A Royal Wedding Invitation

wedding invite2aMatt 22  The King and His Invitation

Not too long ago we were given a glimpse of a royal wedding via television. We had not been invited but for the moment pretend we were. What would your response have been? Would you have been astounded and excited that you would have been invited? Would you have accepted?

Jesus used the illustration of a royal wedding as his prop.  Notice the responses of the invitees when they received the invitation. Some said they would NOT come! They were indifferent and turned their back. But being a gracious king he sent a second invitation and this time they responded even more vigorously, I will NOT accept! Is that what you would have said or would you have been among the many who would have gone shopping to find just the right outfit to wear? Would you have taken time to get your hair and nails done? But see what Jesus said about this king;  he was furious that they said NO because he had spared no expense or the preparation.

There is a lesson here that Jesus wants us to glean. The king is God and He has a banquet prepared for his Beloved Son. He has spared no expense. As the King, he sent his only son so that no one would perish but have eternal life. You and I have been invited to come and celebrate! But, like many today some will say yes but many more will say no.

I wonder what your response would have been?

But then Jesus throws a conundrum into the mix. The banquet starts and the king finds an  interloper or intruder. Who is he? And why is he even there? Jesus wants us to see that he is like the world around us. They say  I will come to Jesus in my way. Remember the words of Jesus “I Am the Way, the Truth, the Life and no one comes to “banquet” except through Me. This is God’s invitation to you; accept Me as the Beloved Son.

God has invited you.

Will you come and celebrate or do you want to do it “your way?” 

Remember the intruder when this crosses your mind.

Who is Jesus to you?

bible-matt 21Matt 21 “Lord, Son of David”

In the previous chapter we read the story of the two blind men who received healing and they followed Jesus. One of the reasons Jesus healed them is that even in their physically blind state and having never met Jesus they knew who He was: Lord, Son of David.  Matthew doesn’t tell us if they followed him all the way to Jerusalem but as he begins chapter 21 we find Jesus approaching Jerusalem. Did the recently blind men tell others along the way that they were accompanying he who was the Son of David? We may never know but what we do know is this:

The blind men called him Lord, Son of David. The crowd along the city streets called him Son of David. The children in the temple called him Son of David. All were saying he is not only genealogically connected to King David but is then the rightful heir to the throne of Israel. By calling him Lord they were acknowledging that he is master.

Yet the religious leaders hearing this became indignant because they considered themselves above these who were illiterate as far as being able to read and explain the scriptures. What the blind “saw”, the children knew, the crowds recognized touched their hearts BUT the Pharisees remained in spiritual ignorance. John the Apostle records the interchange with these religious elite in John chapter 9. At the end the Pharisees said ‘we are not blind too, are we’ hoping Jesus would respond with no you are not. Instead he turned to them and said “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains.”

Oh Father open our eyes to see who You are; the Son of David. Keep us back from presumptuous sin.

Facing a Conundrum?

Psalm 73 Asaph’s Dilemma/Conundrum timothy-eberly-the conundrum ps 73

Conundrum: a confusing and difficult problem or question

Asaph, who pens this chapter, offers us his view of life on two sides of a mirror; good and evil. Why and how do they exist?  Philosophy professor Eleonore Stump also tells of coming to know Jesus through studying the problem of evil and suffering. Reflecting on her own experience Stump writes:

“So, in an odd sort of way the mirror of evil can also lead us to God. A loathing focus on the evils of this world and ourselves prepares us to be the more startled by the taste of true goodness when we find it and more determined to follow that taste until we see where it leads.” [R. Alcorn “If God be Good; p128]

This is the same dilemma Asaph faced and how he too came to that same conclusion. He began with this observation: those without God seem to not suffer. He noted they were the haves and he the have not.

He asked what is wrong with this picture?  

Both Asaph and Stump faced God squarely in the eye. What they saw was the destiny of those whom the world calls good but God calls evil. Apart from the wisdom and understanding of God no one can rationalize it but in God’s presence they came to the same conclusion: God is the sovereign God. To know God is to know the peace that the world without God does not know.  Apart from God there is no destiny with Him in His presence after death.

Do you know Him?

Crown or Cross?

Matthew 18 ‘Crown or Cross?”

We all seem enthralled by the Olympics. We covet the gold medals because in our culture winning is what people yearn for. They want to be first and sometimes at all costs. But, Jesus reminds us that being first is not God’s way and in fact to be the winner you must first be the loser. If you want to be first you must be a slave to all and to be like a child. That is not what the disciples wanted to hear and the world does not either. We want to know how to win! How to beat the odds! How to be head of the class! Jesus wanted to remind us that if we are not willing to deny self, pickup our cross and follow Him we are not worthy of being first in the kingdom.

