Category Archives: Devotional

What Is The Ministry Of Reconciliation?

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.

2 Corinthians 5:11


This is a personal decision and it might be that you have yet to experience what that decision means? I would say that I am still presently experiencing my decision to this ministry. Now… I’m going about this devotion a bit differently. You will see a video with this devotional.

The fear of the Lord convicts us of the consequence for sin, which is His wrath that remains on those who decide not to believe in Jesus Christ. But thank God our Father who has provided this ministry of reconciliation. That wrath is passed over because Jesus Christ the Son of the living God died on the cross to give you and I the blood transfusion of the Lamb. We are saved from the condemnation of sin through a work of faith in the Holy Spirit of God in us. Therefore we are reconciled to God.

What Is The Chosen

And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

Acts 1:24-26


The chosen are the apostles of Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus called these 12 chosen to follow Him personally during His ministry of the kingdom of His Father our God to His excruciating death on the cross. Notice that these people responded by accepting their call to follow and went, not that they chose Jesus, but are chosen by Jesus. However, one of these apostles who also went and shared in Jesus’ ministry as (our verse above describes) took his portion of that ministry and went to his own place. But what place was that? A place called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood (Act 1:19). Earlier in the chapter of Acts, the chosen apostles tell about 120 followers of Jesus that Judas was a personification of scripture fulfilled—“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’; and, ‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’ (Act 1, Psa 69, 109, Zec 5). So it was time to fill that office and the qualifications were men that accompanied Christ from His baptism to Him being taken up to the right hand of God after His resurrection from the dead (Acts 1:21-22, 2:32-33).

The chosen is a land and a people of Israel for the Kingdom of God that was taken from the hardened hearts of the chief priests and Pharisees in their office of the old covenant (Genesis 18:18-20, Matt 21:33-46, Roman 11). And that Kingdom was given to the apostles that share in our present ministry of the new covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ (Luke 22:20). The Kingdom of God today is a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:17-21) through the power and glory of God with the promise of the Holy Spirit. And it might be that you are wondering whether you are reconciled to God? If so, don’t worry, because every single one of the apostles wondered whether they were the one to betray Jesus saying, “Surely it is not I…?(John 13:21-25, Mark 14:18-21 Matt 26:21-25, Luke 22:14-23). There was a time when I asked that question for myself, only a little differently. Let’s look at what sets the 11 Christians apart from Judas and the reason the lot fell to Matthais to fill his office .

It looks plausible that Judas was stealing enough money throughout his life including the course of their ministry to acquire a field before his betrayal (Acts 1:18). He had thrown the 30 pieces of silver back to the chief priests (Matt 26:15, 27:3-9, Zech 11:12-13), which indicates to me that he’d already acquired the field by his wickedness. The betrayal of Judas reminds me of the rogue angel (Eze 28:12-17) guised in the eyes of a woman to be a serpent trusted by what God said to be very good (Gen 1:31), but was actually an act of betrayal. Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made(Gen 3:1). The consequential program of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is genius, because in it is the capacity for what is created to be good capable of evil (Gen 2:9, Isa 5:20, 41:23, Eze 28:12-17 ). We are not forced to be evil, all of creation is given life to share with God our Father in the program He wrote with the blood ink of His only Son, The Word of God (Rev 12:13, John 3:16, Acts 4:12).

The Lord knows the hearts of all men. If you are honest about your heart, what would the Lord know about it? We are all thieves on the cross, but are you the thief saying… “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:39-43)?

What Is Discipline

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:16


You might have noticed a theme to these “What Is…” devotionals. I’ve stayed around the subject of Judas Iscariot because the relationship between Judas and Jesus reveals the love of God for His enemies; that’s paramount. But it also reveals the authority that is given the Son of Man to remove the restrainer that protects against the lawlessness of Satan (2 Thes 2:7).

God loves us as a Father that disciplines His children (Heb 12:7-11). We can see that happening as Judas exercises miracles, authority over demons, preaches the kingdom at hand (Mat 10:5-8) and even eats the morsel received from Jesus at the passover (Jhn 13:26). So if God loved Judas, why would Satan be permitted to enter into him? Let’s look at this from another angle. Remember when Jesus calls out Peter saying, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luk 22:31-32). What was going on with Peter that Jesus would say this to him? My observation (and Peter please forgive me for where I might be wrong) is his desire to lead by acting on Christ’s behalf, his ambition manifests through insecurities wanting to prove himself. And it looks like Satan was eating that up inside Peter because it wasn’t that Peter wanted to deny Christ, but his zeal was clouding his judgment about what Christ meant regarding thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Luk 22:30); possibly felt an erratic jolt of emotions for such a position, not to mention what came next, and didn’t know how to react or respond other than to get ampt. Next thing you know he cuts off a dudes ear and starts cursing… can you relate?! Shoot, I feel like I can!

