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

 

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

IN MY NAME

“In the name of Jesus!” shouts the evangelist as he lays hands on a weeping man kneeling before him.

A hush sweeps over the crowd.

“Hallelujah!” says the evangelist, and raises the man to his feet.

 There is a roar of clapping and praising and foot-stamping and the smiling man returns to his seat.

When it’s all over the man goes home empty and confused.

Nothing happened.

But why?

“Whatever you ask the Father, he will give it to you in my name. 

Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name.  Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

John 16

So why did nothing happen when the evangelist called on the name of Jesus?

The evangelist did not realize he was trifling with the HOLY.

How is it possible that men and women can prophesy in Jesus’ name, cast out demons in Jesus’ name and do many mighty works in his name, and be told by Jesus in the last hour, “I never knew you.”?

 They were trifling with the HOLY.

Those who actually know Jesus never use his name lightly.

They would never use it in a curse.

They would never tack it on the end of a prayer to make it official.

They would never use it to advance their own agenda.

  To those who know him, Jesus’ name is wrapped in blinding light.

   His name is like the flame in Moses’ Burning Bush.

   Like the fire that fell on Elijah’s sacrifice.

And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2

 If Jesus is my Lord, I cannot take his name lightly.

The woman who touched the hem of his garment did it with fear and trembling.

Blind Bartimaeus honored Jesus as the Son of David as he cried out for help.

The “name of Jesus” is only truly the name of Jesus when it is uttered with the humility of faith.

It is not a formula.

It is not a magic incantation.

It is not a password.

The name of Jesus is holy.

Only those who understand this ….

Can truly pray in Jesus’ name.

Or preach in Jesus’ name.

Or heal in Jesus’ name.

If Jesus is Lord of our daily life,

  If we walk with him through good times and bad,

  If we abide in him, and his word abides in us….

 His name becomes our protection, power, and joy.

In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; or the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father.   

 John 16: 26-27

Prayer: Lord Jesus teach us, show us what it really is to ask in your name. Keep us from trifling with your holiness. Keep us from using your name as a magic chant, or exploiting it to meet our demands or as just an addendum to our prayers.  As we approach you in prayer, make us aware of your holiness, aware of our need for you, aware of the tender love the Father has for us…and ever so grateful to you and for everything you have done.  May we ask in your name out of our relationship with you… because we love you, we trust you and we are committed to you.  And yes, Jesus, may your holy name be our protection, our power, our joy.  Amen
Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB July 2021    ……   Printable Copy 
Featured Art:  The generosity of Chris Cook   Chriscookartist.com

Below are some modern translations of John 16:26-27

When that time comes, you will make your requests to him in my own name, for I need make no promise to plead to the Father for you, for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.      (Phillips)

And I will not need to ask the Father on your behalf, for you’ll ask him directly because of your new relationship with me.[c] For the Father tenderly loves you, because you love me and believe that I’ve come from God.      [c] “in my name”         (TPT)  

Then you can make your requests directly to him in relation to this life I’ve revealed to you. I won’t continue making requests of the Father on your behalf. I won’t need to. Because you’ve gone out on a limb, committed yourselves to love and trust in me, believing I came directly from the Father, the Father loves you directly.         (MSG)

SHALOM

“Peace be with you!”

His peace fills the room.

It’s his Shalom, his Sabbath Rest.

These men are now enveloped in the atmosphere of the world to come.

That peace becomes their companion day and night for the rest of their lives.

It rules their hearts.

It keeps them focused.

When Jesus says it to us, 

             “Peace be with you!”

His peace fills the room.

   But has it entered us?

   Are we wrapped in his Sabbath Rest?

Jesus’ Shalom is always the starting point.

To know his Sabbath Rest,

To walk in it every day…

   ….is not an option; it is a necessity.

Without his Shalom we are always distracted,

     always upset about something,

            always at war on some level,

     always afraid.

Jesus is our Sabbath.

“Come to me all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

                                                Matthew 11

The present turmoil in Christendom,

   The increasing conflict among believers,

      The discontent in our own hearts…

       ….. is evidence that our Lord’s gift of Shalom has been bypassed.

Have we forgotten?

The love of God,

The wisdom of the Spirit,

The power of the Crucified Lord,

           …. can only thrive in hearts that are ruled by God’s peace.

So the Master says to us,

“Peace be with you!”

Will we receive it?

Will we walk in it?

Will we get under his yoke and learn from him who is meek and lowly in heart?

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in the One Body. And be thankful!

