Tag Archives: Jesus

My Father is The Vinedresser

John 15:1. Jesus says that His Father is the Vinedresser.

Let’s look at the second part of John 15:1

“… and My Father is the vinedresser” A vinedresser, or husbandman, is not merely a farmer. Grapes are more than an annual crop that is pulled up after harvest and forgotten. Here in New Hampshire, our growing time is not long. When my husband and I plant our garden, we know it will only be for a few short months. Come Fall, we harvest whatever has grown and we pull up the rest and put it in the burn pile. We do not have much of a chance to get to know our plants.

Not so, with grapevines.

The vinedresser’s grapevines remain with him for decades. He comes to know each one in a personal way, much like a shepherd with his sheep. In early Israel, the branches of cultivated grapes were either allowed to trail along the ground or were trained to grow over a pole. When the stems were trained along the ground the grape clusters were propped up to keep them from contacting the soil and rotting.  Vineyards were smaller and the vinedresser could know each vine. He knew how the vine was faring from year to year. He knew which ones were more productive and healthier than others. He would know what they responded to and what special care each one needed.

Much like us, each vine has its’ own personality ( so to speak) and the Vinedresser knows each one. He has been caring for each vine for years. He lovingly nurtures it, pruning off the dead areas in the correct amount and at just the right time. He fertilizes it, giving it the nutrients to grow strong and healthy. When the fruit or branch is dragging in the dirt or is low on the ground, He gently lifts the branches by propping them up and tying them. He is involved in the care and He takes measures to protect them from insects, disease

So, when Jesus calls His Father the Vinedresser, He is the only One. Again as Jesus uses the as a definite article to describe Himself in the first part of the verse in John 15:1. (See my previous blog post titles, “Jesus is The True Vine”). In sentences and speaking, we use the as a definite article when there is just one of something in that place.

As Jesus earlier described Himself as The True Vine, now Jesus is describing His Father, the Vinedresser, the Only Father, the only Vinedresser in charge of the branches. He is also describing Him to the disciples and to us in terms of His relationship to us, His attitude toward us, and His action in our life.

He cares for them (and us) personally and He is the only One wise enough to know us, to know our heart, to know our potential…to know exactly what to do to make them (and us) fruitful. God alone is responsible for the results. We cannot always see what the outcome will be. We must trust the vinedresser and His process.  

Rest assured, my fellow branches…with such a caring and intimately involved Vinedresser, as His branches, we can experience complete confidence and security.

Jesus is The True Vine

In John 15:1 Jesus says that He is the true vine

We are going to look at the first part of that verse today.

“I am the true vine…”

The True Vine. When Jesus describes Himself as the vine, He calls Himself the “true” vine. By “true” He means, “genuine, real, authentic.” Those of you who know me well, know that I love grammar and parts of speech. I noticed that He uses the word the — to describe Himself.  In sentences and speaking, we use the as a definite article when there is just one of something in that place. Here Jesus declares, I am “the” true vine, not “a” vine or one of the vines. But the True Vine.

Why does He say the “true” vine? What is happening in the culture? Who or what is being followed?

According to the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, the word used here is Alethinos (al-ay-thee-nos’) Adjective

  • Definition: real, true, genuine
  • The opposite of what is imperfect, defective, frail, uncertain.

 Who or what is the vine that was not true?

For Jesus to say it this way, Himself being “the” true vine…it must be in some type of contrast to something else that the disciples might have considered the true vine. What could that be?

Maybe following the Jewish law at the time or the many works and rituals that the Pharisees told people to follow. Looking forward in Galatians 2, we read about a dispute between Peter and Paul, it seems it is more likely to do with the thinking at that time,  that a person is part of God’s family simply by being joined to the nation of Israel; by being of Jewish descent… Jesus says they need to be joined to Him. In the Old Covenant, the vine is the symbol of Israel as God’s covenant people.  Jesus makes a new covenant. He is the true vine, the true Israel, of which all believers will grow from. He wants to make sure they understand that they need to stay connected to Him. To obey what He told them and to practice what they saw Him doing.

And it goes for us too…. As we can see all around us… the “world” certainly values other things, believing there are other ways to God, and allowing idols to fill our lives. Those worldly systems and beliefs contrast with who Jesus is saying He is. We need to be discerning. To follow Jesus, accept No substitute!

Jesus says in John 14:6, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I love this verse! Again, Jesus is using the definite article. The Way. The Truth. The Life. The Only One.