But what do we make of Satan? This issue of sin dates back to the seed of Adam and is written in our DNA because Adam was not deceived when eating that fruit (1 Tim 2:14, Gen 3:6). And so we were living in the lie of evil because we are of our father the devil (Jhn 8:44) choosing to believe in ourselves rather than the truth of the Word of God (Gen 3:7), which is what Peter was doing by cutting off the right ear of a chief priests’ slave at the arrest of Jesus (Luk 18:10) and then denying Jesus for fear of his own life because it was time for the hour of darkness (Luk 22:53) in fulfillment of scripture. Notice what Jesus said to Simon (Peter),but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; …” Jesus said that He prayed for Peter. And why if Peter has no choice to his faith? After all, God is the one that hardens the heart, and Judas is the one to betray Jesus. So what glory is there to marvel at if God creates His vessels to do what they have no power over? We would be robotic in nature, without option but to marvel. Jesus prayed to His Father who gives us our faith that will either condemn or save us based on the condition of our hearts. And we are either using the faith of God to become hardened like Judas to an illegitimate father (Satan 1 Cor 5:5, 2 Thess 1:9)); or receiving salvation as promised like Peter through a relationship with the love of our heavenly Father (Jesus (Mat 18:14, 1 Tim 2)). Because faith is obeying by believing that Jesus did come in the flesh, and is Son of God, that grants us our promise into the kingdom of God (Jhn 14:6).

The last significant detail about these words of Jesus to Simon is,and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” . There is an obvious mediation going on here by the data revealed about Simon’s heart. Jesus is confident that Simon will be turned again to Peter (Mat 16:18) for the responsibility of His office. But it’s through his portion of faith (Rom 12:3-6) to trust in the seal of the Holy Spirit (Jhn 3:33-36, 2 Tim 2:19-26).

What Is Justice?

“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

Matthew 26:13


Indeed… This gospel is being preached in the whole world! But why is it that this woman will be remembered for what she did? This devotional is something special to me because of what this woman did, and I hope it will prove the same for you. Because it might be that you are troubled by this idea of value; value as—your faith in Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord, and Savior, who took away your sin—wondering whether you are worthy of such an anointing of salvation (1 Jo 2:27) by thoughts and feelings of past issues and present sins? How value is weighed and measured from a human or carnal perspective is costly because it’s deceptive. God is patient toward the activity of sin in this world for you, right now, reading this, because even the most unworthy can hear and believe this good news if their willing to receive it. But put this memory of the woman in your heart and mind as we learn just how worthy you are to God through what Jesus Christ did.

When Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? “For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. “For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. “For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Notice how all the disciples became indignant or angrily suspicious at this treatment because their focus was in the value of the perfume, instead of Jesus. And one disciple in particular became so twisted in the heart giving root to that emotion of indignation sought the opportunity to betray Jesus (Matt 26:14-16) through the temple priests already conspiring how to kill Jesus (Matt 26:1-5); Judas Iscariot became the how to for the priests already under the influence of evil; the invisible work of the devil uses the justice and love of God to manipulate the human perception, in this case, the minds of the temple priests and the heart of Judas Iscariot.

Justice is the law of God that Jesus Christ fulfilled and still proclaims today (Mat 5:17, Mat 12:18); which means the continued sacrifice of lambs, the temple building and priests, have no longer been necessary for the forgiveness of sins; the death and burial of Jesus Christ is the passing of the old covenant, while the new covenant is born in His bodily resurrection (a new body). And the reason this woman anointed Jesus with the costly perfume is because she perceived the significance of the burial. The perfume represents you and the fragrance of you is a soothing aroma to God. Your faith is that fragrance of Jesus Christ to God that produces salvation in you as your sin dies and is buried forever by believing that your sin was taken away to the cross of Jesus Christ. It is buried in history. You are free! Now that we believe with confidence that Jesus was raised from the dead, we too are raised from the dead by grace through faith, having a clean conscience before the throne of God (a new body). Your sin has no power over you. So turn from your sin, and have eternal life in Jesus Christ (the Son of Man).


