When was the last time you invited Jesus to dinner? Introduced Him to all your friends? Engaged Him eagerly in a conversation? I'm reading in Matthew 9:9 and Luke 5:27 where Jesus was hanging out with all sorts of people. It all started when He told Matthew, who was a tax collector and a publican as everyone knew, to follow Him. Matthew stood up immediately from his work, and walked off the job. He didn't even work a notice, just walked out and tagged along to hear Jesus.
The first thing Matthew noticed was that when it came supper time, Jesus had no plans. So, he invited Him to come over to his house after the busy day of preaching, teaching, and healing the crowds. Jesus came in to dinner, and Matthew had been so excited over having Jesus in his house, that he told all his neighbors and friends... all the wrong crowd too. It seems he had friends in low places. And, he told them all about Jesus, and that He was at his house for dinner, come quick!!! The more the merrier.
The house filled up really fast, and all the townsfolk who had seen Jesus stop in the neighborhood just stared as the Great teacher sat at dinner with this lot of sinners. And, just as soon as the most religious people among them could get close enough, they asked the disciples why in the world their teacher was eating with people like that. Jesus heard all about this, and He answered their question Himself. Of course, you can sum up the mouth full he had to say with His one word "mercy."
Apparently, Jesus was serving mercy at dinner. Do you need mercy? Looks like Jesus has no dinner plans. What are you waiting for?
We speak of Sunday being the Lord's Day. Aren't all days the Lord's? Jesus told us that He is even Lord of the Sabbath. Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
The Bible uses the phrase "The Day of the Lord" about 26 times in 13 different books. Nine of the 16 old testament prophets mentioned it. Peter and Paul spoke about it in the New Testament. Jesus used parables to speak of the judgment day.
Matthew 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 12:46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in pieces, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
I think these passages point out the reality that all days belong to God, and that there will be a final day of reckoning where we will account for the use of our days. Robert Brault has a humorous blog about the topic, which I have pasted in below, about Judgment Day.
Ten Ways to Ace Your Judgment Day Interview
1. Be on time.
2. Tell the Lord you've heard a lot about heaven and like what you hear.
3. Be neat, alert, make direct eye contact.
4. Don't stare at the beard.
5. When the Lord speaks, lean forward, look interested.
6. Be familiar with the Lord's background. ("I really liked your Ten Commandments.")
7. Be clear on where you want to be in five years.
8. Be honest about personal flaws. ("I tend to be too forgiving.")
9. Do not hesitate to underscore qualifications. ("I go to church every Easter.")
10. Make it clear that you'll accept the standard benefits package.
~~ Robert Brault
It becomes obvious in reading through these how different of an experience that the "Day of the Lord" is going to be from anything we have ever experienced. What do you think about Judgment Day?......
The story behind the four women who were at the foot of the cross as Jesus died, in it's beautiful correlation to Mothers everywhere is told as a prequel to "Mother's Day."
Tonight's Podcast and more notes and info about the Four Women Beneath the Cross is available at: http://reason2believehim.libsyn.com/ or, you can listen on the player below.
We are emotional beings. It seems foolish to tell real, living, flesh and blood men and women to not be guided by emotions. Afterall, if it weren't for emotion, the homeless would still be in the streets. Children and dependents would be abandoned and murdered at will. And, the poor would go to bed hungry. Oh, but they do, don't they. And, not only that, but there are many acts of emotion that result in crime and murder. So, it seems that emotions are like weapons. They don't kill or destroy, but the person does.
The "fact" of emotion is that emotions are given us to temper our minds with more than logic. It is the impoverished hearted man or woman who is not able to allow emotions to guide their decision making. Even men are emotional beings, though they often try to hide them, or save them for sports and fishing :) Jesus was an emotional man. Many instances are recorded where Jesus became emotional. Jesus wept. Jesus cried. Jesus laughed and sang. Jesus was angered. Jesus shouted. Jesus took a whip and drove moneychangers out of the temple. Jesus called people names in anger and disgust. Jesus felt abandoned on the cross. Jesus was sad to leave His Mother without a caregiver so he gave her to John from the cross.
