Prophecy From The Lips Of A Murderer?

“Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation.”  (John 11:51)

This scripture give us yet another example of how God can use ungodly men in positions of authority as He will for His ultimate purposes: Continue reading

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“Your Spiritual Fitbit” — The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12 sermon)

Well, our family is officially a part of the “Fitbit” craze. Many of you know what I am talking about. Cheryl got me this Fitbit watch for Christmas, and it keeps track of how many steps you take every day — most people’s goal is to try to get 10,000 steps a day (unless you’re Bradley Kirkley, who likes to make you look bad by getting double of what everyone else gets, but I digress …). So it keeps track of how many steps you are getting in walking, and running, or whatever exercise you are doing — but it also does more than that. It keeps track of a whole scope of things which affect your physical health: it counts your steps, the number of stairs you have taken up & down, how many minutes you have been active during the day, and how often you have been exercising — in fact it will “buzz” you with a reminder if you have been sitting down too long, and tell you to get up and get 250 steps to keep your metabolism going. It tracks your heart rate, and if you wear it to bed, it will even tell you how much sleep you aren’t getting! It feeds all this information to your computer, so you can go to your Fitbit app page, and see right there on one page, all these elements of your physical health: exercise, heart rate, sleep, miles walked, minutes you’ve been active, how much water you’ve drunk (if you punch that in), current weight and how much you’ve gained or lost — so right there on one page, you get a pretty good one-page “snapshot summary” of your physical health.

But what many people do not realize is that a “snapshot summary” is basically what we find in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12, at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. You KNOW that the words that open this sermon must be of utmost importance — these are the FIRST words of His FIRST sermon in the FIRST book of the New Testament — you KNOW that because this is such a strategic place, that what Jesus is saying here is something very, very important for us. Continue reading

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Losing Your “Place” For Jesus

“If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both OUR PLACE and OUR NATION.” (John 11:49)

Why did not the chief priests and the Pharisees follow Jesus, in light of the amazing reports they had just received about Him raising Lazarus from the dead? (:46) Here we find the reason: they said they were afraid of losing “their place” — as leaders of the Jews, as the Council that led the people, and their own individual places as spiritual leaders. They also did not want to endanger the sovereignty of “their nation”, which they were afraid would suffer in the Roman reprisals for the uprising they expected with the coming of a Messiah. There was much for them to lose if they followed Jesus.

This is actually the basic “stumbling stone” to following Jesus for many people today: Continue reading

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The Dual Purpose of Public Prayer

“I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” (John 11:42)

There are some people who refuse to pray in public, because of the warning Jesus gave in Matthew 6 against praying on street corners in order to be seen by men. But although perhaps from sincere motives, these misgivings are not right. There is a place for sincere public prayer — and Jesus modeled it for us here. Continue reading

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Belief & Glory

“Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?'” (John 11:40)

These words of Jesus, spoken to Martha before He raised Lazarus from the dead, could well have been spoken to each of us, in our own personal situations. It is such an amazing promise; it should be one of our most quoted, and most referenced verses, in all the word of God. This is what it is all about: “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” Continue reading

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The Model Prayer & Praying For Your Child’s Future Spouse

“Pray then in this way …” (Matthew 6:9)

Our son Paul wrote a sweet post on Facebook for Fathers Day, quoting an outline of a prayer I used (and still use) to pray for his future spouse, based on the Lord’s Prayer. The prayer Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13 is really a Model Prayer, outlining 6 kinds of requests that God wants us to talk with Him about when we pray. It is undoubtedly THE best outline for prayer, since Jesus Himself gave it to us. I use it as an outline for my general prayers daily. You can see an example of how this works in my message on the Model Prayer here.

But the Model Prayer is also a wonderful outline to use to pray for a specific prayer request you may have.  For example, one of the requests for which I have used the Model Prayer a number of times is our son Paul and his desire for a marriage partner. Continue reading

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“The King & The Disciples” (Matthew 5:1-2 sermon)

I have never in my lifetime seen the kind of vindictiveness expressed towards a president as we have seen evidenced towards President Trump: the hatred, lack of submission, people saying “He’s not my President”, etc. I was not a big fan President Obama, but the Bible teaches us that we are to respect governing authorities, so I never called him “Obummer”, or some of those other derogatory names, or say that he wasn’t my President. The truth is, that the men who are duly elected, ARE our  President, whether we like it or not. It is our choice whether we will love them, pray for them, and cooperate with them.

And it is the same with Jesus Christ. We saw last week that He is the King of the Universe. That is a fact. HE IS KING, whether you like it or not; but it is your choice whether you will accept Him here on earth, and cooperate with Him. Those who choose to believe in Him, and cooperate with Him, are called His “disciples.” And these first verses of Matthew 5 tell us something about the relationship of the King and His disciples. Continue reading

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