Monthly Archives: April 2017

Confidence in God’s enabling power

Image result for 2 Thessalonians 3:5

The Lord is faithful.  He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.  And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command.  May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God, and in the steadfastness of Christ.  2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

In the midst of all of our up’s and down’s, our stupid choices, our rebellion and disobedience, we can take heart in knowing a few things.  May your heart be encouraged with them today.  Let’s take a look at truths that we can be bolstered by, one by one:

  1. God is faithful.  What He says He will do.  What He promises is true.  We can trust God and we can trust His promises.  The things that are in the Bible are true.  They aren’t just made up to make you feel better.  God has follow through and consistency, unlike our best intentions, or the best intentions of others who we put our faith in, only to be let down.  Philippians 1:6 is one of those faithful promises: I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
  2. God will establish you.  That means that God will make you strong and able to maintain spiritual growth.  God will finish the work He started in you, God will give you the strength and the ability to stand and to grow.   Paul had confidence that God would keep the Thessalonians strong because God kept Paul strong.  I have confidence that God will keep a hold of you with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10), because He has done that for me, even in the worst times.
  3. God guards us against Satan.  Now that’s good news.  As you read through the Psalms, you will see that David says over and over again that God is his refuge, his shield and his protector.  Just as David had physical enemies that were always trying to do him in, we have spiritual enemies that try to do the same to us.  We might not even realize that the struggles we are having are because of Satan’s schemes at work against us.  Whether we realize it or not, God guards us.
  4. If we belong to Jesus we will grow in our obedience to Him.  God does this in us because He is at work in us.  Philippians 2:13 states: It is God who works in you, to will and to work for His good purpose.  Paul could say he had confidence that they would be obedient because he had confidence in how God works in our lives.
  5. We can rest in the love of God and the steadfastness of Jesus.  Paul prayed in Ephesians 3 that we would know how high and deep and wide and long the love of Christ is because we are rooted and grounded in love.  You are loved with an overwhelming love and nothing can separate you from that love.  Jesus now sits at God’s right hand, ruling and holding the world together.  And more good news: He also kneels for us according to Hebrews 7:25, He lives to make intercession for us.

Be encouraged today, knowing that God is at work in you.  He is faithful and will protect you from Satan’s attempts to discourage and to derail you.  You are loved by God and that love never changes.  

Rest in God’s enabling power and call on Him to work in your life today.


The Word at work in your life

1 Thess 2-13

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.  1 Thessalonians 2:13

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It judges our motives and the intentions of our heart.  The more you are reading the Bible with an open heart that wants to change, the more it changes you.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches that the Bible is God’s very words, His breath.  We use it to teach, to correct, to rebuke, and to train us for righteousness.  When the Bible is a part of your life you will be equipped for every good work.

I once was in a Bible study with a person who argued that Paul’s words weren’t God’s words.  She thought that his doctrine was just his personal opinions that she could take or leave.  My husband and I tried to get her to see that it was God’s “opinions” not just Paul’s.  Now why would that matter?  It matters in so many ways.   Writing off part of the Bible as non-authoritative negates all of it.  We can’t pick and choose.

God’s words are difficult. In John 6 many of Jesus’ followers left because His teachings got too demanding.  Jesus didn’t let up, He just turned to the twelve and said, “Do you want to leave too?”  That’s when Peter said “Where else could we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  It is so tempting to water God’s truths down to make them more palatable, or to just write the Bible off completely.  The Bible really is God’s authoritative word.  It wasn’t just for a specific time in history and culture, but His commands and principles are for us today as well.

Have you seen the Word be at work in your life?  Have you tried to do something that is a little underhanded and been stopped by God’s Spirit bringing a Bible verse to your mind?  Or have you woken up in the morning with the answer of what you’re supposed to do because God put it a specific Biblical principle or thought  on your heart?  Are you changing in a specific area, like with your temper or your profane language, and it wasn’t something you consciously did?  That is the Word being at work in your life.

There are some ways that people dodge the convicting impact of the Bible.  They might read books about the Bible, but not the Bible itself.  Or they read other people’s devotional thoughts without going to the Bible.  In Bible studies or Sunday school classes, people can rabbit trail extremely easily, talking in depth about themselves.  They could be consciously or subconsciously avoiding getting into the x-ray machine of the Word.  But maybe they’ve never allowed God’s words to penetrate to see how good they really are.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24

*Photo from sittingathisfeet.ca


Salt and Light

salt and light

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  Colossians 4:5-6

This is the lyrics to a song by Lauren Daigle, “Salt and Light.”

You make righteous those who seek, You have written and redeemed my storyLet my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around, Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name;  Let my life be a song, revealing who You are, For You are salt and light

Oh, the love that set me free, You bring hope to those in need; You have written and redeemed my story, Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around; Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name

Let my life be a song, revealing who You are, For You are salt and light; You are love’s great height, You are deep and wide; A consuming fire, You are salt and light, You are…

“Salt and Light”  Click here for the You Tube song

This song has captured my thoughts lately.  The idea is that God is salt and light.  As believers, He lives in us through the Holy Spirit.  He is writing our redemption story and He is also emanating His character through us.  2 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that God: “through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

God be salt and light through me.  Work in me Your character and use me in the lives of the people around me.  Make my life be a song, revealing who You are.  Just how that looks is described in Colossians 4:1-2, so let’s take it apart:

  • Walk in wisdom toward outsiders (unbelievers).  James 1 tells us if we need wisdom we should ask for it in faith, and God will give it to us.  We need God’s wisdom everyday, so give Him your specific situations that you encounter and ask Him how to make you salt and light as you go about your day.  Ask God to prompt you about when to speak and when to be quiet, and how to speak truth into people’s lives.
  • Making the best use of time.  We should have a game clock that we keep our eye on, just like a quarterback does, or the one handling the ball in basketball.  Just when you think you have all kinds of time to tell someone about Jesus, or to make a messy relationship better, or to grow in certain areas of our lives, the time ticks off.  Jesus said in John 9:4, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent Me.  Night is coming when no one can work.”  
  • Let your speech always be gracious, or “full of grace,” NIV.  That means we consciously look for ways to build people up, not just encouraging but sometimes rebuking, correcting and teaching.  I have praying lately that God’s peace, hope and grace would overflow from me to others.  Look for the good in people and situations and be quick to point it out.  Be the kind of person others want to be around.
  • Seasoned with salt.  Salt is a disinfectant and a preservative.  It also adds flavor.  Speaking truth would be a disinfecting and preserving thing.  If people are bashing things that are clearly contrary to God’s way, praying quickly for God’s wisdom, look for a way to say something that is graceful, but truth.  Being salt might be doing the right thing even when others are taking the low road.
  • Knowing how to answer each person.  That takes God’s wisdom.  Ask Him to show you how to deal with your annoying relative or the opinionated co-worker.  Look for ways to speak into people’s lives and to share what Jesus has done in your life.

“Oh, the love that set me free, You bring hope to those in need; You have written and redeemed my story, Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around; Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name.”

 


Let the word dwell in you richly

dwell

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.”  Philippians 3:16

Today’s verse starts off with the word “let.”  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.  That gives the idea that we are to allow it to, to give the word permission or access to our hearts and lives.  It is then something within our control, not outside of it.  So many times I hear people say that they try to read the Bible, but they just can’t understand it.  Or they say they just can’t memorize.  Then others say they just don’t have time in their day to read, study, memorize or meditate on the Bible.

But then if I were to ask  sports fans about their favorite team, they can rattle off all kinds of statistics and facts about games and players.  Hunters can tell an endless facts about the animals that are their favorite targets.  And quilters can give a mini seminar on how to “stitch in the ditch” or say what book and page their favorite pattern is on.  I wonder why that is.  If we could just apply the same devotion and enthusiasm to the word of Christ.

Here are three things that I have found that help me to have the word of Christ dwell in me.

1.   When I read, I underline, highlight, take notes and journal about what I am reading.  There are studies that say when you write something down with your hands (and not a keyboard) you can remember it better because it is forming a pathway in your brain.  I have been journaling with quiet time notes since I was 18.  That means I have 36 years of notebooks and journals.  Occasionally I go back and read them.  I am refreshed at how God has worked in my life in ways that I forgot about.  I include my prayer items in my journals, application thoughts and ways that the Scripture jumped out at me.  It’s never too late to start a quiet time journal.

2.   I make memorizing a part of my life.  I have been memorizing verses, chapters and books of the Bible since I was young.  I just finished memorizing the book of 2 Timothy.  I have to go back and review old verses to keep them in the front of my mind.  I keep note cards with verses written on them, little post it notes, big ones, you name it.  If I want to put something into practice or remember a promise in a difficult time, I put those verses wherever I can.

3.  When I read the Bible, I expect God to speak to me.  I look for how what I am reading applies to my life.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the Word is living and active,” and 2 Timothy 3:17 says that Scripture equips us for every good work and makes us mature, or complete.  If you feel inadequate to do something, get into the Bible more and see if that equipping changes things.

Finally, Colossians 3:16 instructs us to admonish one another with all wisdom.  That must be a way of putting the Word into practice.  To admonish means to “reprimand, rebuke, scold, advise, or to recommend,” according to dictionary.com.  2 Timothy 3:16 relays that Scripture is profitable for teaching, for correcting and rebuking, as well as training in righteousness.  Perhaps the key words are “with all wisdom.”  In other words, you need the leading of the Holy Spirit to be at work when it comes to admonishing.

Billy Graham used to use the phrase, “the Bible says,” quite often in his sermons.  Instead of our wisdom being from Dr. Phil or our own storehouse, it is good to speak Scripture to one another as a means of encouragement and instruction.  Maybe that should be one of our go-to phrases as well.  And sometimes it is admonishing when Scripture is simply shared that relates to a particular situation.  Because the Word is living and active, the Holy Spirit can take it from there.

May the Word of Christ dwell in you richly today as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.

 


Let peace be your umpire

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  umpire safe.jpgAnd be thankful.  Colossians 3:15

The first thing to notice here is that it reads that the peace of Christ should rule in your hearts. That suggests that the peace of Christ should be the ruler collectively in the body of Christ, not just in our own lives individually.  When there is a dispute in the body then, the prevailing rule of the thumb should be figuring out what will benefit peace and not cause strife, conflict, or division.  Sometimes it is so easy to get fired up about what truth is at stake that peace loses out.  Ephesians 4:3 backs this up.  Paul writes, “(be) eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. “

The word for “rule” is the only time it is used in the New Testament. What it refers to is an Olympic judge; the guy that would award a medal or disqualify an athlete from his prize. This guy was the umpire. You can argue all you want but the umpire is the one that gets to make the call.  (cited from http://www.mikeleake.net)  Peace is the umpire.  If peace is sacrificed, then drop it.

You may think important things might get diminished, or compromised.  But yet, it seems like most rifts aren’t about whether or not Jesus is the only way to God or other crucial doctrinal tenants.  Most conflicts are over hurt feelings, pride, jealousy or matters of preference.   If I am growing in the Lord and able to look beyond my own interests, then I should be able to let someone else’s opinion or preference win out.  Keeping peace is so much more important than me being right or getting my way.  That’s the more mature option.

It is easier to take that option if you have learned to let the peace of Christ rule in your own life.  James 3:14-18 reads, But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

There are some Christians that have chaos ruling their lives, not peace.  It could stem from having jealousy and selfish ambition that are not surrendered to God.  There is most likely bitterness and pride that needs to get renounced.  Those people are difficult to be around because they aren’t  aware that the real problem isn’t what everyone is doing to them, but what their own bitterness and jealousy is doing.  Disorder results.

And be thankful!  Thankful people are hard to bring down.  They are quick to point out the things we have in common, rather than to focus on the dividing points in the body.  Thankful people are the opposite of those who have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. Are you thankful?

Take a look inside and see if you have surrendered all of your bitter jealousy and selfish ambition to the Lord so that the peace of Christ can be the umpire in your heart.

 


Dress for Success

put off, put on.jpgPut on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another;  forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  Colossians 3:12-13

Paul tells us to put on compassion, kindness, etc. He doesn’t tell us to ask God to work that in us.  It is something we must do.    This idea of putting on and putting off has been mentioned before by Paul.  In Ephesians 4:22, 24  he commands us, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to “Put off your old self…and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness.”

Earlier in Colossians 3 Paul gave a list of what to put away: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed.  But wait, there’s more!  Anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk and telling lies.   I get depressed looking at what I need to put off, just like I would feel if I just tried to stop all of my bad habits and only focused on that.

In Romans 13:14  Paul simply says to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  We are believers and we need to dress like it, and to fight like it.  Galatians 3:27 says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  Putting on Christ has  already been done for us.  But Colossians 3 instructs us to daily put on and put off a lot of things.  I like the symbolism, but it gets tricky in figuring out how to do it.

My answer:  In Ephesians 6 we’re told to put on the armor of God.  We do that in prayer, trusting that as we say each piece it is arming our spirit man with a helmet, breastplate and the rest.  Then  I am dressed to do battle for the day.  We are in a spiritual war.  Our battle is not only Satan, but it is against our own fleshly desires that wage war against our soul, as 1 Peter 2:11 puts it.  It is a battle to put off anger, wrath, malice and slander and to instead put on compassion, humility and patience.  It takes an active response to send away bitter thoughts and resentments and to choose to forgive.  In doing that, I am putting on forgiveness.

