Digging The Word


"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure."


Serving Your Master

You have to choose because you cannot be a slave with two masters.


John 8:34-36  Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  35  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  36  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

Matthew 6:24  "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Deuteronomy 13:4 Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.

The news is filled with stories of war everyday, they are evidence of the spiritual battle that we cannot see, the battle wages on in the physical and spiritual realm. You may not like to think about it but there is a relentless force for evil that will stop at nothing to get you to choose any of his options over the single best choice.

Our loyalty to God is constantly being challenged just as it was for Adam and Eve back in the Garden of Eden. Satan is always questioning God's right to have our praise and worship. He wants to be God and he will stop at nothing to have us treat him that way. Satan knows that we were made to worship and that we will serve something or somebody so he is always looking to take advantage of this God given trait.

There is a lot at stake and we need to keep in mind some important advice:

Remember That God Won't Share 

1 Corinthians 8:6, Exodus 20:3-6, Deuteronomy 6:14-16

Over and over again God told the Israelite's that they needed to make a decision. They could choose from a long list of gods, they could choose to serve themselves, or they could choose the real God. God made it clear that he will not share what belongs to him with anything else.

Don't Serve The Things The World Serves 

Luke 16:13, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-16

There is one true God and since is the only one that means there is nobody like him. Therefore he alone is to be worshiped and served. If you truly love God then you will have an unfavorable opinion of the world and it's philosophy.

Don't Value The Things The World Values

Matthew 6:19, 6:33, Luke 12:20-21

Jesus cautioned us to crave or value the right things. The world finds pleasure in craving what they can see, the toys that they have, pride in their accomplishments at work or school, all of the things that are temporary.

We love to seek our own kingdom, to stress how good we are and build up our treasure, we burden ourselves with the pursuit of the temporary. Seeking God's kingdom means that I must set aside my own kingdom and declare my allegiance with the eternal kingdo

Who You Serve Is Who You Trust

Romans 6:16, 18  Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

Do you serve yourself? Do you serve money? If you think about it, whatever it is that you serve, that is the thing that you are putting your trust in. Why would you serve something you don't trust? If you feel secure enough to trust in something then it is reasonable to assume that you will probably serve that thing.

In our previous post we saw that Jesus called us all slaves, we are all serving something or someone, Jesus made it clear that a slave is usually a slave until the day they die. Because we are “in Christ” (Romans 6:11; 8:1), and He died in our place (Romans 5:6-8), we are counted dead with Him. I have become a slave to righteous living!

It is clear that I cannot serve both God and mammon, I cannot serve the god's that the rest of the world serves, they all want my full attention and my allegiance. I must choose everyday who I will serve, I must choose to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.(Joshua 24:14)

Truly Free

I was born into slavery and I will be a slave until I die.


John 8:31-36  Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, "You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings.  32  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

33  "But we are descendants of Abraham," they said. "We have never been slaves to anyone. What do You mean, 'You will be set free'?"   

34  Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  35  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  36  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free."

It is amazing that there have been so many efforts to end slavery around the world and yet there has not been any progress made in ending slavery. Some anti-slavery websites indicate that it isn't legal anywhere but it is going on everywhere.

We all want to be free. Nobody wants to be a slave and nobody wants to be forced to do things that they cannot refuse to do and yet so many get trapped into a hopeless situation where they have no control.

The crowd at the temple was very confused, their opposition to Jesus got in the way of common sense, they had the nerve to say that they had never been a slave to anyone. The Romans had taken control of their country and placed ridiculous demands on them, before that the Babylonians and the Persians and the Egyptians all had a turn at making the Jews their slaves.

Psalms 51:5  For I was born a sinner--yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

Even if they had never been slaves to anyone physically, Jesus is talking about their spiritual condition, there is a bondage that is far worse. Jesus makes it clear that we are all slaves to sin and as a slave we cannot change our condition, death is the only way out, we will never be free until the day we die. Everybody knows that you cannot make a dead slave do any more work for you.

The Slave Set Free

Romans 6:6-7  We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
The truth has set me free, Jesus offers us an opportunity to have a close intimate relationship with him as his child, a dearly beloved member of his family! In Romans chapter seven the apostle Paul asks "Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?" and then he tells us about our hope "Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."

1 Peter 2:24  He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed.

When I received Jesus I became a dead man to this world, I am no longer a slave to sin, my old life dies and the obligation of being a slave dies as well. I didn't have any rights as a slave and now Jesus has made me a family member and an heir.