Colossians 3

Prayer-Lord how we need your true Shalom. Without it we are restless, conflicted, distracted, loveless and lost. We admit we have bypassed your peace for the troubles of the world. Yoke us to you again so we may find the rest for our souls that you promise to us. May we hear your words calling to us “peace be with you” may it flood our hearts and fill the atmosphere around us. May our love for you and the joy and thankfulness we find in your peace lead us to let your peace rule in our hearts each day of our life.                                                 Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB  September 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Georges Rouault (public domain) and Beverly McCluskeybevmccluskey.webador.co.uk

YOUR WORK SHALL BE REWARDED

“In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands.

They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress.

But you, take courage!

Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

II Chronicles 15

   ….. The words of Azariah the prophet to Asa the King of Judah

The Spirit is now speaking to those who have left the clatter of Christendom and found their way to the cross of Jesus with contrite hearts.

The power of the cross clears our heads.

It cleanses our hearts.

We find ourselves nailed to the cross with Jesus.

“I am crucified with Christ; it is not longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”

From the cross the Master points us to the harvest.

Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak!

We lift up our eyes and see a troubled world.

A world with weather we cannot control.

Pandemics that baffle the experts.

Nations in turmoil and confusion.

A shaky economy.

Multitudes like sheep without a shepherd.

Do not let your hands be weak!

For your work shall be rewarded.

“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest.

He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’

I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

            John 4

 That harvest is waiting.

We reap the way Jesus did as he sat by the well.

God will give us eyes to see them.

God will send them by.

God will give us words to help them.

God will  give us power to open their eyes and set them free.

“He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life.”

Salvation is a gift, paid for by the blood of the Lamb.

 Heaven is a gift, paid for by the Lamb’s blood.

The Holy Spirit, ruling our hearts, is a gift, paid for by the Lamb’s death.

Yet the Master promises us a reward, on top of all these gifts.

“When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Matthew 6

If we answer the Master’s call to reap, his gifts will make our work effective.

“But you, take courage!
Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

Prayer: Lord in these tumultuous times it is difficult to find peace. O Give us courage that will keep us from being caught up in the turmoil and despair. Help us not to let circumstances keep us from the work you call us to. Help us to keep our eyes on you, our hearts ever bound to your cross. Keep our hands strong to do what needs to be done. Help us to be confident that you have given us what we need to get the work done, that we can’t help but reap what your very hand has sown. And may we be flooded with joy as we see your living power touch others through our strengthened hands.     Maranatha Mirror
 REB… September 2021   Printable Copy               
Featured Art: Rik Berry            rikberry.com

WHEN HE TAKES US TO THE MOUNTAIN

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart.

“What are we doing here?” says Peter.  

Suddenly Peter is stunned speechless by blinding light. 

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli’jah, talking with him.

Peter pulls himself together and regains his voice.

And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli’jah.”

He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 

And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

                    Matthew 17

When they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

Jesus only.

Not Jesus plus Moses and Elijah.

Not Jesus plus Peter’s proposed shrines.

Just Jesus.

While Peter was trying to figure out what it all meant, the words that came from the cloud came back to him.

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

“Listen to him!”

“Don’t let anyone or anything distract you from his words.”

Why the mountaintop vision?

These men were about to descend into a valley deeper and darker than they had ever known.

To make it through the coming darkness they would need to cling to the light they had just seen.

The vision had power to hold them steady.

The Valley of Pain.

As a foretaste of the darkness ahead, Jesus took these men down into a valley of pain.

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and kneeling before him said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.

Those disciples were called to proclaim the kingdom.

They were to manifest the kingdom by healing that boy.

But they were not up to it. 

Are we?

Jesus did not coddle those men. He sighed with exasperation and said,

“O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And when the disciples asked why they could not heal the boy, he told them straight. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

Matthew 17

When Jesus takes us to the mountain.

When Jesus takes us to the mountain and opens our eyes to his glory, the light we receive is given to prepare us for an approaching darkness.

It is not a time to talk.

It is a time to listen.

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; 

listen to him.”

To make it through the dark valley we are now approaching we need to clear away all distractions, all “secondary faiths” and focus on one thing only:

Jesus.

His words alone are the light that illumes the way.

Prayer- Sweet Lord, Beloved One of the Father how good you are to bring us to the mountain, to allow us to experience the glory and joy of your presence. This is a gift from you. Help us to cling to it, to keep our vision steady on you as the darkness approaches. May we continue to see you and trust you and to know that your words will light the way into any dark valley we must travel. Help us to continue to lift our eyes to you, only you for guidance, for answers, for meaning, for comfort. We expect to find the same joy in the valley as we have on the mountain top.
Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB  October 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Courtesy of  Melani Pyke at melpyke.com

WHAT AM I DOING HERE?