As I drive to work most days, I pray and consciously put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  I pray through what I know is ahead of me and think of the people I need to talk to or address something with.  I pray that God would work His love through me, as well as His wisdom and creativity in situations where I am stuck.  When I am consciously pursuing a healthy diet, I must put down the chips and pick up the veggies.  It’s a mindset that we must cultivate in both situations.

We belong to God, we are holy and dearly loved, and we must actively take a hold of the life that befits a child of God.  Today, put off the habits of the sinful nature.  Tell them to get lost.  Now, put on kindness, compassion, gentleness, forgiveness and love.

 


A New Citizenship

kingdom of light.jpg

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:13-14

Renunciation is the voluntary act of giving up our citizenship.  Naturalization is voluntarily acquiring a new citizenship.  Jesus has made us a naturalized citizen in a new dominion, or kingdom.  We voluntarily renounce our affiliation with the dominion of darkness, our old citizenship.  We now serve a new king.

The NIV words it that we were ‘rescued’ from the dominion of darkness.  This conjures up an image of Jesus making a daring Tom Cruise-like rescue from some foreign, dark, rat infested prison cell, like in “Locked up Abroad.”  It’s a drama that was played out on that dark Friday 2000 years ago on Mt. Calvary.

In Colossians 2, Paul describes what happened when Jesus died on the cross.  In verses 14-15, we find that Jesus “canceled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.  This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.  He disarmed the demonic rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them on the cross.”  Jesus won the battle for our citizenship on the cross of Calvary.  He made a public spectacle of Satan’s minions, announcing to the spiritual realm that He won the battle.

In doing so, Jesus took our rap sheet, the record of debt that stood against us because of our sin,  and nailed it to the cross.  We lay claim to this by giving our lives to God.  It begins somehow by admitting that we are sinners that cannot save ourselves, trusting Jesus for what He did on the cross to pay for our sin, and consciously living a different life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  And when we do so, we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son Jesus.

Philippians 3:19-20 describes the contrast of those whose “destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  Their mind is on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in Heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The connotation is that our lives are to be dramatically different because of this great rescue and redemption.  Our destiny is not destruction, but Heaven with eternal glory.  Our god is no longer our stomach, with its fleshly desires, but Jesus is now Lord of our passions.  Our glory now lies in making Jesus’ name great, because He is the king of our domain.  Our mind is set on things above, where Christ is seated at the right of God.  We eagerly wait for the return of our King, who has gone on a long journey and will some great day come back for us in the clouds.

I can’t wait.

 

*Photo from angeloakcreative.com

 


Taking it to the next level

next level

…Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.  May you be strengthened with all power, according to HIs glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.  Colossians 1:10b-11

When teams make the playoffs each year, but never win the championship, the coach usually says something like, “we need to take it to the next level.”  God, take my walk with You to the next level.  Raise the level of my living from the ordinary to the extraordinary.  How to do that?  Start by praying and asking God to show you how.   Paul’s prayer is a good guideline.

May you bear fruit in every good work.  Bearing fruit can be the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5.  We could be so busy telling others about Jesus or serving in some way that we lose focus and get crabby, selfish and hard to be around.  The first place we need to bear fruit is in our character, consciously walking in the Spirit and not setting our minds on things of the flesh.

Another aspect of bearing fruit has to do with actually seeing God work through us in other people’s’ lives.    John 15:5 tells us, “Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  Fruit can be that whatever you endeavor to do for God actually makes a difference.   Some people live their Christian lives never seeing fruit, which would be like having an apple tree in your yard that never bears apples.  Fruit is the natural outcome of having a healthy relationship with God.  To take it to the next level, call out to God to bear fruit through you.

May you get to know God better.  The best ways to do that is through Bible study and prayer.  Seek God and keep seeking HIm.  Ask God to show Himself to you.  Place yourself around people who seem to know God and learn from them as much as you can.  Another way to get to know God better is to do something for Him that really stretches your faith. Watch God work when you do that!   I love reading biographies of people who have accomplished great things for God.  It stretches my faith and helps me to get a picture of what God can do in my  life.  Just like you set goals to lose weight or to learn a hobby, set a goal to put you on the path of getting to know God better.

May you have endurance, patience and joy that comes from God.  It is easy to grab for the easy things in life and to give up if something gets hard.  The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint.  May God build in you the ability to not be weary in serving Him, but as Paul encouraged Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 4: “Proclaim the message, persist in it, whether convenient or not.”  He also told Timothy to endure hardship and to fulfill his ministry.  And may you have the joy of the Lord that rests upon you.

May God be at work in your life in all kinds of ways.  May you get to know Him better and see fruit in the things that you endeavor to do for HIm.  And may God give you His energy, patience and overflowing joy.

