Is God Tolerant?

Our world is full of a variety of opportunities for us to “live tolerant” ~ be it religion, diet & exercise, politics….and many more.

Actually, let’s look at what these words mean via the dictionary:

Tolerateto allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit; to endure without repugnance; put up with.

Tolerant: inclined or disposed to tolerate; showing tolerance; forbearing; tolerant of errors; favoring toleration.

Intolerant: refers to an active refusal to allow others to have or put into practice beliefs different from one’s own.

In our current culture, if anyone disagrees with you on ANY matter, then it is determined that the person no longer accepts you as a valuable person.  That is what the world says.  The world says that we must collectively as a culture be completely tolerant, regarding each person’s life choices because it’s not nice to offend anyone.  Maybe it doesn’t matter what life choices people make…as long as “it makes them happy and doesn’t hurt anyone.” Right? My friends, what a lie from the enemy this is!  Simply being interconnected with families, friends, co-workers, etc., we are bound in our relationships in a myriad of ways.  There is not really any kind of action, or choice, that one person can make for their own life that does not affect at least one other person.  If you can think of something….I’d love to hear your perspective on this…truly!

In searching scripture for the words “tolerate, tolerant, and intolerant” I found several mentions.

Jesus allowed people to have their own opinions all the time.  One of the most well-known parables is that of the ‘rich young ruler’ ~ we read in Matthew 19 that Jesus told him to sell all he had, distribute the wealth to the poor, and follow in the path that Christ walked with His disciples.  The young rich man could do it…he was extremely wealthy and he valued his wealth more than he did a life of following the Lord.  Jesus did not run after him.  He didn’t chastise him.  Jesus let him walk away because He knew what was in the heart of the young man.  

But when the Lord did some across someone who wanted to leave their life of sin, He was very clear that they should “go and sin no more.” We read this phrase in John chapter 8, about the adulterous woman.  She was set to be stoned (as was the custom of the day) because she was caught with a man who was not her husband.  We don’t know what Jesus was writing in the dirt (but I totally want to know!!) or if He was whispering anything to the crowd, but they all eventually went away.  Jesus did not give this woman a sermon on the sinfulness of adultery.  I believe she knew in her heart that what she was doing was wrong.  But in His gentle firmness, He told her that He did not condemn her…and followed it up by commanding her to go on with her life WITHOUT sin, and specifically, without the sin of adultery.

I’ve never heard a story about anyone who came to salvation with Jesus because someone made them feel guilty or ashamed.  People come to know the Lord and allow Him to have authority over them because of the unconditional love that Christ has for us.  However, the one condition Christ does give is…..go and sin no more.

The one time I found the word “tolerant” being used ~ it was in 2 Timothy 2:23-26, regarding how we as Christians must live our life: But have nothing to do with foolish and ignorant speculations [useless disputes over unedifying, stupid controversies], since you know that they produce strife and give birth to quarrels. The servant of the Lord must not participate in quarrels, but must be kind to everyone [even-tempered, preserving peace, and he must be], skilled in teaching, patient and tolerant when wronged. He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], and that they may come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Let me be clear that NONE of the scripture references I checked out talked about intolerance: having “an active refusal to allow others to have or put into practice beliefs different from one’s own.”

What God’s Word DOES SAY is that we, as believer’s in Christ, are not to tolerate: evilness, sin, physical abuse, wickedness, human sacrifice, pride, sexual immorality, and twisted doctrine. These are all actions by a person ~ not the person them-self.  Let’s be real here….we are all born sinners, yet Christ came to die for sin within humanity, and He did so willingly.  He came before we had knowledge of His saving grace (Romans 5:8). It is our choice to be reconciled back to Christ, but we have to lay down our own wants and desires and agree to have Him be the Lord of our life (John 6:44). 

The topic of salvation, Christ-like living, and all that being a Christian entails, these discussions are not always comfortable to have with friends/family who do not know the Lord as their Savior.  No one enjoys being told that they are wrong, or that they are living a sinful life.  But it is not by our human judgement that those loved ones are lost or saved ~ it is by sharing God’s good Word with them and encouraging them to make the choice that will ultimately save their life!  God is so very patient in terms of waiting for all to come to Him.

But He has no patience for sin…He will not ever tolerate sin and wickedness.  Sin is completely offensive to Him.  So offensive that God the Father could not look upon His own Son as He hung on the Cross…covered in our sin (Mark 15:34).

