December, 2014 browsing by month


The Language Of Love

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

There is a story recorded in the Bible in Mark chapter seven, where Jesus put His fingers into a deaf and mute man’s ears, then spit into His own hands and touched the man’s tongue as He looked up to heaven and sighed. After this, He pronounced the man had been healed. This passage, very unique in it’s details, is one of the most misinterpreted passages in the Bible. It is mostly interpreted to mean that, “God works in mysterious ways”, or even that Jesus is demonstrating an unorthodox “methodology” for healing that should be emulated. I don’t think it is really that complex.

I believe that what Jesus was doing, was simply communicating with this man at his level. The man could not hear or speak. This story shows us that Jesus was willing to do what was necessary to be understood by this man — to be creative in order to effectively communicate with him. He accomplished this by separating the man from the crowd and communicating through a type of sign language that involved the ears and the tongue, that He was going to heal him. There would be no room for doubt that Jesus did what He “signed”, because the man was healed by Jesus!

Effective communication can be a challenge. Think about it, to effectively communicate requires that both the sender and the receiver understand and perceive information in the same way. When you add the dynamics of age, experience, culture, and education, one has to work hard at being understood.

For example, I remember many years ago when our son Greg (who at the time was about 7), was with my mother on the back porch. They were keeping their eyes out for someone who was “on the run” from the police (who had been actively circling above our neighborhood in a helicopter). From a description the police made known, we knew that they were looking for an “un-armed man, wearing a white shirt and blue jeans.” After a while, we realized that grandmother and grandson were looking for two different things – Greg was actually looking for a man with no arms, because of the “un-armed man” description. Communicating effectively takes work!

As Christians, we must understand that the most effective form of communication is love. Love will help us make the needed adjustments in our life in order to effectively communicate like Jesus did with this man. Each person and circumstance is different. When we love, we learn to change and grow in godly character. The Bible says that love suffers long and is kind. This means that love will cause us to retreat and be patient when there is conflict or suffering, and then love will help us advance in kindness. It is between the retreat and the advance that we learn about each other, about ourselves, and about the Lord. We learn how to effectively communicate and relate to others for God’s glory.

Today the Lord has someone for you to love and communicate effectively with. Be ready to adjust and be flexible in order effectively communicate God’s love and the Gospel with others, and in so doing, you will become more like Jesus.

Jesus And Hanukkah, the Light of the World!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

At this time of year my thoughts go back to Jerusalem, not so much Bethlehem. When December rolls around I find myself particularly thinking about John 10:22. It says it was winter and Jesus was in Jerusalem atop the Temple Mt. commemorating the “Feast of Dedication” (Hanukkah) and He is there because He is “the Light of the world”.

Feast of Dedication? Hanukkah? Festival of Lights?

I’ll explain.

It was the year 175 B.C. and the defilement continued for ten years. A Syrian leader named “Antiochus Ephines” conquered Jerusalem murdering hundreds of thousand of Jews. Antiochus was a man shoulder to shoulder with the “Hitler’s” of history. Yet Antiochus was particularly delusionary — for he made himself to be God, calling himself “Theos-Ephiphenes!” In this way he is a type of “Anti-Christ” who is on the horizon. 2 Thess. chapter two indentifies this man who will stand in the Temple in Jerusalem and claim to be God. Antiochus not only defiled the Temple by claiming to be God but he butchered a pig and smeared its blood all around the altar and temple, even forcing the high priests to drink the blood. Meanwhile, a Jewish family by the name of Macabee’s spearheaded a revolt against Antiochus. One of Macabee’s son named Judas, played a particular role in the other-throw.

Once Antiochus was removed, the focus became the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem!

It was 164 B.C. the 25 of Kislev(some believe Dec. 25) but there was not enough oil to burn the seven branched Menorah in the Temple for an entire rededication week but to everyone’s surprise, the oil lasted eight days!

In type the miracle speaks of the new creation that is brought into existence by the Light of the World, the Messiah Jesus.

In addition, in the Jewish observance of this festival there is a ninth candle that rests in an exalted place above the other eight candles. This candle is used to ignite each of the eight other candles that produce enough light to cover all eight days. The exalted candle is called the “Shamash” candle. Shamash means “Servant”.

Jesus is THE SERVANT! Isaiah 49:6 speaks to this …

“Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant. To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation(the word in the Hebrew is Jeshua or Jesus) to the ends of the earth.’” Isaiah 49:6

Jesus is the one who ignites the world with divine life by His saving grace! Jesus came to make all things new.

In a time when life feels so crammed with obligation and the stress that more often accompanies this season with its emphasis upon materialism, I like to ask myself, “Is the SERVANT(Jeshua/ Jesus ) in the exalted place in my life?”

May it be so. And may it be so in your life as well. May your life be lit up with glory of God in Christ. He is more than enough!