Jesus Says Love Others

Jesus Says Love Others

Encouragment, Jesus Says
In our previous Jesus Says command, we explored the overarching command to love God with everything we are. This is found in Matthew 22:37-38. Jesus’ command was a response to a lawyer’s question “Which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” (Matthew 22:37, NIV) This fulfilled the lawyer’s question, but Jesus didn’t stop there. Jesus continued, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:39–40, NIV) It must have been world-shattering to hear the entirety of Jewish Law distilled into two commandments. And if we give this just a little thought it will be world shattering for us as well. W
Jesus Says Love God

Jesus Says Love God

Encouragment, Jesus Says
Over the past couple of months, we have been covering the commands of Jesus. Those Jesus says statements found in the Gospels. Some of them have been surprising, some familiar, and more than a few have been challenging. Today we arrive at the core command. The root from which all other commands flow from and must answer to. This command is both our greatest joy and our largest failure. What is this Jesus says command? Matthew records a series of questions posed by the power players of the day designed in some way to trap Jesus. Lastly, a lawyer posed this question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” We know Jesus’ answer, but pause here for a moment and consider the question. The Israelites of Jesus’ day were obsessed with keeping the Law of Moses. Large volumes
Jesus Says Forgive

Jesus Says Forgive

Encouragment, Jesus Says
By Ben Hoerr:  In this series of posts, we’ve been taking a closer look at 28 “Jesus Says” commands. Whether we grew up attending church or not, almost all of us are familiar—at least in some measure of detail—with Jesus’ life-changing teachings and memorable parables or stories. Of all the things Jesus said, perhaps none is more challenging and difficult than his instruction to forgive others, especially when we have been deeply hurt or unjustly wronged. In Bible times, the Jewish rabbis often taught the need to forgive others was limited to three or four offenses—after that, one was entitled to “hold a grudge.” The Apostle Peter might have thought his suggestion to Jesus that one should be willing to forgive “seven times” seemed generous. But in his typical re-interpretation of the cu
Jesus Says Give to God what is God’s

Jesus Says Give to God what is God’s

Encouragment, Jesus Says
One day the power players of the day set out to trap Jesus. They cleverly devised a question that could be only answered in a way that would either paint Jesus as a rebel or a Roman sympathizer. The question was preceded with flattery and puffed up praise. “Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” They asked. But Jesus was no one’s fool and saw through their camouflage of praise. It is in Jesus’ answer that we find our next Jesus Says command. But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what
Jesus Says Rest

Jesus Says Rest

Encouragment, Jesus Says
By Kerry Rohman My daughter Ava turned 6 years old this week.  The main event of her unicorn themed birthday party was a combination bounce house and water slide. My husband Jake and I played referee to over 20 kids that were bouncing and going down the slide. To manage this we formed lines and allowed only 5-6 eager kids in at a time to help prevent any emergency room visits. Well, I am happy to say that during the three-hour party, there was only one bloody nose and tons of fun. I would definitely not describe the party as “restful”. After the last table was put away, I was more than ready to put my feet up and relax. If you ask someone “How are you doing?” It’s not uncommon to hear something like “busy, but good.” Rarely do we hear “rested.”  Is saying “rested” just an awkward an
Jesus Says Talk To Them

Jesus Says Talk To Them

Encouragment, Jesus Says
For our next Jesus Says command we need a kind of wrapper. Some fences to keep us from straying too far off course. The first fence is scope, this command is specific to our brothers and sisters in Christ and not necessarily towards the world. Or as Jesus put it, the tax collectors and sinners. The second fence for this article is holding onto generalities lest we write a book of law. Each locality must develop their own norms for this command. And what is the Jesus Says Command that requires these fences? “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ I
Jesus Says Don’t-Do-Don’t Be Afraid

Jesus Says Don’t-Do-Don’t Be Afraid

Encouragment, Jesus Says
Let’s say for a moment that we’re trying to find a radio transmitter hidden in a barren desert. We mark one point and gain a general direction. We move to another spot which narrows down the area even more. But to precisely locate the transmitter we need a third point. Then using that information we can triangulate the position of the transmitter. That process of triangulation is illuminating as we consider our next Jesus Says command. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth m
Dale’s Rules for Life, Changing Our World

Dale’s Rules for Life, Changing Our World

Encouragment
I have these rules for life. Some of them are witty, some are cute, some challenge me in ways that are hard to describe. This is one of those challenging rules.  Click here for the previous Dale’s Rules. We’d all love to change our world. To fix what is wrong. To have peace, prosperity, and meaning without days that are difficult, painful, or fearful. Maybe we have a desire to fix to broad areas of life like our nation, our culture, the government, or other power brokers that shape our world. Perhaps we’d like to change some big things like poverty, discrimination, or the lack of basic fairness and civility. Maybe our desire for change is closer to home with the changes needed in our family, our friends, our workplace, our home, or our church.  No doubt, there are a lot of things that n
The Hunter

The Hunter

Encouragment, Short Stories
The mark was easy. A country hick that wandered into the wrong alley of City Center, my alley. So, I welcomed him to our crusty city by relieving him of his bulging wallet and cheap watch. I didn’t even have to pull out Bertha, my six-inch bowie knife. Just the threat had him shaking like a California earthquake. I can hear the sirens already; the rube must have called 911 from Sam’s Corner Deli. No worries, there are plenty of alleys, backstreets, and dark corners in my hunting grounds. Tucked in a shadow of another alley I watch as my most recent benefactor recreates his story to two patrol officers. I almost laughed out loud when he stands in my footprints and tries to look like me. I’m more menacing than I thought. Good. “There is no fear of God in your eyes,” a voice said wit
Jesus Says Ask for Workers

Jesus Says Ask for Workers

Encouragment, Jesus Says
I’m a fixer by trade. It began with a few mechanical things around the house. I graduated to the electronics of old radios, TVs, and VCRs. I eventually tried to make that into a business and learned that I’m not a businessman. I then got hired to fix copy machines and eventually computers and computer networks. Two realizations came out of that. Fixing things is often providing a solution to a problem instead of just repairing something. The other is that sometimes the customer needs repair than the device. But there is another piece of the puzzle needed to be good at fixing things; understanding and responding to the urgency of the need. Understanding the urgency and doing something about it is the root of today’s Jesus Says command. Matthew records that one day Jesus was ministering t
Jesus Says Abide in Me

Jesus Says Abide in Me

Encouragment, Jesus Says
Sometimes, when someone comes up and says, “let me ask you a question,” I will jokingly respond “42” before they even have a chance to ask it. According to Douglas Adams in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy “42” is the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. It isn’t of course, it is simply a number which Adams admittedly plucked out of thin air. But what if I told you there is an answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything else?  An answer found in a command. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you.” How in the world is that the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?  Jesus, knowing that we would have a hard time understanding this gave us a simile.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither
Jesus Says Beware of False Prophets

Jesus Says Beware of False Prophets

Encouragment, Jesus Says
Warning signs are all around us. Danger Falling Rocks. Deer Crossing. High Wind Area. These signs don’t guarantee what is coming next but what may come our way. Were we live deer are a problem. You never know when one will race in front of your car. While there is always a certain level of alertness while driving, it gets kicked up a few notches during twilight and evening hours. Not only am I watching the road, other traffic, and navigating but also scanning for eye-shine. That tell-tale glow when an animal is near the roadway. It’s that kind of alertness Jesus is commanding when He says, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles,