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 written by a recently deceased  pastor whose prolific writings have spanned six decades.

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Short Messages/Tracts

 

MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE

 “My sheep hear my voice.

My voice is truth.

My sheep know the difference between truth and the lie.

Between truth and the half-truth.

Between truth and its empty shell.

Between truth and conspiracy theories.

My voice is love.

My sheep know the difference between my love and phony love.

Between my love and flattery.

Between my love and vain promises.

 My voice is holy.

Whether it’s the “sound of many waters” or a “still small voice”, my sheep take off their shoes and listen.

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the LORD, upon many waters.

The voice of the LORD is powerful,

the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

   Psalm 29

My sheep hear my voice.

They don’t need a preacher to explain what I’m telling them.

They don’t need a priest to assure them of my forgiveness.

They don’t need 10 seminars to teach them how to pray.

   Or how to “bear witness”.

    Or how to wash feet.

I always show them the way.

My sheep hear my voice.

Because….

“I know them and they follow me!”

As they follow me they hear my voice in the gospels.

   Day by day my words in the gospels come alive to them.

   They hear me speaking directly to their hearts.

As they follow me they hear my voice through the Spirit.

   Deep within their souls truth rises up to guide them …..                          out of darkness into light.

   Words come to them as they reach out to the forgotten ones.

   Something within says, “This is the way, walk in it.”

I give them sustaining words for the weary.

I give them a word of warning for the arrogant.

As they follow me they hear my voice through the words of a stranger.

My sheep know when they are hearing from me.

And they know what to do.

There is a difference between knowing the doctrines and hearing my voice.

There is a difference between following “Christian Principles” and hearing my voice.

There is a difference between exercising a “ministry” and hearing my voice.

 “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: Richard E. Bieber  September  2021          Printable Copy    
Featured Art: Courtesy of  Signe Flink
Prayer: Lord, we desire more than anything else to be your sheep. We desire more than anything else to hear your voice. We desire more than anything else to follow you. Keep calling us until we respond. Keep showing us the way of your truth, your love, and your beautiful holiness. May we continue to hear your voice speaking to us through the Gospels, through your Spirit, and through the words of others. And Lord may we continue to know what to do when we hear your voice. Amen. Maranatha Mirror

YOU’RE THE ONE

You woke up one day and knew that you’re the one!

Perhaps, like Jonah, you said, “Thanks anyway.”

Perhaps you got on a ship to Tarshish.

Perhaps you are still on the run.

We didn’t choose to follow Jesus.

Jesus broke into our lives, whether we liked it or not.

 It was like being hit by an earthquake.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide. So that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. This I command you: to love one another.”     (John 15)

God has ways of reminding us.

    Jonah reconsidered things in the belly of a fish.

And sooner or later we too have to face it.

    God always makes sure we get the point.

Maybe nothing changes on the outside.

But a volcano erupts on the inside.

You’re the one, whether you like it or not.

So open your eyes.

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)

When the angel told Gideon he was to deliver Israel, he could not believe it.

   He kept checking it out.

    Looking for confirmation.

     Until he was sure.

Once he was sure, Gideon did not waste a minute.

  “Okay, Lord.  Where do I start?”

“Start right where you are.  Open your eyes and see what I see:

 People.

Pray for them.

Listen to them.

Give them a sustaining word.

Live the gospel right where you are.

No canned speeches.

 No ‘7 steps to salvation’.

If I live in you, let me do the talking.”

You’re the one he put in that place.

You are crucified with Christ.

It is no longer you, but Christ who lives in you.

And the life you now live in the flesh you live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you.

 
Prayer:  Thank you Lord for choosing us. Help us to wrap our minds around how beloved we are by you… and that we can do what you call us to… and do it well. Open our eyes to your precious call on our lives. Open our eyes to see the harvest you have prepared right before us. And yes, help us to start right where we are… with the people who need us…who need our prayers, our mercy, our compassion, our attentive ears and our loving concern. And may it be your Spirit, your life within us that does the talking, the loving, the praying in the places you put us. Amen.
Maranatha Mirror
Message: Richard E. Bieber  July 2021    Printable Version
Featured Art:  Ramone Romero at ramoneromero_blogspot
  

MISGIVINGS

What to do with misgivings?

   They make us uncomfortable.

       So we bury them.

One problem:

   Misgivings keep crawling out of their graves.

     We push them down.

    They keep popping up.

Sooner or later we have to deal with our misgivings.

We have to hold them up to the light and examine them before God.

He is a great Christian leader. But I begin to wonder if he isn’t a little too slick.

She’s a smart lady with powerful connections.  But is she serving God or her own agenda?

He has a strong message about personal freedom.  But where is his compassion?

