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Feb 11, 2009

Light and Love Forever

my world

mighty waters silently flow
there is daytime everywhere
the Light

filling us up with

I will praise the Lord


Feb 4, 2009

There is No Excuse

It might really be easier for us to believe than it was for Thomas. There is the Holy Spirit giving proof for God in us, around us and through His Word, the Bible. When I was invited by Jesus to follow him, it was much more than just my idea to believe that His story was true. It was God Himself who revealed the truth to me, and He made it clear to me that His Word is the truth. There was no way around that for me. I had not desired it at all but had wanted to prove a Christian an idiot for believing what the Bible says. I did not get very far...

I was not only thinking of the unbelieving lost, but also thinking of those unbelievers who are a little more sceptical like Thomas and ask for proof before they believe that Jesus has risen from the dead. I was not thinking of those who are like the many people in the world who as for prove so they can say, "You have no proof for that, so I am right and can reject it, which pleases me much." Thomas was a Disciple, someone who had met Jesus Christ personally and someone who had decided to follow Him wherever He would go. I think his motivation to ask for proof was real doubt, not a desire to reject Jesus as the risen God that the lost demonstrate. So Jesus gave him the proof to Thomas in love. I do not think he appeared to those who rejected Him generally. He did not appear to the soldiers or Pharisees - no, He appeared to those who loved Him, the women first, then to the Disciples. How easy would it have been for Him to appear to the lost?

The world has no excuse, however.

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:19-20 KJV)

Then there are the many things in the world that keep people up from following Jesus when invited.

They say they are too busy... like this man...

"And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused." (Luke 14:18 KJV)

How many people today have no time to think of God, because they are too busy building their house, increasing their money and the like?

Or this man here...

"And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused." (Luke 14:19 KJV)

Others have private matters that keep them away from God...

"And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." (Luke 14:20 KJV)

Many people excuse themselves and say they have too many problems at the moment, or have to bury their dead first and are mourning too much like this man...

"And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." (Matthew 8:21 KJV)

But Jesus did not even accept that as an excuse...

"But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." (Matthew 8:21-22 KJV)

So whatever people might think to have as an excuse: It all does not matter. All that matters is that they seek the Lord and just follow Him when they are personally invited. God Himself will turn up and silence their doubts by His own revelations if they really want to find Him.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 29:13-14 KJV)

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7 KJV)

Another idea comes into my mind... when Thomas asked for proof, he wanted to experience it by his senses, he wanted to "see" Jesus, and to "touch" Him, and not just indices. Jesus did him the favor and cleared the last doubt out by His personal and real appearance. he was no ghost, no imagination, no Spiritual experience - He was real when He turned up and the sepulchre was empty. He was also as real as this when He went to heaven, and he will come back the same way. Until then everybody has the chance to give up all his excuses and follow Him.

Feb 2, 2009

****What about Doubts? - Thoughts on John 20:24-29****

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

(John 20:24-29 KJV)


The situation was the following: Jesus had been crucified and, no doubt, Jesus was dead, which had been proved by the soldier...

"But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." (John 19:34 KJV)

The Romans did this to exclude an apparent death. They wanted to be sure, and they were. They could not risk that there was the slightest doubt about the death of this Jesus whom Pilate had named "JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS" in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin (John 19:19-20) and who had caused such a riot among the Jews.

What is interesting, however, is that it is the disciple Thomas who has doubts about Jesus' resurrection. Did he not remember the event when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?

"Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. Then when Jesus came, he found that he [Lazarus] had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (John 11:16-24 KJV)

Thomas was present, yet his doubts, also in John 11:16 where he wants to die with Lazarus rather than put his trust in Jesus to raise him up. But Martha believed that Jesus could have healed Lazarus when he was still alive, and she still has hope and trusts God enough to be able to raise Lazarus after four days of being dead, but cannot really imagine it. Have you ever seen someone who was dead for four days? But no problem for God to raise him from the dead...

The question comes into my mind why Lazarus was raised... Jesus did not say "Lazarus will rise again" but he addressed Martha personally and told her "*Your brother* will rise again", right after she had confessed her trust in Him, like the woman who knew Jesus could heal her if she only touched his garment...

