1 Comment

God’s Gifts

Our Father is the consummate Giver. We know that all we have and even who we are, comes as a gift from His hand.

As I was reading in John 17 this morning this verse popped out at me. It what God gave to Jesus that caught my attention. What does the Father give His only Son? What kind of gift does the Lord Almighty give the Savior of the world?

Us.

I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. – John 17:6 ESV

In context He is speaking specifically about the disciples, but by implication, the Father has made a gift to the Son of those who keep His Word.

Part of me thinks—not much of a gift, me with all my faults, my weaknesses, my fickle heart. God’s gift to us was so much better. You see when God gave a gift to the world, He gave Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 ESV

Now that is a gift to write home about. God looked at this mess of a world and sent His only, His beloved, His most precious Son, Jesus. He held nothing back. In His giving, He gave all.

What did Jesus do with this gift He was given? He gave Himself, heart, soul, mind, and strength, to its care and feeding. He showed them the Father. He taught them and loved them and lived with them. He laid down His life for them.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Ben NelsonSee you again soon

Ben

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new book “Encounters with Jesus” in paperback or for your kindle reader. If you’ve already gotten it and read it, PLEASE leave an honest review on Amazon. Your review will get this book in front of more people! Thank you.

4 Comments

Husband—Brother ~ SoS Saturday

Many Waters - SoS headerI have to admit, before I turn the page and start Song of Songs 8, I was dawdling though chapter 7. Have you ever gotten near the end of a long book and not wanted it to end. For me it’s the Les Misérables syndrome. It reminds me the way the little boy let’s his grandfather read the kissing part at the end of the Princess Bride. That how I feel today. I so love this song, and as we open the last chapter, I’m just a little sad.

Ah well – be that as it may – here we are – Song of Songs 8:

Oh that you were like a brother to me
Who nursed at my mother’s breasts.
If I found you outdoors,
I would kiss you;
No one would despise me, either.

Song of Songs 8:1 NASB

To my western twenty-first century mind, this doesn’t make much sense.

I’ve grown up in an era where a public display of affection was common place and deemed appropriate by most.

Not so in ancient Hebrew culture. A man and woman, even if they were betrothed would not be found holding hands in public, let alone kissing. Betrothal was similar to what our culture would call engagement, but actually more binding.

Today, in most circles, engagements are breakable. In fact, isn’t that the plot of better than half of the romantic movies out there today. Woman is engaged to the wrong man, and during their engagement she meets Mr. Wright, but doesn’t see it till she is standing in front of the clergy on her wedding day. All the while she’s been openly affectionate with both Mr. Wright and Mr Rong.

In Hebrew tradition you would never kiss before your wedding day. You would not even hold hands. Likely you wold never even be alone together.

So when she speaks of wanting to be her Beloved’s sister, it is so she would not have to restrain her affection toward Him in public.

She is saying, in effect, “I want everyone to know I belong to You.”

It is a prayer for boldness. Similar to Peter’s prayer in Acts 4

And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. – Acts 4:29-30 NASB

Another aspect of this Brother/Husband relationship is the depth to which the maiden desires to know her Groom and be known of Him. Our relationship with the Lord touches us at many levels, and reaches to many depths.

Think for a moment about how well husband and wife know each other on their wedding day. How much of yourself did you (or would you) reveal to your spouse before you were married. Now jump back to a life where you had never even been alone together. Face it, even after a long engagement, newlyweds are strangers.

But my brother, my sister, this is a person I know. I know their strengths; I know their weaknesses; I know their habits; I know what brings them joy, and I know what gets under their skin.

I love how the Lord walks us through many stages of knowing.

I am a servant of the Lord.
The Lord Jesus calls me friend.
The Father calls me son and I call Him Abba.
Jesus is the first born of many brethren, making me His younger brother.
As son and brother, I am joint heir with Him of all that the Father has.
Finally, He calls me His bride, full partner in life and ministry.

When first I married, I knew my brothers far better than I knew my wife. After 35 years of life and love with Corinne, there is no one on earth who knows me as she does.

That’s how it is to be with our brother/husband Jesus. He wants to know us, and to be known by us as deeply as those who grow up together—as completely as those who grow old together.

Lord, I want to know You as You know me.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new book “Encounters with Jesus” in paperback or for your kindle reader. If you’ve already gotten it and read it, PLEASE leave an honest review on Amazon. Your review will get this book in front of more people! Thank you.

