Seasoned with Salt

We should all be mindful of the importance not only of what we say but also the importance of how we say it.    One of my favorite Bible verses in that regard is Colossians 4:6.  Paul tells the church:

Colossians 4:6  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

That’s good advice for everyone.  We should all pay attention to the way we share our thoughts and our ideas with others.  At the time Paul was writing to the church, salt was very valuable.  It was used as a preservative and to add a pleasant flavor to the foods it accompanied.  In the same way, our words, our conversations should be seasoned with grace.  They should be useful, purposeful and not presented in an unpleasant way.  As important as that is for everyone, I believe it is especially important for Christians.  Certainly it does not mean that we cannot have our own thoughts, perspectives and opinions on matters in this world.  But it does mean that when we share our thoughts, perspectives and opinions with others, we should do so in a way that has been seasoned with grace; God’s grace.

Posted in Colossians 4:6, Filled with Grace, God's Grace, God's Standards, good advice, inspirational, ministry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The One Who Writes in Dust

They brought the woman to Him,
And threw her at His feet.
They demanded to know His judgment,
And anticipated His defeat.

She had been caught in the very act,
And by her own actions stood condemned.
And now the fate of her life,
Rested entirely upon Him.

Would He follow the Law,
Would He sentence her to death?
Or would He decide to let her go,
And fail the Pharisees’ test?

He knelt and wrote in the dust,
Words that today are still unknown,
He invited them to step forward
The one without sin to cast the first stone.

He continued writing in the dust,
And one by one they slipped away.
The woman was the only one remaining,
To hear the words He had to say.

Who remains to condemn you?
Do you see your accusers from before?
Neither do I condemn you,
Go and sin no more.

We still don’t know what words were written,
By the Lord in the dust that day.
But He proclaimed love and forgiveness,
As He sent her on her way.

This woman was not condemned,
She received His Mercy and His Grace.
Nor were her actions condoned,
He would later die in her place.

Like this woman we are all guilty,
And by our own actions stand condemned,
And like this woman at His feet,
Our fate rests entirely upon Him.

Will we accept the gifts of Grace and mercy,
Offered by Him who died for us?
Will we receive as Lord and Savior,
The One who kneels and writes in the dust.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Draw close to God, faith, Filled with Grace, God's Grace, God's Love, John 8:11, Paid for our sins, Past mistakes, Poem, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Will Never Forget

It’s a somber day as our nation remembers
Friends and loved ones lost,
We’re grateful for those who ran into fire and embers
And paid the ultimate cost.

We recognize the pain and sorrow
And know that some wounds have not healed yet,
So we stand together and face tomorrow,
Declaring we never will forget.

Posted in September 11th | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Little More Time

I visited with someone recently who has received a tough medical prognosis.  Their condition is terminal and unless the Lord intervenes, they may not live to see the end of this year.  As I visited with them about the things they are going through, they shared with me that this terminal diagnosis does not scare them.  They said they have placed their faith in Christ and know that when they pass, they will go to be with Him.  In fact, they said they look forward to that time.  And while they look forward to being with the Lord, they are concerned about those they are leaving behind.  They want to have more time to share the love of Christ with friends and family who do not yet know the Lord as they do.  We visited for a while and closed our visit by praying for their health, their concerns and their desire for God to help them make the most of the time they have remaining.  Our discussion reminded me of what Paul said in Philippians 1:21 – 24.

