Tag Archives: John

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 5

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. – John 19:25, KJV

cross jesus summit cross

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What was the whole reason Jesus made His first coming to the Earth?

To die as a propitiation for our sins on the cross.

And of all of the thousands who followed Him during His ministry, the 120 disciples who remained the most faithful, the remaining 11 Apostles, and His family, who remained nearby at His death?

The Apostle John and a few women, including His mother, Mary. She may not have understood everything Jesus did or taught, but she stayed near Him even at His supposed end.

And there is our example: like Jesus’ mother, we do not always understand how God is moving, how what is happening can work out for good, or how His Kingdom will come to full fruition; but we do know He has promised to return to fully redeem us and banish all evil pain and suffering, though we may not understand the whole plan.

And we, too, shall remain faithful until the end, by the power of blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11)

Our great God, strengthen our faith, because You are faithful, and grant us peace, patience, and wisdom as we wait for Your return.

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Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 6

And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. -Luke 3:15-18, KJV

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Just as John and Paul had people wonder if they were the Christ or a son of a god, we should be setting the example “in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12) and in good works “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

They may begin thinking we are divine, but just like John and Paul, we should be quick to point them back to Jesus. We do good works because “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14), the One who came to earth and out of His love sacrificed Himself for us, and we are merely unworthy servants of Christ.

But this must also come with the warning that you must believe in Him, or you will be removed in the age to come.

There is no good news without first revealing the bad news of our sinful condition. But when we come to see our need for the coming Savior, it will lead to joy and praise of His return as we see the peace brought through His life, death, and resurrection!

Our world today is longing for peace, someone who can save them from the perils we face. They have an expectation that either things will get better or get worse.

May we be ready to respond to expectation and humble enough to point to the One who is coming.

Cleansing Creator and Savior, thank You for saving us. Please give us a heart for the lost, to preach righteousness and salvation, the peace of Christ; and give us a boldness to share the gospel.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 5

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: -Isaiah 29:13, KJV

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We must be careful how we handle the Word of God. I mean both senses of the term:

  • How do we handle Scripture? Do we read into it what we think it says? Do we read passages out of context or claim promises never meant for anyone but to whom they were made? Do we use Scripture to condemn everyone who disagrees with us or to keep people “in line”? All the while we say, “God is great. I love God.” But we are keeping God in a nice, tidy box that we can control.
  • How do we handle Jesus? Do we treat Him like a monster? Do we treat Him as if He is aloof? Do we treat Him like a genie or vending machine, expecting Him to grant all of our wishes and desires, especially when we ask/demand them? Do we treat Him like a doting grandmother, thankful for the gifts He gives, but ignoring Him most of the time? All the while we say, “Jesus is great. I love Jesus.” But we are using Jesus to control others or only get what we want.

John lived in the wilderness, ate bugs and honey, and only had one outfit. He did not tolerate using God and His Word incorrectly, but he did point us back to the wonder of God’s works, as Isaiah did:

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. -Isaiah 29:14

We cannot forget that though we rebel against God in many ways, even as we call on His name, He does marvelous things: Most importantly, He came to save us from our rebellion and make us more like Himself. We can try and reason Him away, twist His words and actions, but He is come and has made Himself known. And we cannot stand against Him.

And when Jesus returns, we shall be made like Him – holy, blameless, and glorified, able to give Him all glory for eternity.

Lord, help us to come to Your Word humbly and correctly, to align our thoughts and emotions with Yours, to follow Your will and not our own.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent

Welcome to the second week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the second week of Advent is about preparing ourselves for the coming Messiah, with John the Baptizer being our model. This is when our focus turns from the promises to fulfillment of Messiah. Obviously, there is a connection between each week, as we begin by looking out our need for the promised Savior, and then we move to finding the truth of the living Savior.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. -Isaiah 40:3, KJV (see Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4)

John was prophesied centuries before either he or his cousin, Jesus, lived. John is also the final of the Old Testament Prophets. He was the last to prophecy the coming Messiah before Jesus began His ministry.

He was an ascetic – someone who separates from society in many ways through denying comforts and desires, including diet and habits, for religious purposes. (See Numbers 6 to understand more of John’s asceticism, known as the Nazirite vow.) He seemed pretty crazy and weird, but he laid the groundwork for the Messiah.

What did this mean?

He called out sin, decried fame, and [literally] pointed to the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

As Christians – believers in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus – we are likewise called to point to the Savior. We are to prepare the the way for His return and encroaching Kingdom.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
-Matthew 28:18-20

How are you pointing others to Jesus?

Good Lord, give us a passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus – to call out sin, love people, and glorify Your Name.


A Lying Tongue

Proverbs 6:16-17b

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue…”

The Culture

Stop for a moment and think of all the lies we hear everyday. Will that pill really make you thinner? Is that automobile really the best buy? Will that sugary, sodium-filled soft drink really quench your thirst? Will that politician really do anything he promises?

We live in a culture of lies, and we mirror it more than we would like to admit. Lying is deemed acceptable in the right context and when the results are worth it. We tell ourselves, “a little white lie never hurt anybody.” We pad resumés. We tell our wives the dress looks fine. We tell our husbands we’re proud of them. Christians even say, “I’ll pray about it.”

The Truth

The truth is that we hold on to lying as a tool, or a weapon. It’s there when we need it, even if we don’t use it very often. We hold on to it in case of an emergency, like when our pride is at risk, or when our needs are not met. Our flesh is utterly selfish and will do anything to survive.

The truth is that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Lying was literally part of his nature, and there was “no truth in him.” So, when we lie, we not only mirror the culture, but the “prince” of the culture…

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” – Ephesians 2:2

Three Good Reasons

Why does God abhor a lying tongue? Well, I can think of three good reasons. For starters, it is the opposite of His nature. Lying has nothing in common with God, but everything in common with His enemies. It was Jesus who said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Secondly, the Father loves his Son. Jesus gave his life as a ransom for us (Matt. 20:28), bearing our sin on the cross (Isa. 53:5; 2 Cor. 5:21). The “wounds” He suffered were due in part to our lies. Wouldn’t you be disgusted by the thing that brought your son pain?

Then too, God loves us! It must break His heart to see the consequences we bring upon ourselves, the tangled webs we weave, when we lie. And the more we lie, the less like Christ we are.

A Prayer

Dear God, forgive me for my selfishness. Forgive me for my lack of faith. Forgive me for the times I have not trusted you, but lied to make things go my way. Forgive me, reign in my tongue, and cleanse me, “because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5).