Mentoring Minutes

Wisdom – Building on God’s Truth

We’ve spent a considerable amount of time laying the foundation of Christ’s Lordship, our discipleship response in living out the relationship we’re given with God in Christ, and doing so in Love and Humility. This requires that we do so in His Wisdom. As we begin to now focus on building our earthly relationships (check out previous articles on Love for a refresher as to God’s Covenant Order for all relationships) we must pay attention to what God says about Wisdom so that it will be our guide.

Here are 5 things to help us understand as we focus on and learn to grow in His Wisdom in every aspect of our lives and relationships:

1) Wisdom in God, in Christ, in all of creation (Proverbs 8:22-31; Colossians 1:16)

2) Fear of God is where Wisdom begins (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10)

3) Knowledge (intellect) alone is not Wisdom (1 Corinthians 8:1-2)

4) Humility comes from Godly Wisdom (James 3:13)

5) We must differentiate between Godly Wisdom rather than worldly “wisdom” (James 3:14-18)

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these beginning with: 1) Wisdom in God and Christ and all of creation (Proverbs 8:22-31; Colossians 1:16)

Wisdom begins and ends with God. Our own intellect or knowledge apart from God, as we will see throughout this particular focus leads to pride and ultimately to our own destruction. However, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are complete and perfect in Wisdom. We can Biblically state that all true Wisdom springs from God and by implication and inference in His Word that He is Wisdom.

In the Proverbs 8 passage, we see Wisdom accompanied the “first” of His works in Creation which points directly to what the Apostle Paul says regarding Christ Himself in the Colossians passages. Mathematically we can say that Christ = God (Colossians 2:9); Christ was present in Creation (Colossians 1:16); Wisdom was present in Creation (Proverbs 8:22-31)…therefore God is Christ and all Wisdom flows from Him and holds all things together.

We may not be able to say God/Christ = Wisdom but from Creation, His Word and in Christ it certainly should be evident why Wisdom comes from fearing and revering Him alone!

This is what helps us accept Christ as Lord, walk as His disciples and build every relationship on the Wisdom of His Love and Humility! When we attempt to do it in our “wisdom” we immediately “dethrone” Christ and our walk and relationships suffer and crumble!

The greatest thing we find out is that Wisdom establishes for us that Christ is Lord! This is huge and where we must all start in the relationship that He has made possible for us in His sacrificial death…He is over all! Is He over you?

How can we be sure and know that we’re walking in it? Glad you asked (or at least I asked for you). This leads to our second point regarding Wisdom…

2) Fear of God is where Wisdom begins (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).

How does fear lead to Wisdom? Fear of man will not but fear of God… literally placing Him and His Truth above all else…is the only thing that will lead you into Wisdom.

Where does God rate and rank in your life? What do your fear most in making decisions? How others will see and react to you? Or how it honors God? This changes everything as we walk in Christ…or apart from Him.

This is why we’re spending time in this as we transition in our L&L devotional and prayer focus from Lordship and discipleship into loving relationships. So much of what the world and culture have redefined and pursued is a “false” (void of Truth) love, rooted in the flesh and fear of man rather than seeking God and fearing (absolute reverence) of Him.

We can fear God because He is all Truth and Love and always acts accordingly! He never changes and we can count on that and should fear Him if we are not walking with Him (Malachi 3:6a; James 1:17). People apart from and with no fear of, God always act in selfishness and “lord it over” others creating fear of man that moves us further and further from God and real Wisdom.

Spend time getting to know God and choose to honor His Truth in every part of your life (fearing Him and His Word) and you will be increasingly walking in Wisdom.  Don’t you desire this in your life and relationships?

Remember, walking in Wisdom (Godly fear and Truth), is what guides us to live with Christ as Lord and as His disciples. We then can fulfill the law of Love in building relationships with all others in His Truth and Wisdom.

This is why we must recognize and accept that our own wisdom or knowledge not only falls far short of building these relationships for His Church and Kingdom but also leads to being “puffed up” or prideful in our own thinking.

This is the essence from God’s Word of our third point regarding Wisdom…

3) Knowledge (intellect) alone is not Wisdom (1 Corinthians 8:1-2)…you’re likely familiar with the saying, “The more I know the more I realize I don’t know.”

This captures the thoughts of this text in helping us understand that as long as we’re trusting in our own knowledge we are not only coming up short but it will lead to a great fall and destruction (Proverbs 16:18-19).