Phil 1:21   For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

As Paul wrote to the Philippians, he was in prison and his life was at risk.  This was not an unfamiliar situation for Paul.  Paul had experienced some difficult and dangerous times in his ministry; he had endured times of imprisonment, beatings and persecution. But even as he faced death, Paul told the church that he was not afraid of dying.  Quite the opposite.  Paul looked forward to the time when his life would end so that he could go to be with the Lord.  “To die is gain” he wrote.  And though Paul looked forward to being with the Lord, he still wanted to stay here.  He still had some more work he wanted to do; he still had some things he wanted to accomplish.  Paul wanted to continue to share the gospel with others.  He wanted others to come to know the same forgiveness that he had received through Christ.  Paul wanted to make the most of the time he had left.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Forgiven, forgiveness, God's Mercy, God's Strength, Philippians 1:21, To Die is Gain | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August Heat Wave

I spent some time the other day watering the trees and some of the rose bushes in the back yard with a water hose.  It has been so hot that even with our sprinkler system the trees and flowers are really taking a beating.  As I was watering the plants and thinking about how hot it has been outside, I was reminded of Jeremiah 17:7 – 8.

Jeremiah 17:7   “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

In this chapter, Jeremiah contrasts the experience of those who trust in themselves and those who trust in God.  Those who trust in themselves or trust in man are compared to a lonely, parched shrub in the desert which barely manages to survive.  On the other hand, those who trust in God are like a tree planted by an ever flowing stream.  Oh, they will still feel the heat of this world and face droughts from time to time, but they do not need to worry.  They can trust that God will continue to refresh them, revive them, and help them bear fruit.

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Truth and Love

This past week I have been reading through the epistle of 1 John.  It is a wonderful letter and I encourage you to read through it as well.  I really appreciate the way John reminds the church that we are to keep the commandments of God and abide in His word.  We are to walk in the truth.  John also says that we as we walk in the truth, we are also to walk in the love of Christ.  Truth and love should always go hand in hand.  John writes in 1 John 4:19

1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.  20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

In a sin-fallen world where we witness and experience so many hateful things, Christ calls us to walk in love.  As Christians, others should experience and witness God’s love in us and through us – even when we disagree and even when we’ve been wronged.  We are to love.  There is no place for hating others.  There is no place for hurting others.  We are to love others.  That does not mean we have to compromise the truth.  We are to walk in truth and love.  We are called to do so and we are able to do so because He has first loved us.

Posted in Christianity, faith, God loves you, God's Love, Relationships, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Think Jesus Is God

Someone recently asked me why I think that Jesus is God.  Let me first say that I believe that the Bible teaches the concept of the Trinity even though it may not use the word “trinity” to describe the concept.  The Bible presents a picture of the Trinity at Jesus’ baptism.  Luke’s Gospel records that when Jesus was baptized “the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased. (Luke 3:22).”  In this passage we have God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit all present at the same time.

Perhaps the main reason I believe that Jesus is God is because Jesus claimed to be God.  The gospels record four us that this claim of His was recognized by the Jewish leaders.  They understood that through His words and His teachings, Jesus was claiming to be God.  When Jesus healed the crippled man in John chapter 5, He also forgave the man of his sins.  The Jews understood that only God can forgive sins and they understood that Jesus was claiming to be God.  The Bible says in John 5:18 “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.”

Jesus was very clear about His Deity in John chapter 10 as He spoke about being the Good Shepherd.  The Jewish leaders pressed Christ further on His Messianic claims and Jesus said in John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”  When Jesus declared Himself to be God, the Jews picked up stones to kill Him for His blasphemy.  They had no doubt about who Jesus was claiming to be.

Two of my favorite verses (and there are others!) that speak to this truth are in the gospel of John and in Paul’s letters to the Philippians.

John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

 John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 Jesus, who claimed to be God, performed miracles of healing, cast out demons, showed His power over nature by calming the wind and the waves, He lived a sinless life and He predicted His own death, burial and resurrection.  Jesus willingly gave His life on the cross and then demonstrated the power and authority to take it back up again.  He rose on the third day.  All of these things are evidence and testify to the fact that we can trust what Jesus says.  We can trust that He is God incarnate, the second person of the Trinity. We can trust that He can and will forgive us of our sins if we ask. We can trust that Jesus is God.  I pray that you have accepted Him as yours.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, John 10:30, religion, the Trinity, Trust in God | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment