Written in the Wind

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved


Nicodemus, teacher
Order of the Pharisees
Sanhedrin member
Rabbi (master of Israel)


Dear Nicodemus:

This letter confirms our conversation last night regarding eternal life. You questioned my statement that a person cannot enter heaven without being born again. You wanted evidence that a person can be born again after he’s grown. As a Pharisee, a rabbi and teacher, you don’t comprehend this?

I explained to you that one must be born of the Spirit, not a rebirth from the womb. Being born of the flesh is a physical birth; being born of the Spirit is a spiritual birth. There is a touch from God framing the spiritual birth which is granted to anyone who believes in the Son of man. He descended from heaven and will return to heaven, evidence for the passage of regeneration for everyone who believes in Him.

You have heard me preach of earthly things yet you don’t believe them. How will you have faith in what I tell you of heavenly things? Moses lifted up the brass serpent that represented the sins of Israel; everyone who looked on it was healed. So will the Son of man be lifted up for everyone to see and believe in, and they shall have eternal life. God loved everyone so much that He put upon the Son of Man the sins of the world. He was lifted up on Calvary for all to see and believe. Those who have faith in Him will not perish but have everlasting life in heaven.

You see, Nicodemus, God didn’t send his Son into the world to condemn everyone but to save them. They condemn themselves if they do not believe in the name of the only Son of God. In all reality, this is the truth: light has come into the world to save the souls of everyone. But people love the darkness, as it covers the evil deeds they don’t want discovered. Those that live good lives are drawn to the light because their deeds will be shown to be of God.

The wind blows where it wishes, Nicodemus. Even though you can’t tell where the sound comes from, listen to it, as it is from the Spirit. Believe in it and be born again, this time of the Spirit, and you will have eternal life.

Love,
Jesus

(Paraphrased from John 3:1-21)

A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do, huh?


© Jeanne E Webster  –  All Rights Reserved


Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you would. “

The above verse is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? I would imagine that it holds true for most us. Our bodies are quite hard to control, to rein in, and to subdue. To put it frankly, we’ve got us a full-brewed battlefield. The flesh desires to sin; the Spirit is constrained to obey the things of the Spirit. Every day we face this conundrum of natures.

Paul continues with a stark comparison of the two natures:
The works of the flesh are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, sexual excesses, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling….

Paul adds some powerful drama here with this warning…As I have told you before in time past, that they which do such things (as a lifestyle) shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…. The differences are startling.


“Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd;

There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud;

There’s one that’s brokenhearted for his sins

And one who, unrepentant, sits and grins;

There’s one who loves his neighbor as himself

And one who cares for naught but fame and pelf.

From such corroding care I would be free

If once I could determine which is me.”


As in any war, action must be taken in order to achieve victory. The finger points at each one of us. Will we remain passive and continue to tolerate the works of the flesh within us? Or shall we rear up off our sanctified haunches and give way to the power of the Spirit to crucify this flesh? The victory has already been won; we merely have to give the “Charge!”

“Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

God of the Living

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved



Matthew 22:23-28 The same day came to Him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him . . .“Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven, for they all had her?” . . .

V. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB?’  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’”


Last night I was thinking of my brother, Jim, who died recently. During his last days on earth he went through some soul searching and discomfort, though he was a Christian through and through. We shared often over the phone yet I never quite knew exactly how to reassure his troubled spirit. I remember telling him many a time to read the psalms as prayers to God. “The psalms will comfort you and be assured that the Holy Spirit is interceding for you,” I had told him.

Jim knew he would be going home soon and wanted to prepare the way. Ten days later he departed, his spirit at peace and family beside him.

As I reminisced last night, I found myself talking to him and saying I hoped he had prayed the psalms. Almost immediately I realized the folly of my statement. Jim had no more need of comfort or reassurance. He was home!

Yes! Jim is among the immortal, with the GOD OF ABRAHAM, and the GOD OF ISAAC and THE GOD OF JACOB. He has set down mortality and put on immortality. He lives with the God of the living! Amen!

Figure It Out


© Jeanne E Webster. All Rights Reserved.



During times of life’s struggles and turmoil, it’s natural to first open our arsenal of combative tools. Next we reflect upon our strengths, both physical and mental, and thrust the old “heave ho” at the enemy line. Before we realize it, however, our resources are exhausted and lie grounded like paper airplanes with shredded wings. Relief is not in sight! Our spirit chokes on the “winds of war” and our hands raise into the air, desperately grasping for a reprieve. But where will help come from?

Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts.”

This is our surety: The Lord is our strength and our shield. Our power to combat life’s struggles lies from the gracious auspices of our loving and almighty God. We may ask how this works. It’s simple. Trust Him, with all our hearts.

Believing that He is God, ascertain that He is able to provide all our needs. Who else in this world could do that? I can’t think of anyone or anything else. Not even the strongest person in the whole universe nor all the armies in this universe. If we can’t meet the challenge of combating catastrophes, no matter what we confront them with, what good does it do for us to trust in our OWN understanding? Nothing!

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Do not trust our own understanding. Our intellect, wit, cleverness, or competency have not come forth and rescued us. They give us no comfort. They do not refresh our soul.

But . . . God gives us our daily bread, steadfast love, undeserved forgiveness, leads us in comforting ways, protects us from unforeseen trials, and welcomes us back into His presence when time is no more.

With ALL our hearts . . . believe in God . . . trust in God.



Trust and Obey

by Daniel B. Towner


When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


Forgiven?

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights observed and reserved.

