Take up your bed…




 Using the old King James Version today, which I never do, but this has a verse left out of newer translations that, without it, this really doesn’t make sense.  It really doesn’t make with it either, until we come to understand the the subject of the story is not really the subject.  
After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.   It doesn’t say which festival.  Most likely it is the Passover festival, tens of thousands of people making the trek to Jerusalem to meet God.  And God Himself is making the trip right along with them…

In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.    So we see the picture.  Crowds of people coming to Jerusalem, and we’re at thus pool next to what had to be a very busy sheep market.  And by this pool, we see many of the sick, the lame, blind, and many other ailments.  The second part here is why I’m using KJV for this – it tells us the WHY as to what the sick people are doing around this pool.  For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.  This was a miracle pool.   When the angel came and stirred the waters, someone would be healed!!  We learned later that there is an underground spring that caused the bubbling of the waters, but I think that’s irrelevant.  Or maybe it’s not.  Whatever was bringing these bubbles, the people believed.  And people were healed.  If people were not healed, then they would stop coming.  Word would have gotten out – “Hey, little Jimmy got in the water, he’s still blind.”  But they keep coming.  So, for whatever reason, this pool was a healing pool.  

And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?   So, we see the subject of the story.  Only he’s not the subject at all.  I’m just going to let you know – this man is us.  He is me.   I know, you’re not crippled, lame, lying next to a pool for 38 years, unable to even scramble in for the free healing available there.  And I know I’m not either.

The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.   No one will help him into the water.  Lying there for most of a lifetime, waiting for salvation, with no one to help.  

So let’s come back to how I am this man by the pool.  How you are this man by the pool.  “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews‬ ‭12:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬.  Without holiness no one will see the Lord.  Another translation says – “…for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” Hebrews‬ ‭12:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬.  Here’s the problem – only the holy will see God.  Heaven is a perfect place, perfection is required to enter.  Not “good enough”.  Not “better than them”.  Not “trying hard”.  Perfection.  It’s a high standard, set by God.  “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew‬ ‭5:48‬ ‭ESV‬‬
That’s why we are this invalid, paralyzed and trapped.
Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.”  This guy did not come to Jesus.  He did not ask.  Jesus just DID.  Healed him, right on the spot.  Just like he does with us. Yes…we might come to Jesus, ask for healing and forgiveness, but the work is all His.  “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians‬ ‭2:13-15‬ ‭ESV‬.  We may ask Him.  We do receive by faith.  But there is nothing we can do for ourselves.  We can’t be good enough.  We can’t try hard enough.  We can’t work for it.  We can’t earn it.  We can only, just like this invalid at the pool, follow the command given – And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.   We are this invalid.  So let’s be this invalid.  Take up your bed and walk!!

“After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:1-9‬ ‭KJV‬‬
http://bible.com/1/jhn.5.1-9.kjv

 

John Lewis

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How did I get here???

Enjoying my vacation. Looking at my blog, this is the very first post I made. I didn’t write this for this blog. Many of my early posts had been written before I ever envisioned sharing these publicly. So, while I don’t have any idea how long it’s been since I wrote this, I do know this is my very first public post. From a much earlier point in my recovery as well. As very few of you would have read this, I hope you enjoy it. And thank you so much for allowing to share!!

Not For Punks



I love this story!! Elijah had been used by God to demonstrate Gods power to his people beyond all doubt. Slaying pagan priests, outrunning chariots, and even bringing rain from the lord to end a long drought he himself had predicted, he was the top prophet of the day. Then, he basically burned out and had a panic attack. Instead of finding satisfaction and safety in the God he had served so well, he gave in to fear. He ran away and hid, and had his own pity party!! Even as Elijah was stuck in his depression, God stayed with, guiding him to Mt Sinai. Then he asked the question….“What are you doing here?” (Ever been to that point…HOW DID I GET HERE????!!!). Elijah continues in his pity party, telling God how he’s the only one left in all Israel who loves him!! Woe is me!! So God tells…

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The Vexation of a Fool

On vacation at the beach, so might take the chance to re blog some older posts. Here’s one from a couple of months ago…

Not For Punks


When I don’t know where else to open to, it must be a good day to visit proverbs.  I don’t spend enough time in the proverbs or psalms.  A knucklehead like me can use a little extra wisdom.  This section seems to have a lot to say about what we say, and how we relate to one another.
 
 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble.   Sometimes, when we are doing wrong and living wrong, we try to hide it.  So we start lying.   We start with stupid little lies, like lying about what we had for lunch today.  Then our lies get deeper and more involved.  They become a part of our habits.  That’s why I have guys  I sponsor begin to work on correcting their lies.  We are all liars to one degree or…

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When tomorrow never comes…

  

I’ve just been thinking on this story of the prodigal son, meditating if you will.  I looked at the end of the story most recently, and found what I believe to be the ultimate point of the parable.  The point that the angry brother is so caught up in his own anger and unforgiveness that he’s going to miss the feast thrown for his brother, choosing instead his own pity party of jealousy and judgementalism.  
 
