.  They both had needs—one for himself, the other for his trusted friend and servant. The incredible part of the story is that both men came to Jesus KNOWING he could heal. They did not come HOPING—they knew he would be able to heal him. The level of faith astounded and thrilled Jesus.

In our lives, nothing has changed.  Jesus still simply longs for us to KNOW he is there to heal, protect and provide for our needs.  He does not want us to “hope” he will get to us. He wants us to walk daily by faith and learn to simply and completely trust him and follow his plan.  When we walk in this faith, not only do we see him do mighty things, we also bless him and bring him joy.  Like any dad—The Father simply wants to bless his kids and have them know he loves them.  Help me Lord to live a life that shows how much I love and trust you.

God Bless You

8 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy[a] came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a man came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith…13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment