He Wants You

Matthew 23:27
“How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…

2015/01/img_1366.jpgPaul prayed for the Ephesian Christians that they would comprehend the love of God which he described as beyond our ability to understand.

That you “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…” Ephesians 3:19

His love is beyond comprehension, partly because there is no other love like it. We get a glimpse of His love by the way a mother cares for her infant son, or the way a groom looks at his bride, or the way a grandparent dotes over her grandchildren. But those are only glimpses, because His love passes knowledge. It will take us all eternity to delve into the great chasms of His love.

This love is expressed in the statement Jesus makes as He looks out over the city of Jerusalem. He says His desire is to gather them unto Himself, as a hen gathers her chicks. He wants to care for them, instruct them, and protect them from the natural consequences of living apart from Him. That alone is a wonderful expression of His love; but this statement does not stand alone. Chapter 23 describes some of the people He wants to gather to Himself. He wants the hypocrite, who loves the attention of being a godly man, while his example is actually keeping others from Christ. He wants the blind guide, who thinks he has heaven and earth all figured out, while rejecting and ignoring the Word of God. He wants the one who uses religion as a way to get things from others. He wants the one who will practice a few select religious observations, while neglecting to love God and others. He wants those who clean the outside of the cup, so others will think they are godly, but their lives are filled with hidden sin. And most importantly, HE WANTS YOU!

Don’t let your failures keep you from Him. He loves you and wants to gather you to Himself, and transform your life. Will you let Him? Take some time right now to offer yourself to Him, as if you were a living sacrifice.

Pastor Jim

Old Testament:
Genesis 45- Perspective
Genesis 46- Egypt

Who’s Image Is This?

Matthew 22:20 ”
“And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’”

2015/01/img_1362.jpgAs the cross approaches, so does the opposition to Jesus. The religious leaders are desperately trying to turn the people against Jesus. In this case, they sent the young Pharisees, and the Herodians, a political sect that favored the Jews being ruled by Rome. When they arrived, they must have thought they had come up with the perfect question. No matter how Jesus answered, He would end up polarizing himself. “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?” If Jesus says “yes”, he will find himself at odds with the people. They will think of Him, and all He has done and said, as simply a political movement in support of Rome. If He says “no”, He will find himself the enemy of Rome and be a wanted man. I can almost feel the excitement of the religious leaders as the question is posed.  Jesus’ response is as insightful as it is brilliant.

“Whose image and inscription is this… Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”

Jesus draws their attention to the coin. He wants them to notice whose image it bears and what has been written on it. Since it bears the image and text of Caesar, render it to him. Jesus does not stop there, He adds, “Render to God the things that are God’s.”

It strikes me, as I think of holding a coin, that today, like then, coins bear images and inscription. They both show and tell to whom they really belong, and so do we. The Bible tells us we have been created in the image of God, and when we receive Christ, we are born again in His image.

“. . . put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, . . .” (Colossians 3:10)

And as we walk with Him, He writes upon our hearts. We actually become living love letters from God; written for the world to read.

“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”            2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Let’s be sure, today, that we are rendering to God what belongs to Him. He created you, redeemed you, and desires you. Give unto God what is God’s.

Pastor Jim

Old Testament:
Genesis 43- Don’t Wait
Genesis 44- That’s Heavy Man

Rejected Stone

Matthew 21:42
“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

2015/01/img_1357.jpgJesus told a story that the original audience understood to be speaking of how they were rejecting the Son of God. In response to the story, Jesus refers to builders who had rejected the “chief cornerstone.” In many ancient buildings, the foundation was supported by a cornerstone, without it, the foundation would not be able to support that which was built upon it. Jewish lore tells the story of the building of Solomon’s Temple, a project that took many years. The massive stones for the Temple were quarried some distance away from the Temple site and delivered to the builders. As they were laying the foundation, a very oddly shaped stone,that did not seem to fit, arrived. The contractor, thinking the quarry had made a mistake, had the stone thrown away. It was pushed down a hill into the city trash dump. Sometime later, the contractor sent to the quarry asking for the chief cornerstone. The quarry sent back a message saying it had already been delivered. When the contractor argued that he had never received the stone, someone reminded him of the oddly shaped stone, the one that did not seem to fit his plans, that he had thrown in the trash. Sure enough, that was the stone that would support the whole building. With great effort, they raised the stone out of the rubbish heap, and continued erecting what would become a building which would bring glory to God and salvation to man.

It is not difficult to understand what Jesus is getting at. In the parable, the Son was rejected because the vine dressers saw no value in having Him rule over them. They thought their lives would be better, more profitable, and more successful without the Son. But they were, in fact, rejecting the most important aspect of life; relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Have you made Jesus the chief cornerstone of your life? Is the rest of your life built upon the solid foundation of relationship with Jesus? Take some time right now to surrender all to Jesus and to reflect upon how you can let Him reign in every area of your life.

Pastor Jim

Old Testament:
Genesis 41- Prepare For The Future
Genesis 42- For Me Or Against Me

Many Are Called

Matthew 20:16
“For many are called, but few chosen.”

2015/01/img_1355.jpgThis verse is the conclusion of a parable Jesus spoke regarding God’s reward system. All those who responded to the offer of the vineyard owner received the same wage, whether they worked for a few hours or for the entire day. What a beautiful picture of God’s grace. Heaven is the great reward of all who respond to the call of God. Young Timothy and the thief hanging next to Jesus were both recipients of God’s manifold grace, both will forever live under the banner of King Jesus, walk the streets of gold, and experience the glories of living in glory.

That being said, I am struck by the condition of those who responded to the vineyard owners call. We read, they were “standing idle.” The word idle means to be free from work. We use the word to speak of a car that is sitting at a stop sign; the motor is running, but the car is going nowhere. It is not being used to its fullest potential or to accomplish what it was designed for. The person who responds to Christ in the eleventh hour will receive freely the gifts of eternity, but will have lived life idly, not fulfilling the purposes for which God designed them.

What about you? Are you living life for the glory of God? Are you storing up treasures in heaven, by living life to please King Jesus?

Take a moment to get today’s marching orders from the Lord.

Pastor Jim

Old Testament:
Genesis 39- Overcoming Obstacles
Genesis 40- Eyes Wide Open

Thoughts On Marriage

New Testament: Matthew 19- Thoughts On Marriage

2015/01/img_1349.jpgMatthew 19:4-6
“He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?” So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’ … Read More

Old Testament:
Genesis 37- Such Comfort
Genesis 38- Busted

Let It Go

New Testament: Matthew 18- Let It G0

2015/01/img_1347.jpgMatthew 18:21
“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’”

I think Peter had a little more insight into the mind of God than he gets credit for. In the passage leading up to this, Jesus spoke regarding confronting those who are in sin. He spoke of going to a sinning brother, bringing … Read More

Old Testament:
Genesis 35- Go Back
Genesis 36- Choose Wisely

Glimpse Of Heaven

Matthew 17- Glimpse Of Heaven

2015/01/img_1342.jpgMatthew 17:1
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; . . .”

This event had a tremendous impact upon Peter. Years later, when writing his first… Read More

Old Testament:
Genesis 33- Face Of God
Genesis 34- Double Standard