Thank you Lord for releasing me from the bondage of sin!

This Is My Story

Do you need God to change the direction of your story?


Big Daddy Weave - "This Is My Story" 

If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn't let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn't mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
And if I told you my story
You would hear freedom that was won for me
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life overcome the grave

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long

For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell
For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long 

Proclaim His Greatness

1 Chronicles 16:8-9 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
My story is a story of:

✔  Hope
✔  Love
✔  Life
✔  Victory
✔  Freedom

It is an amazing story that should have never happened, you have to realize that I didn't do anything to deserve the story, it is only through God's grace that my story has a new twist in the plot.

The story didn't look good when it started but God has taken all of the broken pieces that I made of my life and made me a new creation.

You can Find Peace With God today and he will turn your story around.

No Phony Believers Allowed

I am a "son" in God's family because of real faith in the "Son."

John 8:31-36 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

In the previous post we saw the cost of refusing to be a follower of Jesus. Scripture makes it very clear that we don't have any hope if we reject Jesus. The entire book of John focuses on the fact that Jesus is God and he came to make us an incredible offer that has amazing benefits.

A group of people seem to accept Jesus claim to be the Messiah, there are some that believed in Jesus and it is a little bit surprising to consider Jesus next words, he tells them that there is a way to know if they are really his disciples.

Jesus comment brings up some questions that we should consider:

✔  I believe in him, isn't that enough?
✔  What is a true disciple?
✔  Am I truly a disciple?
✔  What does it mean to be faithful to his teaching?

That's a little bit unsettling, we like to think that a believer is a believer, but Jesus knew better.  Maybe we should test our own personal belief with these questions to see if we get the correct answer.

Not All Belief Is Real

We think of people as believers and nonbelievers but the Bible tells us about another group of people, it is a group of people that are in a very dangerous category. These people seem to be real believers but Jesus knows their heart and he doesn't think so. This concept has already been brought up in my study of the book of John right after Jesus cleaned out the temple. (John 2:22-25, 6:26)

There are people who obviously don't have any connection with Jesus, there are others that say they follow him and have a surface connection with Jesus, and there is another smaller group that truly follow him.

Not All Disciples Are Real

So what is a true disciple? Jesus disciples are saved from God's wrath, their sins are forgiven and we are born into God's family. (John 1:12-13 3:36, 8:24)

Plenty of people have tried to fake it, they look good to you and I for a while but for most of the fakers it doesn't stick for too long. It really doesn't make sense to not be a real disciple, you are dealing with God so what do you think you are going to get away with? (1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:13)

Be Faithful To Jesus Teaching

Jesus says that the challenge that proves that we are really his is our faithfulness to his teaching. In the gospel of John Jesus has said that he is the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Living Water and the Good Shepherd and he said that he is God.

1 John 5:3  Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.

In fact all of Jesus teaching points us to himself. I need to be faithful to believe and apply his teaching to my life. My obedience to his commands prove my love for Jesus and my appreciation for what he has done for me. I need to treasure God's word and gain my strength and protection from God's word.

Be Jesus Disciple

If you are an unbeliever I pray that God will change your heart and draw you to him, if you are a phony believer I pray that the light of God's word will show you the truth and reveal to you that you are playing games with someone that you cannot fool.

Matthew 11:28-29  Then Jesus said, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  29  Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus called disciples and he made disciples, he didn't invite people to become worshipers, tithe givers or workers. He invited them to be a disciple, a student of the Rabbi, he gave us an offer to come and stay awhile, long enough for him to teach you so that your life will be changed and your faith will be genuine.

Don't Reject Jesus

Believe the truth about Jesus and count on him to save you from your sins.


John 8:23-26  Jesus continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not.  24  That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins."

25  "Who are You?" they demanded.

Jesus replied, "The One I have always claimed to be.  26  I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won't. For I say only what I have heard from the One who sent Me, and He is completely truthful."

We have seen in our study of the book of John an overwhelming amount of evidence and great proof that Jesus is God. I have only studied the first seven chapters of John's gospel and it is very obvious that Jesus is God in a body. The claims that Jesus made are very important to consider and the consequences for ignoring the evidence are quite severe.

At the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus made it clear that He is the Living Water and he is the Light of the World that they have seen in the symbolism of the ceremony. The crowd knows what Jesus is talking about and it should have been obvious to them that he is the Messiah.