The featured image is from The CHOSEN season 1 episode 8 and it turns out that this series is reaching the world with the gospel just as this verse with words in red indicate would happen. And no, this is not a paid mention for The Chosen or any favor. This is just information, and hope, for reaching the world with the gospel that preaches Jesus Christ.

What Is Truth?

Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.

John 18:38


Can you feel that question… “What is truth?…” If I may, please let me challenge you to ask that question for yourself without bias, don’t assume to know. Ask yourself, “What is truth?” For me that question causes thoughts about how I’ve come to know my truth. Questions immediately stir about my birth into this world (born into the Dooley family, Warrensburg Missouri—USA 1988, brought up in the Christian faith), but also… “How was it that I could comprehend two plus two equals four and why?” That question did actually come to mind, but more than that though, “…what does the value of truth mean and my relationship to that value?” This is quite the labor that will take some serious work to peel away the layers of life and indoctrination to discover what is truth. But when we do, it’s sooo worth it!

Pilate was in a position to crucify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And if he knew the truth of what he was doing, do you think that he would have crucified Jesus? Pilate thought that he had the power to release Jesus (Jhn 19:10), but what did Jesus say? “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” So who then delivered Jesus to Pilate? Jesus then *answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He *took and *gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus *said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” (Jhn 13:26-27). When Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me (Jhn 14:6)—Jesus answered our question to this devotional.

Truth is not determined by angels or people because the authority to determine what truth is, belongs to the Son of God—the Word of God through Jesus Christ. Notice what command Jesus gave to Judas after Satan had entered him, Jesus told the fallen angel that we know as Satan to follow through the desire of Judas’ heart. And the truth about the heart of Judas was to betray Jesus for money (Mat 26:14-16). And so this is why it is so unwise to act as though you believe in Jesus while yet holding onto the idea of disbelief for the sake of gain. Do not wait for the opportunity to sell your confidence in Jesus for “money” and Satan to possess your heart. Check yourself before you enter into your future. Don’t feel ashamed to wonder about the condition of your heart, trust in Jesus Christ.

The Perfect Promise

And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

Hebrews 5:9


I love this verse because it makes secure the salvation of your soul. In the first devotional you’ll read about the power of God through an instruction to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. In the second devotional you’ll read about how faith is our ability to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. In this devotional we have an intimate relationship between belief and faith that produces… The Perfect Promise!

If you’ve believed in the good news about the Son of God in the flesh of Jesus Christ—then you are perfect in that provision of love through faith, not fear, meaning that your confession of sin is forgiven (Luk 12:10). You might be experiencing a heavy load of guilt and shame for deep dark secrets that hold you captive to an environment of enslavement (Eph 5:1-21)? It’s like your soul is screaming for help because there is a consequence for the rejection of truth about your environment (2Pe 2:1-22). If that is the case…?

Please literally stop what you are thinking and doing and listen to this promise. God promised that He would provide salvation not just for a duration of time, but eternal salvation, meaning that Jesus Christ is the perfect promise of sacrifice to remove and remember your sin no more and to help you handle the deepest darkest issues of your life for complete restoration in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1Tim 2:4-6, Jhn 16:7-15). By believing that truth is an act of faith you’ve decided to choose by trusting in this promise of God.

And so how to obey is that you trust in the name of Jesus Christ, and if you’ve decided to trust in the name of Jesus Christ… you are made perfect in love by the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. The darkness of your life will be converted to light through faith, believe in your faith (Eph 2:4-9), because you are loved with an eternal love. And Jesus Christ is your source of perpetual salvation! By really meditating on this promise, you will experience the providence of the Holy Spirit.


How Faith Makes One Perfected In Love

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

1 John 4:18


Don’t confuse the language of fear in this verse with the language of fear in the Lord, because the meaning of fear in this verse is very different than having the fear of the Lord (Pro 14:26). If you believe in Jesus Christ as the living Son of God that has come in the flesh (1Jo 4:2) then you have no reason to fear as described because our faith produces confidence in love that fills the place of fear (Heb 4:16) through conversion. God is love (1Jo 4:16)!

  • But you might be struggling with doubt or disbelief that God is love?
  • Or it might be that your belief is secure, but your faith is in question?

