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Daily Devotion and Scripture

Blessed by Others

Blessed by others.

Numbers 6:24-26
24 “‘“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace. (NIV)

 

People are now exploring their own spirituality without any sense of their need for formal religion. This especially includes Christians who claim no church or denomination and live out their faith in God without a practice of gathering with the Body of Christ for worship, prayer, meditation, teaching, and service. It begs the question of whether we need a formal religious experience for our own spirituality.

 

Today’s Scripture comes from the Old Testament when God is telling Moses to tell Aaron, the high priest, to bless the people of Israel. Does God need a priest to bless His people?

 

The short answer is ‘no.’ God doesn’t need another person to be a conduit of His blessings. We can be blessed right where we are. We can pray on our own. We can worship on our own. We can serve others without anyone else. Yet, time and again, God instructs us to bless others as His ambassadors. We are His ministers doing the work of disseminating the blessing of God to others. But if He doesn’t need us, what is the purpose?

 

The truth is that we need each other. Though we know intellectually who God is, that He loves us, that He never leaves us, we still go through valleys where it feels like He has forgotten us. If we are honest, there are times when what we know doesn’t compute. We find ourselves susceptible to anger, despair, and all kinds of temptations.

 

We know God speaks but rarely is it audible and it helps to hear someone actually remind us of His promises. We know God loves us, but sometimes, we need to feel the embrace of God through a brother or sister. God has compassion but to have someone sit with us during a hard night is invaluable. God is not a god of confusion, but we are not immune to confusion and we need someone to walk us through some Biblical principles.

 

This is why we need the church, a regular practice of gathering with the saints to commune with God and as His ambassadors bless one another.

 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving others to me and me to others. Let me gather to bless and be blessed by others.

Biblical principles Christian Counseling

 

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Daily Devotion and Scripture

God’s Identity

God’s Identity.

John 13:34-35
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV)

 

To know a person is not to be acquainted with them, but to know their heart, understand their motives, and be aware of their behaviors in context with their heart and motive. In a world where we are ‘friends’ with so many people, we don’t know through social media, the art of getting to know someone is passing rapidly. So, in this milieu, how can we know God if we don’t know one another?

God has prescribed a communal existence of believers attempted to live by and in the qualities, values, and behaviors of God Himself as a way for each individual in the community to gain a greater understanding of who God is. We get to know God more deeply in communion with other believers as each of us spur one another on to greater love.

This community we call the church is not full of perfect men and women. There is only one Christ. Instead, we are imperfect, unable to love one another well without the knowledge of God’s love for us. The regular teachings we encounter through church life draws a picture of God’s love for us. We find unconditional love always forgiving yet always correcting back to the Highway of Holiness where fulfillment, fun, and meaning are found. This teaching motivates us to be like Christ. This is easier to do in a community committed to Christlikeness.

When a believer falls short of Christ’s love and engages in betrayal, gossip, vengeance, and the like, there must be those in the community who maintain a posture of forgiveness preceding repentance. It is this posture that stirs the other heart to repentance. Being loved well creates in us a desire to love better also.

God’s intention is for the world to know Him by how well Christians love. The community of believers will never be absent from the vices found in the world. The church ever full of new, immature, and struggling believers will continue to experience the sins of the flesh. But in the church, the mature give grace that requires them to pursue deeper spirituality and spurs others deeper in their own walk to know God and establish His identity.

The church has become shallow in its pursuit of holiness. The same divisions found in secularity pervade in the church as well. We must not fall prey to this shallowness but press further into Him for spiritual formation.

 

Prayer: Lord, help the church be more like You and help me to seek You more to establish Your identity more in the church. Amen.

Biblical principles Christian Counseling

 

 

 

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killing the church

Covid is Killing the Church

 

Covid is killing the church.  I don’t mean that tons of people in the church are getting covid.  I mean the issue of covid is killing the church.  The secular narrative around covid is creating tension, division, and offense in church relationships, but what does the Bible say?

Because covid is a matter of life and death, which it is, then if someone takes a point of view that others disagree with, the devil’s scheme is to tempt us with the narrative that people either don’t care about those who have gotten covid or had loved ones who have passed away from it.  From the opposite side, people are tempted to think those who disagree with them are either idiots believing a false narrative or a victim of lies from our society.