However, we also must be teachable and not be children tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. We must not remain as a child in our thinking or behavior BUT we are to be childlike in our faith, attitude and our heart.

Too often, I am more concerned about the crown than the yoke and cross.

How about you? 




Am I Ashamed of Jesus?

covering-face-2Tim22 Tim 1&2 “Am I Ashamed?”

Continuing on from our conversation from yesterday’s blog post *if you haven’t read it do so now here  Matt 16 The Right Question* or the blog post below regarding the Right Question as you dialog with unbelievers as to their eternal destiny.

Let’s get personal here.

How would you answer this question: Am I ashamed of Jesus? If not what keeps me from speaking to unbelievers about my faith? When God gives me a divine appointment do I step up to the plate or am I ashamed and do not speak? Is your answer: I don’t know what to say? If that is the case then how do you explain Jesus’ counsel: “do not worry about how to speak or what to say, for what you should say will be given to you at that time?”  [Matt 10:19] Or what Peter said: “always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.” [1 Pet 3:15]

Do we not trust the Holy Spirit to guide us to speak or not? Paul says “do NOT be ashamed. Don’t be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord. I am not ashamed—don’t you be either.”  And then Paul reminds us of Onesiphorus who was not ashamed of his imprisonment.

Are we ashamed?

That is the real question.

Matt 16 The Right Question

ask matt 16-Matthew chapter 16 

Do you wonder how to start a conversation that will lead to sharing Christ? How about the simple question Jesus asked the disciples? “Who is Jesus?” The world has several answers such as He was a good man and a good teacher. Notice the answers: good man and good teacher. Those answers are the same that Jesus heard when someone came to him asking on how to inherit eternal life and He responded: “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”

You might ask, what do you consider good? You might be surprised to hear that goodness involves “doing” not being. Listen closely to their standards of what is good and you will certainly hear their own justification based on not the standards of God but on their own standards. I am better than others because I offer my money to the poor, I serve others in the homeless kitchens; I am good to my neighbor. Their standard of “goodness” is the balance scale of works. Then ask if you can share what the Bible says. If permission granted share what Titus [Tit 3:5] and Paul [Eph 2:8/9] explained. God rejects our works. It is only by faith and not works lest we should take credit for our salvation.

Questions and answers reveal their heart. Pray for discernment and the right questions to ask so you may know how to lead them to Christ.

Meet You At The Meeting House

Psalm 122  “Meet You at the Meeting House”

This used to be a common saying among many but with time, busyness and other distractions it seems to have fallen by the wayside. The psalmist implores us to celebrate God’s blessings and goodness at the “meeting house.” It is there that we join with others of like faith to celebrate togetherness and communion. Perhaps that is why the author of Hebrews reminded his readers: “let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.” The prophet Zechariah said this is what we should be saying: “Let’s go up at once to ask the favor of the Lord, to seek the Lord who rules over all. Indeed, I’ll go with you.” It is at the “meeting house” we encourage, pray for others and celebrate. But how often do we hear “you go and pray for me while we stay at home.” Beloved, this should not be for the Lord Himself went to the “meeting house” upon the hill, Mount Zion as well as the “meeting houses” in cities and towns as he journeyed through Israel.

Plan now on attending your “meeting house” wherever you are. Pray that this might be a time when you celebrate the goodness of the Lord.church-768613_640

In Christ! Colossians 1

ImageIrving Jensen has been like a mentor to me over the years. I have honed my skills of Bible Study at his feet. His study guide on Colossians is by far one of his richest. In the first lesson Jensen gives a task: Write a list of the good traits which you think a local church should exemplify. After you have completed your study of 1:1-12, go back to this list and see how the Colossian church rated.

Paul knew about these precious saints that he had never met except through word of mouth and the testimony of Epaphras. This dear saint came to Rome and shared with Paul, now in a Roman prison under guard, who they were. From that we read Paul’s desire for them as believers in Christ.  

Paul’s list that he had gleaned from Epaphras: They had faith in Christ, They had love for all the saints [the setting apart of the individual as one of the company whom God,] They have a hope laid up in heaven vs 4 and an inheritance in the light vs 12 [1Pet 1:4 that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you], The gospel message has borne fruit within their midst and continues to bear fruit;, once strangers/enemies of God but now reconciled to Him through Christ; therefore Christ is in them, the hope of glory.