Is this a bad dream?

How in the world did I end up here?!

At this dead-end job.

In this church that’s going off the rails.

With this friend who turns out to be a sleaze.

Stumbling through this crummy life!

What am I doing here?’’

After the Prodigal Son blew his money, the world turned cruel.

His friends disappeared.

He was abandoned by everyone.

He found a job feeding pigs, but he wasn’t allowed to eat their food.

Then one day he said to himself,

“What am I doing here?”

“But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘

He didn’t mull it over in his mind for six months.

 “I’m going home!”

 I’ll say to my Father, “I don’t deserve to be your son any more.  Let me be a hired servant.” (At least I’ll have something to eat and a place to sleep.)

 “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

 When we finally come to our senses and cry out to God, we are in for a surprise.

 The Father is waiting for us with open arms.

“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.    (Luke 15)

 It’s called repentance.

We get over ourselves and cry out to God.

“Forgive me!”

“Help me!”

“Show me the way!”

Soon we find ourselves walking a new road.

The road of faith.

It’s a road of daily repentance

Daily focusing on the Eternal Way.

Daily walking in the Light.

Daily knowing we belong to God.

 Never again will we have to ask,

 What am I doing here?”

 

 

Prayer: Loving Father, when we find ourselves hurt, disappointed, ashamed, lost help us to return home to you. Where even after our rebellion we still find your loving embrace. Help us to daily see ourselves through your loving, forgiving eyes. Help us to rest, truly rest in your loving acceptance and to live our lives bent in awe of your precious love and amazed by your tender forgiveness. And because we belong to such a one as you, may we be ever willing to walk in your light and always find ourselves returning home whenever we start to wander from your loving arms.
 REB… October 2021   Printable Copy               
Featured Art: Courtesy of Grace Carol Bomer at  gracecarolbomer.com

SHORTCUT TO GLORY

“For just a little compromise I will put power into your hands.

A little nod in my direction and I will open doors for you.

A tiny lie here and a little wink there and gold will fill your pockets.

Do you understand?

I’m offering you a shortcut to all you came to achieve!

Did you not come to redeem the world?  I’m putting it into your hands without a fight.”

It happened right after Jesus was baptized and received the Spirit.

It happened before he preached a single word or performed a single sign.

 And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'”

                                Luke 4

One way or another it happens to us.

The same shortcut to glory is offered on a silver platter.

The offer is subtle.

“Look at how much good you could do if you had some influence with the government!”

“Look at how you could expand your ministry if you had more money.”

“Listen to my offer with an open mind.  I only want to help.”

The shortcut to glory is awesome.

 “I want you to dream big!” says the deceiver.

 “Does not scripture say, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’?

    Well here’s my vision for you.  Success and prosperity beyond your dreams!”

The Shortcut to Glory is hard to resist.

Satan offers you the very thing I’ve been dreaming of.

“You are going to make a difference!”

“You are going to make this world a better place.”

“You are going to leave a legacy behind.

Your name will go down in history.”

The Shortcut to Glory is a bottomless pit.

The minute you take the offer a strange force whisks you along the path of “success” —-until you begin to spin down,

down,

       down.

 Forget the short cut and answer the call.

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'”

Jesus set his face toward the cross and continued his journey. 

There is no shortcut.

There is simply the call.

“Follow me,”    

Where to, Lord?

“To a cross.”

Along the way you will bring good news to the poor.

Sight to the blind.

           Deliverance to the captives.

Hope to all who seek God’s kingdom. 

What more could you want?

Prayer: Holy Father, alert our hearts, keep us wary of seeking glory, of making compromises that lead us to achieving our own ends, that lead us far from you. Lord help us to recognize and resist these subtle temptations. Instead may your words burn in our souls, exposing the deceptive, insidious lies of evil. And may we be so aware of you and thankful for your love that this gives us the strength to say to the tempter, “our Holy Lord is worthy and we shall serve him only”. And may we be so strongly attuned to your call to “come, come follow me” that we willingly journey to any cross you have for us because we know that wherever you lead us we will find you and the only glory worth living and dying for        
Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB  October 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Chris Cook    chriscookartist.com

ANGER

Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.   (James 1)

Not since the Thirty Years’ War has there been so much anger among Christians!

 Look at our hard-set faces.

 Listen to our shrill voices.

Observe the wounds we inflict on believers and nonbelievers alike.

Notice how far into the wilderness our anger has carried us.

