Archive for April, 2013

Unwelcoming Jesus

Do not be a fool, and go get some wisdom over at Proverbial Thought!

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 7:36-50, NIV

Christianity is the most popular religion in the United States of America. In fact, approximately 74% of Americans claim to follow some form of Christianity (found at census.gov).

That is amazing! 74%! That is about three-quarters (3/4) of those living in the USA!

How well do we live up to this?

Welcome or Unwelcome?

Many people look to this passage and Luke and see the love and faith displayed by this woman in Jesus as Messiah.

Most times this passage is used to show how God’s love and grace goes to all people, but those who are painfully aware of their sin are those who are most grateful for the forgiveness they are given.

However, look at what is said about the two people most interested in Jesus here.

“Sinful Woman”:

“she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair”
“this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet”
“she has poured perfume on my feet”

Simon:

“one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him”
“You did not give me any water for my feet”
“You did not give me a kiss”
“You did not put oil on my head”

Simon, a religious leader, comparable to a pastor today, invited Jesus into his home for dinner.

Typically, when you have a guest, you greet them, then you offer something such as a place to put shoes or jackets.

In this case, Simon should have greeted his Guest with a kiss (on the cheek or the lips or, for you Baptists and Nazarenes, with the hands in the form of a good handshake). He then should have offered at least some water to clean His feet and/or some lotion or perfume after having walked around in the sun all day.

Instead, Simon expected his Guest to take care of himself (except for the food, of course). His real intention was to either find out more of this so-called Messiah or to look important for having this great teacher in his home.

Simon disregarded all forms of respect and love to look important. He did not treat Jesus as a welcome guest.

A Land of “Simon the Pharisees”?

How many Americans (or christians from around the world) treat Jesus the same way?

I am sure there are honest people out there who are doing the best they can, and perhaps they are simply living by what they have been taught.

If you look around at this nation, there are a lot of people who invite Jesus into their houses, but they ignore Him most of the time.

We have athletes who thank their Lord Jesus Christ after every game; but they sleep around with various partners, get into drugs and alcohol, or lose all of their money to frivolous and/or dangerous things.

We have politicians who pray in the name of Jesus, but they lie, cheat, and steal from their constituents and government on a regular basis.

We have preachers who use Jesus as a reason for a 501(c)3 status (tax-exempt) and promote a different gospel of good feelings and good intentions.

We have churches as fancy as country clubs where people carry their Bibles to look good and holy, but the only time they spend with Jesus is an hour on Sunday mornings and maybe on Wednesday nights.

We have committees and groups who promote social justice and stopping the liberals/conservatives from destroying the fabric of American society, but they lack love for some of the very people who need love the most.

Remember …

Those who look good or know all the answers tend to be the ones who invite Jesus in to their homes, but it is the people who serve Jesus who are forgiven and accepted by God.

How do you love Jesus? By expecting some of the glory or by humbling yourself and serving others?

Hamsters & Freedom

I so enjoy that a hamster has the name of “Cheese”. Also, Nick makes a great connection about our real and perceived freedom. Go read about it!

Ebs and Flows...

My 8 year old niece has a hamster called Cheese. Cheese has stayed at our house a few times now but the first time will always be remembered. About three o’clock in the morning I woke up to some scratching in our bedroom. We got up and flicked the lights on and there was Cheese, bold as brass, in the middle of the room. He had got out of his cage, jumped off the three foot high side board, scaled the stairs and made his way in to our room. He apparently liked us so much that he used his freedom to come find us!

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Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/28/2013

Learn patience and wisdom by going to Proverbial Thought.

Last week I shared a poem about the greatest evidence of love ever shown.

This week is about our response!

Your love amazes me
You fill my senses
and move my spirit
how can i not respond
to an awesome Creator
Who loves me so much
Who loves us all
that He created a universe
and put it in motion
just to come inside it
to create us
to join us
to know us
how can i not respond

You’ve Got Mail

Do you wish God would speak to you?
How often do you speak with Him … WITH Him?
Go see David’s words over at Ebs and Flows.

Ebs and Flows...

On Friday 26 October 1973 my father dropped me at Heathrow Airport and I flew to Sweden to join my first ship. My parents had to wait for a letter to confirm that their sixteen-year old son had arrived safely. That probably took about a week to arrive. Today I would just send a text, or an email, or use my mobile phone to call home. But writing letters and waiting for a reply was normal before the advent of modern communications.