The same is true about Black Lives Matter, the 2020 election,  and every other social issue burning up our television screens and social media accounts.  I want to look at what the Scripture says about this type of situation and how we should handle it as believers.  Let’s dig into the Word:

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.
Romans 14:1-10 (NIV)

Why are we judging our Christian brothers and sisters?

In this passage, Paul is dealing with a conflict that has come up between believers.  He is trying to keep the social issues of their day from killing the church.  Some believers are declaring that the church must worship on a particular day for it to be ‘right.’  And others do not believe it has to be on a certain day as long as when a person worships, they do it in the right spirit to God.  Some people were limiting their diet believing it was the ‘right’ thing to do for their faith.  Others were saying that God had made everything clean and a person could eat what they want so long as they gave thanks.  Does this sound familiar?  The different opinions of Christians’ believed methodology to honor Christ has always been a point of division.  The devil is an expert in finding issues to divide.  His greatest desire is killing the church.

The crazy Christian twitter world reveals cannibalistic Christianity.  We are eating our own because we disagree about this or that.  But what is Paul trying to teach us?

If people disagree with us, we can’t then lump them into a pile in our head of false teachers, false prophets, sinners, or pagans.  We need to understand their motive.  If their motive is that Christ be glorified, then let’s celebrate this and not judge them.  If you are a Christian republican and you think the term Christian democrat is an oxymoron or if you believe the opposite to be true, can we, at the very least admit that neither party operates in the purity Christ would desire.  The democratic party supports a women’s right to choose whether or not to keep a baby believing life begins at birth, not conception.  Yes, the Scripture says life actually begins before conception (Jeremiah 1:5) so to take a life after conception would displease God.  But on the Republican side, has anyone seen President Trump’s tweets that use words that do anything but build others up.  He calls names, makes fun, and can be downright nasty.  So, please, as Christians, can we accept the fact that neither political party represents Christ.

Political parties do not represent Christ, but God does call us to reflect Christ.  And Christ was full of grace and truth.  In the church right now, there is a temptation to put all our marbles into the truth or at least what we believe to be true, but we have forgotten about grace.

Paul goes on to call upon people to stop judging one another.  The word ‘judge’ here means to project a belief or thought on to someone who has not expressed this thought or idea and then condemn them as if it is true even though it is not.  This is what we are doing church.  Someone says they are democratic so then we assume they love abortion.  Another says they are republican and we assume they are racist.  This is absurd!  It is not Biblical and we are breaking God’s heart by treating one another like this.  We have forgotten about grace.

Paul says if someone believes something different, we first need to consider if they are attempting to glorify Christ though it might be a different method than we would use.  Could someone lean left politically, believing the government should help the poor and needy because this is what Christ would want?  YES!  THIS IS POSSIBLE!  Is it possible for someone to lean to the right, believing the government shouldn’t take from those who have in order to give to those who have not because they believe Christians and the church should be caring for the poor in the name of Christ instead of the government in the name of the state?  YES! THIS IS POSSIBLE!

Is it possible that a Christian is trying to honor God in the belief that everyone should be wearing masks as a way of loving their neighbor to honor Christ? YES!

Is it possible that a Christian is trying to honor God in the belief we should not let the government dictate how we worship because it is a slippery slope?  YES!

Both can be true!

Is it possible that a Christian is trying to honor God by taking a neighbor out for a good, fatty cheeseburger and fries? YES!

Is it possible that a Christian is trying to honor God by not eating what they believe to be unhealthy food?  YES!

Both can be true!

Is it possible that a Christian is trying to honor God by supporting Black Lives Matter to protest racism and police brutality? YES!

Is it possible that a Christian is trying to honor God by rejecting the Black Lives Matter organization because of their socialist agenda believing socialism historically has worked against freedom of religion? YES!

Both can be true!

When we try to force every believer to take the same side as us on every social issue, we are killing the church.  Some issues are a sin issue and we want to encourage them away from sin obviously.  If we believe covid is the worst pandemic we have ever known or if we believe it has been exaggerated, neither belief is sinful.  The important thing for each believer is to respond in a way that glorifies Christ based on what we believe is true.  The worst thing we can do is criticize and judge whose who see it differently.  We can’t keep killing the church.