We wrestle not against flesh and blood.”

Our present conflicts are definitely of flesh and blood.

Demonic darkness may be behind our anger; but it is wounding flesh-and- blood people.

Our anger is tearing families apart, dividing churches, covering the land with a mean-spirited despair.

 The time has come to back off, close our mouths, and listen to the voice of the Spirit.

 Let every believer be quick to hear.

 Quick to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus.

For too long we’ve been quick to hear the voices of wrath and suspicion…

       …and slow to hear the voice of the Master.

 The same Lord who said to the storm, “Peace, be still!” is now saying to us…

“Peace, be still!”

“Put your sword away!”

“You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 5

Let every believer be slow to speak.

We need to make sure that the words we speak are coming from the Spirit of God…..

  …since we are accountable for every word that comes out of our mouths.

“You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 12

It’s far better to hold our peace than to blurt out words that will one day be our downfall.

Let every believer be slow to anger.

…..For the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. 

If we are crucified with Christ,

If it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us,

If the life we now live in the flesh is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us,

the Lord himself will keep us slow to anger.

Why waste time accusing each other?

Each of us will answer before the Lord for our own anger.

Each of us is under the judgment of God for the harsh words we speak.

 When Jesus says to us,

“Peace be with you!”

….it is not only a blessing.

It is a command.

Prayer-  Lord we cannot find the peace you call us to when we are wounding others, when we are mean spirited, and tearing others down. Holy Lord so many of us have been stirred by anger that the powers of darkness are luring us to. Forgive us Lord, O forgive us, free us from anger. And yes, help us to back off, close our mouths and listen to your Spirit. Help us to be still and to put our swords away. We cannot do this unless we draw close to your heart, to your perfection… until your nature not only fills us but flows from our lips. So draw us Lord, draw us to you….help us to truly find the peace you command us to embrace   Maranatha Mirror
 REB… September 2021   Printable Copy               
Featured Art: Melani Pyke

WHEN FAITH BECOMES SUPERSTITION

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.”

Mark 11

Jesus never stopped calling people to faith.

When he found faith, he rejoiced.

“Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed,” said the Centurion.

  And Jesus marveled. “Nowhere in Israel have I found such faith.”

Jesus had little patience with doubt. 

“Believe!  All things are possible to him who believes,” he said to the anguished father.

How many times we hear Jesus say, “Your faith has made you well.”

“Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace.”

The faith Jesus calls us to is always simple.

He calls us to faith in God.

He calls us to faith in Jesus himself.

Jesus never calls us to faith in an idea, or faith in a set of doctrines.

He does not call us to faith in a lifestyle.

He does not call us to faith in faith.

Jesus is looking for people who will trust him.

Who will trust what he says.

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

                                                John 11

Mary and Martha stood by the tomb with Jesus and simply trusted him. 

They were not burdened with a system of beliefs.

Their faith in Jesus was not tainted with politics or religion or opinions about what to wear or what to eat.

Their faith was focused on Jesus only.

So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Laz’arus, come out.” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

                                                                       John 11

Satan knows all about faith. 

Satan has ways of inspiring faith in himself. 

Satan inspires faith in himself, just as he did in the Garden.

   “What do you mean, you cannot eat from that tree? 

   God is holding out on you! 

   He knows that the minute you eat from that tree you will be as gods, knowing good and evil.

   God is unreliable.  I’m the one to trust!”

Faith in Satan’s promises is nothing but superstition.

Faith in Satan’s warnings is pure superstition.

Satan sprinkles a little superstition into our faith and smiles his sinister smile. 

Now it’s no longer clear faith in Jesus.

Now it’s faith in an opinion, in matters of health, politics, “spirituality”.

The deceiver who spoke to Eve now speaks to us. 

“True Christians assert their constitutional rights.”

“True Christians exercise their freedom.”

“True Christians rise up and fight pagan values!”

Satan leans back in his recliner and smiles his sinister smile. 

The instant faith in God is mixed with additives, it is no longer faith in God.

It is superstition.

It is as useless as refusal to walk under a ladder.

As ridiculous as fear of breaking a mirror.

As childish as wearing our “lucky shoes.”

Christendom is loaded with superstition masquerading as faith. 

Faith is God is always simple.

Faith in Jesus is always simple.

Lord God, bring us back to the cross!

Enable us to know Jesus in the power of his resurrection!

Keep us focused on the words spoken through the Master’s mouth!

Enable us to clear away the clutter and simply walk in the steps of our Shepherd!

Message: REB  October 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Melani Pyke melpyke.com

AM I TOO FAR GONE?