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… For They Know Not What They Do

Give yourself something: get wisdom over at Proverbial Thought.

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Luke 23:26-34

You may know where I am going with this, but I am going to continue, anyway.

Jesus had to endure some pretty bad stuff. He went through some of the most torturous agony a person can.

And he forgave His murderers and haters.

Keep in mind, it is our own sin that put Jesus on the cross. Jesus was forgiving you and me with that sentence, as well!

Jesus said other words to us about this subject, as well:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Mark 11:25

And I’ve Never Been to Boston in the Fall

For over a week now, as of this posting, people have been dealing with the bombing at the Boston Marathon. On Thursday, those responsible were found, and they caused more damage and took the life of a police officer. It left one of them, the older brother, dead, and the younger is now in custody.

I have heard many people, understandably angry, calling for the death of this young man. Some have said torture is justified. Still others have prayed for these brothers to be joined back together in Hell.

What have you said about these men? What thoughts and words have you allowed through your mind and out your mouth concerning these men?

Regardless of the various parts of belief systems within major (and minor) world religions, specifically Islam, their family and friends say these two brothers were twisted in the beliefs by a radical form of Islam.

The point?

These young men were convinced that God’s love for them would grow if they killed infidels. They were led to believe they were doing God’s will.

Do you know what this means?

They did not fully understand what they were doing!

Regardless of what arguments you want to make about their understanding of what they were doing:

Have you ever been so angry with someone (say, these to men, your parents, siblings, friends, that jerk on the road) that you wished ill-will upon them?

Have you ever lusted after another person?

Have you ever desired something so much that you would do anything to get it?

Have you ever loved someone or something more than God?

The short answer is “Yes!”

As I stated above, it was our sin which put Jesus on that cross.

A “yes” to any of those questions above shows your sin (and, yes, we have all sinned: Romans 3).

This means we are all guilty of murdering God.

If He can forgive us for killing Him, our Creator and greatest Lover …

Pray for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, that he may come to know the love of Jesus Christ.

Pray for the family of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, that they may be drawn to Christ and learn to cope with their loss and this atrocity committed by their family members.

Pray for each of the families and friends who were killed or injured during the bombing and chase a few days later.

Forgive and repent of hatred.

Love.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/21/2013

Make sure you grow in the wealth of wisdom by going to Proverbial Thought!

What is the greatest expression of love in history?

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you probably know the answer. (For a hint, just read the title of the poem today)

I love you                   from on a cross

why would anyone love me
why should they choose me
i cannot find a reason
i cannot see why they would

i am a filthy rag
i have covered myself in stains
my life has been wasted
my life has no real value

this thing called me is worthless
this tiny piece of flesh nothing
who could want to love me
i have to ask aloud who could

there is a Being out there
He has heard my laments
He died in my place of pain
just to say to me
I love you

God says that He loves me
God chooses constantly to use me
He only has one reason
He acts in me for His love

He has cleaned this rag
He washed me with His blood
my life in Him has meaning
my life now loves out much

this Savior redeems my soul
this God loves me all the time
if i turn to Him  He helps
if i turn to Him  i am absolved

with God i have real life
with Him is a reason to live
my Lord has shown me love
and it was shown
from on a cross

Terrorized People – Still Watching

Do not forget Proverbial Thought. I wrote the one for today, and I think it applies to this post, as well!

By now you may have heard that yesterday afternoon, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, bombs were exploded. At the time I write this, there are three confirmed dead and at least 144 injured.

We need to remember in our prayers all those affected by this evil.

We must also remember those around the world who deal with terrorism and other acts of violence every day.

May we also remember those in the persecuted Church around the world who also deal with these kinds of things every day.

As an encouragement, I am posting a poem I posted on 09/11/2011 that still applies.

still watching

the bombs exploded
the bullets fired
the damage wrought
cannot be measured
those who walk away
are angry with God
most of them wonder
how He could
let their loved ones go
and leave them there
all of those people
are completely unaware
remember God is watching
all of His children
and He cares for each
no matter where or when
it all fits into
His great Plan
because He loves
this thing called man

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 82.

