Tag Archive for Acts

A Pearl of Great Price

I have been thinking about how Revelations says that the twelve gates of heaven are made of pearls. One pearl for each gate. Pearls.com says that natural pearls form when, “an irritant – usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand – works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called ‘nacre’, is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.”

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46

I have been considering that Paul and Barnabas said, “We must endure many hardships to enter the kingdom of God”. Acts 14:22

Paul also said that the way of the cross is so simple that it is a stumbling block to the religious and offense to those who are learned.

“Jews demand signs and Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

The world looks different to those who are being saved. Faith changes life.

Jesus promises a hundred times as much as I had before, but then He adds, “along with persecution”. Mark 10:30

He says I cannot be His disciple unless I carry a cross. When He said this, a crucifix with someone dying or dead hanging on it was likely within sight. If not literally, certainly each of His immediate hearers could clearly remember the last time they saw one. (Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24, Luke 14:27, Mark 8:34)

Yet the way is not hard.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus wept

It’s okay to cry. Today I want to remind us of that simple truth. The same man who wrote to the Philippians, “Rejoice always!” cried as he wrote part of the letter. (Philippians 3:18) He also cried every day for three years when he served as a missionary in Ephesus. (Acts 20:31)

Part of following Jesus is NOT turning off our human emotion. Jesus wept. (John 11:35) He became so angry in one instance that He whipped people out of the temple courts. (John 2:13-17) Jesus as the image of the invisible God wept and was angry. (Colossians 1:15)

The reality is that until Jesus comes a second time and restores peace and perfection to the whole earth (all its inhabitants, creatures and creation), there will be things to legitimately cry about here. There will be reasons to be righteously angry. It is only after the coming of the new earth that this changes. (Revelations 21:1-4)

If you have something to weep about this Christmas season, I encourage you to give yourself permission to do so. Jesus cried. It is okay if we aren’t laughing every moment of every day. It doesn’t make us any less godly or Christ-like.

As you express your emotion as part of a very real human experience, I pray that you will experience God’s comfort. For Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

Good things for the hungry

“And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17:25

This verse was in my morning time of meditation. I love how as Paul is talking to the then-heathen world, he flips their understanding of the supernatural, spiritual world on its head. The culture of the time sustained their gods with sacrifices and worship. Their gods needed much to survive. Paul proclaimed to them a God who needed nothing to survive. Rather He was the source of all life. 

How refreshing this advent season that we do not need to bring anything to God! It is enough to approach Him with humility while understanding that He is the only source for everything we need. Should we approach Him in any other way, He will simply send us away empty. We will leave with less than we had when we came. 

When she visited Elizabeth, Mary sang, “He has filled the hungry with good things,but has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53)

This advent season, let us approach God hungry! Perhaps fasting will intensify our hunger for Him. Maybe other spiritual disciplines such as extended times of prayer and thanksgiving or meditation or Bible reading are more appropriate for stimulating your hunger. 

Whatever the case, I beg you not to be sent away empty this advent season! Come hungry, and leave full. He is the only Source of life! Let us approach Him as such!! 

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13