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May 13, 2019, 9:29 AM

We need our friends


Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 

God has designed people with a need for relationships.  Our most important relationship is, of course, with God.  Sin has broken that relationship and the remedy for that brokenness is found in the cross of Jesus. We enter a covenant relationship with God when we receive the free gift of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:24, 5:15) and for the rest of eternity we will be in that relationship with him.

The second most important relationships are with other people.  Once we have been brought into a right relationship with God, we gain the ability to be in healthy relationships with others.  Whether you are an introvert with a small group of people you allow in your sphere of relationships or an extrovert that has many (most likely varying levels of depth) relationships, we all have them, and we all NEED them.  God has made us this way.  

One of the primary purposes of the local church is to foster fellowship among believers.  While we often associate fellowship with sharing a meal together, true biblical fellowship goes much deeper than this.  We have a deep, God-given, need for fellowship with other followers of Christ.  We gain strength, wisdom, encouragement, correction, love, hope, and help when we are actively involved in the lives of others.

I recently ran across a great display of this need.  

In this video you will see the need for a friend play out in a real life or death situation.  I encourage you to watch this and ask yourself some questions:

  1. What caused the initial problem for the first lion?
  2. At what point did the first lion realize he had made a mistake?
  3. How important to the first lion was the arrival of the second lion?
  4. How is my walk with God like the first lion?
  5. How is my walk with others like the second lion?
  6. Am I actively being a friend like the second lion?
  7. Am I unintentionally (or even intentionally) putting myself in danger like the first lion?

Pray for godly friendships in your life.  Pray you will be the kind of friend others can count on in their times of need.

 

In Christ,

Jay




April 21, 2019, 8:32 AM

He is Alive!


Luke 24:1-12 " “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!"

Without question, the pivotal doctrine of the Bible is the bodily resurrection of Jesus. As the Church celebrates Resurrection Day it's important to study what Christ's resurrection means for us as believers today, as well as the implications for the future. Jesus lived a perfect life on earth without sin. He died a sinners death, meaning He took on himself every sin of every person in every age, so that the wrath (judgment) of God would be satisfied and the penalty paid. After His death, Jesus was buried, according to prophetic Scriptures, and then victoriously rose again. All this He did in the flesh.

I believe the fact Jesus did all that He did in the flesh is very important. It's important for several reasons, but here are a few:

  1. Jesus' death was more than a symbol or example. He was the actual payment in the flesh for sins committed in the flesh. Without a physical death, burial, and resurrection the acts He did would be relegated to mere symbols.
  2. Our lives are lived in the flesh. Yes, we look to Christ as our example in the flesh, but we also hope in Christ's resurrection for our own lives as we follow Jesus.
  3. Jesus' bodily resurrection points to the reality of our resurrection upon the reutrn of Jesus for His Bride, the Church.
  4. We have hope for heaven and a glimps of what heaven will be like for the beliver because the Bible teaches that we shall be made like Him. (1 John 3:2)

Draw strenght, hope and joy today in the resurrection of Jesus. His vicory over death, hell, and the grave is our's as well. While we live on this earth in the flesh we experience pain and sorrow, yes, but we do not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), but our hope is in the one who rose victorious! Our hope is in Jesus!

Blessings,

Jay




April 15, 2019, 2:00 PM

Love One Another



John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

In the hours preceding his crucifixion , Jesus spent his last hours continuing to teach His disciples. Jesus spent time washing His disciples feet - an act of undeniable and unbelievable humility. Following Jesus' washing of His disciples feet, according to John 13:18-30, He identified the one (Judas) who would betray him shortly.

It was in the context of Judas leaving the fellowship of the disciples that Jesus spoke about a "new" commandment He was giving them.  The commandment to love one another wasn't necessarily new - In fact, it wasn't.  Jesus did, however, bring about a new and deeper understanding of what it meant to love.  Jesus was speaking of the cross.  He was saying that we need to love one another with a depth of love that could only come by experiencing the life-changing love of the cross.

When we think about the application of verses 34-35, the picutre of Judas leaving the group to complete his betrayal is put against the picture of Jesus washing the disiciples feet and going to the cross to die.  Jesus had given His disciples the most stark contrast possible between love and hate. Judas' actions demonstrated hatred toward all that Jesus stood for and had taught them. Jesus' actions demonstrated true love and humility.