The point is if a Christian brother or sister sees the world different from you, so long as they are convinced that their beliefs and actions are the best way to honor Christ, then we are not to judge them.  It doesn’t mean we can’t try to help them see another viewpoint and it doesn’t mean they will not change how they see the world at some point in their life.  But if we judge and dismiss brothers and sisters in Christ over social issues, the devil will ravish the church like a hungry wolf devours an innocent lamb.  We can agree to disagree in love without judgment and condemnation.  Let us love one another and give grace, buillding up the church to the full measure of Christ.  That’s way better than killing the church.

Leave your comments and let me know what you think.  Are we killing the church?

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 

 


guard your heart

Guard Your Heart

Do you believe God has a beautiful plan for your life?  If you don’t, you are denying Scripture and the very words of God.  He has said that He has a plan for your life and that plan is beyond comprehension filled with hope, purpose, and prosperity of the soul (Jeremiah 29:111 Corinthians 2:9-10Ephesians 2:10).  These bring meaning and enjoyment to life.  But how do we find this plan?  let’s consider this passage:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)  Read More

 


Walk in the LightWalk in the Light

The Bible says we are to walk in the light as He is in the light.  If you have been in church for any amount of time, you have heard the comparison of the things of God and light.  God is the Father of Lights (James 1:17).  He covers Himself in light (Psalm 104:2).  Jesus was the Light of the World (John 8:12).  His life is the light of men (John 1:4).  This analogy saturates Scripture, and this brings us to our Verse of the Day:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 (NIV)

What does it mean to walk in the light?…Read More

 


Enjoy the RideEnjoying the Ride

One of my favorite memories of my oldest son was during one of the worst times in our life. I remember that we had to buy an old Mustang.  I think we spent $500 at one of those car dealerships that you wondered if it was really a front for some other kind of devious activity, but we had no credit and we needed a car.  I was teaching and we had a brand new baby. We were young and too far away from family. We turned to our church for our family. We are still eternally grateful for Dave and Honey, Molly, and Mendy, Pastor Mike, and Bob Bolton.

I am not sure how we got it.  I think my parents gave it to our little boy for Christmas.  It was a tiny plastic roller coaster-type toy that we put together in the hallway of our tiny apartment in Waco, Texas.  It was made for 2-year-olds. We would put our son on this little yellow car and push him down the ten-foot track taking him…Read More

 


 

what if you won a million dollars

What if you won a million dollars?

 

I had a chance this past weekend to watch a fairly new game show called “The Wall.”  At the beginning the host announced the contestants had a chance to win “$13 million on the wall.”  What if you won a million dollars?

This game actually reminds me of Bob Barker and the old Price is Right game called Plinko.  They drop a ball through a maze of pegs to be bounced around as it descends, finally reaching a number from $1 to $1M.  

I watched a father/daughter team play and they won over $800K.  Of course, they went crazy jumping up and down hugging the host of the show.  Of course the crowd also went nuts.  And I have to admit, I was fired up for them.  What if you won a million dollars?  Would you jump up and down?  Would you quit your job?  Would you do nothing?  What would you do?

In a strange statement the Bible says that money is the answer for everything (Ecclesiastes 10:19).  It is not that money will solve all of your problems, but money is required for every earthly blessing.  It was God who gave us the ability to produce wealth in order to confirm His covenant (Deuteronomy 8:18).  God wants us to be blessed from an earthly perspective as well as a spiritual one in order to send the message of God’s goodness to the world.  Don’t get the wrong idea.  It is not that God wants you to be rich or poor.  It is that God wants to provide for you in your context, but also give you enough extra to be a blessing to other people whether that is giving money to people in need or funding ministries and charity work.  

When the father-daughter team won this money, I wondered what they would do with the money and then thought about what I would do with the money.  I would pay off my mortgage.  I would pay off my son’s mortgage.  I would set money aside for my other two sons to buy a modest, but nice home.  I would give my tithe (10%) to my church.  None of these things would guarantee happiness, but these would relieve some financial pressure.  It could mean the ability to pursue more Godly endeavors without the need to earn money.  It would give me the joy of giving to my children and possibly grandchildren.  But here is the Biblical kicker:

 

I rejoice in following your statutes

as one rejoices in great riches.

