A fulfilled life

12 01 2013

And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.
Mark 9:4-8

In this passage, we see Elijah and Moses in the presence of Jesus Christ. It is a picture ofJesus as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. You see, Elijah represents the prophets and Moses represents the law. And here they are, both finding the glory of God in the presence of the Only Begotten Son. Jesus, Himself, said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

You can find encouragement in the law and the prophets. But the only true glory in life — and in eternity — is being found in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. True joy, fulfillment, and peace in your life come when you have a relationship with Him. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ but to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). This is a two-fold promise. Living every day withJesus is such a blessing. And knowing that when we die we will be with Him, face-to-face, for eternity is even better! So until we are with Him for eternity, we keep serving Him.

Jesus fulfilled everything in the law and everything in the prophets. And Jesus can surely fulfill everything in your life when you surrender it to Him.


The real mistake

12 01 2013

Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. And they asked Him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” Then He answered and told them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him.”

And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.
Mark 9:9-15

Which group of people do you most identity yourself with in this story?

First, there were the disciples who were with Jesus on the mountain, experiencing the amazing view of Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. Yet notice, when all was said and done, they didn’t worship the Lord — they only asked Him more questions. Rather than basking in His glory, they wondered what it meant. And maybe you are that way; God has met with you and you know what it means to be a Christian, but instead of following Him and worshiping Him, you decide not to trust Him until you have all your questions answered.

Another group of people we see were the other disciples down the mountain. These guys seemed helpless — they didn’t know what to do. Although Jesus had been with them, instructing them and investing His life into them, they didn’t know how to effectively minister to people. The crowds exhausted them and the scribes overwhelmed them. They couldn’t defend their faith because they largely hadn’t been paying attention. Maybe you feel this way; you’ve been to church much of your life, but you really don’t know the Scriptures, how to share your faith with others, or how to defend your faith. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” Are you built up in the faith and in your relationship with the Lord to do this?

The third group of people Mark mentions were the scribes. It seems all they wanted to do was argue and pick theological fights with the people. May I encourage you to look to the Lord for your guidance, wisdom, and strength. Get into the Word of God and bring your questions to Him. When we don’t understand things clearly, it seems so easy to start complaining or criticizing with others. But don’t be like the scribes who just looked for fights.

Lastly, there were the people in the crowds. These were the people who, when seeing Jesus, ran to Him and greeted Him. And I believe these are the kind of people Jesus desires. Why? Because no matter what questions, doubts, arguments, apathy, or problems they had, they dropped everything and ran to Him. You see, God wants to answer all of our questions, increase our faith, and fill us with an unwavering hope, but we must trust Him first. We must run to Him with an open heart and worship Him. To do anything less is to take Him for granted.And that’s the real mistake of the other three groups.

So what person are you? Ask the Lord to change your heart. Let Jesus Christ be the only one you go to when your life is full of questions and difficulties. Run to Him.

All suffering will come to an end

8 01 2013

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mark 8:31

Part of being human means that we will suffer in this life; some more than others, but suffering is just a part of what we all experience. And Jesus was no different when He walked on this earth. Jesus explained to His disciples that He would suffer, be rejected, and be killed. Jesus, as the Son of God, had to suffer, had to be rejected, and had to be killed. That was the righteous requirement for sin (Romans 8:4). But think about this: Jesus also suffered to show us that when we suffer, we will make it through.

Those who put their faith in Jesus Christ don’t suffer for naught. The book of James tells us that suffering and trials bring about completeness and wholeness (James 1:2-4). Suffering and rejection come in so many forms today. Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one. (For me, it was my brother who was killed in an auto accident when I was in high school). For others, it’s the divorce of a spouse or the rejection of a son or daughter.

Whatever the situation, we’ve all suffered and have felt the sting of rejection. But the encouraging part is two-fold. First, put your trust in the fact that Jesus was rejected and suffered in horrible ways… for you. Be assured that whatever you go through today, some One has already shared those pains and knows exactly what you’re experiencing. Second, know that the suffering will stop some day. Jesus is coming back any moment and all of the suffering will cease! Live your life today knowing that the pain, agony, and suffering are almost over. There is an end, and it’s coming soon!

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

Who is Jesus to you?

7 01 2013

Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”
Mark 8:27-29

How will you respond when Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Do you see Him the way the world sees Him? Will you answer His question the same way the impressionable passers-by answered? Or will you answer the way Peter answered, that He is the Christ?

You see, the world sees Jesus as just another god on the shelf, an emergency back-up plan in case circumstances get really bad and they need to be bailed out of something. They only seeJesus as another religion.

Then there are those who have listened to the things of the Lord but have never made a full commitment of faith to truly follow Him. They perceive Jesus to be some prophet, like John the Baptist or Elijah. Indeed, John was a reformer, calling for repentance and a change of ways from the old lifestyle. And Elijah was the national conscience. Even the king and queen feared him because he stood up for what was just and right. He was the spokesperson for God and he stood between opposing opinions.

And while seeing Jesus as a reformer and a prophet are good, they still don’t fully represent who He is. Yes, we see Jesus as the One who calls for repentance and a change of lifestyle. Yes, we see Jesus as the spokesman for the Father, always doing the Father’s will. But He’s much more than that! He is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God! He’s the Messiah who died on the cross for your sins so that you could experience a life on this earth that matters, and an eternal life with Him forever. His is our Savior!

The God we worship isn’t like any other god or religion. Jesus loves you. He wants a relationship with you. He is reaching out to you and desires to be with you. Jesus is so much more than a prophet or an evangelist. He is the One who took the sins of the world away. He rescued you out of your sins.

In your day-to-day life, don’t let the enemy lull you to sleep thinking that Jesus is just another something-or-other. Don’t relegate Jesus to being just another person who walked this earth.

So… who do you say that He is?

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:16-22).

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