I Am

“And God said unto Moses,

I AM THAT I AM …

this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

                   Exodus 3: 14,15

Jesus said,

I AM-

“that bread of life …

the living bread which cometh down from heaven,

that a man may eat thereof, and not die.”

John 6:48,50

  • “O taste and see that the LORD is good:
  • blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalm 34:8

I AM-

“the light of the world:

he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,

but shall have the light of life.”

John 12:8

  • “While ye have light, believe in the light,
  • that ye may be the children of light …
  • For ye were sometimes darkness,
  • but now are ye light in the Lord;
  • walk as children of light;” John 12:36; Ephesians 5:8

I AM-

“the door of the sheep ..

by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,

and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

John 10:7,9

  • “For through him we both have access by one Spirit, unto the Father.
  • Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,
  • but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” Ephesians 2:18,19

I AM-

“the good shepherd:

the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep …

and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

John 10:11,14

  • “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
  • them also I must bring,
  • and thy shall hear my voice;
  • and there shall be one fold,
  • and one shepherd.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” John 10:16,17

I AM-

“the resurrection, and the life:

he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me

shall never die.

Believest thou this?”

John 11:25,26

  • ”O death, where is thy sting?
  • O grave, where is thy victory?
  • The sting of death is sin;
  • and the strength of sin is the law.
  • But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

I AM-

“the way …

  • “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children:
  • And walk in love,
  • as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Ephesians 5:1,2

… the truth …

  • “For the law was given by Moses,
  • but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ …
  • But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
  • for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
  • God is a Spirit;
  • and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 1:17;4:23,24

… the life …

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,

  • He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life,
  • and shall not come into condemnation:
  • but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24

… no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

I AM-

“the vine ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me, and I in him,

the same bringeth forth much fruit:

for without me ye can do nothing.”

John 15:5

  • “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me…
  • my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
  • Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:13,19,20

These seven statements of Christ reveal He is our everything, but one more “I Am” statement needs visited. We began in the book of Exodus and will end in Revelation when Jesus says,

I AM-

“Alpha and Omega,

the beginning and the ending,

saith the Lord,

which is, and which was, and which is to come,

the Almighty …

And behold, I come quickly,

and my reward is with me,

to give every man according as his work shall be.

I am Alpha and Omega,

the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”

Revelation 1:8;22:12,13

  • “Blessed are they that do his commandments,
  • that they may have right to the tree of life,
  • and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14

Praying together that-

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,

that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen …

even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

” Hebrews 13:20-21; Revelation 22:20,21

The True Vine

purple grapes
Photo by Luiz M. Santos on Pexels.com

“I am the true vine …

This week brings us to the last of the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus recorded by John. In the Old Testament, a few of the prophets referred to Israel as a choice vine – a vine given all it stood in need of to bear fruit. The care given to this vine should have produced fruit the gardener could brag about. Instead the prophet Isaiah wrote this vine produced wild grapes. Wild grapes are puny and sour, nothing to brag about. Isaiah wrote why the Lord, the gardener, would “lay waste” to this vine.

“For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,

and the men of Judah his pleasant plant:

and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression;

for righteousness, but behold a cry.”

Isaiah 5:7

In his faithfulness to himself and his word, the Lord God would not leave Israel in a fruitless state. He would plant the True Vine among them.

This week’s Passage:

Jesus said –

  • “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

  • I am the vine, ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered: and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be my disciples.

  • As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” John 15:1-9

As the vine is so shall the fruit be. In Jesus the true vine –

  • “Mercy and truth are met together;
  • righteousness and peace have kissed each other…
  • righteousness shall go before him;
  • and shall set us in the way of his steps.” Psalm 85:10,13

The Vine came filled with righteousness, mercy, and truth. The branches grow from him and then comes the Vine’s reward – the righteous fruit born of the branches. Hence the Gardener is glorified, the Vine is praised, and the branches fulfill their purpose. Next time we hope to take a closer look at the relationship between the vine and the branches.

The Way, The Truth, The Life

All praise, glory, and honor to Christ Jesus the living Son of God who said –

bloggratitude-1201944_960_720”I am the way,

the truth,

and the life;

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me.”  

John 14:6

The apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:2 –

“(For the life was manifested,

and we have seen it,

and bear witness,

and shew unto you that eternal life,

which was with the Father,

and was manifested unto us.)”