You can test God’s Word all you want and continue to walk in your own “wisdom” or you can take Him at this Word and realize that our “wisdom” is prideful and leads to no good. Fearing Him and walking in His Wisdom brings about the fruit of His Kingdom and Spirit (Galatians 6:7-8) and gives us eternal life, here and now, as well as in the life to come!

Don’t know about you but I’ve tried my own “wisdom” and God was and is right…it led to a fall and destructive outcomes. I’m now living in His Wisdom and receiving His good fruit. I hope that you are seeing the clear contrast between the Wisdom that is of God and the wisdom of this world (1 Corinthians 1:21, 25; 3:19).

The greatest contrast, and simply put, is that worldly wisdom is rooted in the flesh and leads to pride which makes it difficult to see our own foolishness… and the Wisdom of God is from His Word and Spirit and leads to…

4) Humility comes from Godly Wisdom (James 3:13)

Right from the beginning the enemy attacked the Wisdom of God and offered us the opportunity to come up with our own wisdom and stand as our own authority (Genesis 3:4-5). Of course, that’s very appealing to the flesh and let’s be honest, if Eve (and Adam) had not taken the bait and the first bite of that forbidden fruit (nor anyone else up to present time), I would have (and so would you).

We are created in God’s image so we desire to create, love in relationship and walk in authority. The problem is that God alone is The Authority so when Adam and Eve (and you and me) step in and usurp His Authority, our “wisdom” is rooted in our selfish flesh. So…

5) We must differentiate between Godly Wisdom and worldly “wisdom” (James 3:13-18)

Do I want jealousy, envy, deception and selfishness (the wisdom of my flesh and the world) or do I want the Wisdom that is pure, peaceful, gentle, submissive, unbiased, sincere, integral and brings good fruit…a harvest of peace and righteousness?

Let me simply share key Wisdom (certainly not exhaustive as all of Scripture is the very Word and Wisdom of God) from those who were inspired by The Holy Spirit to pass on His perfect Wisdom to us…

Moses… “In the beginning, God…” Genesis 1:1

David… “The heavens declare the glory of God…” Psalm 19

Isaiah… “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” Isaiah 5:20; “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Peter… “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16

John… “In the beginning was The Word…” John 1:1

“And The Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of truth and grace.” John 1:14

Paul… “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

“I no longer live but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

“You are saved by grace through faith, a gift from God…you are His workmanship to do the good works He purposed for you…” Ephesians 2:8-10

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:3-5

Jesus… “You are my disciples if you remain in my word, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

“I Am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

“It is finished.” John 19:30

“All authority is given to me…go make disciples.” Matthew 28:18-20

“My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 21:6

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – There is so much more of His Wisdom found in His Word! Read it daily and find out for yourself!  Will you choose His Wisdom or yours and the world?

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you the Wisdom of God.
  2. Think and/or write down how you apply wisdom in your life and relationships.
  3. Write down the fruit of your wisdom in your life and relationships.
  4. What needs to change, if anything?  How will you change it?

Truth in Grace

Living with Christ as Lord, responding as His sold-out, dying-to-self disciples so we can be salt and light to a hurting and dying world, all in His Truth and Love requires us to imitate Him. One of the simplest and most powerful Scriptures of Christ is John 1:14, “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Parentheses mine and added)

Grace, simply defined, is receiving a gift that we don’t deserve and can’t earn. That’s what we have received from God in Christ!

God’s Grace in creation, life, and most of all in Christ, is AMAZING! However, just as the Romans did when Paul explained God’s grace to them, our human nature manipulates us to think of it as not just a free gift (which it is) but a free pass to keep on living as we desire in our own sinful flesh (which it certainly is not)! That’s why James, in talking about faith, states the discipleship side of faith and grace in which our lives and actions must reflect the grace in our lives that we receive by faith…”Faith without works is dead (no faith at all).” James 2:18, 20, 26 (Parentheses mine and added)

How can we be salt and light as Christ’s disciples if all His grace means to us is “thanks for saving me but I’ll take it from here?” Paul reminds us that not only is His grace sufficient but also it will perfect my weaknesses in His strength so the only thing I can boast in is Him and His Cross! 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Galatians 6:14

Let’s continue to look at His Grace…the free gift, our abuse, our humility and His Glory… in and through our lives.

Christ’s Love is always expressed perfectly in Truth and Grace…neither ever compromises the other. In our culture abusing grace is the problem on our path of human nature as we read in Romans 6.

