John 3:16-18:

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.


Do we really Believe in Jesus Christ? Do we not only Believe that He existed, but do we Believer that He is the Son of God and part of the Holy Trinity (along with the Father and the Holy Spirit)? “True Belief” is the dividing line of many people, races, creeds, etc. While many (including the devil) believe that Jesus Christ was an actual person that lived in the 1st century A.D., they don’t Believe that He is God. While many Christians say that they Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, their actions don’t follow their “so-called” Beliefs. You see, Jesus was clear in all of Scripture that “True Believers” Believe all the way – not just part of the way. They are willing to die for their Belief in God – picking-up their Crosses and following in the Footsteps of Jesus on the Via Delarosa (the road to Calvary). While we all know a lot of Christians, how many could we say that we think would die for Jesus? Could we even say for sure that we would die for Him? Given the constant state of chaos that is the world, we are all given daily opportunities to evangelize for Him in the face of the anti-Christ. But how many of us actually do this? How many of us risk it all – jobs, friendships, Family ties, persecution, and even death – for Him? Going forward, let’s all encourage each other and do our best to follow Jesus’ Way – regardless of the earthly consequences. Those that do will not be condemned with this generation, but will live peacefully and triumphantly with the Eternal Consequences.

Fear of Others

John 20:19-23:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”


How often in life do we fail to do something because of the fear of “others”?  Fear is one of the biggest motivators in the world.  But usually, our fear is placed in the wrong location.  Rather than fearing going to hell, we fear what someone might say to or about us, what our employer might do to us, various indeterminable outcomes, etc.  The Disciples of Jesus were hiding in the upper room – they were so afraid of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Jews, and Romans that they had the doors locked.  Just imagine what an upper room in May in Jerusalem would have smelled like with at least 11 men crammed together – and, who probably weren’t taking showers or baths!?  That’s how afraid they were…  Jesus ended all of that when He bypassed the locked door and showed-up to give the Disciples His Holy Spirit.  That was the Game-Changer – when the Holy Spirit was breathed on them by Jesus.  From there, all of the Disciples lived lives of utter devotion, piety, and affliction – most dying horrific deaths as Martyrs of the Early Church.  But they weren’t afraid of anyone, anymore – they had the Holy Spirit.  So, when we’re feeling afraid, in despair, fearful, isolated, etc., we need to remember that, through our Baptism in the Holy Trinity, we, too, have been given the Power of the Holy Spirit.  St. Paul said it so well in His letter to St. Timothy (2 Timothy 1:7), “God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of sobriety.”  So, let’s recalibrate our fear, remembering that the only Thing that we should fear is God – and that all other fear is just a waste of our time and a distraction from the Mission.

Moments of Doubt

Matthew 28:16-20:

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”


Moments of doubt are a natural part of the human experience. We were designed with free will in all things – including our feelings of what is possible and what seems impossible. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus reminds us all that, “with God all things are possible”. So, why do we doubt ourselves and others at times? Our doubt is usually due to a lack of Faith. When we know God’s Word – the foundation of our Earthly journeys – we can combat doubt in a way that is nearly impossible without God’s Word. Sure, people in the secular world – including atheists – can seem quite successful to all of us in “worldly-terms” (e.g. money, fame, fans, stuff, etc.). But, far too many celebrities are addicted to something(s) horrible and true Joy is only found in a true relationship with Jesus Christ. And, that comes from knowing Him through His Word. So, when we find ourselves doubting “something(s)”, we should remember to pause and determine what does God say about that “thing” – because, per Jesus, when we do so, “all Power in Heaven and on earth has been given to Him” and He loves to share It all with us.

No Longer Orphans

John 14:15-21:

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”


Jesus is very clear in His Message to all of us. All that we have to do in this life to be His Children is to keep His Commandments – and not just the Ten Commandments, but all of His Commandments throughout Scripture; including the 2nd half of His Message on the Mount of the Beatitudes (ALL of Matthew 5; not just verses 1-12). You see, it’s easy to say that we Believe in Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, etc. – like St. James said (in a Book that Martin Luther ironically called the “Epistle of Straw”), even the demons believe (James 2:19). We can’t just say that we love Jesus – we must “act” for Jesus. Again, it’s called the Book of “Acts” – not the “Book of Belief”. If we really love our Spouses, we act accordingly. It’s the same with Jesus – if we really love Jesus, we Act accordingly. It is because of our Belief that we are offered Grace, but it is because of Acts that we are able to humbly live the Gospels and not become orphaned to hell by God. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. And, if necessary, use words.” May we all show the world Why we are Christians with our Acts of Faith.

Where Are We Going?

John 14:1-12:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”


Many people don’t understand What Heaven is or what it’s like to be There.  They struggle with whether or not Heaven is even real.  For some of us who really struggle in these ways, there are Answers right before us in this world right now – Answers that were Gifted to us from Jesus, but Answers that are being shared by Christians and non-Christians alike – even by atheists.  You see, it’s estimated that there are 13 million Americans (for example) in the United States today that have had near death experiences (NDE’s) – meaning, folks that have died momentarily only to return to their bodies with the ability to share what they “experienced” while their Soul(s) left their body(s).  That’s an astonishing 4% of the U.S.’s population alone!  Some folks merely floated outside of their bodies; some floated all the way to the initial clouds of Heaven; and some went all the way to the Throne of God.  While this is all very hard for far too many to fathom, what makes these stories most compelling is Who they all seem to meet along the way.  Known to all as “the Man in white”, for those who visibly see Jesus, the description is the same – whether or not they are Christians.  There are wonderful summaries of the NDE phenomena for all to enjoy in many books – including Pastor John Burke’s “Imagine Heaven”.  If we find ourselves wandering from What awaits those who Believe and/or Who is waiting for us on the Other Side, it’s a great idea to spend some time learning more about Heaven from folks who are walking in this world in shoes just like ours’.  Heaven is real – I, too, have met Jesus in Heaven via an NDE.  Jesus is Awesome and Heaven is beautiful.  So, let’s continue to read our Bibles and share our stories with others.  It takes a village to raise a child and it took 12+ Apostles to “Act” to spread the Word of God to the ends of the earth.