Our Prayer:

Our Father God, you have shown us who you are through your Son, Jesus Christ. He came and he showed us your glory and goodness. He has given us life – eternal life.

  • “For the Father judgeth no man,
  • but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
  • That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.
  • He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” John 5:22,23

Help us who have heard your word and received it into our hearts bear witness to the lost and dying of the Life. May we show them the Way to Life. May we speak the Truth concerning the Life. May we reflect the Life in us.

And to borrow from David Guzik in his commentary on John 14:6 remember when  –

“I don’t know where I’m going, Jesus is the way;

When I am confused and don’t know what to think, Jesus is the truth;

When I am dead inside and don’t know if I can go on, Jesus is the life.”

Jesus gives us this promise:

“Verily, Verily, I say unto you,

He that heareth my word,

and believeth on him that sent me,

hath everlasting life,

and shall not  come into condemnation;

but is passed from death unto life.”

John 5:24

May we today, and always honor Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, who has loved us and suffered our death, to give us life now and for all eternity. He has made it possible for us to know him, the great “I Am”.

Praising the Great I Am:

“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together …

Whom have I in heaven but thee?

And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee …

For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light …

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof:

for thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God

by thy blood

out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation;

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests:

and we shall reign on the earth …

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain

to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,

and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing …

Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power,

be unto him that sitteth on the throne,

and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

And the four beasts said, Amen.

And the four and twenty elders

fell down and worshipped him

that liveth for ever and ever.”  

Psalm 34:3; 73:25; 36:9; From Revelation 5:9-14

Jesus is the way – follow him.

Jesus is the truth – believe him.

Jesus is the life – receive him.

May we forever praise his name.

Jesus is the way – there is no other.

Jesus is the truth – hear him.

Jesus is the life – his victory over death is mine.

May we praise his name forever.

John’s Story of Life

lamb of God
picture courtesy of Pintrest

“Jesus saith unto him,

I am … the life …”

John’s Story:

My little children, I am old now. I have seen and heard much in my lifetime. But nothing compares to walking with, seeing, touching, and hearing Jesus Christ. It is him my heart yearns for you to know, and be assured he is Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died and is alive to live forevermore. He cannot die ever again and death could not keep him. For he is Life and the giver of life to all who receive his testimony.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me begin with –

“That which was from the beginning,

which we have heard,

which we have seen with our eyes,

which we have looked upon,

and our hands have handled,

of the Word of life …”

The beginning. I have to shake my head and smile when I think on this for with God there is no beginning and Jesus is God the Son. Beginning is for our benefit. We are governed by time. So, in the beginning of time the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit brought their life into their created work. And through the Holy Spirit leading me in truth about Jesus the Christ, I wrote –

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

Today, I write to you, my beloved children –

“This is he that came by water and blood,

even Jesus Christ;

not by water only, but by water and blood.

And it is the Spirit that beareth witness,

because the Spirit is truth.”

Think on these things with me and be astonished. Life generated life out of  nothing, breathed his breath of life into us, then after we messed up all that was good, he came as one of us – the Son of man. My friend, colleague, and brother in the Lord, Luke wrote much about Jesus, the Son of man. He, too, wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to read his account of the Son of man.

Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth born of a woman to bring his life back into those who would follow him. His journey came at a high cost. He tried to tell us, especially us 12, the cost, but we couldn’t understand. Maybe we wouldn’t let ourselves understand. Speaking for myself, I loved my Lord and couldn’t entertain the meaning behind his words as we celebrated that last Passover together. It was unlike any other.

“Jesus took the bread, and blessed it, and brake it,

and gave it to the disciples, and said,

Take, eat, this is my body.

And he took the cup, and gave thanks … saying,

Drink ye all of it;

For this is my blood of the new testament,

which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

He passed the cup to me. My heart clings to the love that filled his eyes as I received the cup from his hand – a hand to soon be pierced through with nails meant for me. At that instant I thought on his earlier teaching about drinking his blood and having eternal life. For it is also written –

“without shedding of blood there is no remission.”

Being a fisherman by trade I’m not trained in the law, but I do know enough to know a testament cannot be put into effect unless there is a death. No, I refused the thought. I couldn’t bear the pain in my spirit nor reflected in his face. Paul, my brother in the Lord, later would write –

“Being justified freely by his grace

through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation

through faith in his blood,

to declare his righteousness

for the remission of sins that are past,

through the forbearance of God;”

We all left Jesus that horrible night to face his trial and judgment – wait that is not right. He faced our trial and our judgment. That is why he was found guilty and put to death. I apologize if tears stain my writing, but he did that for me. Oh, how he loved me. And he loves me still.

I like the rest, was slow in believing the women’s report 3 days later. Grief had clouded my mind. But slowly his words began to make sense, and then there he was – alive, standing before us. After spending many days with us preparing us for his departure to the Father, we watched him go. But he left us with a promise –

“Let not your heart be troubled:

ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions:

if it were not so, I would have told you.

I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come again, and receive you unto myself;

that where I am, there ye may be also.”

 Many years later, my resurrected Lord visited me when no one else could. His visit wasn’t for me alone, but for you who are reading today. This last word is –

“from Jesus Christ,

who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead,

and the prince of the kings of the earth.

Unto him that loved us,

and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father:

to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he cometh with clouds;

and every eye shall see him,

and they also which pierced him:

and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.

Even so, Amen.

‘I am Alpha and Omega,

the beginning and the ending,

saith the Lord,

which is, and which was, and which is to come,

the Almighty.’”

You may already know all these things to be true, and you may not. But I am an old man and soon I will walk again with my Lord who loves me and whom I love. I could not leave this life without telling the story one more time.

For this I know –

“He that hath the Son hath life;

and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

These things have I written unto you

that believe on the name of the Son of God,

that ye may know that ye have eternal life,

and that ye may believe

on the name of the Son of God.”

By the way, I hope to see you one day and tell you of all the many other things my Lord did while on the earth.

Love one another,

John the Beloved Disciple


Scripture References: John 14:6; 1John 1:1; John 1:4; Matthew 26:-28; Hebrews 9:22; Romans 3:24,25; John 14:1-3; Revelation 1:5-8; 1John 5:12,13

Truth Stands

DSCF0183

Jesus told Pilate He came – “to bear witness to the truth…”

“And we know that the Son of God is come,

and hath given us an understanding,

that we may know him that is true,

and we are in him that is true,

even in his Son Jesus Christ.

This is the true God, and eternal life.”

1 John 5:20

The world we live in lives with a shortage of truth. Without the wisdom of God found in the knowledge of the Truth, we are prey to the lies floating through the air as it carries them to all who will receive them and be deceived. We are told the only real way to know the truth is to study it. Then the false becomes evident. As followers of Christ, who is the truth, we house the Holy Spirit in us that testifies to the truth. The early church experienced this knowledge first hand.

The Account (adapted from Acts 5:1-11)

“Look, we’re going to do this, Sapphira,” explained Ananias. “Who is going to know? After all, we are still being generous.”

Sapphira’s unsure smile and hesitant nod gave way to a sigh of resignation. Her husband was right. She watched him place the money for the sale of their property in two separate bags. One he tucked underneath his cloak safe inside his belt. The other he handed to her.

“Find a safe place for this while I take the rest to the disciples,” ordered Ananias.

“But where? We will need to leave our home and property. I don’t know where …”

Ananias huffed. “I don’t know. Make a pocket inside your cloak for it. We will figure that out later.” He shook his head and marched out the door.

Sapphira busied herself sewing a pocket to carry the only possession they had left – silver coins.

“Where could he be?” She asked aloud to no one. She paced in and out the door looking for her husband. She released a deep sigh. “I’m done waiting. I’ll go to the disciples and find out what has happened to Ananias. Maybe they sent him on an errand – or maybe he was robbed on the way?” Fear gripped her heart.

“Peter, I’ve come in search of my husband. Has he been here? He had an offering from the sale of our property.” Sapphira wrung her sweaty hands as she glanced around the room.

“Yes, Ananias was here,” answered Peter. “Tell me, did you really sell your land for this amount?”

Sapphira’s eyes grew large and her breathing rapid. “Yes, that is the amount.” A noise from behind her caused her to turn as some young men, dirty and tired-looking stepped inside the doorway.

As Peter challenged her, she turned to face him. “How is it you and Ananias agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?”

Sapphira licked her dry lips as she searched the room for help. But found none. The last words she heard came from Peter.

“The young men who just came in are the ones who buried your husband and now will carry you out.”

Sapphira immediately fell down at Peter’s feet and died. The young men carried her out and buried her by her husband. Did anyone retrieve the money they held so tightly to? We don’t know. The money was not the issue. It was the heart of those who had forsaken the truth.

