THE RIGHT QUESTION

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On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”  (Mark 4:35)

And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.  (36)

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  (37)

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  (38)

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  (39)

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  (40)

And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  (41)

The storm arouse suddenly, causing waves to crash into the crashing. How could the Teacher sleep at a time like this?

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” the boatman screamed against the wind.

The Teacher arose, raising his voice against the sea, “Peace! Be still!”

The sea fell into a dead calm while the boat ceased its rocking. The Teachers challenged them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Should the disciples have let the boat sink? What would the Teacher have said then?

The issue with the disciples wasn’t what they asked, but how they asked it. They asked if Jesus “cared.” This was the same “caring” that caused Him to healing the sick, give sight to the blind, and raise dead. Is that the same “caring” that made him plan to quiet the storm? Of course it was. Jesus cares for any big thing, or little thing, that threatens to swamp believers.

Just ask the right question.

HIVES

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Don’t read this if you don’t want itches. Anyway, I’ve been itching a lot lately and it’s about to drive me bananas. I take regular meds for hives, but it doesn’t help much for now.

When I get hives, unconsciously I start scratching. Then it gets really bad. If I kept scratching deeper and harder I’d start drawing blood, and the itching never lets up.

Scratching doesn’t make it less itchy. In fact, without it eventually it would die down – eventually.

Scratching hives are a lot like trying to remedy other needs. Name them, and we have lots if needs, or wants. Some of those, like hunger or shelter, need attention. Yet, if we apply unreasonable effort there it would defeat its purpose.

Seeking happiness is also like scratching hives. When we think we just about have it, that happiness isn’t there any more, like chasing a rainbow’s bar of gold.

Only by chasing God can produce the happiness we want, and that is exactly what He wants for us. Quit “scratching at the hives.” Obey God and he will deliver your happiness.

Heaven Is For Lovers

And Only For Lovers

Now, don’t get your shorts all in a bind. How would you like to arrive on Heaven’s track number nine, climb down to the station cloud, and find folks bickering and name-calling ‘cause their bags didn’t arrive as advertized?

Then you walk over to the baggage cart and look at the troublemaker who’s painting the air blue, and he stabs you with his red eyes and loudly challenges, “You got a problem?”
You step back quickly and dig into your ticket, check the destination, and it says clear as the eternal light, “HEAVEN.” You mumble, “Must be some mistake. This couldn’t be heaven.”
The conductor, whom you suddenly realize is standing at your elbow, says, “Well? What did you expect? Perfection?”
In a flash, the truth nearly decks you: “I’m facing an eternity filled with people just like me!”

From the Creator’s Mouth

If you claim to be a Christian, you already believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father; that’s a given. If you’re not a Christian, all bets are off, and you’re gambling on your own “wisdom” over God’s word. Good luck.
To Christ’s followers, God’s word says a lot about love, both about what His brand of love is, and how essential it is to practice it His way if we really want to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Considering the alternative, that seems like the best idea ever.

First, what is God’s love, and is it essential?

1 Corinthians 13(NLT) If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

That’s the kind of love everybody wants, but few are willing to give. Problem is … well, God says it best through Jesus words, recorded by His Apostle John.

John 13:34(NLT) So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

How much does Jesus love us? That’s not just us, but you, and me, one-on-one, personally.

John 15:13-14(NLT) There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

Think about that for a minute.

Time’s up. Every Sunday school kid knows Jesus died for our sins. Roman’s Road and all that stuff. Done deal, right?
Well, sorta. But if we stop to consider what Jesus, God’s eternal Word who thought the universe into existence, gave up to spend thirty-three years as a man among corrupt men on this corrupted planet, “Done deal” takes on a bit more significance. That alone took more love than we puny earthlings can even imagine.
But, what about the dying part? When I read in the Bible what Jesus endured just to get to his death, and I take an objective look at my selfish motives, self-righteous works and self-centered attitudes, all I can do is hang my head and weep.
So, what’s next? Weeping is a great start when we get a glimpse of God’s depth of love, but if we fail to take corrective action, we’re looking at an eternity of weeping. “Corrective action” is just a fancy way of saying, repent! We must turn away from our selfish attitudes and sorry excuse for love, and toward the kind of selfless love Jesus demonstrated once for all through his passion, death, and resurrection that guarantees each obedient Christ-follower the eternal life he created us for.

Think You’re Good Enough Now?

Take a good look at Christ’s character. He’s good enough, so what about you? If, perchance, you’re not that good, repentance is still in order, and praise the loving, eternal God for his merciful grace in Christ Jesus.