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JesusIn my search for more and more depth of understanding of the Lord and my responsibility in my walk with Him, I began to hear an answer to my question on how to please Him. As I sat once again with my agenda for Bible reading I felt the Lord’s nudge toward spending some lingering time in the Gospels. Although I do read the Gospels each year with 66 books of the Bible and a hunger to know it all, I must say I don’t spend much time lingering in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But isn’t that “running to and fro in search of knowledge” rather than making the main thing the main thing? I’m also afraid I spend a lot more time running in and out of the throne room, then sitting on Abba Father’s lap, rather than really getting in touch with my first love, Jesus, once again. So to follow God’s nudge the last few months I have spent some time seeing Jesus as a baby, a boy, and a man: God wrapped up in human flesh. How could that be?   Which then brings me to the question Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15, Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20)

The answer to this one question will tell if you are truly a Christian or not. Many who say they are Christians deny Jesus’ divinity. If you say to some, “Do you believe that Jesus is God?” their true answer would be, “No” or “Yes, but….” with some qualifier or list of rules to follow. A true Christian must come to the faith that Peter had when he answered the question with: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16) “You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” (Mark 8:29) “The Christ of God!” (Luke 9:20….all from AMP) The true answer to “who is Jesus” is that He is the Son of God, one part of the Trinity, God in the flesh, the Messiah, the Savior, who fully human and fully divine left heaven to be with us for a time in history. I can’t fully understand it but I do believe it because, like John, I have come to believe that:

“By this you may know (perceive and recognize) the Spirit of God; every spirit which acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [actually] has become man and has come in the flesh is of God [has God for its source]:

And every spirit which does not acknowledge and confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [but would annul, destroy, sever, disunite Him] is not of God [does not proceed from Him]. This [nonconfession] is the [spirit] of the antichrist, [of] which you heard that it was coming, and now it is already in the world.” (I John 4:2-3 AMP)

You see, our Lord has made it all more simple than we make it. Instead of seeking knowledge, like the answer to “how many angels can sit on the head of a pin” so that we feel good about our religious knowledge, we need to get back to simply knowing and following Jesus.

Years ago there was a movement in our country to follow Jesus by asking “What would Jesus do?” The only way to find the answer was to linger with him in the scriptures and in our daily quiet time. I’m afraid that this question, although a simple start, didn’t keep us as connected as we wanted, since the focus was more on our doing or trying to figure out what Jesus would do in this time and space. There is a simplicity in the story of Jesus that pulls us in but, as we linger there, I think we will see layers upon layers of things He would want to teach us. Sometimes in our quest to please the Father we forget the Son. But let us remember what Jesus said for all who wanted to see the Father, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9 AMP)

I heard Carolyn Moran give a testimony of why she was selling what she called “Jesus Nut” jewelry. She had a son who was a helicopter pilot flying in the Pacific during the Cold War in the 70’s. His mother was very worried, but he told her that he would be just fine as long as the “Jesus Nut” was always screwed down tight. This essential part was what secured the rotors on the helicopter. It was named the “Jesus Nut” for the scripture found in Colossians 1:17 that says: “And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).” (Amp) The “He” in this verse is referring to Jesus. The pilots all knew that if the “Jesus Nut” got loose they were all goners and could do nothing but yell out to Jesus for their salvation and rescue. Carolyn and now her daughter have carried on making Jesus Nut jewelry until today. I even found their ad on the Internet. Many a soldier even in recent years has carried a “Jesus Nut,” or even a regular nut of some kind in their pockets, as a token remembrance of the Jesus that holds their lives and world together through it all. May we too all remember that Jesus is the one who holds it all together.

To help us all remember Jesus as the one who holds us together, I’d like to challenge all of us to linger in the Gospels for a time this year. I checked out the chapters in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and found that there are a total of 90 chapters, all on the life of Jesus. I know that many of you have made decisions on what books you are going to focus on, but I for one am going to read one chapter a day and linger there asking the Holy Spirit to show me what He wants me to see in that chapter. I will probably write down in my journal what I see and hear there. Just to test this I read the longest chapter and it took me 10 minutes…I’m a slow reader. I know if I prayed and asked for the Lord’s leading or if I went over a highlighted verse it might take me a few more minutes, but then I heard the Lord say, “Can’t you stay with me for one hour?” It sounds like Jesus in the Garden. I know that some days I might not stay for an hour, but could I stay a few minutes and trust that Jesus would speak to me through the Holy Spirit the rest of my day? How about you? Does this sound like something you’d like to try? I know that you will be reading so many Gospel stories you think you know well, but the wonderful thing about scripture is that there is always something new to learn and Jesus promises us that if we see Him, we will see the Father. Awesome, right?

If you start soon it will take you past Easter to accomplish this but by then the winter doldrums will have past and Spring will be beginning it’s show. During this time you will have something positive to think on instead of how cold and dreary and scary our world looks. Jesus is the “light” we are looking for and the warmth we can carry into our everyday lives with the assurance that He is holding it all together.

As I was thinking about what the Lord would have me share with you in this newsletter I remembered a card I used to carry in my wallet but now cannot find. It really spoke to me in the early days of my walk with Jesus and when I looked it up I was surprised to find that it was a part of a sermon Dr. James Allan Francis preached in 1926. I know some of you may have seen it, but I’d like to reintroduce it, since it says so much of what I’d like to say about this Jesus I love. I hope you all are having a great start to your new year. May the Lord bless you all.

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village

The child of a peasant woman

He grew up in another obscure village

Where he worked in a carpenter shop

Until he was thirty

He never wrote a book

He never held an office

He never went to college

He never visited a big city

He never traveled more than two hundred miles

From the place where he was born

He did none of the things

Usually associated with greatness

He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty-three

His friends ran away

One of them denied him

He was turned over to his enemies

And went through the mockery of a trial

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves

While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing

The only property he had on earth

When he was dead

He was laid in a borrowed grave

Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone

And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race

And the leader of mankind’s progress

All the armies that have ever marched

All the navies that have ever sailed

All the parliaments that have ever sat

All the kings that ever reigned put together

Have not affected the life of mankind on earth

As powerfully as that one solitary life

Dr. James Allan Francis