  • “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue;
  • but in deed and in truth.
  • And hereby we know that we are of the truth,
  • and shall assure our hearts before him.
  • For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things …
  • When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it;
  • for he hath no pleasure in fools:
  • pay that which thou hast vowed.
  • Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
  • Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin …” 1 John 3:18-20; Ecclesiastes 5:4-6a

Ananias and Sapphira wanted to look like those who had a true heart to follow Jesus. Peter made it clear to Ananias he wasn’t lying to the disciples but to God the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth which came forth from Jesus Christ, who is the Truth. And he knows what is in our hearts.

Jesus confessed he came to bear witness of the truth. He has given us the same responsibility. We are called to bear witness to his image in us. For as God is holy we are to be holy. And Jesus, God the Son, is the Truth. We are witnesses of the Truth in a world dominated by the father of all lies, Satan, who was a liar and murderer from the beginning. The apostle Paul admonishes us –

“Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth …”

Ephesians 6:14a (NASB20)

Jesus is the Truth that holds all else together. His truth does not change with circumstances. Believing or not believing the truth does not change it. Truth stands. Do you?

Jesus, the Way

“Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way …

And the same time

there arose no small stir

about that way.”

John 14:6; Acts 19:23

My last post ended with the question, “How can we know the way?”

A Story Begins:

Thirty minutes turned into three hours. We breathed a sigh of relief as we reached the entrance ramp onto the interstate. Two ramps stood before us – one taking us to our destination the other in the opposite direction. A state trooper stood between the two. Our hopes began to fade as we watched him direct every vehicle to the ramp leading the wrong way. Ours received the same fate. The accident on the interstate blocked all eastbound traffic. Nine hours on the road and we would have to travel two hours in the wrong direction and another three on a winding mountain highway in the dark  before reaching our destination. In short, a seven hour drive took fourteen hours and three of it an unchartered route.

We thanked the Lord for putting us behind a truck that navigated the hairpin turns with ease and lighted the way ahead of us until we faced another choice. The truck took a turn we didn’t think we were supposed to take. Should we keep following or take the way we had been told?

In life we are offered two ways to travel –

“Enter ye in at the strait gate:

  • for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and

many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate,

  • and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and

few there be that find it.”

Matthew 7:13,14

Which way do we take? Broad or narrow? How do we know the way that leads to life? Jesus tells us he is the way. He tells us –

“If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross daily,

and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

Not many will choose Jesus’ narrow way – the way of the cross. Those following Jesus choose the way of the cross. That is the first place he leads us. It means death to our flesh’s inclination to please itself above all else.

“Know ye not,

that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ

were baptized into his death …

Knowing this,

that our old man is crucified with him,

that the body of sin might be destroyed,

that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Romans 6:3,6

The way of Jesus leads us to his cross – to the death of our sinful nature. That which is dead has no power to do or be right or wrong. The dead is dead. The way of the cross brings death to the flesh’s power to sin and opens the way of new life, a life of power over sin –

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:

that like as Christ was raised up from the dead

by the glory of the Father,

even so we also should walk in newness of life…

For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Now if we be dead with Christ,

we believe that we shall also live with him:”

Romans 6:4,7,8

Jesus’ way of the cross leads to a departure from the way of the world.

  • “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:
  • but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you…
  • These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.
  • In the world ye shall have tribulation:
  • but be of good cheer:
  • I have overcome the world.” John 15:19; 16:33

The way of the Jesus’ cross is the path to the throne of God.

“AND THEIR SINS AND INIQUITIES

WILL I REMEMBER NO MORE.

  • Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
  • Having therefore brethren boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
  • By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh …
  • Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…
  • Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
  • that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 10:17-20,22 ;4:16

If the way of Jesus’ cross ended our journey, we would be left without hope for anything better than the world’s way. The journey begins at the cross but is realized at the tomb. The way of the cross opens the door to the life promised to those who follow the Way, enter the Door, and receive the Life.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

which according to his abundant mercy

hath begotten us again unto a lively hope

by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

1 Peter 1:3

Ending the Story:

We chose to depart from the truck and trust the word of the trooper. When the lights of the conference center came into sight, with as much energy as we had left, we rejoiced. One day, after following the Way, we will enter through the Door to see the Light of the world and rejoice with exceeding great joy forever in his presence.

How will your story end?

