In John chapters 14 and 15, Jesus is saying goodbye to His disciples. Chapter 15, starting with verse 18 continuing to verse 25, Jesus warns the disciple that they will be despised. As followers of Christ, we are often despised. We do not belong to this world. Yet we must live in this world. We are supposed to share the love of Jesus with the world. Yet as human beings, we want to belong. You do belong to the Body of Christ. In your church, in your small groups, this is where you develop friendships with likeminded people. Where you learn to walk with Christ. Where you receive support. Some are fortunate enough to be able to have employment in Christian environments. Most do not and it can be lonely. Loneliness leads to depression. For this reason, I urge you to join a small group Bible study.
John 13: 34-35:
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Christ loved us so much he died for us. He is not asking us to die for one another. He just says love one another.
I started today filled with good intentions. I started out by posting about being blessed because Jesus is alive. Then I started running errands with the intent of spreading cheer. Bank, that went well. I wished her a Happy Easter. I moved up the highway, first driver cut me off, turn up KLOVE. second driver cut me off, OOY!. I go into the store. It is crowded, I am shopping out of necessity. I really do not like to shop, but Friday morning isn’t generally crowded. I forgot it is Good Friday, okay, I forgot that lots of people shop on Good Friday. I forgot why in the back of my head, I knew I should have gone earlier this week. No school, I will go Friday. It was crazy in the store. Employees stocking shelves and blocking whole aisles. People standing in the middle of aisles talking on their phones. I got tense. But believe it or not I did not say anything negative. However, I did lose my joy. Back in the car, I remembered something. Sometimes life is yucky, sometimes what we want to do doesn’t always happen. However, Jesus does not stop loving me and I can push the “reset” button with a bit of prayer. Another way to push the “reset” button is by reading the verse of the day. One half an hour of negative emotion washed away with a couple of minutes of prayer. Me telling Jesus that I oopsed. Me asking God to reset my emotions.
As Christians, we are supposed to be about second chances. Yet are we? If someone tells you that they are a convict, how do you react? Do you jump back a bit? do you check for your wallet? Do you look to see if they have a weapon? Jesus told us that he who is without sin should cast the first stone (John 8:7). Here is the question: A person is a convict because they were caught. Unfortunately, the United States has 22% of the world’s prison population. 1 in 4 Americans has a criminal record. Are we willing to turn our backs on such a big population? Are we willing to tell this huge group of the United States that we don’t want them in our church? or do we want to start a dialog that all are created equal and that all deserve a second chance? After all Jesus died to give us all second chances. The Bible doesn’t say only those that don’t get caught committing sins deserve a second chance. Because after all, we have all made mistakes, some of us big enough that we could have gone to jail; our crime just wasn’t caught. For example have you ever driven a vehicle when you had been drinking? have you ever shoplifted? Have you ever shot a sign or a mailbox? You can answer honestly, because you are reading this by yourself, only God will hear you. And he is not going to run to the civilian prosecution and say hey, you know so and so, 20 years ago they were so drunk when they were driving. No God is saying that is okay, you have been forgiven because I sent my son. all he asks us is the same- Forgive others as I have forgiven you (Lord’s Prayer) It is called a SECOND CHANCE
John 13: 3-17: To be a good leader, not only do you need to be willing to serve, but you must be willing to be served. John 13:3-17: is the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet. It is a perfect example of Servant-Leadership.
Galatians 2:21: Grace, what is exactly is grace? Grace is forgiveness without any strings attached. What do you mean no strings attached? Don’t I have to do good works? Don’t I have earn my salvation? Thank goodness NO. Seriously do you think you could actually do enough to earn Salvation? I know I couldn’t. I could try every day, I could feed the hungry, use every extra penny to help the poor. It would never be enough. Here is the thing, Jesus died and rose from the grave so we don’t have to all we have to do is accept the free gift. That is right, I said free. What is better than free? Does that mean you get to accept Jesus as the Messiah, the saviour, and then keep living the same life. There will be changes, you will feel different. You will find that some of the things you used to do are no longer interesting. The other thing that will happen when you invite the light into your life is you will want to follow the light. You will want to do what is right. Grace it is better than hot buttered toast.
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
There are so many books written about how to hear the voice of God. But not much is written concerning attacks from the evil one. No the evil one is not omnipresent, he does however, have many minions. They roam the world seeking to exploit our weaknesses our insecurities. Are they constantly attacking anyone person? No, do they sit there waiting for God’s people to make mistakes just waiting to pounce on every weakness? Do the sit there knocking over glasses of milk? No probably not, but I wouldn’t put it past them. Are they responsible for all the evil in the world? Yes, absolutely. Do they target certain individuals and ignore others? Some days you might think you have been a target of some evil entity’s attention. Perhaps you were. What is important to remember if you have been caught in their cross hairs, is it feels like chaos. God brings peace, Satan and his minions chaos. So maybe when the baby knocks over the glass of milk, maybe the evil one is at work. How do you fight it? You call on Jesus’ name and tell that evil one to get out. The catch? you might have to frequently repeat this. You might have to chase the evil one away more than once a day. It is not something that gets easier the more you read the Bible, the more you pray. Actually the more you do these things the harder the evil one will try to stop you. Why bother? Because a relationship with God brings peace. Yes sometimes Satan will step in and you will allow him to steal your peace. But that does not mean that you give up? No you don’t give up. What you do is let it go forget the failure, ask forgiveness and start a new day. So what it that stinker won a tiny battle? The allied forces didn’t win every battle and neither will you. During WWII there were times when it looked as if the bad guys would win. But did that stop us? NO Get up, put on your big person panties and tell satan not today.
Hebrews 12: 22-24: To those of you like me, suffer from periodic periods of feeling down, hopeless; we need to remember this: We have come to Mount Zion. We are children of the King. Through Jesus we can tap into complete joy and peace. I know all this with my head, getting it to my heart is another matter. Perhaps it is the other way around, my heart knows, but my brain is stubborn. I think that is it we are hard-headed people. So how do you get out of the vicious cycle? I suggest the power of positive thinking. It seems to be working. The feelings of depression are much further apart. Here is how it works. Every morning when you wake up, tell yourself I am going to remember I am a child of God through Jesus’ sacrifice. At first, I had to tell myself twenty, thirty times a day. But the more I did it the more it sunk into my hard head. I challenge you to try it! It takes less than 10 seconds to stop and say I am a child of God. What a wonderful feeling. Now Go!!!
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.