Powerful messages  that encourage, inspire, and convict “People of the Way” to enter into the presence of the Living God and to mirror the image of the precious Lord Jesus, bringing his life to this hurt and broken world. The messages are mainly written by a retired pastor whose prolific writings have spanned six decades.

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Short Messages/Tracts

 

MUCH FRUIT?

“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified: that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.”  (John 15: 7-10)

Much fruit?

Where is it?

Seems like I’ve spent all these years following Jesus, and still can’t see any fruit.

Who said we would see fruit piling up before our eyes?

We will see our fruit at the appointed time.

For now, our fruit is piling up before the eyes of God alone.

The fruit of prayer.

“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”

If we are abiding in the Vine we will be praying—interceding for our loved ones, our neighbors, our enemies, world leaders, troublemakers, refugees.

Rarely will we see the answers to these prayers.

Nor can we see how instantly and powerfully the Spirit of God visits those we pray for.

Not one of those prayers is wasted.

Nothing produces fruit for God’s kingdom like prayer!

Fruit from our words of encouragement.

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.  (Isaiah 50)

The power “to sustain with a word him that is weary” comes to us daily, as God “wakens our ear morning by morning”.

Then we move out into the day and connect with people as they come across our path.

Sometimes it’s a sustaining word for a weary soul.

Sometimes it’s a word of encouragement or a word of hope.

Sometimes it’s an introduction to Jesus himself.

Or a simple, “Good morning!” 

Only heaven sees the fruit that flows from those words.

So we leave it all to God, and give him thanks.

Kingdom fruit from washing feet.

Simple service to our neighbor.

 A visit.

 A ride to the doctor.

 A financial boost.

“I was hungry and you gave me food.

 I was thirsty and you gave me drink.

 I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

It’s not how many souls we think we saved.

It’s not how many sinners we brought to repentance.

It’s everything we do, done in thanksgiving and praise to God.

“If you abide in me and my words abide in you,  ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified: that you bear much fruit,  and so prove to be my disciples.”

Message: Richard E. Bieber  August 2021                  Printable Copy
Featured Art:  Courtesy and kindness of Wayne Pascall at waynepascallart.com
Prayer: Yes Lord, help us to bear much fruit, so we may truly glorify you. May we bear the fruit of prayer through our intercession, may our words bear the fruit of encouragement…sustaining the weary, and may our actions, everything we do, no matter how simple, bear the fruit of foot washing. May everything we do be to thank, glorify, praise and honor you… inevitably bearing the fruit of discipleship. Maranatha Mirror

THE PLACE OF AWE        

As long as I am preoccupied with myself…

…my opinions,

…my resentments,

…my fears,

…my impatience with “the way things are,”

it is impossible to know the presence of God.

God is there.

His light surrounds me and penetrates my soul.

But I am unaware.

Blind to the light.

Deaf to the sound of his voice.

….UNTIL

I stumble into a place of awe.

No wonder my spirit trembles!

I’m standing on holy ground!

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name!

 When this happens to you, (and it will, as surely as you are reading these words) …

Pay attention.

Hold still and listen.

Before you is the open door to God’s world.

This is your burning bush.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come,”

And let him who hears say, “Come,”

And let him who is thirsty come,

Let her who desires take the water of life without price.

                                Revelation 22:17

 
Prayer: Yes Lord, help us to let go of our preoccupations and all distractions so we can find your presence that always surrounds us. Bring us to the place of awe, to the place our hearts focus on you and know your holiness, to the place our souls truly hallow you. Help us to hear you calling us to come, may you be our greatest thirst, and may we be filled with thanks, gratitude, and joy as we drink deeply of the water of life you freely give. Amen. . Maranatha Mirror
Message: Richard E. Bieber  2010       Printable Version
Featured Art:  Courtesy and kindness of Lisa Marie Dole Skinner at lisamdskinnerart.com

FREEDOM

He stood on a platform in City Park and addressed a crowd of like-minded souls.

“I am a free man.

 I will not let any person, or any government, tell me how to live my life.

I choose which road to take.

I decide where I’m going to live, where I’m going to work.

Nobody dictates to me what I’m supposed to believe.

My faith is my business.

I choose to be a Christian, and I choose the Christian values I live by.

Anybody or any force that seeks to deny me this freedom I regard as my enemy.

 I am a free man!”

Thunderous applause came from the crowd as the man stepped down to join his proud family.

From the world beyond, angels looked down and held their breath.

They saw what this man could not see.

This man was wrapped in chains.

His head was covered with a hood.

                      He claims to be free?

This man’s only hope is for those chains of self-obsession to break….

… for that hood of self-idolatry to fall away.

Granted, this man enjoys an outward freedom that millions across the earth are denied.

But his “freedom” was an illusion.

________________

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they were instantly entangled in chains.

            Invisible chains.

Now blind to the glory around them, all they could see was their nakedness.

Banished from the Garden of Freedom into the world of strife we know so well, they became their own little gods.

Believing themselves to be free, they spent their years as slaves to their own vanity.

 As their sons and daughters, we too are slaves…. 

           …to vanity.

…to the compulsion to be our own gods, better known as sin.

________________

 True freedom is freedom of mind and spirit.

Inner freedom.

No tyrant can destroy this freedom.

No government can mess with it.

Inner freedom is eternal.

They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever.

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

                                                       John 8

Inner freedom comes only to those who know the truth:

i.e. who know God.     Who actually know God.

Know God, and you are free.

Be ignorant of God, and you are in chains, even if you own half the world.

________________

Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”     (John 8)

We may call ourselves Christians.

We may hold to “Christian Principles”.

But we are free only when we know God…

…only when God reveals himself to us as we walk in the light of the Master.

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples,

and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Message: Richard E. Bieber  September 2021                  Printable Copy
Featured Art:  Courtesy of Ramone Romero 
Prayer: Lord give us the vision to see our own enslavement to sin, to see when our freedom is actually enslaving our hearts, to see when our pursuit of freedom is blinding us in our pursuit of you. Lord free us from this slavery. Loose the chains that hold us back from the call to your very heart. Give us inner freedom, true freedom. Help us to know you, to really know you, help us to continue in your word, help us to truly be your disciples and yes Lord make us free, free indeed.  Amen. Maranatha Mirror

THAT I MAY KNOW HIM

…That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

                                           Philippians 3

Years after Paul met his Master on the Damascus Road he was focused on one thing:

Knowing Jesus.