Knowing the Way

blog fathers-day-822550_960_720“I’m going away.”

“You can’t come now.”

“Follow me.”

“But how can we follow when we can’t come with you? We don’t know the way nor where you’re going?”

Clouds of confusion casted shadows of sorrow over the perplexed disciples. None of the Lord’s words made sense.

Jesus explained –

  • “Let not your heart be troubled:
  • ye believe in God,
  • believe also in me.
  • In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.
  • I go to prepare a place for you.
  • And if I go and prepare a place for you. I will come again, and receive you unto myself:
  • that where I am, there ye may be also.
  • And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

I believe Thomas spoke the heart of all the others when he asked:

“Lord, we know not whither thou goest;

and how can we know the way?”

Thomas, so much like us, wanted to follow the Lord, wanted to understand, but he couldn’t quite grasp what Jesus was saying. Jesus answered –

“I am the way;

the truth;

and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father but by me.

If ye had known me,

ye should have known my Father also:

and from henceforth ye know him and have seen him.”

Now it’s Philip’s turn to try and get this straight. We have to appreciate Thomas’ and Philip’s confusion and willingness to ask the unspoken questions. For their confusion brings Jesus’ comments to light for us.

“Jesus saith unto him,

Have I been so long time with you and

yet hast thou not known me, Philip?

He that hath seen me hath seen the Father:

and how sayest thou, then,

Shew us the Father?

Believest thou not that I am in the Father,

and the Father in me?

the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself

but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me;

or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”

John 14:1-11.

  • Jesus had told his confused children where He was going – to his Father’s house.
  • He told them why – to prepare a place for them.
  • He even told them the way – he would come back and get them and take them to his Father’s house.

These men knew God but had not known him before as Father, even though many times Jesus explained this to them. He didn’t chide them for their confusion. Instead, he gave them himself – a picture from the inside out of the Father.

Thomas and Philip believed in God, but Jesus wanted them to believe God is his Father. That he is God the Son. He wanted them to understand he alone is the only way to the Father.

In a brief statement, Jesus is the way to the Father. Believing him is the first step to following the Way to the Father’s house.

In the next post, we will walk a little deeper into the way. How did you come to know the way to the Father? How would you explain the way to others?

Hopeful or Hopeless

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins.

Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ,

we are of all men most miserable.”

1 Corinthians 15:17-19

The scene repeats itself minute by minute. Someone takes the last breath of life on this earth. Death is no respecter of persons – young, old, male, and female; black or white – color doesn’t matter; saint or sinner. Death leaves someone grieving by a graveside.

That’s the sad news. But the happy news tells us life does not end be the graveside. In fact, no one is left in the grave. The only thing found there is the body that housed the person. The sad news – many die to face death eternally apart from God. They will remain in darkness and torment forever. The happy news – many leave their bodies behind to be with the Lord for evermore for He has told us –

“I am the resurrection, and the life:

he that believeth in me,

though he were dead, yet shall he live:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Believest thou this?”

John 11:25,26

Stories of hope:

Job sat covered in boils with no relief from the pain. Before his pain came heartache from the sudden loss of his children, and possessions. Now he sat in his misery listening to so-called friends as they judged him. And God’s remained silent to his cries. In lack of understanding, he bemoaned his Maker.

“He hath stripped me of my glory,

and taken the crown from my head.

He hath destroyed me on every side,

and I am gone:

and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.”

Job 19:10,11

When his friends judged him, his neighbors loathed him, and his loved ones left him, Job looked to the heavens and remembered the one thing that would bring him comfort. By faith, he speaks –

 “For I know that my redeemer liveth,

and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body,

yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Whom I shall see for myself,

and mine eyes shall behold, and not another,

though my reins be consumed within me.”

Job 19:25-27

As Job finds hope and comfort in knowing his Redeemer lives, we can know the same. He has not left us alone or without hope when we face the worst of life. He lives. Job knew it though he had not seen him. Thousands of years later, the disciples  walked with their Redeemer but were slow in believing His resurrection. To them and over 500 others Jesus –

“shewed himself alive after his passion

by many infallible proofs,

being seen of them forty days,

and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

Acts 1:3

Peter, the other disciples, Paul, and many others through the centuries have given their lives to proclaim the truth of the resurrection. They knew  without the resurrection, we have no hope and the grave is all that remains.

With eyes of faith, we can see our resurrected Redeemer today. For He lives. And God has –

“raised us up together,

and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 2:6.

