Wednesday, December 29, 2010


     I sit and listen to various newscasts and hear the words of those who want to make sure they are not offensive in any way to anyone.  A journalistic council member, one who helps set standards for the printed media, has said we should no longer call those here unlawfully illegal immigrants, but undocumented immigrants.  The fact of the matter is they are here illegally so why not just call them what they are?!
     The same standard has been applied to those who practice homosexuality.  If we say anything at all against that lifestyle we will be called homophobes, or bigots, or narrow minded, or worse.  However if they say something it seems to be okay.  So what would Jesus say?
     In Romans 1:28, those who practice homosexuality have been given over to a depraved mind, since they choose to do things not proper.  If one looks up the word 'depraved' in the dictionary, it will carry a definition of one who practices perverse things.  But we dare not call them perverted.  Yet who is it that practices perverse things but those who are perverted?
     Why this becomes important is that we believe the Bible is God's inspired word and is therefore, inerrant.  If we truly believe this then we must conclude that God has called these people depraved, or perverted.  However the world in which we live no longer wants to acknowledge such.  This includes so-called Christians who have clearly said they see nothing morally wrong with the homosexual lifestyle.
     Just because one goes to church every Sunday doesn't mean we are faithful to God.  When Jesus met the woman at the well, He told her the one she was with was not her husband.  She acknowledges this.  Most see this as Jesus being non-judgmental.  Jesus also said to the woman caught in adultery He would not condemn her.  This lack of condemnation stems from the fact those who had caught her in the act, so they say, did not bring the man who should have been caught with her.  Jesus then told those who were going to stone her, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (Jn. 8:7)  The one who should have cast the first stone may well be the one caught in adultery, and yet would have to be knowledgeable of his sin and the law.  Yet people refuse to acknowledge the words of Jesus to this woman when He said, "Go your way and sin no more." (Jn. 8:11) 
     Jesus did not tolerate sin but He did uphold the Law thus again living life perfectly while showing God's mercy and justness.  Jesus would call any ungodly conduct sin, and man must do the same.  We can't love people with the love of the Lord and not stand against sinful conduct.  Jesus would love the homosexual but He would also demand a departure from the sinful, and yes, perverted, lifestyle.  I wonder if people today would dare call Jesus a homophobe, or try to charge him with a hate crime if He spoke out against sin?  Just because people call us names doesn't make it so, and as the church we must reach out to the lost.
     To be a mirror image of Jesus is to recognize we live in a sinful world, and also to recognize we must hate sin while loving the sinner, regardless of what the sin may be.  Rodger 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


     Jesus was asked by James and John if He would give them what they asked for, and when they revealed the desire of their heart, Jesus replied it was not His to give. (Mk. 10:35ff)   Also in the context of this discussion, Jesus tells His disciples those who seek to be first shall be last, and those who look to be the greatest among men, shall be the servant of all.  This is said to prepare the disciples for their work, for their authority will not be as the authority of the gentiles.
     In our lives today we must prepare for service in the Lord's kingdom.  Instead of looking to see how great we can become, we are to set our hearts on becoming servants.  A servant is not looked upon very highly in worldly circles, for they are often seen as inferior to others without much hope of improvement.  But Jesus has changed all that.  
     In the closing words of this discourse with the disciples, Jesus looked to His own purpose for being among men, with His death still in the future.  Jesus simply said He did not, "come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mk. 10:45)  How was this to be done?  Through the many acts of compassion Jesus showed to man, and the love He showed to man.  This enabled man to see the true heart of God through the Son.
     Jesus did not seek His own glory, but to glorify the Father.  He did not seek riches or fame, but gave Himself to the needs of man, ultimately as a sacrifice for the sins of man.  Who is that we imitate today?  Do we act more like James and John seeking what is good for us, or a favored position in glory?  Or do we imitate the heart of Jesus that says I am not here to be served, but to serve. 
     It is sometimes difficult to get people out of their comfort areas to do the Lord's work, but if we are in the kingdom we are to be workers in His vineyard.  Jesus left His home in glory in order to teach us about God and to let us see God in His life.  Are we willing to sacrifice comfort to do the Lord's work, and do it as servants willingly, so that God may be seen in us?
     If we are going to be the mirror image of Christ, we should live as He lived, and we should serve as he served.  Now is the time to ready our hearts for the work needing to be done, and be prepared to enter 
into His service with joy so the reward of eternal life is given to the many we have the privilege of serving.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Child-Like Heart of Jesus

     During this time of the year much emphasis is given to Jesus as a babe laying in the manger.  Many people want to remember Jesus only as a infant for in this stage of life, they can enjoy His existence without having to focus on what He did as an adult.  I enjoy this time of year as well but more for the joy it brings to family members and not just a celebration of Jesus' birth.  This should be done everyday in connection with the life He lived, and the death He suffered for for each one of us.
     But I do want to focus now on His childhood.  Scripture doesn't give too much information, but what it says speaks volumes about our life and what is to be our mirror image of the Savior.  In Luke 2:40 we are told how Jesus kept increasing with wisdom, as He become stronger during the growth process from infancy to what would be almost adulthood for Jewish born sons.  It would be at the age of 12 that Jesus went into the temple, amazing those He conversed with in regard to His understanding of the Scriptures.
     When His parents saw Him in the temple they were astonished as well, desiring to know why He would treat them in such a way as to leave them without a word.  His answer drew an even deeper lack of understanding as Jesus said he must be about His Father's business, or as stated in the NASB, He had to be in His Father's house.  This obviously wasn't Joseph , but God.  Then we come to Luke 2:51.
     Though Jesus has acknowledged His divine origin, He goes down to Nazareth with His earthly parents and we are told He continued in subjection to them.  What a powerful statement.  The Son of God subjected Himself to the authority of His earthly parents.  This was done to show His obedience to God as well as to Joseph and Mary.  It was also to teach us how we are to live as children on this earth.
     What is greatly lacking in our society is the respect shown by Jesus to His parents.  There is a huge void in the hearts of our children today, and parents are largely responsible for creating it.  When children are not taught to respect others, including parents, a child will grow to despise everyone around him or her, and this will include themselves.  We have many unhappy children in our world who are desperate for direction and yet have not been shown the way they should go, for God has been largely removed from their lives.
     True happiness can only be found in a life that places God at the center.  This is true for all ages.  If we are not right with God we cannot find true happiness or contentment here on earth.  When Jesus put Himself into subjection to His parents, He was pleasing God in keeping the Law, commandment number five, but also was showing a true reverence for God, as well as respect for His parents.  He was able to live as a man and stay pleasing to God, for the Father was at the center of His life. (read Ex. 20:12; compare Col. 3:18ff; Eph. 5:22-6:4)
     May we always strive to be the mirror image of Jesus and have a child like heart that shows reverence to God and respect for our parents, or others who authority in life.  Then we will truly be a child of God.  Rodger

Friday, December 10, 2010

Yes, Lord I Believe

     Much is said in Scripture concerning the importance of faith, and truly believing in the power of God.  This is brought to our minds most vividly in John 11 as Jesus enters the village of Bethany.  While there Jesus receives word that Lazarus is sick, and proclaims this sickness is not unto death, but is for the glory of God.  Jesus then decides to spend two more days in Bethany before telling His disciples it is time to return to Judea.
     Jesus would speak of Lazarus falling asleep which means death, but He was going to awaken Him from this sleep.  When Jesus arrives back in Judea, Lazarus has been in the tomb four days, and many Jews from Jerusalem had gathered to comfort Mary and Martha.  Martha tells Jesus if He had been there Lazarus would still be alive, and Jesus comforts her with the words Lazarus would rise again.
       Jesus tells Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?" (Jn. 11:25,26)  Martha believes Jesus to be the Son of God and realizes the power and authority of Jesus.  Many of the Jews held through their traditions that if a person died the spirit would remain at least in close proximity to the deceased if not actually still within for three days.  Since Lazarus had been dead four days there would be no possibility of His being revived.
      Mary also laments the absence of Jesus, for like Martha, she tells Jesus if He had been there Lazarus would not have died, and many others of the Jews were saying the same thing.  Yet Jesus went to where Lazarus had been placed in a tomb, and raised him from the dead.  Thus God was glorified, and Jesus gave thanks to the Father so that those around Him would believe God had indeed sent Him.  Many did believe in Him following this miracle, which shows the authority of Jesus even over death.
     As for us today, do we really believe?  When the loss of a loved one causes grief to enter our lives do we still believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life?  Do we still believe that the deceased will live again through the glory of the Father?  Martha and Mary were looking to the presence of Jesus to prevent the death of their brother, but Jesus made it clear that even though He was absent at the time of Lazarus' passing He  still had the power over death.  We must still believe that today.
     While it is painful to experience the loss of loved one, we must not forget a more glorious life awaits us when time on this earth has come to a close.  Jesus was wanting those around Him to understand there is something more wonderful to come, and that should be our focus.  We cannot allow grief to cloud our belief that God is still in control and He still cares for us.  More importantly, we are not alone, God is still there to provide comfort as Jesus did to Martha and Mary.  I look forward to that great resurrection day to be realized in Christ.  May we never forget what Jesus has given to us as we boldly proclaim, "Yes Lord, I believe."  Rodger