Hebrews 12:1-3, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]. Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Just because you do not agree with the way someone is living their life (in a worldly or sinful way) in such a way that they are completely outside the realm of God’s direction, does not mean that you hate that person.  What a disservice we do by not standing firm in our beliefs and sharing in love with that person, what we know to be our true identity in Christ.  Being a Christian does not mean we are perfect (btw…we never will be until the day we stand before Jesus in heaven), so if you are expecting your child, your spouse, your friends & family to be perfect….stop it!  Ain’t gonna happen!  Give them the same grace God gave you (and gives you on daily basis!) to learn what it is to surrender their will to the Lord’s.  The freedom they will experience can only come as we love them toward the choice to love the Lord God with all their heart, mind, body and soul! (Luke 10:27).

I love the following passage because it reveals the heart of Paul as he reacts to hearing that some people were offended by an exhortative letter he’d written.  He was writing to a group of new believer’s in Corinth.  He felt compassion that some had been hurt but he did not regret speaking God’s truth into their lives.

2 Corinthians 7:8-13 is part of a letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth; listen with your heart as he poured out his, For even though I did grieve you with my letter, I do not regret it [now]; though I did regret it —for I see that the letter hurt you, though only for a little while— yet I am glad now, not because you were hurt and made sorry, but because your sorrow led to repentance [and you turned back to God]; for you felt a grief such as God meant you to feel, so that you might not suffer loss in anything on our account. For [godly] sorrow that is in accord with the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but worldly sorrow [the hopeless sorrow of those who do not believe] produces death. For [you can look back and] see what an earnestness and authentic concern this godly sorrow has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves [against charges that you tolerate sin], what indignation [at sin], what fear [of offending God], what longing [for righteousness and justice], what passion [to do what is right], what readiness to punish [those who sin and those who tolerate sin]! At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in the matter.So even though I wrote to you [as I did], it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but in order to make evident to you before God how earnestly you do care for us [and your willingness to accept our authority]. It is for this reason that we are comforted and encouraged.”

{The verses I have used today, are from the Amplified version of the Bible.  I really like the investigative and information way this version is written.  It takes a bit longer to read through the scriptures, simply because there are more words per verse, but the descriptive parts of each passage enlighten the understanding we can have of these verses.}

The following passage in 2 Timothy is beautifully written as to HOW we are to show the love of Christ to those who are yet to be saved, as well as those who are living a Christian life.  There must always be learning, correction, and encouragement of both those things in our lives so that we may continually mature as a believer. Especially in our current day and age, we are challenged daily because of our beliefs.  The reminders to be calm and steady are, I believe, just as important as being patient and encouraging.

2 Timothy 4:1-6, I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable]. But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady], endure every hardship [without flinching], do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [the duties of] your ministry.”

Let me end today…it was a long one, so thanks for sticking with it…by saying that my hope and desire is that everyone who is not a Christian, have the opportunity to encounter a believer who is as gracious and loving as our Lord Jesus.  But must also understand that the sin by which they are living within their own life cannot be supported by a Christian, because it is in direct conflict with what the truth of God’s Word is.  It is not comfortable to look within ourselves (Christian or not) and see the parts of our life that are sinful.  Our humanness detests being told we are wrong about something; to stop doing something because God says so.  It is because of God’s immense love for us that He is patient as we navigate this life…and when we find Him, how can we do anything but live a life rightly before God, to honor and serve Him with all our heart, mind, body and soul.

Blessings,

René

2 Timothy 2 verse 24

 

 

Plastic Promises vs. God’s Truths!

Today, Good Friday, I’m filled with the truths of God’s Word and with His promises.  All of the things that He promised to do, all of the things He said, “I will.,” He has done!  God is not a liar.  My Father does not play games or make me work for my reconciliation with Him.

As a society, we are constantly bombarded by a variety of advertising channels of all the promises that people and things, that assure us our life will be so much better if we “buy this ~ wear that ~ use this ~ vote for them ~ eat this” and on and on it goes.

Credit card slogans alone are absolutely filled with verbage that lull the customer into thinking their life will be made whole if they just have the credit card (or let’s be real here…multiple credit cards): Don’t Leave Home Without It. It pays to Discover. I own the high score. Is your debt to heavy to carry. It’s Everywhere You Want To Be. Live richly. The Card is Key. There are some things money can’t buy. What’s in your wallet?  All you need.*

Do you see the truth in these statements above?  The world says we will “have it all” when we put our trust in credit cards, debt, or in “keeping up with the Jones'”!  So backwards and we fall for it so easily!  In today’s writing, I actually want the truth of God’s Word to stand on its own, and speak to your heart, mind and soul today.  I don’t need to expound on the merits of scripture because there is nothing in God’s Word to defend.