I blew it again.

I’m down in the mire.

Am I too far gone?

   What else can I do but cry out to you, Lord, one more time!

 Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.

Lord Jesus, I know that I put myself in this mess.

My strength is gone.

I’m too weak and bound by my own sins to help myself.

Cleanse me, Lord!

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Only you can make me clean.  Lord Jesus, I throw myself on your mercy!

Raise me from this death and set my feet on the path of Light.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Lord Jesus, I want to serve!

Send me into your Vineyard and show me where to start!

Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.

Let my praises spread your fire into this dark world.

 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.

O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.

For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.

Lord God, let my offered life be spent to your glory from this day forth!

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

Psalm 51

 
 REB… August 2021   Printable Copy               
Featured Art: Melanie Havnaer  prophetic-art.com

DUBIOUS CERTAINTIES

 If Jesus is our Lord, we are rooted and grounded in only a few things of which we are certain:

By faith we are certain that Jesus died on that cross to break the power of sin, death and the devil.

We are certain by faith that Jesus rose from the dead as the Firstborn of the New Creation.

We are certain by faith that Jesus is now Lord of heaven and earth.

We are certain by faith that Jesus will soon return to judge the living and the dead.

We are certain that Jesus calls all who follow him to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow him.

Yet there are things of which some believers are certain of, that other believers simply do not believe.

Doctrinal certainties.

Prophetic certainties.

Political certainties.

Public health certainties.

Certainties about modes of worship, forms of baptism.

When other followers of Jesus see it differently…

The wisest thing we can do is back off from our certainty.

We need to confess before the Lord Jesus that we could actually be wrong and those other believers could be right.

Any “certainty” that falls outside the essential gospel from Jesus’ mouth may not be a certainty at all.

Any “certainty” which is not shared by all committed disciples of Jesus may not be a certainty at all.

At the present hour the Body of Christ is being torn apart by “certainties” which never came from the Master’s mouth.

These “certainties” do not require faith, they require repentance.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.

One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind.

He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.

If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;

for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

So each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Romans 14:4-13

 
Prayer: Holy Lord, we mourn all the division in the church at this time. It’s tearing us up, dividing us. Gracious Lord, forgive us for being part of this division. Help us to lay down our certainties as readily as we say we are willing to lay down our lives for you. Help us to lay down any attitude that keeps us from loving who you call us to love. Keep us from being stumbling blocks and hindrances to our brothers and sisters. Instead help us to hold onto the certainties you call us to… to seek you, to draw close to you, to love you and to love and honor one another. Oh Lord, help us to live for you with every word that comes from our mouths and with every interaction in our lives. Make it easy for us to let go of our certainties… because we trust you, because we know you are in control, and because we are yours.           
Maranatha Mirror

 

Message: REB  July 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Krieg Barrie via Good Salt license

NO PROTECTION, PROGRAMS, OR PATRONAGE NEEDED

When Peter pulled out his sword, Jesus said, “Put it away!”

He didn’t need Peter’s protection.

And he doesn’t need ours.

If a stranger curses in Jesus’ name, let him curse.

Jesus can handle it.

If some celebrity belittles Jesus on his show, don’t waste time rebuking him on Facebook.

Jesus heard it all before.

And by the way, Jesus never sent us to make the world conform to “Christian Values”.

He sent us to proclaim the kingdom of God—-and to live like sons and daughters of that kingdom.

 If we want to be of use in God’s kingdom as the End draws near, here are four things we need to remember:

Jesus is already Lord of heaven and earth.

Jesus calls the shots.

Jesus measures our faith by our obedience.

Jesus holds us to account.

Jesus is already Lord of heaven and earth.

Since Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth, we take our orders directly from him.

He is the Vine; each of us is a branch.

We draw our strength, not from some leader or teacher or politician, not from the group we are part of, but from the Lord Jesus himself.

  “I am the Vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.”

                                John 15

There is unity in the Body of Christ only when we are all in true submission to our Master.

Jesus calls the shots.

All the crusades and programs and strategies that clutter Christendom are tainted by human ego, and produce tainted fruit.

As surely as the Spirit directed the believers in Antioch to “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them,” the Spirit of the Lord will direct us, if we abandon our “programs” and pay attention to his voice.

Jesus calls the shots.  Those who pay attention to his voice are the ones who get the job done.

Jesus measures our faith by our obedience.

We are connected to Jesus by only one thing:

                     Faith.

Faith that believes in him all the way.

Faith that obeys him all the way.

 Which means….

We pray for our persecutors.

