Don’t pass the blame

John 12:10-11 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

Can you punish someone for something they did not do?
I know it happens and many innocent men and women are arrested and jailed but are not guilty.
Mistaken identity, wrong place at the wrong time, and lies against someone can all lead to someone wrongly accused.
In today’s scripture, the Jews wanted to kill Lazarus basically for being raised from the dead.
He had no control over that.
I’m sure many people came to see this man that was once dead.
Perhaps they asked him questions about what was beyond this life.
Whether or not he could answer is unknown.
Paul said of his death he heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Cor 12:4
So, perhaps Lazarus could not say much.
Regardless, the desire to get rid of someone or blame someone for something they never did is nonsense.

End the Disputing

1 Tim 6:4 …but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words,

As I got up this morning, my pc had updated and rebooted overnight.
I signed in and opened my browser, which opened my start pages, including Facebook.
I saw a discussion over a Christian principle and read a few of the comments.
It reminded me of today’s verse, in which I only gave a part.
The entire verse says ” If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” 1 Tim 6:3-5
I do not argue the word of God.
He did not call me to argue or dispute His word but to preach and teach it.
Christian arguing over minor things does nothing to bring the lost to Christ.
Paul said, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Cor 2:1-2
This is what others must hear from our lips – Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Don’t deny others

John 13:8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

There are those individuals that feel you are above doing anything for them.
Others believe they are above you doing anything for them.
Some don’t want to bother you with doing anything for them, while another group wants everything done for them, and finally, there are some choosing to do everything themselves.
I always fell into the “I can do it myself” group.
At one time I thought I was fine without Jesus.
I did not need His salvation because I could just do it myself.
However, the day came when that barrier was torn down and I accepted Him as savior.
Then I shifted to the “I don’t want to bother you with it” group.
My wife has helped me though when an elderly lady wanted to hand me $20 for pastor appreciation.
I, of course, wanted to decline it because she was on a fixed income and I was still working.
Linda told me, “Don’t deny her blessing!”
I stopped that sweet lady from feeling good about doing a little something for her pastor.
I don’t know what Peter’s thinking was but if someone wants to minister to you, bless you, or help you then don’t deny them.

Turning Away

Prov 4:14-15 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.

Years ago a man told me about a friend stopping by and asking him to go with him to a certain neighborhood.
He told me, “I knew he was going for some drugs.”
He went with him and bought some too, even though he was trying to break the addiction.
I told him, “You need some new friends!”
There are family members and friendships that take a toll on you mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Our scripture today says to walk away.
That is not to say you cannot pray for them and love them but you cannot maintain a bosom buddy relationship with them.
Paul told Timothy about the last days and the types of people he would encounter.
2 Tim 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Did you read the last line?
1 Cor 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.

Understanding

Neh 8:8 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

Many people say they don’t read the Bible because it doesn’t make sense.
There are many things that don’t make sense to everyday people.
If I were to write about the elephants giving stop green eggs for tax shelters born to please motorcycles, you’d definitely say that doesn’t make sense.
I agree.
Quadratic equations don’t make sense to me.
I watch the movie Hidden Figures and I see a bunch of scribbling on the blackboard.
I’m sure I could understand math like that displayed in the movie if I applied myself to understanding it.
That would take a teacher or tutor.
It’s the same with the Bible – it takes a teacher, who, by the way, was once a student learning the Bible.
Ezra read the Law to those that could not understand what it meant.
However, those that understood it explained it to them and helped them to understand the reading.
If you are a Christian, you are a teacher of the Bible, though your teaching may be limited for now.
But continued reading and study open your understanding for sharing with others.
Never stop studying.

If He changed me, He will change you.

1 Cor 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

I love people that imitate others.
One of the best, in my opinion, was Rich Little.
He had the speech and mannerisms of many movie stars and politicians down to a fine art.
Close your eyes while Rich imitated someone and you’d really think it was the actual person.
The old saying is imitation is “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
The King James says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
When I first read this verse in New King James, I was taken aback.
I thought it somewhat arrogant to say “follow me” or “imitate me”.
That’s not what Paul is trying to get across.
I believe he is saying, “Look, I’m striving to follow Christ. You can too!”
It is good to keep your heart and mind on how God wants you to act and behave.
It’s not always easy.
Many things will come against you, as Paul experienced.
Yet, he never quit.
A man that went from persecuting the church to leading the church.
Paul is saying, “If God changed my life, He can change yours too.”

The Do-Over

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Sometimes you’d like a do-over – to go back in time and erase a mistake; take away something you said or did.
But you cannot go back in time.
The fictional lives of those that did so in the movies messed things up even worst.
You are who you are today because of the choices you made – for good or for bad.
All you can do is change everything from this moment forward.
Let me go back to 1975.
I was in high school and my life took a major turn that year when one of my best friends handed me a Christian tract and said, “Swanson, you need to read this!”
I did and a decision welled up inside me.
Do I accept Jesus as my savior or ignore what the tract said?
I chose Jesus.
It changed my life.
I got my do-over because I was born again.
I became a new person.
It was the best decision of my life.
If you want a fresh start, then consider accepting Jesus as your savior.
You will not regret it.

Yes and Amen

2 Cor 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

There was a time when a handshake sealed the deal between two individuals.
A man’s handshake was a binding contract.
Now you need something written down, a lawyer to read over it, and then it signed and witnessed.
Not with God.
All you need from Him is His word.
All His promises are through the work of Jesus Christ.
His promises for you are affirmed through His holiness and righteousness.
Does He love you?
Yes and Amen.
Does He want salvation for you?
Yes and Amen.
Will He forgive you?
Yes and Amen.
Once you are saved are you free to sin?
That’s outside His holiness and righteousness so the answer is no!
The proof – Rom 6:2 How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Yes and Amen!
His promises are never broken.
His word is true.
You can bet His life on it!

Encouragement when you’re sinking low

Luke 5:5-6 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.

Have you ever felt like giving up?
I can relate when it seems like you don’t get any results.
But imagine where we would be if Thomas Edison had given up.
We would still be in the dark.
Or if Peter had given up.
He would have stayed a fisherman.
However, the greatest encourager came by and asked Peter to launch back out and fish a bit longer.
Peter and his coworkers had fished all night with no results.
That quickly turned around at the word of Jesus.
They caught so many fish the net began to break and they had to call for help.
Their boats began to sink because of the incredible weight of the fish.
Peter would leave fishing for ministry and, although, he had some ups and downs, he ended up becoming the preacher of Pentecost with about 3,000 accepting Jesus as savior.
So when you are sinking low with self-worth remember this lesson of Peter and Jesus.
He wants to bless you and encourage you to press on and push on through.
Your next blessing is just below the surface.

The Introduction

John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus.

This is the first meeting of Peter and Jesus.
Andrew, Peter’s brother, believed Jesus is the Messiah but Peter is not so convinced.
It is later that Peter sees his own sinfulness in the presence of Jesus. (Mark 5:1-11)
This introduction is a key point in Peter’s life.
Who is given credit for leading Peter to Jesus?
Andrew.
Peter had to make his decision to follow Christ but you can’t make the decision without the introduction.
Where do you bring others?
Will you introduce someone to Jesus?