A Man’s Best Friend

A Man’s Best Friend

my best friend is a Miniature Australian Shepherd or mini aussie for short named Shiloh.  He is the coolest dog i have ever had the privilege of calling friend. You know what they say about dogs, “a dog is a man’s best friend”. Shiloh is that dog.  He goes with me most places. Has his own profile on my MinHub Youth Ministry App, he has his own Facebook and Instagram…he might even Tweet.  He is the happiest to see me on any given day and twice as much when i have been gone all day.  However, as stated before he goes most places with me.

One day when i was trying to understand Shiloh a bit more i googled searched his breed and read that Mini Aussie’s suffer from separation anxiety. This causes them to chew things up and or act out.  Since reading that i have made it a point to bring him along with me more often. In fact as i write this he is sitting at my feet under my desk.  He knows some tricks, enjoys playing fetch, walks beside me without a leash, comes when i call, has his door that he likes to use when getting in the van and sits on my lap. He is pretty much my snoopy and i am his Charlie Brown.

When i think of my relationship with Shiloh i can’t help but think of how God desires us; Not to do tricks but to use our talents to bring Him joy. To bring others to Him. To walk beside Him freely. To come when He calls. To use our prayer closet regularly. To sit with Him.

i know a dog isn’t the best analogy since we are not dogs and Jesus does not consider us pets…but the response, the bareness of the relationship i think reflects the heart of the Father well.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

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

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

You are Loved,

cj

Question #4 (Pilate’s Plight)

Question #4 (Pilate’s Plight)

“What is truth?” Pilate’s final question before leaving Jesus was a rhetorical one. He didn’t expect a response, i often wonder if he wasn’t asking himself the question out loud. Perhaps if we were reading this as a play it would look something like this:

Pilate: (Exhausted and confused he begins to walk towards the door) <Pauses> “What is truth?” [Audibly to himself]

You can probably relate to that, i know that i have often asked myself questions out loud. The real concern would come if i actually answered myself…well i may have done that too, a time or two. Often when i do pause and ask myself questions it is in a moment of confusion. What should i do…etc.

Pilate leaves Jesus and goes back to the Jewish leaders and says, “I find no fault in Him at all.” Pilate was torn, there was nothing to accuse Jesus of…He was indeed an innocent man. Pilate wrestling with the question, “what is truth?” is a question many wrestle with daily.

Let me leave you with this to ponder, a few chapters earlier in John, before Jesus was on trial with Pilate, He says this;

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know and the way you know.” ‘Thomas said to Him, “‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”‘ Jesus said to him, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:1-6

You are Loved,

cj

Question #2 (Pilate’s Plight)

Question #2 (Pilate’s Plight)

Last week we took a look at Pilate’s first question to Jesus, “Are You the King of the Jews?” So rich in its context and with Pilate’s next question we find that Pilate was a man of deep thought and subtle conviction. In response to Pilate’s first question Jesus replied, “Are you speaking for yourself about this or did others tell you this concerning Me?” A question answered by a question answered by a question….

Pilate, in response to Jesus asks, “Am I a Jew?” The idea of the “KING OF THE JEWS” and His love for all humanity has been around for 2000 years. Can the King of the Jews mean anything to anyone other than a Jew? Can the long awaited Jewish Messiah have any meaning for a gentile? The questions just seem to continue from here over the generations since the first recorded question from a gentile to Jesus, “Am I a Jew?” i don’t know but perhaps Pilate’s heart was trying to grasp something greater and even completely unaware begin to bring the message of Hope to all humanity.

Jesus, rises above the question. He presents a new reality to the religious that later is addressed in the letter to the Church in Rome this way, “Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.” a few verses down Paul continues, “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree-some of the people of Israel-have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a  wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also received the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment form the root of God’s special olive tree.” (Romans 11:11-12,17)

Jesus, in His response to Pilate laid the foundation for what Paul writes here to Rome when He said, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My Kingdom is not from here.” In other words, Jesus was simply stating that there is something greater going on here and that redemption is available for all of humanity…God’s love is greater than boarders. Not to say that Israel doesn’t have a sweet spot in God’s heart, we read that in the letter to the Romans but God’s love transcends boarders and is extended to all that believe!

Pilate’s inner turmoil played out for us here delivers a message of eternal hope that regardless of our nationality God is the redeemer of all. And that if Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world neither is ours

You are Loved,

cj