unprepared?

Jesus called the Twelve together and he gave them power and authority over all demons and to heal sicknesses. He sent them out to proclaim God’s kingdom and to heal the sick. He told them, “Take nothing for the journey—no walking stick, no bag, no bread, no money, not even an extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. Wherever they don’t welcome you, as you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” They departed and went through the villages proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6, CEB)

Take nothing for the journey. Go out into the world to cast out demons, heal sickness, proclaim God’s kingdom, but take nothing. No walking stick, bag, bread, money, not even extra clothes.

Rely on the charity of those you see.

And if you are welcomed stay there and be gracious and eat and use what you are given, but if you are not welcomed, make sure you leave the dirt from their home, take nothing with you.

Seems a little weird, but we come into the world with nothing and rely on the love of our parents to get us through. And all people were created by God so they have love. Are they capable of showing it?

Are you capable of showing the love God has given you?

Loving People. Loving God.

Living serves Christ

18 What do I think about this? Just this: since Christ is proclaimed in every possible way, whether from dishonest or true motives, I’m glad and I’ll continue to be glad. 19 I’m glad because I know that this will result in my release through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 It is my expectation and hope that I won’t be put to shame in anything. Rather, I hope with daring courage that Christ’s greatness will be seen in my body, now as always, whether I live or die. 21 Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better. 22 If I continue to live in this world, I get results from my work. 23 But I don’t know what I prefer. I’m torn between the two because I want to leave this life and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 However, it’s more important for me to stay in this world for your sake. 25 I’m sure of this: I will stay alive and remain with all of you to help your progress and the joy of your faith, 26 and to increase your pride in Christ Jesus through my presence when I visit you again. (Philippians 1:18-26, CEB)

“Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better. If I continue to live in this world, I get results from my work. But I don’t know what I prefer. I’m torn between the two because I want to leave this life and be with Christ, which is far better.” Here Paul is talking about how in dying he will be able to be with Christ but being here alive is serving Christ, and he is torn between the two.

Some scholars say that Paul is contemplating suicide here. He would prefer to be with Christ and not here, but to be here he is helping build the church. What do you think about Paul contemplating suicide? Some say that it is a sin and would warrant hell or separation from God for all eternity. But is Judas not with God? No one except God can say that for certain. And to know some folks who have contemplated and committed suicide it is not come by lightly. And honestly, isn’t the fringe benefits of death better than being here? It may seem that way to us in the darkness, but those who love us need us here and love the light our life shines even when we can’t see that.

No matter what Paul is doing here he comes to the conclusion that it is best for him to be here and alive for the Philippians and all who need him. And Paul has done so much for serving the church and creating disciples of Jesus. So his life did so much more by being here and present with those who needed him, rather than choosing to be with Christ.

We all want to be with Christ and that will happen. But Christ needs us here to show love to the world.

So go and love as you have been loved.

Loving People. Loving God.

Why do you?

12 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the things that have happened to me have actually advanced the gospel. 13 The whole Praetorian Guard and everyone else knows that I’m in prison for Christ. 14 Most of the brothers and sisters have had more confidence through the Lord to speak the word boldly and bravely because of my jail time. 15 Some certainly preach Christ with jealous and competitive motives, but others preach with good motives. 16 They are motivated by love, because they know that I’m put here to give a defense of the gospel; 17 the others preach Christ because of their selfish ambition. They are insincere, hoping to cause me more pain while I’m in prison. 18 What do I think about this? Just this: since Christ is proclaimed in every possible way, whether from dishonest or true motives, I’m glad and I’ll continue to be glad. (Philippians 1:12-18, CEB)

Why do you do the things you do?

Is it because you are moved by love, or is it to advance your own agenda?

We sometimes do things to intentionally hurt others or to make our way easier. And in the end those who are following Jesus will see these events work in their favor.

Paul was in prison and there were some preaching the gospel of Jesus to hurt Paul, but their preaching helped people come to believe, so they didn’t hurt Paul but they helped Jesus.

Live for love. That is a true treasure.

Loving People. Loving God.

Here’s your sign…

29 When the crowds grew, Jesus said, “This generation is an evil generation. It looks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except Jonah’s sign. 30 Just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Human One will be a sign to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from a distant land to hear Solomon’s wisdom. And look, someone greater than Solomon is here. 32 The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they changed their hearts and lives in response to Jonah’s preaching—and one greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:29-32, CEB)

What do we need to make us believe the promises of God are true?

Will any sign make us trust completely?

Faith is a hope and belief in things we can not see or know to be true but we hold them as true.

Faith will get us through more than a sign ever could.

Go into the world sharing the hope of the promises we have.

Loving People. Loving God.

Wash or not?

12 “Look! I’m coming soon. My reward is with me, to repay all people as their actions deserve. 13 I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. 14 Favored are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right of access to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs, the drug users and spell-casters, those who commit sexual immorality, the murderers, the idolaters, and all who love and practice deception. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to bear witness to all of you about these things for the churches. I’m the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star. (Revelation 22:12-16, CEB)

I have to say I am always taken aback when I read sexual immorality in a biblical passage and I wonder what it meant in the original language. And here there really isn’t anything. The word is pornos. But what is around it here in our text is interesting…

Outside are the dogs. The word here is a figurative word that means dog but is saying those who are perverted. And aren’t we all a little perverted? And perverted in what way?

Drug Users isn’t even in the original language and the word this is translated from is spell-caster or sorcerer. And that word has no connotation of drug use. And I take many drugs every day to help me, so does this mean I’ll be outside the gate?

Sorcerer is one who practices magic. So a spell caster is a magician. I know magicians who are pastors, so are they out because they perform magic?

Murderers mean none of us can kill, and does that mean humans or anything? SO if you hunt and are good at it, then you will be outside the gates.

Idolaters mean you can put nothing before God and I know we are all guilty of this from time to time so none of us can get past this one.

Those who love and practice deception. Don’t we all do things to get others to do what we want? We are guilty of trying to get people to do/buy things they don’t want to or need.

So by all of this above it doesn’t matter if we wash, we will all be outside the gates.

So live your life and share God’s love. Knowing that Jesus paid the price and Revelation is a vision of hope to those being held down.

Go in love and share as you go.

Loving People. Loving God.

slow

My dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both letters to stir up your sincere understanding with a reminder. I want you to recall what the holy prophets foretold as well as what the Lord and savior commanded through your apostles. Most important, know this: in the last days scoffers will come, jeering, living by their own cravings, and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? After all, nothing has changed—not since the beginning of creation, nor even since the ancestors died.” But they fail to notice that, by God’s word, heaven and earth were formed long ago out of water and by means of water. And it was through these that the world of that time was flooded and destroyed. But by the same word, heaven and earth are now held in reserve for fire, kept for the Judgment Day and destruction of ungodly people. Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will pass away with a dreadful noise, the elements will be consumed by fire, and the earth and all the works done on it will be exposed. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be? You must live holy and godly lives, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming day of God. Because of that day, the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. 14 Therefore, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found by him in peace—pure and faultless. 15 Consider the patience of our Lord to be salvation, just as our dear friend and brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, 16 speaking of these things in all his letters. Some of his remarks are hard to understand, and people who are ignorant and whose faith is weak twist them to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been warned in advance, be on guard so that you aren’t led off course into the error of sinful people, and lose your own safe position. 18 Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him belongs glory now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:1-18, CEB)

When will Jesus return?

When it is time.

To God a thousand years is like the blink of an eye. I blinked my eyes 5 times typing that last sentence, so was that 5000 years to God?

God is not slow like us, but is patient and waiting for us to spread the love, mercy, and grace we have received so all will understand the love God has for them.

All will happen in God’s time. We just need to live our lives sharing the love of God as we go.

Loving People. Loving God.

Assure you

25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, there will be dismay among nations in their confusion over the roaring of the sea and surging waves. 26 The planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken, causing people to faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world. 27 Then they will see the Human One coming on a cloud with power and great splendor. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, stand up straight and raise your heads, because your redemption is near.” 29 Jesus told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that God’s kingdom is near. 32 I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until everything has happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away. 34 “Take care that your hearts aren’t dulled by drinking parties, drunkenness, and the anxieties of day-to-day life. Don’t let that day fall upon you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. It will come upon everyone who lives on the face of the whole earth. 36  Stay alert at all times, praying that you are strong enough to escape everything that is about to happen and to stand before the Human One.” (Luke 21:25-36, CEB)

Jesus said here, “I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until everything has happened.”

What is everything and how long is the generation?

Heaven and Earth will pass away but his word will not and will that happen in the generation?

You see the Bible is clear that we are not to know when Jesus is coming back.

The one clear clue we will get is seeing him coming on the clouds. Then we will know that redemption is near. Everything else is just us trying to figure out what Jesus meant by all the things he said.

But we can and should do what he says at the end, “Stay alert at all times, praying that you are strong enough to escape everything that is about to happen and to stand before the Human One.”

Loving People. Loving God.

See

20 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that its destruction is close at hand. 21 At that time, those in Judea must flee to the mountains, those in the city must escape, and those in the countryside must not enter the city. 22 These are the days of punishment, when everything written will find its fulfillment. 23 How terrible it will be at that time for women who are pregnant or for women who are nursing their children. There will be great agony on the earth and angry judgment on this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be plundered by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are concluded. (Luke 21:20-24, CEB)

When you see these things you will know it is time…

But haven’t we seen these things? And obviously, it wasn’t time, or it wasn’t that time.

We will not know the time Jesus is coming back until we see him again.

Stop wasting time figuring out when Jesus will return and live the love Jesus has given you. Share it with all the world, so we are all ready when he returns.

Loving People. Loving God.

Look out for others

12 Brothers and sisters, we ask you to respect those who are working with you, leading you, and instructing you. 13 Think of them highly with love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are disorderly. Comfort the discouraged. Help the weak. Be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure no one repays a wrong with a wrong, but always pursue the good for each other and everyone else. 16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray continually. 18 Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. 20 Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, 21 but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22, CEB)

Comfort the discouraged
Help the weak
Be patient with everyone
Do not repay a wrong with a wrong
Rejoice always
Pray continually
Always give thanks
Follow the Spirit

Doing these 8 things will make your life better and the lives of those around you better.

In everything look for the good and hold on to that and lift your neighbors up.

Loving People. Loving God.

Time

We don’t need to write to you about the timing and dates, brothers and sisters. You know very well that the day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. When they are saying, “There is peace and security,” at that time sudden destruction will attack them, like labor pains start with a pregnant woman, and they definitely won’t escape. But you aren’t in darkness, brothers and sisters, so the day won’t catch you by surprise like a thief. All of you are children of light and children of the day. We don’t belong to night or darkness. So then, let’s not sleep like the others, but let’s stay awake and stay sober. People who sleep sleep at night, and people who get drunk get drunk at night. Since we belong to the day, let’s stay sober, wearing faithfulness and love as a piece of armor that protects our body and the hope of salvation as a helmet. God didn’t intend for us to suffer his wrath but rather to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 Jesus died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with him. 11 So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, CEB)

Like a thief in the night. If you knew when the thief was coming you would not have let them break-in.

We are so worried about the timing of when Christ will return, but it really isn’t for us to know.

We just need to be the light for the world. Sharing the mercy and grace we have received and helping all to know God loves them.

It will all happen in the time it should, and that is something we need to worry about.

Loving People. Loving God.