We love our enemies.

We do good to those who hate us.

We speak the truth.

We share what we have with those who have less.

We pray without ceasing.

We treat all people with honor.

We live the mercy God has shown us.

Jesus holds us to account.

 “Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’

And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’

But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents.

For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’”

                                                       Matthew25

Paul tells us that our work will be tested by fire.  He predicts that much of what we have done will be consumed by those flames.

Jesus knows—-and we know—whether we’re doing things his way, or building with straw, hay or stubble.

Lord Jesus, turn on the light!

 Show us whether we are serving your kingdom or our own!

Prayer- Jesus, Jesus Lord of Heaven and Earth help us to put our swords away, help us to stop listening to the voices and forces that call us to draw our swords out, telling us we need to intervene for you. Lord, we believe you, we know you are in control of all things.  Help us to let go of our egos, our pride, our principals, and our opinions and just be obedient to your call…. Without reservation, without fear or the need for control, help us to freely invest the precious talents you have given us… seeking to be merciful, loving, forgiving, prayerful, and trusting you even when faced with evil.   Yes Lord … turn on the light so we may obey you all the way.   Maranatha Mirror
 REB… August 2021   Printable Copy               
Featured Art:: Ramone Romero at Ramone Romero blogspot   

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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)

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, trouble-makers, 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.”

 
Prayer- Gracious, wonderful Lord draw us to you so we can abide in you. May our ears be so tuned to your words and our hearts be so close to you that we can’t help but carry your fruit. May this fruit include loving intercession for others, words of encouragement that do sustain the weary, and actions that express loving concern and bring relief that comes from your throne. As we do this, may our hearts and voices sing of who you are, of your loving, merciful nature and of your overwhelming kindness to us.    Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB  July 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Courtesy of  Signe Flink  at  deviantart.com/signeflinkart   and a detail of Jesus Washing Feet  (robed version) by Ford Madox Brown 1856  (public domain)

WHO OPENED THAT DOOR?

Did you open that door, Lord, or was it the enemy?

If it was you, Lord, give me the courage to walk through.

If it was the enemy, give me the wisdom to walk away.

Sometimes, when we forget to hallow God’s name, our unfocused prayers echo across the emptiness, and reach the ears of the enemy.

Satan loves to offer “answers” to our heart’s desires.

Shortcuts to freedom.

Fulfillment of our dreams.

Victory over enemies.

All of which end in disaster.

“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.”

                                           Matthew 6

If we hallow God’s name and focus on his kingdom,

our prayers will always find their way to the throne.

Hallowed be thy name

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them.

O taste and see that the Lord is good  Blessed is the man that trusteth in him!

O fear the Lord, ye his saints, for there is no want to them that fear him!

                                Psalm 34

The love of God is a River of Living Water.

The holiness of God is a Terrifying Fire.

The River and that Fire are never apart.

When we pray, we are in the presence of blinding glory, holy love.

So we take off our shoes and worship.

Thy Kingdom Come

God’s kingdom is the focus of all prayer. 

All the things we seek in prayer are simply foretastes of God’s kingdom.

Healing.

Forgiveness.

Provision.

Protection.

Blessings for our neighbor.

Blessings for our enemy.

Wisdom.

Peace.

Love.

Joy.

We frame our petitions inside the ultimate vision:

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

Where all is forgiven.

Sickness and pain are gone.

Death is defeated.

Evil is no more.

Joy, peace, love, are the air we breathe.

Once I cry out to the Father to open a door, I wait until heaven does the opening

My focus is not on “results” but on the Father who answers prayer.

And on Jesus, who opens the door and welcomes me into the Kingdom.

Prayer- Our dear, beloved Father may the focus of our prayers be to love you, to honor you, to lift our hearts in awe of you and to desire that your goodness, your Spirit be poured on our fellow man. May our hearts be so focused on loving you and seeking your kingdom that we know to the core of us which doors are the ones that you have truly opened. Help us to be less concerned about the provisions, answers, and victories you bring to us. Instead may we be awed that you are the great provider and be thankful for whatever you give us and wherever you lead us. Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB  July 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Chris Cook  chriscookartist.com

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 LITTLE GODS

Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols! Worship him, all ye gods!

                         Psalm 97

Worship him, all ye gods?

Who are these gods?

They are any being—spirit or human— who plays the “God” role.

And they never get it right.

They dominate in ways that God never does.

They lack the wisdom, the humility and the love of God.

Dominating fathers.

Controlling mothers.

Manipulative children.

Politicians.

Priests.

Bartenders.

Barbers.

