Category Archives: BE LIKE JESUS

WOMAN AT THE WELL.103016

Padua - Jesus and the Samaritan woman metal reliefJohn 4: 5-42 tells the story of what happened when Jesus met the woman at the well.  You know the story, noontime in Samaria, the disciples have gone to town to get food, Jesus is waiting by the well, and here comes a woman to get water.  It was a telling visit.  Jesus says, “Give me a drink of water.”  The woman says, “You are a Jewish man; I am a Samaritan woman; why are you even talking to me?”  Jesus, “If you knew who I was, you’d ask me, and I’d give you living water.”  If you’re not familiar already, please read the “rest of the story”.

This story ends up being about discipleship.  Discipleship is about service; service is about sacrifice; no sacrifice, no service, no service, no discipleship.  Service is about sharing what God puts in your heart, like in John 4.  The woman at the well was changed utterly from hearing Jesus tell her the truth about herself, and she was set free (as in: ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ (John 8:31-36)  Freed, miraculously, from guilt and shame and fear, she couldn’t help but tell what she had seen and heard.  (see Acts 4:18-20)

Our job as disciples of Jesus, if we choose to accept it, is to ”1 make disciples, 2 baptize them, and 3 teach them to observe what I [Jesus] have commanded you . . .” Matt. 28:19-20.  ‘ To ‘observe’ what Jesus has commanded means to 1 surrender to His Spirit and do what he tells you on a minute by minute basis.  Not just to adhere to the rules and customs of the faith but to be one with Him in immediate response to His immediate commands.  It’s that kind of teaching that is required to make disciples.

Some of us, maybe secretly all of us, long to see the miracles of Jesus in our own day; the healings, the deliverances, the raising people from the dead.  But miracles are happening all around us and we just aren’t seeing them.  In fact, the miracle that happened in this passage, of Jesus telling the truth to the Samaritan woman about “everything she ever did, and her being delivered, set free, from guilt and shame, fear and anger, truly a miracle, was just the kind of supernatural event that goes on right here, right now, in our own time and place, when someone surrenders to Jesus and is set free from the bondage of alcohol, drugs, porn or slavery, or from their own fears, anger, resentment, shame and guilt. Continue reading

BIBLICAL CONNECTIONS (REINFORCEMENTS).080916

Young Boy With DogHave you heard that line, “If you want to teach a dog or a kid, you’ve got to say it over and over.”  I just made that up.  But it’s true.  Whatever it is you want ’em to learn; if you say it enough, if you demonstrate it enough, it will finally soak in. You create those neural links in their heads and their bodies. You can bet on it.  I think God had that same policy in mind when He dictated the Bible to the writers.  One subject I’ve noticed lately (over and over) is about HEARING AND DOING.  I don’t know how many times my momma said it, but I finally got it, “YOU’VE GOT TO DO WHAT I SAY!”  (whether you like it or not; if you want to live long and do good.)

Jesus said it almost that loud and that strong in Matthew 7:24-26, when He said, “If you hear My words and do what I say, I’ll think you’re a wise man . . . but if you hear My words and you don’t do them, you’re a fool. . .” (my paraphrase).  And in James 1:22, God says, through James, “Be a DOER of the Word, and not just a hearer; deceiving yourselves.”  If we don’t do what Jesus says, we’re fools, and we’re lying to ourselves.  In Luke 11:27-28, a woman said, “Blessed is the woman who gave birth to you . . .” and Jesus said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep (guard, defend) it.”

And it’s not just about “don’t do this and don’t do that”.  It’s about what you DO as a positive act, an act of your will.  It’s like in John 5:24, He says, “If you pay attention (heed, do) what I say, and trust Him who sent Me, you have eternal life.”  Trusting in God is not easy; but it’s the only thing that works in this life.  You have to DO IT as an act of your will.  Over and over, until it starts to feel easy (or at least easier.)  That’s the only way you’re ever going to have the peace that passes understanding is when you trust Jesus as an act of your will.

That’s what He’s talking about when He says, “If you follow God’s commands, you will live!”  See Luke 10:28.

“The Gospel is not about making bad people good, it’s about making dead people alive!” David Crowder

Whad-a-ya-mean Love?072216

TROOPS ON PARADE.072216“Be ye kind one to the other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another …” Eph 4:28-32

When my two oldest sons, Sam and Andy, were in high school, they went to military school in New Mexico. Secretly, they said they wanted to go to military school because there was less discipline there than there was at home. I don’t know. Maybe. All in all, I think they learned a lot there, both in education and in life experiences. Not all good, but certainly some was. They made good grades; they excelled in the military training; and they responded well to the military discipline (probably learned that at home?). ‘Course they weren’t perfect angels, but who is? Both of them got in some trouble from time to time, partly because they were a little resistant to authority. Can’t imagine where they got that. As a matter of fact, both of them got kicked out for various reasons, but both of them got back in and graduated.

This little story is about Sam. One day, for some unknown reason, he decided he’d stick the fire hose in the window of the Tactical Officer’s office (Tach Office) and fill it up with water while the Tach Officer was away doing his rounds one night. When he came back, the tach office was about 2½ feet deep in water (up to the bottom of the windows), and when he opened the door, the water knocked him down flowing out the door. He was a little hot.

Because there is a “secret code of honor,” nobody squealed on Sam for several hours. Finally, the officers devised a way to put enough pressure on everybody that someone finally gave in and told them who did it. That was maybe 10:00–11:00 in the morning. Shortly after that, the Officer of the Day called me on the phone in our hometown, maybe 6 hours away. His first words were, “Come and get the sumbitch; we don’t want him around here.” After that, he gave me a short version of what happened and then told me that Sam and all his belongings would be waiting for me out on the curb, whenever I was able to get there. He knew how far I was away, and he didn’t care. Then I said, “I want to talk to Sam.” The guy said, “He doesn’t want to talk to you.” But he put him on. Continue reading

CATS ‘N’ DOGS.071016

American staffordshire terrier dog playing with little kitten

I’ve had people tell me that I oversimplify things, that I try to reduce everything to the most elemental level possible.  They’re right.  I actually LIKE to do that; to find ways that simple things CAN explain, do explain, complicated matters.  Here’s one for you: “Some people are like cats and some are like dogs.”  I’m sure you’ve heard of this idea before.  It’s not new, just true.

Take cats.  They’re an independent lot.  Fascinating.  On a good day they’ll purr and rub up against you, even crawl up in your lap and let you pet them as long as they want.  They’re soft and cuddly.  Often they’re very expressive.  They have any number of different “meows” to tell you what they want or need.  But don’t get crossways with them.  They may not talk to you or get close to you for a week.  And when you try to get them to do something they don’t want to do, forget it.  If you’re wondering who is the master and who is the pet, you obviously haven’t been around cats much.  Oh and have you noticed the disdain they have for dogs?  You’ve probably seen an 80 lb dog back down from a 10 lb cat.  And what about quick response to direction?  Even when they’re accustomed to doing something you want them to, they have to take time for a little grooming.  Their timing, their rules, their game, their way.

On the other hand, take dogs.  Some little, some big.  Almost all are just DRIVEN by this desire to please their master.  They may have been in the crate for hours, but when you come home and let them out, they try to lick you to death.  They’re wagging their tails so hard they can hardly stand up.  They run in circles to entertain you and let you know how much they missed you.  If you let them, they’ll follow you wherever you go, wind, snow, sleet, rain, or dead of night.  And they’re really protective of the master and his or her clan.  Again, little or big, old or young; if anyone attacks, they are ready, willing and often able to defend.  Even when the master is old or broke or really cranky, even when he beats his dog for something he didn’t do, the dog is there to please, to worship the ground he walks on.

You probably already know the punch line:  “Some people are like cats and some are like dogs.”  It’s almost exactly like that other line: “Some people are believers, some are skeptics.”  Continue reading

DAILY QUIET TIME.050816

Hands Praying on Bible            Luke 9: 23 says, “If anyone would follow me (be my disciple), let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”  The point I want to focus on right now is about our daily habits. We can’t go many days without eating (and we certainly like to eat every day); we cannot live more than a few days without water; we have to sleep regularly, mostly every night. If we don’t go to work or school every day, we won’t last long in those endeavors. If we don’t do these things every day, we will languish, and diminish, and die.

I submit that if we don’t focus attention on our spiritual lives every day we will eventually wither and die spiritually. Because God wants so much to have a personal relationship with us, He gives us many, many extra chances to choose Him, so we won’t die forever (2 Peter 3:9). If we want to have a vibrant relationship with God, we must do it daily. We have to choose, this day, to serve Him. (Joshua 24:15) If we don’t eat daily, we won’t grow and develop properly physically; and if we don’t seek God daily, then we won’t grow and develop properly spiritually.

If anyone wants to draw near to God; if they want to develop a personal relationship with God; then they must focus their attention on God every day. The best times I have getting to know God better are the times when I take the time to: 1 Read the Bible and a devotional and let it soak in a little; 2 Read the prayer requests that I have received and think them over; both about the physical needs requested and about the spiritual needs that are represented by those requests; and then 3 kneel and talk to God; tell Him how much I want Him and how much I need Him in my life; about how thankful I am that He loves me and is taking care of me; about how much I love Him and how much I want to be more like Him and less like me, how I want to die to myself so He can live His life in me; and then I 4 wait; (and while I’m waiting),           I try to 5 listen for God about the needs in the prayer requests and how they relate to the Bible passage and the devotional. .
Continue reading

WHO DO YOU TRUST? (REALLY) 042716

Eroded beach with house, Pititinga, Natal (Brazil)

So we were talking about obedience; and we were talking about ‘building your house on the sand’ as a metaphor for ‘basing our lives on principles and practices that shift and change’.   We should touch on another aspect of this obedience.  If, as we alluded to earlier, obedience is about doing what God tells us to do; then what about the First of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before (besides) Me.”  We’re back to that question about who or what do we worship (or serve)?  Who do we really trust?  Who do we really turn to when we’re in dire straits with nowhere to turn?

Well, I’m good about saying that ultimately I trust God; not my job, nor my employer, nor my network of friends and relatives, nor my piddly bank account or my credit cards.  But do I really?  I say that; but every time I get in a bind, I’m steadily calculating where I’m going to go to stay afloat for another few days or weeks.  Funny thing is; usually something “falls out of the sky” that I was completely not expecting, so clearly that it just had to be God.  It’s happened over and over so often that I just can’t deny that God really has delivered me from evil or destruction or punishment when I didn’t deserve to be delivered.  God’s mercy.  (You know ‘mercy’: that’s when God loves you and takes care of you, even when you deserve to be punished.)

Problem is, we all have been in that position, when to our logical mind it looks like there is a logical man-made explanation for how we got out of that trap; and we don’t give the credit to God.  Somebody comes by and says, “You know that just couldn’t be God; that was your boss, or your rich uncle, or just the luck of the draw.”  And the sad thing is we let it slide and agree by omission.  We don’t say, “You may think that, but I know it was God.”  Just so you’ll know, nobody else may think a thing about it, but God didn’t miss it.  The true miracle is that God still loves me (and you) anyway.  Some people go for years, running in the bushes, worshipping those idols of ‘other stuff’ taking care of them, growing more and more calcified in their position of trusting something else besides God, acknowledging something else besides God is our real god.  (Often it’s our selves.)  The really sad part is that we’re not only worshipping idols, but we’re getting more and more used to trusting in “the house on the sand”; getting closer and closer to the time of ‘great was the fall of it”.  That’s dis-obedience and the fruits (the results) of disobedience all rolled into one.

In case somebody didn’t get it; trusting in something else besides God to take care of you is not only 1] building your house on the sand (basing your life on shifting, shaky stuff); but it’s also  2] worshipping idols; serving other gods than the One True God.  That’s disobedience of the first order.   That’s the exact definition of what Jesus was talking about when he said, “Everyone who hears My words, and does NOT do them is like a foolish man . . .” Only an idiot would do that.  I guess if you want you can join me as a ‘recovering’ idiot.  You know, like members of AA talk about being a ‘recovering alcoholic’.  We never completely grow out of it.  We have to get up every morning, turn ourselves over to God and say, “One more time Lord, I’m turning myself over to You; I’m dying to myself so You can live Your eternal life in me.  I love You.”  From Out o’th’ Bushes, © 2016, by Tex Tonroy

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS ON YOU! 042616

 

Jesus Preaches in the Synagogue           In Luke 4:14-21; Luke says, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.  He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ [Isaiah 61:1-2] Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ ”

First let me say that this story is about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  At the beginning of His ministry he spent 40 days in the wilderness, fasting and then being tempted by the devil.  And immediately after that is where this passage comes, in the Gospel of Luke.  When He returned to Galilee, He returned from the wilderness, ‘in the Power of the Spirit’.  He spent a little time in the neighboring villages teaching, and then He went back to his home town, Nazareth, where He had spent the first 30 years of his life being a child and then a carpenter.  So this occasion was His ‘coming out’ statement before the ‘hometown crowd’.

And what did He say?  He said “God’s Spirit is on Me.  He has anointed Me.”  (You remember about anointed; that’s the evidence of gift of the Holy Spirit usually given to kings and judges, prophets and priests) (not usually to lowly carpenters with no education, no ordination, no special treatment from the High Priest or the Pharisees or Sadducees.)  And pretty as you please, Jesus gets up and says, “I’m anointed by the Spirit of the Lord.  This verse from Isaiah is talking about Me.”

One thing that deserves mention about this passage is what Jesus said when He finished reading it.  Continue reading