John 3:16: Eternity Awaits You

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15

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Living Bread – the Secret

Bread of Life

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, Matthew 6:9-11

Continue reading Living Bread – the Secret

Greatest Promise in the Bible

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“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

As children of God, we have approximately 3,500 promises in the Bible. Some are given conditionally, and some are freely given. From relatively small and temporal to large and spanning eternity, Christians have been given an abundance of promises. We reach out and unwrap some of the promises, and we leave others behind.
Of those gifts that we have unwrapped, we smile at the colors, turn them side-to-side, hug them, bask in their fragrance, and soon, we toss them aside for another unwrapped present or a dollop of the world’s sweetness.
What if we opened the greatest promise in the Bible, took each part of this hope-filled gift apart, prayed, pieced it together as a beloved quilt, and wrapped it around us … every cell feeling its life-giving warmth?

For God …

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, our triune God, our God who is all that is holy, pure, and perfect acted on our behalf.

… so loved …

Almighty God, Prince of Peace, and Wonderful Counselor loved His creation. He loved you and me … in our brokenness, in our sin, in our rebellion.

… the world …

The Creator of the Universe loved His creation, even though this creation rebelled against Him, even though the man and woman said they would rather taste the forbidden fruit than trust that their Creator wanted what was best for them.

… that He gave …

The Everlasting Father gave us a gift. He had already given us the earth to take care of, and we botched it. We did the one thing that Father told us not to do; we ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We learned what sin was.

Father is giving us another gift!

… His only …

Father had only one of these, and He’s giving it to you and me! He must love us greatly.

… begotten Son …

Jesus! Father’s giving us Jesus, not an object! God’s Son left His glory with God in heaven and entered Mary’s womb to become a baby. He lived in a poor carpenter’s family. He taught the people about the kingdom of heaven. He healed the lame, touched the leper, gave sight to the blind, brought sound to the deaf, raised the dead, fed the 5,000, calmed the sea, taught the multitudes, and loved the unlovely.

Jesus, the One we nailed to the cross, took our sins upon Himself. He paid the penalty for our sins.

Jesus died on the cross.

Jesus rose from the dead.

Jesus sits at the right hand of God, saying, “I paid the price for her, for him. They are my sister and brother.”

Jesus loves you and me.

… that whoever …

Anyone? Yes, anyone who reaches out and unwraps the gift. That means a murderer, a liar, an adultress, a thief … anyone.

… believes in Him …

Anyone who trusts in Jesus, God’s gift to the world, anyone who clings to Jesus.

… shall not perish …

The person who clings to Jesus will not suffer spiritual death, a separation from God that would result in great suffering in hell.

 … but have eternal life.

The gift is the fullness of life without an end … walks with God in the cool of the garden … life basking upon the glory of God … life wrapped in the color-filled quilt washed with the precious blood of Jesus.

My prayer

Father in heaven, cause Your great and precious promise to seep into every cell of our being. Cause us to understand Your incomprehensible love, a love that would give Your most precious gift to an unloving and rebellious people. We want to press into You and possess Your promise in all its depth, height, and width. Help us, Lord. Thank You, Jesus!

Tell us the promises God has given you for 2016 in the “Comment” section.

Pieta-Tears of Eternal Life

Pieta - 1 (1)

“You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-33

Keith and I just returned from Rome. The Pieta is my favorite piece of art. While tourists are pointing and snapping photos, I work my way through the crowd to stand next to the barrier that separates us from Michelangelo’s meditation in marble. Each year that I’ve returned, I’ve cried or I’ve hugged another woman who could not control the tears.

Mary’s grief became our grief.

I wonder if she was thinking about Gabriel’s proclamation about her son, the One who would be the Son of the Most High, Jesus who would reign on David’s throne.

From a mother’s eyes, I saw a woman who had experienced everything miraculous about her Son, her Savior, her Lord … from His birth, to the turning of water into wine, from raising the dead, to healing the lepers, restoring sight to the blind and song to the deaf. This was the Man who was slated to save Israel. In her lap was her Messiah. Here was all her hope, all her love, all her dreams. Beaten beyond recognition. Dead.

As she holds her Savior, her hand asks “Why?”

Why?