The crowd was okay with a lot of the stuff that Jesus did, when he taught the crowd, he healed them and fed them, that was fine but as soon as he talked about being their Messiah people started getting upset.

John 10:31-33  Once again the people picked up stones to kill Him. Jesus said, "At My Father's direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone Me?" They replied, "We're stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God."

Sounds a lot like the logic that people use these days, they like the social programs and the good deeds prompted by Christ love but if God's people start talking about Jesus being our Savior then it's time to throw rocks. (John 8:59, 10:30-33)

You may think that these people were so dense to ignore the facts but according to this John MacArthur sermon it is easy to know "How To Die In Your Sins."

Four ways to be sure that you'll die in your sins:

✔ Be self-righteous
Put all of your faith in how good you are at being good. (Romans 3:9-20)

✔ Be earthbound
This world is temporary and living for it's pleasures won't get you to heaven. (Philippians 3:17-19)

✔ Be unbelieving
Look at all of the evidence and decide that it isn't enough. (John 15:24)

✔ Be willfully ignorant
Don't bother with the facts because my mind is made up. (John 8:25-27, 53)

Jesus has been telling them who He is, he has been performing miracles and the people that are around him saw more proof than we know about, we only have a small portion of the teaching and miracles that actually happened, and yet they still didn't believe.(John 20:30-31)

Ultimate Proof

John 8:28  So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM He. I do nothing on My own but say only what the Father taught Me." 
The ultimate proof that Jesus is God in a body is that he predicted his death, he predicted how his death would take place and he predicted that he would not stay dead. If anybody can do that then you should be willing to believe anything that he says.

Will you reject the evidence? There are many ways to miss out on going to heaven but there is only one way to be sure that you will be there. You need to believe that Jesus was God in a body, he is God's son and he lived a sinless life which makes him the only spotless sacrifice for the sin of the entire world.

A holy and just God cannot allow any sinners to go unpunished.Thankfully there is a sacrifice that has been made so that I can be made right with God.

Thank you Lord for your abundant love and mercy that allows me to stand before you without fear of punishment.

Light Of The World

The Bible proves that Jesus is the light that we need.


John 1:4-5  The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 8:12  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

John 12:35-36  Jesus replied, "My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going.  36  Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light." After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.

John 12:46  I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.

There has been nothing but darkness in the land, the Bible and world history tell us that when Jesus came to our world it was a very dark time. The world was in turmoil as various conquering empires came and then they became the conquered.

After the Babylonian captivity the Jews had to deal with the Persians and the Greeks and finally the Romans came along. Each of these groups brought wars to Israel, changes in government and attempts to change their religious beliefs. On top of all of that the Bible shows us a four hundred year gap in between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The people of Israel had been through a lot of suffering, harassment and there was only one thing to hope for. May the Messiah would come.

The Bible tells us that at just the right time Jesus came into our world. (Romans 5:6, Galatians 4:4) I have to wonder if maybe part of it being the right time meant that the world was so dark that surely the people would take notice of the Light and come running to it. 

Man has an appetite for darkness and his passions will push him further and further into the dark as he continues to look for what he is missing. We keep looking for the good life where it cannot be found. Even if we say that we hate the dark and the lost, desperate situation we are in we still have a carnal desire to plunge deeper and deeper into the blackness to find our own answers.

Suddenly, in this dark world where immorality, injustice, and sin is glorified, where separation, death, sorrow, and hopelessness reign, the darkness is shattered and it happens just like the prophet Isaiah said that it would. (Isaiah 9:1-2)

Matthew 4:12-16 When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He left Judea and returned to Galilee. 13 He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah:  

15 "In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined."

The Great Light appears and it cannot be hidden, Jesus gave light to everyone, too bad that everyone didn't welcome the light. Some people are happy with Jesus as long as he keeps providing free lunch and healthcare. There are some that cannot stand to be around him and they run from the light just like the Pharisees that turned and left the adulterous woman at Jesus feet. (John 8:7-9)

Jesus is teaching in the Temple the day after the seven day long Feast of Tabernacles. During the Feast Jesus was the focus of a large commotion which grew when Jesus told the crowds that he is the source of living water. (John 7:37-38)

During the Feast of Tabernacles a priest went to the Pool of Siloam, drew water in a golden pitcher, and returned to the temple, and poured it out at the base of the altar. This part of the feast commemorated God’s provision of water from the rock that sustained Israel during their stay in the wilderness.

