Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Thursday: Jesus before Pilate

"You say so." That is the only answer Jesus gives in response to Pilate, and it is only to confirm the truth stated by the Roman governor. But when the chief priests and elders of the Jews are hurling accusations, Jesus says nothing in response. Jesus stays quiet even as they are telling lies about Him.

Not everyone we encounter wants to hear the message of Jesus. And there will be those who do not believe that Christ's grace has transformed us. Also, there will be many who we hear who speak against the Church, blaspheme God, and persecute Christians. Our temptation will be to get defensive and attempt to persuade by arguing for the truth, or worse use violence. While we certainly should try to persuade people to Jesus, our job is to tell the story, but it is not our job to change minds.

Pilate was amazed by Jesus. We would do well that it was not Jesus's words that amazed Pilate, it was His ability to stand firm on the truth in the face of hostile opposition. Silence is an answer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Wednesday: Attitude of Christ

There is a terrible human condition that can develop when a person has the correct answers, it is called being a know it all. Symptoms of this condition are arrogance, condescension, rudeness, and harshness. All of those symptoms are contrary to the life of an ambassador of Christ.

Jesus is, was, and is God in the flesh. He was there at the formation of everything, including the creation of people. The old universal questions, Jesus knows the answers. But His ministry was marked by meekness, friendliness, kindness, and gentleness.

Was Jesus weak? No. Was Jesus emotion free? No. Was Jesus patronizing? No. He was approachable. And the ones who knew Jesus wanted to be around Him. Many of those who did not know Him were able to draw closer to Jesus because of His humility.

As His ambassadors, how do others see us? Are we approachable, even on the tough questions? Pastor John Pavlovitz said, "Sometimes the best evangelism is simply telling people you're a Christian and then not being a total jerk." 

Monday, March 27, 2023

Tuesday: Triumphal entry

It is amazing to read how the people of Jerusalem react to Jesus's arrival. They spread out their clothes and palm branches on the road, an act to celebrate the arrival of a king. Jesus is the King of kings and most definitely worthy of that treatment, but the crowd had a wrong understanding of what that meant. To them, Jesus was a king who would free them from the Romans and re-establish the Israelite kingdom once built by David.

Here is a sad truth, not everyone who sits in a church pew has the correct understanding of Jesus. They come Sunday after Sunday, meeting after meeting, but every time they miss the point. For some, Jesus is the greatest social justice warrior of all time and they quote His words only to spur on societal movements, never realizing Jesus offers more than topical ointment for the world's problems. Others know Jesus came the first time to save hearts, but they focus on His second coming that will set the world straight. Instead of using this information to drive them toward people, they mistakenly are driven to the gun counters and begin stockpiling earthly goods as if Jesus needs their help to fight in the great battle of Armageddon.

We must study the Word of God to know the Word that became flesh. As we deepen our understanding of who Jesus is, it becomes easier to discern what is not true. And we must share the truth about Jesus.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Monday: I am an alien

God is good, faithful, and loving. He is easy to serve because His main concern is our hearts and attitudes as we do the work. Our obedience is the sign of our love for Him.

While serving God is easy, people make it complicated. We can be certain of our standing, even know our mission, and be seeking to be obedient, but that does not mean others will do the same. They might be responding in a worldly manner, but you and I are not of this world.

Those we are sent to share the message with might be living up their riches and reaping the fullness of pleasures this world has to offer, meanwhile we are practicing self-discipline and trying to live according to God's Word.  They may be having fun, but we know the dangers that accompany that fun.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

5th Sunday of Lent

 Ezekiel is an Old Testament prophet, and he was a little different. Some scholars think he may have even been crazy. The reason he is given such a label is because of his faith. Ezekiel's faith was not passive, it was very aggressive in his devotion to God.

When God sends Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones, Ezekiel obeys. On his arrival, God tells the prophet to do something impossible. He is to command the dry bones to come alive.

Pastor Jason will be sharing from Ezekiel 37:1-11 for the 5th Sunday of Advent. Read ahead and plan to be at Ravenna Church of the Nazarene for the 11 am service. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

Saturday: Those breathed to life

This body cannot be sustained, death will catch it. Of course, if Jesus returns then this is a moot point. But if our lives follow their natural course, this body will become broken beyond repair. Even though we have given our hearts to Jesus, our hope is in the power of His resurrection.

No matter how much we work out, no matter how well we watch our diet, this body is subject to the laws of nature. However, remember Jesus breathes life into our souls and then the Holy Spirit begins to renew our minds.

Why is this important? Because yielding to the Holy Spirit's transformation is what prepares our physical bodies for the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns. This means that being entirely sanctified, the moment and process of renewal is essential for our walk as ambassadors. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Friday: Mindset of the flesh

 READ: Romans 8:6-8

You and I were born with the wrong attitude. Our focus from the beginning was on how to get what we need and want. Some of us developed ways that accounted for this causing minimal damage to those around us. While others would do anything to anyone. Regardless, it is impossible to live for ourselves without hurting anyone else because this attitude goes against God.

Glory be to God that through faith in Jesus, we have access to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can correct our attitude. This is done in our hearts in an instant. Our attitudes are corrected to love God and love others, seeking first His Kingdom by sharing Jesus with the world.

While the heart is changed in a moment, the mind is renewed over time. You and I have had a lifetime building sinful patterns, so it will take time to unwind those patterns. We need to recognize the remnants of the flesh in our minds, being gracious with ourselves and others as God transforms us.

Thursday: Jesus before Pilate

  READ : Matthew 27:11-14 "You say so." That is the only answer Jesus gives in response to Pilate, and it is only to confirm the t...