Restless spirits, looking for something to dominate.

The earth is cluttered with little gods who think they’re the center of the universe.

You will find them in palaces, corporate offices, cathedrals, chapels, Burger Kings, in the house next door.

Maybe even at my home address.

Could it be me, Lord?

I have said, Ye are god; and all of you, children of the most high. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. (Psalm 82)

Little gods.

Paul calls Satan the “god of this world”.  True, yet Satan is just another little god doing what all the other little gods are doing:

Dominating.

Intimidating.

Demoralizing.

Flattering.

Terrorizing.

Accusing.

There are three things little gods can never do:

                       They cannot speak the truth.

                        They cannot give life.

                        They cannot love.

Jesus warns us again and again never to fall into their ways.

 A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. (little gods)  But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.”   (Luke 22)

The day of little gods is drawing to a close.

The little gods, even now, are under judgment.

It’s time for them to come down from their thrones and submit to the Truth.

I have said, Ye are god; and all of you, children of the most high. But ye shall die like me, and fall like one of the princes.

So here’s the question:

 Could it be that I am one of these little gods?

Is it possible that I have been occupying a throne which is not mine?

Father, if I’m one of those little gods, lead me down from this throne,

 and teach me to humble myself, and serve you alone! 

Prayer- Yes Lord, lead us down from these thrones that blind us to you and our own condition. Help us to see our true station when it comes to our fellow man and our fellow brothers and sisters. May the truth of your grace to us… bring us to the place where we can be filled with your life giving love for others. Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB  July 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art:  Unknown artist(s)

THE FAITH HE’S LOOKING FOR

 While we’re busy checking Brother Smith’s doctrines,

    and Sister Brown’s morals,

       and Brother Bill’s politics,

 Jesus sighs and shakes his head.

What kind of faith is this?

 The faith he’s looking for.

As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, `Go,’ and he goes, and to another, `Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, `Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

This man is an outsider. He’s a Gentile, an officer in an occupying army. But Jesus rejoices over two rare things he sees in this man:

He loves his servant.

He has faith in Jesus.

Jesus does not check the man’s doctrinal beliefs, or his morals or his politics.  He looks into this man’s heart and sees what he rarely finds.

Faith in him that flows from a tender heart

“I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

Matthew 8

What ever gave us the idea that Jesus is concerned about our doctrines or our politics, or how many “spiritual gifts” we have?

Jesus is looking for the faith he found in that centurion.

That kind of faith puts us in the kingdom of God.

Arrogant faith won’t enter.

Proud faith won’t get in.

Loveless faith is barred.

Mean-spirited faith is turned aside.

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

“I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

Lord Jesus, we repent before you.

Tenderize our hearts.

Help us find the faith of that centurion.

 
Message: REB  June 2021         Printable Version
Art: Free Bible Images the LOMO Project

BACK TO JESUS

Christians seem to be going in all directions these days.

Doctrinally.

Scripturally.

Ethically.

Politically.

Morally.

So many gospels!

So many agendas!

Amid all the confusion a motley group of souls is finding its way back to Jesus.

Just Jesus.

Jesus only.

No more shrines to Moses or Elijah, or Luther, or Calvin, or Augustine, or Billy, or Oral.

“This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

 To Jesus, Lord of scripture.

“You search the scriptures, for it is in them that you think you have eternal life.  But it is they that bear witness to me.”

                                            John 5

Jesus opens up the scriptures as no one else on earth ever could.

Jesus leads us to the essentials and sets us free from dietary laws and useless traditions.

Apart from Jesus, scripture can be bent and twisted to say anything we want it to say.

What Jesus tells us in the gospels gives us all the light we need to penetrate Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Psalms, the epistles, all the way to Revelation.

 To Jesus, who is Lord of all.

“Christian Principles” and “Christian Values” evaporate in the presence of the simple words of Jesus himself.

“Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.”

“Judge not and you will not be judged.  Condemn not and you will not be condemned.”

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” 

Jesus keeps it simple.

He expects us to do the same.

Consider following the motley crew that found its way back to Jesus.

They will still be here when all the cathedrals on earth have turned to dust.

Prayer- Lord Jesus, in the middle of these conflicting voices… opinions, agendas, and theories that draw our hearts into bitterness and criticism and even condemnation… that cause us to wander away from you… rescue us, draw us back to you. Help us to let go of these conflicting voices, forgive us for wandering away and inspire us to lift our hearts to you again, only you Jesus. Draw us back to your tender, merciful, powerful words. In them may we find you again so we can simply follow wherever you lead us.  Maranatha Mirror
Message: REB  July 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Fred Baumbach  at artpeacewithgod.com

HE KNOWS WHO’S WHO

It’s favorite Christian pastime:

separating the wheat from the weeds.

