bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

His Amazing Identity

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.  After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Luke 2:41-50


Who have you believed Jesus to be? 

The world has so many depictions of what Jesus “looks like.” White Jesus, Black Jesus, Buddha Jesus, Italian Jesus — it seems as though everyone has taken their idea of Jesus and made it reflect their own image. This practice is a dishonoring habit by churches everywhere who spend so much time painting Jesus to reflect their faces, instead of painting themselves to look more like Jesus.

No matter where you are at in your walk with Christ, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had different perspectives of who Jesus is. For me, I’ve always thought of him as a Mediterranean- looking trim man with brown flowy locks. I can thank several movies and documentaries for that image. I’ve also thought of him as God’s Son who sits on a seat lower than God, answers to His requests and working as the hands and feet of God’s Kingdom — another misconception that again, devalues the full power and glory of Christ. Why? Because Jesus isn’t less than God or inferior. Jesus is God as a part of the Trinity. Three-in-One, Father, Spirit, Son. Jesus sits at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19) and was present at creation (Genesis 1:26). 

See, here in Luke 2, Jesus’ parents knew he was a seed planted in Mary by God, but they still couldn’t wrap their heads around what that really meant. When they lost Jesus in the crowds in Jerusalem, they searched tirelessly for Him everywhere but one place – the temple. If they truly understood who Jesus was, that would’ve been the first place they looked. But to them, all they could see was their young son who was just a little boy. Where could he possibly have gone? Once found, they were amazed at what they were seeing. That same little boy was teaching/preaching in the temple courts, communing with His Father. 

Duh, where else would He be? 

I challenge you to ask yourself this: What lies/misconceptions/myths are you believing about Jesus? And how are those misconceptions hindering you from being truly amazed by his power and presence in your life? Where are you looking for Jesus and missing Him, when in reality, you simply need to go to the Father to find Him? 

The best way to find out who Jesus REALLY is, is to read through His words and interactions with others in the gospels. Study His character and you will discover God’s character. Study His love and you will understand God’s love. Study His kindness, grace and compassion and you will see what an amazingly kind and compassionate God we serve. 

Knowing Jesus means knowing the Father – I encourage you to get to know Him today. 

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

An Amazingly Balanced Life

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5: 6-11


Looking back over mine and Madison’s posts this week I kept hearing one word whispered to me – balance. Not just balance in our own lives but balance in the universal sense.  Balance as in how God works throughout our lives.  I tend to cringe a little when people throw around the phrase, “Not of This World,” because taken out of the context of truly understanding our relationship with God it may sound dismissive of our everyday problems.  God didn’t just put us here to wait for the bus to pick us up for the hereafter.  He wants us to live out our lives in His name as we go about this thing called “life on planet earth.”  And He wants us to do it knowing He is waiting for us.   It’s His amazing love for us that calls us to live a balanced life, in His name.  Balanced with conviction and grace, humbleness and exaltation, watchful and trusting, broken and healed, and persecuted and restored.

The verses today in 1 Peter show this amazing balance.  We are to be humble so God may exalt us.  We are to be watchful and yet trusting that God will care for us.  We will suffer and God will restore us.  And we are to do all this right here during our time in this place.   Each day we are admonished by God to find this balance of living our everyday lives – parenting, cooking, cleaning, working, being citizens and neighbors – all the while with Him in mind.  We seek the healing hands of doctors yet pray in Jesus’ name for healing and wisdom for the healers.  We are to work hard and take care of ourselves and our families while keeping our eyes on Him – not placing idols up in front of Him.

And then there’s conviction.  So often the concept of conviction is misunderstood as condemnation.  For many we grasp for the joy and the good without the acknowledgement of the things making us out of balance.  There’s the “good” and the “not as good.”  That leads us to tricking ourselves into thinking there’s “victim-less” actions and sins.  There are no “victim-less” sins in God’s world.  That’s because He loves each and every one of us.  He has a purpose for each of us.  So, if we give in to drinking, drugs, sexual immorality, etc it means we aren’t doing the true work He has for us.  And by ignoring the very words of Jesus we can ignore that each of us are sinful people.

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.

John 15:22

When we walk around with blinders on it’s easy to see the world from a very limited perspective.  It may even feel comfortable.  But here’s where balance comes in.  Without the conviction of sin there is no need for His amazing grace and forgiveness.  Satan doesn’t want us to be convicted and receive God’s grace.  He wants us to feel condemned and guilty.  Conviction calls us to change direction.  Conviction is needed for growth.  And if we hear what God wants of us and ignore it, we allow satan to work in our lives.  We know the sin.  We then choose to embrace it or work it out with God.  That choice decides our balance.  

How many of us leave our communing with God and finding that balance until a more convenient time?  We are so tired at the end of the day we struggle to finish a Bible study, to journal, to do a devotional, to even pray.  My BSGs were tasked to discuss a time they felt pulled away from God.  For me it was during my kids’ sports years.  Weekend games and tournaments meant not attending church.  And I certainly didn’t bring along any God-focused reading material.  And yet, I have to say that’s a time in my life I needed God the most.  I was really out of balance.

When we seek that balance God desires for us in all things we find we don’t need to binge eat, be constantly fearful, obsessive, overly emotional.  We live in the center, squarely in His love.  We keep our work and play on His track.  We balance our fears and concerns about this world with the knowledge of what He has in store for us after our brief time here on earth.

I thank God for helping me seek a balanced life.  For I know that every time I fail in this world I can look to Him for His grace.

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

Amazing Grace

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

Acts 9:20-22


Apart from the amazing miracles of the Messiah, these verses tell one of the most amazing stories in the Bible. 

Saul of Tarsus was a wretched man. He was the LAST and I mean THE LAST person in Israel who would’ve been saved. The disciples and all Christians feared Saul for he was responsible for murdering and slaughtering anyone who professed belief in Christ. He was infamous amongst the Christians – comparable to terrorists in ISIS today. Saul was the head honcho terrorist to the Christians. 

And then he was saved. 

Whenever I read about the conversion of Saul, I always like to immerse myself in what it truly would’ve looked and felt like to see a man who I so deeply feared, now confessing Jesus as the Messiah. To say I would be amazed would be an understatement. I wouldn’t believe my eyes, in fact, I could see myself rubbing them to make sure I was not dreaming – maybe even pinch myself. To the Christians AND the Jews living in Damascus, they couldn’t believe their eyes either. How could this man go from murderer to disciple in a matter of days? 

The answer? His amazing grace. 

You see, it had to be Saul (Paul). There was no one else so broken, so poisoned by bitterness and revenge who would’ve fallen to their knees any harder than Paul did. God chose the most feared man in Israel as His ambassador to show His people that EVEN Saul, the Christian Killer, could be saved by His amazing grace. Now the housewife, the common man, the prostitute, the tax collector could look upon themselves and consider what the Lord did with Paul and see that EVEN they could be saved by His grace. Again, it had to be Saul. 

Saul the Persecutor

We may not all be murderers or terrorists, but I know many of us look upon ourselves with the same attitude as Paul did. “I was the last person people would’ve thought would be saved.” Maybe you were an outsider in your family, a rebel amongst your friends, or even an enemy of God’s for a time being. The fact is He is still saving Pauls each and every day. He saves people like you and me for the great testimony we have to tell to those who do not believe. He uses the wretched to display his amazing grace. He uses the broken to shine His redeeming light through. That’s pretty amazing. 

Saul the Saved

Because of the sins Paul committed, he carried his salvation with great responsibility. He lived his life after Christ with a great thorn in his side – a thorn I believe (though many have their theories) symbolizes the guilt he feels for all those he was responsible for murdering. Because of this thorn, Paul lived his life like it was not his own. He lived his life for Christ because he knew that it was Christ alone that gave him a second chance at love, joy, peace – eternal life. The fact of the matter is, Jesus did the same for us. Our salvation, while maybe not as dramatic as Paul’s, is the same as Paul’s. We were wretched sinners, in need of a Savior and Jesus gave us that second chance. For that, I pray we all realize that our lives are not our own, but the one who reached down and pulled us out of the sinking sand that was engulfing us. 

Go in that amazing truth today and pray that you find ways to continually lay your life at His feet, just as Paul did.