Question for us to ponder—Are there things in the world that look genuine to us, that look like the truth but they are false?

Privileges-His Peace

I am sitting on my front deck, amid an array of beautiful plants as we receive, here in NH a soft, late summer rain. I can hear the gentle tap, tap of the raindrops as they fall on my canvas umbrella. I look out at the birds flying to and from my feeders. They flutter and squawk as they all vie for a sunflower seed. Of course they scattered when I brought out my camera. But if you look closely, there is a chipmunk in the house feeder!

I am reminded of how peaceful the outdoors can be. I am at my most serene here in my garden.

That got me to thinking about being a child of the God Most High. It is not about religion. It is not about what church we belong to or go to. It is about the Creator of the universe sending His Son Jesus to take our place… to take my place and your place on that wooden cross. Jesus alone bore the burden of our sin and disobedience as He died in our place.

It is about a relationship. It is about saying, “Yes, Jesus I need You as my Savior. Yes, I believe You died for my sin. Forgive me. I repent. I believe You rose again and I will rise with You and I can rise above earthly circumstances because You are with me. You share all that is Yours with me. I have an abundant inheritance of privileges from You!

As a believer and follower of Jesus…He offers us privileges that we would not naturally have any claim to. We have privileges that we can “Own” because of His sacrifice and His restoration of our relationship with God.

One of those privileges that I want to mention today so we can lay claim to is… His Peace. Jesus tells us Himself that He gives us His peace.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV

He knew we would be disheartened, persecuted and fearful. Again, He encourages us that we may have peace in Him,

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJV

There are many more verses that you can look up on peace when you have a few minutes. I want to close with one more.

Galatians 5:22 says that peace is a fruit of the Spirit. As we abide in Christ, we will not only have His peace to deal with tribulation but also have peace in Him as we acknowledge Him as Lord and develop a friendship with Him, but there is more…peace will be a fruit that is produced by the Holy Spirit through us.

May you find His peace today. Claim Jesus and claim His peace in your life!

Bear Fruit

Jesus tells us in John 15:1-2, “I am the vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

In verse 2, I had to take a pause. I have read that verse many times. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit”, Jesus is saying, “the Father takes away.”

Wait! Wait a minute. If we are in Jesus, how can that happen?! My take on it is… some of those branches may “appear” to be connected to Jesus, the Vine… but are not—those branches are “dead” and will never produce fruit. Perhaps they are those who sit in a comfy pew and sing all the right “religious” songs and say all the right “churchy” things, but their hearts are far from God. (Matthew 15:8-9 and Isaiah 29:13) God, the vinedresser removes those branches, so that the “living” branches, those truly “abiding” in Jesus can accomplish their purpose.

Cucumber on the vine

Have you ever looked at a vine? Let’s look at one of my cucumbers on the vine…(Isn’t this baby cucumber so cute!) When the branches stay connected and get all their nutrients from the vine—they bear fruit, they bud, blossom into a flower, and through a maturing process—become a full sized cucumber—identical fruit to what that vine produces. They must stay connected. They cannot just show up on Sunday, grab a few sips of the Holy Spirit and expect to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It is an “all in” relationship. NOT a religion or merely an affiliation with a church.

In both the cucumber vine, and in our relationship with Jesus, we cannot just be “around” or “attached” to the concept of Jesus. That is not enough. I think it is possible for a person to claim the name of Jesus and miss Who He Is. The Great I Am!

I think it is possible for a person to go to church and associate with believers, even think they are doing all the right things, yet not have the life-giving benefits of being fully attached and fully abiding in the TRUE vine.

Many years ago, I had an ivy. I was watering it one day and as I moved it to soak the soil, one of the branches broke. Not all the way through, but almost. It was such a beautiful branch, healthy and green. I did not want to lose it. Thinking I was so smart, (bear with me) I got out my Scotch tape and taped it back together. You can probably guess what happened. For a few days, all seemed well. It was going to make it!

Nope, sad story. At the end of a week being only partially attached to the main vine, it shriveled up and died.

We can be like that. We can join a church, sit in a pew every Sunday, tithe, sing all the praise songs, shout out an amen when the message is good, and yet—be so far from Jesus. We can be attached to the church, or attached to the idea of God but not connected to the Source of life. Eventually, God the vinedresser, the One with ultimate knowledge and authority—will remove those false branches and discard them.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be discarded. How can we bear fruit?