I’ve been thinking about the father in this story.  The father who did not try stand in the way of the decision his son was making.  The father who did not try to manipulate his son by holding the inheritance he has coming.   To us, this seems highly irregular for a living father to dole out the inheritance before he passes on, but we see an example of this with Abraham as well, who gave Isaac his inheritance before his own death.
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.   We see this father, in his love for his son, simply divide his estate and give him the 1/3 he has coming.   It’s not unheard of, but it is not required.  He chooses to give his son his inheritance early as a free gift.  

We see the son, with all the world could want, wanting more.  Just like Adam and Eve in the garden, who had it all EXCEPT that particular tree, wanted it all PLUS a little it more.  He decided he didn’t want to be under his fathers protection anymore, he decided he knew better.  He wanted to do it HIS way.   He wanted his own will, not his fathers will for him.

Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.   His will, his way.  How’d that work out for our prodigal?  
But notice his father.  Does he send out search parties?  Is he standing right there to catch him when he falls?.  No.  He allows the consequences to play themselves out.  Does that mean he doesn’t love his younger son?  No, we clearly see later in the story the stunning, striking love he has for his son.  

But it does mean he gave his son the choice.  The choice to go his own way, do his own will.  The fathers will would have been for the son to stay at home, be a part of the family business, stay under the protection only he could provide.  But the son chose his own will rather than submit himself to the fathers authority.  And yes, we know how this turns out. “”But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!” Luke‬ ‭15:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  He hits bottom!  The only place for him to go is home – back to his father.
Most of the stories Jesus told show us how we SHOULD be.  We should be the light of the world.  We should take up our cross and follow Him.  We should come to the banquet He has prepared for us.
The prodigal son is who we ARE.  We want our inheritance, but we don’t want to wait for it.  We want it now!!  We spend all we have on worthless things.  We pursue the lusts of our flesh.  We do things our way, not His way.  
This is why we always identify with this prodigal son.  In all Christian history, no matter the time, no matter the place, we all recognize ourselves as the prodigal.  We all long to be in our Fathers arms.  But we choose our selfish pride over his all embracing love.  We choose our own will over His will.
 
“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”  ‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:20-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  Our Father is waiting.  He’s watching, with anticipation.  If we will just turn and begin to travel back to Him, He will run to embrace us.  Bring us the best robe, kill the fattened calf.  
This was always His will.  We ate from the only tree in the garden we couldn’t have.  We had it all, but it wasn’t enough.  But we chose our own pride and arrogance rather than live under his protection.  And we have lived with those consequences ever since.
But…He’s watching, waiting for us to come back to Him.  We pray this all the time, it’s what Jesus taught us – “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew‬ ‭6:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  His will for us is to come back to Him.  His will would have been for us to never have left Him in the first place.  He loves us so much, He even sent a search party.  He sent His son to bring us back to Him.  “”Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭14:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  He showed us the way – “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭14:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  He took His throne on that cross.  We can’t go back to the garden, it’s guarded to keep us from eating from the tree of life.  But..Jesus died on the cross on Friday.  He conquered death on Sunday.  He’s been building His New Jerusalem ever since.  We might not get to eat from the tree of life, but…“…if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans‬ ‭6:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬
Our Fathers house has many rooms.  Jesus is preparing a room just for each one of us.  As each of us makes the choice to go back to the Father, we make certain decisions.  We choose to get baptized in the water, symbolically dying with Him.  We come out of the water to claim our resurrection.  We lose our lives, die to ourselves, in order to live for Him.   We die to ourselves, we live FOREVER with Him.  
Some of us think we can figure out when the end times will come.  We’ve thought this for about 1800 years now.  We think we are smart, we’ll have it all figured out, we’ll accept that grace at the last possible moment.  Those of us who think this are ALWAYS wrong.
 
But here’s a thought – we are always in the end times.  OUR OWN end times.  We should always be acting like the end is near, because THE END IS NEAR. We do not have eternity to make the choice to return to our Father.   We do have eternity to either suffer the consequences of rejecting the Father, or eternity to enjoy His glory.  The time to choose is now.  We think we can wait until tomorrow to get out of the pig slop and start walking that road.  But when tomorrow never comes….

“And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:11-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/luk.15.11-13.esv

John Lewis

Whom shall I fear??



Probably going to be spending time in the psalms over the next few weeks, maybe because I need to spend more time with the Lord in prayer.  That’s what psalm 27 is – prayer.  The first half especially is a prayer for divine help and guidance.  Most likely King David was headed into battle or about to be under attack when he wrote this prayer to Yahweh.
 
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?    How about an “amen” on a Monday afternoon!!   The Lord is my light and salvation, not only on Sunday, but on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  We (I) worry so much about what those around us think, what they might say.  We (I) get so caught up in feeling like everyone is against me.  Nobody has a gun to my head.  I’m not in a foxhole.  To be honest, most of my enemies are figments of my own imagination.  David had enemies searching him out, possibly at the time he wrote this King Saul had turned against him and was searching the mountains to kill him (because of his own fear!).   I claim Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Whom shall I fear?  Of whom shall I be afraid??!!
 
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.   Unlike King David, no one is chasing me like a wild animal.   Some may ‘assail me” behind my back – in that case it really is they who stumble and fall.  The more they talk, the more they expose themselves.  The more they stand in the unholy spirit of accusation, the more they squeeze  the Holy Spirit of advocacy out from their own lives…

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.  The only army against me, the only war I face, is the one inside my own head.  As one of my recovery brothers likes to say, my own self-run riot.  Some say recovery is a war, and we all live in spiritual warfare of some form or another.  And really, this is life or death.  But this life or death is a choice I have to make, a choice we all have to make. David had King Saul’s army encamped against him, we all have Satan’s army encamped against us.  We have to make a choice – “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  Choose life.  My heart shall not fear.  I will be confident.
 
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.  David wanted to be in the Lord’s temple, so he could seek after the Lord’s will and cover.  What is our temple?  We always have the church building, but for us, we are all part of his temple, his body.   “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans‬ ‭12:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬. Our temple, our protection in this world of spiritual warfare comes in community with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  We are not meant to walk alone.  One Christian is no Christian.  The Christian life is a shared life.  If we are isolated, where will we find our help, our protection.  Jesus told us where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there among them.  He did not tell us He is with every isolated Christian, walking alone, claiming Christ in their own mind, sharing Him with none.  
 
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.  We lift up our praise and worship to Him, He lifts us up.  Worship to God is part of the spiritual war we wage.  It doesn’t make sense, but we know it to be true.  
It seems weird to those on the outside looking in.  Of course it does.  Everything we do is weird.  We’re Christians.  We profess as Lord of Lords and King of Kings a man who was hung on a tree until he was dead, dead, dead 2000 years ago.  We profess on faith that He was crowned King on that very cross from which He was hanged.   We can explain much, but we confess much more.  We confess the cross as His throne.  We confess He was raised from the dead, walked among his followers for over a month, then ascended to the right hand of the Father.  It’s all weird.  Embrace the weird.  
We’re Christians.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/psa.27.1-6.esv

 

John Lewis

Don’t miss the party!!



The last part of the story of the prodigal son, perhaps Jesus’ most famous and beloved parable of all.   The story of the selfish, impatient, ungrateful son who takes half his fathers fortune and blows it on whiskey, parties and hookers.  Who ends up a Jew on skid row, wallowing in the pig-sty, not just eating pork but sleeping with them too.  The son who, having hit bottom, just wants to be able to scrub the toilets in his fathers house.
 
It’s the story of the loving father who leaves the light on every night.  The father who kept the son’s room ready and the bed made.  The father who watched the horizon, looking for his lost son, praying for him to come home.  The father, who so couldn’t hide his joy at the first sight of his lost son.  “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Luke‬ ‭15:20‬ ‭ESV.   “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Luke‬ ‭15:21-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  No wonder we love this story so much.  I can get all emotional just reading it sitting on my couch.  We all relate to that lost son.  We’ve all gone out and blown it.  We’ve all wanted to just go back and feel that loving embrace, and someone love us just because we ARE.   Have someone rush out and meet us on the road, and bring us back.  Who doesn’t want a father who loves them like this father?  
 
We all have that Father.  We are all the beloved son or daughter.  We can all “come home” to the Father who loves us, and he is just waiting for us.  The light is on.  The bed is made.  The fattened calf is all ready to go.
But here’s the thing –  we all identify with that lost son.  We WANT to be that lost son.  We picture ourselves as the prodigal son, coming home to that loving embrace.  We WANT that party!  But, the whole story of the prodigal leads us to the whole point Jesus is making with his parable.  The one most of us will spend the majority of our lives being.  The story of the pissed-off, bitter, resentful, self righteous, indignant son.
Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’   Wow!!  Good news, right??   Your brother, out there lost, alone, and broken, has come home safe and sound…

But he was angry and refused to go in.   He’s angry.  So angry that he refuses to go in.  Refuses to share his fathers’ joy in the return of his brother.  He’d rather swallow his pill of bitterness and resentment than enjoy the feast  being had because his lost brother has come home.  