On the other hand, while grace is absolutely amazing it can never nor will ever compromise God’s Truth; we are saved by grace through faith and empowered by grace to live for God (Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10); however, grace was never intended to allow us to craft God in our image or condone our sin and flesh, it was solely for the purpose to recreate and craft us in the image of Christ and for His Glory (2 Corinthians 3:18)…for far too long we’ve taught (or failed to teach) the real purpose of grace and excused, allowed, even encouraged folks to claim grace while continuing to live in their flesh and sin…apart from Jesus Christ. This is certainly not the purpose of Grace and we need to teach, live and disciple according to His Truth in Grace (Romans 8:1-5; Galatians 5:13).

Grace is so much more than just forgiveness; it is the power and freedom to live in Christ (Titus 2:11-14)!

Paul David Tripp in his “New Morning Mercies” devotional states, “Not only is your salvation a gift of God, but the faith to embrace it is his gift as well. But here is what you need to understand: God not only gives you the grace to believe for your salvation, but he also works to enable you to live by faith. If you are living by faith you know that you have been visited by powerful transforming grace, because that way of living just isn’t normal for you and me.”

Don’t live in the natural or “normal” (flesh)…pride, doubt, fear, worry, anxiety, selfish desires. Live in the Spirit by the gift of Grace and Faith (Hebrews 11:1, 6) that you’ve received from God through Christ as Savior and Lord and the indwelling of His Spirit in you. He has given us everything we need to live a Godly life through Christ for His Glory (2 Peter 1:3)!

The amazing and free grace of God in salvation by faith in Christ is nothing without the evidence of that grace in sanctification (His Lordship and our discipleship walk)…James 2:14-26. The grace that saved you and restored you into a relationship with Him (your greatest need) is the very same grace that works in us to conform us into the image of Christ…Romans 8:29!

What does that look like…Galatians 5:22-24 and 2 Peter 1:3-11! The Fruit of the Spirit that we have in Christ must mature and grow in our lives! Look at the very close similarity between the fruit of The Spirit that we receive by Grace through faith in Christ and how they are to mature in our life in 2 Peter 1…by that very same grace. Peter tells us very plainly that The Spirit fruit matures in our lives as choose to “add” (build on) that fruit as virtues that we now have in The Spirit in our day-to-day life. His Grace not only makes us flawless in Christ but allows us to thrive every day in His Grace!

What ultimately does this all lead to? A heart after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22)!  Humility is the natural product of Grace!

Humility and purity of heart is not only what it leads to it is what allows us to draw close to God (James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:5) and to see God (Matthew 5:8)!

Do you have a desire to see and be close to God? Humility and purity are keys…and yet I can do neither except by the Grace of God in Christ! Think and pray about these things as being the fruit of walking in Truth, Grace and Love with Christ as Lord.

If you’re claiming Christ as Savior and not desiring and/or growing in these things then ask The Lord to show you what is keeping you from truly being His humble and pure-in-heart disciple. Most often brokenness precedes humility and purity of heart.

Humility and humiliation are from the same root word but humiliation is always rooted in, and a product of, our own selfish desires; Humility is rooted in The Spirit.

Every time I choose self I eventually have to account for it in humiliation. The enemy loves nothing more than for us to equate humiliation with Humility so we reject the very thing that God says we need to be close to Him and to place others above self.

Here’s the real kicker…humility is not thinking less of yourself. Actually it is thinking clearly and soberly of yourself so you can choose to place Christ and others above yourself just as Christ did (John 13:3-5; Romans 12:3-8; Philippians 2:3-5).

Humility is being confident and content in who we are in Christ so we can willingly, submissively and lovingly place Him first and then place others above self.

As long as I do not die to self, any semblance of serving and loving is done in false humility (pride) so as to gain something from it…even if it’s just the accolades of being such a wonderful “Christian.” Only when I take up my cross and go to the death of my selfish desires and pleasures rooted in my flesh, and live for Him, can I know who I am and humbly serve and love others from His reservoir of life, love and strength in real humility by grace.

And it will not matter one iota how others respond to me!

As we walk in Humility it becomes more and more real in our lives and evident to others what John the Baptist said about Christ in us…”He must increase but I must decrease.” John 3:30

Humility also allows us to hear, accept and get into the yoke with Christ (Matthew 11:28-30) and receives it as easy and the burden as light. In that yoke we learn His gentleness of spirit and humility of heart.

In Humility, knowing who I am in Christ, I can accept my greatest strengths as weaknesses that only feed my flesh and increase my pride. When in that same Humility I receive His Truth, Grace, Love and strength, then my weakness is used to accomplish all He desires for His Kingdom and Glory!

