Knowing Better

KNOWING BETTER

And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” Mark 14:30

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, “If only I’d known what the consequences of that action or word would be, I would do something different.” Have you been there?  I have kicked myself so many times thinking that I would have chosen differently if I’d only known what the repercussions of my actions would be. But after reading a passage in Mark 14, I’m wondering how much foreknowledge would have helped me.

Jesus told Peter that he would betray Him three times. You see, Jesus always knows us better than we know ourselves. Peter could not believe that he would do anything so terrible, but Jesus knew better. Fear would get the best of Peter, as it does all of us from time to time. Not only would Peter deny Jesus. He would do it three times. Even though he was told what he was going to do beforehand, he did it anyway. Sometimes a warning does prevent a bad situation, but not always. I can think of quite a few examples from my own life when I chose to sin knowing that I would reap unwelcome results.

The bottom line is this: We are all born with a sin nature. It’s so natural for us to sin. That’s why we need Jesus. It takes something supernatural to rescue us from the fast track to Hell. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death.” We need to choose here and now, if we haven’t, where we will spend eternity. This is the biggest choice that we make. Please choose Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, I am so sorry for my sin, both intentional and unintentional. You forgave me, even after I sinned on purpose. You are Love, Truth, and Holiness. I bask today in what Your Son did for me. In Jesus precious name, Amen

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What We Leave Behind

What We Must Leave Behind

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1 and 2 (NASB)

Just as we cannot drive forward by looking in our rear view mirror, we cannot live meaningfully if we are consumed by the past.

I knew at age 11 that God called me to the ministry but I got distracted. It took me years to get focused. While they were not wasted years, I let people and situations hold me back. I let fear of hurting others’ feelings keep me from walking out on the stage God set for me.

Time is fleeting.  Life coaches encourage us to add things to our lives; exercise, healthy food, new hobbies, etc. But what do we need to leave behind?  That’s often omitted in the discussion.  Is God tugging at your heart? What has He been leading you to give up? Dead weight can come in all sorts of forms; a house that’s too big, a bad attitude, other people’s expectations, friendships that discourage you from obeying God…the list can get lengthy.

Jesus left behind Heaven for us. His love led Him to the cross. Right now, you and I can embrace resurrection power, the same kind that brought Jesus back life, to empower us to let go of the baggage that is keeping us from running the race.

Heavenly Father, Show me what I need to leave behind. Empower me to release these things with grace, faith, and love. Help me to walk forward into what You have called me to do. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen

The Baby Knows Your Name

The Baby Knows Your Name

She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

One of the things women tell me over and over again is, “I’m not going to pray about that. That’s too small for God.” It translates to, “I’m too small for God.” If that’s you, I have some good news to tell you, now, at Christmastime.

Mary peeked over the side of the manger. She looked into the baby’s eyes. It was a moment when He wasn’t asleep. She saw eternity in His knowing little face. He recognized her. But all baby’s recognize their mothers, right? This seemed different. Or was she imagining things? Continue reading “The Baby Knows Your Name”

Precious Offense

Precious Offense

Coming to Him as a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious…  2 Peter 2:3

The One who is so offensive to the world is so precious to us as Christians.  During this holiday season, I find myself wondering how people can enjoy celebrating the birth of Someone they find upsetting, especially when that Someone means everything to me.

Prophecies are clear in the Old Testament that Jesus would be a stumbling block both to the world and to His own people.  His parents fled with him to Egypt while he was still a baby so that he wouldn’t be murdered by King Herod.  That’s rejection from just about day one.  His very existence was an offense to a hideously immoral king.  Later on, people openly insulted his parentage.  Ultimately, the Romans crucified Him to pacify religious leaders who took great offense to Jesus because he claimed that He was God’s Son and King of the Jews.

Today, people are offended because Jesus’ existence shouts that they need a savior.  Continue reading “Precious Offense”

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Who am I? Do you find yourself asking yourself that question? Jesus posed that very question to His disciples. And He knew the answer better than anyone else.

I’ve made some choices in my life, both good and bad, where I’ve found myself questioning who I am. I’ve also experienced changes in my life that made me see another side of myself. (Motherhood, anyone? I find myself saying things that make me sound just like my mother!) We all have an idea of who we are, so when we are confronted with an unfamiliar face in the mirror, it can rattle us. But let me ask another question: Can any of us define who we are? We can have an idea of what we look like and how we act, but rarely do we ever get the full picture. That is, unless we have an unscripted reality show with cameras following us everywhere. Continue reading “Who Am I?”

Dying Churches

Dying Churches

Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 2 Corinthians 11:28 and 29

Churches die for many reasons. Sometimes they are the victims of ungodly people. But sometimes, they perpetrate ungodliness themselves.

When I was kid, I knew of a wonderful little church that was thriving from the first day their doors were opened. The Word was being preached. People reached out to other people. They were growing fast and it was a fantastic community. But there were a few unscrupulous people in leadership that forced the church to close because it was not yet making the kind of profit they wanted. This sweet church was a victim.

I’ve also seen churches that make victims of its parishioners. How does that look? Members of the congregation give sacrificially on Sunday only to be told that their giving isn’t good enough. The leadership is overly ambitious and pours out guilt when their agendas aren’t funded fast enough. I’ve also seen churches turn into a community center where the name of Jesus is used solely for the purpose of social work. Feeding the flock takes a backseat to respectability in the community.

What I’ve learned is this: Continue reading “Dying Churches”

Manipulation of the Word

Manipulation of the Word

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1

So many people know the Bible without actually knowing the One who is the Word. And some people who know the Word can have an unholy agenda and manipulate it.

Church people do it. Politicians do it. Even pastors in the pulpit do it. They misuse scripture. It is such a grievous offense and because of that, teachers, in particular, will be held to a higher standard. This is one of the reasons why I ran from the call to ministry for years. I felt the pressure as one who was called to teach the Bible. I also knew that the criticism that comes with public ministry is significant. That being true, there is a warning not to use God’s Word inappropriately because the Word comes with power. Continue reading “Manipulation of the Word”