Psalms 119:14 (NIV)

 

The psalmist is clearly teaching us that following Biblical principles should be celebrated in the same way that someone might win a million dollars.  We can ask what if you win a million dollars, but we can also ask what if you lived in the principles of Scripture?  Even if you were to win a million dollars, unless you follow the principles laid out in Scripture, the money would only become a curse creating more temptation and more stress.  But when we follow the Scriptures completely, this lifestyle will ensure that we remain in the favor of God that He would supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).  He will bless you to relieve the pressure in your life, including financial pressure, by managing our money according to Biblical principles.  He will give you wisdom that you will leave an inheritance for your children and grandchildren (Proverbs 13:22).

Now, neither you nor I will probably ever be on that gameshow.  We can ask what if we won a million dollars, but what are the chances?  And I have since seen many who were on the show who won nothing.  There is on guarantee.  We might win or we might lose.  But in Biblical principle, there is no chance of losing.  When we follow God’s principles in our life, especially with money, He will never back down from keeping His covenant.  Besides, how many who have won a million dollars lost it all quickly after winning?  Living God’s way protects us from losing big.

 

What are these principles:

  • Giving to God – the Bible says if we are faithful to give to God generously, He will bless us financially (Proverbs 3:9-10).
  • Generosity – When we give to the poor, God promises to repay us for this (Proverbs 19:17)
  • Hard Work – the Bible says if we don’t work, we don’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
  • Avoid get rich schemes – the Bible warns against gaining wealth hastily (Proverbs 13:11)
  • Use your money to help others – The Bible lists this as a sign of genuine faith in Christ (Romans 12:13)

 

There is no risk in these behaviors.  Not only will these help us to never drift away from the Lord, but these will release your blessings from Heaven in a greater way than any game show.  What if you won a million dollars?  It could be nice and you could do a lot, but what are the chances.  Stand in a line for hours hoping to get on a gameshow, waste money on lottery tickets every day, or live according to God’s Biblical principles?  Only one of these is a sure thing.  It is better to live in the abundance of God’s provision.

Leave me a comment with your thoughts about money in the Christian walk.

 

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 


Need More Money?

Did you watch the Super Bowl?  I graduated and played a little football at Texas Tech so I was very interested to watch Patrick Mahomes since he played at Texas Tech as well.  If you don’t know, he plays for the Chiefs and they won. Also, you may not know that the Kansas City Chiefs were originally the Dallas Texans, the original Dallas Cowboys if you will :).  So for a Texas boy like myself, I figure the Superbowl made both Texas Tech and the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl champions. As a Cowboys fan, I am well aware that this might be as close as we get, of course, we do have a new coach…

Anyway, Mahomes is rumored to sign a record-breaking contract of more than $200M over 5 or so years. He’s 24 years old in case you’re wondering.  That’s a lot of moula! But what if you can’t run like a gazelle or make circus-crazy passes like Mahomes? What do you do then? And that brings us to the Verse of the Day…Read More

 

 


Modern Biblical Woman

The Modern Biblical Woman

What does the modern Biblical woman look like? The month of May is the month for Moms and women.  For decades, the perfect woman was  submissive wife,  relegated to keeping their mouth shut, operating in absolute obedience to their husband, having no opinion and no say in family matters.  But this picture of a perfect wife is so far from Biblical truth.  Yes, a wife is called to be submissive to their husbands, but even that has been wrongly taught in the churches.  I wanted to take a minute and go back in time, 2500 years back in time, to analyze what was believed to be the perfect wife, the modern Biblical woman…Read More

 


God's Backward Economy

God’s Backward Economy

As Americans, we have all been brought up in the environment of what we call “The American Dream.”  The idea of the American Dream is that we can do anything we want. America offers opportunities that other economies do not offer.  Upward mobility is possible for those who want to work and go after it. There are many things about The American Dream that are very good.  It is good that people have opportunities to change their life for the better with some hard work, opportunity, and ingenuity. However, the negative side of The American Dream is that it has produced a consumer mentality.  The American mind tends to operate out of the belief that if we want something, we just need to go after it. This mindset has made us focused on what we want and need and we spend most of our energy trying to fulfill our own needs and desires.  But God offers a backward economy…Read More

 


 

Walk in the Light

Walk in the Light

The Bible says we are to walk in the light as He is in the light.  If you have been in church for any amount of time, you have heard the comparison of the things of God and light.  God is the Father of Lights (James 1:17).  He covers Himself in light (Psalm 104:2).  Jesus was the Light of the World (John 8:12).  His life is the light of men (John 1:4).  This analogy saturates Scripture, and this brings us to our Verse of the Day:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 (NIV)

What does it mean to walk in the light?  The imagery is weighty throughout the Word of God and it embodies our calling as Christians.  Walk in the light as He is in the light commands our Father in Heaven.  The entire lifestyle and behavior reflecting faith in Christ is embodied in this one word: light.

