God Takes all Kinds

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Jesus shows us that God takes all kinds. There is no one kind of response to Him.

Jesus’s nighttime meeting with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21) and His midday encounter with the Samaritan woman (4:5-42) show two of the many different ways in which He dealt with people. Whether it was with a respected leader like Nicodemus or an immoral streetwise Samaritan woman. Jesus approached people on His own terms, as individuals with unique concerns. He modeled for us what it means to live, work and communicate the gospel message in a pluralistic society.

Nicodemus was an upper-class Jew, a Pharisee from one of the prominent families in Jerusalem.. He approached Jesus alone one night. The Lord confronted him with the need to be “born again”, then let him go and think it over. Nicodemus didn’t openly identify with Jesus until after the crucifixion when he helped prepare His body for burial.

The Samaritan woman, on the other hand lived a scandalous life style having five husbands and then being with a live-in male companion. As a result her community despised her. She was spoken to by Jesus in broad day light, in public, by herself and then in the company of others. Jesus told her of “living water” and the need to worship in spirit and truth. She responded much more quickly than Nicodemus. Her choice was backed by the community.

John went on to record many other ways that Jesus dealt with people. Some became believers after they were fed, others after they were healed, and others after they saw the resurrected Christ. Some responded to the Lord’s miracles others to His teaching. There was no one kind of response to Jesus.

A note from me…    

I connect with different people in my life in different ways. I talk on the phone for hours with my sisters.  I share jokes and laughter with my kids. My husband and I ride bikes together.  And so it is with God.  He connects with us in the way that speaks to us, it could be prayer, meditation, journaling, reading scripture, serving. God is bigger than our differences.  He says come to me if you are tired and overwhelmed. I will give you rest. He only asks us to come with an openness to receive and he will meet us where we are.

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Serve with Compassion

Remember this- if you are going to be a servant, be sure you have compassion. People who come to you for help will rarely ask if it is convenient.

An important spiritual lesson learned from this chapter: if the Son of God came as a servant, then being a servant is the highest calling. It would seem we are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others. When we are serving those in need are we not doing the will of God? Remember this- if you are going to be a servant, be sure you have compassion. People who come to you for help will rarely ask if it is convenient. But, isn’t it a great privilege to follow the example of Jesus and meet the needs of others? Isn’t that the mark of a Christian life? Not everything for us but meeting others needs.

Read Mark Chapter 1  to go alone with this writting.

A note from me:

This is a rework of an earlier post on Mark 1 and 2.  I have broken it into a smaller bit and highlighted a thought that caught my attention.

I have an idea that my readers may be a little like me and and not have the longest attention span…..squirrel.

 

Remodeling in Process

This blog was started as a place to share all of Dad’s writings. I had never blogged before and had no idea where to start. I went to the most informed source on blogging that I could find….my kids.   As you can see from the very basic look of this blog, they gave me some very basic start up tips.

 

With the start of a new year I thought it was time to post a few more pages of Dad’s writings. I had not been on the blog for several months.   When I looked at it with fresh eyes it looked boring and uninteresting.

 

What to do, what to do?

 

Sign up for a blogging 101 class?

 

Yes, that is what I did.

 

The class starts today and this is our first assignment. Remodeling is in process.  I am hoping for an easier to read and more visually pleasing blog.

For a little more background on this blog, click on the welcome button.

 

 

Adopted into God’s Family

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

This to me is the most comprehensive statement of what it means to be a child of God. It means more than joining a church or signing a card or even being baptized. It means more than paying a tithe or saying prayers or doing religious things.
This scripture shows that when a person becomes a child of God radical change takes place in his moral and spiritual nature. This means more than becoming religious. Many people are intensely religious and are not Christians. There has been no new birth.

