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Walking With Jesus

I have been thinking quite a bit about the kind of person other people see when they encounter me.

What kind of impression do I give off?

Do others leave an encounter with me feeling better or worse?

I think those are valid questions we all should ask ourselves.  I have a college student who had an encounter with a person at work.  This person was unhappy, belligerent and rude but upon leaving the store felt the need to say “God bless you” to my student.  An encounter like that can leave a sour taste in your mouth, especially if you feel like they would have considered themselves a believer in Christ, yet the actions didn’t line up with the words spoken.

What do your words and actions say about who you are?

1 John 2:1-6  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

I like those words at the end, whoever says he abides in Jesus ought to walk in the same way in which Jesus walked.  I don’t think it gets any more simple than that.

Picture this: You are one of a handful of disciples following a particular rabbi in 30 AD.  You walk everywhere your rabbi walks, trying to be as close to him as you can.  So close, in fact, the dust from his sandals is all over the front of your feet and your cloak.  The reason you walk so close to him is to hear everything he says.  You try to imitate his gait, his speech pattern, you try to think and reason the way he thinks and reasons.  Because your ultimate goal is to walk with God just like your rabbi walks with God.  So you don’t want to miss anything he says… ever.  You eat when he eats and you sleep when he sleeps, trying to imitate everything he does.  Those were the marks of a good disciple.  It is no wonder John says if we know His teachings (commands) we know Him.  And whoever abides in Jesus will walk in the same way he walked.

On Mt. Arbel overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the region where Jesus taught his disciples for three years. They would often gather around Jesus just like we are gathered around Marty as he gives us an overview of the region.

 

Climbing down Mt. Arbel. Following the path that our leader took was crucial at so many points on our trip. Every day we walked the same paths and roads Jesus and his disciples would have traveled!

Gandhi is reported to have said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone said “I think Jesus was in my life today” because they met you? I think that’s what we are called to be, a disciple in whom others would see the qualities of Jesus.

Make this your prayer this week, Father, help us learn to walk as Jesus walked.

Life Is Precious

Two weeks ago my wife and I was in a truck accident. In the last week, I have lost one college friend to an accident and another friend of mine lost his mom in an accident.  This has a way of making a person reflect on the preciousness of life.

All human life has value

I feel the need to say that, not because we would devalue the life of others. I say it because we often devalue our own life. Let me explain…

How many times in our Christian walk have we said something similar to “I am so unworthy of His love” or “I am such a wretched person.”  Now, before I say anything else, we needed the blood of Christ.  It is part of God’s redemption for his creation.  Not to be misunderstood, we have all sinned against God.  But there is a big difference between the idea that we have all sinned and the idea that we have no worth.  Scripture tells us differently.

To begin with, I want to go to Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”

Six times during the creation account God pronounces his creation as good but it is after the creation of male and female that God looks at all he has created and calls it very good.  I believe this important because before it is recorded that man and woman did, produced, or accomplished anything God says it isn’t just good, it’s fantastic! Yet, sadly, we don’t see ourselves the way God sees us.  But if this isn’t enough for you to see you do have value and worth in God’s eyes, let’s look at another passage of Scripture.

Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;  The Hebrew word for treasured possession is se.gul.lah.  I have been told that in the Old Testament, people would give a treasured possession to the other party with whom they have made a covenant.  It could be a covenant between any two people that they would exchange a treasured possession, and not necessarily something of monetary value although it could be if desired.

Jill’s wedding rings, her mom’s wedding rings, matching silver rings from 2016 Israel/Turkey trip, Gold and Silver Father’s Day rings, silver ring from Arizona mission trip, silver dollar from my Aunt and Uncle Christmas 1971

Above are some of our treasured possessions…  some of them aren’t worth much in actual value but they are things that we value.  What are your treasured possessions?

More importantly, the Creator of the Universe who owns everything that exists views you as his se.gul.lah, you are God’s treasured possessions!  It’s right there in the text.  If God loved us enough to send his Jesus then why on earth do we devalue ourselves?  It is time to place a higher value on life, your’s and mine.  It’s time to change the way we talk about ourselves, we do have value and worth

When you come to those moments where you feel worthless, a failure, or that you have let God down, remember you are a treasured possession.  

Does Prayer Really Work?

Does prayer really work?  This might be a question that you have asked yourself before, and maybe you doubt that prayer is all that effective. Have you ever found yourself saying in frustration, “I guess all I can do is pray”?

Let me speak from first-hand experience and suggest that prayer can make all the difference.  It isn’t something we resolve ourselves to when it seems like everything else is beyond our control.  It should be our first line of offense and defense in our spiritual life.  It should be our default setting, our go-to thing right from the beginning. It’s also something I believe the Holy Spirit can lay on our hearts if we take the time in our day to listen.

Not just for ourselves

But also for the sake of others

On Monday my wife and I were in a pretty significant accident in a pickup truck.  After driving for 45 minutes on slightly wet roads, we suddenly hit a thin layer of ice at 60 mph.  There wasn’t much I could do at that point, there was no controlling truck, we slid sideways, hit the ditch and did a complete roll landing on the wheels.

A shattered windshield that miraculously still held together, a crunched in roof all with no serious injuries.   Just bruises, a couple of goose eggs and a concussion. At some point just after, maybe on the way to the hospital, I began texting some close friends and received the following message.  “Oh my word!!!! You guys were so heavy on my mind this morning too!  God was covering you guys.”

Last week, after returning home from a convicting all staff conference, we felt the need to establish a dedicated prayer group with the members committed to pray on a specific day each week for us and our campus ministry.  This accident occurred exactly one week after establishing this prayer group.

I 100% believe we were supposed to be prayed for on Monday morning to such an extent that despite my side of the truck hitting first as it rolled over (we were still traveling between 50-60 mph), the driver side window did not even have a crack in it…

We were protected

Erica, Kaylee, Elle, and Emily praying in the Jordan River

 

Acts 4:23-31 23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

There is great power in prayer, the believers in Acts believed it and not as an afterthought or a last resort.  They knew times would get more difficult so they prayed for boldness.

Be bold enough to pray

God may bring someone’s name to mind in your prayers, quiet time, bible study, he might even wake you up in the middle of the night thinking about someone.  It may be in those times that we need to pray for them.

I don’t believe it a coincidence that we were heavy on a friends heart the same morning we were in an accident.  And I don’t think it a coincidence last week we asked a certain group of people to pray for us on specific days of the week with a commitment through all of 2018.  Pray for others and allow them to pray for you.

Don’t be under prayed for!

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