You and I are sinners.

Why?

The cost of our sin is death – complete separation from our Holy God.

Why?

Jesus paid the cost of our sin by living a perfect life and dying in our place – the perfect sacrifice.

Why?

Jesus’ death on the cross cleansed us from our sins and made it possible to live forever with Him – if we become His followers.

Why?

Jesus rose from the dead, conquering death.

Why?

Jesus now sits in heaven at the right hand of God speaking on our behalf when Satan accuses us of sin.

Why?

Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you.

Why?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

My prayer

Father, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for giving Jesus to the world as our Savior. I pray that You will fill readers with a deeper knowledge and appreciation of Your sacrifice and bring those who do not know You to a saving belief in Jesus. I love You, Lord.

Healing prompts 5,000 to come to Jesus

Gate BeautifulThe Gate Beautiful, or Golden Gate. It is believed that Jesus entered through this gate on Palm Sunday. It is thought that Jesus will return through the Golden Gate. Ottoman Sultan Sulieman sealed the gate and built a cemetery in front of it, so that when Elijah preceeds Jesus’ return, Eljah cannot walk through the cemetery without becoming unclean. Think that’s a problem for the Lord?

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. Acts 3:1-2

Ankles twisted and completely out of joint, this man sat at the entrance of the magnificent Gate Beautiful, ornately and heavily plated with gold and silver. The gate stood 50 cubits high in comparison with the other gates reaching 40 cubits, and it was so heavy, it took 20 men to move it. It was 60 feet wide and was the place of public worship during morning and evening sacrifices.

Weakness and deformity in the gate of strength and majesty … years of people passing him to enter the temple, a temple he was not allowed to enter because of his condition.

Look at us!

Looking into Peter’s eyes and then John’s eyes, the man expected a coin.

I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk! And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

How many miracles? His feet and ankles were strengthened. He immediately knew how to walk, and he leaped and praised God.

This man expected a coin; he received a healing; he received the opportunity to enter the temple, and his healing prompted Peter’s sermon.

And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. Acts 3:16

As a result of this man’s healing, about 5,000 people accepted Jesus that day.

This man was never the same. This crowd was never the same.

How has God worked in your life? Tell someone today. Tell these readers.

My prayer

Father, You are our Creator, our Healer, our Comforter, our Savior. Thank You for what You are doing in our lives. Show us how You are working in our lives, the plans that You have for us. Empower us to tell others about Your goodness, Your healing grace. Embrace us with Your love, and infuse us with Your Spirit, so that we leap and praise You as others are watching. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

Are you eating and drinking eternity?

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My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever. John 6:55-58

Outrageous. Radical. Shocking. This One who calls Himself the Son of Man, who claims equality with God, who raised the dead, healed the sick, opened blind eyes, and fed thousands declares that His flesh and blood are food and drink.

The word He uses for “eat” is trōgō, to “gnaw, crunch.” We’re to gnaw upon the flesh, the nature of Jesus. The flesh that was punched by the soldiers. The flesh that was torn from his body as He endured scourging. The flesh that housed God.

‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ Leviticus 17:10-11

God commanded the Israelites not to drink the blood of animals, for the blood was to be sprinkled on the altar.  Yet, the Son of God tells the Jews to drink His blood.

The Israelites depended on the daily provision of the manna in the desert. Six days a week they gathered the bread from heaven. It gave them life – earthly life.

Gnawing on a piece of steak takes work. My jaws, teeth, tongue, thoughts, fingers, angle that bone up, down, and sideways to tear the remaining strands of steak from the bone. I think that’s what Jesus wants us to do with His flesh, His nature. Gnawing on the essence of our Savior. Gnawing on the body that was broken for us.

The blood that He escorted into the heavenly Holy of Holies and sprinkled on the altar for the forgiveness of our sins once and for all, that blood, we can lift to our lips and drink in deeply. The blood’s cleansing sweetness brings new life to us, eternal life.

Are you abiding in Jesus?

My prayer for you

Our wonderful Savior, teach us how to eat Your flesh and drink Your blood fully. We want to abide in You completely and wholly. Help us break through the limitations we have created in our understanding of You . We invite You to abide in us fully. Thank you, Jesus.