The effects of sin on the human nature are considered to be so serious, that, without a new birth the sinner cannot see his way on this Earth, let alone enter the holiness of God. In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, “Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus says, “How can a man be born when he is old. “ Jesus replies, “Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. “ That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Born of the water refers to the physical birth. Born of the Spirit refers to the renewing, regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. This is the great foundation on which our Christian life rests. Out of that experience will spring every blessing that will come to us in time or eternity.

The first thing that happens when you become a child of God is you are reconciled to God. We are by nature sinners who have violated God’s law, His will. There is a warrant out for us. We are under the sentence of death. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our lost and condemned condition. We than turn to God and throw ourselves on his mercies. We accept the mercies of Christ’s blood and at that moment we become reconciled to God. We surrender all and have peace with God through Jesus’s loving atonement for our sins. We are justified in our Lord Jesus Christ. Justified means “jus as if it never happened” You sinned, you know you did, and in the Lord’s sight you appear as though you never committed a sin. Do you suppose that men will have to give an account to God for every sin, every idle word, every vain and evil thought we have committed? According to the Bible the answer is “yes” if they are not under the blood. Only the blood of Jesus can blot them out.

Another thing happens when you become a born again child of God. You are regenerated. The justification we just described takes place in the mind of God. But, regeneration takes place in your heart until it changes your nature and makes you a new creature. All things are passed away; all things have become new. This work isn’t complete until something happens in your heart. Not only do drunkards, gamblers, thugs and thieves need this experience, but even moral and religious people need to experience regeneration. Before his regeneration the apostle Paul was a very religious man. His outward life and conduct would put the average Christian to shame. But something happened on the road to Damascus that totally changed him. He was born again. He put his trust totally in Jesus, and only Jesus, God accepted him for this reason. His passion became the winning of souls for Christ. When our souls receive this divine touch we are transformed and will never be the same again.

When this happens you are adopted into the family of God. You become an adopted child of God. Eph. 4:4-5 tells us God sent forth His Son…. To redeem those who were under the law that they might receive the adoption as sons. Roman 8:15 but you receive the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out Abba, Father.

Adoption is a legal term. The Holy Spirit is the pledge of God that we are fully adopted as God’s children. Eph. 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself. This predestination is a legal plan of God that assures the guaranteed destiny of all the redeemed. We are God’s children and have been adopted into His family.

It is His business to look after his children. That is what the Psalmist means when he says, “ the Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” It is the shepherd’s business to meet the needs of the sheep, to find green pastures and still waters, to lead us in the paths of righteousness for His names sake, to comfort us with his rod and staff, and prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies, to anoint our heads with oil and cause our cup of joy to run over.

The Lord leads the way. We are headed for home now. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In this life, there are aches and pains, the loss of loved ones and friends, and it breaks our hearts. But, friends, we have been adopted into the family of God. These rough times are like sand paper- polishing us up as we look forward to the gates swinging wide open into the courts of Heaven.

Learning Life’s Lessons

Potiphar was one of the officials for Egypt’s pharaoh. He was the captain of the guard. He bought Joseph from the Ishmaelite’s who acquired him from Jacob’s sons.

Undoubtedly, Potiphar purchased Joseph through a slave action, an event that had to be completely humiliating and cruel for Joseph. You will recall that Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son. He had, as a teenager, been taken from his father, sold and resold as a slave, and was now subject to the demands and prodding of his new master.

So it is a great understatement to say that these circumstances were less than comfortable for Joseph. But, in Genesis 49, Jacob called his twelve sons together and gave a prophecy to each. Joseph would literally be made strong by the hands of the Almighty God. Even though he was vulnerable to hostile forces.

Here we learn a valuable lesson. There is no ideal place to serve God, except the place where he has set you down. There is no ideal job for you to hold. How many times do men wish they were somewhere else, doing something other than their present job? I recall years ago a friend of mine worked for a very small, family-owned factory. He was the key employee. Eventually, the family wanted to retire and offered him a chance to buy the business. He prayed and prayed about it but just didn’t seem to get an answer. He called me for advice. What should he do to serve the Lord best? I told him it is my belief that God can use us regardless of where we live or what we do, as long as it is honest work.