"And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague." (Mark 5:25-34 KJV)

So it is the faith in Jesus that can heal and even raise people from the dead!

Another example (one of the many in the four Gospels) is surely the blind man whose "faith had made him whole"...

"And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." (Mark 10:46-52 KJV)

Or think of the the centurion of Capernaum...

"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." (Matthew 8:5-10 KJV)

This centurion knew that Jesus' Word alone was enough to heal his servant from the distance!

I think we often do not really have enough trust, and think that God cannot heal our beloved ones, or that He does not want to heal our beloved ones, but we seldom think that it might be our faith that is too weak.

Back to the topic...

Thomas was present when Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, yet did not believe his brothers when they told him they had seen Jesus, who was alive! Thomas wanted to SEE Him and to touch Him. That is a very human matter... we do not want to rely on stories, or on a second hand experience. We want to experience things on our own, and we need a personal proof. Thomas did not believe the others and made no secret out of that. What did Jesus do? He was not offended at all but in His big love He showed Himself to Thomas and came into their middle while the doors were closed, so Thomas could see and touch Him.

There is a difference between Jesus and Thomas and Jesus and us. The Disciples - as well as about 600 other people who saw Him - could see Him face to face after the resurrection, because He had not ascended to the Father in Heaven yet. But the Lord left us someone here, and He can give proof of the presence of God.

If YOU have still doubts, tell it to the Lord, and He might turn up to prove to you who He is. But if you can, try this:

Be not faithless, but believing. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

God Bless You,


Jeremiah 1:1-19

Jeremiah was a Jew from Judah, born in a small town close to the capital Jerusalem where Solomon's Temple was (on whose ruins the Muslims built their "Dome of the Rock" on about 1300 years later in 688-691 AC. Israel had been destroyed in Jeremiah's days, because God had passed the people over to the enemy when they had not believed the prophets and repented of their sins.

Jeremiah prophesied in about 40 years after he was called in 627 B.C. He was one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, known to be the whining prophet, who lived approximately 100 years after Isaiah. He did
not really like the job God had charged him with, and he had to suffer much in his life.

"Jeremiah" means something like "Yahweh exalts".

> (1) The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were
> in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,
> (2) to whom the Word of Jehovah came in the days of Josiah the son of
> Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
> (3) It also came in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of
> Judah, to the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah,
> king of Judah, to the exiling of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

So far this was the introduction...

...which is followed by Jeremiah's words from there on. He tells about his call by God who speaks to him in the next verses.

> (4) And it happened, the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying,...

God's Word was alive. It "came" to Jeremiah. That is an action.

> (5) Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came
> forth out of the womb I consecrated you, and I ordained you a prophet
> to the nations.

Just imagine, God made us all, Jeremiah, you, me..., and He even knew us all in advance. He is the creator of everything.

He picks out some people and calls them into his service. Some are special like Jeremiah. As they are special, they have to do some special jobs.

> (6) Then I said, Alas, Lord Jehovah! Behold, I do not know to speak;
> for I am a boy.

Jeremiah wanted to say that he felt too young and did not really want to do what God wanted him to do.

> (7) But Jehovah said to me, Do not say, I am a boy; for you shall go
> to all that I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall
> speak.

But Jeremiah had not much chance... He did not like God's idea at all, though.

Some people just have to be God's servants, there is no way around it. The same happened with John the Baptist, and also with Jesus, for example. Their destiny was fixed by God before they were born.

God does not ask how old a person is when He calls him out, nor does he ask about other qualifications. The only necessary qualification is that God is acting through us.

> (8) Do not be afraid of their faces; for I am with you to deliver you,
> says Jehovah.

But God comforted Jeremiah, and encouraged him, too. Jeremiah did not have to go alone. God was with him all the time.

> (9) And Jehovah put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And Jehovah
> said to me, Behold, I have put My Words in your mouth.

God did not only speak to Jeremiah, but also touched him, and showed him things later. God takes the whole person with all of his senses and uses them for His plans.

> (10) Behold! I have this day set you over the nations and over the
> kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw
> down, to build, and to plant.

That was really not a nice job for a young man of about 18... So he had to lament much about his life later, and even cussed the day when he was born. He had to bring God's news to the Jews, and the people hated him for that and did not want to listen at all.

