How will the Scriptures be fulfilled

I like Peter. He is what I call a man’s man. When Jesus is walking on water, Peter steps out on the water too. When Jesus says you will all scatter when I am struck, Peter says not me. All Jesus’ disciples run away after the garden (one even leaves his garment behind to get away according to Mark 14:52 and flees naked!). No disciple other than Peter follows to the high priest’s home save John. When they came to take Jesus from the garden by force (though He went willingly), Peter pulls a sword. Mind you Jesus made sure they had one with them, again to fulfill Scripture (Luke 22:36-38).

Matthew 26:52-54 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

The Scripture is fulfilled throughout holy week. Time after time we see Jesus as the one foretold in the Old Testament. God does not want there to be any doubt. Jesus is meticulous about the details, even down to the sword being present. Peter fulfills the words of the Old Testament and Jesus words as well. He does betray Jesus. He learns the truth of what Jesus told them in the garden, “the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. Peter learns he is in a spiritual battle he can’t fight with his hands. Like it is for us, it is for him: a process. But how well Peter learned the lesson! He preached at Pentecost and many were saved. He contributes books to the New Testament. He is a mighty man of God filled with the Spirit. We get to see Peter as a work in progress. I am one too; maybe that’s why I like Peter so much.

Burning within Me,

JOY!

Woe to you

Matthew 23 is what I call the “woe to you” chapter. Jesus gives the Pharisees and scribes a list of their sins. He lists their desires to be exalted and recognized as well as their hindrance to the seeker finding the way. He speaks of how their hearts don’t belong to God only their words. He even proclaims them sons of murderers (verses 29 through 32). Then he asks them, “How will you escape hell?” He doesn’t sugar coat the message!

Then in verse 37 He shows His heart. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” Jesus wanted to save them. He knew they would murder prophets, they would murder His disciples and they would murder Him. Yet, He longed to gather them under His wings. He knew our sins – all of them – and died for us too. He could have named them from the cross – the weight of them bore on His every cell. When I read of the Pharisees, I know He could have made a woe to you chapter to me. It is likely I am described in the one written. Once again I say, “Hallelujah, What a Savior!”

Burning within Me,

JOY!

Holy week

Holy Week is here! The first holy week began with Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem. He rode a donkey, and the people cheered. Multiple Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah are fulfilled throughout the week. So many times you see the words “according to the Scriptures” in the New Testament showing that God fulfills his promises. It was there for those who were students of the Old Testament to see Jesus was exactly who He said He was. The donkey Jesus rides is one of those fulfillments. Zechariah 9:9 states, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Teachers of history explain that a king who came riding on a donkey came in peace. Jesus came to bring peace! He said, “My peace I give you; My peace I leave you.” He will come again on a stallion and make war. This time though He came to deliver man from His sin. What a great way to begin preparing to celebrate Resurrection Sunday! Remember the Prince of Peace foretold in the Old Testament came in humility to save His people from their sin.  Rejoice greatly!

Burning within me,

JOY!

Can you name the 7 phrases?

Can you name the seven recorded phrases spoken by Jesus on the cross? They are not all in one gospel. They show both the divinity and humanity of our Lord. Take time to remember, then if you don’t come up with all seven, here are some scripture references to help.

 

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34)

“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

“Dear woman, here is your son.” (John 19:26)

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15:34)

“I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

“It is finished!” (John 19:30)

“Father, into your hands I commit My Spirit!” (Luke 23:46)

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

JOY!

Tax Day

Right in the middle of the observance of lent and the preparation for celebrating EASTER this year, we have tax day. I don’t think anyone is happy about the process whether you are paying or getting part of your “pay in” back. There is the work of filing and the cost of having the forms completed. Interestingly enough, Jesus’ day had tax time too.

Matthew 17:24-27

When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” He *said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”

Well, without commenting on being able to pay your taxes with money you find inside of a fish, look at who pays taxes. The children (sons) of the kings are not those who pay taxes. It is the “strangers” as Peter answered. We are strangers here. We belong to a kingdom too rich to need what little we have to sustain it. As Scripture states, those who have surrendered to Jesus as Savior and Lord are sons in the kingdom of heaven. When a list of the joys of heaven is given, how many times to do you see “no taxes”? But it’s true; the idea of government goes away as well. We will all submit to our Father who is over all. Jesus has paid it all. We are there at His expense.

So as you file your papers and settle what you owe to the government this tax season, keep in mind it’s because you are a stranger. In the kingdom to come, you are a child of the King. There is no payment from you required.

Burning within Me,

JOY!

Signs of the times

Matthew 16:1-3

The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?

The sailors of Jesus’ day knew the adage “Red sky at night: sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning: sailor take warning.” The Pharisees of Jesus’ day didn’t know the Son of God when He stood before them. His time of visitation was at hand, and they didn’t perceive it. Jesus goes on to say an evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign and none would be given it except the sign of Jonah. Then He walked away. I wonder if He was disgusted or grieved or both.

The Scripture tells us “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). And, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) Over and over Jesus pleads with men to come, enter in, believe. We don’t know what a day may bring. We have no guarantees of tomorrow. But today Jesus calls to us. It is ours to answer and to share. Do we recognize the signs of the times? Tomorrow may be too late.

Burning within Me,

JOY!

Speak Life

A former pastor’s wife of mine once said, “If people really believed they could lose their salvation, they would never open their mouths.” Jesus said, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

Toby Mac’s popular “Speak Life” lyrics are fitting words to guide our tongues:

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak life.

Now how do you speak life? Peter replied to Jesus, “Where can we go, you have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) We get words of life from the Word of God. Words of life, hope and love are all contained in the pages of His book. To speak such words we need to know His Word. We learn His Word by studying it and memorizing it and listening to it. Next is the difficult task of guarding our tongues such that those are the words that pass from our lips. It is an effort. It takes a daily commitment and focus to choose carefully the words we speak. It is most worth our effort though. We will give an accounting in the day of judgment, and that is a powerful motivator.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

Burning within Me,

JOY!

Rest

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

What woman today does the promise not appeal to? Come all who are weary and heavy laden. In today’s vernacular, come if you are worn out and still have more to do. In the NASB version of the Scripture I have, the letters are all caps of the words “YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS”. Most of us say I am all for that! The letters are not all caps to emphasize the words but to let us know they are a direct quote of Old Testament Scriptures. The verse in Jeremiah 6:16 says in full: Thus says the Lord,

“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

We resist walking in it too. Interesting though we know some things are not important, we stress ourselves to do them. We know the most important part of life is to “learn from Him”, and yet we will neglect our time with Him to accomplish tasks unnecessary except in the eyes of the world. If we truly wanted rest, we would follow His commandment to take His yoke upon us, but that is the very thing that repels in this verse. You want to put a constraint around my neck? What He says is “take My yoke upon you.” Take off the one you’re wearing and put on His that is easy with a light burden. Not the one that requires you to be perfect in an imperfect body in an imperfect world. Not the yoke that chokes the freedom we have in Christ from our lives demanding we conform to a sin sick world. The yoke that gives you rest is the one He wants you to put on. Remember Mary and Martha? One was hurrying about the kitchen, and one was at His feet. Which was wearing His yoke? The key to learning how to trade yokes is in learning of Him. Then we find rest for our souls.

Burning within Me,

JOY!

 

 

 


Treasures

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

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