He can use factory owners and factory employees. He can use farmers and engineers, cab drivers, dentists and veterinarians. There is not a position, which is honest work, where he cannot use you. And when retirement becomes your place in life, he can use you there just as well.

By the way, he bought the factory and prospered financially, but his health failed. Even then, he continued to serve the Lord as well as he could. He and his wife had serious problems with their children, even though they raised them in the church and in a Christian home. But, they continue to serve the Lord with prayer and faith.

There are no perfect situations in life, no ideal jobs, no ideal neighborhoods, whether in the country or in the city. There are no ideal churches to join that will be without problems. There are good jobs, good neighborhoods, good churches, but no ideal ones. People who look for the ideal circumstances in life forget that all that is excellent and all that is perfect is saved for us in heaven. As the story of Joseph clearly teaches, the world may have good times and bad times. But, in the final analysis, it is a training ground for the Bride of Christ, the Church, for our heavenly mission.

Those who emulate there is an ideal in this life on Earth are clouded by deceptions. Most of us, like Joseph, can say that life is far from ideal. Difficulties that are not of our own making enter our lives. It is only by accepting the love of God and His discerning hand in our life that we can serve God best.

This 4th of July weekend will see hundreds of thousands leaving their homes to get away for a while, maybe just a few days in a cabin or on the beach. Maybe a little refreshment, a little vacation, from our present circumstances might be of some temporary benefit, but it is only temporary. We can’t flee from ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but my biggest problem is me. Years ago, I was in a head-on collision in my automobile. The other driver was killed and I nearly died as a result of it. I had a good marriage and three small children. I was earning a good income, lived in a good community, and had good friends. In one instant, my life changed. I couldn’t work enough to pay the bills. My friends and most of my family seemed to forget where I lived. Things got progressively worse. I can assure you I never imagined I would be trapped in a situation like that. But God had chosen to set me down in that environment. And eventually, when it seemed I might not survive, I could sense the hand of God.

Someone once said correctly. The test is different for different people. When all seem to be gone we still follow Christ. When our hopes and dreams are no longer a reality we simply follow Christ. The specific circumstances of life may be different for all of us, but one thing is the same. To be saved eternally we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and follow Christ.

We have this great promise from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ- Matthew 19:28-30.   This is Jesus speaking to us, here, today.

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

We often ask God to remove the problem or remove us from the problem. Most of the time what God does with His children is change their attitude toward the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

God’s constant presence is the source of our protection. His word becomes our strength.

 

Dreams and Goals

Everyone has dreams and goals for their life. Some see success as making lots of money, living comfortable, and retiring easy and early. To others success is long life, free of disease and heartache. I think everyone has some dream of success.

 

The Bible says if you “ delight yourself in the Lord. He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) That is a marvelous promise. The problem is it seldom happens. If it did it would seem that many would be healthy, wealthy and wise for that is what most people desire isn’t it?

 

If this is the desire of our heart, why then are we not more successful?

 

Could it be that we have the wrong idea of what success is? Or, it is possible that we have not listened to God’s conditions for success.

 

The only condition listed in Psalm 37 is delight in the Lord. In other words, always, always put God first. Jesus told his disciples “seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt 6:33)

 

If this is not our primary goal them we have wrong gods. Your Christian life can help you set your priorities in order. If you ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior there indeed will be peaks and valleys. But with God you will have the greatest Advocate of them all, so all the glory goes to Him.

 

We all are failures without God, without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a profound respect for the Bible as the word of God. How does this apply to you and to assure you that the desire of your heart can be met? Don’t forget, God loves us and we are special to Him. In the end, we must admit that we are incapable of handling life’s problems by ourselves. The devil will whisper to you that you are not important. They you were not really created in the image and likeness of God. Doesn’t the Bible tell us we are all sinners? Sin is trying to live apart from God and His Laws.

 

King David is an example of a mighty follower of God who came to realize the extent of his sin. He had a good look at himself when Nathan pointed out the evil things in his life. David finally said, “ Surely I have been a sinner form birth sinful form the time my mother conceived me” (Psalms 51:5) The Bible assures us of this fact “ All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Remember this, one most know and confess he is a sinner to be saved. King David eventually got honest with himself. In Psalms 51:12 he say, “Wash away all of my iniquities and cleanse me from my sins.”

 

We all have a choice to live God’s way or to live our way. There are those who believe the most important thing on Earth is to look out for number one. They want to live in a civilization where man has sole dominion over his life. There is such a place. It’s called Hell. It is a place where men divorce themselves from God’s claims on their life. But the truly successful person has learned that he must be properly related to God. We must claim Jesus as our Savior. It is He that said we must be born again. This makes us special to God. Through the blood of Jesus Christ we are saved not only from our past, but from the fear of our future as well. Our power for living successfully absolutely comes from God. This is our inheritance go on and claim it!

 

If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10) And with this fear leaves your life, fear of the present and fear of the future. Remember this II Timothy 1:7 “ For God has not given you a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of a sound mind”

 

How does one give his life to Jesus? How can you come into this intimate fellowship with the Lord God who takes away our fears and replaces it with power? Remember this, God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. (John 3:16) God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. In John 10:10, Jesus says,” I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. “

 

We have already said, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Rom 3: 23) Jesus is God’s provision for man’s sin. It is only through Him that we experience God’s love and God’s plan for our life. Jesus died in our place. (Rom 5:8) God demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

 

(1Cor. 15) Christ died for our sins. He was buried. He rose on the third day. He is absolutely the only way to God. Jesus said “ I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)

 

We must indeed daily receive Jesus as our Savior by faith. (John 1:12) As many as receive Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to them who believe in His name. (John 3:3) For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is a gift of God. Not as a result of works, least any man should boast. (John 3:3) Jesus said I tell you the truth unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.

 

Jesus personally invited us. Behold, I stand at the door and knock if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him. (Rev 3:10)

 

Here is a simple prayer that can be your prayer for Jesus to come into your life. If this is what you want, pray with me.

Dear God,

I have been living my life my own way, now I want to live in your way. I need you; I want you to take control of my life. I receive your Son, Jesus Christ, as my personal Savior and Lord. I believe He died for my sins and was raised from the dead. I surrender to Him as Lord. Come Lord Jesus, occupy the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

 

You now are a child of God. You have power for this life, but you also receive eternal life. Each person receives Christ individually. This you did in that payer.

God Takes all Kinds

Jesus shows us that God takes all kinds.

 

Jesus’s nighttime meeting with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21) and His midday encounter with the Samaritan woman (4:5-42) show two of the many different ways in which He dealt with people. Whether it was with a respected leader like Nicodemus or an immoral streetwise Samarian woman. Jesus approached people on His own terms, as individuals with unique concerns. He modeled for us what it means to live, work and communicate the gospel message in a pluralistic society.

 

Nicodemus was an upper-class Jew, a Pharisee from one of the prominent families in Jerusalem.. He approached Jesus alone one night. The Lord confronted him with the need to be “born again”, then let him go and think it over. Nicodemus didn’t openly identify with Jesus until after the crucifixion when he helped prepare His body for burial.

 

The Samarian woman, on the other hand lived a scandalous life style having five husbands and then being with a live in male companion. As a result her community despised her. She was spoken to by Jesus in broad day light, in public, by herself and then in the company of others. Jesus told her of “living water” and the need to worship in spirit and truth. She responded much more quickly than Nicodemus. Her choice was backed by the community. John went on to record many other ways that Jesus dealt with people. Some became believers after they were fed, others after they were healed, and others after they saw the resurrected Christ. Some responded to the Lord’s miracles others to His teaching. There was no one kind of response to Jesus.