Tag Archives: Christianity

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

There’s an old story, as recalled by Max Lucado, about an elderly man in a small village who owned a valuable horse. It was a white horse, and it was worth much money. Many people tried to buy the horse, but the gentleman was not interested in parting with the horse. To him, the white stud was a close friend.

One morning the horse was missing. The stable was empty. The man’s neighbors mocked the man saying he should have sold the horse before it was stolen. How could someone so poor expect to secure a horse of such value. The man responded, “We don’t know the horse was stolen. All we know is the horse is not in the stable. I’m leaving it at that.”

A few days went by and the horse returned home. He was followed by twelve wild mares. The neighborhood rejoiced, telling the man he was given a fortune. The mares could be trained and sold for a great profit, but the man said, “We don’t know for sure. All we know is there are twelve mares here.”

The man’s son tried training the horses, but one of them threw him off. He broke both of his legs. The neighbors gathered around to grieve. The elderly man had no one else to help him, and now his son’s legs were injured. He would surely be desperate. “We don’t know for sure,” came the man’s response. “All we know is my son’s legs are injured.”

As the son’s legs healed, the country went to war, and all the young men had to leave the village to serve in the army. That is, except the son. He remained home because of his injuries. Again, the neighborhood returned to the old man. This time angry because their sons had to go to war and his did not. “We will never see our sons again,” they lamented. “You don’t know that,” replied the elderly man, “all you know is your sons went to war.”

He continued, “It is impossible to have a conversation with you. You always draw conclusions.”

In chapter 12, Job rebukes his friends for drawing a conclusion about his situation. They believe they know exactly why Job is going through this time of suffering, and they speak their minds without truly knowing the plan God has. Job’s friends draw conclusions like the old man’s neighbors. When someone else is going through a hard time, we may not fully know why they are having this experience in their life. Friends should always ask for wisdom before drawing conclusions about someone’s circumstances.

Proverbs 25:8 advises, “Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be
    a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”

When you or one of your friends is going through a rough time, consider asking the Lord for wisdom to approach the situation in the best way.

Please share this post.

what can we learn from job’s friends?

When Job’s friends heard of his difficulties, they went to be with him. The first few chapters of Job tell us they took two actions.

Job’s friends were with him in a difficult time.

Chapter 2 records Job’s friends coming. They showed up at a difficult time. They didn’t leave Job all alone as he suffered. They were there with him as he grieved. At first, they said very little, but their presence said much.

Scripture encourages us to be there for one another. We are to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. Sometimes, we just do not have words to help our friends, and that is okay. Our presence can speak volumes. It was actually when Job’s friends started to talk, they made a mistake.

Job’s friends came across as judgmental.

Job’s friends determined it had to be his fault. They blamed him for the pain he was experiencing. They approached the problem with a judgmental attitude. In many ways, Job’s friends were trying to find the speck of dust in his eye while they may have had a plank hanging out of their own eye.

Scripture reminds us to not be judgmental. Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge.” It is true good friends should speak truth into one another’s lives, but this should always be done in a gracious manner.

Colossians 4:6 implores, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Job says when we are down, we should always have the loyalty of our friends to count on. He remarks in 6:14, “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not abandon the fear of the Almighty.”

With Jesus as our friend, you and I can always count on this loyalty. Proverbs 18:24 says Jesus sticks closer than a brother. He will always be there to speak truth into our lives in a gracious way.

Job’s friends were not perfect, nor are we. Perhaps we can better our friendships from looking at how Job’s friends responded to his difficult season. How can you be a better friend today?

Please share this post.

do we respond like job?

Imagine waking up one morning rich, and by the end of the day, you had nothing. All of your wealth and possessions had been taken away in a single day. It happened to Job. In a single day, everything he possessed was lost. Not only did he lose his wealth, he lost his family. There’s having a bad day, then there’s having a day like Job experienced. The Bible records it was one disaster right after another.

Job 1:13-19 record the events, 13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While it is hard to put ourselves in Job’s shoes, ask yourself how you might respond in this situation. Job certainly responded in a faithful way. He responded in a way worthy of imitation.

Verses 20-21 record Job’s response, 20 Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. 21 He said,

“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
    and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
    and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”

Job recognized all he had came from the Lord. Apart from the Lord, he would have nothing.

While they may not be to the extreme of Job’s, we will experience times in life that are less than ideal. How do you respond in those times? Ask the Lord to help you develop an attitude like Job.

Please share this post.

down, but not out

The tomb was sealed. The Roman government sealed the tomb and placed guards outside to ensure no one messed with it. His opponents believed they had gained the victory. He was in the tomb, it was sealed, guards were posted, and it didn’t seem a dead man would want to get out anyway. They didn’t have the victory though, he did!

The Bible teaches Jesus rose from the tomb. The tomb couldn’t hold him as he is more powerful than death’s grip. He may allowed death to hold him down for a moment, but he certainly wasn’t out.

Jesus says in John 16:33, 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Life may push you and me down at times. The checking account balance may have us pushed down, but Jesus says we are not out. The lack of employment may have us pushed down, but Jesus says we are not out. The medical issues we’re facing may have us down, but we are not out. With Jesus, we may be down, but we are not out.

Jesus says we will have trouble, but we can have courage because he has overcome this world’s trouble. We may get knocked down for a moment or two, but we are not out. The next time life pushes you down, remember, you can have courage because Jesus has overcome.

Please share this post.

the vine

A good gardener knows how to care for a garden. She knows when to tenderly care for her plants. He knows when and how much to trim away. The plants in the garden are healthy, and they produce good fruit and beautiful flowers. A good gardener’s work is obvious when we look at a garden.

The Bible teaches God is the gardener of our life. John 15:1-3 says, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.” As the gardener, God compassionately cares for our lives so they become a beautiful part of his creation.

And, the source for our lives, according to John 15:5, is Jesus. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” It is in Jesus life is found and turned into a beautiful part of God’s plan.

As our life comes from Christ, the gardener trims away all of the unattractive parts to give room for the fruit of the Spirit to grow. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us what fruit will be growing. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

A life in Christ is a beautiful creation. That is not to say as it grows, it doesn’t have its ugly parts. We all know life is not perfect every day, but in Christ, it ends in the beautiful perfection of Heaven. How is the Lord making your life a beautiful creation?

Please share this post.

the way, the truth, and the life

Taking in all this news was hard. There was a great deal to process as they had an intimate conversation with their leader. He was preparing the group for what was getting ready to happen. He was going to be handed over to enemies, and he was going to prepare a place for them. When the place was ready, he would come back and get them. Much was said, and Thomas was taking it all in, which leads to his question.

John 14:5-6 says, Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Perhaps Thomas was asking a question the other disciples wanted to know, but did not have the courage to ask. They would not be able to find the destination unless they had the address.

Jesus tells the disciples the address is him. The way to get to the place he is describing is him. Jesus is the way. It is in his truth and the life he offers we find our way into Heaven.

Jesus says no one gets to the Father except through him. No one finds the Lord’s gift of grace except through him. No one finds the Lord’s peace except through him. Jesus says he is the way, the truth, and the life. Forgiveness, peace, and life are found in Jesus.

Perhaps Thomas’ question is one you are asking. The address to the destination is Jesus. He is the way.

Please share this post.

Two of the Most powerful words in the bible

It was a sad time for Martha and Mary. Their brother Lazarus has passed away. They sent for Jesus and he came, but his coming was delayed. The grieving sisters knew Jesus could help, but they were overcome by grief. They did not understand why the Lord delayed coming. They did not understand what was happening. All they understood in the moment was that Lazarus was no longer with them, and it hurt as they came to the realization, he would not be spending his days with them. Amid this heartbreak, we find two of the most powerful words in the Bible.

“Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

I believe these words paint a powerful picture. Jesus, fully knowing how the events were about to unfold, is so deeply moved by what is going on around him that he weeps. He does not stand idlily by as Mary and Martha grieve. He feels their pain. He understands what they are going through. He mourns with them; he empathizes with them. All powerful God has so much compassion for Lazarus’ family that he weeps for them.

We see here a compassionate, caring Jesus. Though he holds all power in his hand, he relates to Mary and Martha as they are struggling with the loss of Lazarus.

The same compassionate, caring Jesus relates to us. There is no doubt life is hard, and there are some truly sad seasons. Friends and family pass away. Relationships end. Trust in other people shattered. All of it causing heartache and pain, and in his compassion and care, Jesus is there with us. He is there to wipe our tears. He is there to heal our heartache. Jesus is there, weeping when we weep, mourning when we mourn, and holding our hand to help us get through whatever life may throw at us. How has the Lord helped you in a difficult time?

Please share this post.

making the most of 2021

Goodbye 2020!

Hello 2021! We’re glad you’re here!

Today marks the beginning of a new year. For many, it is a welcomed relief. The past year was historically difficult in a lot of ways. The calendar resets today.

Perhaps this is the perfect time to reignite your passion to meet your goals and fulfill your dreams. Perhaps it is the perfect time to strike out on that new adventure for which you feel called. Maybe this is the year for your grind to lead to an achieved goal. You and I have been given a fresh calendar of 365 days to use, and the Bible encourages us to make the most of every opportunity. So, how are we going to use 2021?

Take some time today to develop a strategy to move forward on your passion, goals, and dreams in 2021. Perhaps these things had to take a back seat to the flux of last year, and it is time to pick them up again. Ask the Lord to guide you as you plan and make the most of the opportunity 2021 brings.

Please share this post.

resurrection and life

Jesus was close to Lazarus and his sisters. Lazarus was ill, so the family sent word to Jesus requesting he come and help Lazarus. Jesus does go and help Lazarus, but the Bible teaches he waited before going.

We know Jesus waited until Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days before helping. At this point, all hope had been lost. No one believed there was a chance Lazarus could be brought out of the tomb. However, the Bible records that is not the case.

John 11:23-25 says, 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus is getting ready to display his power over death. Life and death battled, and life won. Death’s grip could not hold Lazarus in the grave because of Jesus.

Because of Jesus, death’s grip cannot hold us in bondage. Jesus says he is the resurrection and the life. Ephesians 2 says it is in Christ we are made alive by grace. Jesus question to Martha is the same one he asks us, “Do you believe?”

Please share this post.

3 characteristics of the good shepherd

Taking care of sheep was a commitment, not just a job. Sheep required around-the-clock care and protection. A good shepherd would care deeply for his sheep, and he would tend to their needs in a compassionate way. The Bible teaches Jesus is our good shepherd.

In John 10:11 and 14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.” This means Jesus acts toward us as a good shepherd acted toward his sheep. Here are just a few of the characteristics that make up a good shepherd.

A good shepherd knows his sheep.

A good shepherd knows his sheep. He knows everything about them. To many, sheep all look the same, but to their shepherd, they are unique.

  • In John 10:3, Jesus says, “…the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
  • “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me,” Jesus says in John 10:14.

Jesus knows us. He knows our thoughts, hurts, passions, and everything else about us.

A good shepherd goes ahead of his sheep.

Jesus says in John 10:4, “After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them and they follow him because they know his voice.” A good shepherd goes ahead of his sheep to keep them out of danger. He leads them to water and green pastures so their needs are met. As our good shepherd, Jesus guides are lives.

A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

Standing between the sheep and their predators is the shepherd, and he is willing to give up his life to save theirs.

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Standing between us and the penalty of sin is Jesus. He laid down his life to save ours. He is our good shepherd.

David writes in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want.” And, the Lord is a good shepherd. He knows us and he tenderly and compassionately cares for us. Take a moment today to thank him for being the good shepherd.

Please share this post.