One day our eyes of faith will turn to sight when our Lord, our Resurrection and Life comes for us –

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,

and with the voice of the archangel,

and with the trump of God:

and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain

shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,

to meet the Lord in the air:

and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

 And When we sit at the table with him –

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:

for the marriage of the Lamb is come…

Blessed are they which are called

unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Revelation 19:7,9

If this life is all there is, what’s our purpose? But praise God, we have a hope in life here and beyond for –

“now is Christ risen from the dead,

and become the firstfruits*

of them that slept.”

1Corinthians 15:20.

*[We are the fruits to come]

Having this knowledge Paul exhorts us to –

  • “Awake to righteousness,
  • and sin not;
  • for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:34

We who are followers of Christ, walk in the power of the resurrection and the life of Christ. The hope, the life, the power of the resurrection we have freely received, may we freely share with those “who have not the knowledge of God.”

This world offers band-aids of hope. Jesus offers a life of hope. Where do you put your hope?

The Sheep Praise the Shepherd

Please, stay with me as this post is a bit longer than normal. May you find it a blessing.

white sheep on farm
Photo by kailash kumar on Pexels.com

“The Lord is my shepherd …

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,

that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:

by whose stripes ye were healed.

For ye were as sheep going astray,

but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

1 Peter 2:24,25

I shall not want …

“But my God shall supply all your need

according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus …

He that spared not his own Son,

but delivered him up for us all,

how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

Philippians 4:19; Romans 8:32

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…

“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven,

and giveth life unto the world …

Therefore, being justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:

for they shall be filled.”

John 6:33; Romans 5:1; Matthew 5:6

He leadeth me beside the still waters…

“There is a river,

the streams thereof shall make glad the city of God,

the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved:

God shall help her, and that right early …

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,

proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb…

And the Spirit and the bride say, come.

And let him that heareth say, Come.

And let him that is athirst come.

And whosoever will,

let him take the water of life freely.”

Psalm 46:4,5; Revelation 22:1,17

He restoreth my soul…

“And you hath he quickened*,

who were dead in trespasses and sins…

But God, who is rich in mercy,

for the great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins,

hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.)

And hath raised us  together, and made us sit together

in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Ephesians 2:1,4-6 [*quickened = made alive]

He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake …

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,

he will guide you into all truth:

for he shall not speak of himself;

but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:

and he will shew you things to come.

He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

John 16:13,14

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me …

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed;

for I am thy God:

I will strengthen thee;

yea, I will help thee;

yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness…

O death, where is thy sting? 

O grave, where is thy victory?

The sting of death is sin;

and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God,

which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Isaiah 41:10; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…

“The meek shall eat and be satisfied:

they shall praise the LORD that seek him:

your heart shall live for ever …

Then Jesus said unto them,

Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,

and drink his blood ye have no life in you.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,

hath eternal life;

and I will raise him up  at the last day …

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:

and all the kindreds of the nations

shall worship before thee.

For the kingdom is the LORD’s’

and he is the governor among the nations.”

Psalm 22:26; John 6:53,54; Psalm 22:27,28

Thou anointest my head with oil…

“Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ,

and hath anointed us, is God;

Who hath also sealed us,

and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts …

And he that keepeth his commandments

dwelleth in him, and he in him.

And hereby we know that he abideth in us,

by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:21,22; 1 John 3:24

my cup runneth over…

“What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

I will take the cup of salvation,

and call upon the name of the LORD…

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;

who healeth all thy diseases;

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;

who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;

so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s…

But this man [Jesus] because he continueth ever,

hath an unchangeable priesthood.

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost

that come unto God by him,

seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Psalm 116: 13; Psalm 103:3-5; Hebrews 7:24,25

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life …

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness

and forbearance and longsuffering;

not knowing that the goodness of God

leadeth thee to repentance …

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing;

thou hast put off my sackcloth,

and girded me with gladness;

To the end that my glory

may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.

O LORD my God,

I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

Romans 2:4; Psalm 30:11,12

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting

upon them that fear him,

and his righteousness unto children’s children …

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves,

that we should not trust in ourselves,

but in God which raiseth the dead:

Who delivered us from so great a death,

and doth deliver:

in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;”

Psalm 103:17; 2 Corinthians 1:9,10

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23

“As for me,

I will behold thy face in righteousness:

I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness …

For we know that

if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,

we have a building of God,

an house not made with hands,

eternal in the heavens …

Beloved, now are we the sons of God,

and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:

but we know that,

when he shall appear,

we shall be like him;

for we shall see him as he is.”

