Jesus Prepares Us For The Path

In His final week of ministry leading up to the Cross, Jesus got the most out of every minute He had. 

After a busy Monday where He cleared the temple, Jesus went back to Bethany, where He spent the night, only to return to the same temple courts Tuesday morning to teach His disciples. 

Tuesday is a preparation day. This is His last day in public before His trial and crucifixion and He has many final words to impart to His followers. Much of His teaching comes in response to the increasing onslaught from the religious leadership, who are desperately trying to find a way to silence Him once and for all.

It’s important to note that Jesus doesn’t prepare the path for us, but He prepares us for the path. 

Jesus prepares us for… 

1. OPPOSITION

Not only did Jesus face opposition, but He told His followers that we would too (see Matthew 5:11; 10:17-22). Indeed as Jesus sat in the temple courts teaching on this Tuesday, group after group of religious leaders attacked Him (Matthew 21:23; 22:15, 23, 34-35). There are many lessons we can learn, but here are a few important takeaways: 

    • Answer entrapping questions with a question of your own. 
    • You don’t have to answer everything people ask you.  
    • Either-or questions probably need a both-and answer. 
    • The better we know the Scriptures, the better we can know those both-and answers.
    • Consider the source of the questioner. 
    • We shouldn’t have an unhealthy obsession with nonessential things. 
    • Love fulfills the law. 
    • When we teach in love, some people will finally get it.

2. DAILY LIVING

Between all of the entrapping questions, Jesus taught some valuable lessons. 

    • The power of faith-filled prayer
    • Obedience to God is valuable whenever it happens and in whomever it occurs 
    • We are only stewards of God’s resources 
    • The ugliness of hypocrisy

3. END TIMES EVENTS

Jesus doesn’t want us to be surprised, so He tells us upfront what is coming. Some of what He teaches here would have partial fulfillment in about 30 years when the Romans besieged Jerusalem, but the ultimate fulfillment is still to come—Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21. 

Christ’s passionate journey was out of love for us. Which means everything He taught us was for our benefit. To honor Him, we need to know the Scriptures and God’s power (Matthew 22:29). 

So we study the Word of God to get to know the God of the Word. Keeping our eyes on Jesus will keep us prepared for the path ahead of us, no matter how rough it is. 

Viewing Abortion As Slavery

In our American history, we have many valuable lessons. Some of these lessons come from sad chapters that now we have the benefit of hindsight to see the error of our ways. But with this hindsight, there should come insight into the issues which currently face us.

Slavery was an abhorrent evil that plagued our country. Thankfully there were strong men who forcefully and persuasively spoke out against the horrors of slavery; men like Frederick Douglass. His address “What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?” is a masterpiece of statesmanship!

Those under the oppression of slavery had no choice. They weren’t allowed speak for themselves, so they depended upon free men and women to speak for them.

Much the same today, babies who are aborted in the womb have no choice, no voice. They cannot speak for themselves, so it is up to us to speak out for them against this abhorrent evil that plagues our country.

I would ask you to consider some of the words of Frederick Douglass where the terms for slavery are replaced with the terms for abortion.

“Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding [aborted baby] on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate [abortion]—the great sin and shame of America! … 

“The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. … 

“Let it be thundered around the world, that, in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America, the seats of justice are filled with judges, who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding in the case of [an unborn baby’s] liberty, hear only [the abortionist]! … 

“A religion which favors [‘choice’] against the [unborn baby]; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, [pro-choice] and [pro-life]; which says to the [baby in the womb, you don’t matter]; and to the [abortionist, continue on]; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and [killers] of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies His fatherhood of [all human life], and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. … 

“The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold [abortion]; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in connection with its ability to abolish [abortion]. The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. … Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against [abortion]; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds….

“O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”

Good Religion Must Be Practical

“Religion which has no practical impact on our daily lives quickly becomes a vague, abstract notion that amounts to nothing. Yet many have nothing more than an empty profession to prove they are Christians. …

“A good Christian but a nagging wife, a godly man but a negligent father—these are contradictions that cannot be reconciled. The man who does not walk uprightly in his own house is nothing more than a hypocrite at church. If you are not a Christian in your shop, you are not a Christian in your closet—even though you may pray there.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor

More quotes from this book can be found here and here.

Links & Quotes

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“There is a burden of care in getting riches; fear in keeping them; temptation in using them; guilt in abusing them; sorrow in losing them; and a burden of account at last to be given concerning them.” —Matthew Henry

“Don’t imagine I doubt for a moment that what God sends us must be sent in love and will all be for the best if we have grace to use it so. My mind doesn’t waver on this point; my feelings sometimes do. That’s why it does me good to hear what I believe repeated in your voice….” ―C.S. Lewis

“Our comfort comes not from the powerlessness of our enemies, but from our Father’s sovereign rule over their power.” —John Piper

Have you seen all the videos of one of Obamacare’s architects, Jonathan Gruber? Here is the story behind the man, Rich Weinstein, who unearthed all of these clips and exposed the outright lies and hypocrisy. And this video compilation is just a sampling of the lies—

Links & Quotes

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“How can you know when you are trusting in man rather than in God? If you fall apart when someone else lets you down, or if the actions of others affect your walk with God, then you know you are leaning on the arm of flesh!” —David Wilkerson

“Hypocrisy turns people against God, so He has a no-tolerance policy. Let’s take hypocrisy as seriously as God does. For starters, expect no credit for good deeds. None! If no one notices, you aren’t disappointed. If someone does, you give the credit to God. If no one knew of the good you do, would you still do it? If not, you’re doing it to be seen by people.” —Max Lucado

Intersting ongoing studies about the brain development of children born before full-term pregnancy.