…. in the power of his resurrection.

…. in the fellowship of his suffering.

…. becoming like him in his death.

Knowing Jesus was the focus of Paul’s life.

Too often we assume that we know Jesus, and hurry on with our “Christian ministries”.

                                                Big mistake.

It’s far better to follow Paul’s example, and focus on truly knowing Jesus.

In the power of his resurrection.

To know him as the one who alone can raise us from our spiritual dullness, our slothful thinking, our half-baked faith.

Lord Jesus, wake us up!

Show us how far we still need to go to know you in the power of your resurrection!

In the fellowship of his suffering.

“If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15)       

The time has come for us to taste the world’s hatred, as so many are tasting that hatred at this moment.

And we need to make sure that they are persecuting us as followers of Jesus, not as self-righteous Christian bigots.

“I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12)

Becoming like him in his death.

Jesus’ death began the moment he went down into the waters of his baptism.

Jesus rose from the water dead to himself and alive only to his Father.

Only when we are “like him in his death”, crucified with Christ, are we of any use to the kingdom of God.

 I am crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  (Galatians 2)                                         

Once we are crucified with Christ we rise with him moment by moment in the power of his resurrection.

Dead to ourselves, and alive only to God, we are free from anxiety about who we are.

We can get down and wash feet—serve God in the lowly places where he is.

Trusting our Lord Jesus to flood our lowly serving with resurrection power.

Bottom line:

Do not focus on your “ministry”.

Do not worry about your “spiritual state”.

Do not get caught up in “signs and wonders”.

   Focus on one thing:

Knowing Jesus

…That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Prayer: Oh that we may know you Lord…in every way you call us to know you. Because without knowing you, without continually looking into your tender eyes, without allowing ourselves to be wrapped into your loving embrace, without laying ourselves before you… we are stumbling on our own. Help us to know you in the fellowship of your suffering, united with you as we choose to love you and serve you even if it means many will hate us and scorn us. Help us to become like you in your death, willing to give up all for you so that you may fully live in us. Help us to know you in the power of your resurrection…yes, rising with you moment by moment as we serve, as we live, as we think and as we breathe. Amen. Maranatha Mirror
Message: Richard E. Bieber  June 2021        Printable Version
Featured Art:  Courtesy of Ramone Romero  http://ramone-romero.blogspot.com/

PILATE’S DILEMMA

“We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer.      (John 19)

Why was Pilate afraid?

Pilate had the power to crucify Jesus or set him free.

                        Yet he was afraid.

Something in his soul told him that this man was not only innocent. 

He was holy.

He was from another world.

“Where are you from?” asked Pilate.

Jesus gave him no answer.

Just the night before, Jesus gave his disciples the answer Pilate was looking for:

“I came from the Father and have come into the world. 

Again I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

John 16

“I came from the Father.”

No other human can say that. 

      “And… (as soon as I’m finished what I came to do),

… I’m going to the Father.”

When he goes to the Father he goes as the Firstborn of the New Creation.

And when he returns he will come as “firstborn among many brethren.”   (Romans 8)

Meanwhile, Jesus is no longer confined by human limitations.

He can be at a million places at once.

He is with me as I write and with you as you read these words.

He is here to help us turn from Darkness and walk in the Light.

His Light.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.                 (I John 1)

When the Light of the World stood before him, Pilate was afraid. 

He was afraid of the Light.

But he was even more afraid to leave the Darkness.

He couldn’t let go.

Pilate was confused.

But he understood one thing:

Pilate understood that you cannot walk in the Light unless you turn away from the Darkness.

Do we?

Message: Richard E. Bieber    August 2020            Printable Copy
Featured Art: Chris Cook chriscookartist.com
 
 
Prayer:  Lord help us to see you, to know where you come from…so we may turn to your light. Help us to turn from the darkness…knowing that if we don’t turn from it, reject it…we cannot walk with you nor have fellowship with one another.  Amen. Maranatha Mirror

TIME TO STOP BEGGING

Begging them to give money.

Begging them to come to church.

Begging them to raise their hands and say, “Praise the Lord!”

Begging them to witness.

Should not these things happen spontaneously?

Do they have to twist our arms?

  Jesus never begs.

     He invites.

     He commands.

  But he never begs.

Once you hear the Shepherd’s voice, it’s up to you.

If you follow, he will guide you.

If you walk away, he will not harass you.

Once Jesus sets you free you can follow or refuse to follow as you choose.

The Kingdom Way

In Christendom begging is standard practice.

In the kingdom of God the door is open for those who choose to enter.

But there is no pressure, no manipulation.

In the kingdom we never beg for money.

If their hearts are moved by love for God, they will give.

If they have no desire to give, let them keep it all with God’s blessing.

In the kingdom we never beg the slackers to come to church.

If their hearts are moved, they will come.

If they prefer the ball game, go for it, with God’s blessing!

“But our churches are dwindling; they are in financial trouble.  Shouldn’t we try to build things up?”

If the life has gone out of the tree, all the props in the world will never save it.

If the joy of the Lord is gone, maybe it’s time to let the thing die.

While churches are shrinking and dying, the Body of Christ is as alive as ever.

While Christian institutions are cracking and crumbling, the Body of Christ is rising out of the ashes with a single focus:

To follow Jesus.

To do things his way.

To spread the fire of the kingdom to the forgotten ones of the earth.

They will come to the Banquet.

They will listen to the Master.

They will put the Christian scribes and Pharisees to shame.

“A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, `Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.” (Luke 14)

Message: REB  September 2021       Printable Version
Featured Art:  Permission and courtesy of James Janknegt bcartfarm.com
Prayer:  Lord give us the vision and the heart to see and know that we do not need to manipulate or beg people into your Kingdom, or into our churches or to beg for money to keep your Kingdom going. Give us the vision and the heart to know that the Kingdom and its needs are in your capable, loving hands… that all we need to do is to bring the leaven of the Kingdom with us wherever you send us… bringing your banquet, your life, your fire to the forgotten ones and by this your Kingdom will grow and flourish. Amen. Maranatha Mirror

WATCH

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come.  It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.” (Mark 13:32-37)

Jesus describes to us signs of the End, things to alert us that the End is near.

  —War, famine, earthquakes, suffering in increasing convulsions.

  —Persecution, as the gospel begins its final spread over the earth.

  —The Desolating Sacrilege—the Man of Sin.