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

                                  MY TEACHING IS NOT MINE
     Not even the brothers of Jesus believed in Him being the Son of God. (Jn. 7:5)  Yet Jesus did not spend His time in endless discussions with them but simply kept letting His words and works reveal His true identity.  In the midst of the Jews, who questioned His knowledge and its origin, Jesus simply said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me."  (Jn. 7:16)
     There is something significant in these words.  As I think about Jesus and the many things He taught, I could easily put aside where He came from and the origin of His teaching.  The Jews were not giving any thought to the words of Jesus that spoke of the divine authority of His teaching.  Regardless of whether or not these Jews wanted to accept Jesus as the Messiah was not the point.  The main point that went unheeded by the Jews is that the teachings of Jesus came from the very one whom they were trying to please.
     Jesus continually tried to get man to look beyond Himself to the glory and the authority of the heavenly Father, but many times people could not look beyond their own bias to actually allow what Jesus said to sink into their hearts and minds.  The Jews are no different than people of today.
     Most people have no problem with God's word until it begins to touch something very close to them, or actually begins to expose something about them.  When sins or errors in teaching begin to be addressed, we lose sight of the fact that the teachings we're dealing with came from God.  Jesus tried to get those of His day to see it, and still today, it is the faithful of God who are attacked when error is exposed.
     While it is true that Jesus is at the right hand of God and not walking the earth, it is also true that He gave to His apostles what they were to teach (Mt. 28:20), and those teachings began to be proclaimed on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:42)  From that time forward the Lord has called upon faithful men to uphold the authority of the word, helping the lost or erring to realize that the teachings we set forth are not from the minds of  men but from God.  Paul also affirmed this in his ministry. (Gal. 1:11,12)
     While it is true we are not apostles, we are to be faithful men, and the church is to be faithful in its service to God as well by upholding the authority of God's word.  If we are to be the mirror image of Christ, let us as Jesus, seek not our own glory, but truly seek to glorify our heavenly Father by boldly proclaiming His teachings.  Rodger

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Great Example and Pattern For Me

     I always like singing the song, "Where He Leads I'll Follow," for it reveals to us who is the true example for us to pattern our lives after.  Many like to talk about Paul, and what he meant to the early church, and the sufferings he endured for the cause of Christ.  But Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Be ye imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1)  Paul was not bringing attention to himself with these words but to the supreme example of Jesus. 
     Peter also looks to the example of Christ as he exhorts the brethren to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  Three times Peter looked back to the example of Jesus as He suffered in the flesh, and suffered unjustly.  As Peter speaks of the suffering endured by Jesus, he does so to impress upon his brothers and sisters in Christ the purpose of their calling is to suffer for doing what is right, and not merely suffering for deserved punishment if caught doing something wrong. (1 Pet. 2:19-25)
      Peter also uses the example of Christ to show to us where our source of strength is to be found.  While many may look to their own strengths, Christ always entrusted Himself to the Father. (1 Pet. 2:23)  If we are truly looking to Jesus as our example, we also should  entrust ourselves to a faithful Creator, our heavenly Father. (1 Pet. 4:19)
     Suffering is never joyful and we certainly don't want to suffer painful events, but there are times when we are called upon to do the right thing, we will suffer persecution in many ways.  The right we stand for is not according to worldly things but heavenly, and Peter told the brethren in so doing they will be maligned, as will we. (1 Pet. 4:4) 
     When we think of following the example of Christ it is usually in the way He loved and served people, and showed how much He cared for them.  This too, we should do, but always remember the suffering Jesus endured for us.  Shall we not as the mirror image of Christ be willing to do the same for Him?  Rodger