  Misgivings hit at strange times.

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”     (Matthew 5)

Somebody’s angry with us.

We keep pushing it out of our minds.

But we have misgivings.

Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.    (Matthew 5)

When we bury our misgivings they keep haunting us.

    Until we bring them to the Lord.

Lord, show me the truth, and give me the courage to follow it!

Message: Richard E. Bieber  November 2021          Printable Copy    
Featured Art: Courtesy of  Berna Lopez
 
Prayer: Yes Lord, show us the truth and give us the courage to follow it, to do what is right. We bring our misgivings about our own behavior and attitudes before you. Help us not to hide our personal misgivings from you. And Lord alert us to when our misgivings about others are warnings from you, help us not to bury them, but to hold them up to your light, to lay them before you so we can seek your truth in the matter…and give us the courage to change direction even if it’s difficult, even if we have to go against the crowd. Amen. 
Maranatha Mirror

ONE TEACHER, ONE MASTER

The Christian world has broken down into tribes.

Each tribe has a leader.

           The leader calls the shots.

Each tribe claims to be following Jesus.

   But the tribes cannot agree as to what “following Jesus” means.

 So the tribes stumble on.

   Did Jesus ordain those tribes?

   Did Jesus appoint those leaders?

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.     (Matthew 23)

 One Teacher.

 One Master.

At this hour a miracle is taking place among those who are getting their teaching directly from the Master’s mouth.

Who are actually abiding in the Vine.

The Master’s prayer is being answered before our eyes.

 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me..”  (John 17)

Out of the refining fire of judgment the Body of Christ is emerging as a single Flock behind a single Shepherd.

While the Christian tribes are busy pushing their agendas, the voice of the Master is gathering those who have ears to hear, to follow him alone.

One Teacher.

One Master.

“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, open our ears, attune our hearts so that what we hear and feel is your voice above all others. Teach us to follow you…our one Lord, our one Teacher, our one Master…to follow you above all others. And Lord, may we together be ignited by your word, together believe in you truly as our one Teacher, our one Master….so we may be made one in you and one in the Father, perfectly one, perfectly loved and forever safe in your hands. Amen. Maranatha Mirror 
Message: Richard E. Bieber  August 2021    Printable Version
Featured Art:  Wayne Pascall Wayne Pascall fineartamerica.com/profiles/wayne-pascall and facebook.com/wayne.pascall.98
  

WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE

 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.”

                                                                  John 14

Many of us claim that we have received this gift.

The Holy Spirit has come to us.

The Spirit lives in us, guides us, empowers us.

This is our claim.

But where’s the evidence?

There are those who say that the evidence we have received this gift is that we speak in tongues.

But we all know that tongues can be faked.

The Apostle Paul asks, “Do all speak in tongues?”

God alone knows for sure who has actually received the Spirit. 

We cannot see into the heart of a sister of brother.

But we can look into our own hearts for unmistakable evidence that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Speaking the truth.

“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.”

                                                                  John 16

The simple and clear evidence that we have received this gift is that the Spirit exactingly requires us to speak the truth.

When we embellish the truth,

When we put a twist on the truth,

If we remain silent when the truth needs to be spoken…

…the Spirit deals with us with holy severity, even up to the way he dealt with Ananias and Sapphira.

If we are still able to play games with the truth it’s time to ask,

“Is the Holy Spirit going easy on me, or have I driven him away?”

Walking in love.

Another evidence that we have received the gift of the Spirit is that the love of God actually rules our daily life..

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.    (Romans 5)

If God’s love is being poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, what happens when that love grows cold?

When grudges accumulate?

When bitterness rises.

When our words have taken on a hard edge?

The Holy Spirit is not a gift we can put in our pocket and pull out when needed.

The Holy Spirit is either Lord of our lives or he is gone.

So the evidence that the gift of the Holy Spirit is actually in charge of our lives is twofold:

The Holy Spirit requires us to speak and live the truth.

The Holy Spirit causes God’s love to rule our hearts as we move among the wandering sheep out there, and as we work together with each other.

The Holy Spirit is given to be with us forever.

 And he indeed remains with us forever, provided he stays on the throne of our hearts.

If we take over the throne and merely call on the Spirit at our convenience, we put ourselves under his judgment. Never presume on the Spirit’s grace.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.”

Message: Richard E. Bieber  October 2021          Printable Copy    
Featured Artist: Courtesy of Neil Breebaart at  facebook.com/BreebaartNeil
 
Prayer: Lord forgive us for the times we do not keep your commandments, for when we drive the Spirit away. Forgive us for desiring your Spirit for our own ends, without yielding to the call of the Spirit. We repent of and mourn for times our lives lack the evidence that we are led by your precious Holy Spirit. May we be convicted by your Spirit when we stray, when our love grows cold, when our words wound others, when we fail to speak and live the truth. Help us to turn again and place you on the throne of our hearts, to be led by your Spirit. May our lives be living evidence of your power over us …. which is your love ruling our lives in every way. 
Amen. Maranatha Mirror

REPORTING FOR DUTY

“Lord, I’m here to report for duty.”