As we celebrate this week of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection, I'm reminded again of the great love of Christ.  I also see His love demonstrated in the lives of the people in Ashville through the community-wide Holy Week services.  While it may seem like a small thing to some, Holy Week demonstrates that the body of Christ is one. We show love our love by singing, praying, worshiping, and yes, eating together each day.

I pray for God's richest blessings on you and your family as you celebrate Holy Week!

 

In Christ,

Jay




January 15, 2019, 12:00 PM

How do we get there?


Isaiah 58:11

The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

 

My family has always enjoyed playing games.  When the children were young we would often play games in the car to help pass the time. Many times these were made up games - some good, some not so good!   One particular game I came up with came to mind lately. It involved driving directions. At that time we lived about 15 minutes away from the church I was serving & there were many different routes home. A couple of them involved getting on the interstate for a few miles, while others wound through town with multiple stop lights. Initially the kids played the game without realizing it was even a game.

Here's how the game went:

When my car came to a stop at the edge of the church parking lot I asked them both, "which way do you want me to go - left or right?" Pretty simple, right? Well, the first time I this, this their response was surprising.  They looked at me like, "You're the one who's supposed to know where we're going?" In fact they both protested by reminding me that they didn't know which way to go!

After some good-natured back and forth, I assured them either way would be fine & I wanted them to decide. Each time I came to a stop sign or light I would ask them again which way they wanted to go. Sometimes they had 2 choices and others they had 3. Sometimes they decided together & others I let one of them make the call. 

The neighborhood where our church was located wasn't familiar to them at first, at least from a driving standpoint, so they looked around with awe, trying to get their bearings on where we were & why dad was leading them on this "wild goose chase". I noticed as we got closer to home that they began to see some buildings and landmarks they recogized. At the same time, I noticed them become more at peace with this "game". So, between seeing some familiar things & getting more comfortable with making the decisions, the game became more fun for them.

Looking back, I think they experienced some genuine moments of fear with the first few turns because they were afraid of getting lost. Each time I asked them which way they wanted to go, they tried to explain (again) that they didn't know where to go! My not telling them we were playing a game had something to do with it, of course, but I think their uncertainty went deeper than that.  They were used to the car being on "auto-pilot". They would sit and ride until the car stopped at it's destination - usually home.

There were several things I didn't realize when I first played the game with them. First of all, I had no idea they would be freaked out so much by the thought of making the driving decisions. I guess this part shouldn't have been a surprise given the fact they were just 10 & 7 years old! Second, I had no idea that God would use that little game to teach me some important truths about following His lead.

Isaiah 58:11 promises that God will be the one to guide us. This verse not only promises God's guidance but it promises God's continual guidance, as well as satisfaction in our soul, and strength to walk on. We must practice trusting Him. I believe that the more we practice trusting Him, the more comfortable we'll become doing it.

God knows His plan (Jer 29:11) and He knows you (Jer 1:5) and He knows the destination. Trust Him today with the twists and turns of your life. He will not fail to lead you home!

Blessings,

Jay

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December 26, 2018, 8:00 AM

Who am I?


1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

 

The ending of a year and the beginning of a new year always makes me reflect as well as look ahead.  It's a fresh start, a clean slate, and a chance to follow Christ more closely. I'm typically a "big picture" person, but I'm especially that way this time of year.  Over the past few weeks I have been busy with parties, family gatherings, and all that goes with Christmas. Now as 2018 ends and a chapter of life is closing, I look toward 2019 with great anticipation. I think it's a great time to reflect on who we really are.  What are our goals and what is our real purpose? God's Word is always the best place to start when thinking about these kinds of things.

The verse I chose to focus on today is an encouraging verse for the believer.  There may be a tendency for the reader to focus on the beginning of the verse, which is a natural thing to do. We like the idea of being chosen and special. While this is certainly true for the Christian, it is important to understand the purpose of His work in our lives.  The latter part of the verse tells us: to proclaim His praises! The light of Christ is truly marvelous.  Part of the understanding of the word, "marvelous" is surprising.  If we're honest with ourselves, we should be surprised - in fact SHOCKED that the Lord of all the earth would have interest in us.  When we were walking in darkness before salvation, we were enemies of God (James 4:4).  The goodness of God and the brightness of the light of Christ is surprising and extrodinary!  

As you close out this year and look forward to what lies ahead remember - we have so much to praise God for.  Remember who you are.  Remember who you were.  Most importantly, remember who He is!

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