“Let not the fact that the answer seems farther off than ever be any discouragement to you. Remember that to trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust Him in the dark—that is faith. To rest upon God when everything witnesses with God—that is nothing; but to believe God when everything gives Him the lie—that is faith. To believe that all shall go well when outward providences blow softly is any fool’s play, but to believe that it must and shall be well when storms and tempests are round about you, and you are blown farther and farther from the harbor of your desire—this is a work of grace.” —Charles Spurgeon, commenting on Romans 4:19-20

For my pastor friends: “As a minister of the gospel, have you ever considered why you have a salary and a place to live, and so are freed from the need of holding a regular job? The reason is so that you can continue in prayer and the ministry of the Word. These will give you the necessary wisdom and anointing for your work. And that is the secret of a fruitful ministry. No wonder there are often complaints about the ineffective spiritual life of a minister and his congregation. That which is of prime importance—perseverance in prayer—does not occupy its rightful place.” —Andrew Murray

Links & Quotes

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Some links to some interesting reading and quotes I found this weekend.

Eric Metaxas shares some interesting archeological finds: Make No Camel Bones About It.

“No man has any moral right to go before the people who has not first been long before the Lord. No man has any right to speak to men about God who has not first spoken to God about men. And the prophet of God should spend more time in the secret place praying than he spends in the public place preaching.” —A.W. Tozer

A couple of family men (not!): Sports radio hosts blast player for taking paternity leave. UPDATE: I was glad to see that one of these guys, Boomer Esiason, apologized for these remarks. Good job, Boomer!

Helpful post for parents: How To Notice Changes In Our Kids.

“How many have we in our churches of crab tree Christians, who have mixed such a vast amount of vinegar, and such a tremendous quantity of gall in their constitutions, that they can scarcely speak one good word to you; they imagine it impossible to defend religion except by passionate ebullitions; they cannot speak for their dishonored Master without being angry with their opponent; God if anything is away, whether it be in the house, the church, or anywhere else, they conceive it to be their duty to set their faces like a flint, and to defy everybody. They are like isolated icebergs; no one cares to go near them. They float about on the sea of forgetfulness, until at last they are melted and gone; and though, good souls, we shall be happy enough to meet them in heaven, we are heartily glad to get rid of them from the earth. They were always so unamiable in disposition, that we would rather live an eternity with them in heaven, than five minutes on earth. Be ye not thus, my brethren. Imitate Christ in your loving spirits; speak kindly, act kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, ‘He has been with Jesus.’” —Charles Spurgeon

Rush Limbaugh’s take on the resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich.

“To be a Christian it is necessary that he serve his generation as well as his God.” —A.W. Tozer

“God’s presence is not the same as the feeling of God’s presence and He may be doing most for us when we think He is doing least.” —C.S. Lewis

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

Truth! What Gossip Actually Does

“How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing, it is irresistible.” —C.S. Lewis

“The difference in winning and losing is most often not quitting.” —Walt Disney

A son shows his sick mother some love: A Message Of Love In The Snow

Max Lucado on what angers Jesus: Hucksters And Faith Peddlers

Researchers question the long-term effectiveness of ADHD medicines: The Smart-Pill Oversell

An interview with Alvin Plantinga: Is Atheism Irrational?

[VIDEO] A great TobyMac song with a great message: Speak Life

Hypocritical Pastors

Jonathan EdwardsI was reading a passage from Jonathan Edwards’ Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer, where Edwards warned pastors against neglecting the sacred duty of private prayer. Edwards says that pastors who spend more time praying publicly than they do privately are hypocrites.

T.M. Moore commented on this—

So we [pastors], when we attend upon public prayers—even leading them, during morning worship—but have no prayer life of our own to speak of, practice hypocrisy of the first water. We seem to be men of prayer, but we are hardly ever calling on the Lord of glory. 

There is a simple remedy to this: Pray!

  • Pray every day
  • Pray about every thing
  • Pray in private
  • Make prayer your continual and ongoing habit

Pastors, may we always pray!

Can We Truly Call Ourselves “Christian”?

These are eye-opening statistics from noted church researcher Thom Rainer:

  • 82% of unchurched people are likely to attend church if someone invites them.
  • 7-out-of-10 unchurched people have never been invited… in their entire lifetime!
  • That’s because only 2% of church members invite someone to come.

Friends, this ought not be!

I’m looking myself squarely in the mirror when I ask this:

Why am I not inviting more people?!?

Check out what J.C. Ryle wrote —

“We ought to feel compassion when we think of the wretched state of unconverted souls, and the misery of all men and women who live and die without Christ. No poverty like this poverty! No disease like this disease! No slavery like this slavery! No death like this…. I lay it down boldly, as a great principle, that the Christianity which does not make a person feel for the state of unconverted people is not the Christianity which came down from heaven hundreds of years ago, and is [displayed] in the New Testament. It is a mere empty name.”

I don’t want to be a Christian in name only. I want my life to embody the love and life of Christ. He loved all of humanity so much that He came to die as payment for our sins. He paid the price so we could live.

Why am I not telling more people about this incredible, life-changing news?!?

I want to make a HUGE dent in these statistics! Will you join me?

Thursdays With Oswald—General Maxims

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

General Maxims

     (a) If you lack education, first realize it; then cure it.

     (b) Beware of knowing what you don’t practice.

From Approved Unto God

I know the maxim for some is, “Fake it until you make it.” I can’t do that. I won’t do that. The Bible has a word for doing that: Hypocrisy.

How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Luke 6:42).

But just as bad is when I know what I’m supposed to do, and then make excuses not to do that. The Bible has a word for not doing that: Sin.

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it (James 4:17).

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