Posts Tagged ‘John’

This Sunday, my church has the privilege of hosting our community’s Veteran’s day service. For me, it is a great honor to be able to speak both for our community and as a representative of Jesus to these great men and women who have served our country so faithfully.

My Veteran’s Day Message – Greater Love Has No Man

The text for my message comes from Jesus Himself. It is found in John’s gospel chapter 15.

John 15:13 New King James Version (NKJV) 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

This quote from Jesus has been used many times when speaking of our military and our veterans. To give your life in service of another is the greatest sign of love that any person can give. When a veteran signs up for military service they know that they may be called upon at any time to go defend and protect their friends and neighbors from any threats to this country.

When Jesus made this statement, He was talking about upcoming sacrifice on the cross. He was willingly laying His life down for the greater good of His friends and the greater good of all mankind.

When I think about all that our veterans have done for us over the years, I am extremely humbled. Their willingness to serve in the midst of extreme danger is not something to be taken lightly. They deserve our utmost respect. They also willingly laid down their lives for the greater good of us. In this they have followed the example of Jesus.

A Message To Our Veterans

Once again our nation is threatened. The threat does not come from outside forces but from forces from within. Our culture, way of life, and values are all at risk. The fourth President of the United States, James Madison said this.

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” – Fourth President of the United States & founding Father – James Madison

and Harry S. Truman is quoted to have said,

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don’t have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in the right for anybody except the state.” – Harry S. Truman

Our nation was founded upon certain principles that are found in the Bible. Just like the principle of laying down your life for your friends is found in the Bible, our personal liberties and freedoms, our constitutional rights come from principles in the Bible.

Today, the Bible, Christianity, and the whole foundation of our nations existence are under attack by those that would replace those foundations with a relative morality and foundation that changes with the whims of those enforcing them.

A Spiritual Call To Arms

My fellow Americans, we have another battle to fight, another enemy to vanquish. However today it is not a call to take up guns, but it is a call to take up words, ideas, and actions. It is time for all of us, veterans or not, to speak up, stand up, and fight for the very soul of this nation. However it will not be done with acts of violence, but instead acts of love, acts of sacrifice, and acts of giving.

Just as Jesus gave His life for the lives of all of us, we need to take up His example and lay down our lives for our friends, family, community and nation. We need to gently speak the truth in love. Fight the revisionist history and those that would remove faith from the public discourse. We need to take up one more cause. We need to once again bring Jesus back into our culture.


Pastor Duke

This article was first published on my website Taber’s Truths

Katie nervously walked into the church youth group party that Linda had invited her to attend. She hadn’t been to a church since she was a little girl and didn’t know what to expect at a Valentine dinner with mostly strangers. But her heart started to calm when she found valentines at her plate that had been written for her from everyone there. They had cards for each other too, but it touched Katie’s heart that they would think to do that for her, a visitor to their group.

Katie felt so welcomed that she accepted Linda’s invitation to a church service. There she heard about God’s love for her in spite of her sinfulness, and she embraced Jesus’ forgiveness. The youth group had given her a fragrance of God’s love, and God opened her heart to trust Him.

“If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another,” the apostle John said (1 John 4:11). That’s a love for our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as for those who don’t yet know Him. Ray Stedman wrote, “As God’s love shines into our hearts, we become more open to others, allowing the fragrance of love to drift out and attract those around us.” The youth group did that for Katie.

God can spread the fragrance of His love through us today.

Lord, I’m so thankful that because You first loved me, I am able to love others. Please spread the sweet fragrance of Your love through me to everyone I interact with today. Amen.
A godly life is a fragrance that draws others to Christ.

GPS is the latest way for travelers to find the best route to their destination, but my husband and I still navigate the old-fashioned way—with maps. Since Jay is usually the driver, the role of map watcher is mine by default. In general, I am not directionally challenged, but it seems that way when I try to navigate while the car is moving. Even though I know where we want to end up, I can’t figure out the best way to get there if we don’t stop to find out where we are. I need to get my bearings.

This can be true in our spiritual life as well. When we try to figure out the way God wants us to go, we need to stop and get our spiritual bearings. If we don’t, we are likely to end up lost in unintended places, situations, or relationships.

In helping His disciples navigate life and find their way through the traps and temptations of the world, Jesus often said, “stop.” “Stop grumbling,” “stop judging by mere appearances,” “stop doubting and believe” (John 6:43; 7:24; 20:27 NIV). To follow Jesus, we frequently have to stop something we are doing that’s wrong. As we depend on His guidance, we will learn to go in the way He says is right.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. —Psalm 139:23-24
God’s way is the right way to go.