I pray this devotional will encompass you with perfect love. We need to establish the experience of faith to understand how love is perfected as the previous devotional incited. To do that, lets distinguish the difference between belief and faith because the relationship between the two reveals the invisible power of God for salvation to glorification. If you’re not a Christian, please consider following along our devotionals.


THE TREASURE OF FAITH

If you are a Christian, then you know who Jesus Christ is because you’ve heard and believed in the good news of the gospel; God sent His only Son (Jesus Christ) to be that Person who took away the sin of the world (Jhn 1:29, Heb 9:26). That means every repentant believer—although experiencing the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life—is born again to salvation through the baptism of Jesus Christ (Mat 3:13-17, 1Jo 2:16, Rom 10:8-13, Mark 16:16, Act 2:38). When our Lord was baptized, the heavens opened and our heavenly Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”(Mat 3:17). Why was our heavenly Father well-pleased?

Justice for sin is the death of this world unless it passes over somehow for life to exist eternally. To be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect means to have faith in the love of God—For God so loved the world—that He gave us the example of faith (Jhn 3:16-21). So to believe in Jesus means we’ve experienced salvation from our sin by the transfer of our account, that’s right, money and all—the sin of our souls—onto the cross of Jesus Christ. That requires faith! We no longer fear death because our lives are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ who still lives (Act 2:33)! And that is how death passes over those who believe. So to have faith in Jesus means our future is established in heaven where He is right now (Rom 8:35-39)!

The relationship between belief and faith is a declaration of trust in the invisible work of God. The aim of our faith is what casts out fear because we look to Jesus Christ!

The two most difficult tasks of faith conversion:

(1)Dying to the idol worship of yourself (because when your faith is in sin—rejection of the truth—your belief remains in the evil one of this world Jhn 8:44). The other is (2)loving your enemy to the extent Jesus loves you (because it’s only natural to gravitate toward the comfort of your environment (Gal 2:11-13) and harbor animosity against your abusers — to not care for the life of your enemies Mat 5:43-48). But when your belief is united by faith in Jesus (Heb 4:2), you’ve overcome the evil one (1Jo 2:12-14) and have the power to love your enemy even to death; your life is converted by the aim of your faith because your belief rests where Jesus is now (Heb 4:3). And so you are converted from a lifestyle of condemnation to a lifestyle of freedom; that is the promise of God and work of the Holy Spirit (Jhn 3:36). Our mission is clear, tell the world, and hope they hear (Luk 2:10-11).


How To Be Perfect

You Are To Be Perfect

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 5:48


You know… this verse… if it doesn’t defeat you… it will have you feeling a lot like Jacob after he wrestled with God (Gen 32:24-32). Because to be perfectly honest (forgive the pun), it’s defeated me on multiple occasions and still does! But I will not give up! To strive with the Word of God (Rev 19:13) is sacred and powerful!

  • It might be that you are experiencing defeat upon wrestling with this verse of perfection?
  • Or it might have nothing to do with this verse at all, but that you are experiencing defeat at this time in your life?

Don’t be discouraged unless you’ve given up contending with God by setting the Bible aside to do as you please, and if that’s the case, let this devotional reignite that faith. To be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect means we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.


Jesus would not have this verse inserted by the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit in Matthew if it was unattainable for us here and now while on this earth. So we first need to believe in the promise this verse provides which is… to be perfect in love …that is what perfection is—love. And how this was exemplified was the event of Christs’ death on the cross. At this point you’re saying, “The only person who could live perfectly was Jesus Christ and therefore it’s impossible for me to be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect.”

And you’d be correct, but it also leaves us discontent because that truth is insignificant if it proves only that Jesus Christ died for Himself to be perfect. But that was not the will of our heavenly Father. Let us be reminded that Jesus pleaded for the cup to be removed from Him (Luk 22:44) yet remaining obedient to the will of our heavenly Father. And so at that point the weight of our sin was so unbearable it could only be accomplished through the love of our heavenly Father as His only Son carried the weight of you and me… to death.

But see, it didn’t end there! As a matter of fact, our perfection began there when Christ breathed His last by committing His Spirit to God, our Father (Luk 23:46). Because it was in that transaction that the world became witness to salvation, and upon believing from the heart… a person is saved through the forgiveness of sin. So how then are we who believe—perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect—if we are still in sin? And the answer is… faith! Faith is the only treasure on this earth that enables our ability to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Heb 11:6, 1Jo 5:4).