I think, as Christians, we are constrained to use our minds and emotions in worship. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind. Only this total love will bring us into a full revelation of a personal Christ. Look down the Emmaus Road where two sad and broken-hearted disciples are discussing the lost hope of a Messiah.
Luke 24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of words are these that you have one to another, as you walk, and are sad?
As these two guys, Cleo and his buddy, walked along they were discussing all that had happened to this "prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people." They talked about how Jesus was crucified, but they didn't realize the man they met on the way was Jesus Himself, resurrected from the dead. They had heard that he arose, but they hadn't seen it with their own eyes. So, they were sad and troubled. But, notice that three different conditions for their hearts were mentioned in the passage.
They had sad & troubled hearts. Luke 24:17, 38
They were slow of heart to believe. Luke 24:25
And, they were overtaken with burning hearts. Luke 24:32
If it weren't for our emotions being involved in our relationship with God, we would only serve Him for what we get out of the deal. But, His manifold and multifarious blessings are not the focus of our relationship with Him. When we worship with our whole heart, soul, and mind, we find ourselves following Him even when the hard times come. Tonight, don't just acknowledge Jesus in your mind. Receive Him into your heart.
Sitting in the silence of the night, what is it that compels me to the silence of the night? So much is to be heard in the darkness that surrounds my house. The bubbling of the fishtank, the spinning blades of the ceiling fan, the sound of my hubby's steady breathing beside me; these seem to call out to the reveries of old memories. Why is it that every silent night is connected to the hundreds of silent nights that slipped by before it? I believe it's the soulness of it. I believe that in the silence of every night, we feel the reality of God thick around us. I can't believe there are anymore atheists in the silent darkness of a waking pillow. Unbelievers are lost, stumbling around in the God-field of dreams; waking dreams. Yes, we all think about God in the dark. He is often the last light in our conscious thoughts as we drift off to sleep. And, He is the last thought that passes through our minds before we die. You say you don't believe in God? Then what are you thinking about right now?
And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat; neither for the body, what you shall put on. The life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If you then be not able to do that thing which is least, why are you anxious concerning the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? Luke 12:22-28
Jesus died praying. Doesn’t Easter make you feel a connection with eternity?! Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said this, he gave up the spirit. There seems to be a preoccupation with knowing the cause of one’s future death, in some groups. In the end, it is not the cause of death that matters, but the purpose or reason for which you lived and died.
"So the main question is not, Which humans brought about the death of Jesus but,
What did the death of Jesus bring about for humans - including Jews and Muslims
and Buddhists and Hindus and nonreligious secularists - and all people everywhere?
When it is all said and done, the most crucial question is: Why?
Why did Christ suffer and die? Not why in the sense of cause,
but why in the sense of purpose?"-John Piper
Yes, Jesus arose with a question... John 20:15 Jesus said unto her, Woman, why do you weep? whom do you seek? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said unto him, Sir, if you have borne him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.
My question for you is...
What do you see here? Do you see dead, frozen, lifeless trees? Do you see Winter? Why are you sad? Why do you weep?
I see life, sunrises, and Spring. I see this tree in all that it has been in the past, because I know that is what it will be again in the future. This is, in essence, the spirit of Easter… resurrection, an anastomosis performed by God on a yearly basis.
Good Friday has come and gone, while I have napped. I have felt the effects of some sort of bug after eating lunch today, and slept for awhile. Pray for me to feel better so I can go to church on Easter Sunday.I hear we are expecting a sunny day Saturday. Hmmm? We will see...
"...and God bless Mamma, and God bless Uncle Roy, and God bless Tammy and Angie, and my friend Lisa. And God bless by teacher, and God bless all my cousins... and God bless everybody in the whole wide world, Amen." Remember saying your bedtime prayers as a child? Or, with your children? I can remember both. My husband and I were talking about children praying for people today, and the fact that some of the prayers they say for people can be so sweet. He was repeating one such prayer he had heard a child pray for me. They grasp so easily the idea that they shouldn't leave anybody out of their conversation with the Almighty. Afterall, if you have an audience with God, make the best use of it. And, they believe God is listening.