Friday, September 24, 2010

Our Wonderful State of Bliss

Like me, you probably grew up hearing the adage, "ignorance is bliss."  People still use that saying today.  Some use it thinking the less they know, the less they have to do or be responsible for.  Others use it falsely believing what you don't know won't hurt you. A popular place for people seeking a home is the wonderful State of Bliss.  After all, God wants us to be happy, and where could we be happier than in the State of Bliss.  In the spiritual application of this wonderful place, we understand there are two roads that lead to the State of Bliss where ignorance is the standard of living. 
The first road is traveled by those who never really come to know God.  Paul spoke about these people as he makes reference to his Jewish kinsman.  Paul states they had a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge. (Ro. 10:2)  Paul is a little more pointed in the inspired account recorded by Luke in Acts 17.  As Paul stood on Mars Hill he had encountered an altar with the inscription, "To an unknown god." (vs. 23)  He told those gathered around him that what they worshiped in ignorance, he would proclaim to them in truth. The second road of travel closely parallels the first as this road is used by those who know God, or at least knew Him,  and yet do not practice the truth. Paul warned the Ephesian brethren about this as he exhorted them not walk as the Gentiles walk, for this walk was one of futility based on the ignorance within them. (Eph. 4:17,18)  Paul was speaking to those who were Gentile by birth but makes a distinction between those who had previously come to a knowledge of the truth, and those who have not. 
To be sure, no one likes to be looked upon as ignorant.  So let's also be sure to understand Paul is not speaking of academic intellect.  For there are many intelligent people who have never been given a formal education.  But this knowledge, like the world of academia, is worldly.  What Paul speaks of concerning ignorance is a lack of godly knowledge.  Though we may learn many things in life as we live in this world, we were all at one time ignorant of God's truth.  The psalmist speaks of a time when he was senseless and ignorant, as a beast before the Lord.  Only the Lord's counsel could remove that senselessness and ignorance, and the psalmist was continually with the Lord. (Ps. 73:22-24) 
So man has been given a choice.  We can stay on those roads of ignorance, or we can choose a different road.  As we give ourselves to the teachings of Jesus, we learn not to be ignorant of the devil's schemes.(2 Cor. 2:11)  If there is sinful conduct taking place, the devil is behind it, and we must be aware of his schemes at all times. This giving of ourselves to the truth of God's word will lead us to be wise in godliness, thus able to silence the ignorance of foolish men, by living according to the will of God in relation to worldly leaders. 
Bliss is defined as,"complete happiness; Paradise, or Heaven." (Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary)  If people desire to live in ignorance, their state is not one of complete happiness but one of deception or delusion.   Those who truly know God long for Paradise, or Heaven, that "happy summerland of bliss."  As those who desire to be the mirror image of Christ, it is the latter place we should desire as our place of residence, that wonderful State of Bliss.  Rodger

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Know Whom I Have Believed

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "be imitators of me just as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1)  As we look to be the mirror image of God's glory in our daily walk, we must imitate Christ in our life.  This goes beyond just professing a love for people, it means to stand for God's truth at all times.  Jesus never compromised God's truth and we must look to that example, even when it means having to suffer for His name's sake.  Many today want to think they can teach what they want and people can practice what they want as long as they are sincere.  Since God is a loving God He will accept whatever they do or say.  But Jesus said, "For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak."  (Jn. 12:49)   As we think on these words we will get a better understanding of the words Paul wrote to Timothy, "For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." (2 Tim. 1:12)  In his imitation of Christ, Paul did not speak on his own initiative but what was given to him by the Father through Christ.  Paul spoke only the truth of God's word for he spoke only what was given to him.  Though he may have been ridiculed, or physically abused, he still was not ashamed of the gospel, for he knew whom he had believed.  When we refuse to stand for God's truth, we are not imitating Christ.  When we teach things which are not according to truth, we speak on our own initiative, and not according to the word of God.  I pray we will stand firm in God's truth and proclaim with Paul, "I know whom I have believed."  It matters not what man says, but what God has revealed, and I believe Him to be true.  I also know whatever I entrust to the Father based on His truth, He will guard or keep it, until the great day of judgment.  I will not fear man, for I have not been given a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (2 Tim. 1:8)  Instead I will unashamedly speak His truth and be an imitator of Christ, and in so doing, be the mirror image of His glory until he come again.  Rodger

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reflections of Glory

The purpose for this blog is to remind us of who and what we are supposed to be.  A recent study of 2 Corinthians 3 brought this more vividly to my attention.  When the church no longer reflects the glory of God,
we have allowed the darkness of the world to dim our light.  As Paul writes to the brethren in Corinth there was a need to teach them of the greater glory revealed to us.  Many in the world today want to hold up Moses as our hero and one we should look back to, and that the Ten commandments need to be restored.  This is directly against what Paul writes in this section of his letter.  While the glory of Moses was great, the glory of Christ is greater.   If we follow after the teachings of Moses we have allowed a veil to be placed over our heart so as to keep the greater glory from our life. The same can be said for any teachings not from God.  If a teaching is truly from God it is already recorded in His revealed word.  So what are we supposed to see when we look into the mirror of God's word?  Paul tells me I should see the glory Christ.  This glory reflects one who is walking according to truth, and is thus being transformed from the glory of Christ we reflect on earth to the eternal glory of heaven.  As brothers and sisters in Christ we are to be building one another up in the hope of this glory.  As we hold up the truth of God's word we should be shining the light of glory toward the world of darkness,  not dimming it by our refusal to be reflections of God's glory.   So then, let us live as a mirror image of our Savior.  Rodger