Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Judas Iscariot: A heartbreaking story

 3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.  4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.  5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.  6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. Luke 22:3-6 

Remember as a child, people asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We all had aspirations when we were younger. There were certain professions we would love to do and others that we would never dream of doing.

How about Judas? Did he realize that he would betray the Son of God? Did he plan this ever since he was young? I don’t think so; I believe the seed of deception started as an adult. John McArthur says, “He followed Jesus out of a desire for selfish gain, worldly ambition, avarice, and greed.” Judas wanted the power that Christ had. His motives were wrong, dead wrong.

The Bible says, Satan entered Judas, but Satan doesn’t just enter someone. One needs to entertain the thoughts of evil, mulling it over and over in the mind. This thought did not just “pop” into Judas’ mind. Remember when Mary poured the ointment on Jesus. What was Judas’ thinking? What a waste of money, this could be used for the “poor”. He didn’t care for the poor anymore than he cared for Jesus. It was all a facade. He was in it for himself. Everything he did revolved around him.

One of my grandmother’s favorite sayings was, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive” by Sir Walter Scott. This basically sums up the life of Judas. It was a very sad life indeed.

Let’s not waste our life like Judas but use it to the glory of God. I’ll end with this poem.

Only One Life
by C.T. Studd

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in 'that day' my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God's holy will to cleave;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
Living for self or in His will;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e'er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, "twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, "Thy will be done";
And when at last I'll hear the call,
I know I'll say "twas worth it all";
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Have a blessed day,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cleansing the temple

And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.  Mark 11:15-18

The day after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus visits the temple. He was extremely displeased with what He saw, men selling animals for sacrifices, people using the temple and courtyard like they would a market place. People were carrying vessels through the temple, using the temple as “a shortcut” maybe to get to another section of the city.

We are appalled when we read what the people of this time were doing. Some might say, “I would never do anything like that in God’s house”. “I am always respectful when I’m in church.”

Are you? Are you always respectful with God’s temple? Do you treat God’s temple the way He wants it treated? In the Old Testament the temple of God was referring to the physical building where the people worshiped and sacrificed. In the New Testament the temple of God is referring to us, our bodies. We are the temple of God.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:17 

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 1Corinthians 6:19 

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 2 Corinthians 6:16 

These verses are very convicting. What we put on, put in, put around our bodies does affect the temple of God. It does affect our relationship with God.

What do we put into the temple today? Our temple is not meant to have “other things” clutter it up. Is the temple of our heart being shared with “idols”. An idol is anything we put before God. Do we make excuses for why we can’t read the Bible, but have time to read everything else. I know I have been there.  Pray and ask the Lord to help you keep His temple clean.

 Have a blessed day, 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 30  Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. 31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. 33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.  35  And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.  36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.  37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;  38  Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.  39  And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.  40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.  41  And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Luke 19:28-41

Palm Sunday is the start of Holy (Passion) Week. This is the last week of Jesus’ walk on earth. This week lead up to the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each day, I will do a devotion on one of the events of the day.

Tradition teaches that the first day of that week, Sunday, Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. Jesus sent two of his disciples into the village to get a donkey and her colt. Jesus knew where the animals were and he also knew the owner would ask who was taking his animals. This was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 many years before.

The disciples obeyed Jesus and traveled into the city. Did they know the impact of what was happening? The gospel of John (John 12:16) tells us they didn’t understand at the time, but after the death of Jesus they reflected on the week and knew, this was the Lord’s Christ.

As Jesus was traveling through the city, people came out from all over to praise him. They threw down their garments and branches from trees so the colt could walk on them. As I was thinking about this I realized it was a sacrifice for people to put their clothes on the ground for a donkey to walk on. People in Bible times did not live like we do.

I live in New England, our winters are very cold.I own a few winter coats, it would not be a great sacrifice for me to give up one of them. Think of the people in Jesus’ time, most had only one coat or one set of clothes. They didn’t have a few hanging in the closet. This was a sacrifice for them. They were worshiping and praising God and were willing to give all, even the coat off their back.

A multitude of disciples were rejoicing and praising God too. Not only the twelve but a large group of followers were praising God. Where would these followers be in one week?

On the sidelines stood the Pharisees, seething in anger, as they asked Jesus to rebuke his disciples. One of the things the Pharisees despise was for anyone, other than themselves, getting any praise.
They always remind me of the verse in Romans which says,   “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Jesus calmly answered, “if they held their peace the stones would call out.”

As Jesus came near the city, He wept. He is so compassionate. He loved the people so much but it was not reciprocated. The people witnessed the healings, water turned into wine, food being multiplied, and miracle after miracle, but they did not believe this was the Savior. They chose not to follow the Lord.