Jesus says in John 15:6 (NKJV) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing.”

We must “abide” in Him and He will abide in us. His life source flowing through us. Producing the fruit of the Spirit as we totally depend on the Vine for all things, all direction, all wisdom, all power to accomplish His will in our life.

Jesus was crystal clear in saying, We can do NOTHING without HIM. And in case we think “we” chose Him. He goes further in John 15:16 (NKJV). “You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”

He has all the POWER, He gives us DIRECTION, He has CHOSEN us. He has APPOINTED us. The FRUIT comes from Him. Fruit that comes from Him REMAINS. It does not die on the vine but is His LIGHT to others. His LIFE BLOOD flowing through us produces FRUIT that RESEMBLES HIM! How cool is that!

We need to fully obey and abide in Him. Hold tight to the VINE. He does the rest! THANK YOU, JESUS!

You are CHOSEN, & APPOINTED to BEAR HIS FRUIT! You are EQUIPPED, now GO!

See you in the garden!

God Rejoices Over You

“The LORD, your God is in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

The LORD is in our midst! Right in the middle of where you are, where I am. He is all around us, and He is in all things and Creator of all. If you call Him LORD (as I do and and I hope you do!) we, you and I are His children…AND He is in the middle of our lives. When we allow Him to have His rightful place as King of our lives, He is intimately involved, as a Father would be, in our lives. He is aware of everything and is carefully watching.

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” Proverbs 15:3 (NKJV)

He first & foremost wants to save us. Salvation comes through God’s Son, Jesus Christ…His death on the cross for our sin (Romans 5:8) , AND even more important is His RESSURECTION on Easter morning! He arose from the dead and gave us the opportunity to share His inheritance and His Father in Heaven! Though we die a earthly death when our time has come, we have a forever home in Heaven! (John 14:1-6)

We are saved from God’s wrath. As His redeemed child, He looks at us with love, compassion and mercy. We are made righteous through Jesus! We are saved from eternal damnation and hell. Did you know that we are also saved from the power of sin to control us? It is true! Satan, the evil one has no power over us. We will still be attacked and tempted because we live in the world, but through the Power of the Holy Spirit living within us, we can resist, we CAN OVERCOME! (John 16:5-15)

Look at the verse again, there is so much more! God rejoices over you with gladness and singing. I can just picture Him…can you?! Gleefully rejoicing over me, rejoicing in all of the wonder of you…raising His voice and singing over you, His beloved child! Wow! I pray that you are letting that sink in. How special you are. How loved, how wanted you are!

One more thing I want you to notice in this verse…“He will quiet you with His love.”

Have you ever been so anxious or worried that your heart is racing—what is going to happen??;

So scared you can’t catch your breath—will I survive this??;

So sad or heartbroken that you can’t think straight and your mind is churning in a million directions like the swirl of a tornado—will this drown me??

Lift your head in hope my beautiful friend!

If you have children or grandchildren, think on this. Remember when they were little and they woke up scared, maybe they had a bad dream and they were unsettled, anxious. Did you go to them and just hold them close, smoothing back the hair across their forehead, whispering words of love and comfort. I bet you did! As they got older, maybe they were sick or were hurt? Older still, an issue at school, breakup, disappointment…a long list of hurts and noisy times in our lives. I am speaking as a Mom and Grammy, however I am sure this is felt by Dads and Grampa’s, as well as many other relationships & family dynamics. I had such love swell up within me for my children, my grandchildren. My pure, unselfish love for them, a love that quieted their anxious thoughts, chased away their fears and soothed their sorrows.

How much more does God do that for us! A love not like the world loves. Deeper than human love. A forever love. An all-encompassing love. A love for who you are, right where you are, especially in the middle of your mess, loved unconditionally. A wonderful, life changing love…a secure, warm, constant, sustaining, solid, eternal, comforting, able to quiet your anxious thoughts, able to give you His peace (His quiet) as you face whatever it is. That kind of love.

God quiets us with His love. when the world is tossing us, we need peace. His peace. The quietness within that let’s us know we will get through this.

JESUS tells us “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubles, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)

PLUS, you get God…you have Him in your midst. Oh, what a wonderful God and Savior!

#1 You Are Loved

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

The “world” that is spoken of here is the world of all of mankind…unbelievers, those who do not know God and are against God. That would be everyone. We are all unbelievers and against God until He seeks us and opens our spiritual eyes to Salvation.