The people that heard Jesus offer to give them living water knew the symbolism. They knew that Jesus claim meant that he was declaring that he is the Messiah, that's why his statement caused such a stir, but wait there's more.

Another symbolic act that was a part of the Feast of Tabernacles was the lighting of huge candelabras in the Court of Women. This was to commemorate the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night that led the Israelite's through the desert. The huge light from those candelabras was gone and they were probably smoldering as Jesus says to the crowd, "You remember the light last night in the temple here which made you remember the light that led Israel...I am the light of the world."

Malachi 4:2  "But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.

Light is a characteristic of God that the Messiah was predicted to have. (Isaiah 9:2, 49:6, 60:1) Everybody in the temple knew that Jesus was telling them that he is the Messiah, they know that the light of the Messiah is what their hopes have been longing for, but this guy doesn't look like a Messiah to them.

God's Light Came

John 3:19-21 And the judgment is based on this fact: God's light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.
God sent light into our world because we needed the light. He gave us the sun for physical life on this planet and he gave us the Son so that we could have spiritual life.There wasn't any way that we could get out of the dark on our own, out of God's love and mercy he gave us light so that we wouldn't have to live without hope in darkness, misery and death.

When salt is applied, it dissolves inward and disappears, the salt speaks of the inward part, the character of the Christian. Jesus also described His people as being like light, which is on the outside, the light speaks of the testimony of a follower of Christ, revealing and illuminating the truth.
-Adrian Rogers

I need to love the Light and allow it to expose the things that God wants to change in me. I need to allow the Light to shine through me so that the world can see the truth of the gospel and have the opportunity to see their sin, choose to repent and live in the light.

Caught Needing Mercy

Only Jesus can satisfy God's demand for justice and our need for mercy.


John 8:2-12  but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them.  3  As He was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.  4  "Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  5  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do You say?"  6  They were trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger.

7  They kept demanding an answer, so He stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!"  8  Then He stooped down again and wrote in the dust.  9  When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.

10  Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?"  11  "No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."  12  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

What's going on here? The crowds must have wondered, they have never seen anybody stoned for adultery by themselves, did the man get away? How could he get away, the sun is out, there isn't any way that he could be nameless.

Maybe the guy was a Pharisee, they wouldn't haul one of their own to the temple and throw him down at Jesus feet and risk having him stoned. But it didn't matter to the Pharisees, they weren't looking for justice, the only thing on their mind was setting a trap that Jesus wouldn't be able to get out of. They were happy to have a question to ask him that didn't seem to have a safe answer.

The scribes and Pharisees came armed with the law as a weapon, that shouldn't surprise you, we have all seen it before in Christian circles. Our churches are full of people that use the Bible for their own selfish agenda, they judge others and they put down their enemies but they never apply the same rule to themselves.

Matthew 7:1-3  Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  2  For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.  And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?

The Pharisees and Jesus are standing here in front of the woman at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Pharisees are all charged up and poised to act immediately but Jesus is calm and cool. By stooping down and doodling in the dirt he allows them to show their hatred and their animosity toward him while he just remained calm.

They came to condemn the woman but instead they were condemned. They wanted her condemned and stoned with Jesus approval so that Jesus would be in trouble with the Romans for carrying out a job that was only for them to do.

Jesus said that they could throw the rocks at her but they needed to meet the qualification for administering Godly justice. He told them that the only requirement is that they be sinless. That should disqualify all of us from throwing rocks at each other but it doesn't slow us down very much.

Instead of falling down at Jesus feet and asking for mercy and forgiveness, the Pharisees turn and run away, they could see that a just God was demanding that they change.

The one that was sinless and therefore qualified to throw rocks asks the woman "Where are your accusers? The sinless Son of God wasn't going to accuse her even though he had the right to do so.

Does that sound odd? God demands justice but the Son of God let her go without punishment. God's demand for justice is the polar opposite of mercy. How can mercy be accomplished in the face of justice?

Justice and Mercy

Isaiah 53:5-6  But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the sins of us all.
The cross is the place where justice and mercy meet. The greatest mystery of all time is why our creator loves us so much that he would provide a way for us to be righteous when we stand before him. My sin was dealt with 100% and the full payment for it was made at the cross and since the sacrifice was made I can receive mercy 100%. When God gave me mercy he didn't have to overlook my sin and let me off the hook and ignore the need for justice.

