Saturday, March 8, 2014
The night Jesus was betrayed, a man stepped up to Peter in the courtyard of the temple compound and challenged him: "Didn't I see you with [Jesus] in the olive grove?" (John 18:26, NIV). All the tension and anger of the past hours exploded in Peter and tumbled out in a stream of curses as he insisted, "I don't know the man!" Yet as he spoke, he heard the unmistakable sound of a rooster crowing in the distance. At that very moment, a commotion in the breezeway got everyone's attention. With the denial still burning his lips, Peter looked into the eyes of Jesus!
The look of Jesus was like a flaming fire, burning away Peter's hypocrisy and sin. Then as the entourage around Jesus roughly pushed and shoved Him forward, the moment passed. Peter, shaken to the core of his being, went out into the night, where he "wept bitterly," sobbing out his confession to God.
Three days later, Peter knew his sin had been forgiven when he met the risen Christ. Do you have the uneasy feeling that Jesus is "looking" at you? Is your heart burning with shame and guilt? Don't shed tears, shed your pride and come to Him for cleansing and restoration.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God. Isaiah 61:10, NKJV
Who is praising Jesus because you are? If your praise - and mine - is interrupted by . . .
our circumstances or our complaints,
our selfishness or our suffering,
our desires or our depression,
our indifference or our insistence,
or by anything at all . . .
the light will grow dim in our lives as we sink into the mire of self, and instead of causing others to praise Him, we will drag them down into the darkness with us.
So would you praise Him? And keep on praising Him!
Praise Him for __________. You fill in the blank with an attribute of Christ.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
To whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. Luke 12:48, NKJV
When Annas the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching (John 18:19), Jesus answered directly, "I have spoken openly to the world . . . I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said" (John 18:20-21, NIV).
Jesus confronted Annas with the awesome principle that God holds people accountable, not just for what they have heard or know, but for what they have had opportunity to hear and know. And in America, with churches on every corner, with religious radio broadcasts, with Christian television programming, with evangelistic crusades and festivals and services and movies, America has enormous accountability before God!
It doesn't matter if you have ever tuned in to or listened to or read or participated in any of the above. You and I have had the opportunity to do so, and for that we will be held accountable by God.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" Luke 6:46, NKJV
Within moments of betraying Jesus, Judas hated himself for what he had done. Jesus' third religious trial was interrupted briefly by a commotion at the doorway as Judas burst onto the scene. With a face that was surely contorted by the wretchedness of conviction, he flung thirty pieces of silver across the temple floor. As the room suddenly grew silent, the clattering coins must have reverberated in the stillness as they skidded and skipped across the marble surface. Thirty pieces of silver! The price that had been paid him by the chief priests for his betrayal! Thirty pieces of silver! The price of a wounded slave! (see Ex. 21:32) Judas sold his Lord for the price of something that, in his culture, was good for nothing!
You and I betray Jesus when we call ourselves Christians yet give our hearts to money, or material things, or selfish pursuits, or anyone or anything other than Him. We betray Him when we spend more time on the Internet than in prayer. We betray Him when we spend more time reading the morning newspaper than reading the Bible. Would you confess and repent of your sin of betrayal, ask God to cleanse you, and commit to living a life of love and loyalty to Jesus?