His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.   The same loving father throwing the party for the younger brother comes out to bring him into the party.  But this son is having his own party – a pity party.   His brother wallowed in the pig-sty, he’s going to wallow in his own self pity, anger and bitterness.   Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.   He forgets all that he has, and instead is focused on his jealousy for what his father is doing for his brother.  “Why didn’t I get the fattened calf??”  He’s pointing out how good and righteous he’s been all this time.  He didn’t go out and party with his fathers money.  He’s been faithful.  He’s followed all the rules.  He’s always done what his father wanted. 

But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’  Not even claiming him as his brother.  “This son of yours”…he has wasted your money. Gone to Vegas and blown it!!  But he comes walking up, and now we’re partying!!  Haven’t I been the good son?  I WANT MY PARTY!!!

And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’   The father knows his son has been faithful.  He’s always had, and always will have, all that his father has.  He has the keys to the kingdom.  It says in Job – “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job‬ ‭23:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  The righteous will always have a place in the Fathers house.  But earlier in the chapter, Jesus tells this story – “”What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:4-7‬ ‭ESV.  Jesus told us also that He came not for the righteous, but for those who know they are sinners.  Here’s the thing – just as we are all the prodigal son at some point in time, we are also this older brother.  We spend much more time as the jealous big brother than we do as the prodigal.  We meet Jesus, change our lives, read our bible, get some knowledge.  Now we get self righteous.  We claim our salvation, draw our lines, and begin looking out at the world, and begin to see how sinful this world really is.  We see all kinds of lost souls, instead of having compassion on them, instead of running out with the father to meet them, we fold our hands, stomp our feet, and point out all the things they did!!  How can we have a party for this sinner?  Where is my party?  Now that we have the keys to the kingdom, we want to start locking people out.    We don’t understand what Revelation tells us – “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.” Revelation‬ ‭21:22-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬
…and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.   We think we have the keys to the kingdom.  But the kingdom is not locked.  It is open for all who choose to come.  It s open for all the prodigals who get tired of the lake of fire.  Every time someone comes through the gates, there is going to be a fattened calf feast.   We don’t always like this.  After all, we’ve been following you THIIIIS long Jesus!!   

We are already in the kingdom.  We don’t get to lock the doors behind us.  We leave the light on.  We are the light.  We are supposed to bringing others with us.  It is our calling.  Don’t sulk in self pity when we succeed in what we are called to do!!  

Don’t miss the party..,

 

“”Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:25-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/luk.15.25-32.esv

 

John Lewis

Where Does My Help Come From?



Sometimes we feel like we are just overwhelmed with life, and that we are all alone.   Even though we like to think we can do it all on our own power, we inevitably get to a point where we just know that we need help.  The storms of life come, whether we like it or not.  As my pastor likes to say, you’re either coming out of a storm, in the middle of a storm, or about to head into a storm.  Wherever you are right now on this “storm continuum” of life, you better get know how to deal with the storms of life.  This short psalm deals with just that.
 
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  Let’s be real, this is why I chose this particular psalm today!   Theses two verses form a memorable line in one of my favorite songs – “Praise you in this storm” by Casting Crowns, so there you have it.   
So what’s the psalmist telling us?  First – whoever he is, he is in trouble.  We don’t know what kind of trouble, but probably a physical kind of danger.  Maybe he’s looking up at the hills around him because that’s where the danger is coming from.  Or, he’s looking to the hills for protection, either as a place to flee, or because of protection provided by hills, like the protection A city gets from having mountains surround it.   Either way, this is the truth – My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.   Whatever storm we are in, whatever we are running from, sooner or later we figure out where the protection lies.

He will not let your foot be moved;   God is stable, He is always there.  Think about the time this was written.  If we were to lose a foot now, it sucks, but we can survive.  We might even get a prosthetic, and most people would not even know the foot was missing.  When this psalm was written, losing a foot would have been a big deal.  They don’t have planes, trains and automobiles.  Life would be very difficult.  You would be very dependent on others for survival, your quality of life would be very poor.  (Kind of laughing right now – “quality of life” really was not a concern 1000 years BC.)

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. From a time when the night watchman was a VIP.  The guards protecting Jesus’ grave dozed off, and look what happened.  History lost the greatest eyewitness account ever!   Going to sleep in this time was probably hazardous to ones health.  Bandits, armies, animals, there were lots of things going bump in the night.  But the God of creation never sleeps, he is always on duty.

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.   I guess global warming has been going on for a lot longer than we think.  Not sure what these people were pumping out that made it so hot, but they needed God’s protection from the heat even then.   Seriously, the sun is dangerous in this part of the world, then and now.  So while we don’t look at shade as protection, they certainly did.  

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.   Life will not always be blues skies and green pastures.  “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.   God’s protection is always with us. He is not just our hiding place.  He is not just our shade.  He is our bodyguard, goung with us wherever we go.  He is who He is, no matter where we are…


“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭121:1-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/psa.121.1-8.esv

 

John Lewis