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Matthew 10:33

In the past two weeks, I saw three men wearing Christian clothes.  The first man shook hands with a cop at a community event while wearing a shirt that said, “Jesus Freak.”  The second man chatted with others at a festival while wearing a shirt with Reese’s colors and design that said “Jesus.”  The third man put groceries on a conveyor belt at a natural food store while wearing a shirt that said, “Messiah.”

Jesus said that if someone disowns Him, He will disown them before God.  The word “will” is a promise.  Jesus takes promises seriously.

The men that wore Christian clothes publicly showed their love for Jesus by acknowledging Him.  I don’t know about you, but shopping for Christian clothes is sounding pretty good to me right now.

Psalm 34:18

Last Monday, my kids, Emily and Ethan, noticed tattoos on a cashier.  One tattoo especially caught Emily’s attention.  It said, “Psalm 34:18.”  She told the cashier, “I like your tattoo.”  Those kind words sparked an unexpected heartfelt story.  The cashier told us that three years ago she lost her 30-year-old son.  It was discovered that he died of an enlarged heart.  She pointed to her Psalm 34:18 tattoo, saying how that verse is about God being near to those who are brokenhearted.  She shared her frustration that there is a word for a woman or man who loses a spouse, and that there is a word for a child that loses their parent or parents, but there is no word for a parent who loses a child.  She said she believes there is no word for it because it’s not supposed to happen.  The cashier continued, saying that her son would do anything for her.  As she was talking, I was thinking that her son not only had a big heart physically, but also a big heart emotionally.  She shared that her son would get her a rose just because.  She explained that that’s why she has a rose tattoo.  She said how she misses her son and believes she’ll be with him again one day.

I’ve seen God’s Word shared in many ways, but never via a tattoo.  God is using that cashier to share His Word in a special way.

Ephesians 5:19-20

One morning last week, I heard our little neighbor girl, Makaiya, singing the tune of Row Your Boat.  She sounded so very happy.

Those that know Jesus should sing with thankful hearts to Him.  When we do, singing joyfully like Makaiya will probably make our Savior smile.

2 Chronicles 34-35

Today after church, my family stopped by a nearby Hy-Vee to get a few groceries we needed.  At checkout, my husband noticed that the clerk’s name was Josiah.  That got us thinking about Josiah of the Bible.  Maybe he was named after the Biblical Josiah.

King Josiah was eight years old when he became king.  At the age of 16, he sought God.  He got rid of idols, smashing them into powder.  At one point in his life, the king of Egypt, Neco, came and Josiah decided to fight him even though Neco didn’t want to fight him.  Neco wanted to fight someone else.  However, Neco asked Josiah not to oppose God.  Despite the warning, Josiah fought anyway, in disguise.  Then, arrows sailed through the air and fatally wounded Josiah.

We all make mistakes in life.  If only Josiah wasn’t itching for a fight.  Jerusalem could have enjoyed their beloved king longer.

 

 

 

1 Samuel 17:34-35, John 10:28

Last week at church, Bernie Hayes gave a sermon entitled, The Living God. http://noelridge.net/ He talked about how David, in 1 Samuel, took a sheep out of the mouth of a lion and bear.  I found that fascinating and revisited the Scripture later.  In the account, David said that if a bear or a lion picked off a sheep, he would chase it, hit it, and retrieve the sheep from its teeth.  When countered by either predator, he would grab its hair, strike it and slay it.  To follow through with the previous actions, I think David probably put the sheep down for a moment, and then maybe lovingly picked up its scared, saliva-soaked self.

That Old Testament account of David keeping sheep safe from a predator is similar to a New Testament situation.  Once Jesus saves one of His “sheep,” Jesus said, “…no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Matthew 24:12

In my opinion, Matthew 24:12 is one of the most fascinating verses of the Bible.  In response to His disciples about signs of His coming, Jesus let them know that since wickedness will rise, “…the love of most will grow cold…”

I witnessed a couple of situations that I think can fall within the category of love growing cold.  I was driving in construction and the road narrowed with orange cones flanking both sides.  Without construction, there is a clear left lane to turn left plus a lane to go forward.  The driver of a van tried to get as far left as he/she could.  The light for the main lane was green.  The driver of a large pickup behind the van moved in closer.  The van could only inch forward, still waiting for the opportunity to turn left.  The pickup driver managed to pull around to the right of the van, yelled something at the van driver, made a sustained angry gesture, and drove off.  Love was absent and he acted in a cold way.

Another example of cold love involves a mean girl and an autistic boy.  At our church, there’s a young boy who’s autistic.  Sometimes, he has a troubled look on his face, but a lot of the times he’s excited about something, usually music or geography.  One day though, he heard that “Chloe”, a teenager, was going to be helping in the class.  He suddenly acted in a way we hadn’t seen before.  He went to a corner of the room, facing the wall.  He was very disturbed and said, “She’s my annoyer.  She comes to annoy me.  She’s been here since 2000 and I’m allergic to her.”  It turned out to be a different Chloe, but it was evident that another Chloe hadn’t shown him love and acted in a cold way.