If you disagree with His Word or you don’t like something He has put in written form through scripture, it doesn’t change the simple fact ~ It. Is. Truth.

Let’s compare scripture now to the above phrasing from these credit card slogans and be encouraged as to what God says is the truth!

Don’t Leave Home Without It. ~ Jesus, the Son of God, left His heavenly home to live among us here on earth.  He didn’t leave without taking His God-ship with Him.  He became fully man and fully God, in order to reconcile us back to Himself. John 14:26-28, 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.”

It pays to Discover. ~ When we take the time to discover who God is, we find that He is trustworthy! Proverbs 16:19-21, It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LordThe wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” And Lamentations 3:24-26, “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

I own the high score. ~ There is no higher a price than can be attained as the one that Christ Jesus paid when He chose to sacrifice Himself for the sake of our salvation. I Corinthians 6:19-20, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]?  You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.”  And, Deuteronomy 26:18-19, Today the Lord has declared that you are His people, His treasured possession, just as He promised you, and that you are to keep all His commandments; and that He will set you high above all the nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor: and that you shall be a holy people [set apart and consecrated] to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.””

Is your debt too heavy to carry? ~ This is really a tagline used by a credit card company! Pardon my attitude here…but….DUH!!!  The person has incurred debt by purchasing items they feel compelled to own because “then they will be worth something” as our society feeds the void felt by so many that ‘stuff’ is necessary.  The promise this card company is touting is that you can transfer your heavy debt to their card which has lower fees.  Do you see the twisted lie here? That person will STILL be in debt!!  In terms of our relationship with the Lord, our debt of sin is way too heavy for us to carry.  We cannot ever come out from underneath this kind of debt on our own.  Only the Lord can carry that burden and remove it from us permanently.  Hebrews 9:27-28, And just as it is appointed and destined for all men to die once and after this [comes certain] judgment, so Christ, having been offered once and once for all to bear [as a burden] the sins of many, will appear a second time [when he returns to earth], not to deal with sin, but to bring salvation to those who are eagerly and confidently waiting for Him.”

It’s Everywhere You Want To Be. ~ Every place that we are to go, in order to bring honor to the Lord, that is where we should want to be. The road isn’t promised to be easy, but His path for us brings life.  Psalms 119: 104-106, “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules.” And, 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, “ But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;” 

Live richly. ~ The way to life a truly rich life is to place our life, and the control of our life, into the incredibly capable hands of the Lord.  He will always guide is in the way we should go. Proverbs 22:3-5, The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.”

The Card is key. ~ The only key we need to maintain our security, is found in the Lord.  He is Who He says He is!  Isaiah 33:5-6,The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the security and stability of your times, A treasure of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is your treasure.”

There are some things money can’t buy. ~ Romans 3:23-25,For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.”               The salvation of our life has come at a great price.  One in which we could never afford.  Christ did not come for just one weekend, to die and rise again.  He LIVED a whole life on earth as God and man.  He came to show us how to live as He did.  How to care for and love others as He did.  He showed us how to love God the Father as He did.  Christ showed us how to worship the one true God. And then….he finished what He came to do in His earthly body.  He CHOSE to be betrayed by a friend ~ one of His disciples.** He CHOSE to be unjustly tried and convicted.  He CHOSE to be crucified because He KNEW that He was going to rise again and defeat death once and for all!  Can I get an AMEN people!!  You didn’t put Jesus on the cross as much as you cannot do anything to earn or deserve salvation.  It is His grace to us in that He loves us so very much, He planned and executed a perfect plan of redemption.  Isaiah 55:1-3, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”

What’s in your wallet? ~ Let’s rephrase this a little by saying, ‘what’s in your heart?”  What is it that you are carrying with you everyday to remind you of the gracious life you live because of what Christ did for you?  Are you reading scripture everyday, meditating on it, and making an effort to keep it in your heart?  Do keep it at the forefront of your mind?  Our mind is constantly “on” and if we want to maintain some sense of sanity, everything we do and say needs to be filtered through the truth of God’s word!  I Samuel 12:23-25,As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.””               And Luke 12:28-30,If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.”