God does not want anyone to perish, but to come to belief in Jesus so they can have eternal life. He loved all of us long before we loved Him. While we were neck deep in our own sin, muck and prideful living.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

While you were still a sinner God demonstrate His love for you by giving His Son Jesus to die for you. His ONLY SON.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NIV) These are words straight from Jesus. He gave His life for you while you were still a sinner. Is there any greater love than for someone to give their life for you?

Who would you give your life for? I would dare to guess you would give your life for your children, grandchildren or another loved one, but how about an enemy?

No? Me either… I am not sure I would give my life for an enemy. BUT Jesus did!

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV

What does it mean to be dead in our transgressions?

Transgressions are sins, the wrong things we do against God and His laws. We were dead” in our sins.  Look at Romans 6:23.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 6:23

The first section of this verse begins by saying believers “were dead” in their sins. These immoral actions were part of their life, following the lead of Satan, instead of God. The wages or pay that we get from sin is death. Why death?

This spiritual death began as the result of sin in the garden of Eden.

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17 (NKJV).

I don’t want to earn death!

Wait! Look at the second part of Romans 6:23, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Because Jesus, God’s only Son, took your place and my place on the cross and died for all the wrong things we have done and will ever do…we have the FREE GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE!

When we choose to believe in Jesus as our Savior, God makes a covenant with us. Because you and I are loved by our Creator.

“Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you”. Isaiah 54:10 NIV

God’s unfailing love will not be shaken. Can you imagine a world where the mountains and the hills are shaken and not just moved but removed from the earth?! Yet all the while, God remains steadfast.

I wondered, what is a covenant? It is not a word we hear too often. Covenants are not just contracts, and a very serious commitment to God. With God it is a binding promise of far-reaching importance in the relations between Him and His children.

In Isaiah 54:10, we see the covenant of God’s peace will not be removed from us. The Hebrew word Shalom means peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, and tranquility. Philippians 4:7 says, “and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” When troubles on earth make us anxious, seem to overwhelm us and make us want to give up, we can ask Jesus to give us His peace… a peace that is far beyond any earthly comfort.

Also, God’s unfailing love will not be shaken.  No matter what is happening in this world around us (and it is pretty shaky right now) or what is happening within our lives, God’s love will not fail or be shaken. He loves us. He has our best interest at heart always.

If that is not enough, God keeps adding! God will continue to have compassion and mercy on us. Mercy is God’s withholding of the judgement we deserve for our sin, but instead He grants us the forgiveness we don’t deserve and we could never earn (We are saved by grace, Ephesians 2:5) because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

What an Awesome God! What a Wonderful Creator! What a Wonderful Savior! We will talk more about grace and becoming a new creation next time. Until then, may God bless you as you seek Him.

Find me on YouTube.com Tami Bemis Cole

Hope

Hebrews 1 1

A very good friend of mine recently gave me a coffee mug with Hebrews 11:1 on the side. I love coffee mugs! I have several and almost every one has a story attached to it.

The word HOPE stands out for me. It is a favorite word of mine. A word that encourages me to hold on.

What is the definition of the word, hope?  I found this definition in an article written in 1952 called, “The Christian Hope.” “Hope is commonly used to mean a wish : its strength is the strength of the person’s desire.” 1

What do I hope for? What do you hope for? Perhaps…Calm in this chaos, healing of a marriage, healing from a disease, a reconciled relationship, for your prodigal to come home, for things to be better, to see the light at the end of the tunnel (And have it not be a freight train!)

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”                    Hebrews 11:1

Let us look a little closer at this verse. Hope is part of the picture, but faith is a bigger piece. How can you and I be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see? Faith in God and believing and accepting salvation through Jesus is our Hope. We cannot see faith. How can we be certain of what we cannot see with our human eyes?

We can read God’s Word and believe what He says. As we study His Word, the Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes to the truth. Truth that one day, things will be resolved. Not always on earth, but one day in Heaven.

Another thought I had on this verse was that you and I can have hope that God is with us through each tear and trial, each heartache and disappointment. Our faith in who He is gives us hope, gives us encouragement to go on. To be able to face another day, even though things aren’t all nice and tidy in our lives…we can go on. We can have the courage to not give up.

When I am nearing my limit to what I can bear, my faith reminds me that I have hope.

Let us look at another definition of hope.”In the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.” 2                                              

I realized that I cannot have hope without faith. I am a person of hope, but really, I am a person of faith. The hope comes from knowing and having faith in Jesus as my Savior.

