The letter J is a tough one.

God is Jealous! God is Just. God is Jolly? So there are not as many J words to choose from as there are for other letters. But even when I decided on this word, there was still a doubt in the back of my mind. Jealous and Just were both the leaders for a while. In fact, the word I am blogging about here almost did not even make the list. Why?

There was simply too much information about Jesus.

Yep. Jesus.

The Word Jesus

The Worth – There have been thousands of books written about Jesus. In my life alone, I’ve heard hundreds or even thousands of sermons about him. Millions, perhaps billions of conversations have revolved around Jesus.

What am I going to add in two minutes? Not sure but here goes!

In John 8:58, Jesus says this confounding statement, “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” NIV, Underline is mine. 

Here is a link to the whole chapter for more context.  John 8

These are the thoughts about Jesus that I gather from that passage.

 

  • The Creating Jesus was at the beginning of the world. The Old Testament contains numerous verses about this Jesus.
  • The Crucified Jesus is illuminated in the New Testament specifically Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He died and was then risen from the grave.
  • The Current Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us right now. See John 14.
  • The Conquering Jesus is found in Revelation. When He returns, watch out bad guys! There will be a great battle but Jesus will be victorious!

God can be misunderstood. He can be unclear to us. We don’t always agree on what God is, does, or looks like.

So in order for us to have a better picture, God gave us Himself…

…in the form of Jesus. And He was born as a baby. That way we could completely identify and understand who Jesus is.

If we understand Jesus, then we can understand God.

God is Jesus. Jesus is God. I like how it is stated in Hebrews 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…”

The Work – Action must be taken now that we know God gave us His son. Jesus died for us. We must choose Him or deny Him. Access to our hearts can be granted or denied. Remaining neutral is not an option. If I am not choosing to grow and move forward in Jesus, then I am declining or going backwards.

When I started writing this, I was not sure how it was going to end. Apparently, I have brought a challenge to all who read this blog. I myself am included in said challenge.

Let the timeless Jesus whom I have briefly described overtake your heart and mind. Allow Him to soak into your dry soul. Give Him the key to every closet in your life.

You will never regret opening your heart to Him.


Thanks for two minutes of your time. See you soon for the letter K.

 

 

A Winepress and a Warrior

This post is a continuation of some Old Testament people. Click on Abraham or Joseph to read the other two Old Testament posts.

Gideon. As with most of these people, their stories are filled with crazy, supernatural stuff. Angels visiting, people testing God, battles begin fought. It all seems unreal to me. But yet it is real. And that is what strikes me. These people, especially Gideon, are normal people. And by normal, I mean normal-every-day-average-unremarkable people. 

Just like me.

But before we get to the angel visit, the testing, or the fighting, we find Gideon hiding. 

He was hiding from the enemy. Why? So they would not take his wheat. The enemy of Israel was oppressing Gideon and all of Israel. For seven years this was happening. The first 11 verses of Judges 6 give us the account. It was all the Israelites could do to stay alive. They hid in caves. Their crops and livestock were under constant attack. It was bad. 

But that is what happens when, “Again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord,”. God let the enemy invade and oppress.

Is the enemy of your soul invading and oppressing you? Are you doing evil in the eyes of the Lord? Just a thought.

Back to Gideon. He was in a winepress threshing some wheat. This picture shows an ancient winepress. The next one shows a threshing floor.

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threshing_floor

Note the difference. The threshing floor is an open area where the wind can blow easier (perhaps like the Holy Spirit?) . Gideon was in a winepress. He was trying to thresh the wheat in a secret place. Only fearful people do such things. Wheat was meant to be tossed into the air out in the open. This way, the wind could separate the wheat from the chaff. It is much more difficult if you are hiding in an enclosed space.

But that is what happens when doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. We are meant for one thing but we are doing another. Our actions are secret or hidden instead of being lived out. But if you are discouraged about that, the story is not over. 

Verse 12 shows how God feels about Gideon. Here is the verse, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

Boom! Gideon was not a warrior, he was in a winepress! However, God feels differently.


Your surroundings should not dictate your status. Your circumstances do not negate your christianity. Your foes can’t take away your faith.

Gideon needed a supernatural reminder of his position. I think that you and I could use reminders now and again, don’t you?

Well consider this your reminder. God created you. You are a mighty warrior! Get out of your winepress and get to the business of God.  

Have a victorious week. More on Gideon next time. God bless!

Exiled! part 1

Have you ever been exiled? I know, not a word we use in everyday speech so here is the Merriam-Webster definition:

Full Definition of exile

  1. 1a:  the state or a period of forced absence from one’s country or home 1b :  the state or a period of voluntary absence from one’s country or home
  2. 2:  a person who is in exile

 

Last week, in my post 3 small simple words, I briefly mentioned Jeremiah 29:11. It was in reference to popular verses in the Bible. Let’s zoom out and start at the beginning of the chapter. Here are the first 3 verses:

1This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2(This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:”

Can we put ourselves in the place of the Israelites? They were not in their homeland. And I don’t think they were camping for the weekend either! Check out the map;

exile route

They most likely had feelings of anger, frustration, fatigue and a whole host of others. And to top it off, they knew they were God’s chosen people! How could God let this happen!?!? Did he not love them enough to destroy the enemy and bring them home? Of course God can do it for he can do anything. But that is not the point. The people of God were exiled because the rebelled against God. Sin was the reason. We see this pattern in the Old Testament frequently. The people of God rebel and backslide. Bad things happen. Then, through a leader, judge, prophet or an event, the people humble themselves and God restores them. In this particular instance, God uses the exile to discipline the Israelites.

Fast forward to 2016. Are you in a state of exile? Are you far from your home? I am not really speaking literally now although that could be the case. Is your heart far from God? Do you feel as if you are living under the control of an evil ruler? Is your life forced upon you rather than you living free?

You see, sin will exile you from God. It separates us, the created, from God, our Creator. Our choices can affect our standing with God. We can consistently choose to keep sin between us and God. That is living in exile. There are also times, perhaps, when we are the victim of other people’s choices. Life clocks us up side the head. More feelings of exile. Overall, living in exile seems to be more common than living in true freedom!

So what do we do? If I find I am living in exile, what can I do? The answer will have to wait until next week. but I do have one final thought for you.

Verse 4 says, “4This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:”

Read it again.

One more time.

“to all those I carried…”

Even when sin or circumstance sends you into exile, God is really not that far off. In fact, if God did not want you to be in exile He could stop it. But he loves us so much that He gave us free will. We get to choose whether or not we will love Him or hate Him. Serve Him or deny Him.

His arms are big. He can carry the entire human race. We just need to choose Him and not exile.

Be encouraged, God loves you. Until next week.