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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.

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.

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.

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!

Psalm 51:7

Earlier this week, I decided to organize a bathroom drawer.  I threw out some ponytail holders that our daughter wore years ago.  When I got to the back of the dark drawer, I discovered an unused Q-tip, with unkempt fuzzy ends.  It didn’t surprise me it could fuzz-out like that.  What did surprise me was that it had yellowed.  I hadn’t seen a yellowed Q-tip before.  We’ve lived in this house over a decade, so it looks like it got shoved to the back of the drawer and left for years.

Let’s pretend the old, yellowed Q-tip represents an unrepentant sinner that has run away from God.  Are you an old, yellowed Q-tip?  Is someone you know an old, yellowed Q-tip?  If so, you, or someone you know, can be a new, whitened Q-tip.  Jesus can make anyone whiter than snow.

Luke 9:28-33

Whenever I read Luke 9:33, it makes me smile.  While Moses and Elijah are leaving Jesus, Peter proposes making shelters for each of them.  This verse says, “…(He did not know what he was saying.)”  So, maybe later, Peter thought, “Why did I say that?”

I went to two sources for insight on Luke 9:33.  Liberty Bible Commentary says, “The three disciples were fast asleep while all this was transpiring, and were surprised by what they saw when they awoke.”

The Reformation Study Bible  by R. C. Sproul says, “Peter suggests building structures of some kind, perhaps to enable the experience to be prolonged.”

Peter probably didn’t know that people in the future would be analyzing his words.  Poor Peter.  His heart was in the right place.

Luke 4:16, 7:11-17

As I was reading in Luke, I got curious about the town Nain.  This town was where Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead.  After a search in biblegateway.com, I found out Nain is mentioned just once in the Bible.  According to http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/nain/, Nain means “lovely” or “green pastures” in Hebrew.  On this ancient map, it is about ten miles from Nazareth.  Can you find Nain?  http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-first-century.html

Luke 2:8-20, 6:12, 9:10-17, 13:10-17

On Good Friday night, my family watched the movie, Jesus (1979).  We had watched it several times before, but this time I took notes.  This movie is based on the book of Luke and is careful to adhere to Scripture.  Still, I wanted to analyze how the movie helped enrich our understanding of what Jesus and others might have experienced.

In Luke 2:8-20, at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, shepherds reside in fields at night, guarding flocks from whatever lurked in the dark.  They would surely have been prepared for any predators.  What they didn’t expect was an angel.  The Bible lets us know that the shepherds were frightened.  The movie did well showing shepherds initially doing their job with one shepherd even playing a flute-like instrument.  But when the angel arrived, the flute playing stopped and you see one shepherd stop petting a lamb, get up, stagger, and stare.  It felt realistic.

In Luke 6:12, it’s mentioned that Jesus spent the whole night praying.  There was a convincing scene for that.  Imagine staying up the entire night praying!  That’s amazing!

In Luke 9:10-17, Jesus miraculously fed more than 5,000 people with a small amount of bread and fish.  Everyone ate until they were full.  The movie added cheering people when the food was being distributed, which I thought was a nice touch.  It could have happened-Who doesn’t want a free all you can eat buffet?

In Luke 13:10-17, A woman who must have had kyphosis, praised God after Jesus healed her.  In the movie, the elderly actress spoke heartfelt dialogue as she moved to frame Jesus’ face with her hands saying, “Praise to the Lord!  God keep you Rabbi.”  I got teary with her believable lines.

Jesus is a good movie.  It prepared our hearts for Easter Sunday.   The movie makes me think of a framed quote in my dentist’s office that says, “It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross but rather his love for us.”