All you need. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:21-22,Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  Notice here that the above verse talks about how GOD is the one who helps us stand firm in Christ.  We do not have anything to do with that standing ~ except to come humbly before the Lord and ask Him to be the Lord of our life!  This doesn’t mean that we will never experience trials (that’ll be another blog for another time), but we are reminded of God’s goodness to us in Philippians 4:11-13, I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him[a] who strengthens me.” 

We can live a rich, abundant, grace-filled, and satisfied life because we have all we need in the Lord.  This life on earth is temporary, but that doesn’t mean that we simply float through life.  God has called us to be witnesses of His grace in our life to those around us.  Whether it’s smiling at random people in the grocery store (this is actually really fun…totally freaks people out!), sharing a meal with a friend going through a tough spot, handing a bottle of water out your car window to the homeless man on the corner, or sharing your testimony with someone about how God has saved your life.

Live fully in God’s truth ~ your debt has been paid ~ He will never leave your side & you will never be disappointed in a life lived for Christ!

Blessings,

René

Romans 3 verse 23-24

Research found in:

** You can read more about Jesus choosing Judas (His betrayer) in one of my earlier blogs entitled, “Jesus Chose Judas on Purpose.”

Reboot….

This has been my mind set pretty much all day, which is why I’m finally getting to my writing at 7:30pm!

Yesterday, when I went to open my “blog ideas” list on my Notes app…I panicked!

 It.Was.Not.There!  

Like, at all!  Tons of other non-essential lists to myself are there, but my “go to” blog ideas list was gone.  My wonderful husband looked up some ideas on google and then we just decided to call Apple tech help.  Sweet Ashley from Austin, TX led me through the process of erasing my iPhone (yes…I said, ERASING!!), which at first totally freaked me out, but she assured me that if I followed her directions, talking out every step of the process, my phone would reboot in about 5 hours.  Then she said, “But wait…before we go through this process, do you have an automatic back up set up on your phone?”  Thankfully, I did (hard lesson learned from the last time something like this happened!) ~ I was confident that Ashley was going to be my saving grace and I’d get my LIST back!

I hope I haven’t lost you with this computer talk of erasing, rebooting, back-ups ~ but hang in there….

The one thing she kept asking me was, “Are you sure you saw your list before the last back up at 6:33am this morning?”  I was fairly sure I’d seen it that afternoon, so we chose that back up to reload.  There was also a back up performed 12 hours earlier ~ were my notes on that one?  Well, we’ll never know!  As I went to sleep last night, my phone had completed its 5 hour long reboot…everything was there right where I left it…except for my list!

Today was an odd Monday in that I didn’t have a concentrated day of writing, but it did give me a lot of time to think about what I would write, what could God bring to my mind, what could I remember from MY LIST!  (Another panic moment!)

Then a friend of mine, who encourages me on “blog days” checked in with me.  I texted her my tale of woe and she had the audacity not to join my pity party!  She wrote back, “Guess you have to reboot your thoughts?”  My eloquent ~ and most Christian-like ~ reply to that was, “Dangit!”  To which I got her response, “An exercise in trust and patience.”  I’m so thankful that God keeps friends in my life who keep me real and keep me grounded!

So, with my day of school activities and committee meetings, my brain kept tossing around the idea of “rebooting my thoughts.”  What does that look like?  How could I tap into that today?  Or any day for that matter?  What does a reboot look like for you?

In the dictionary, reboot refers to literally shut down and restart.  Yes, this phrasing was coined in the early 1980’s with the dawn of the computer age, but read that again ~

“to shut down and restart”

But here is the twist my dear friend….you cannot undertake this process alone.  You must consult with a professional…with one who knows how the manual works…with someone who can guide you through the rebooting process with minimal (or without any!) loss of information.

Had I tried to figure out how to reboot my iPhone, I may have lost precious photos (uh..yeah…I am currently downloading all my photos to my computer while I write this!), or other various apps and programs on my phone.  But because I followed Ashley’s directions, and did not try to second-guess her (she’s the expert here!) or jump ahead of the process, the reboot was successful.  My precious list didn’t show up (it’s floating around in cyberspace I’m sure!) but the reboot was a success.  Everything that was on my iPhone during the last back-up, was returned.

Can you see where I’m going here?  I hope so….it took my all day to figure this one out!