Now Paul turns from who they are to what his prayerful desire is for them: God to fill them with the knowledge of His will [In the broadest sense, the will of God is the whole purpose of God revealed in Christ. Dr. Constable]; God would give them spiritual wisdom and understanding [“‘Wisdom’ and ‘understanding’ probably should not be treated separately but should be looked on as expressing a single thought, something like practical wisdom or clear discernment.” Dr. Constable];

And now the “why”… They might live worthily; Please the Lord; Bear fruit; Grow in the knowledge of God; and Display or show to the world: patience, steadfastness and joy.

Back to the first question: Thehe church at Colosse was rich beyond measure.   If you rated your church how do they stack up against the Colossians?

They were rooted and grounded in Christ but tomorrow we will see that their roots were being attacked by the enemies of the cross. This is why we need, I need this book today! Today as I look about I am seeing the very foundations of our churches being stripped by those who espouse a gospel that is works plus grace or a gospel of “feel good, a gospel of intolerance for the things that are the very bedrock of our faith.” Many are sliding down a slippery slope of worldliness. As Paul prayed for this church, may we stop and pray for our churches and for their message to be true to the Word of God, true to the simple gospel message and true to Christ? For it was because of Christ. who is the very image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all,  the Creator, the Alpha and Omega, the head of the church, the reconciler through the blood He shed on the cross that both they and we are “who we are, who we need to be.”


Ps 48-49 He saw, He loved, He came, He conquered death

ImageIn the forward of the book “ReChurch” written by Stephen Mansfield, George Barna notes that the church today is facing an epidemic called “ecclesia exitus,” the Latin term for church dropout. “The symptoms are many, but the outcome is unambiguous: pain, disappoint, and spiritual anomie.”  Our hurts have metastasized into bitterness and although the prescription for healing is within the Word of God and God Himself, many are unwilling to take the antidote to healing and thus the root of bitterness (Heb 12:15) festers and brings upon the Body of Christ the untold suffering that was not meant to be. Rather than coming to the Living Water to drink and be nourished, our roots dry up and our branches wither above.

In Ps 48 and 49 there are those who are fleeing not the church but God Himself who sits enthroned upon Mt. Zion, the fortress of Jerusalem where He is defender of the weak, the defender of those who are His own. These who are fleeing do so because they unlike Caesar who said “I came, I saw, I conquered,” are saying “I came, I saw, I fled.” Those who know not the I AM have seen the power of His fortress, sitting high on Mt. Zion, impenetrable by His forces of righteousness and know that His power can vanquish them in a breath. His power and His grandeur are beyond description and so they flee into the desert and the wilderness of life rather than surrendering to His love, care and righteousness.

Contrast that with we who “came, saw, and took the step.” We have no fear because we chose to submit to He who was, is and forever will be. Therefore, we can enter, observe and note the grandeur of the towers, the strength of the walls. We stand in awe of who He is, we stand in awe of the fortress He has constructed to protect us from the “roaring lion that is seeking whom to devour.” We who have yielded to the Almighty are not only protected by the fortress of His love, but the fortress of His righteousness. Therefore we can say with Paul 8:38 “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It is my prayer that you know Him and can say, “He saw, He loved, He came, He conquered death” and also “I saw, I came, I bowed the knee, and know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day.”

Phil 4: “The Contented Mindset Begins here…”

ImageThe key to the life of Paul is that he rejoiced always. Rejoicing is an attitude and always means it is ongoing with no end. Paul desired this for his beloved Philippians and those same words echo across the halls of history to you and I as well. Note from where Paul has come: vs. 12 satisfied (he had it all but lost it all), or hungry (often times with little to satisfy the pains in the belly), abundance (he had the title and the wealth of the world at his fingertips) or nothing/in want (2Co 11:25 Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea.) Paul has seen, experienced and tasted all that this world has to offer and through this he learned (instructed, acquired by experience, study) the secret of contentment, the secret pearl of greatest price only found in Jesus Christ.

How do we thus “learn” the secret of contentment? It begins in the mind and flows forth from our lips and our actions. 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.”  It is making that choice to move from meditating upon what could be; to what is now; to what will be. It is not something that comes naturally for God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Is 55:8) and we are all “dead in our trespasses and sins.” But when we are born anew and choose to begin to practice the art of “learning,” through the meditation upon His Word: “I will meditate upon your statutes” [Ps 119:48], it is then that we acquire the peace that passes all understanding and mind of Christ. Rom 8:6 “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” It is then that the truth of Rom 12:2 “transformed by the renewing of our mind,” becomes a reality and our God will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus and we can say with Paul “May glory be given to God our Father forever and ever. Amen.”