  —The Fig Tree.

But nothing will be clear until the Day arrives.  And no one knows the day or the hour.

Notice how Jesus commands us to be ready:

He does not pull out charts and graphs and show us details of how it will unfold.

He does not encourage us to “study Bible Prophecy.”

He simply says, “Watch!”

i.e. Stay awake spiritually.

Do the work God gives you to do faithfully until the End arrives or until your end comes (death).

Do not be a prophecy speculator.

Do not be a conspiracy theorist.

Do not get side-tracked trying to anticipate what’s coming next.

Be ready for his return by exercising the ministry you’ve been given.

Message: Richard E. Bieber    Unsure of date…perhaps 2017             Printable Copy
Featured Art: Courtesy and kindness of James Janknegt at bcartfarm.com 
Prayer: Yes Lord…we want to be ready for when you arrive. Inspire us, drive us, encourage us not to give up, but to keep watching. Keep us awake. Keep us from being side-tracked. Keep us ready and doing whatever work that is before us until you arrive. Amen Maranatha Mirror

THE LABORERS BEHIND THE LABORERS

“The Harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 

Pray therefore the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9

Laborers:

  Not with canned speeches, but with healing hands.

  Not with empty words, but with redemptive power.

Where are they?

Very soon, perhaps even now, true laborers— laborers drenched in the holiness and power of God—will begin to appear across the earth.

Their lives match their message.

Their message is spoken with the authority of heaven.

Multitudes will be stirred—

—some to faith.

—some to bitter anger.

These laborers will appear, Not through the efforts of some man-made “evangelism crusade,” but through a miracle generated in the dark:

Spirit-inspired intercession.

These laborers behind the laborers, unseen by the world, are men and women who have given their hearts to this one command:

“Pray therefore the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into his Harvest.”

 
Prayer: Holy, wonderful Lord, we beseech thee to raise up people whose hearts are so set on you, so drenched in love for you… that their hands and their prayers are saturated in a redemptive power that pours out healing and vision across this earth … leading multitudes to fall before you in awe, love, service, and obedience.  Amen. Maranatha Mirror 
Message: REB  2013    Printable Version
Featured Art: Rik Berry at rikberry.com

DO YOU KNOW ME LORD?

On the edge of a village deep in inland China a young couple and their three children stood weeping as their house went up in flames.

“What will we do?  Where will we go?  How will we survive?”

 An old man stepped from the gaping crowd and came close to the couple.

 “Please come and live in my house. My wife died five years ago. My children are all grown and gone to the city.

 I have lots of room, and plenty of food.  I’ll help you get a new start.”

The old man did not know Jesus.

He had never heard of Jesus.

But Jesus knew him.

 And the Lord knows millions like him whose hearts are ready for the kingdom.

Wherever there is love, wherever there is kindness, mercy, courage and truth, Jesus is there. 

The Lord of heaven and earth knows every true, merciful heart.

He is the source of all love.  

…For love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.

That old man and people like him are far closer to the kingdom than many who claim to know the Lord.

They are walking in the light they have.

They are doing the Father’s will.

Jesus knew that old man.

Does he know us?

“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’”  (Matthew 7)

“I never knew you, while you performed signs and wonders in my name.

 You knew how to say, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but never got around to doing the Father’s will.”

Do you know me, Lord?

Or am I still out there doing my own thing?

Still clinging to that bitterness?

Still trying to make things go my way?

Do you know me Lord?

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God,

and he who loves is born of God and knows God.   (I John 4)

If we want to truly know the Lord, and be known by him, we need to let him teach us how to manifest the love of God—

 —when our neighbor needs a little kindness.

Message: Richard E. Bieber    October 2021              Printable Copy
 
Featured Art: Courtesy of Anne C. Brink annecbrink.com
Prayer: Oh Lord, the cry of our hearts is that you will know us. May our hearts be where you are, where love is.…extending mercy, compassion, kindness, empathy. Help us to let go of ourselves and enter into true mercy and compassion. Teach us to manifest your love. We want to be where love is… because it is there where we meet you. Maranatha Mirror

HE IS READY IF WE ARE

They ask us to pray for them.

And we do.

They ask us to help them.

And we try.

They cry out for answers.

And we do our best.

Yet how many people who come to us for help walk away empty!

We can’t find the words.

Our helping hands are trembling and weak.

Lord Jesus, give us the bread we need to feed these hungry souls you send to us!

“Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, `Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” (Luke 11)

So if God is always ready to give us what we need to help the ones he sends our way….

….why does he hold out on us?

Why doesn’t God just give us the bread?

 Too many times we are not ready to receive the bread.

Urgency is missing.

Faith isn’t there.

We are still trying to pull the strength out of ourselves.

As if we had the wisdom and the power to help anybody!

We’re just not ready.

And here’s how the Father makes us ready.

He waits for us to ask for help.

To ask and keep asking.

To plead and pester.

If we give up after a few tries, we’re not ready.

Only when we keep pestering are we ready.

“I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs.”

We are ready to receive God’s power when we realize how powerless we are.

When we realize that our only source of supply is God himself—every hour, every minute!

God’s Holy Spirit is the only power that saves and heals and guides.

We are ready to receive the power of God’s Spirit

when we learn how to ask—and keep asking.

“And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11)

Prayer: Holy Lord, give us the urgency, the heart, the faith, the persistence to ask for the bread needed to feed the hungry. Lord, we alone have nothing for them, we can’t feed them ourselves. Without you… we are empty, empty. Help us, make us ready to receive the power of your Holy Spirit to bring good to those in need. In your mercy, gracious Lord. Maranatha Mirror 
Message: REB  August 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Kate Austin christart.co.uk

THE AUTHORITY OF HEAVEN

He didn’t say it to a room full of bishops.

He wasn’t speaking to seminarians.

He was talking to some fishermen, a tax collector and a handful of motley followers.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”        (Matthew 28)

 If we belong to the Master, those words apply to us.

Make disciples?

Of all nations?

Baptizing?

Teaching?

The good news.

We are actually going to do it.

We are going to make disciples.

We are going to connect with all kinds of people who do not belong to our tribe.

We are going to baptize them into Jesus’ death, and raise them up into Jesus’ life.

We are going to set fire to their hearts through the power of the Master’s words.

And the Lord will be with us all the way to the End.

We begin where we are, with people we know, and people who will soon be stumbling into our lives.

We don’t need a program.

We don’t need a strategy.