What is it in your life that is out of whack?  Just a hair off?  Something slightly damaged?  What is God asking you to shut down and restart?  What “data” is God asking you to erase?  NONE of these things are easy or comfortable…they are sometimes downright frightening!  But when the God of the Universe, the Father who loves you dearly, is asking you to trust Him through the process of “rebooting and starting over,” He can absolutely 100% be trusted!  He is the expert of your life!  He is the professional that you can run to in times of trouble and distress!

But before you can reboot anything successfully, you have to have made a back-up plan.  Now, my iPhone can be set to do it automatically so I don’t have to think about it.  Seriously, if I have one more thing I have to remember every day…ugh!  Not a good thought!  But with the Lord and His Word, it’s not an automatic anything.  We have to be actively involved in uploading (I know….another computer term) the Living Word of God into our hearts and minds.  When we are daily in process of reading God’s Word, praying throughout our day, we have a back-up of truth that we can draw from when we have to shut down and restart.

We have Old Testament truths in Deuteronomy 11:18-19, Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” and in Psalm 26:2, “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;” and in the New Testament we read beautiful verses like Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” and a favorite of mine and so many others, Philippians 4:6-8, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.””

I would like to challenge you right now, when you are done reading this, to go to the Lord in prayer.  Part of this time in prayer can most definitely include time spent in His Word (the best ‘owner & operator’ manual you’ll ever have)!  This is not a “get an answer quick” kind of attitude here, but one of reverence for the fact that the Lord is the ONLY one you can turn to who can help you to be confident through the rebooting process.  Allow Him to take out the thought patterns that are filling your mind with “spam” (sorry…I couldn’t help but get one more computer reference in there)! Let Him clear out the filters of lies that the enemy has been feeding your way. And then…FOLLOW His directions!  This is key!

Jump in and let the professional erase the unnecessary and damaged views you may have about Him, about your life, about the world you are living in.  Allow the Lord (yeah..the professional!) do His work in your life so that you can be made new again.  So that you can move forward freely to accomplish the tasks He has for you, and so that you can do them well.

The rebooting process takes some time.  Just like my iPhone, some of the apps came back right away and worked fine, while other more detailed areas took longer.  There is no way to rush the process ~ because if you try, you will negate the process and it will have to start over.  But thank you Lord Jesus that you are a patient Father, who desires to take the time (when I choose to place my life in His very capable hands) to get me back on the path to restoration and wholeness.

My friends, trust Him today with your reboot!  It’s worth it!!

Blessings,

René

Philippians 4 verse 7

 

Jesus Chose Judas…on Purpose!

Have you ever thought about this fact?  I’ve been a Christian since I was 8 years old….almost 40 years….and it has only been until recently that I’ve truly pondered this truth.  And I’ve truly marveled at this idea!

Jesus. Chose. Judas. On. Purpose.

ON PURPOSE!!!

When Jesus began His public ministry, we see the journey He took in choosing the 12 disciples.  Throughout the first four gospels of the New Testament, each author introduces the disciples at various intervals, but they all follow the same path.  John the Baptist had been preparing the people for years, during his public ministry, declaring to them that the Messiah was here and coming to save them all.  Remember now, that John and Jesus were cousins….John’s mother, Elizabeth, was visited by Jesus’ mother Mary while they were both pregnant.  John lept in his mother’s womb at the sheer nearness of the Savior that Mary was carrying (Luke 1:41).  God ordained even in that moment to prepare John spiritually for the ministry he would have in proclaiming the good news that the Messiah was on His way!

One more thing that had to happen before Jesus began His public ministry was that He was sent into the wilderness by God the Father, to endure various temptations brought on by the devil.  Let me be very clear here ~ Jesus cannot give into temptation because He is fully God.  And as fully man, Satan tried to tempt His earthly flesh, but Jesus was never in danger of giving into any of those temptations because He is fully God.  This part of scripture shows us a few things.

One is that, God will always give us a way out of any temptation we face in our lives.  ALWAYS!!  (I Corinthians 10:13).  Secondly, Jesus wanted to show us the key principle to use when the enemy is trying to tempt us is to go to scripture.  Speak the truth of God’s Word into whatever the situation might be and keep the devil out of our life.  There is nothing Satan can say that will ever trump the truth of what God’s Word says.

Satan tried to tempt Jesus three times and each time, Jesus reminded Him what the truth was.  Satan’s job is to distract us from what God says is true; to try and manipulate God’s Word to make us think God is wrong and that His word doesn’t apply to our life.  Everything Satan used to tempt Jesus, were things that already belonged to Jesus as the Son of God.  There was nothing Jesus would gain from giving into temptations.  We need to remember this because we are God’s child and as such we have been given the same authority over the principalities of the earth.  We can tell Satan to hit the road and never come back!