For me, and maybe you too, life continues to be messy, unpredictable and hard… however, it is also joyful, rewarding and oh so worth it! All because of our confident expectation of what God has promised and the proof is in His character of faithfulness.

He is who He says He is and and He will do what He says He will do.   He gives us faith and faith gives us hope. If your hope hinges on faith in God, you hope is not in vain.

Find me on YouTube.com Tami Bemis Cole

1 & 2 Reference: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ Christian Hope Chapter 1 October 1952

A Saturday of Life

What does Saturday make you think of? I usually say a day off, end of the workweek, a time to go out and enjoy life. Maybe even a day to party.
But I was listening to a sermon on Good Friday by author & Pastor Max Lucado and he talked about looking at Saturday in a different way. He said not to overlook the Saturday after Jesus was crucified. Many of us jump right to the Resurrection Sunday, which is an awesome day, but what about what was happening or not looking like anything was happening on Saturday. A time of waiting when Heaven seemed to be silent. Silence as the disciples scattered, devastated by the death of Jesus and all hope seemed to be gone.

It got me to thinking about waiting. If you think about it, we spend most of our life waiting, waiting for big things, like:

  • Waiting for the right person to marry
  • Waiting to buy a house
  • Waiting to have children
  • Waiting for the perfect job or to get promoted
  • Waiting for test results can be a big & scary thing to wait for

Some smaller things we wait for could be and we wait on a daily basis for most of these:

  • Waiting in line, at the checkout, at the bank, at the movies, at the drive thru
  • Waiting in traffic or at a light
  • Waiting for others to speak and then we can respond
  • Waiting at an appointment
  • Waiting for the commercial to finish to get back to our favorite show
  • Waiting for our dog to do his business so we can go back inside
  • Waiting for the coffee to brew
  • Wait, wait, wait

We are not very patient at waiting it seems. We want things fast.
Society has changed much over the last few years, it seems we can have things in our hands or done for us faster & faster.

Quick meals via the microwave and now instapot, Meals delivered to our door with a few clicks online, online banking where we can take a picture of a check and it is quickly deposited into our account, fast internet to connect and have a group chat, Skype or other video chats, or look up information, self-diagnose or order products, We have overnight delivery of mail because we need it now! We don’t like to wait.

God tells us we need to know how to wait. But how do we act while we wait? How do we react when God isn’t answering our prayers, when we have asked & asked, even pleaded, knocked & knocked, yet Heaven is silent? When the wait is stealing our joy for today.

Are you in a time of your life where you are waiting? Waiting for this COVID-19 virus to be over, waiting for test results, waiting to go back to work, waiting for the children to go back to school, waiting for money to come in, waiting for a phone call from a loved one, waiting to see & hold your loved ones again.

Waiting can make us weary, like maybe life will never be back to normal or what is was. To be honest, this day number whatever of self-quarantine was leading me to a slump.
How can I encourage you if I am discouraged? The answer is to look to God for my strength. I sometimes want to rush God to get Him to fix areas of my life. I can get anxious when He is not working in ways that I want Him to or ways that I can see or in my time frame. Is He working?

I was recently working on a Bible study and these verses on waiting came up at the perfect time in my life. I needed this encouragement from the LORD today.
“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; In the morning I lay my requests before you and WAIT in expectation.” (Ps. 5:3)                                                                            He hears our voice and we should be waiting expectantly for how He answers!

“We WAIT in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” (ps. 33:20)                        We wait in hope that He will help us and protect us.

“WAIT for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land.” (Ps. 37:34) We shall receive all that He promises if we wait and follow His ways.

“I will WAIT for you, O LORD; you will answer, O LORD my God.” (Ps. 38:15)                     We can wait without getting anxious.

“They that WAIT upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31, KJV)
We can wait without getting weary, even though time seems to drag as we wait. He will give us strength. We can run and continue with our life, continue with His plan for us while we wait for answers.
Through everything God is working. He is working all things out according to His purpose. Think back to Good Friday and that Saturday in between, after Jesus died on the cross, Mary waited, Peter waited, James & John waited, the rest of the disciples waited, perhaps even all of creation waited. They did not know that Sunday was coming!