I can remember laying my children's tiny hands on my head as we prayed, and having them pray for me, as a blackmail tactic of sorts. :) Surely, God would listen to the prayers of a little child, if not mine. That is really not necessary. It is not a question of how deserving you are of God's answer, but whether or not you have His attention. Remember the woman who wanted healing and asked just for the crumbs under the table like a dog? Mark 7:28 We have it backwards it seems. We heard Jesus say He loved children (Luke 18:27) and that He listens when children come to Him, but we didn't understand that we can go to Him just like that little child. This is the essence of being born again, allowing ourselves to be placed in a whole new relationship to God.
He hears our prayers alright, ours and theirs. Just like our hearts melt when a child prays, it's all the same to Him if you speak His name.
Our world is either shrinking at an incredible rate, or our neighborhood is growing alarmingly. No, it's not a population explosion, but a social expansion. Now, it is so much easier to have internet friends, people I play games with like Judy Marie Chandley-Adkison, Toni Visage, Wanda Shaddix, and Adam Justice. And, people I chat with, like Darlina Sakamoto, Minna Mäkinen, Dyan Prine, Indra Penyayang, Dayan Ruz, and Mac Witsell -now there is a funny story. I knew his Aunt Melissa Booth Witsell in Rome, and then ran into him on Facebook because he lives here in Tallapoosa, immediately noticing the moniker and that he had pics of him with Melissa and her children. After striking up a convo, I found he was her nephew. Funny how quickly the neighborhood shrinks... or stretches.
Then, Travis dropped his High School ring outside Crossroads Restaurant one Sunday last summer before we moved here, and it wound up at his school, because someone ate there and knew the secretary from his school in Rome. (It is only the best food in the whole Tallapoosa River Basin! So, folks from all over eat there.) The secretary then called my friend and neighbor Diane, who called me. The internet definitely expands your friend circles. But, I want to give thanks tonight for 10 special friends, people who I have known in "real time" who make my world more interesting.
1)Michael Clark- I can say we go back a long way Mike, at least a milenia ago. :) We've traveled to Kenya on the A-Team together, where we rode in a safari and learned about a different culture, while teaching the Gospel. We've coached kids in Bible Quizzing together. You also spoke at a Singles Ministry dinner for me, which I appreciated the inspiring words. You and Susan have had me over to your house numerous times, where I learned you were a great chef! You always treated my children well too, and I will never forget it. Thanks for being an awesome friend Mike!
2)Sandi Caldwell- Thanks for helping us fit right in at church. You have been so much fun to work with. I enjoy the dramas as well. Thanks for including me in all the inspired ideas Sandi.
3)Robert Caldwell- Robert, you are always very kind. Thanks for letting me be a part of the Children's Ministry. You do a wonderful work in Children's Church. Thanks for all the help you gave cutting the plywood for my set up in the Pirate VBS. You and Sandi are wonderful friends and you make me feel like a welcome part of the church. Though we know we are always welcome to Jesus, it is great to feel like we have friends who want us there too. :)
4)Janet Dotson Collins- Thanks for being my friend for the last thirty years Janet. There is nothing like time to cement a friendship. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving, full of the love of family. Those are wonderful children you have. And, your husband Vick has a great name. And, so does your daughter Victoria. Lol. 5)Kimberly Howard Terry- You were a lot of fun to hang out with at Ci Ci's and camp meeting. And, thanks for providing me info on the Ladies Retreat. But, now we mostly see each other online. I enjoy reading your posts, and especially seeing your husband's photography. It would be nice if we could get together sometime in real time, maybe for a cup of coffee or lunch somewhere between here and there, if you can't come down my way. Give my love to Lizzy as well and I hope you have a blessed Thanks giving!