If Jesus said something, it’s true.  If He said that most people’s love will get cold, it will.  So, if a random yelling man makes an angry gesture, a familiar “annoyer” slings more hurtful comments, or any other near-loveless or loveless action happens, just rationally remember that Jesus called it.

Luke 5:1-11, John 8:32, 14:6, 18:37

Before my family and I went on vacation recently, I picked up a National Geographic magazine with the title, Jesus and the Apostles on the cover.  I wanted to know what was being said about my Jesus.  On one page, I was pleasantly surprised to read a caption in support of what was called a “Jesus Boat.”  Apparently, scholars used to doubt the fishermen of Galilee could have boats that could have held the number of disciples mentioned in Scripture.  But, a drought that affected the Sea of Galilee in 1986 led to the discovery of an old, 27-foot-long boat (Get out some measuring tape for the full effect), and  “…scientific dating revealed it was built within decades of the birth of Jesus and could have been used during his lifetime.”

On another page of the same magazine, however, an author said, “It may be, in the end, that the Jesus of history isn’t what matters most.  It’s what we believe about him that counts.”  It seems the author is sowing seeds of confusion.  It sounds like he’s trying to separate the Jesus of history from the Jesus of the Bible.    If that’s what he’s saying, that’s a lie and not truth.  To know Jesus is to understand that Jesus is truth!  Whether you are or aren’t on the side of truth, check out part 1 and part 2 of Who is This Jesus:

As my family and I were vacationing in Virginia, we drove by a church sign in Big Stone Gap that read, “Prevent truth decay.”  That’s good advice.

Exodus 20:7, 18-21, Psalm 139:20

Our kids had swimming lessons last week.  As I waited on them nearby on Friday, I heard a lifeguard in a pool chair talking to a couple of other lifeguards in the water.  She kept using God’s name in vain like that was a cute thing to do.  She did that so much so that one of the lifeguards sounded annoyed and responded, “What?!”

That lifeguard in the pool chair was supposed to be thinking about guarding the lives around her.  In addition, she needed to guard her words.  She may have not realized it, but misusing God’s name is a sin.  To misuse God’s name is to break one of His commandments.

In Exodus, after God gave the 10 commandments, the people heard a trumpet and thunder, saw lightning, and a smoking mountain.  Moses let them know that God was just showing that they needed to fear Him and avoid sin.  To take God’s name in vain is to be an enemy of God.  Spread the word.

 

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 32:11

We’ve had the pleasure of watching a pair of mourning doves and their two babies right outside our home.  Now that the babies are gaining independence with their wings, it’s always a surprise where we find them, maybe in our lilac bush, near our roses, etc.  It’s kind of like a living version of Where’s Waldo since they’re camouflaged.  Mommy Dove and Daddy Dove have done a good job taking care of them.

Our Heavenly Father compares Himself to an eagle parent that flutters above the young and carries the young on its wings.  That’s a picture of love.

Matthew 7:7-11, John 3:16

Matthew 19:14

My mom returned our book, “Heaven is for Real” this past week.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s about a boy, Colton, who claimed to visit Heaven during an appendectomy.  I believe him since his story doesn’t counter the Bible.  Chapter nineteen is entitled, “Jesus Really Loves the Children.”  One example of Jesus’ love for children is in Matthew, where Jesus talked about giving good gifts to children.

I know God loves our kids.  I have a recent example of how much God loves our daughter, Emily.  Emily and I had a Biblical conversation while driving home from an event.  As we pulled in the driveway, I felt satisfied that her questions were answered.  Five days later, I half-listened to a morning devotional, but knew that the writer had talked about losing wedding/engagement rings.  Then, one or two days after that, the kids were practicing tennis in the afternoon when I decided to sit down at a picnic table in a nearby shelter.  Before I sat down, I noticed something shiny and small on the concrete floor.  On closer inspection, I saw it was a child’s toy diamond that had become dislodged from a play ring.  I remembered the devotional about the lost rings and decided to read all of it on my phone.  It reminded me of the Biblical conversation I had with Emily almost a week before.  After the kids were done practicing tennis, as we were walking, I asked Emily if she remembered that conversation.  She did, but she had additional questions that I didn’t know about, but God did.  I listened to her and I again was able to answer her questions.  Evidently, it was important to God that Emily get answers to her extra questions.  Those answers were good gifts from God.  He showed He cared about her questions by lovingly and patiently going to great lengths to get them answered.

Colton was persistent in telling his parents how much Jesus loves kids.  Jesus’ words in the Bible revealed His love for children, and I’ve seen evidence of that love.  If you have kids, please remind them that Jesus loves them!