Your Sheep

John 10:1-10:

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”


While we are all Jesus’ Sheep in this world and are Called to follow Him – the Good Shepherd – we are all Shepherds of our own flocks…flocks that were Bestowed upon us by the Good Shepherd. Once we accept Jesus as our Lord, we can then turn our focus on being the best shepherds that we can – including tending, without excuse, to all of the flocks that Jesus gave to us. While it’s obvious that our Spouses and our Children are our immediate flocks, our flocks are much bigger and broader than we think. Often, when people have near death experiences (NDE’s), they meet people at the Gates of Heaven with Jesus that they don’t remember or recall. Some of those people that are welcoming them Home are complete shocks to the person having the NDE. So, as we meander the sheep fields of this world, let’s be sure to know the Good Shepherd, follow His Holy example, and do the best that we can do in this life. For all of us Sheep and Shepherds that Believe in Jesus have Hope in being a part of His Eternal Flock one day – why not make that day now?

Recognizing Jesus

Luke 24:13-35:

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.


Isn’t it ironic that we often fail to recognize Jesus acting and working in our daily lives? Everything that we do and all that we embark upon is directly-impacted by the Hand of God. Even when we’re making bad decisions (via our free will), God is trying to help guide us back to Him in an Eternal “pinball game” of life. When we “tilt” the game in the wrong direction, God is swift and quick to come to our aid. He uses people, Angels, Saints, situations, science, etc. to bring us to His Calling for us. Like the Disciples on the road to Emmaus, we sometimes get so caught-up in ourselves, that we miss Jesus. And, when we “miss” Jesus, we often really “miss” Him in more ways than one. So, as we continue along our earthly journeys, let’s be sure to do our best to recognize Jesus – in life, ourselves, others, etc. St. Mother Teresa used to tell folks that the Gospel could be summarized on just five fingers: “You did it to me”. So, let us “see” Him in all things – good and bad.

The Party Crasher

John 20:19-31:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.


Jesus was The Perfect Party Crasher. Throughout Scripture and His-story, Jesus just keeps showing-up – often when folks least expect Him. Whether it was at the Nativity, the Temple, or the Upper Room, Jesus has a way of “crashing the party”. And, even when He does crash a party or two, we also often find that many of us still don’t Listen to, Trust in, and/or Obey Him and His Word(s). It’s almost like we’re Spiritually-blind, deaf, and ignorant at times to what God is telling us in our lives – even when it’s incredibly obvious and audibly-loud. That’s pride – it’s what got satan “booted” from the Eternal Party in Heaven and it’s what could get us exiled to hell forever. So, if we find Jesus “crashing” one of our own, worldly parties, we must be strong and mature enough Spiritually to at least stop and Listen to Him. For by hearing His Words, we will find that His Truths hold the Mysteries to Eternal Life. The hardest step in our earthly walk is Obeying what He’s telling us – as it often goes against what the world is telling us. But, this world is not our Home and we can Trust Him when He says, “you don’t want to miss My Party in Heaven”.

We Win!

John 20:1-9:

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.


We win – that’s right.  The bottom line is that all who Believe in Jesus, Repent of their sins, do their Best to sin no more, continue to Confess their sins to God (when they do fall off the Way), and Call on the Name of Jesus will eventually be in Heaven with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Saints, and the Angels for Eternity.  The world is free to disagree with this and condemn Believers to all sorts of persecution on this side of Heaven, but the world has nothing on those who Believe.  The world and its prince, satan, lose.  So, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, over-persecuted, alone and/or isolated, etc., take heart, because, as soon as Jesus rolled back the stone from His tomb, death was permanently and Eternally-defeated for all those who Believe.  Listen…Trust…Obey…and run to the open Arms of Jesus today!

Truly He is the Son of God

Matthew 27:11-54:

Jesus stood before the governor, Pontius Pilate, who questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?” But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over. While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him.” The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus. The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They answered, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” But he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Let him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.” And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him. As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha — which means Place of the Skull —, they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink. After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And they placed over his head the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” The revolutionaries who were crucified with him also kept abusing him in the same way. From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, ‘Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.” But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”


Many people will talk about how great of a Prophet Jesus was.  Or, how great of a Teacher He was.  But far too many people stop there and don’t recognize His Divinity.  Jesus couldn’t make the claims that He did while He was here on earth without either being the Son of God or a mad man.  When we “cherry-pick” the low-hanging fruit of what Jesus said and ignore the entire Gospel, we limit ourselves.  It’s no different than recognizing someone’s achievements in life while ignoring their mistakes – we just don’t get a full-picture of who someone is by focusing just on the highlights in their life that we want to focus on.  At Calvary, even non-believing Jews and pagan Gentiles recognized that Jesus was the Son of God.  The global earthquake that was felt at Calvary (along with the Blood Red Moon) when Jesus gave-up His Spirit was actually felt (and recorded) around the world.  It is critical that we look at Who Jesus said He was – and not just focus on the highlights of some of the great things that He said.  Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.  So, either He was the Son of God or, again, he was a mad man.  Given what we now know about Jesus through the Gospels, archeology, science, history, etc., it is crystal-clear who He is.  If we find ourselves doubting who He is, we need to “seek” the Truth for ourselves and be humbled (and not proud) in what we find.  For His Truth will always set us free (John 8:31-32).

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