“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”         1 Timothy 6:17

Our search for joy takes us many different directions—dream holidays, shopping, food, clothes, friends, cars—the list is almost endless.

My guess is that if you perked up at the mention of shopping, holidays, or cars, you might have felt a twinge of guilt. We often view the joy of temporal things as less than spiritual and show our discomfort by apologizing for nice things: “I wouldn’t have bought this, but someone gave me a wonderful deal.” As if real Christians never eat quiche, drive cool cars, or wear designer clothes!

No doubt God’s greatest gift to us is our relationship with His Son Jesus. It’s a gift beyond comparison. Jesus promised that when we abide in Him we will experience the fulfillment of His joy (John 15:11), and without that kind of deep, abiding joy the rest of life is mundane at best.

But Scripture also casts the joy of the Lord in terms of temporal things. The enjoyment of “things” can be a positive spiritual experience. When we recognize that He “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17) and that “every good gift . . . is from above” (James 1:17), our hearts should be full of thankfulness and praise. This, in and of itself, is an act of worship! Enjoy the Giver and the gifts.

We thank Thee, Lord, for daily food, For plenteous store of earthly good; For life and health we still possess, With house and home so richly blessed. —Mohler

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends.” John 15:15

I grew up in a home with lots of wall plaques. One had a quotation by poet Claude Mermet that stands out in my mind: “Friends are like melons; let me tell you why: To find a good one, you must one hundred try!”

Most of us can identify with that. It’s hard to find good friends.

I wonder if God ever feels that way about us? Out of all the people in the Old Testament, only one was ever called His friend. In Isaiah 41:8, God says that He chose Jacob, who was an offspring of “Abraham My friend.” Pretty exclusive club! So you can imagine how shocking it was for the disciples to hear Jesus say, “No longer do I call you servants, . . . but I have called you friends” (John 15:15).

Better yet, He is saying that to us as well. So, what does friendship with Jesus look like? It starts with commitment. As He said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (v.14). Then He added the dynamic of communication. He promised to tell us all that the Father has told Him (v.15). Are you listening? And as His friends we begin to bear fruit (v.16), sharing a commonality with Him by reflecting His glory in our attitudes and actions (2 Cor. 3:18).

Jesus welcomes you to the privilege of friendship with Him! Are you His friend?

What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! —Scriven

Welcome to the privilege of friendship with God.

The Cause of Continued Darkness

The truth in the Person of the Logos, the Word, is seeking to illuminate the minds of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. For this reason, when we conceive ourselves to be honest seekers who cannot find the light we are in a state of dangerous self-deception. It is a grave situation. Unless help comes quickly the darkness may close down upon us permanently. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness. Behind all our failure to find light is an unconfessed and possibly an unconscious love of darkness. This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God (John 3:19-21). We should always remember that we are accountable not only for the light we have but also for the light we might have if we were willing to obey it. Truth is sovereign and will not allow itself to be trifled with. And it is easy to find for it is trying to find us. Obedience is the big problem: and unwillingness to obey is the cause of continued darkness.

Many Christians remain stunted and dwarfed in spiritual things, so as to present the same appearance year after year. No up-springing of advanced and refined feeling is manifest in them. They exist but do not “grow up into Him in all things.” But should we rest content with being the “green blade,” when we might advance to “the ear,” and eventually ripen into the “full corn in the ear?” Should we be satisfied to believe in Christ, and to say, “I am safe,” without wishing to know in our own experience more of the fulness which is to be found in Him. It should not be so; we should, as good traders in heaven’s market, covet to be enriched in the knowledge of Jesus. It is all very well to keep other men’s vineyards, but we must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening. Why should it always be winter time in our hearts? We must have our seed time, it is true, but O for a spring time-yea, a summer season, which shall give promise of an early harvest. If we would ripen in grace, we must live near to Jesu s-in His presence-ripened by the sunshine of His smiles. We must hold sweet communion with Him. We must leave the distant view of His face and come near, as John did, and pillow our head on His breast; then shall we find ourselves advancing in holiness, in love, in faith, in hope-yea, in every precious gift. As the sun rises first on mountain-tops and gilds them with his light, and presents one of the most charming sights to the eye of the traveller; so is it one of the most delightful contemplations in the world to mark the glow of the Spirit’s light on the head of some saint, who has risen up in spiritual stature, like Saul, above his fellows, till, like a mighty Alp, snow-capped, he reflects first among the chosen, the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and bears the sheen of His effulgence high aloft for all to see, and seeing it, to glorify His Father which is in heaven.