After going through the 40 days in the wilderness and being tempted three times, Jesus didn’t jump up on the proverbial stage and declare His power and demand to be listened to.  He went to find his cousin John the Baptist, and asked to be baptized. So John did just that ~ Jesus of Nazareth was baptized in the Jordan river and,  we read in Matthew 3:16, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.”  What a powerful sight to behold that must have been!

Now, Jesus was ready to choose his disciples.  The 12 men who would become the cornerstone members of the Christian church.  Just. Twelve. Men. Not perfect men, not special men, not men with high ranking jobs….just human beings who were willing to follow Christ when He called them.

You can read all four gospels to get a unique perspective on who was chosen and how they were chosen, but for today’s blog, I’m going to be primarily using the books of Matthew and John.

In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus begins by choosing Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, then James the son of Zebedee and his brother John ~ all four were fisherman and do you know what their response was, vs. 20, “At once they left their nets and followed him.” and in vs. 22, “and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

There was absolutely NO hesitation!  I love that and wish I was more like that!

In Matthew 10:1-4, we read how He sent out the disciples to begin their ministries along with Jesus and look what He does, Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”

So you can see ~ these were just ordinary men.  Fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot….and a betrayer.

He taught these men all that He knew and unfolded parts of the mysteries of heaven (healings, preaching, casting out demons) to them in order to give them authority to preach God’s truth throughout the lands.  

This all included Judas.

Why would Jesus do this?  Because He KNEW what Judas was going to do and He knew that it needed to happen.  Jesus chose this disciple, this friend, knowing Judas would betray Him.  Jesus had to make sure that His disciples, and all of His followers, would realize that it HE wasn’t caught off guard by His arrest and subsequent crucifixion.  One of the ways that Jesus made it clear He knew what was going on and what was about to happen, is these passages in John 13 ~

vs. 18-20 ,“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.””

vs. 26-30, Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.  As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.  So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.”

Look at the parts of these verses above that I put in bold ~ JESUS KNEW WHO HE CHOSE AND WHAT JUDAS WAS GOING TO DO!

There is no question about it.  This is further proof that every part of Jesus’ life was determined only by God the Father.  Human minds did not bring God the Son, Jesus, to earth.  Human minds did not determine where and when Jesus’ public ministry began.  Human minds certainly did not dictate the why and how of His crucifixion.  And most importantly, human minds did not and could not comprehend the beautiful resurrection of Jesus, completely the plan that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, devised to bring about restoration and salvation!

One last piece to today’s writing that I feel cannot be missed, is a simple but an impactful fact. Jesus was betrayed by a friend. Just like Jesus knows hunger, exhaustion, delight, sadness, and the joy of obedience to the Father, Jesus knows the pain of betrayal.  I’m sure like me, you don’t become friends with someone knowing they will betray you. Why on earth would we put ourselves through that kind of pain from the beginning of a friendship?  Sometimes we are betrayed by someone we may have had an inkling was not a good influence on us, but most often the experience is one of the friend who chooses at some point in the relationship to turn against us ~ to betray our confidence, our trust, or the sincerity of our heart.

Rest assured my friend ~ Jesus knows this pain all too well.  Cry out to Him and He will hear you.  As with Judas, there was a purpose in his relationship to Jesus. May I suggest that the difficulties in friendships you may have had in the past, or may be currently having, have a purpose.  It doesn’t matter your age, a betrayal of friendship can cut to the heart.  At a recent women’s retreat I attended, the speaker made it very clear that forgiveness of a betrayal (no matter how big or small) does not mean that you have to automatically trust that person again. Forgiveness can be freely given ~ Trust must be earned.

Betrayal may feel like a wound that is impossible to heal ~ and you’re partly right…you can’t do it on your own.  Only our Comforter, the Holy Spirit can come in and bind that wound and heal it in order to make us stronger for what’s coming next.

Jesus is the best friend we can ever hope to find.  He will never betray you.  He will never use your vulnerability against you.  He will never sell you out.

He will always have your back. He will always care about your feelings.  He will always have time for you.

Jesus will always love you.  

Romans 8:38-39 declares,For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Oh, and one of my absolute favorite reminders of God’s love for me ~

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Blessings to you my friend,

René

2 Thessalonians 2 verses 16-17