2 Corinthians 5:1; Psalm 17:15;1 John 3:2


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Finale to the Sheep’s praise of the Shepherd

Reading music isn’t her forte but playing it is. The songs she sings and plays flow like a river from her soul to the keyboard and out of her mouth in a blessed range from low to high. When she sings to her Shepherd of Psalm 100, one might wonder if the keyboard will hold up as her fingers travel from one end to the other. Joy fills the air as the words ring out.

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the LORD with gladness:

come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that, the LORD he is God:

it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;

we are his people,

and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,

and into his courts with praise;

be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good;

his mercy is everlasting:

and his truth endureth to all generations.”

As I typed the words, music filled my heart with praise. I hope it blesses your heart, and as we enter his courts for worship, may we do so with thanksgiving and praise. Have a blessed weekend.

The Shepherd’s Sheep

In Monday’s post, The Shepherd and His Sheep, the prophet Ezekiel told us the Shepherd’s flock is made up of people. He searches for his scattered flock inflicted with sin.

DSCF4322“All we like sheep have gone astray:

we have turned every one to his own way …”

The Good Shepherd provides the cure as –

“the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:6

We were a motely flock the Lord Jesus gathered to himself and gave a life of righteousness.

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd:

he shall gather the lambs with his arm,

and carry them in his bosom,

and shall gently lead those that are with young …

I the LORD have called thee in righteousness,

and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee,

and give thee for a covenant of the people,

for a light of the Gentiles:”

Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 42:6

Saul’s Story.(adapted from Acts 9)

Saul determined in his heart to rid Jerusalem and all Judea of this new sect that declared the man Jesus as the Son of God. His face was as hard as his heart. One victim of his zeal haunted his mind, Stephen. No matter, he would hunt all these Jesus’ followers down, put them in prison, and even kill them if necessary. He tucked his letter of authority into his belt and rode with a fury towards Damascus.

He smiled as Damascus came into sight, but in that moment his horse halted. Saul fell to the ground engulfed in a light bright enough to blind him. A voice, all could hear, called out to him.

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

Not seeing anyone, Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?”

“I am Jesus. I am the one you are persecuting. You are fighting against me.”

Saul surrendered to the Lord that day, as the Lord gathered him in his arms, would take his hand, feed him his word, and make him one of his underling shepherds to take the gospel to the flock of the Gentile nations.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd began gathering his two flocks into one. In his words he tells us –

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep,

and am known of mine…

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:

them also I must bring,

and they shall hear my voice;

and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd …

My sheep hear my voice,

and I know them and they follow me …”

John 10:14,16,27

known of mine:

We can know Jesus by reading about him in God’s word, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, and by experiencing him in our lives.

“And we know that the Son of God is come,

and hath given us an understanding

that we may know him that is true,

and we are in him that is true,

even in his Son Jesus Christ.

This is the true God, and eternal life.”

1John 5:20

They shall hear my voice:

Not many today hear the audible voice of our Lord, but we have been given the account of his work, his words, and the indwelling Holy Spirit to speak truth to our hearts. When Pilate questioned Jesus, Jesus answered –

“Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,

that I should bear witness unto the truth.

Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice …

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,

that we are the children of God …

God… Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…”

John 18:37; Romans 8:16; Hebrews 1:2

They follow me:

Because we know Jesus, we hear his voice, and hearing implies we follow where he leads. He goes with us and before us. We trust he will feed us truth, carry us when we are weak, keep us, and lead us all the way home.

“And when he putteth forth his own sheep,

he goeth before them,

and the sheep follow him:

for they know his voice …

Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross,

and follow me.”

John 10:4;Matthew 16:24

There are still two folds, the goats and the sheep. At the end of time they will be divided. The sheep on the right will inherit the kingdom of God. The goats on the left will inherit the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (See Matthew 25:31-46)

The Lord did not create humans to cast them into hell, but to share in the fulness of his love. He still seeks the lost and scattered sheep.

May we respond as Saul did, “What wilt thou have me to do?”

The Good Shepherd continues to call for his sheep.

“And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying,

This is my beloved Son; hear him.”

Luke 9:35

Jesus is speaking. Will you hear and follow him?