People today also have a choice to follow Jesus or not to follow Jesus. Life is made of choices. The outcome of our life will be a reflection of the choices we made during our life.  What choice will you make in regards to the Lord Jesus? Will you follow Him? Will you turn and go in the opposite direction? I pray you will follow Him. 

Have a blessed day,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Twisting the word

Have you ever told or heard a story, that was “just a little” fabricated? Everyday people exaggerate or embellish a story. Sometimes to make themselves look good, sometimes to deceive others. Whatever the case, the story was “twisted” to accomplish a goal.

Genesis 3:1 shows the beginning of the “twisted word”, The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (NLT)  

Every day in our world someone is “twisting” God’s word, it may be in the form of a book, a movie or even a song. The Word of God is not presented correctly and after a while people start to believe the “twisted word”.

Don’t twist God’s word to say what you want it to say, the outcome will be disastrous. Don’t take what others say about the word at “face value” but take the Word and read and study it for yourself.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8

Have a blessed day,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lessons from Esther: Mordecai’s legacy

And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. 2 And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed. Esther 10

Esther and Mordecai are shining examples of doing right; they followed God’s lead, spoke out and saved a nation. Esther was not made queen of Persia by mistake but by the will of God. God led them each and every step of the way. Esther and Mordecai made the choice to follow God’s lead.

As we close this study of the book of Esther, Mordecai is showcased in the last chapter, a small chapter of three verses.

King Ahasuerus had promoted Mordecai to be “second in command”. He not only found favor with the king, but with his fellow Jews.

Mordecai did all in his power to help the Jews. They were not envious but glad that Mordecai was in a high position. He was willing to help his fellow man and “speaking peace to all his seed”.

Mordecai’s legacy is written in the “book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia” as well as in The Bible.

Elizabeth George in Becoming a Woman of Beauty and Strength – Esther outlines the ten chapters of Esther in an acrostic:

Persian decree against Vashti
Uncle (or cousin) Mordecai saves king
Revenge plotted by Haman
Intercession made to Esther
Making dinner for Ahasuerus
Favor shown to Mordecai
Esther requests her life
Ahasuerus give Mordecai promotion
Sons of Haman hanged
Testimony to Mordecai’s greatness

This is the end of my lessons of Esther. We know Esther and Mordecai’s legacy, but what is our legacy to our family, friends and coworkers? Are we a testimony of the greatness and goodness of the Lord?

Have a blessed day,

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lessons from Esther: Esther’s letter

29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. 30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, 31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry. 32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book. Esther 9:29-32

A second letter, Esther’s letter, is written and sent to all the Jews. This letter is to confirm the days of Purim. She was verifying Moridecai’s letter and encouraging the Jewish community to never forget this time in their history. The letter was sent with “words of peace and truth”.

Jewish communities took heed to this writing and celebrate yearly the victory given to them by the Almighty God in Heaven.

Take a few minutes today to thank God for everything in your life, it may be small, it may be big, it may be good, it may be bad, but in everything there is a lesson. Thank Him for his goodness and graciousness in all trials and tribulations.  

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Ephesians 5:20

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13;15

Remember to be thankful!

Have a blessed day,

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lessons from Esther: Remember

20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, 21 To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, 22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor. 23  And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them; 24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;  
25 But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them, 27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year; 28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. Esther 9:20-28

Mordecai again writes letters to all the Jews in all 127 provinces. This time the letter is a communication of good news. He is recapping the story of the last year.

He begins by reminding them of Haman’s dastardly deed. Mordecai tells about the queen and her appeal to the king. He tells the whole account. His main purpose is to keep every detail in the forefront of their minds. He wants the 14th and 15th of Adar to be established as a special feast day. Not just for the current year but to celebrate yearly and to keep it as a memorial for generations to come. Mordecai wants the Jewish nation to never, ever forget what happened. The celebrating is for them to share their blessings by “sending portions” to each other and giving “gifts to the poor.” Along with the giving the story of Queen Esther is to be shared. Even though the name of God is not mentioned He wants them to realize why they were victorious.

The Jewish people still celebrate Purim. This year it is March 15-16. The main reason is to remember. Remember what God did for the nation.

How about you? Are there things that you need to remember?

Remember where God found you.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalm 40:2

Remember what Jesus did for you.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17

Remember God’s love for you.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
perfect in love. I John 4:10

We love him, because he first loved us. I John 4:19

A few “remembering” quotes:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ George Santayana

Have a blessed day,