Loving Father and Lord, let all those affected by the violence and evil of this world feel Your presence today. Not all know You, and many may despise Your Name, but grant everyone affected by loss and pain this week a measure of Your peace and understanding. Help them to grieve. Stretch out Your hand and bring healing to the injured. May they each be drawn closer to You through their pain.

Fill those of us who come into contact with those who are hurting and grieving with compassion, wisdom, mercy, and love, that we may demonstrate Your goodness and hope. Through the violence of this world, may You be glorified as You were through the violence brought against You through the crucifixion. May You also use Your people to offer comfort in their time of need.

We pray these things as Your adopted children through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/14/2013

First, go find wisdom from Proverbial Thought.

Now, let us worship God!

Your love is astounding
Your grace amazing
i cannot express
how much You have blessed
my spirit and soul
to those who do not know
just how majestic
and yet simplistic
the love that You have
and salvation that
is for every person
offered through Your Son
Who through a gruesome death
and with His last breath
gave praise to the Father
Who forgives forever
all of the many sins
of those who call on Him
and truly repent
of a life misspent
to turn to a God
and true servanthood

My Proverbial Fellowship

Instead of my usual theological post, I am going a slightly different route.

You may have noticed that in every post I write I put a reminder to go to Proverbial Thought and read from my fellow contributors’ commentary on the book of Proverbs.

Of course I implore you to head on over there yet again, and, if you have not already, subscribe to this wonderful blog.

Last week we looked at reaching out to the lost and hurting in our broken world.

Today, I offer a reminder that we need to reach out to each other.

There is nothing like the fellowship of believers. We are able to encourage and lift each other up, and we can learn from each other.

Therefore, I am going to encourage you check out the blogs of my brothers at Proverbial Thought.

Chris Jordan

Our newest contributor, Chris out of Beausejour, MB, Canada, is also a prolific writer. He has two books, even more blogs, and writes a piece for his local paper. All I have to say is this man knows how to have fun, encourage, and spread the gospel! Go check out his blog here.

Nick and David Welford

Nick started his blog, and his dad, David, joined him as a regular contributor. These wonderful British brothers in Christ each have their own unique understanding of the Bible, the Church, and God. They are not afraid to share their struggles, challenge Christians, or share the grace of God. To read their unique view and be both encouraged and convicted, go see Nick’s blog here.

Jason Sneed

Jason lives near our founder in Tennessee. His blog covers everything theological and fun as well as musical (such as his Christmas music bracket to decide the best song!). You may notice a theme in each of these men by this point, but his blog is a big encouragement! Go see who is really on first at his blog over here.

Grady Davidson

Grady only blogs at Proverbial Thought, so you know what you are getting! His post every month therefore is filled with thought and wisdom. Continually check out his monthly posts for his reminders of our need for our Lord and Savior!

Anthony Baker

The founder of Proverbial Thought, Anthony has been our leader and strongest encouragement. With how busy we all are, we know he is busy, too, but he fills in when we slack off! (There some truth in this, but I am exaggerating slightly.) He puts in a healthy amount of wit and humor within his posts, whether they be deeply theological or “Hey, look at that shiny thing!” in nature and everything in between. In his desire to not be too legalistic but to be loving and compassionate, he lets fun, encouragement, conviction, reminders, and reality fill his blog over here.

I am thankful for each of these men and the ways they impact my growth in Christ. Help me encourage them by visiting their blogs.

You will be encouraged, too!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/07/2013

Storms may come, but the wisdom can help you get through! Get some wisdom today from Proverbial Thought.

This may be a poem more geared toward the Lenten season, but I think it is especially fitting for the Easter season (leading up to Pentecost). Lent is a time to deny ourselves to prepare for our coming Lord. Leading up to Pentecost, we must prepare for service for our Lord.

You could say we must live in a period of Lent … for the rest of our lives.

That is the theme of the poem for today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my spirit cries out to You

my heart aches for You

i feel the pride and arrogance

that tries to well up inside me

that could turn me from You

O gracious and loving Father

let us remove these feelings

make me truly Your saint

humble me more

as i humble myself before You

make me aware of

whatever is not of You in me

make a willing servant to this world

that all may know You are God

All praise the Almighty

the Creator of All

praises resound from the mouths

of those who seek Your righteousness

without You we are wicked

praise the Lord

the Lord of our salvation