They waited through Friday and that hopelessness dragged into Saturday, but on Sunday morning Jesus rose from the dead! He did what He said He would do! God was still very much at work between Friday & Sunday! I am thankful for the reminder. I am in a Saturday of life right now, maybe you are too…waiting, waiting…most of the world can probably say they are waiting with the Corona virus and the shutdown of life as we know it…we don’t know what is going to happen, what the future holds but God does.

So hold on—Sunday is coming!

Who is my Neighbor

This morning I was reading in Luke 10:25-37. Jesus is talking about the  Parable of the Good Samaritan. The following verses are from the New International Version (NIV) Luke 10:25-29:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus goes on to tell the story of a certain man who was on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed, beaten, stripped of his clothing and left by the side of the road for dead.

Three different people pass by.

The first is a priest and when he saw the man lying by the side of the road, He must have noticed the man had no clothing on or no way to be identified, so not wanting to touch a non-Jewish person or possibly a dead body, the priest passed on the other side of the road.

The second is a Levite, he came and looked at the man lying by the side of the road and he too passed by on the other side of the road.

The third is a Samaritan. Traveling along this road from Jerusalem to Jericho, most likely meant this man left for dead was Jewish. Samaritans & Jewish people did not associate with each other. In fact, Samaritans were the despised enemies of the Jews. However, this Samaritan, when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went to him, bandaged his wounds and put him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

When the Samaritan had to depart the next day, he left instruction & money with the innkeeper to continue to care for the wounded man. Any additional fees he would pay the next time he came to the inn.

“So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him,         “Go and do likewise.” (VS 36-37)

helping handWe have much to learn from this. Who is our neighbor? Everyone is our neighbor. We have the opportunity to lend a helping hand, to help each person that crosses our path or we cross theirs.

I am very much reminded of my neighbors during this challenging time in our nation. It should not matter the race, the gender, the political party, the financial status or any other prejudice we may have.

As I make phone calls and check on people, I am reminded how scary this time can be, how many are feeling uncertain and anxious, even going so far as to say they are nearing hopelessness.

What can we do to help our neighbor? If each of us reached out to at least one person…one person that perhaps has no one else, who is forgotten, who is fearful and lonely.

Many of us are in self-quarantine. We have extra down time on our hands that has not happened in years, if ever. Pray and think about who needs your help, your personal attention. Take a few minutes and send a text or even better…make a phone call, ask how they are doing, do they need anything. If they need something, you can get it and drop it off at their door, so no physical contact is needed.

Write a letter, send a card. Do you have nieces & nephews, grandchildren? Send them some stickers, coloring books or educational activities. What a great way to help the Moms & Dads that are homeschooling! Most people love to get mail. In this face paced world, handwritten cards & letters have fallen by the wayside. Tuck in a favorite Bible verse or word of encouragement. Let us pick up that beautiful way of keeping in touch again.

These are just a few ways, I’m sure you can think of other ways to help your neighbor. YOU can make a difference!  You may never know how much you have enriched a life, & perhaps reached someone who was feeling hopeless, all alone & isolated.

” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (VS 37)

As Followers of Jesus, we are His hands & feet. Let’s look out for our neighbors. Not only will they be blessed, but we will as well as we give of ourselves to those around us. May  God Bless you.

 

Trust the Wind

It took a very windy day, some crows and an eagle to help me to better understand a Truth.

One beautiful chilly morning this past November, I was driving along the highway on my way to pick up my grandson. Something ahead in the sky caught my attention. As I got closer, I saw several crows frantically flapping their wings as gusts of wind sent them in different directions. They seemed disorientated as they struggled to fly.

It was an extremely windy day and my car veered back and forth as the wind howled and pushed against it. I looked further up in the sky and I noticed a much bigger bird higher up from the crows. It was a huge bald eagle. He just seemed to glide along in the direction of the current. No crazy flapping or extra exertion for him at all. I pulled over and was amazed not only at the grace…but also the intelligence of this remarkable creation.

While the crows fought against the wind, struggling to be in control, the eagle flew with the wind, allowing the wind to direct his path. This reminded me of The Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity. He is the wind in the life of a believer. He gives God’s direction in our lives.

We can fight Him and become exhausted & discouraged as we do things our way. Or, we can work with Him, following in His leading. We don’t have to struggle. He will show us the Way…we can soar to be all God calls us to be!

Jesus said we would be given a helper, a guide. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 ESV

I like to think of the Holy Spirit as a wind that I can trust to follow. He will lead me in the direction toward what God has planned for my life. He will guide you too.