 

Luke 15:20 “…But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion…”

“Upon the cross of Jesus
Mine eyes at times can see
The very dying form of one
Who suffered there for me:
And from my stricken heart with tears,
Two wonders I confess–
The wonders of redeeming love
And my unworthiness.”

~Elizabeth C. Clephane

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” has always been a favorite hymn of mine. It bores deeply to the very core of my being. As I sing the second verse my throat lumps up, my heart skips a beat and I am transported to that God-forsaken hill, standing in the shadow of my tormented and tortured Savior.

Trembling, mumbling, praying, hurting and crying, I kneel and bow before the King of kings and Lord of lords. His blood-drained form beckons me look up… and I see… the wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

Imagine having a “father” who loves us despite our deliberate disobedience, our numerous jaunts in the dirty gutters of shame, repetitive relishments in the pits of selfishness, those moments or years of rejection when we forsook his direction. How a holy God could hear our pleas for forgiveness, much less pardon our iniquities?

Sins come wrapped in a package that can only be bought by a sinless person. What a dilemma for mankind! No person has ever lived a sin-free life. But wait. The priceless wonders of God’s redeeming love are mind-boggling. You see… His love covers our sins and remembers them no more.

“Why? How?” you ask.

Well… a long time ago God came down from heaven in the form of His Son Jesus and paid the ransom for our sins. The cost was death to the Redeemer. Jesus was savagely whipped, flayed and mocked til His body was almost bled out, with crucifixion being the final indignity.

Hanging by three stout nails pounded through His hands and feet into a rugged chunk of wood, He saw us afar off atop that hill called Calvary. He died a slow, horribly agonizing death, for you, me, and all who believe in His redemption and saving grace.
What a Redeemer; what a Savior!

His death and suffering would not have saved us from the fires of hell if not for what happened three days later. Rising from His grave, He set the captives free from the hold of hell, loosing the bonds of death over us. He lives forever, and so shall we!

He rose up into heaven to reign with His Father and is preparing our new eternal home. The Holy Spirit was sent to enlighten our way through Bible study, as Jesus unceasingly prays for our souls. Oh, believers, the wonder of it all!

The next vision that we see is a stark contrast to the sinless form of a holy Son: our utterly depraved unworthiness. We are all so undeserving of His love and grace. No matter how hard we try, we can’t make ourselves good enough to approach a holy God.

Looking upon our soiled “garments”, our spirits can only cry out earnestly as with the prophet Isaiah, “Woe is me! I am undone!”

As Helen H. Lemmel so eloquently penned:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.”

 

Who are We?

© Jeanne E Webster All rights reserved

 

“What is man, that You should exalt him,
That You should set Your heart on him,
That You should visit him every morning,
And test him every moment?” Job 7:17-18

 

Job asked this with belabored passion after months of being tested of God. “Just who is mankind that You uplift him, set Your heart on him, visit him every morning and inspect him continually?”

I would say mankind is certainly most unique in God’s eye. Stop processing for a minute and think about it. God exalts us above all His earthly creations, giving us power over every living thing. We are His cherished beings. We are accompanied every day with His presence. He hovers over us like a concerned mother, taking note of our status.

Now . . . why would He do all that? He loves us!

♫♫♫
Psalm 148
11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:
12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

GOD Vs. Mammon


© Jeanne E Webster

 

Matthew 6a:24 No one can SERVE two masters; for either he will hate the one and will love the other, OR he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” KJV

Jesus taught us that we cannot serve God AND Mammon. Let’s explore His meaning so we can apply this wisdom to our minds. What does serve mean? It means to “become a servant of,” or “become enslaved.” When we serve God or Mammon, we are “taking care of business” for God OR Mammon.

All right, who is God? God is the Creator who made everything in this world. He made people from the dirt of the earth. I’ve heard of “older than dirt,” and now I know how far back that goes! Therefore, God is the Main Man, the head honcho, # 1. He says so Himself in Exodus 3: 1-12. This might be a good place to pause and read all about it! The Old Testament is chock full of sensational discoveries.

Mammon is all about wealth, money, greed, ambition, and/or riches. Oh, that! Yes, that. Right away, we see that we have a dilemma. That little two letter word, OR, snaps us to attention. How does serving God differ from serving Mammon? Serving God requires presenting to Him all our praise, honor, love and adoration as part of our daily lives.

How do we serve Mammon? Serving Mammon is submitting all our love, praise, honor and adoration to our possessions and achievements. Wealth, money, greed, ambition, and riches become the main reason for getting up every morning. Yes, they do become our masters if we trust in them for our daily needs. We cannot trust in God while we trust in ourselves, our money, our possessions, our positions, our anything. We are NOT servants of God if we devote our given time (our life) to anything other than God.

Example: A Boston Red Sox player is at bat. He is there to drive in runs for his team so they can outscore the Yankees. Yet, when this same player defensively plays center field and purposely allows a Yankee player to hit a ball past him, he is defeating his purpose. He cannot play for both teams! He cannot serve both the Red Sox and the Yankees. One team has to hold all his attention and devotion or he is not good for either team.

So…as servants of God, we also must be wholly committed and devoted to God and to the things of God. We are on God’s team and anything we do to hinder or dishonor this team results in a loss of our usefulness and effectiveness to this team.

In Luke 2:49, Jesus tells his parents that He “must be about His Father’s business.” As children of God, we also have a single purpose in this life. Our hearts, minds, and spirits must always be about our Father’s business. We know we cannot truly serve Him while we are “about” the business of anything else. We must daily correct our course by communion with our heavenly Father.

“…by the mercies of God, present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom. 12:1-2 (ASV)

~Shalom