Micah 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

This verse has new meaning to me as a result of this study. It occurred to me that God requires from me the same thing that he did. My God did justice, he expects me to do justice, my God did mercy and he expects me to do mercy. If I follow his example then I will be able to walk humbly with him. I will have to be humble. The act of giving mercy out to those that have done me wrong helps me to understand the cost of the mercy that was given to me.

Like the adulterous woman, I was guilty and condemned before Him, and like the adulterous woman I have experienced mercy through God's sovereign grace He loved me enough to die in my place and offer me a full pardon. Like the adulterous woman I have met God and I am forgiven!

Thank you Lord for loving me so much that you satisfied your need for justice with my need for mercy!


When Justice And Mercy Meet (relevantmagazine.com)

We Are One

We are one, we are all for one, all for Jesus, for the glory of the one true God.

The City Harmonic - We Are One

Ash to ash, dust to dust we live and die. 
But in the Son, in the Son we are alive. 
All for one, all for one from every tongue and tribe in Jesus crucified 
'cause Jesus is alive now, once and for all time.

We are one we are all for one,
all for Jesus Jesus, once for all. 
To the glory of the one true God 

King of kings, Lord of lords Till kingdom come. 
And in the end, in the end God all in all. 
He will be everything, everything to everyone, 
when death is finally done and victory is won, 
once and for all of us. 

We won't be moved, we're standing tall. 
Once of the dust, now of the Son. 
All life and death and what's to come belong to Christ, 
and Christ to God. 

So here we stand, hands lifted high. 
The very hands and feet of Christ. 
No holding back, no wasting time. 
We live for love

Ephesians 2:13-14  But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.  14  For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

Ephesians 2:17-21  He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and peace to the Jews who were near.  18  Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

19  So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family.  20  Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself.  21  We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.

Galatians 3:26-29  For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

Humility In Ministry

The gospel doesn't need a bunch of hype.


John 7:6-11  Jesus replied, "Now is not the right time for Me to go, but you can go anytime.  7  The world can't hate you, but it does hate Me because I accuse it of doing evil.  8  You go on. I'm not going to this festival, because My time has not yet come."  9  After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.  10  But after His brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view.  11  The Jewish leaders tried to find Him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen Him.

John 8:1-11  Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,  2  but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them.

Yesterday in the temple Jesus invited the crowds to come to him if they had a spiritual thirst. The reactions to Jesus offer were very diverse. Some people were convinced that he could satisfy their spiritual longing but then there were others who wanted him arrested.

You may recall from John chapter seven that Jesus didn't enter the temple with a bunch of fanfare or attention, he just blended in with the crowd, that is until he started teaching. His teaching always made him stand out, even when he was a little boy, Jesus message always drew a crowd. (Luke 2:41-52)

John 7:14-15 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. The people were surprised when they heard Him. "How does He know so much when He hasn't been trained?" they asked.

John chapter seven is all about the commotion that followed after Jesus gave his message. The place was in an uproar, mean things were being said, people were being disrespectful to Jesus and then in the midst of all of this chaos Jesus finishes the message and moves on to the invitation.

"Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me! Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"

That just made things worse because now they are trying to arrest him! Some people think that he is correct in saying things that the Messiah would say but they are a minority. Other people are skeptical and others are completely opposed to Jesus.

After all of the commotion in the temple, somehow it settles down enough for people to go home for the day, everybody except for Jesus. Maybe there were other homeless people in the temple that day but he was the least deserving person to be without shelter. While everybody else went to their house to rest for the night Jesus went to the garden.

He slept out in the cold on the Mount of Olives many times, I have to wonder how little he slept. Did he look tired and older than he really was because of sleep deprivation? Remember when he said the foxes and birds have homes but the creator of the universe didn't have a place to lay his head? (Matthew 8:20)

In the morning Jesus went back to the temple, he quietly went in, sat down and he taught. It would be tempting to think that there is no way that he is going to go back and teach a crowd that is so opposed to his message. But he returns and the opposition comes along too. (John 8:1-59)

You might think that Jesus should make an announcement or pass out flyers to let people know that he was going to be at the temple at a certain time. He didn't put out any signs, he didn't announce that the greatest teacher in the world was about to begin.

