Dirty Diapers

Most of us wouldn’t want someone to have to change our diaper. And yes, most of us right now don’t have to wear diapers anyways — but you did — and you may again some day.

I use this example to illustrate the point of John 13:1-18 in a more relatable context given today’s culture. In Jesus’ day, their feet were filthy and nasty. They didn’t wear a new pair of freshly scented and fabric softened socks everyday, safely covered by shoes, and they didn’t live and work in environmentally controlled and meticulously cleaned buildings, and they didn’t travel in vehicles. They were outside, in open sandals, walking where the animals walked and defecated, working in the open environment. Feet were nasty, like a dirty diaper would be today.

Years ago, I wrote a post entitled “It’s time to stop pooping our pants” and it came to mind as we discussed our morning devotional about John 13.

Instead of talking as a family about washing feet (which is really not a big deal in our society today because of how relatively clean feet are these days) — we talked about the fact that some adults have to wear diapers — and that changing someone’s dirty diaper would be more in line with what Jesus did when He washed the disciples’ feet.

And we talked about how sin is like a dirty, stinky, filthy diaper spiritually — and

1) how sinfulness in our own lives will influence and stink up the spiritual lives of those around us if not repented, confessed and forgiven

2) how we need to come to Jesus to be washed clean from our sin

3) how we need to be like Peter after he was told the purpose having our stinky mess uncovered and revealed in front of others (public, verbal confession of our sin, struggles, shortcomings)

4) how we need to be imitators of Jesus that we would help meet the physical needs of others as a servant (even as far as lovingly changing their diapers as a caregiver if it comes to that) and more importantly, willing to hear others’ struggles and be willing to forgive them, remind them that they are washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, and to intercede with prayer for them, encourage them, and serve them spiritually as well

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:1‭-‬20 NLT

As we become caregivers for our elderly , and as we are already spiritual caregivers for those we counsel, shepherd, sharpen, encourage, and equip for the ministry — let’s not forget that our example is to get our hands dirty doing the real work of the ministry that is dealing with things most of us would buy nature rather be left hidden and not dealt with — but if we are only superficially religious, we are walking around with untended, stinky diapers spiritually, that need to be washed clean.

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

Are we ready for the mess?

Are we willing to have our mess, our weakness, be surrendered publicly in front of others so that God can get the glory for washing us clean?

Are we afraid of letting others “know our business” and possibly “gossip about us” if we were to confess to others — can we be honest with ourselves and with them about our lack of trust?

Are we willing and ready to forgive, to wash clean, to do the “work” of an imitator of Christ and get in the mess with someone else?

Lord, it is only by the power of your Holy Spirit, by the power of Christ who lives in the heart of the believer, that we can do these things that will be hard, challenging, and will stretch us beyond our being comfortable. But you bid us step out of the boat and into the water, even in the midst of the waves — you bid us to take up our cross and bear it — you bid us come and die to self and be imitators of you. Reveal yourself to us, through us, and in us. Amen.

The Love of God

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
I John 4:9 NKJV
https://bible.com/bible/114/1jn.4.9.NKJV

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6‭-‬7 NKJV
https://bible.com/bible/114/isa.9.6-7.NKJV

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Romans 5:6‭-‬11 NKJV
https://bible.com/bible/114/rom.5.6-11.NKJV

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
John 3:13‭-‬21 NKJV
https://bible.com/bible/114/jhn.3.13-21.NKJV

Bodies and Cars and Love by the Wayside

Ever been driving on a cold, rainy morning — and see a body off the side of the road, face down in the grass, not moving?

I did this morning.

FaceDownGrass

And even as I continued by and watched in my rear view mirror, I knew what I had to do. Even though my fuel gauge was on empty, even though I was going to be late for work, even though my phone was dead and I had no way of calling 911 — so many reasons to let someone else handle it — but I knew that I had to go back.

As I turned the car around and headed back, I wondered to myself, “What am I even going to do if this guy is dead and not just passed out?”

But imagine my surprise when he was surprised by my approach and my loud shout of, “Is everything okay?” Imagine my surprise when what I thought was either a dead body or a passed out drunk — responded alert and quite as much surprised by my unexpected presence in his morning, as I was about his presence in mine.

I then realized that he had been laying on his face, motionless with his right arm (that I thought was beneath him) actually down some type of hole or pipe and he was doing some type of utility work with his hand deep in the ground.

“Sorry, I just wasn’t sure if everything was okay,” I stammered as I stopped short and made it clear to him that I wasn’t approaching as a threat but as a concerned neighbor.

I don’t know if he laughed or exactly what he said, but we both realized the humor of each other’s side of the situation for a moment — we had both for that split moment looked at the situation from how the other was seeing it — him seeing a guy who thought he was about to deal with a body on the side of the road — and me seeing a guy just trying to start his dirty morning work to have a stranger come up from behind and scare him.

I said, “God bless” and headed back on my way to work.