Imagine what that might look like in your personal life, your marriage, parenting and family and in Christ’s Church?

Humility in Christ is the only real strength and the only strength that matters… therefore I will boast only in His Cross and in His strength (Galatians 6:13-14)!

I want to despair for God like David did in Psalm 42 and in my despair to be completely overwhelmed with His Presence! I want to praise Him when all is well and when all seems lost…desperate for Him!

This will only be done in one of two ways, which brings us right back to Humility in His Truth and Grace. I can continue and be humiliated in my own pride, choices, failures, consequences and successes that will always bring destruction as I sow in the flesh. OR I can choose Humility according to His Word and Grace in my life and know that I must willingly and submissively choose to desperately seek after Him in ALL THINGS and know I’ll reap eternal life presently and beyond (Galatians 6:7-8).

When I choose my flesh and ultimately receive humiliation I still have a choice to make as to whether I will desperately seek Him or pridefully continue to do it my way. When I choose His Spirit in Humility, I’ve already made the choice to desperately seek after Him and can rest in the consequences and fruit in my life. There is great peace and wholeness in Humility in Christ!

My hope in humility is in direct proportion to how much I desire and despair for Him. I need You, Lord…and I know You are faithful to be there for me always.

Walking humbly in His Truth by His Grace happens in our new identity in Christ! No matter what you’ve faced or what you are still carrying with you or processing in your life, know that He has made you new in Himself.

He will guide you through the processes that you need to go through to let go of those things that are of the old man or woman in the flesh. He will also take all that you’ve experienced, the good, the bad and the ugly, and make something good of it (Romans 8:28).

Know (remember Humility is knowing who you are recreated to be in Christ) that no matter what you’ve done or faced, in Christ you are no longer guilty of any sin and therefore you need not be ashamed for He has forgiven you, set you free, empowered you, healed and redeemed you completely!

So don’t choose sin any longer and don’t choose to live in the pain, guilt of shame of the past…even as you may still deal with those decisions and consequences… because He has made you new (2 Corinthians 5:16-17)! God doesn’t see us in the flesh, so help us no longer see ourselves according to the flesh but to humbly see ourselves according to The Spirit in Christ!

We can only walk in this new life in Humility, knowing we are a new creation in Christ! Don’t let anything in the past keep you from being all you are in Him. Humble yourself before Him and He will lift you up at just the right time (James 4:10).

We are righteous in Christ because He took our sin away and made us whole and free, even as I live in the outcomes and realities of my former decisions and old life.  I am new and made righteous in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). I will no longer let the “realities” of my old self and life dictate who I am…Christ says I am righteous and free, whole and healed, forgiven and loved…that is what I choose to live in.  What identity are you living in? What defines you?

Humility leads to God’s favor as we surrender our rights to our self over to Him. Then we can know who we are in Christ and in Humility glorify God in all we think, say and do (Colossians 3:17, 23)!

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – As long as I’m convinced, and trying to prove, that I have every right to myself, then pride will win out even when I’m “serving” God and others. Only in Christ can I know myself and love and serve in Humility to build His Kingdom and magnify Him in His Truth and Love by His grace.

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you how to love according to His commands and priorities.
  2. Grace empowers us to be humble. How does this look in your life and relationships?
  3. Do you despair for Christ…to know Him in all things? 
  4. How does humility as confidence and contentment in who you are in Christ help you to choose humility by His Grace?

The Clashing of Kingdoms

Let’s look at the events that led to the Triumphal Entry, Passion Week, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. In John 11 Jesus is called to Bethany to heal Lazarus and he delays until Lazarus has died…doesn’t seem like a very “Jesus thing” to do.

However, Jesus knows it is for God’s Glory and will stir the religious pot so to speak. He arrives and calls Lazarus forth from the tomb…and Lazarus walks out after being dead 4 days!  Jesus literally raises Lazarus from the dead! This sounds more like it.

I would want to follow this guy at least as long as He’s doing miracles and raising the dead and feeding thousands with meager means (John 6). Of course the religious zealots and leaders knew what this meant. The masses would follow after Jesus so they conspired to kill Him.

The leaders worst nightmare came true on Palm Sunday when the throngs exalted and worshiped Jesus as He rode through Jerusalem on a donkey, which was a prophetic proclamation of His royalty. (Zechariah 9:9)

Jesus’ Kingdom was revealed in the power of raising Lazarus from the dead and the people wanted to make that an earthly kingdom and just knew that He was The One that would make it happen…both the leaders who knew they would lose power and the common folks who just knew they would gain power. This is the clash of Kingdoms and both the leaders and the masses were wrong because they only saw an earthly, fleshly kingdom.