Let’s go through the different aspects of life that should steer our thoughts and behavior.  First, light is holiness.  Holiness is not something that we can do.  We tend to think of holiness as behavior, but behavior is something we have control over.  But it is the Lord who makes man holy (Hebrews 2:11) so it is out of our control.  When we choose to obey the commands of God, this is consecration.  We consecrate ourselves the best we can.  This is our attempt to honor the Lord with our life.  God’s response is heart transformation or holiness.  He purifies our heart (Psalm 51:10) and makes us holy when we have displayed our desire to honor Him with the consecration of our life.  Light then encapsulates both of these.  Light is our consecration and His transforming touch upon our hearts that removes our desires and passions for the things of the flesh and fills us with a greater desire to honor Him.

The process of holiness is more however than simple obedience.  How do we know how to act, how to think in consecration?  The Apostle Paul remarked that he only understood that he was not to covet because the law said, “Do not covet” (Romans 7:7).  The Word of God then teaches how to consecrate ourselves that we might be made holy.  This is why we also see the Word of God depicted as light in the psalms.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Psalms 119:105 (NIV)

The Word of God however is spiritual.  It is unlike any other book.  It is the breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16).  Jesus often said that those who have ears, let them hear.  What He meant was that not everyone had in their spirit an ability to grasp the monumental truths of Scripture and accept them.  The Bible is only understood by the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth (John 16:13), which is the Word of God (John 17:17) who is Jesus (John 1:1-14), who is the Truth (John 14:6). When we only read the Bible, study it without the Holy Spirit, we are merely reading the stories of God.  We are learning about God, but the Holy Spirit brings revelation to our heart about the heart of God.  It is the difference between reading a biography of someone and actually being close friends with that same person.  The first is good but so insufficient.  The latter is a deep connection.  We can’t live in the Light without the Holy Spirit.  We can’t live in the Light without the Truth.  We can’t live in the Light without the Word of God.  But there is one more.

The Scripture, the truth, the Light is taught by the Holy Spirit through people, the Body of Christ.  The Bible says that faith comes by hearing as someone else preaches (Romans 10:17).  And it is the Holy Spirit that gives some the gift of preaching also gives others the gift of teaching (1 Corinthians 12:28) that we might learn.  We cannot walk in the Light, Jesus, Truth without also being part of the Body of Christ which is the church.  Going to church doesn’t make us part of the Body of Christ.  Being involved in Christian work, learning, and serving is the key.

These are all components of walking in the light.  None are disposable.  Now, let us walk in the light as He is in the light.

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 

Read more about living a holy life

10 Steps to Live in the Abundant Life God Has For You

Marriage Workbook dealing with arguing

How to overcome a painful past

Why do You go to Church?

 

Why do we go to church?  Do you go because your Momma makes you go?  Do you go out of obligation?  Do you go to see friends?  Do you want to hear a good sermon?  Why do you go to church?  Do you sing?  Do you sleep?  Do you snore?  Why do you go to church?  And that brings me to our Verse of the Day:

 

But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?

2 Chronicles 2:6 (ESV)

 

Solomon reminds us of why God allowed man to build a temple.  The purpose was simply to make offerings before the Lord.  There are many different reasons we give for going to church, but the one reason that comes from the Lord is that church is a place where we make offerings to Him.

If we come to church and do not make offerings, what is the point?  Offerings in the Old Testament were symbolic of repentance, praise, worship, and supplication.  This is what should be happening in church.  This is what should be happening in us when we go to church.  When you are in church, there must be repentance.  It is to take time to note where there needs to be a move away from sinful thought, action, attitude, or words and confess these to God with a commitment to turn away from these things.