 “Very good.  But what’s all this stuff you brought with you?”

 “Why Lord, these are my gifts, my skills, the very things you need to speed up work in your Vineyard.”

“Tell me what I need to speed up the work in my Vineyard.”

“For one thing, Lord, you need better leadership.  And my specialty is developing leaders.  I know how to take a group of people and teach them how to be leaders in the kingdom.”

“Maybe you should leave that skill behind for now. I never instruct my disciples in leadership.  I just send them out, cold turkey, and tell them to be servants.”

“Here’s something else I have to offer, Lord.  I know how to develop preachers.  I’ve done it quite successfully for years.”

 “Notice how I did it with Peter, James and John and all the rest, I just sent them out and told them to proclaim the kingdom.”

“Maybe you could get away with that approach back in those days, Lord.  But today people need training.  And I know how to train them!”

“Let me ask you something.  You say you have come to report for duty.  Are you willing to let me call the shots??”

“Why of course, Lord!”

“Okay.  Then we will leave all your skills and gifts behind and start from scratch.

What we need most in the Kingdom these days are servants, men and women who are content to be low-profile foot-washers.

We’re looking for people who are happy to wash feet and take out the garbage.”

“But Lord, you are wasting my gifts.  I spent a lifetime developing these gifts, and now you want to put them on the shelf?”

“I am going to teach you how we do things in the kingdom. In the kingdom we rely entirely on the power of the cross. Listen to how my servant Paul puts it:”

 When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

 And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.  (I Corinthians 2)

“Lord, I have to confess that I’m deeply disappointed in your approach. I am offering to energize the work, to move it forward in this unstable world before your glorious return. And you won’t even consider the help I offer.”

What you seem to be offering is the work of a religious professional.  In the kingdom religious professionals are of little use until they learn the basics.

Here are the basics:”

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

 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.

Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.   (Matthew 5)

Prayer: Kind Lord, forgive us for trying to report to duty by calling the shots, for diving in and trying to do Kingdom work by worldly means…thinking it’s our charisma, our skills, our talents that your Kingdom is in need of. When truly what we need is to cling to you, to know with fear and trembling it is you and only you who has the power to draw hearts and to change lives. We lay any gift, any talent before you and humbly become servants, and willingly live by the power of the Cross with every person we touch, willingly touching lives with your mercy. May it not be the our work, our gifts that shine in us, but the light that comes from you and the works that are borne of hearing your voice and doing the simple works you call us to… so you dear Father are glorified on earth and in heaven. Amen. Maranatha Mirror 
Message: Richard E. Bieber  September 2021    Printable Version
Featured Art:  First two pictures by Geralt on Pixabay. The rest of the beautiful art courtesy of Anne C. Brink at annecbrink.com

WHEN, LORD?

Lord, when are you going to intervene?

When are you going to do something?

Chaos and tyranny are spreading like a disease across the earth.

Children are dying of hunger on every continent.

The Christian world is in disarray.

  Where else can we turn but to you?

How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile thy name for ever? Why dost thou hold back thy hand, why dost thou keep thy right hand in thy bosom?

                                                 Psalm 74

No, God is not lounging in heaven while the world rots.

God is filling the earth with his glory as our Redeemer and our Judge.

God cares about each of us as surely as he cares about that falling sparrow.

So what do we do when we are dismayed by the way things are going?

                      We pray.

We cry out like the psalmist of old.

We keep at it day after day.

 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Vindicate me against my adversary.’

For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'”

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

                                                                  Luke 10

Whatever else happens, we can be sure of one thing:

God will vindicate his elect.

And who are his elect?

Those who cry to him day and night.

 
 
Message: Richard E. Bieber  March 2020              Printable Copy    
Featured Artist: Courtesy and blessings of Wayne Pascall at  waynepascallart.com
Prayer: Lord our hearts are dismayed about the disarray in the world around us…the anger, the division, the injustice, the suffering, the violence, the callousness, the escalating poverty, and the many careless words that stir up hatred. Oh Lord, bring about justice, open our eyes, open our hearts…. help us to see and resist evil. May your kingdom be carried to all these dark places. Use us as you will to bring your healing. May we never get so comfortable that we stop mourning the evil and injustice in this world. Keep us faithfully crying out for your divine intervention into every sorrow we encounter. Vindicate our mourning. Amen. Maranatha Mirror

BEFORE WE WIPE THE DUST OFF OUR FEET

We have only one thing to offer the troubled world out there.