Jesus came to establish His Kingdom that would last forever. Which Kingdom/ kingdom are you seeking and a part of? Your answer matters for Eternity! I pray that you know Him for what He revealed about His Father and by His Spirit and not by what you think He ought to be and do to satisfy your fleshly longings.

As we contemplate Passion Week, we’re stepping away from the specific focus on the Love & Lordship message (although not really because all of His Word is about His Love & Lordship) to set our hearts and minds on Christ’s last week on this earth during His first visit.

You ever thought about the fact that nearly half of the Gospel of John (12-20) covers just one week (actually 8 days) of His 33 years on earth.  Must have been important…it begins with Palm Sunday and moves through Christ’s Resurrection.

Palm Sunday

What a seemingly glorious day when Jesus rode through Jerusalem to the throngs of “worshipers” who proclaimed him as “coming in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel” (John 12:12-19, emphasis v. 13). Obviously they had finally accepted that He was the Son of God, the Savior of the world and the King of kings…or had they?

As was evident throughout the Gospels what the people, including His disciples,  were looking for in The Messiah, a Savior and a King was one that would rule here and now and they would “rule” or at least receive the benefits of this Jewish Messiah King that would rule the world.

You see it? It wasn’t really about the King but about them. Palm Sunday seemed like a victory, as “the whole world was going after Him” (John 12:19) but it was really revealing the selfishness of hearts that wanted a king that would suit them… and that’s what we see as it began to go sideways throughout Passion Week.

How about you? Are you serving a savior and lord of your own making, a Messiah, that works for you, fits your agenda and makes things all good for you? Or are you serving Christ for His sake and glory?

Passion Week (John 13) – Messages from The Upper Room

As we continue to look at all the incredible teachings and events of Christ during His final week on earth there is one that perhaps is more moving than anything other than His actual sacrifice on The Cross for us.

In John 13 Jesus shows us very prominently what His Love is like…

  • 1) Love – Jesus love is whole and we should pay close attention to what follows (v. 1)
  • 2) Humility – Jesus knows Who He Is (Humility) and nothing changes that (v. 3)
  • 3) Servant’s Heart – In His loving humility He serves His disciples in the lowliest of ways by washing their sweaty, dirty feet (vv. 4-5)
  • 4) Authority – He reminds them that He is the Authority as they see Him and He agrees with them (vv. 12-13)
  • 5) Discipleship – He describes the blessings of living in humble loving service and true authority when they (we) follow His example as His disciples (vv. 14-17)

In line with the Love & Lordship message allow me the leeway to express the following…Jesus was not only washing His disciples’ feet but as the fathers and founders of His Church, He was washing His Bride’s feet!

Remember that instead of siloing or isolating each of the characteristics or virtues above as we do in our culture and churches, He clearly brings them all together to show us how it is done in His Kingdom. We would do well to heed this wisdom and command to love as He loves us (John 13:34)!

Finally in John 13 we see that Jesus expressed all this love to even the one He knew would betray Him…that’s the kind of Love that we need and it only comes from Him.

Regarding Passion Week, scripture moves from Palm Sunday to Thursday.  We don’t hear anything about Monday through Wednesday of that week but go directly to the Upper Room and the Last Supper Jesus instituted with His disciples and for His Church.  The latter part of John 13 deals with Jesus predicting Judas betrayal and Peter’s denial.  Often we tend to see these two as the worst culprits for their actions but remember we find out in other Gospels that when the going got tough all the disciples abandoned Him.

What does that say to us as His followers and Church today?  Are we claiming to enjoy the pseudo-fellowship of “church” while running and hiding when the culture comes against Christ and His Truth?  We have allowed the culture to back us into a corner and for the most part are fearful of what they may do if we speak God’s Truth without compromise.

As we continue with Passion Week we find in John 14-17 some of the most powerful lessons that we need to learn and adhere to in our walk as Christ’s disciples just as He was encouraging and challenging those first disciples that He chose.

