Friday, June 24, 2016

Joseph a Picture of Jesus

One of the clearest pictures of Jesus in the Old Testament is Joseph. Rejected and left for dead by his brothers, Joseph ends up saving his brothers, never once condemning them. He loved them, showing them mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Yet there was underlying unbelief. 

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.”  So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died:  ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” (Gen 50:15-17a ESV) 

The brothers lack of belief in Joseph's forgiveness, led to the fear of punishment and the outward symptom of sin, lying in their father’s name. How did Joseph react? 

... Joseph wept ... (Gen 50:17b) 

Joseph wept because he had already fully forgiven them. Yet after years of loving kindness towards them, they still lived in unbelief. 

The Bibles tells us that those who really believe they have been forgiven by God, will produce the fruits of virtue, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love as listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7. If we lack these, 2 Peter 1:9 states we have forgotten we have been forgiven. In addition, Luke 7:47 states only those who believe they have been forgiven much, love much (Gal 5:14 Romans 13:8-10). 

All of us have been forgiven much. Jesus weeps if we are in unbelief, knowing the fear of punishment leads to sin, just like with Joseph’s brothers. 

Let God’s perfect love cast out unbelief and the fear of punishment (1 John 4:17-19). Michael Edwards

Friday, June 17, 2016

Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand
from the album 'Spirit' by Leona Lewis

You walked with me, footprints in the sand
And helped me understand where I'm going
You walked with me when I was all alone
With so much unknown along the way
Then I heard you say

I promise you, I'm always there
When your heart is filled with sorrow and despair
Ill carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

I see my life flash across the sky
So many times have I been so afraid
And just when I have thought I lost my way
You give me strength to carry on
That's when I heard you say

I promise you, I'm always there
When your heart is filled with sorrow and despair
And Ill carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

When I'm weary, well, I know you'll be there
And I can feel you when you say

I promise you, I'm always there
When your heart is filled with sadness and despair
Ill carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

I promise you, I'm always there
When your heart is full of sadness and despair
Ill carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand


Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Friday, June 10, 2016

Jesus Whispering to Our Hearts

Jesus Whispering to Our Hearts
The best teacher I think I ever had for making a point that everyone in that room listened to had a unique delivery method. Instead of raising his voice to make his point he’d lean forward over the podium and whisper the most important part of his lecture. All in the class hushed and leaned forward eagerly to see what important part of the lecture was about to come out of his mouth. It got our attention each and every time and we truly listened.

Imagine your Lord and Savior doing the same thing. The Bible tells us to tune in to that “still, small voice”. It is when we are quiet before Him and focused on Him that he can speak the loudest, often times in a whisper:

Daughter, it doesn’t always have to come to you what I am about to say for you to write (it). 
I may choose to whisper a thought or word of encouragement into a corner of your mind for momentary encouragement, some too precious to be written, some too heavy to bear for more than that first moment; truths to be resurfaced over and over until you’re able and ready (open) to grasp and hold them, coming up gradually as a red sunrise. 
Awesome revelations, perhaps they are frightening at first glance, but real and “normal” as they unfold embellishment with a fire that creates a beauty, special beauty even greater than the daily sunsets. 
Cling to those revelations as I bring them up. You will learn them and make them part of you as I deem you able to stretch and grow; as you yield to My molding. 
You cannot yield unless you recognize that you are holding back ... Rest in Jesus as He does His life redeeming work within you! Selah.

PS 51 “let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice”

Psalms 51 is one of my favorites. I like to read it over and over with discovery of even more each time I re-read it. Please take some time with this chapter for yourself to see what it says to you.
The psalmist is first asking for God’s mercy, not based upon anything the psalmist did or didn’t do but based upon God’s love and compassion. David asks to have his transgressions blotted out and to be washed and made clean from all his sin. He continues recognizing his sin and that it is against God only that he has committed those sins even back to his birth. He even indicates that God can make him whiter than snow. That should give hope to all of us.

What an attitude he then reveals in saying he would like the bones which God broke to rejoice. To me that is showing David’s total and utter trust in God and his assessment or David’s condition. Even in that pain to know it is “good for him” and necessary. Imagine your broken bones being encouraged to “rejoice”. No wonder the Bible says that David had a heart for the Lord.

And to then hear that he had hope and expectation that God could and would create in David a “pure heart” and give him, once again, a steadfast spirit, welcoming David into His presence and restoring David’s joy. David is requesting to be made whole so he could then teach sinners and have them turn back to God.