He smokes like a fiend, and he thinks he’s saved!

She hasn’t been to a real church in years.  And she claims she’s saved!
He says he’s saved—and belongs to the Hells Angels?

                                    Impossible!

Seems like everybody thinks they’re saved these days. 

We have to be on the lookout for religious phonies.

It’s time for a little weeding in this Christian garden.

We seem to have no trouble figuring out who’s who. 

The wheat are folks like us.

The weeds are those weirdos.

“`Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ He said to them, `An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, `No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”   (Matthew 13)

Go ahead and nail the false prophets. 

But Jesus never told us to separate the wheat from the weeds.

He says we’re not up to the job.

Pulling the weeds belongs to God alone.

And God will do it at the appointed time.

Many people we regard as weeds are actually wheat.

Many people we admire as wheat are actually weeds

So why waste time messing with God’s garden?

His angels will do the weeding at the appointed time.

If we are wheat, better we should get on with being wheat,

and leave the weeds to God.

Prayer: Lord help us to leave the weeding to you and to keep our hands out of where they don’t belong… so we don’t do more damage than good.  And yes, help us get on with being the wheat you call us to be.

Message: REB  June 2021         Printable Version
Art:  Permission of Mark Hewitt  at oldtractorintheshed.net 

IT’S IN GOD’S HANDS

You laid it before God.

That burden, that problem, that fear.

“Lord it’s beyond my power. I put it all in your hands!”

So leave it there.

There’s nothing wrong with laying it before the Lord every day, as long as you keep your hands off it.

There’s nothing wrong with giving God thanks.

Beyond that, you back off and leave it with God.

How the kingdom works.

“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”   (Mark 4)

The farmer does not dig up the seed to see if it’s sprouting. 

He allows the seed to be hidden in God.

He lets God run the show.

In God’s time the farmer has a crop.

Once I put my problem in God’s hands, God does things his way.

He does not need my help.

He does not need my advice.

He wants only my faith.

We spare ourselves tons of grief, when we back off and give God room to do things his way.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one.” (Mark 11)

God will take care of his part.

All you have to do is take care of yours.

Believe

Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Obey

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one.”

 
 
Prayer: Lord we admit that the burdens, problems and fears that trouble us are beyond our control. We can’t solve them, we can’t see beyond them. Lord we give them to you, we place them in your capable and loving hands. Lord help us to leave them to you, to keep from interfering, from advising you and from manipulating situations to our will. We trust you. We trust your sovereign will. We trust your love. And as we lift our hearts to you seeking relief from our distress may your tender mercy strike us to the heart… to extend the same tender mercy and forgiveness to all in our circle. MM
Message: REB  July 2021         Printable Version
Featured Art: Rebecca Brogan at John the Baptist Artworks
 

PRAY FOR ME!

What an awesome thing!

 Someone unburdens their soul to us.  And then they say, “Pray for me!”

Who of us does not feel inadequate when we hear those words?

Who am I to pray for this person?

To lift them before God.

To pray for their healing.

To ask the Father to raise them out of that danger and misery.

They didn’t go to the priest.

They didn’t reach out to the preacher.

They came to you—because God sent them to you.

So pray for them, trusting the Spirit to give you words.

If possible, pray for them right there, confident that the Father is listening and not one word of your prayer is wasted.

And now this person is added to those you pray for every day by name.

Every day your prayer follows this person, wherever they are, with light from God’s World.

“Pray for me.”

 Once we hear those words, we are accountable to God for what we do with them.

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

I John 5

 “I’m not righteous!

The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

God knows that I am far from a “righteous person”.  So how can my prayer have “great power in its effects”?

Let the Lord Jesus worry about that.

He sent this person to you.  His blood covers you.  And his Spirit is guiding you.

Just get on with it and keep praying for this troubled soul who found their way to you.

And leave the rest with God.

Prayer: Lord give us the tender hearts and the urge we need to lift others before you. Give us empathetic hearts for their burdens. Give us compassion for their weaknesses. Give us the insight that you sent them to us with their troubles. And Holy Lord, give us the faith to know that you have them, that you love them and for some strange, beautiful reason our simple prayers hold the power to pour blessing and healing into their lives and into our own as well as we enter into your precious presence. MM
Message: REB  June 2021         Printable Version
Art: Kindness and permission of Deedra Everett   at facebook.com/deedra.everett.5 

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