Tag Archives: James

Be Transfigured

READ
Matthew 17:1-9

REFLECT
Do you ever wonder what it was like to be Peter, James or John to see Jesus transfigured. It must have been amazing, not just amazing but awe-inspiring. Hearing God speak at the same time…. WOW!  These things just don’t happen everyday.

The closest thing I can imagine to the joy of seeing the transfiguration is the joy one gets when they see their child really happy. I get that joy when I see my wife overwhelmed by sparkly thing and rainbow unicorns (yes, she loves sparkly things and rainbow unicorns.)

For all the emphasis we put on the transfiguration of Jesus we might want to think about another miracle – the way Jesus transfigures us. Life in Christ is truly a transfiguration brought about not by what we do but by the work of the Holy Spirit – giver and perfector of our faith. Often, though, we work against the Spirit because we want things the sinful way we want them.

Rather than working against the Spirit why not submit and see what happens. It will be miraculous.

PRAY
Heavenly Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, increase my faith in the Son, so that I might be transfigured as you would have me. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

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Don’t Be a Dusty Bible

READ
Matthew 4:12-23

REFLECT
“Jesus Begins His Ministry.”

That is what the subtitle says in this section of the Gospel in my super-duper 500th Anniversary of the Reformation ESV Bible (with genuine leather cover and gold-leaf edging – thank you very much). It is truly a wonderful thing to behold – not quite an illuminated manuscript, but Hey! I didn’t have years to wait and didn’t have any unemployed monks handy.

Bottom line is the Word of God rest in nicely appointed covers with nice shiny edges on the pages. In Jesus, God’s Word found a far more beautiful home, for He was the Word Made Flesh – the eternal Word of God, truly God and truly man and much more fantastic than my anniversary edition of the Bible. Why? Because Jesus didn’t keep the Word contained. That is what ministry was all about – making God’s Word known to those who so desperately need to hear it. This is what Jesus calls us to do.

We can either be like my Bible and keep the Word locked up within us or we can be like Jesus and preach that Word to the world that needs it. That is what ministry is all about, at the end of the day. Feeding, clothing, paying rent, giving food vouchers, whatever it might be are all nice things but are part of something bigger: Making God’s Word Known.

So go be like Jesus and not like my super-duper 500th Anniversary of the Reformation ESV Bible (with genuine leather cover and gold-leaf edging). By itself that Bible could just lie on the table and gather dust. Jesus on the other hand didn’t sit around gathering dust.

Be like Jesus.

PRAY
Your Word tell us that, “In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” By the power of your Holy Spirit, O God, help us to be proclaimers and doers of Your Word, rather than dusty containers upon a shelf. This I pray in Jesus’ name – AMEN.

Come Holy Spirit, Come.

READ
Mark 9:2-9

REFLECT

Being in the Spirit is like being in love. I remember years ago teaching “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. In it he talked about “FALLING IN LOVE” versus being loved and loving.

“FALLING IN LOVE” is an enrapturing thing that grabs all your attention and clouds your mind to most everything but the target of your affections. It truly is a wonderful thing. How great it is to be so focused on the object of your love and have that person feel the same about you. The problem with falling in love is you cannot stay in that state forever – and thank God. You would never get anything done and would probably walk out in front of a bus.

Being loved and loving – let’s just call it “being in love” is something else. It has all the good stuff of falling in love but is a much deeper thing. It allows you to function and it allows your love to become something deeper. It’s a long-term thing that takes effort but gives great rewards.

Being in the Spirit is the same thing. In the Gospel, Peter, James and John are in the presences of Moses, Elijah and Christ – in his transfigured form. They were truly experiencing something very spiritual and they wanted to stay there. I think we can see this from their desire to “build tents” for these three spiritual being to reside. The moment, however, passed but not before an important truth was revealed to them, namely the true identity of Jesus.

Often we try to get ourselves into a spiritual place but fail and feel discouraged.Today’s Gospel shows us that we cannot put ourselves in a spiritual place but are often lead there, as the Apostles were lead up the mountain. Once there we remain so long as God deems fit for a truth to be communicated and then we are to go forth and communicate that truth or be lead to action by that truth.

Prayer, worship and the study of God’s Word can certainly open us up to follow the leading of the Spirit and it is right we do these things but ultimately it is His choosing when, where and how long we remain in this spiritual place.

PRAY
Come Holy Spirit Come. We pray to you that you would so open our hearts to your leading and that you would guide us to deeper truth found in the life of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. AMEN.

Devil on My Left; Angel on My Right

READ
Mark 1:21-28

REFLECT

What unclean spirits live in you? Does one have to be possessed as the man in the Gospel account was to have an unclean spirit living inside of them? Does one need to have an unclean spirit in order to exhibit the fruits of an unclean spirit?

The God-given gift of free will allows us to make the choice between doing the things that God commands or those things that Satan tempts us to do. We can either invite the Holy Spirit in us or allow (often through passive disregard for God’s Word) another spirit to be our influence. Free will does not operate in a vacuum. It truly is like the old cartoon with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.

So what is our defense against the influences of Satan – that little devil on our left shoulder? The sure defense is prayer and the Word of God being an active part of our lives, rather than an after thought when convenient or when we need something. As it says in Ephesians 6:10-18 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the Devil.”

PRAY
Lord God, send your Spirit upon me that I might turn to you in times of temptation. Fill me with your Word so I might be made deaf to the whisperings of Satan. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN.

Do Not Hesistate

READ
Mark 1:14-20

REFLECT

How many of us would drop everything we are doing and follow someone who called us to do so just because they called us? If you are a carpenter would you stop what you are doing and follow somebody who told you he would make you “a builder of men”?

One has to wonder if Jesus knew his Apostles before hand. Had he already spoke to them on several occasions and were they only waiting for him to say, “It’s time, let’s go”? The Bible does not make that clear and we can speculate all we want. Either way they followed.

Christ calls us to do the same thing. If you are a Christian you have the benefit of knowing the Lord and his teachings. If you are not or are new to the faith you have the example of the early Apostles that tells us to put our trust in the one who calls us and to follow him, to learn his ways, and to love and serve others.

PRAY
Lord Jesus Christ, we live lives along a lake of self-centredness. We put out our personal boats for our benefit. Lord help us to follow you and be fishers of men. Help us to follow your call to love and serve others. AMEN.

Fruitful Waiting

READ
Mark 13:24.27

REFLECT
When I was a kid I thought I would never get to 16. I wanted that magical driver’s license. When 16 came reality hit me. My parents were in no hurry for me to get my license. When I finally got it reality hit again: no money meant no car and no insurance even if I had a car.

It seems we are always waiting anxiously for something. Despite all our effort and worry we cannot make any of these things happen any sooner or actually happen at all. Sure, we can do what we are called to do but thing will happen when they happen.

So it is with Jesus’ return.

Jesus will return on that “Last Day,” whenever that might be, and none of us will enter the Kingdom of God by our own merits, nor will we enter any sooner for all our anxious waiting. It has all been placed in the Jesus’ hands by our Heavenly Father. Our salvation and is all a matter of God’s grace, apart from our works.

This does not however give us permission to sit idly by. As it says in James 2, “For as the body without spirit is dead so faith without works is dead also.” Article VI of the Augsburg Confession states plainly that good works ought to be the result of faith and salvation. If we are not exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit what does that say about us?

PRAY
Merciful Savior help to keep our hearts anxious for you alone. Fix our hearts and our eyes on the life from above. Help be fruitful as we wait for your return. AMEN.