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