I hope this devotional gives you the treasure of our heavenly Father. Let’s be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, Amen.

Is God Pleased With You?

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:22-32 NIV

I love verse 32. There is so much good news packed into this little verse.

Do not be afraid – In the teaching preceding verse 32 Jesus is instructing his disciples (so us) not to worry by showing how he provides for things far less valuable than us. Then He sums the lesson up by instructing them not to be afraid, because He knows that fear is the engine of worry. Finally he makes a promise; seek his kingdom and what you need will be given to you.

Little flock – There are many sermons/illustrations by people more knowledgeable than me on how sheep exemplify man by being dumb, helpless creatures. This may be spot on, however this feels different to me. It seems like a term of endearment to me, and terms of endearment belong to people you love or who love you. Therefore, this is Jesus getting intimate with us – maybe so he can tell us something about his love for us. I do this with my wife too – “Hey Love, I love you.” (Term of endearment, message I want loved one to hear)

Your father has been pleased to give you the kingdom – Just on surface this is already really good news: God has given us the kingdom. The part that is amazing, the part that makes me feel so loved is that He was pleased to do it. It wasn’t begrudgingly given, nor flippantly given. It was given because God was happy to give us something good. A good gift from a good Father. 

Prayer

Thank you Lord that we are not just some forgotten, unattended to creation, but that you pursue us and seek us out in your love for us and then show your love for us. You rock. I love you. Amen


Can This Post Feed 5,000?

Featured photo: The Chosen  (Season 1 Episode 3)

Has there ever been a time in your life where you had food prepared and ready to go for work but woke up late? You just left it thinking by some hope of providence, you’ll get fed. And it just so happened the boss brought donuts just for you to have an excuse to break that diet and get through the work day!

Or perhaps there was a time in your life where food was expected, but not given? Your friends invite you over for steak, you get there… no steak. What the heck! Turns out no one really cared about your appetite, and the lack of consideration is quite discouraging so you plot to kill em all.

Not really. But still! Not only is that plot idea relevant to this post, It’s time for some new friends, don’t you think? because true friends will treat you like a king or queen. And this post is about to become your friend.

BECAUSE YOU ARE A KING QUEEN!

Alright friend, let me take you back in time! lets hit the rewind from A.D. 2020 to peer into the time of A.D. 27 through A.D. 34! Who and what are you thinking about when this history comes to mind? For me… it’s about Jesus and what he did!

There was a time in history that maybe you’ve heard of? An event where 5,000 people went hungry for food after watching and following a man capable of doing miraculous signs. They of course knew this man as Jesus of Nazareth, until this event nearly changed everything!

They didn’t have vehicles back then so Jesus walked to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias) up on this mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. See now… Jesus knew these people needed to eat and had a plan to feed them, but how in the world was he about to feed 5,000?

Even his disciple Philip was like, yo, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them” to even receive a little. But the point of all this was to concern themselves for the people, to feel and have compassion for these people traveling to see and experience these miraculous signs that Jesus is doing.

The reason for these signs is much more than just proof that Jesus is the Messiah, but an expectation for the King of the Jews.

Now that the hearts of the disciples were focused on compassion for these people in response to Jesus’s’ prompting question, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?”. Thankfully one of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, *said to Him,  “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” That’s like me asking…

What is this post for so many people?

Jesus knew what he was about to do and how it was going to reveal to compel their idea to make Jesus the King of the Jews, but not for the reason the Jews anticipated… which was to deliver them from the oppression of Roman governance.

So as you can see, this “lad”… had a significant role to play in bringing the 5 loaves and 2 fish because it is through this selfless act of provision that the miracle of feeding 5,000 persuades the crowd to force Jesus into becoming the King that delivers them. But that is not the reason Jesus was to become King, do you know what that reason was?

You might want to sit down for this… considering that was the instruction of Jesus at that time for all these people, “Have the people sit down.”. Gaw… I love this, because in it we can recognizing the work of God! This act of communion bears so much meaning and symbolism to the body of Jesus being broken on the cross… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Jesus is already the King, but desires these people, his inheritance, the chosen of God to share in His Kingship. Behold Israel! For salvation is from the Jews! But because these chosen people so strongly desired deliverance from Roman oppression, missed the reality of their own sin.

