Does Jesus know you?

I’m a bit late in posting (like always), but this morning I can’t help thinking about Robin Williams. Partially that’s because stories about him are still cropping up in my news feed and the gist of most of them is still: Why? How could this have happened?Robin Williams

The simple answer is that even though Robin Williams was an American “household name,” we didn’t know him.

But didn’t he entertain us for over 30 years? Didn’t we invite him into our homes and hearts, every time we watched one of his tv shows or movies?Robin Williams 2

Of course we did, but we didn’t really know him and that’s why we’re bewildered.

The same can be said of Jesus. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus spoke about this kind of knowing. He said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 

Jesus - Warner Sallman 1

Did you catch that? The people Jesus references are those who preached, drove out demons and performed miracles. He was familiar to them and they were serving in his name. Or so they thought.

But He did not know them and they were banished from the kingdom.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is not passive – we can’t just invite him to sit politely in the living room of our life. We can’t just attend church on Sundays, clap our hands to the beat of the music and let Jesus entertain us.

We can’t prevent Him access to the other rooms of our hearts – especially the dark and dirty spaces. We’re called to be like children in our faith and do the will of His father in heaven. We’ve got to let his word pierce our hearts and allow the holy spirit to fill us.

When we do that and let him know us, we begin to know ourselves.

Jesus Christ 

We are called to be God’s holy people on earth (1 Peter 2:5).

I struggle with this sometimes. I don’t always want to do His will because it’s not easy or popular. How about you?

Has God called you to do something for his Son? In His kingdom?

Are you allowing Jesus to know and transform you?

 

 

Have you ever been wronged?

Have you ever been wronged?

The other day I was reading about composting, because I just bought one. Only a true gardener dreams about having a composter right? Here it is…

compost 1

Next year…just wait ’til next year.

So anyway, I read that in a certain American town, growing beautiful tomatoes is prized – so much so that it’s competitive. One woman couldn’t grow ripe tomatoes no matter what she tried; and she tried everything. That’s where the compost comes in. The year she used compost as her primary soil, her tomatoes grew so luscious that not only did she win the town prize, someone slipped into her garden in the middle of the night and swiped the plants. Dug them right out of her garden. She was so upset, she filed a lawsuit.

That would never happen to me for obvious reasons.

compost 2

I got a harvest of one so far.

Back to my original question: Have you ever been wronged?

I’m in that predicament right now. No lawsuit can be filed in my case – someone’s saying things about me that are blatantly untrue. I know this is coming from the enemy of my soul and so I’m relying on scripture to keep a muzzle on my mouth.  And I’m waiting on the lord to intervene.

But it’s hard, and I think for me the hardest thing to do as a follower of Jesus is to keep my mouth shut and turn the other cheek. 

Jesus calls us to be like him and to treat our enemies according to his commands:

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28

What about you? How do you react when you’ve been wronged?

Are you worth your salt?

salt 1

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matt 5:13

This passage is often used in conjunction with the next one that talks about believers being “light.” But I’d always been curious to know what on earth Jesus meant about us being salt.

Just as an aside, I love salt. I salt almost everything I eat (gasp! even Chinese food), but I especially like it in chocolate!

The Greek word for salt is halas and it was precious in ancient times. It was a condiment, preservative and was used on sacrifices. Because the people’s diet mainly consisted of vegetables, it was necessary for life. It was also used to make alliances and to buy and sell people; it’s where we get our word “salary” and the phrase, “She’s not worth her salt.”

Here’s the part I like the best. Salt was lightly applied to soil as a fertilizer. It was used to stimulate the soil and was valued for its purity. Commentators often refer to it being used as a preservative in this passage, but in context with the part about us being light, scholars believe it’s more likely that the proper translation is, “You are the salt for the earth.”

 We are salt for the earth!

Really, think about that. Our world stinks and we’re here to make it better. Our society is decaying and we’re to be used for its preservation. We’re here to make the world healthier for others.

Also, salt was often mixed with impurities like gypsum dust and when that happened, it became worthless. When we’re impure – when we lose our saltiness – we become worthless in the same way a hidden light does no good for those who need to see. We can fail to be stimulating for others.

Helpful Garden Tip:

Salt can still be used in the garden today. Simply dissolve two tablespoons of Ultra Epsom Salt for every one gallon of water and substitute it for normal watering. You can do this one or more times a month to boost the soil in your potted plants.

So I have a question for us to ponder: What’s one way we can be salt for another person today?

Jesus’ parables and the power of story – Part 2

Sea of Galilee

Jesus told the parable of the weeds and the parables that went before and after it, from a boat.

He was staying at someone’s lake house. When he went outside to sit, large crowds gathered so he hopped into a boat and taught while they stood on shore.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Jesus’ parables were meant to be explained. After he got out of the boat, he went into the house and his disciples followed. They asked for an explanation.

Imagine elbowing your way through a packed room, hoping and praying that you can understand what your master is saying. This is what he said:

The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man (Jesus). The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into a fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” Matthew 13:37-43

Tulips

These passages of scripture explain, from the Messiah himself, that there is a hell and unbelievers and evildoers will be yanked from the face of the earth. 

Passages like this make my heart beat a little faster. How do you respond?