Here is a summary of the messages from The Upper Room:

  1. Jesus knows what His disciples were about to face (and knows what we are facing today) and he comforts them, encourages them that He and The Father are one, and promises The Holy Spirit to them and all who believe (John 14).  Are you encouraged by The Father, Son and Spirit in your daily walk?
  2. Jesus teaches 3 potent lessons in John 15…A) Our relationship (as branches) to Him (The Vine) and that apart from Him we can do nothing (vv. 1-11).  Are you trying to produce fruit for His Kingdom when He’s the Only One who can? B) Our relationships to one another as believers  (vv. 12-17).  Are you loving those in His Church as He loves you?  C) Our relationship with the world (vv. 18-26).  Are you trying to make your Christianity fit in and be accepted by the world or are you willing to stand firm on His Truth knowing that those of the world will hate the message and even hate you?
  3. Jesus warns them of how the world will respond to their message, promises The Holy Spirit a second time at this Last Supper (maybe we should pay attention to our need for this), and reassures us of answered prayers because of His and The Father’s relationship (John 16).  How are you doing when it comes to sharing a message that the world so badly needs but doesn’t like to hear?
  4. He closes this time out by reinforcing all of this in the Prayer of Unity or High Priestly Prayer (as it’s come to be known).  He does this by praying in the unity that He has with the Father and asking The Father for the unity of the disciples in Him and for all of us who come to know Him as Savior and Lord through their Gospel message!  Praise The Lord!  But He doesn’t stop there; He also prays for them (and we as believers) to be sanctified or set apart in His Word of Truth and reassures them that as they (and we) walk in unity with Him and one another, of the glory they will share with Him (John 17)!

Have we grasped the reality that all of Jesus prayers were and are answered because He prayed always in line with The Father’s will.  If we are not working toward the unity that He prayed for in line with His Spirit and Truth then we are not part of the answer to His prayer.  Continuing with Passion Week we come to…

Judas’ Betrayal, Jesus Trial, Peter’s Denial and Pilate

The words that Jesus spoke to and prayed for His disciples and for us in The Upper Room we find out were very much needed and initially unheeded by those closest to Him.  (John 18). 

As He is praying in the garden, Judas leads a band to betray Him over to the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers (vv. 1-11).  How often do I betray Him when the going gets tough rather than standing on His Truth no matter what?

Jesus is then led before “mock” proceedings before the religious leaders that had already been predetermined, even though no witnesses could agree.  Since they needed to rubber stamp this with the Roman authorities they took him to Pilate where it continues with a “mock trial” with the same outcome already set in motion.  Jesus is convicted and sentenced while a murderous rebel, Barabbas, is set free.  In the middle of this we find Peter denying Christ three times when the pressure was on him to reveal his association with Christ (vv. 12-40).

How would you have reacted if you were Peter?  How do you handle it today?

Passion Week closes with “Good” Friday?

What was one of the worst days in all of history, and eternity for that matter, has come to be called “Good Friday.”  How so?  Because when all the evil and sin of the world, our flesh and our enemy, satan, seemed to have won the war, God, through Jesus, flipped the script. 

I hope you know that it was actually Jesus choice to willingly lay down His life (John 10:18) for you and me and all who would put their faith in Him.

As we jump forward to John 19 we see the horrific events that lead up to Christ’s crucifixion. Abandoned by His closest friends; the crowds who just a few days before laid palm branches and coats in His path in worship of him cry out for His death; He is beaten, mocked and spit upon by soldiers and a crown of thorns driven into His beaten head; He is flogged (Matthew, Mark and Luke all record this violent beating); finally, He’s nailed to a wooden beam and left to die.  How can this be good?

Because everything He did was for me and for you so that we would not have to face the consequences of our sins.  What was horribly excruciating for Him was the greatest gift ever given to us…to all who by grace through faith accept His sacrifice for their sins and walk by that same grace and faith with Him as Savior and Lord.

And that leads us to the new beginnings on the First day of the next week…

Resurrection Day!

Praise The Lord for His victory over sin, death and hell!  Praise Him that all who believe that He is the Savior of the world and King of kings and Lord of Lords share in that victory even as we continue to struggle through the trials and pains of this world and our flesh. 

John 20 records His resurrection and appearance to His disciples after He rose from the dead.  Matthew tells us the incredible message this way, “He is risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6)!

The Apostle Paul shared in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 that the risen Christ appeared to over 500 men and women, including the special revelation to Paul himself!

Our hope and faith is not in vain…He is risen and lives in me and all who believe in His incarnation, life, message, death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:14)!  

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – What will you do with the crucified and risen Christ?  Will you put your faith in Him?  Do you believe so much that you want others to know Him?  It’s a matter of life and death for both now and eternity!

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you Who Jesus is.
  2. If you don’t know Christ as Savior, pray about receiving Him as such.
  3. If you know Christ as Savior, pray about your walking with Him as Lord.
  4. Find a same gender Christian friend to walk this path with you!