One thing that can be found nowhere else.

One thing that stands by itself, needing no props.

One thing that confirms its truth to those who receive it.

The gospel of the kingdom, proclaimed by the King himself.

That’s it.

We do not offer prosperity or happiness or entertainment or spiritual life insurance.         

We offer the kingdom of God.

We introduce them to the King.

Those who receive the kingdom and walk the walk are transformed into sons and daughters of God.

Their path is engulfed in Light, all the way to Eternity.

But what about those who reject what we offer?

We do not hover over them and try to push them into the kingdom.

We do not hound them.

We simply wipe the dust from our feet and move on.

  “But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say,

‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’

I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”                                          

                                                           Luke 10

But before we wipe the dust from our feet, we need to make sure that they actually heard the gospel from us.

Sometimes our gospel is buried under the weight of our ego.

Sometimes our gospel is tainted with politics.

Sometimes we smother them with Bible quotes, without ever letting them hear the voice of Jesus.

So before we wipe the dust from our feet we need to make sure that they actually heard the living Word. 

We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God….

….For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake

                                            II Corinthians 4

Before we wipe the dust off our feet we might check in with the Master and ask,

“Lord, did these people actually hear you speak through us?

Or are they still waiting to hear your voice?”

Prayer: Lord, help us truly to allow you to speak through us. Forgive us for leaving you out and instead carrying a religious gospel to the lost who are waiting…waiting to hear the voice that can call them from the dead. Lord. Forgive us and convict us of being so willing to wipe the dust off our feet. Give us the lips to proclaim your wondrous Kingdom, to shed light and hope into hearts, and to bring you and only you before them the most precious of all kings. Amen.  Maranatha Mirror
Message: Richard E. Bieber  October 2021    Printable Version
Featured Art:  Tie Ralph Mnisi… Dusty Feet at Instagram@seedcaster and Signe Flink…. From Altar to Throne, This is Love, and Isaiah 53 at deviantart.com/signesandelin

THAT FIRST STEP

It’s not enough to “see the light.”

     After you’ve “seen the light” …. the miracle takes place…

…only when you enter the light.

…only when you walk in it.

Nothing redemptive happens within you, until you take that first step.

“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.”

“Rise, take up your bed and go home.”

“Leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.”

Whenever God “turns on the light” he always illuminates a single step.

An act of repentance.

A change of attitude.

A leap of faith.

The abandoning of a long-held grudge.

A gift to a needy one.

The instant we take that step,

— our chains begin to fall away,

— our eyes open,

— the life of heaven floods our being.

We have entered God’s world.

 
Message: Richard E. Bieber  2010                 Printable Copy
Featured Art:  Jane Spencer  at  The Secret Place facebook.com/artjspencer
Prayer: Oh precious Lord, help us to take that first step each and every day. Rescue us from running ahead and veering off course trying to do something big, something spectacular for you. Help us to see and know it’s always the little steps that you  illuminate before us, that it’s these little steps that are covered in your redemptive power, it’s the littlest steps in which true miracles happen, and it’s in the little steps where we find your healing, your rest, your very heart. And yes Lord, flood us with the life of heaven as we walk these single steps each day. Amen. Maranatha Mirror

BREAKTHROUGH TIME

“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

 The hour is coming, and now is…

when those who hear those words, and obey them, will live.

   Forget your efforts to “make the gospel relevant.”

   Forget your strategies to reach the “Post Christian World.” (There was never a “Christian World.”)

Repent of your market-driven “Christianity.”

Repent of your dependence on “money for ministry.”

Repent of your obsession with numbers. (“We must be doing something right. Look at the numbers!”)

It’s break-through time.

We have only one message, which the Spirit of God is entrusting to those whose lives match it:

“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Spoken in simplicity,

Lived in union with the Lamb of God, himself,

That’s all we have to say.

That’s all we need to say.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”

                      Cut the gimmicks.

Stick to the message—with your mouth and your life.

“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

It’s breakthrough time.

God himself will do the rest. 

Prayer: Lord, help us to see and to believe that the breakthrough we need is for you to capture our hearts, our minds, our walk, our lives. Oh, that we behold you and know you, and are awed enough to simply follow… to live in union with you. You, the perfect Lamb of God…who redeems us, who leads us with the greatest teachings, who imparts to us truth, who draws us into your holy presence.. Beholding you is our witness, our power, our breakthrough. Amen.  Maranatha Mirror
Message: Richard E. Bieber  20o7       Printable Version
Featured Art:  Anne Cameron Cutri  at anne-cutri.pixels

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

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