6)Richard Langston-Thanks for all the conversation at the Family Day dinners and beyond Richard. I enjoyed the Couples' Nights activities, too. And, thanks for taking the guys to the Falcon games. Travis certainly enjoys talking to you. You and Kim are great neighbors in the sense that Jesus used the word. And, I really appreciate all your comments in Bible Class. I always learn something when you guys speak up.
7)Carol Ann Reece- Two words, Road Trip! Carol, thanks so much for taking me on the trip with you to Kentucky and Indiana a couple of Christmases ago. I will never forget that night at the truckstop diner. Lol!@ That was a blast! You are much fun to travel with. You are a lot of fun, and I enjoyed working with you in VBS too. Have a wonderful holiday week with your family!
8)Tammy Johnson- It has been a pleasure getting to know you Tammy. Your daughter Jessica is a sweetheart. I would have only liked her more if I could have given birth to her myself. Thanks for all the fun. Our ladies group has the most fun of any in the world! Bowling, Mexican food...keep this up and you ladies will never get rid of me. Jessica has me addicted to those pizzas at Subway. Thanks for all the humor and inspirational posts on facebook as well. I hope Joel gets to be home for Thanksgiving and that you guys have the best holiday weekend ever.
9)Keith Turner- Keith, I really appreciate the incredible prize package you put together for the Fitness Contest. That was unbelievable. You sure made it worth all the effort. What were the words you used? I had "reached my lactate threshhold." That sure made me feel less like an idiot for puking in class, and more like a hard worker. If you hadn't said that, I was so embarrassed, I may have never went back. :) I really miss your Body Flow class, especially. Thanks for helping me overcome my fear of being a Klutz and helping me with Body Jam. You are the best Fitness Manager a gym could have. I am glad but not surprised in the least at the way you held everybody together after the gym closed with the Street Fitness classes. That was an incredible community service! And, it is wonderful to see that all your hard work paid off with the opening of the new Velocity Gym. Thanks for the messages you've sent, and keep me in your prayers that I may be able to ride my bike and workout again one day. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
10)Freddie Hunt- Yes, you are my Mother-in-Law, but I have you listed with friends, because we hang out together like I do with my friends. I loved it when you took me to play Bingo, though I felt like a complete novice. Thanks for helping me keep up with the cards. I wish we could have gone out more often before I got stuck in the house too much. See you Thanks giving though, and hope to have a blast then.
We find more everyday how true the words of Jesus were, when he told the story of the Good Samaritan. I would find it difficult to answer which of my friends was the best neighbor, in the sense of the word as Jesus used neighbor. But, the key is, that Jesus was instructing believers to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves. Luke 10:33 I'm thankful that I have been blessed with so many friends. Come back tomorrow night for the final in the set of ten thanks giving blogs.
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have
loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn
God has a history and a way of bringing restoration and forgiveness to those he loves. Notice in the selections that follow that God is seen as the Father of His people.
Jeremiah 31:7 For thus says the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob,
and shout among the chief of the nations: proclaim, give praise, and say, O
LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.
Jeremiah 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications
will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a
straight way, in which they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and
Ephraim is my firstborn.
Jeremiah 31:12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of
Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for grain, and for
wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their
soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at
Jeremiah 31:13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men
and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort
them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
God is always receptive to those who have fallen away. I have had people ask me before if God will forgive backsliders. I think the answer is clear from the beginning of Genesis.
Genesis 3:21 God is seen behaving as the father of the Prodigal Son. He clothed His fallen children. They are still His son and His daughter you see? This is not an angry Father, but a sad Father. He is cleaning up their mess. Yes, we all get into a mess now and then don't we? Even after salvation. But, the important thing is whether or not you turn to Dad for help when you fall.
Remember Judas? Remember Peter? Both betrayed Jesus. But, Judas hanged himself. Peter cried and clung to the risen Christ. Do you ever hear the word Peter used as a name for betrayel? No, but to be called a Judas is the same as being accused of betrayel. God is perfect and can forgive perfectly before Judgment Day. In the same way, a man on death row can beg clemency from the Governor, up until the moment he is executed. After that moment it is too late.
