“But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” John 11:4
“Lazarus sickness will not end in death”… Whoa, wait a minute! Sure it did! Dude got sick. Dude died. His sickness ended in death. Or at least that’s what the disciples must’ve thought when they got there! They didn’t get what Jesus was saying.
You see they didn’t know the rest of the story yet like we do. Lazarus’ sickness did NOT end in death. He died, sure, but that wasn’t the end. His story went beyond death into resurrection. That was and still is a radical thought!
When Jesus arrived at the scene, Lazarus‘s sisters heard him talk about resurrection and assumed it was an end of time thing. Again, they saw that, in their experience, this sickness was going to end in death… It already had! Nobody comes back from the grave – or so they thought.
So here’s your spark: what Jesus said was true and yet the hearers tried to cram it into their experience to comprehend it. Maybe today you’re going to read something in the Bible and miss its significance because you’re too busy trying to make it normal. Leave it in Jesus hands: leave it Supernatural! Dare to believe that what he says he actually means even though you don’t understand how it can come about. The HOW is his business. The WHO is yours: trust Jesus. Maybe Jesus means exactly what he says! Dare to open your mind to new possibilities.
“The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.” Luke 16:14-15
Well now - this is straightforward: the world around you today (stop and look around for a second ... I’ll wait... ) the world around you is all about the slick appearance. At the core its “money money money!” We chase it b/c we think that stuff it’ll buy makes us complete or better or more significant.
Only your relationship with God will do that. Accept no substitutes! Don’t hedge your bets and try to play both sides! Others might not notice but God sees your heart - and you’ll look … well… Let’s just say it: Trying to look godly while inwardly being greedy is “detestable in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).
Lets look beautiful in His eyes today. Lets look like Jesus through and through. Get your eyes on the right prize.
A spark for you - now fan that into flame.
“So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14: 23-24
This is a brief part - the climax of a bigger story that Jesus told to illustrate God's attitude toward us when He offers/calls us to an opportunity to follow Him, to be part of His family and His plans and agenda. A King invites people to a banquet and those invited can't get around to showing up because they all have really practical things they need to tend to. Sorry, can't make it. Their replies make sense to them - entirely understandable and reasonable. Jesus bluntly says they are making excuses and it infuriates the King.
You ever eat a McDonalds' McRib sandwich? Set aside the debate if it's even real food, much less if it's nutritious or delicious. If you pull up to MickeyD's and order one, you will notice the signs all say "LIMITED TIME OFFER" or "FOR A LIMITED TIME". If you are into that sort of fast food, you better grab it fast because it will be gone (never mind McDonalds always brings it back eventually)
Here's the point: God's offer to you (Eternal Life, meaning, purpose, opportunity in this moment, etc.) is not fast food - don't treat it like something you can always get around to later. It is insulting to the King. It is infuriating to Him. We even understand something as meaningless as McMysteryMeat-in-Strange-Red-Sauce has a limited time availability and act accordingly if we really want it. You and I better recognize and respect the fact that God is so patient and kind - but His offers are for a limited time - Jesus finishes the story with the revelation that the King had enough of being blown off and passed the offer on to those who would respect it and respond.
So you: no excuses, move to accept and embrace what He's offering without delay while the offer is available!
“A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 'If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.'” - Luke 14:25-26
Hyperbole, derived from a Greek word meaning “over-casting,” is a figure of speech that involves an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis. You read Jesus' words above and you instinctively know that the One who tells us His commandment for us is to "love one another" certainly is not literally asking us to hate Dad, Mom, your spouse or kids. But He is driving home that our love for Him should be so dramatically more potent, more a priority and of deeper significance to us that in comparison everything else pales in comparison!
So there's your fuel for the day - Jesus is asking you to love Him so much today, to be so committed to Him this day that nothing else comes close. He gets first consideration all day today: What does Jesus want me to do today? What does Jesus want me to say? Where does He want me to go? What does He want me to look at, to listen to, to give my thoughts, attention and energy to? Nothing else is allowed to compete. Everything else must be kept in its place which is ALWAYS secondary to what Jesus wants. He said "Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple." Yeah: He wants that much from you. Rise to the challenge today.
“What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. ” Mark 9:33-34
What happens next? I bet you can guess - Jesus totally addresses the thing they were afraid to admit. They were arguing. It mattered to them. It mattered to their culture. They were obsessing over it. It was totally the opposite for Jesus, and that's why they didn't own up to it - they were ashamed because they knew it was really not worth all their attention at all and Jesus wasn't going to be sympathetic about this thing. We are nothing like them, right?
So sometimes, people you know might get all worked up about things they know aren't really significant, aren't really Jesus-level-important. You might have a chance to pass it on to someone like that so listen up: Jesus knows our every thought so keep that in mind. He might well ask you (oops, excuse me - THEM) so "What's that you're arguing in your head about?" in order to help you face the foolishness of what you (oops, there it is again, ahem, THEY) are obsessing over. Jesus wants to know:
A.) What's the big deal? Why so stressed out?
B.) Is it something GOD is making a big deal about?
If you (or that person you know) are embarrassed to face what's eating you in the light of Jesus, then maybe its time to drop it - I mean He knows what's going on anyway, right? If you are so uncomfortable - like these guys were - to even admit it, then you already know its not something worthy of a follower of Jesus. Dude, you know he totally sees you anyway so either own it and ask for God's guidance, or drop it and get on with learning to follow Jesus better.
“the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God.” Luke 11:29-30
What happened to Jesus? For the onlookers of his day, if one judged too quickly it appeared Jesus lost all his fame and followers in a big scandal where he ended up being executed. It wasn’t what it looked like and it wasn’t over - still isn’t. People ready to write you off? You follow the King of the comeback. He looked dead and gone - He was just getting started! You’re His. Let that sink in.
There’s your spark. Now fan that into a flame of faith following Jesus!
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” - John 15:11
By Jamaal Williams
Jesus is all about His people’s joy. A disciple experiences the joy of the Lord as he or she abides in Christ and allows his word to abide in them. Augustine once said, “When people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because each adds fuel to the other’s flame.” C.S. Lewis once powerfully penned, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” Yet, unfortunately, joy isn’t always the serious business of professing Christians. There are some Christians whose joy tank seems to be perpetually low if not empty. Unfortunately, they don’t heed the words of the Scripture which tells us to, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” No matter what you’re going through remember these words today: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” James 1:2-4.
"... I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you..." (2 Timothy 1:6)
These will be brief. A spark is. It lasts only a moment but has potential - potential to ignite something far bigger. I'm not a pyro - hope you're not either. But I believe there's spiritual fuel in you - pumped into your soul by the work of the Holy Spirit and waiting to be ignited. It can propel you great distances. It can take you to new experiences you never dreamed off, to heights you can't imagine. You can't get off the ground if you don't allow God to fire your engines though. Spiritual gifts lift, they propel, they drive us forward when used in God's design, at His direction in His motive of love.
Spark is a new blog I'm going to be posting on a nearly daily basis. It will consist of a short passage from the Bible (the fuel) and a few short insights I believe the Hoy Spirit is passing along (hopefully the spark). Combined, I hope you'll see a new passion and purpose in your relationship with Jesus.
Watch for the first gleams... And get ready to fan it into flame.