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Do We Really Have Options ?

The Sermon on the Mount — Regarding a Tendency to Judge Others 

Our Devotionals Team was asked to take a break from preparing devotionals for this week of June 10-14, 2024. 

 1.   This week you might want to contemplate what Rob Karsh means by citing this parable to address our tendencies to Judge others:

…lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them….   Matthew 13:24-30

2.   You might want to voice your questions and thoughts on the sermon for the live Red Coach Theology discussion on Thursday:

Questions may be sent through
https://redcouchtheology.com/  

Blog sites: See future and previous sermon discussions here:

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767 

Do We Really Have Options ?2024-06-09T17:00:24-06:00

You Have Options ?

The Sermon on the Mount — Regarding a Tendency to Judge Others 

Our Devotionals Team was asked to take a break from preparing devotionals for this week of June 10-14, 2024. 

 1.   This week you might want to contemplate what Rob Karsh means by citing this parable to address our tendencies to Judge others:

…lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them….   Matthew 13:24-30

2.   You might want to voice your questions and thoughts on the sermon for the live Red Coach Theology discussion on Thursday:

Questions may be sent through
https://redcouchtheology.com/  

Blog sites: See future and previous sermon discussions here:

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767 

You Have Options ?2024-06-09T16:55:44-06:00

You Have Options

The Sermon on the Mount — Regarding a Tendency to Judge Others 

Our Devotionals Team was asked to take a break from preparing devotionals for this week of June 10-14, 2024. 

 1.   This week you might want to contemplate what Rob Karsh means by citing this parable to address our tendencies to Judge others:

…lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them….   Matthew 13:24-30

2.   You might want to voice your questions and thoughts on the sermon for the live Red Coach Theology discussion on Thursday:

Questions may be sent through
https://redcouchtheology.com/  

Blog sites: See future and previous sermon discussions here:

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767 

You Have Options2024-06-09T16:49:21-06:00

I Was Lost, Until I Was Found

by Loyed? Petersen

Providentially, those who volunteered me to write this devotional, misspelled my name, spelling it in the “past tense” (i.e., “…ed”). But I can make something of it.

Recently I had a dream. I sometimes remember the details when it happens right before I wake up. This was what I dreamt. “I lost my identity: no name,
no driver’s license, no car, no house, no pension, no country.”
*  Well that’s like being dead. But it’s really about being a pilgrim — this world is not my Home.

*   “I did not lose my mind.”

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4 (Emphasis added.)

So, I will never be just in the past tense.

As a little boy learning to read — my Mom and Grandma reading to me different Bible stories — my Mom showed me the illustration of the “lost lamb”, with a leg stuck in a cleft of a rock, hanging over a steep cliff, while the Devil, an eagle flying high above, was ready to snatch me. But here comes the Wonderful
Good Shepherd to rescue the little sheep and take it home, holding it on His shoulders. Then my Mom says to me, “You are the lost sheep”. 

It’s a lonesome, dreadful feeling being lost, without a family, a home; a bird without a nest — nowhere to land.

When I was a toddler, we moved from a North Denver apartment to South Denver. The new house came with a baby brother — some of you know him as Glenn (nicknamed “Pete”). My parents found a new Bible believing church in our neighborhood, in a colonial style building — such high cathedral ceilings! (My Uncle Bob had done the plastering.) 

But that year our Mom dropped us off at a vacation Bible school at a different church. I remember a young girl teaching me Bible verses (in KJV). God spoke to me through those verses how Jesus died in my place. I immediately recognized His Voice, believing that because Jesus died for me, I can trust Him. The last day we were let out early, plus our Mom was late to pick us up in the car, so I told the lady we would just walk to my (other) Grandmas’ house. (It was about two miles away, but though I was just five or six, I knew the way.) When Mom arrived to pick us up, she asked the lady, “where’s Lloyd and Glenn?” “Oh, they walked to their grandma’s house.” At the time. I would not have imagined our Mom’s panic, scouring “Wash” Park for us.

My Aunt Margaret was not married, so she lived with Grandma Petersen. Aunt Margaret had been my Sunday school teacher at yet another church, so she was the one I told first, that I received Jesus as my personal Savior (John 1:11-12.). She immediately told me about the “Rapture”. 

… Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,..
I Corinthians 15:50-53, NKJV

So, like the Apostle Peter, I kinda had an idea how Jesus will take me Home to Heaven some day. Much later, I learned details as I became more committed to following the Lord, and more alert to fulfillment of prophecy (especially after Israel’s “Six Day War” victory). 

(Yes, the Bible teaches that we, the Church, asleep or alive, “shall be caught up” at Jesus’ appearing. There is just a difference of opinion when it will occur in God’s scheme of things, I Thessalonians 4:15-17 KJV.)

Being “born again” of the Spirit of God, we are His children and now we have Eternal Life: 

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;…
Colossians 2:12-14 KJV

The Witness of God Himself 

…this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son….  I John 5:9b-11, 12-15 KJV

“Who hath believed our report…” Isaiah 53:1

We, the true Church, have been believing God for almost two thousand years and have been passing the baton throughout the ages. 

Jesus said [to Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:29-31 CSB 

So there is one book we are called to read: The Word of God, The Bible.

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.**  John 21:25

** The Love of God, Frederick M. Lehman, 1917, Public Domain, esp. v. 3 by Anonymous/Unknown.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser

I Was Lost, Until I Was Found2024-04-04T11:45:59-06:00

The Lectionary for Ordinary Times, July 6

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. During this ordinary season, our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary.

Source: the Revised Common Lectionary Year A

(Note. If you desire to read these passages in a different version of the Bible, this link will provide all the readings for week 2 in Bible Gateway where you may choose other versions of these passages.)

Matthew 10:40-42
10:40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

10:41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous;

10:42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple — truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

Is someone through you, able to welcome the One Who sent you? As you are conveying His words and work through the witness of the Holy Spirit living in you, it’s evangelism. Others are seeing and responding to Christ in you — not just to you – as He is doing His works through you. Tell them so — as Messiah told us:

If I am not doing my Father’s works, don’t believe me. 38 But if I am doing them and you don’t believe me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand[a] that the Father is in me and I in the Father.”  John 10:37-38 CSB

[a] Other mss read know and believe

The Lectionary for Ordinary Times, July 62023-07-06T09:50:45-06:00

The Lectionary for Ordinary Times, July 5

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. During this ordinary season, our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary.

Source: the Revised Common Lectionary Year A

(Note. If you desire to read these passages in a different version of the Bible, this link will provide all the readings for week 2 in Bible Gateway where you may  choose other versions of these passages.)

Romans 6:12-23
6:12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.

6:13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments [weapons*] of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments [weapons* ] of righteousness.

* (translation from the Greek)

6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

6:15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

6:17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted,

6:18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

6:20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

6:21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death.

6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life.

6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Joshua Before The Commander of The LORD

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

15 Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Joshua 5:13-15 NKJV

So, when we encounter the Lord of Hosts (as did Joshua), through Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s interactions with us, do we react with Joshua’s response? “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” From His response to Joshua, we should assess whether we are daily on His Side or not? That is, are we submitting as His slave to righteousness, not to wickedness?

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Surely, by the grace by which we are empowered to live humbly by the Spirit, we are on holy ground.

The Lectionary for Ordinary Times, July 52023-06-30T08:37:08-06:00

Receiving the Spirit in the Lord Jesus

In John 1:1-13, the Apostle John introduces Jesus to the world as the pre-existent “Word of God”, and in 1 John 1:1, as the “Word of life”, whom the apostles “have heard…seen…touched” — as a man. John has also revealed to us that the Word was the life that was “the true Light which enlightens every [person]…“

But, 

11 “Unto his own he came and His own people did not receive Him.” 

But,

12 to all who did “receive him”, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born…of God.
John 1:11-13

Maybe these are the passages where we got the clue that Jesus was meant for us.

Maybe you first heard about Jesus as you sang “away in the manger”? Later, you might have memorized John 1:12 in Sunday school like I did, along with
John 3:16. Did these verses open the door to your heart that showed you that you can sing, “Yes, Jesus loves me”?

After you received Jesus, did you wonder as I did, whether it might not be such a free gift. I certainly was too “bad” to be worthy. If it would depend on me,
I haven’t even come close. How about you?

So, is the gift of the Spirit contingent upon our obedience and not really a gift? Or does the Spirit actually empower obedience, when we first receive the gift, the promise of eternal life, as he then continues to empower us as we submit to Jesus in faith? Read Galatians 3 to inform your belief:

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?

Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith — just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Gal 3:2, 5-6 ESV

In this passage, Paul confirms that when we receive Jesus (repent of our sins, believe in his substitutionary “gift” of forgiveness and accept him as our Lord),
we are baptized into Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection by his Holy Spirit.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27

Then we go on living in his Spirit as he abides in us.

The Holy Spirit is always actively involved in promoting the promise of the Gospel, convicting the world of unbelievers of our need for a savior.

“…. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come [at Pentecost], He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:7-11  (Emphasis added.)

So when Jesus emphasizes righteousness, what does he teach us about why we are accepted by him?

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29

During his farewell address to his disciples, Jesus shared how he will be our companion even when he is with the Father:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans (comfortless); I will come to you.  John 14:15-18  (Emphasis added)

Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  John 14:22-23 KJV (Emphasis added)

So when Jesus said “[he] will come to [us]” (John 14:18), and “we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23): he is referring to abiding, through his Holy Spirit, in any who believe. And this is Christ in us:

“…to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To whom God would make known the glorious riches of this mystery among the nations, who is Christ in you, the hope of the glory. See, Colossians 1:21-28 (Emphasis added.)

This mystery is revealed in us who believe. Meditate on the miracle of the Holy Spirit living in you, revealing Christ to those around you.

Receiving the Spirit in the Lord Jesus2023-06-04T23:45:40-06:00
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