We need only the authority of heaven.

We just need to abide in the Vine.

We need to pray the way the Lord Jesus teaches us to pray.

The authority of heaven is given to those who abide in the Vine.

“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”      (John 15)

The authority of heaven is given to the poor in spirit.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  

Matthew 5   

The authority of heaven is given to those who speak and live the truth.

Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”’’     (John 18)

The authority of heaven is given to those who carry a cross in their hearts.

“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  (Luke 9)

The authority of heaven is all we need.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

—-

Message: Richard E. Bieber    October 2021              Printable Copy
Featured Art: Courtesy and kindness of Godwin Amavi … Untitled pieces … Fineartamerica-Godwin Amavi
Prayer: Holy Father, we turn to you, we set our hearts and our lives before you in prayer, we seek to live in you, to live humbly, to exude forgiveness and kindness, and to take up the cross set before us… so that we may live in the power of heaven now. May we rise up in the authority you offer us, the precious gift of the power of heaven so we may transform lives, make disciples and teach many to observe your commands, that they may be baptized in your Spirit. We are ever thankful and in awe of the power and authority you give us and for you, you, yourself dear Lord, and for your presence that will never leave us. Maranatha Mirror

GOD OF THE LIVING

“I’m tired of this miserable world.  I’m ready for the long sleep before the resurrection.”

“Who believes in a resurrection?  I’ll just be glad to melt into Nothingness and be no more!”

Everybody has an opinion about what happens over there on the other side of death.

Two questions:

Will we be alive beyond the grave?

Are we alive now?

Jesus’ challenging answer to the second question:

“The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God.  

       And all who hear shall live.”   (John 5)

He’s talking about the “walking dead”, who eat and drink and work and sleep, go to Facebook, watch TV.

They are dead until they hear the Shepherd’s voice and become alive to God.

Being alive to God is eternal life.

“And this is eternal life: that they know thee, the only true God,

      and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.”   (John 17)

Eternal life begins on this side of the grave.

If we keep walking with God on this side of the grave, we will go on walking with God in the life beyond.

The cry of the forgotten ones.

“You keep talking to me about life after death. 

What about now? 

I can’t find work.  I can’t feed my family.  We’ve been evicted with no place to go.

So don’t preach to me about eternal life when your stomach is full and your pockets are bulging!

Will this misery go on forever?

Will those tyrants face justice for the misery they inflict on us?”

The long view.

Jesus promises that at the End there will be a resurrection of the just and the unjust.

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”    (John 5)

Those who received God’s mercy and lived it, receive more mercy.

Those who rejected God’s mercy and refused to show mercy now face judgment.

The King will divide the sheep from the goats with a simple question:

What did you do for the hungry,

the thirsty,

the stranger,

the naked,

the sick.

the prisoner?

The sheep cannot remember.

The goats cannot remember.

But the King remembers.

Between now and the resurrection.

Many believers are convinced from scripture that there is no consciousness between the moment of death and the resurrection. There are passages of scripture which support this belief. 

Yet the final word on the issue comes from the mouth of Jesus, who is Lord of scripture.

To the thief on the cross Jesus says,

“Today you will be with me in Paradise,”

To religious men with hard hearts Jesus gives the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus, the Beggar.

Lazarus, who had nothing to offer God but his suffering, dies and is carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom—Paradise. When the Rich Man dies, he descends to Hades, and gets a taste of the beggar’s suffering.

And to the Sadducees, who claim, “When you’re dead you’re dead!,”

Jesus speaks of a resurrection of glorious beings, who are like the angels, adding that God…

…“is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him!” (Luke 20)

Prayer: Yes Lord Jesus, you are not God of the dead, but are God of the living. Call us all from the dead. May we hear you, may we know you. May we be quickened to live and pour your living water into the dying around us. May countless people wake from the dead on this side of the grave, welcoming and giving your mercy, your living water with open arms. And how we look forward to being alive with you in paradise after we draw our last breath. Maranatha Mirror 
Message: REB  October 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Courtesy of Mark Rouse at markrouse.com  also Penitent Thief (unknown artist)

IT’S BEYOND MY CONTROL,

AND IT SCARES ME TO DEATH!

You don’t have to be living in a war zone to experience the pounding against your life of powers you can’t control.

A decision made by an unknown boss in a distant office that costs you your job.

A truck rear-ends you at a traffic light.

Slander.

Financial ruin.

Sickness.

 A sudden blow out of nowhere and we realize that we are not in control.  We’re at the mercy of forces that we can’t even track with our minds.

Where does God figure in all this?

If our Lord Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, where is he when the blow hits?

He’s there.  If your heart belongs to him, he’s there!

“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.

And if he’s with you, you’re safe ….no matter what.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?   When evildoers assail me, uttering slanders against me, my adversaries and foes, they shall stumble and fall.  Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.  One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent, he will set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies round about me; and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.” My heart says to thee, “Thy face, Lord, do I seek.”

….

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27:1-8 &13,14

Message: Richard E. Bieber    Unknown Date                   Printable Copy
Featured Art:  Christopher Marion Thomas  at Fine art America
Prayer: Yes, Lord, help us to wait upon you so we may see your face. Help us to seek your face in the midst of all things …especially the things that we can’t control…the things that strike fear in our heart. We look to you Lord, knowing that you are our stronghold, that you are our light, knowing that when we enfold ourselves in you… there is nothing to fear. May we lift our voices in joy and wonder as we behold your beauty, as we behold your goodness, as we behold your perfection, and as it strikes our hearts that we are yours and we will never be alone or left desolate… because you, the Living God, have promised to come to us.  Maranatha Mirror

GOD WILL FILL IN THE BLANKS

“I know my prayers are weak.

I just can’t find words.”

Some of the best prayers God ever hears are halting, stumbling efforts.

Prayers that are hardly intelligible.

No human ear could ever grasp their meaning.

But there is joy in heaven.

For such prayers have great power.

Such prayers reach the Father’s ears as simple truth.

When we can’t find words God fills in the blanks

He knows our hearts.

He understands what we’re trying to say better than we do.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  (Romans 8)

It may be that the heavenly Father finds some of our polished prayers a bit boring.

But prayers of desperation, our prayers of longing and need are always music to the Father’s ears.

Prayers for help—for ourselves, for others—are sure to be heard, no matter how hesitant or halting or confused they are.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought.