Keep It Simple

1 Corinthians 2:1-3  When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn't use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God's secret plan.  2  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the One who was crucified.  3  I came to you in weakness--timid and trembling.
The Apostle Paul knew that he needed to keep it simple, not that his audience was slow to learn, he knew that the gospel is supposed to be what draws people in. There's no place for sensationalism in a gospel presentation.

John the Baptist started his ministry in a remote location, there weren't any neon lights or banners directing the crowds to take a walk to the desert. John would always point people to Jesus and push the attention away from himself. The people that followed John had it all wrong, they should have come to John just long enough to be redirected to Jesus, their complaint that "everybody is going to Him instead of coming to us" was so absurd. (John 3:26)

Peter's message after Jesus ascension into heaven was so bold and simple. The crowds knew that he didn't go to rabi school, he was an ordinary man, and yet his message was extraordinary and it drew the crowds. (Acts 4:12-13)

John 12:32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself."

Jesus said that he would be the good news that would attract people. We need to remember:

✔  The more that people see of Jesus the less they will see of us.
✔  The key is availability and teaching.
✔  Just give the Word, it's all about the message not the method

Thank you Lord for choosing to use me to tell the good news of the gospel. I pray that I will not get in the way of the message.

Looking For A Better Country

God's people usually find themselves living in a culture that is hostile to their faith.


Hebrews 11:13-16  All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.

14  Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.  15  If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.  16  But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Do you get upset with the lack of morality in the world around you? Good! It should make you feel uncomfortable. Are you grieved that the world seems to be against what you believe and doesn't care about your morals? Get over it! God's children shouldn't feel too comfortable here in this world and we shouldn't expect the world to live up to our standards.

How do you think Noah felt? I think it is easy to rush through the story about the flood and miss the point of how immoral everybody in the world was with the exception of Noah. I suspect that the world was worse than it is today yet Noah was still living to please God and while he was building the ark he was evangelizing his neighbors. (2 Peter 2:5)

Matthew 5:10-12  God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  11  "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers.  12  Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

In the Old Testament people like Joseph, Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel and his cool furnace friends, Esther and Mordecai all obeyed God and brought him glory. When God exiled his people from the Promised Land because they didn't obey him there was usually somebody that lived in opposition to the culture, somebody that didn't deserve to be exiled, somebody that had to live with the consequences of the sin of the rest of the nation. Those people didn't whine about the way the people around them lived and why they passed laws that did not honor God.

The New Testament gives us examples like John the Baptist, Peter, Paul and ultimately Jesus. The world hated the man that was the ultimate example of love and so they will also hate us as well. The gospel message was spread across the world because faithful men were willing to endure persecution. (John 15:18-21, 2 Timothy 3:12)

God's people have seldom ever lived in a culture that welcomed them in and had great respect for what they believed. We can get mad about the decline of Godly values in America but we should realize that God's people have never had it so good.

God's people should be easy to spot in a hostile culture but too often we are easy to spot for the wrong reasons. Throughout history we have been the people that have made the news for what we are against and for taking an ugly stand for it. Jesus told us that the world will know us by our love but a lot of people say that they know us by our hate.

Be Still and Wait

Psalms 37:7-9  Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper--it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
That verse is great advice for us as we live in this world full of evil. Don't worry, don't fret, don't get mad about it! Is it keeping you awake at night? Are you obsessed with watching or reading the news? Are you afraid of the future?

Just be still and wait. What! That's isn't natural! We like to handle things ourselves. We like to help God do what he needs to do. But God tells us to get out of the way, "I am at work here and you don't know what I am up to."

Just be still and wait. In a hostile culture you are forced to rely on God and lean on his strength. We have no human power to lean on, our reliance on people or things gets stripped away when God is all that's left.

Matthew 12:18-21  "Look at My Servant, whom I have chosen. He is My Beloved, who pleases Me. I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise His voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally He will cause justice to be victorious. And His name will be the hope of all the world."

Lord help me to follow your example, help me to be still and wait for you and help me to trust in you when the world around me seems to be drifting so far away from the truth found in your word.


You have blown it plenty of times but the cross can make you flawless.