And so this Prophet who is to come into the world withdrew himself from these people to be alone on this mountain. He was like, “yo Pops, I need some new friends up in this house, these people aren’t cuttin-it”. No… of course he didn’t say that, it was more like, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

So now here comes the question, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”! Can you imagine eating your favorite donut without the side affects forever free, or how about a nice juicy steak for free whenever your appetite calls for it? I think that’s what these people had in mind, like yo…

FREE FOOD FOREVER!

But that wasn’t what Jesus was communicating and to their defense, they didn’t have a personal relationship with God through the seal of the Holy Spirit at that time to understand God intimately. That is what it meant to follow and believe in Jesus, to understand the heart and mind of God. But they just wanted the ability to have free food.

So then what is the answer to that question, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Well… it’s this, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” It’s quite simple really, believe in Jesus Christ. If you do believe, you’ll find that breaking open your Bible to John chapter 6 is where your spiritual meal is waiting.

LET’S EAT! I’M FAMISHED!

Why The HECK Should We Pray Anyways?

Let’s read through Luke 18 together.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” ‭‭Luke‬ 18:1

Always pray. Don’t give up praying. That is the meaning of the parable Jesus is about to tell us. We don’t even need to read it to find the meaning. It’s clear.

When we do read it we find the parable of the unjust judge who provides justice for the widow because she is a persistent (maybe even annoying) person. Jesus is saying to us, if that is what an unjust, powerful official does for their subjects, God will surely bring justice to his chosen ones. 

He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18: 2-8

A little while after this parable we come to the story of the rich young ruler. A man who would not give up his great wealth and follow Jesus to earn his salvation.

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Luke 18:18-26

I feel for the rich young ruler. Immediately after I read this I hesitated to pray, ‘Lord take my riches if that’s what it takes for me to be a true follower of you.’ Clearly – there is still room for sanctification to happen in my heart. But Jesus tells us, “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27), so there’s hope for me yet.

In fact Jesus goes on to promise us that those who leave everything to follow him will get more than that in this age… and in the age to come. That means in this life and the next! What a promise!? It just takes some trust. 

2“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30

At the end of this chapter we see a little bit of a call back to the parable of the unjust judge. A blind man yells at Jesus as he is walking by and continues to call out to him despite others telling him to stop and to be quiet. The blind man is persistent. Jesus hears him. Asks him how he can help. And then gives him sight.

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:35-43

Conclusion

Always pray. Don’t give up praying. Our just God will hear you. 


Why Do You Look For The Living Among The Dead?

The other day I was reading the last chapter in Luke and a verse struck me. It is a quote from one of the angels talking to the women looking for Jesus in the empty tomb.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5b

I think it’s a particular stunning verse, and in the context of the Luke’s narrative it is the turning point. Preceding this moment we have a close friend’s betrayal, unjust trials, torture, and the crucifixion of an innocent man. Let us sit in that for a second. Imagine yourself a witness to these moments:

A friend’s betrayal

Unfair, unorthodox, & unjust trials

Torture – flogging and mockery

Crucifixion, a humiliating and painful execution of state sponsered asphyxiation

Death of an innocent man

Then BAM! These ten words nearly jump off the page and bring a sudden stop to the terror.

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Jesus is alive!

Can you feel the power in this verse? Do you see how the whole world pivots from this moment? Can you put yourself in the shoes of the women that day? Can we have the humility to put ourselves under the same scrutiny?

Why do I look for life among the dead?

I have sought to find life and salvation in relationships with women. I have looked for pleasure in the grave of porn sites. I have fought and sought to be approved and impressive to others who themselves are seeking life in the cemeteries of this world.

Even now I search for comfort among the cushions of the couch instead of in the God of the universe. I search for appreciation and value for the deeds I do in my house, at work, and in my friend group instead of doing great things out of the confidence that God has already declared my value infinite. I search for happiness and joy within my life without going to the source of happiness and joy. I search for comfort, appreciation, approval, happiness, & joy in a world that has no idea how to acquire them while the Creator of these blessings offers them in abundance.

Why do I look for life among dead?

I do this because I have not convinced myself of the full goodness of God.

A Prayer

Father, please change my heart. Make me into a new being. Inspire me to be a man who seeks after You. Win my heart over. Convince me of Your love and goodness. You are so kind, so gracious, so loving. Help me believe that you are the source of life and not this world. I love you. Your will be done. Amen.

I know I’m not the only one. What about you?