> (11) And the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you
> see? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.
> (12) And Jehovah said to me, You have seen well; for I will watch over
> My Word to perform it.

The German Lutheran translation speaks of a "branch waking up". It alludes to the similarity of the Hebrew words shaqued ("almond" or "awake" ) and shoqued ("watching"). So God told Jeremiah that He would personally watch over him - symbolised in the almond tree.

Interesting, God "performs" His Word. God's Word is alive. When God speaks, His Words become actions and reality immediately. His Words have a creative character - which we can also see in Genesis 1 when God created the world. It was His spoken Word that created everything. God's power is so mighty that it only takes His Word, and things are created, even animals and humans.

[Compare with "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. " (John 1:1-5 KJVA)]

> (13) And the Word of Jehovah came to me the second time, saying, What
> do you see? And I said, I see a boiling pot; and its face is from the
> face of the north.

Oh dear, something evil was threatening to come over Judah - which Jeremiah could see in the image of this pot.

Maybe it refers to Nebuchadnezaar II who was to take Jerusalem in the winter of 598/597 B.C.

> (14) And Jehovah said to me, Out of the north an evil will be set
> loose on all the inhabitants of the land.

Invasion of Judah and Jerusalem... We never know when things prophets foretold are going to happen, so it might also refer to the situation of Jerusalem today as well.

> (15) For, behold, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the
> north, says Jehovah. And they shall come, and they shall each one set
> his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all
> its wall all around, and against all the cities of Judah.

Total invasion - and Jeremiah was to tell it to the Israelites.

> (16) And I will pronounce My judgments against them regarding all
> their evil, those who have forsaken Me, and burned incense to other
> gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.

Why did all this have to happen? There was God's judgment. The people were evil and did not ask for God's Word at all. They worshipped idols, and they were proud of what they had done themselves instead of having
trust in God and His power. In short, they did not take God seriously, and that is what happens today as well when people start to interpret and twist God's Words the way until they fit to their own plans. The result is either God's judgement or his complete withdrawing, leaving the people alone without His light and influence, hoping that they might want to ask for Him again. But our God has always been graceful, and He is fast to reconcile. In the Old Testament He wanted His beloved people to give up sinning and live under His laws. But the humans were not able to keep them. God had mercy anyway, and sent His Son Jesus down to earth to pay the bill for our faults - just that we can refer to it and take it as a gift from God. We are saved then, and can live in reconciliation with God again.

But when Jeremiah was on earth, Jesus had not died for us yet, and so the Jews could not refer to Jesus, but had to keep the law. God is a God of law, order and justice, and every failure from the law had to be balanced. The Israelites ignored God, so God sent Jeremiah to warn them.

> (17) And you must gird up your loins, and arise, and speak to them all > that I command you. Do not be terrified at their faces, lest I > prostrate you before them.

An encouragement to put all his trust in God... but also a commandment, like we Christians have:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20 KJVA)

God was with Jeremiah, and God is with us.

> (18) For, behold, I have made you a fortified city this day, and an
> iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land, against the
> kings of Judah, against its rulers, against its priests, and against
> the people of the land.

Good to know that God protected Jeremiah like this... What does this mean for us? We have to serve God first of all, that is to take Him seriously and love our neighbours - and our enemies by doing them good, blessing them and praying for them. What does it mean to love God? First it simply means to do His will, not ours, and to worship Him and no idols, and to take His Word seriously. God is straight on, and we never have to guess what He might mean. He is able to make things quite clear. It is up to us if we want to accept them like He means them or not.

Although Christians are called to obey, He might also tell some special people to stand up against things He shows them, like He did with Jeremiah.

> (19) And they shall fight against you; but they shall not overcome
> you. For I am with you, says Jehovah, to deliver you.

Good to know that God is with us to deliver us on our way with Jesus...

What will we do when being called out? Are we too young, too old, too sick, too tired, too shy, too poor, too much occupied with other things? Or would we be more like Isaiah (I love Isaiah):
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." (Isaiah 6:8 KJVA)

So here am I, Lord; send me.

Take my eyes and see, my ears to listen, my mouth to speak, and my heart to love, and send me where you can use me. Amen.

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