But it got me thinking — how many times do we see metaphorical “dead or hurt bodies along the ditches of this life through which we are walking” and choose to do nothing about it?

And how many times might we think that we’re about to help someone who is in trouble to realize that they are just fine and don’t actually need our help?

Do we even stop to find out?

I’m not saying that to glorify the fact that I stopped this time, because there are many times that not only did I not stop to help my brother or sister in need, I didn’t really care about them because “I had my own things to worry about.”


Let’s look at it from a different angle too…

I spent time with a friend who drives a wrecker early, early this morning for the second Thursday morning in a row where he was picking up a car from the side of the road. Last week it was a vehicle that had flipped and rolled over multiple times. This week it was a vehicle that had been stolen and recovered by the police. In the first case, the occupants of the car wanted and needed help. The occupant of the car this time needed help but definitely didn’t want the help he found by way of the back seat of a police car.

But even though we might see the parallels and connections up to this point, I want to bring out something that Nickey (that’s my friend who drives the wrecker) mentioned while we were riding in that roll back wrecker early this morning.

He said, “Hop, you know how some folks are quick to hug and tell each other they love each other?”

“Yes,” I replied.

He said, “I don’t do that, because I think that the English language does a disservice to that word love. There is only one word for ‘love’ in English, but in Hebrew and Greek and many other languages they have different words to describe the actual thing they are talking about.”

“I understand what you’re saying. People can say ‘love’ and mean all kinds of things in English — passion, intimacy, deep brotherly love, superficial love, like, lust — all kinds of things,” I replied.

He continued, “If I ask you to help me with something and you tell me that you’re too busy, what are you really saying?”

I understood his line of questioning immediately. I answered, “I’m saying that I care more about what I have planned or want to do.”

“And that speaks to what you truly love, right?” Nickey prompted and then quickly mentioned, “You remember when I asked you a few weeks ago about us getting together with our wives for dinner sometime?”

Boom! Bomb dropped in love. Correction accepted. I love this man, this friend, this brother.

Here I thought we were having a Luke 10:25-37, Parable of the Good Samaritan, conversation. And we were passing through that “town” of love, but the “street address” that Nickey was looking for as we rode along in that flatbed wrecker together was John 13:35.

I spoke with my wife this morning. We’ll be doing dinner with Nickey and his wife next week.


 

John 13:34-35 (NLT)

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

 

Luke 10:25-37 (NLT)

The Most Important Commandment

25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Parable of the Good Samaritan

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,[c] telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Father, Reveal…

Father,

Reveal who you are. 

You are setting the world right. 

Keep us alive with sustaining meals for both body and spirit. 

Keep us forgiven in you and forgiving others freely. 

Keep us safe from ourselves and from the enemy.

Amen.

Philippians 2:13 “God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him, and the power to do what pleases Him.”


Romans 8:1 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”


“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” – John 3:16‭-‬21 MSG


But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord , have spoken! – Jeremiah 9:24 NLT

Persevere


“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” – Revelation 3:10 NLT


“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:4‭-‬17 NLT


“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.  Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.  They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.  They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.” – John 15:18‭-‬22 NLT


From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. Stay there with him until your brother cools off. When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?” – Genesis 27:41‭-‬45 NLT


“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬10 NLT


But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” – Exodus 14:13‭-‬14 NLT


“So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.” – Proverbs 2:20‭-‬22 NLT

He is the hyena killer

When faced with enemies that seem to laugh at your circumstances, remember:

“He is the hyena killer”

https://youtu.be/Pda4zULB3EA

​Satan replied to the Lord , “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!” 

“All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” 

So Satan left the Lord ’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot. Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, 

“You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.

Job 2:4‭-‬10 NLT

Some of the disciples asked each other, “What does he mean when he says, ‘In a little while you won’t see me, but then you will see me,’ and ‘I am going to the Father’? And what does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand.” Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again.  I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.  It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.  So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.  At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.  You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. “I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father.  Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf,  for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.  Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.” Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively. Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe?  But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.  I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:17‭-‬33 NLT

King

Proverbs 20:2‭, ‬5‭-‬5‭, ‬8‭-‬10‭, ‬18‭, ‬23‭-‬24‭, ‬26‭-‬28‭, ‬30 ESV

The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.

[Remember your creator, Almighty God, and submit to His will. Do not provoke Him to anger, nor whoever has authority over you in this life. Do not cause them to grumble or become angry with you — but be a blessing and a help. If you have been unfaithful, come to Him, chines your rebellion, repent,  and choose to love and serve the Lord God Almighty. If you have forfeited your life in rebellion against the king, it is He who has the power to see that justice is done. Seek His mercy while it is still available to you.]

A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes. The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord , searching all his innermost parts. Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war. A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them. Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.

 

[Remember our need for wise and discerning counsel, that will examine and bring into light any areas where we have been deceived (or even deceived ourselves). Find godly counsel and treasure it, especially the kind of counsel that sees into the innermost areas of your life and is bold enough to wound you and tear down that which needs to be rebuilt. Trust in the Word of God and love it’s wise counsel. Examine all things by what is breathed out by God for equipping and preparing and fishing you in all areas of your life.]

Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?  Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord . Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord , and false scales are not good.  A man’s steps are from the Lord ; how then can man understand his way?  Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.

 

[If you think yourself wise and discerning enough to teach or counsel others, be very careful. Be sure that you are steadfast in your love and faithfulness. Understand that God has purpose in every step of a man’s way. Do not lift heavy burdens upon others, but be equal in your weights and measures. Can you say that your own heart is pure without your pride or your deceit being revealed to you – or is the false light of your own darkness so deep that the blindness has brought you to madness? Be careful that mercy does not escape you. We all fall short of glory, but be sure you have not fallen short of His grace and mercy, you who think yourselves wise. ]

Hear and receive the Word of God:

“I am the  true vine, and my Father is  the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.   “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another. – John 15:1‭-‬17 ESV

Fact or Fiction

Fact: Jesus Loves you.

[2 Peter 3:9]

Fact or Fiction: You love Jesus?

[John 14:15-31]

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9 ESV

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,  even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.  

“I will not leave you as orphans;  I will come to you.  Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 

Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.  

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.  I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me,  but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. – John 14:15-31 ESV

Who do you serve?

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O Lord , in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face.
For there  is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, For they have rebelled against You.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O Lord , will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Psalms 5:4‭-‬12 NKJV

Yes, the Psalmist equates “put your trust in the Lord” with “loving the Lord” and with being led in a righteous life. And this path is contrasted harshly against the path of the wicked who do not trust in the Lord or love Him.

And this message is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ, because He taught that if we will turn from our evil ways to instead trust the Lord and love Him that He would come and live with us and abide with us and lead us along the narrow path of righteousness.

There are vessels for holy use, and there are vessels of wrath. Both are very different in their nature, their desires, and their thoughts – which are all hidden from us. But some are very good at hiding these in their words and actions of they are concerned about what people think of them. A vessel of wrath may dress up the outside to look good,  but still be a white washed tomb with only death inside,  void of any Holy Spirit fire, void of any fruit of the Spirit.

A born again Christian life does not just produce emotional praise on Sunday and a life of lawlessness the rest of the week when away from the eyes of others.

It also does not produce a religious life full of measuring and judging that leaves no room for the very mercy and forgiveness that imperfect people claim to have received for themselves through Jesus Christ but are happy to keep away from the “undeserving”.

But the Psalmist boldly proclaims:

Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, For they have rebelled against You.

Yes, this is our attitude towards sin,  towards the wicked, while still preaching and offering the Good News of Christ to those who have ears to hear. Because He tells us that those who says:

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.  But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.”
John 10:25‭-‬30 NKJV

Isn’t it clear that the wicked do not believe? That they do not trust in the Lord? That they do not love the Lord? That they do not seek His Kingdom and righteousness,  but they seek only for themselves and their own bellies? That they do not listen and hear and obey His voice? That they are headed to destruction?

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.  The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.  As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.
John 10:7‭-‬18 NKJV

Have you entered by the gate,  friend?  Or are you trying to climb over the wall a different way?

Do you hear His voice?
Does He know you?
Do you follow Him?

These are the things that He says of His sheep.

He lay down His life for the sheep, because He lives and cats for the sheep.

Do you love and care for the sheep?

Will you feed his sheep?

Will you encourage and equip, honor and rebuke accordingly,  standing bold and firm on the foundation of Christ our Lord and Savior because you are a vessel of the Holy Spirit set apart for His Holy use?

Will you share this Good News with the nations so his sheep might hear His voice in your words, might feel His love in your service, might know His love in your mercy and forgiveness?

Who do you serve?

Here Today

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
James 4:13‭-‬17 NLT

life is short. These bodies all have an expiration date, and it will amaze you how quickly time slips through your fingers. You will look up one day and wonder where it has all gone. You have spent valuable minutes just now reading this message that you cannot get back – they are gone, spent, non-refundable.

So what are we doing with our time?

Do we treat it as of it is valuable and precious? Or waste it in idleness, procrastination, and laziness towards our purpose and goal of sharing this Good News?

Or do we waste it in time spent planning, worrying, fretting and stressing over tomorrow when we could be acting and doing right now. Don’t let the possibilities for an effective tomorrow stall the reality of an effective today.

“Now” is the only time that we are alive, let’s not let the enemy steal that from us, friends.

Let’s us our “now”, our “today”, realizing that it is our one spot at it.

Let’s work like our livelihood depended on it,
let’s love like others lives friends on our example.

If today is a time to laugh,
Let’s laugh whole heartedly,
If today is a time to mourn,
Let’s cry tears from the very river of our hearts,
Whatever the season,
Let’s live it with strong conviction of heart and a dedicated purpose.

Because today is precious and valuable, and we will only see it once even though it is a flash within the expense of eternity.

We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.  But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.
John 9:4‭-‬5 NLT