Does it crucify Jesus anew for Backsliders to come back to Him? Hebrews 6:4 There is much debate about this passage, but I see a difference between the apostate and most backsliders. Note that the passage is speaking of types of teaching fit for different levels of growth among Christians. Look in Hebrews 6:1 where Paul tells the believers they don't need teaching on repentance and faith, like the Galatians or Corinthians for example. They have been in the church for some time. They were Hebrew converts, and not Gentiles. They needed the teaching he names in Hebrews 6:2 specifically: the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. He explains that you can't teach backsliders to repent or have faith. They have been there, done that.
It takes something else altogether to bring a backslider back to Jesus. They have willingly turned away from Jesus after knowing Him. The question is, did they renounce Jesus or did they "fall away?" I don't believe anyone who spoke against Jesus would want to come back. But, many people just look around one day and realize they haven't been to church in awhile. Satan leads them out bit by bit; a missed service here, and a Sunday at the lake there. And, sometimes they only became hurt by individual people. They have "fallen away" as Paul says in Hebrews. It is like a woman who has seperated from her husband. She has already fallen into love with her husband and fallen out of love with him again. He can't make her see him for who he is all over again. She will never look at him again and say, "Wow! Who is that man?" She knows him. But, it is obvious she can take him back, and women often do. It takes a conscious decision to receive him back on her part. She has to undecide to leave, or redecide to love him. And, all the while, her act of loving him again will point to the question of why she left to start with.
In the situation of the backslider, for a backslider to come back to Jesus, His blood is again applied to the life of the re-newed Christian. This points to the crucifixion all over again. Though there are scars there, they can heal with time. But, the backslider always knows he betrayed Jesus... just like Peter. And Judas "went and hanged himself..." Matthew 27:5 But, not Peter. Remember Peter "went out, and wept bitterly." Luke 22:62 One will be in heaven. The other is already lost.
Jeremiah 31:35 God has given us an assurance that the church will endure throughout eternity. Just as sure as God restored Israel, and just as sure as the moon and stars follow the laws of nature, nothing can destroy God's church.
When I look at the ordinances, or laws of the stars and the moon, I see order. God not only created the universe divinely ordered, but He set it in motion such that it will continue forever. The stars follow their course, and the moon rises and sets as if beckoned by the hand of God. The sun never fails to appear in our sky, even though hidden for a moment by the clouds of our displeasure. The complex universe operates on a simple level of correct timing. Nothing is out of place. The natural laws do not change.
This reminds me simply that the natural order of creation does not change. You can not breed one kind of creation from another. Monkeys can not be bred from fish. It is impossible. No where along the chain is it now, nor will it ever be possible to breed different kinds in the animal kingdom. The creationist supposes the natural selection favored certain characteristics over others for survival of the fittest. If the fittest survived, then why are the unfit still surviving? Why do handicapped offspring survive in every species? Why would fish with no legs survive until today when the fish who supposedly grew feet were adapted for survival? Why do we see a multitude of kinds of creatures, and all of them survived?
My blog title tonight is a joke and should read Eclipse Şaroş. Yes, even the eclipses are on a schedule of saros, which is the eclipse cycle with a period of 223 synodic months, or 6,585.32 days (18 years and about 11 day cycle over which lunar and solar eclipses repeat). Eclipse season is the period of time when the Sun is near alignment with a lunar node, during which eclipses may take place. For solar eclipses, this time window of 37-1/2 days occurs every 173 days.
We have one more solar eclipse and one lunar eclipse left this year. The solar event next month won't be visible from the Northern hemisphere. But the lunar event will be visible from Georgia in the early hours after midnight on December 10th. Odd that we can calculate this so precisely, like a well oiled timepiece. I don't think humans will suddenly evolve into bodyless spirits tomorrow. It looks like creation is established and God's will will be done on earth, even as it is in the heavens. Luke 11:2 and Matthew 6:10
Total Lunar Eclipse of 2011 Dec 10