 
Prayer: Thank you, Thank you Lord that you fill in the blanks, that you know what we need, that you know the cries of our hearts. Thank you for helping us, interceding us, for hearing us. Yes, help us in our weakness so we don’t give up, so we know you hear and care. So we know our prayers have power and bring joy to you Holy Father.  Maranatha Mirror 
Message: REB  September 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Christopher Marion Thomas…
Christopher Marion Thomas  at Fine art America
Looking for contact information on this artist

WATCH

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come.  It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.

 Watch therefore—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.”  (Mark 13:32-37)

Jesus describes to us signs of the End, things to alert us that the End is near.

—War, famine, earthquakes, suffering in increasing convulsions.

—Persecution, as the gospel begins its final spread over the earth.

—The Desolating Sacrilege—the Man of Sin.

—The Fig Tree.

But nothing will be clear until the Day arrives.  And no one knows the day or the hour.

Notice how Jesus commands us to be ready:

He does not pull out charts and graphs and show us details of how it will unfold.

He does not encourage us to “study Bible Prophecy.”

He simply says, “Watch!”

i.e. Stay awake spiritually.

Do the work God gives you to do faithfully until the End arrives or until your end comes (death).

Do not be a prophecy speculator.

Do not be a conspiracy theorist.

Do not get side-tracked trying to anticipate what’s coming next.

Be ready for his return by exercising the ministry you’ve been given.

Message: Richard E. Bieber 2017                     Printable Copy
Featured Art:  Courtesy of James Janknegt  BCArtFarm.com
Prayer: Yes Lord…we want to be ready for when you arrive. Inspire us, drive us, encourage us not to give up but to keep watching. Keep us awake. Keep us from being side-tracked. Keep us ready and doing whatever work that is before us until you arrive. Amen.                  Maranatha Mirror

IT’S STILL A MYSTERY

….The glory of this mystery,

which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

 Colossians 1:27

Christ in you.

Alive in you.

Flooding you with the life of the coming glory.

Who can fathom it?

           But the fact that it’s a mystery doesn’t make it any less true.

The person who puts himself/herself under the authority of Jesus’ words is invaded by the Source of those words.

Christ in you, the hope of glory.

 When we are indwelt by the Messiah…

We are breathing the atmosphere of the world to come.

We are energized by the life of the world to come.

We are under the authority of the world to come.

We speak as citizens of the world to come.

 And yet…..

…..we remain ordinary, down-to-earth human beings.

The supernatural is wrapped in the natural.

The heavenly treasure is contained in an earthen vessel.

No flash.

No glitter.

Just matter-of-fact living.

Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?  And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?”  And they took offense at him.   (Matthew 13:55-57)

Prayer: Kind Lord… what a gift… what glory… You in us…alive in us. Thank you, thank you for this beautiful mystery…that you would bestow on us… these broken and unworthy souls…these earthen vessels…the life of Heaven. May it flood us, pouring out and flooding those around us…and as it does may we mysteriously remain the earthen vessels that keep us clinging to you.  Maranatha Mirror 
Message: Richard E. Bieber  September 2008         Printable Version
Featured Art: Kindness of Jonathan Farrell https://www.facebook.com/JonathanFarrellArt

KINGDOM OF VENGEANCE

The whole world is seething with rage.

      Revenge is the order of the day.

“Don’t be talking to me about peace, when you keep making my life a misery!

I’m going to make you pay!”

Round and round we go

… And Satan laughs.

You think this is something new?

Vengeance has been around for a long, long time.

Undermining families,

Destroying nations.

Sucking life out of the human heart.

Our Lord warned that vengeance will increase as the End draws near.

Nation will rise against nation.

Many will fall away and betray one another.

Most men’s love will grow cold.

To live by faith in God in such a world is possible only when the mind is focused beyond this Kingdom of Vengeance to the One who alone can drain away the poison from our hearts.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

  Hebrews 12:3

Consider him…

Observe how he dealt with human rage.

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  

Romans 12:19-21

 
 
Message: Richard E. Bieber 2014                  Printable Copy
Featured Art:  Courtesy of Ramone Romero
Prayer: Lord how much suffering is unleashed onto this world when we decide to take things into our own hands, when we choose to pick up the sword and take vengeance. Forgive us! Help us!  Help us to heed your command not to avenge ourselves and to overcome evil by doing good. Lord, save our hearts from being corrupted by hate, keep us from adding more misery to this world, and yes, suck the poison of vengeance from our hearts. Amen.                  Maranatha Mirror

IDOLS CANNOT SPEAK

For the workman trusts in his own creation when he makes dumb idols!      (Habakkuk 2)

Idols

There are idols of wood, stone, clay, silver and gold.

            They cannot speak.

            Do they listen?

Who can deny that money is an idol?

 No, money doesn’t “talk”.

Money, like all other idols, is dumb.  It cannot speak.

But what is an idol?

An idol is anything we hang our existence on, anything that possesses our heart—

    —apart from God.

My career.

My child.

My dream.

My lust.

My nation.

My beliefs.

My grudges.

   And, of course, my money.

I may expect my idol to do many things for me.

            But one thing my idol cannot do:

It cannot speak.

My idol will never judge me.

Nor can it guide me.

But sooner or later it will destroy me.

God.

You cannot fashion God according to your wishes, though many try.

You cannot put words in God’s mouth, though many try.

Nor can you evade his eye.

Or escape his words.

If we want to find our way in this glorious, hideous, frightening, magnificent world, we need to hear what those Israelites heard at Mount Sinai so long ago.

 “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me.”

If we wish to live lives that pass over the Valley of Death, we need to hear what Jesus repeated to his listeners again and again:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.”

The God of the universe comes down to our level in the person of the Crucified and Risen One, and speaks to us as we read these words.

 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.

And no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”

                                                                                               John 10

Prayer: Father, Lord, Creator…help us to let go of any idol that possesses our hearts. May you and only you be the one we hear speaking to us. May we know and follow only you. May we wish to be held by you alone.  Maranatha Mirror 
Message: Richard E. Bieber  March 2021       Printable Version
Featured Art: Courtesy of Deborah King  dkingsdesign.weebly.com

 

Richard E Bieber passed into the Lord’s hands on Monday December 27, 2021. We know he is now rejoicing with Jesus in Paradise. Please pray for his wife and family and the many, many friends who will miss his kind, loving, and ever thoughtful and caring heart. 

Lord, I thank you, like so many thank you for the life of Dick Bieber. A man who laid his heart before you in such a way that your living water poured through him to thousands. Only you, Lord, know the full impact. I thank you for how he cared for the flock you put in his care. I thank you for his love for you, his commitment to follow you wholeheartedly. I thank you for his fervent, faithful prayers. I thank you for his caring heart, his uncanny ability to remember not just names, but details of  lives. I thank you for the gift he had of speaking and writing words that caught us on fire, enflaming our hearts with a love for you. May we like him, turn our hearts, our ears, our eyes to you so we never stray far from you , so that your tender love is able to permeate our whole beings…and the power of it touches many…like it has for our dear brother, our dear friend, our dear pastor Dick. Lord bring comfort to those  who are going to dearly miss him, especially his wife Jean, his children, and his grandchildren. Lord, I thank you that Dick is now free from darkness, that not only is he wrapped in joy but I am confident that as you grabbed his hand to pull him into your eternal embrace you said …well done, my good and faithful servant. May his life continue to bear much fruit…even to the very end…helping many to seek you, to serve you, to love you, to draw strength from you no matter what faces us.  Amen

The piece below was one of the last ones he sent me. He prepared me for this time by encouraging me to continue sharing his many messages after “he crosses over the Jordan”.  There are a few thousand messages in “the pile” as he called it. So there will be plenty to choose from to continue posting messages that fit the hour.  My prayer is that Dick’s powerful, moving messages continue to draw us closer and closer to the Living God, getting us all ready for the “big day”.   

GETTING READY FOR THE BIG DAY

The day of our Lord’s return is known to no one but the Father.

When it arrives, all humanity will be there.  

       Darkness and Light will part forever.

       There will be glory on this earth.

There is also a Big Day which for many of us is a near certainty:

     The day we leave our bodies behind and “cross over the Jordan”.

     Any life spent unaware of this day is the life of a fool.

“The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, `What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

                                              Luke 12

There are those who are convinced that the day of our death is the end of everything.

“When you’re dead, you’re dead.  So get all the gusto you can while you’re alive.”

 There are those who believe that everyone who dies ends up in a “better place”. 

   Hitler is in a better place?

   Dead tyrants are in a better place?

There are those who see death as the beginning of Purgatory.

A place where our spirits get cleaned up through suffering.

Jesus keeps it simple.

He tells the thief dying beside him,

“Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Jesus tells us to make friends for ourselves “by means of the unrighteous mammon” so that when it fails, they may receive us into the eternal habitations.”

  In his parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus Jesus describes a realm divided by a vast chasm.

  Lazarus the beggar dies and is lifted to a place of peace in the presence of Abraham. Across the chasm the spirit of the dead rich man is in anguish, suffering in flames (of sadness and regret?).

Jesus prays for his disciples the night of his arrest…

…“Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.”

                                   John 17

According to Jesus each of us, at death, will await the resurrection at the place assigned to us by God.

If we have lived our lives under the power of his Cross, the Master has prepared a place for us.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

                                   John 14

So how do we get ready for the Big Day?

    By living each day in the light of Eternity.

    By walking in the footsteps of the Master here in this realm of flesh and blood.

 “And this is eternal life: that they know thee,

the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

                                John 17

If I truly know God, if I know the Son, I will walk the eternal road God puts at my feet.

I will walk with God.

I will follow Jesus to my cross.

I will trust God in all things.

I obey the Master in all things

I will serve God wherever he puts me.

I will focus on the “one thing needful”: God’s Kingdom.

 If this is my day-by-day life, I’m ready for the Big Day whenever it comes.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  And I give them eternal life.

And they shall never perish. And no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”

                                                       John 10

Prayer: Oh Lord how we look forward to that Big Day when darkness and light are parted forever. May we also be prepared for our own big day so that we can enter into your glory. Oh Lord, separate the darkness from the light in us each day. Lord, help us to know you now, walk with you now… yes to walk whatever road you put at our feet following your voice our beloved shepherd.  Maranatha Mirror
Message by Richard E. Bieber November 2021       Printable Version
Featured Art: Mindi Oaten  mindioaten.com

 

Short Messages/Tracts

 

THE HERD OR THE FLOCK?

Where do I fit?

 Am I in the herd or the flock?

The Herd

Millions are moving in sync with each other and with their leaders.

They have taken a detour, veering away from the footsteps of Jesus.

They have marched with great zeal into the political sphere.

Consider carefully:

Does the message of the herd sound like the voice of Jesus?

“Love your enemies.”

“Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.”

“Beware of false prophets.”

Jesus’ teaching about the herd:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

The Flock

The flock is smaller than the herd

The flock has a single focus:

to follow Jesus.

The flock relies on no power but the power of the Spirit.

“Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

                                Luke 12

The flock is made up of many branches connected to one Vine:

 Jesus.

They abide in the Vine.

They bear fruit.

This kind of fruit:

“I was hungry and you gave me food.

 I was thirsty and you gave me drink.

 I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

 I was naked and you clothed me.

 I was sick and you visited me.

 I was in prison and you came to me.”

So where do we fit?

 We are either in the herd or in the flock.

By the life we live day by day….

By the way we treat our neighbor—every neighbor….

By the way we handle the truth….

…we put ourselves in the herd or in the flock—-forever.

 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.

And no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”

                                 John 10

Message: REB November 2021                        Printable Copy
Featured Art:  Signe Flink    https://www.deviantart.com/signeflinkart
Prayer- Yes, Yes, Lord Jesus… May we continue to be those of your flock. May we continue to flock around you and you alone… our gentle, masterful shepherd. May we keep hearing and truly heeding your voice. Give us your kind and gentle heart so we may care for the wounded, the lame, the lost, the lonely, the fearful, the sick, the hungry, and the thirsty sheep in the fields. Protect us from wandering away and following any shepherd or voice that leads us away from your gentle presence. And thank you for holding us close, keeping us in your hand, and leading us to your present and eternal kingdom.                                            
Maranatha Mirror

LISTENING

And he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him,

“What do you want me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, let me receive my sight.”

                                 Luke  18

Jesus was never too busy to stop and listen.

Maybe it was two brothers fighting over an inheritance.

Or a man with a dying daughter.

Or a woman touching his garment as her last hope.

 Always he stopped and paid attention.

He listened.

Who knows how many thousands of forgotten ones are falling through our “Christian cracks” simply because no one has time to listen.

We want Jesus to listen to us, as we cry to him for help.