"Flawless" - MercyMe

There’s got to be more 
Than going back and forth 
From doing right to doing wrong 
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are 
Come on get in line right behind me 
You along with everybody 
Thinking there’s worth in what you do 

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when 
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late 
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

Could it possibly be 
That we simply can’t believe 
That this unconditional 
Kind of love would be enough 
To take a filthy wretch like this 
And wrap him up in righteousness 
But that’s exactly what He did 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

Take a breath smile and say 
Right here right now I’m ok 
Because the cross was enough 

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when 
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late 
Well let me introduce you to grace grace 
God’s grace 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

No matter what they say 
Or what you think you are 
The day you called His name 
He made you flawless
He made you flawless

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless

Perfect in Jesus

Romans 3:22-24  We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Flawless? Yes! Perfect? No! My perfection isn't based on any effort on my part. I am totally dependant on Jesus for my perfection.

Because of my faith in Jesus and the work that he came to do on the cross I have received the righteousness of Jesus. Not only is Christ’s righteousness transferred onto me but the penalty for my sin was transferred over to him. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 2:20).

Thank you Jesus for making me flawless! Thank you for making it possible to stand before God in heaven without fear. I can say with confidence, “I am sinless, as Jesus is sinless.”

It's All About Him

God is great and he treats me way better than I deserve.

Nehemiah 9:2  Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors.

Nehemiah 9:6-10  "You alone are the LORD. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship You.

"You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham.  When he had proved himself faithful, You made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And You have done what You promised, for You are always true to Your word.

"You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and You heard their cries from beside the Red Sea.  10  You displayed miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, his officials, and all his people, for You knew how arrogantly they were treating our ancestors. You have a glorious reputation that has never been forgotten."

This may seem like a very obvious point and hardly worth repeating but as prideful as we humans are it is a point worth saying again. God is great and I don't deserve the benefits of his greatness. He is Jehovah, the one and only true and living God, he is the one that the angels worship. He is the creator of everything and yet he loves us above all of his creation.

I am reminding myself of these facts because I am very much like the Israelites that Nehemiah was working with and I bet that you are very much like them too. All of us have seen the goodness of God and we have seen how magnificent his creation is and yet we ignore what we already know about him.

In his sovereignty he choose a man and his ancestors to be his people, to be the people that would be a witness for God, to be the lineage of our Savior. A man and his descendants that were nothing special that God should choose them over any other people. They would prove that fact over and over again.

God led his people through difficulty (Nehemiah 9:7-9)

First he invited Abraham to leave home, we don't fully get that today, our travels are so comfortable that we don't comprehend what that was like. Then there was Joseph and Moses, they were forced out of their homes, Moses went to live in the desert and Joseph wound up in Egypt.

God showed his glory to his people (Nehemiah 9:10-12)

Why were they in Egypt for so long? If you think about it this is the first great display of God's power and glory since the flood. I think they needed to see God's power to help them in future battles.

Exodus 18:10-12  "Praise the LORD," Jethro said, "for He has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, He has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!  I know now that the LORD is greater than all other gods, because He rescued His people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians."  Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God's presence.

Moses' father-in-law was impressed with the display of God's power against the Egyptians. The word about what God had done to the Egyptians was spread all over the ancient world and the inhabitants of the Promised Land were scared of God's people when they got there.

God taught his people (Nehemiah 9:13-14)

The people were given instructions directly from this powerful God on how to please him. Over and over again they broke their covenant that they swore to him. God was so patient with them and sent more people to give them warnings but they refused to change. God was always patient with his people and slow to anger. (Nehemiah 9:31)

God sustained his people (Nehemiah 9:15)

The wandered around the desert for a long time, much longer than the trip requires, they always had food and water and their clothes never worn out. He was without question their sole provider, there wasn't any way to exist in the desert for that long without some divine assistance.

God's people walk away

Nehemiah 9:16-17  "But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to Your commands. They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles You had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them.
As much as they had experienced of God's mercy and grace and the great display they had witnessed they still walk away. God's children have been doing the same thing ever since. We never have stopped seeking out our own way. (Isaiah 53:6, 1 Peter 2:25)

God patiently waits on me and no matter how difficult the rebuke from him seems it is nowhere close to what I deserve. When I am in distress and live is hard I need to ask myself if God is trying to change me. Many times he uses the difficult times that we hate to draw us closer to him.

Nehemiah 9:33 Every time You punished us You were being just. We have sinned greatly, and You gave us only what we deserved.

Lord I have seen your power and goodness and I know that you treat me way better than I deserve. Your power and glory have been displayed in my life and I am without excuse for walking away from your instructions. Forgive me for being so ungrateful!