This Psalm alone is full of so many good and wonderful promises. There are even more in the rest of the psalm but I want to give you an opportunity to chew on it yourself and see what they Lord will speak to your heart. Be encouraged and built up in Jesus most capable and incredible name! Marijo Phelps

Lord God, at first it sounds SO hard to ask that the bones which You have broken rejoice. But You don’t want me to walk with a limp or not walk at all. You are the Great Physician and know what needs to be done for complete healing and wholeness. I submit to Your ultimate wisdom and Your Physician’s hand. I also place my hand in Yours as You continue to make and remake me – WHOLE in You. Amen.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Jesus Wept

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

Jesus Wept
Why do we weep? Weeping is not just crying. Crying is something we might do if we drop something on our foot, or if we are terribly afraid. Weeping is something different from that. According to the Random House Dictionary, "weep" has couple of meanings that pertain to people and emotion:

  • to express grief, sorrow, or any overpowering emotion by shedding tears; shed tears; cry: to weep for joy, to weep with rage.
  • to weep for (someone or something); mourn with tears or other expression of sorrow
  • to shed (tears); pour forth in weeping: to weep tears of gratitude.

So we might weep for sorrow or joy or rage or gratitude. I know why I weep: two years ago today, my newly wed wife died very suddenly and unexpectedly. It was horrifying and disheartening, and I wept for losing her. Even as I tried to rouse her, to breathe into her and start her heart, I wept and cried out to God. I wept in rage and fear and sorrow. Mine was nonetheless a silent weeping, because I did not want to scare the children. And so behind the rush to call paramedics and keep the children out of the way, I wept. Behind the very business-like way I coordinated things and explained to the police officer the details of how I found her and what I did, I wept. While trusting that God is sovereign, that His will is perfect, and that I would one day understand it all, I wept. As we laid her body to rest in sub-zero weather a week later, surrounded by close family and friends, I wept.

Jesus wept.

In the Greek, John 11:35 says "Edakrusen o Iesous." Jesus shed tears. Strong's Concordance makes a point of distinguishing between "dakruo" and "klaio," another verb that is translated as "weep," saying that the verb "dakruo" here in verse 35 pertains to shedding tears quietly, whereas "klaio" denotes crying out, a loud mourning.

Jesus wept.

The Lamb of God wept. In the midst of coming to perform His greatest miracle, the event that confirms that the coming resurrection is real, our Savior shed tears. As He walked to the tomb of His beloved friend Lazarus, this Christ - who is Himself the Resurrection and the Life - wept.

Jerome translated the Greek and Hebrew of the Bible into Latin, the language of the Roman Empire, and he wrote this verse like this:

"et lacrimatus est Iesus"

And Jesus wept.

From the context of chapter 11 of John's Gospel, it would seem that Jesus wept for sorrow, that He was mourning something. All around Him were people weeping.

John 11:33-36
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

Jesus wept in sympathy with His friends Mary and Martha, because He had loved Lazarus as a friend and brother. He wept for the Jews who did not yet understand that He was their appointed Messiah. He wept for Jerusalem, the city where God Himself had dwelt for a time in His holy temple. He wept for unbelief. He wept for belief. He wept for joy at the moment that was to come when He would demonstrate God's enormous love and grace. He wept for sorrow that He Himself must die to truly bring God's forgiveness and peace to mankind.

Jesus wept.

The Son of God shed tears for the lost, the unrepentant, the proud, the oppressed, the broken, the lonely, the fearful. Emmanuel - God With Us - wept for friends and enemies, for those who knew Him and those who did not.

Jesus wept.

The author and finisher of our faith wept for those who were yet to come, who would all be sinners, and who would all be forgiven through Him.

Jesus wept.

He who soon would send His Spirit into the world as our Comforter and Helper, He wept for the comfort of those standing nearby. He wept to let them know that God cares, that the Father feels the sorrow of His children just as much as they do. He shared the tears of Mary and Martha even as He shed tears of His own.

Jesus wept.

I weep. Although I know one day we who believe shall be resurrected in His name, I miss my beloved wife and I do not understand why she left us as she did. Along with Mary and Martha, I say to my Lord, "If You had been here, she would not have died." But even as I say it, I know it is a lie. It is a lie because we are all bound to die in this life. We must die to this life to live in Christ. It is also a lie because He has ALWAYS been here, He never left my side.

Jesus wept.

Mourn with me today, if you must. Weep. Jesus wept. Join with Jesus as He wept for the world, as He wept for the City of David, as He wept for Lazarus, as He wept for the Cross He would soon bear to Calvary.

And when we are finished weeping, join me in rejoicing. Let us rejoice in the Resurrection and the Life. Let us rejoice in the mercy of God. Let us rejoice in the forgiveness we once never thought we'd see. Let us weep and mourn and grieve so that our rejoicing is that much sweeter when we see our Lord coming on clouds of glory. Jesus wept.

Revelation 21:3-4
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Lord God, Father of our Savior, Creator of the heavens and the earth, I weep today for those who have passed away before me. I weep because I miss their presence, and I weep because I am lonely. But I am never alone, and although today I weep, I yet rejoice. I rejoice in Your grace, O Lord, and I find joy in You. You are my strength and my song. And although my voice quavers with my weeping, still I raise my voice to You and sing "Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!" Amen. Glenn Pettit