There should be praise.  Praise is just that-expressing the goodness of God.  It is to declare His love, His power, His authority, His position.  Praise is more than acknowledging who God is, but expressing our admiration and appreciation for who He is.  It is to exalt His name above all names.  We do not do this so that He will understand how wonderful He is.  Praise is taking time to remind ourselves of how wonderful He is.  Praise is thankfulness and appreciation for all He is and all He has done.

There should be worship.  To worship is to humble ourselves in homage and reverence to the Lord.  We praise Him to remind us how wonderful He is, but we cannot sincerely praise Him without first humbling ourselves before Him.  Worship is to declare him to be God and we to be His servant.  We cannot enter into the Presence of God without humility.  If we attempt to come into the presence of God in pride, He will humble us with discipline.  If we humble ourselves, He will exalt us and bestow His honor upon us (Proverbs 29:23).

There should be supplication.  Because we recognize that He is God.  And because we remember that He is good and desires good in our life, we can cast our cares upon Him in prayer.  When we come to church, we pray and ask the Lord to help us in our time of need.  We stand in the gap for others who need the strength of God’s mighty hand.

Why do you go to church?  Are you doing these things when you get there or are you watching your clock, judging the quality of the music, the entertainment factor of the message?  God has called us to His temple, to His church building for the purpose of making offerings to Him.  The music helps us praise and worship.  The prayers are our supplication.  And the message disciplines us as His servants.  But we have to get our mind ready for these things.  To neglect the purpose of going to church will leave us very religious and very empty.

 

Leave me a comment.  Do you think Christians come to the church with the right spirit?  Do you?

 

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 

 

PS: Be sure to subscribe and I will send you “10 Principles for Living in God’s Abundant Plan for Your Life.”

Maundy Thursday Jesus Washes Feet

Maundy Thursday of Holy Week – Jesus Washes Feet

We call it Maundy Thursday.  Maundy is Latin for ‘mandate.’  On Maundy Thursday, Jesus met with His disciples for the last time before He is crucified.  And He mandated that they wash one another’s feet just as He has washed their feet.  

Thursday was jam-packed.  The Passover meal, washing of feet, drops of blood, and Judas’ kiss.  

Jesus took the circular flatbread and began to tear it into pieces and pass it out to His disciples.  “This is my body, broken for you.” He poured the wine, “This is the blood of the New Covenant.” His impending sacrifice on the cross would be for the cleansing of sin, washing us whiter than snow.  The filth of our soul would be wet and wiped away as if it had never been there. Cleansing came as they ate the bread and drank the wine. Perhaps, it brought back to their memory His words:

 

John 6:53-58

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (NIV)

 

The cleansing effect of His death could only be fully experienced if we should apply His death to our own life. As food nourishes the body, His death brings life to our soul.  His death was the atonement sacrifice for all sin so that whosoever believes might have eternal life (John 3:16). It was a general cleansing for the human race. Then Jesus goes deeper.

Pushing away from the table, Jesus stands and removes His outer clothing, placing a cloth around His waist.  He kneels and begins to wash the feet of the disciples. The stench of sweaty feet in leather sandals hung in His nostrils, He dipped His hands into the water, pressing the water against the dirt stuck on their flesh.  Using His hands, He wiped the dirt and mud down their feet into the water, then drying them with His towel.  

Peter objected.  Jesus said it was a must.  “Wash my whole body then,” Peter replied.  Jesus explained that those whose body was cleaned needed only to wash their feet.  Salvation had cleaned their body, but it was sanctification that would wipe the sludge from their feet.  Jesus gave them the bread and wine and they drank for themselves. He did not tell them to feed each other or put the cup up to one another’s lips, but Jesus mandated on this Maundy Thursday that they wash one another’s feet.

Salvation is individual.  It is between a man and His God.  You can not give me salvation nor can I give it to you.  It is a gift from God that each of us must accept on our own.  But the cleansing, washing with the Word of God (Ephesians 5:25-28) is a deep cleansing that we all take part in.  Christ has washed us clean, but then there is a deeper cleansing. It is the imputed righteousness growing to imparted righteousness.  The body, each anointed by the Spirit to help one another grow and mature, wash one another’s feet, to be made holy. The water is the Spirit, and we are mandated each to apply the Spirit to one another through the Word for encouraging, teaching, exhorting, spurring, inspiring, bearing, lifting, and cleansing.  Not by our power, but His power in our hands pressed against one another’s flesh.