We want him to pay attention to our cries.

So why are we too busy to answer that phone?

Why does it take us a year to answer that letter?

You’re sitting at the lunch counter minding your own business.  A broken soul sits down beside you and starts to unburden their heart to you, a perfect stranger.

 Are you going to listen?

Or are you going to brush them off?

Many a wandering soul stumbles into our lives looking for a listening ear.

What if God sent that soul to us, and we calmly shut the door?

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength….

……and your neighbor as yourself.”

Maybe we can’t afford to buy them lunch.

Maybe we feel drained of advice.

But we can at least listen.

 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13)

 
Prayer: Lord help us stop and listen, really listen to those who need a listening ear. Forgive us for neglecting to be attentive to the hurting souls you bring to us. As we listen, Lord, ignite our hearts with the love and tender compassion that the wounded truly seek. May listening not only bring them the healing they need, may it bring us closer to your merciful presence as well.  Maranatha Mirror 
Message: REB  November 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Elizabeth Wang at radiantlight.org.uk  R-60096-CW T-11442-CW, T-10048-CW

 

TECHNOLOGY, MONEY, AND GOD

Technology is great.

It speeds things up.

It connects us to each other across the world.

But something weird is going on.

Technology is starting to take over the world.

And technology has a partner:

 Money.

If we want to know how to handle technology, all we have to do is pay attention to how the Master tells us to handle money.

“He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”                 (Luke 16)

Jesus never begged for money.

He never “raised funds”.

Yet the money they needed for food and lodging was always there.

We deal with money’s twin sister, technology, in the same way.

We use technology, but we hold it loosely.

If we find ourselves chained to our phones day and night, Technology is taking over.

If social media consumes our days, Technology is crowding out the life of God in us.

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and technology.”

If God is our master, technology will be our servant.

If technology is our master, God says, “Have it your way,” and leaves us to live with our choice.

Jesus tells us that one day money will be obsolete.

“And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.”    (Luke 16)

And in the kingdom of God, technology is already obsolete.

Where technology is obsolete. 

When we enter our room, shut the door, and pray, we bypass technology.

Our prayers for others pass through heaven and touch the lives we pray for in a nano-second.

Our prayers connect us with a future which technology knows nothing about.

God’s World.

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Technology and money.

Technology and money are twins.

 They cling to each other.

They sustain each other.

 So we use technology like we use money.

Looking to God alone as our Master.

Following Jesus moment by moment toward a world where technology and money will be no more.

Prayer- Lord we need your help, we need your forgiveness. We have sought our comfort, security, and solace either in money or technology. They master our lives. Help us to hold them both loosely. Lord, we need you to master our lives. Help us to let go of these distractions, so we can truly hallow your name, so that we can connect with you, connect to your world where we find comfort, security, and solace that never ends.                           Maranatha Mirror
Message- Richard E Bieber  November 2021  Print Version
Art work:  Distracted by Kevin Carden via Good Salt license. Other photos from Unsplash… Money-Travis Essinger, Prayer-Jack Sharp, and Follow Jesus -Rasmussen

THEY WERE NOT STUPID

The Bible is the witness of people who had encounters with God over long centuries.

People like we are.

Their “technology” was primitive.

No smart phones.

No computers.

No rockets to the moon.

But they were not stupid.

In many areas they were way ahead of us.

Many of them had a grasp of reality that surpasses ours.

Peter was a rough fisherman, but he knew when he was in the presence of the HOLY.

Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

The woman at the well had no running water, no indoor plumbing. Things were primitive.

But she was smart enough to recognize the truth.

The wisdom of Eternity burned in their ancient hearts.

They had vision.

They found the door to the kingdom and entered it.

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.”

 Matthew 11

It is helpful to see the people we encounter in the scripture as contemporaries.

The Spirit wipes away time and distance and connects us with Andrew and Matthew and Mary Magdalene, and Martha.

Jesus is as close to them at this moment as he is to us.

All the basic problems they faced we face.

All the temptations that came to them come to us.

If they could walk by faith, so can we.

If they could live lives of forgiveness, so can we.

If they walked in the light of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, so can we.

All we have to do is listen to the Master.

And walk with him,

as they did.

 
Prayer: Lord, we confess that we allow technology and the access to vast amounts of information to distract us from the knowledge and presence of you, the Eternal One. Oh Lord, help us to seek the wisdom of eternity like the early disciples did. Help us to stop stupidly ignoring your holiness and seeking this trivial knowledge. Nothing, no technology, no information, compares with you and the truth of who you are and your way. May we recognize the truth of how awesome, majestic and holy you are. May this vision of you… lead us to pursue you with all we have, convict us to live lives of forgiveness, inspire us to live the truth of your perfect teachings, and yes Master never stop listening to your voice.  Maranatha Mirror 
Message: REB  November 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Bernadette Lopez https://www.bernalopez.org/

THE INDESTRUCTIBLE GIFT

When the risen Lord returned to the Father, he left nothing tangible behind.

No writings.

Not a scrap of clothing.

Nothing that could become a shrine. 

Jesus left no structure, no organization, only a warning:

“If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

                                                  Mark 9

Jesus left his followers a single indestructible gift:

….. his Word.

That word was burning in their hearts even as the cloud enveloped him.

“I have given them thy word.”

                                                  John 17

When the Holy Spirit arrived, he poured out the same gift.

“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

                                        John 16

 With this gift they set the world on fire.

They didn’t waste time building churches.

They didn’t waste time creating a “permanent institution”.

They set the world on fire with the words of Jesus.

Confident that Jesus lived in those words.

Confident that his words were sufficient.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

                                                  Matthew 24

The one thing needful.

The Christian world is anxious and troubled by many things”.

The Christian world is weighed down and burdened by many things.

“One thing is needful.”

Jesus’ words.

His words burn with heaven’s fire.

His words heal the sick and raise the dead.

Jesus speaks through the gospels.

He speaks through the prophets.

He speaks through the Spirit.

If we needed money, he would have left us money.

If we needed an institution, he would have built one.

If we needed a hierarchy, he would have set one up.

Jesus gave us the only thing we need:

His word.

All we have to do is listen.

Believe.

And obey.

Wherever his word is heard, there is the kingdom of God.

Wherever his word is obeyed, there alone is the Body of Christ.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”

                                        John 10

Where two or three are gathered in his name, Jesus is there.

Where five or six are striving to walk in the light of his word, there is the Body of Christ.

