Archive for September, 2013

He’s Coming Back

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Acts 1:9-11

After Jesus gave the disciples their marching orders, He ascended back into Heaven.  This was obviously quite a shock for the men left standing there.  They were talking to Jesus one minute.  The next minute, He is gone and back in Heaven.  After seeing Him go in this manner, they “looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up.”  That’s probably what we would have done in a similar situation.  We would have just stood there looking up into space.

But then two men “in what apparel” showed up and told them something.  I’m going to assume that these men were angels.  They said “why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  this same Jesus… shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go…”

As we read this passage, the point they were getting across seems to be this: “Stop standing there staring at the sky.  He’s coming back.  Now go get to work.”  And that is the advice that they took.  They left and started working for the Lord.

That is good advice to us.  Some days, we just (figuratively or literally) look up to the sky, waiting for Jesus to return.  The world seems so sinful and corrupt, that we just want to get out of here.  But then we read these verse and are reminded – He’s coming back.  We need to focus on doing His work while we have the opportunity.  How are we doing?

O Land of Rest (Hymn)

O Land of Rest
Elizabeth Mills

O land of rest, for thee I sigh;
When will the moment come,
When I shall lay my armour by,
And dwell with Christ at home?

No tranquil joys on earth I know,
No peaceful sheltering done;
This world’s a wilderness of woe;
This world in not my home.

To Jesus Christ I sought for rest;
He bade me cease to roam,
And fly for succor to his breast,
And he’d conduct me home.

When by affliction sharply tried,
I view the gaping tomb,
Although I dread death’s chilling tide,
Yet still I sigh for home.

Weary of wandering round and round
This vale of sin and gloom,
I long to leave the unhallowed ground,
And dwell with Christ at home.

Does life ever seem to get you down?  Some days it seems like everything in this world is falling apart.  It seems like evil and sin are winning the battle.  It is during those times that we can relate to this hymn.  “Land of rest, for thee I sigh…”  We think about all of the negativity in the world, and we can’t help but just want to “lay our armour by, and dwell with Christ at home.”  There is coming a day of rest, and what a glorious day it will be!

Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria…

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 1:8

We started to look yesterday at this verse, which Jesus gave to the disciples immediately before He ascended to Heaven, leaving them to continue His earthly ministry.  These were their “marching orders.”  They are still today our “marching orders.”  Yesterday we looked at what it meant to be a witness.  Today we will look at where we are to be a witness.

“…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  It is interesting to note the progression in which these locations are given.

First is Jerusalem.  That is where the disciples were.  It was their “home city.”  We each have a “home city,” in which we are supposed to be “witnessing unto Him.”

Next is Judaea.  That would have been the “state” or localized area they were in.  We are to be witnessing to those in our state or our “area.”

Next is Samaria.  That was a neighboring area, and an area that many Jews did not like and even looked down on.  But they were still to be witnesses there.  We all have neighboring areas, whether they be neighboring states or even neighboring countries in which we should be witnessing.

The last location takes it all in: “unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  That would include everywhere.  We are to witnessing everywhere.  There is no wrong place to tell someone what the Lord Jesus has done for you.  There is no wrong person to tell how Jesus saved your soul.

We are to be witnesses everywhere, to everyone.  How are we doing?


But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 1:8

This verse is about being a witness.  It is what Jesus told His disciples right before He ascended back to Heaven, leaving them to carry on His work here on Earth.  He told them that He would give them power and that they were to be witnesses “unto me.”  He gave the disciples a responsibility: to be witnesses.  He has given us the same responsibility.  If we have a responsibility, we should be doing it.  And, in order to do it, we need to know exactly what it is.  What does it mean to be a “witness.”

Being a witness is simply telling what you have seen.  If you are a witness during a trial, you are called upon to tell what you saw that relates to the case at hand.  A few years ago, Nike came out with a slogan for a basketball player (LeBron James) that was one word: Witness.  It was on t-shirts, billboards, signs and commercials.  The idea behind it was that we were all supposed to witnessing LeBron James’ greatness.  We were supposed to watch and pay attention and see something.

As Christians, we have witnessed something far greater than a basketball player.  We have witnessed Jesus Christ saving our souls.  We have seen what He has done in our lives and in the lives of others.  We have seen the Bible come alive and have seen Him answer prayers.  We have seen Him help us and comfort us.  We have seen all of these things.  To be a witness simply means to tells others about what we have seen.

If you read the book of Acts, witnessing is exactly what these men did.  They simply told their story: the story of their interaction and relationship with Jesus.  We should be telling the same thing!


Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.  And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  follow thou me.

John 21:18-22

After Jesus told Peter how he would, through his death, glorify God, Peter looked around, saw John, and asked Jesus what he would do.  Jesus gave him a classic answer that will help us even today: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  follow thou me.”  Basically, He told Peter, “don’t worry about what I have for John to do; you just follow me.”  That is great advice for us two thousand years later.

Sometimes we worry too much about what everyone else is doing, not doing and should or should not be doing.  We want to run the lives of everyone else.  We want to know what they are supposed to be doing.  We need to focus on ourselves.  We need to just do what we are supposed to do.  We need to do it every day.

“Follow thou me.”  The next time we get overly concerned about what someone else should be doing, let us remember these words from the Saviour.  Following this advice will greatly help and simplify our lives.  “Follow thou me.”

Lovest Thou Me?

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?  He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.  He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?  He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.  He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?  Peter was grieved because he sad unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?  And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.  Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:15-17

This must have been one of the hardest conversations of Simon Peter’s life.  He had betrayed the Lord three times before His crucifixion.  He immediately repented and was thrilled later to see his risen Lord.  Now, the Lord Jesus is there in front of him, asking him “lovest thou me?”  Peter answered that he did indeed love the Lord.  He even said that “thou knowest that I love thee.”  Then Jesus asked again.  And again.  The third time, “Peter was grieved…”

I don’t know if he was grieved because answering that same question for the third time reminded him of the awful night in which he denied the Lord three times.  He may have been grieved because he thought that Jesus didn’t think that he loved him.  I don’t know why he was grieved, but he was.

The questions for today are these: if He were standing before us, would He have to ask us if we loved Him three times?  Have we given Him reason to doubt our love for Him?  And the most important question: “lovest thou me?”

The Reason for the Bible

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 20:30-31

Many have wondered what the purpose of the Bible is.  Why did God choose to write all of these things down?  Why did He choose to include the things that He chose to include?  Why did He tell us some things and not tell us other things?  What is the purpose of the Bible?  These verses in the book of John have the answer for us.

“…these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”  That is the purpose of the Bible.  That is why God chose to write down for us the things that He did.

He did many other things that He chose not to have written down.  We did not need to know those things.  He wrote down what we needed to know to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  He wants us to have life and that life comes only through His name.  He gave us all we need to believe in Him.  He wrote down many prophecies in the Old Testament that pointed to His coming.  When He came, He wrote down all of the things that fulfilled those prophecies.  He wrote of many of the miracles that He performed.  He wrote of His death, His burial, His resurrection, and His ascension back to Heaven.  He wrote of the church that He left to carry on His work.  He wrote of the future and what will happen in the end.  He wrote it all that we would believe and that we would have life through Him.

Do we believe?

Come and Dine

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing.  They say unto him, We also go with thee.  They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.  But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.  Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat?  They answered him, No.

Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.  Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.  Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine.  And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou?  knowing that it was the Lord.

John 21:3-5, 10-12

Simon Peter decided to go fishing.  The other disciples decided to go with him.  They went out, fished all night, and caught nothing.  Then Jesus showed up, asking if they had any fish.  They did not.  They had nothing to show for all of their work through the night.  They did not recognize Jesus, and He told them to cast in their net again.  They did so, and pulled in a huge catch of fish: one hundred and fifty three, to be exact.

He then invited them to “Come and dine.”  That is how Jesus works.  We work and work to get ahead.  We fight and struggle and we just can’t seem to get anywhere.  We want to do things in our own power, and we end up with nothing.  Then Jesus comes and invites us to “come and dine.”  He gives us what we need.  He gives us the desires of our hearts.

How many times have we felt like we are just banging our heads against a wall?  We need to learn the lesson from this story: be patient, wait on Jesus and He will come through for us – every time.

O I Want To See Him (Hymn)

O I Want to See Him
R.H. Cornelius (1916)

As I journey through the land, singing as I go,
Pointing souls to Calvary – to the crimson flow,
Many arrows pierce my soul from without within;
But my Lord leads me on, through Him I must win.

O I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Care all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.

When in service for my Lord, dark may be the night,
But I’ll cling more close to Him, He will give me light;
Satan’s snares may vex my soul, turn my thoughts aside;
But my Lord goes ahead, leads whate’er betide.


When in valleys low, I look toward the mountain height,
And behold my Savior there, leading in the fight,
With a tender hand outstretched toward the valley low,
Guiding me, I can see, as I onward go.


When before me billows rise from the mighty deep,
Then my Lord directs my bark; He doth safely keep,
And He leads me gently on through this world below;
He’s a real Friend to me, O l love Him so.


This song should be a perfect expression of our love for the Lord.  It describes our lives and how He loves us, helps us and comforts us all through our journey here on Earth.  The question for today is this: how badly do we really want to see Him?


But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD.  But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and Peace be unto you.  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.

John 20:24-28

People always look down on Thomas because he didn’t believe right away when the other disciples told him that they had seen Jesus.  He wanted to see for himself.  He wanted to see the nail prints in His hands and the wound in His side.  He wanted some evidence, just as many of us would have wanted.

Eventually, Jesus did show Himself to Thomas and Thomas did believe, saying, “My Lord and my God.”

Some people will believe more easily than others.  Some people will believe on the testimony of another.  Others want to see some evidence first.  Jesus told Thomas in verse 29, “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  Faith is about believing something that we can’t see.  Faith is about hearing the Word of God and believing it as such.  We can’t literally see Jesus with our eyes today.  We must have faith to believe what He has told us in His Word.  Do we believe?