How important then is the church? This is what Maundy Thursday is all about.  To be involved, connected to the body leads us to a deeper place with God.  This cleansing brings the full measure of God’s goodness (Ephesians 4:11-13). 

Sure, we can worship on our own.  We can sing and shout as we drive down the road.  Worship flows from us in the natural beauty of our walks in the garden and hikes along the peaks.  But we still need the church. And who wasn’t connected to the body? Judas.

The agony of prayer interrupted by a betrayer’s kiss.  The kiss of the disconnected is lukewarm betrayal.  

When we disconnect from the church, growth becomes more difficult with less momentum.  We do not stop believing, but we allow distance. We kiss His cheek but He is not our God.  Lips to His flesh, not for adoration, but money. The slime remains and thickens. Judas, who once shared the glorious power of delivering demons to the glory of God, is now filled Himself by the chief demon to dishonor God.  He had allowed himself to disconnect emotionally dismissing the teaching moments. Politely agreeing with Peter, James, and John secretly calling them a fool’s fool.  

We must never be content with salvation alone, but continue growing in our sanctification.  Never let your feet stay dirty and never forget that our feet are washed by others in the church.

Maundy Thursday is a time to consider the mandate of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  What about you?  Are you connected to the church?  Do you allow others to speak the Word of God and the Holy Spirit into your life or have you drifted away?  Are you active in the church applying the water of the Word and Spirit to others? Do you find your self sitting in church, off to yourself, not washing nor being washed?

Leave me a comment about how another believer helped you grow in your faith or how you helped another grow in their faith.

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 

 

Read all Holy Week Devotions


 

 

You Can't Do It All By Yourself.

You Can’t Do It By Yourself!

Ok, so I am going to get a little bit theological with you today.  In Christianity, The Trinity is a core part of our doctrine. The word ‘trinity’ is never used in the Bible.  We get this doctrine inferring from other passages of Scripture. For example, the following passage are the words of God speaking before there were any others.  And God speaks to Himself in the plural.

 

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 

This is before there is anything else or anyone else in Creation to talk to.  God is speaking of Himself in the plural. He is one God, but with His Oneness, there is plurality.

Of course we know the plurality of God’s oneness includes Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Each entity can stand alone as God, but each entity is part of the other. The Trinity doctrine is exhaustive, but I am just giving you the lite version :).  What I want you to see is that God, by Himself, is a community. Each entity exists with their own position, power, and place. Each loves the other. They all work together never contradicting one another.  Our singular God exists within Himself as a community.  

This is why God said it was not good for man to be alone.  God is a community and we have been made in His image so we need community.  We crave community. We need to love and be loved. We need to serve and be served.  We need to give and receive. We need to help and be helped. We need these because when we receive love in any form from someone, we feel loved.  When that someone represents the Lord, then it helps us to believe God loves us. And should we never understand the love God has for us, we would never turn to Him.  But we also need to love others. Loving other people produces spiritual growth. When we are trying to love other people, they may return that love which is great for us because it helps us to feel loved.  But there will be times when you are trying to love someone but that someone is constantly doing things to push you away. They do not accept our kindness, but instead go out and do things that hurt themselves many times hurting us in the process.  And God says, “Aha! Now you know how much love it takes to keep loving someone who mistreats you and that is what I do every single day.”

To obey the Lord and keep loving and keep forgiving while being betrayed and hurt requires us to spend time in the presence of the Lord so we can receive this strong love (agape) that we can then give to others as we have received from the Lord.  All of this produces spiritual growth.

Well, I waited to the end to share with you the Verse of the Day, but if you think you can do life all by yourself, you are wrong.  God has designed the world and allowed enough stress to make sure we can’t do it on our own and stay sane. We need good friends. And we need to be good friends.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t let your sense of responsibility overwhelm you into believing that if you need help, you are somehow weak. This is not true.  To be all we can be, we need the Lord, but then we also need community. And if you think you don’t, the Lord will allow a situation where you do. Well, here is your Verse of the Day:

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their labor:

If either of them falls down,

one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 

Do you try to do everything on your own?  Are you good at asking for help? Is it hard for you? If you struggle asking people for help when you need it, do you struggle asking the Lord for help?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net