Wherever Jesus’ words alone occupy the throne, there is the kingdom of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…..

….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

                              John 1

Prayer- Oh Lord thank you, thank you…what a gift …your Word… Such truth… words that touch us to the core, that set our hearts on fire, that connect us to the Living God, that dispel darkness, that draw us together to seek your face. May we truly listen to, believe and obey them. May this perfect gift be the center on which our lives turn.                                              Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB  November 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Mindi Oaten    mindioaten.com

THE PATH OF LIGHT

It’s not what we claim to believe.

It’s not what we claim to know.

It’s not what we have experienced.

It’s a daily walk on the Path of Light.

The early believers called it the Way.

Jesus puts it bluntly:

“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life,  and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7)

Eternal life begins when we start walking on that path.

Our steps are illumined by the light of God’s Spirit.

The glory of the world to come envelops and comforts us, as we follow Jesus to whatever cross he has for us.

 Jesus tells us all we need to know, when he says,

“I AM the way.”

Faith in Jesus is not a static “belief system”.

Faith in Jesus is what we do.

Whoever hears these words of mine and does them…..”

“Whoever hears these words of mine and does not do them…..”

 “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

We get all the help we need.

Like the cloud of glory by day and the pillar of fire by night, guiding the Israelites through the wilderness…

We are guided by the light of heaven.

 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake.

The minute we start to wander off the path the Spirit convicts us, shows us what we need to do, and helps us to do it.

“I am the light of the world;  he who follows me will not walk in darkness,  but will have the light of life.”

John 8

We are never alone as we walk this path.

As they made their way toward Emmaus those men felt abandoned. The one they hoped would redeem Israel allowed himself to be executed.

What was left for them?

A stranger draws up beside them and asks,

 “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleophas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

                                       Luke 24

In one form or another, the risen Lord is beside us as we walk the Path of Light.

Lifting us up, when we’re down.

Bringing us down, when vanity has inflated us.

Giving us hope.

Imparting his strength.

“I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 

No one comes to the Father, but by me.”

Jesus promises in John 12:32 that sooner or later every human soul will be given a chance to follow the Way.

Our chance is now.

 
Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep us walking on your path of light. We want to be people of your way. We want to follow you, wherever you take us. Lead us, restore us, convict us so we may remain walking in your light. And yes, protect us from our own vanity, lift us up, give us strength, give us hope… Hope that we are not alone and you are walking with us on this path leading us to the light of life. Maranatha Mirror 
Message: REB  November 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Stephen Hanson stephenhansonartist.com

HARD BRAIN, SOFT HEART,

SOFT BRAIN, HARD HEART.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.

(Soft brain, hard heart.)

So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

(Soft brain, hard heart.)

But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’”

(Hard brain, soft heart)

Hard brain.

Our Lord keeps reminding us to put some muscle in our brains.

Are you still without understanding?” he says to us, as he said to those first disciples.

A hard brain pays attention.

A hard brain weighs what it hears against the facts.

A hard brain is not gullible.

When a Christian leader stirs up anger and suspicion a hard brain asks,

“Does this sound like Jesus?”

A hard brain checks the prophet’s sheepskin for wolf hairs.

Soft heart.

A soft heart is tender toward God.

A soft heart is tender toward the forgotten ones.

A soft heart listens to the words of Jesus like a trusting child.

A soft heart sees Lazarus at its gate and shares what it has.

 A soft heart reaches out to the wounded man on the Jericho road.

Soft brain.

A soft brain is a lazy brain.

A soft brain believes absurd “truths” without ever checking with the Master.

A soft brain claims to “believe in the Bible”, yet It rarely looks to see what Jesus actually said.

A soft brain is a sucker for false prophets.

Hard heart.

A hard heart talks, but never listens.

A hard heart is always cocked and ready to strike back.

A hard heart collects grudges like silver and gold.

A hard heart despises “Samaritans” who look different and talk funny.

So what’s the point?  

The point is that Christendom is beginning to split in two.

   An invisible sword has come between the hard brains and the soft brains.

   A flame is dividing the tender hearts and the hard hearts.

“I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”  (Luke 12)

Prayer- Oh Lord how we mourn the division among your people. How we hurt when our brothers and sisters harbor hard hearts toward us and revile the lost and wounded ones of this world. How we feel shame when we ourselves turn away with hard hearts. Lord make our hearts tender again. Give us the insight, the wisdom…. the hard brains… to realize when the deceiver is luring us to harden our hearts, when his ugly voice, his lies, his rage drowns out your call to love our enemies, to forgive, to heal. Soften our hearts since this is where we will find you, this is where we long to be. Bring us back to the joy of dwelling with you God of Love, Mercy and Compassion.                                               Maranatha Mirror

Message: REB  October 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Ramone Romero   Weeping Jeremiah blogspot

DID JESUS CARRY A FLAG?

  Don’t laugh.

All over the earth people are trying to put a flag in Jesus’ hands.

And why not?

Think of all the nations that were established on Christian principles.

   “In God we trust.”

   “God, keep our land, glorious and free!”

 In these dark times why shouldn’t Jesus carry a flag to help us keep things going in the right direction?

Our father’s God to Thee,

Author of liberty,

To Thee we sing.

Long may our land be bright

With freedom’s holy light;

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God, our King!

Bad news.

Jesus cannot carry a flag. 

His hands are full.

He carries a cross.

For all nations.

For all people.

For good people and bad.

For rich people and poor.

For high people and low.

Yes, Jesus is risen from the dead, but the power of the cross goes wherever he goes.

And here’s the kicker:

If we want to follow Jesus,

our hands will be too full to carry anything but a cross.

And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Luke 9

If we are crucified with Christ,

   if we carry a cross in our hearts…

We belong to God.

We are aliens and exiles in this world, just like our Lord.

We vote and pay our taxes, but our real citizenship is in God’s kingdom.

And our power is the cross we carry day and night.

I am crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  (Galatians 2)

Prayer: Jesus may our souls be so brimming with your Holy Spirit, our hearts so drawn to you, our feet so willing to follow after you and our hands so full with carrying your cross that we have no room or desire to carry anything else. May our hearts sing… “you are who we belong to, Precious Lord…not a flag…not a cause…to you beloved Lord. We love you; we trust you and you alone are our banner.”  Maranatha Mirror 
Message: REB  November 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Ramone Romero   Weeping Jeremiah blogspot

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