 


Do your prayers sound like this?

growth

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to HIm.  Colossians 1:9-10a

Most of the time my prayers do not sound like  Paul’s prayers.  But when I really want to see someone grow in their Christian life, I borrow these words.  They really distill what we need to have to make it spiritually.  And when I’m stuck on how to pray for myself, I do the same.  Let’s take his prayer apart:

Being filled with the knowledge of God’s will.  According to quora.com, the average adult makes around 35,000 choices a day.  Just try to order a sandwich from “Subway” and you’ll notch about 30 choices.  It would be really nice to get a little note from God with our directions for the day.  Instead of getting that, we get the Holy Spirit who is always with us to guide us.  God, direct me today so I know I’m doing what You want me to do.

In all spiritual wisdom and understanding.   Just this last week I encountered a situation with a difficult parent where I needed God’s wisdom regarding how to respond to her bullying and berating.  I asked God for understanding what she really is angry at and how to stop butting heads with her.  God is not like a magic eight ball that gives immediate answers, but I trust that He will speak ideas into my heart and mind as I proceed.  Take your most difficult situation that is facing you and ask God for His wisdom and understanding.  

So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.  In the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” the character played by Tom Hanks, Captain Miller,  dies in his mission to save Private Ryan, the only son left in his family.  James Ryan went back to Normandy to Captain Miller’s grave.  Ryan stood by his grave and said, My family is with me today. They wanted to come with me. To be honest with you, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel coming back here. Every day, I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. I’ve tried to live my life the best I could. I hope it was enough. I hope that at least in your eyes I’ve earned what all of you have done for me.” (From http://www.thesource4ym.com/movieclipdiscussions)

We don’t have to earn anything related to what Jesus has done for us.  That’s what grace is all about.  Private Ryan  felt a strong gratitude and had a  sense of purpose in life because of the sacrifice made for him.   We need to live our lives with a different purpose and sense of value because we know that Jesus  gave up His life for us.

Fully pleasing to Him.  If we do something that God instructs us to do, then we’ll be pleasing to Him.  That’s what obedience is.  If we don’t do something that we know God has commanded us not to do, the same is true.  If you want to please God, obey Him.  That’s what Samuel told King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold to obey is better than sacrifice.”

May you be filled with the knowledge of God’s will today,  along with gaining wisdom and understanding from His Holy Spirit who is at work in you.  May God direct your steps and give you ideas, creativity and skill that comes from Him.  May you walk differently because you belong to Jesus, being filled with gratitude because of His sacrifice for you.  And may you please God by being obedient to Him.   May you turn from sinful ways and delight in doing things God’s way.  


Jesus Came Forward

Jesus' arrest.jpg

So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees went there with weapons and torches.  Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward, and said to them, “what do you seek?”  John 18:3-4

In reading Greg Morse’s blog on April 12, 2017 from “Desiring God,” I was struck with these thoughts:

Jesus had just finished His final words with the disciples in the Upper Room and the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as His big prayer with the Father.  “He knew His hour had come,” as John 13:1 states.  For most of the last three years Jesus had been saying, “My hour has not come,” like in John 2:4 and John 7:6, 8.  Judas brought the band of soldiers to arrest Him.  Jesus knew the Old Testament, so He knew what was going to happen.  Isaiah 53 could have been playing in the background.

Jesus was fully human (a mystery) and knowing what was ahead, He still came forward.  In the Garden He had prayed, “Father if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done,” from Luke 22:42.  In verse 44 we find that “He prayed so earnestly that His sweat became like great drops of blood falling on the ground.”  Jesus knew that He was going to be the Passover lamb and that,  in taking on the sin of the world, He would be separated from the Father.

Yet He came forward.  I would want to either hide or to fight.  Not Jesus.

  • He came forward with boldness. “‘Whom do you seek?’  They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’”  John 18:4-5
  • He came forward willingly: “No one takes My life from Me, but I lay it down on My own accord.”  John 10:18
  • He came forward doggedly: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God.”  Hebrews 12:2
  • He came forward at the right time: “For while we were weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”  Romans 5:6
  • He came forward for us: “Since therefore we have been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:9-10
  • He came forward in love: “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:10

In light of this, it is our time to come forward:

  • To no longer live for ourselves: “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…for the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: that One has died for all…that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised…therefore we are ambassadors for Christ.”  2 Corinthians 5:11-20
  • To deny ourselves and to be bold for Jesus: “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny Himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever would save His life would lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in glory.   Luke 9:23-26
  • To proclaim His excellencies: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

*Photo from lds.org