3 Comments

The Messenger of the Covenant

Lord's_cup_and_Bread

Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. – Malachi 3:1 ESV

I’m pondering this phrase ‘messenger of the covenant’ this morning.

Jesus offered the cup to the disciples at the last supper saying:

And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. – Luke 22:20 ESV

Jesus was this Messenger of the Covenant. He came, not simply to announce—herald—this new covenant. He came as a vessel, bearing this covenant.

His blood poured out for the atonement of the sin of all the world.

His blood poured out before the Father as a drink offering.

His life flowing from His head, His back, His side and soaking into the ground, an answer in kind to the blood of righteous Able crying out for thousands of years.

His blood—a new covenant—life for all who will come to Him.

Hallelujah, What a Savior.

Leave a comment

Encounters With Jesus | Book Review | Steve Bremner

One of my “Must Listen” podcasts is “Fire on Your Head” which is hosted by Steve Bremner. He and his wife Lilly are missionaries to Peru, and he hosts a podcast that is always worth listening to. He’s not afraid to talk about tough subjects, and he gets some of the best guest.

We have been online friends for a couple of years now, and I asked him if he would consider reviewing my book.

He did, and I am humbled by his words – I wanted to share it here so you could see it too.

So here’s my friend Steve and his comments on my book – Encounters With Jesus.

Encounters With Jesus | Book Review | Steve Bremner.

By the way – one very tangible way you can help the ministry of this book is to review it on Amazon. Amazon promotes books that get reviews.

Ben NelsonThanks much

Walk in the light

 

Ben

1 Comment

A Beautiful Thing


But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
– Mark 14:6 ESV

As I read this passage this morning, this phrase ‘beautiful thing,’ stuck me. It drove me back to this wonderful story.

In context, we’re at a dinner party with Simon the leper, and a woman came in and found her way to Jesus.

She took a flask of precious ointment and poured it out on Jesus head.

Immediately others in attendance expressed their disgust at this waste.

It’s interesting to me that the word Mark chooses for ‘waste’ is not the same word as Jesus used in the parable of the prodigal son. “. . . and there he squandered his property in reckless living. – (Luke 15:13 ESV) Mark does not suggest that she squandered this ointment.

Here—with this precious offering poured out without regard to its cost—the writer uses a word that means ‘utter destruction.’ This perfume was not simply wasted, it was destroyed.

And yet, Jesus looks at her offering as a ‘beautiful thing.’

It makes me think of another precious and costly offering, poured out without reserve, not simply wasted but utterly destroyed.

This was the beautiful thing that Jesus did on the cross.

He took a vessel of precious ointment, the most costly possession mankind had ever known, and poured it out without reserve.

That vessel was His body, that precious ointment His blood.

That’s a beautiful thing.

3 Comments

Encounters With Jesus – A Review

I have a confession to make.

I know that the Bible is full of truth and wisdom, but it is not always that exciting to read (gasp!). Sometimes it seems dry or over my head. Do you know what I mean?

Some Bible stories have become so familiar to me that, honestly, I no longer find them very captivating.

Sometimes I try to read a passage ”as if I were reading it for the first time”, but that’s hard to do.

Sometimes I am no longer moved by the depth and truth of what Jesus taught when He was on earth as a man, or the vast love that He demonstrated to every. single. person. that He met.

But sometimes… [Read more here]

Leave a comment

Death to Truth!

Image Credit - graphicstock.com - licensed for use

Image Credit – graphicstock.com – licensed for use

For a few years now, one of the things the Lord has been teaching me is how serious He is about reconciliation and unity.

Splitters

From the start this idea comes hard to a born and bread protestant. I mean, after all, protest-ant – one who protests – that’s what I am.

We protest-ants are famous for unity – especially if you agree with us. But hey, if you sprinkle instead of immerse – that is beyond the pale of orthodoxy.

People recognize our sense of community – unless you raise your hands when you worship.

We have a certain renown when it comes to body life – until you start spouting your old-earth propaganda.

We take great pride in our loyalty – though I hope you don’t start talking about predestination.

There is no one quite as long suffering as we are – unless you believe in that mid-trib, pre-mill, rapture-less interpretation of Daniel and Revelation.

We are such a bunch of splitters. We are best known for splitting over doctrine and theology.

Floaters

And perhaps the days of actual church splits are past. Now we carry out our protests in a more subtle way. We float. You know floaters, don’t you?

In my part of the world, northern New Jersey, there are four or five Bible believing churches in a ten-mile radius. To be honest, that is an understatement. I should say there are four or five in which I would be culturally comfortable. If you count churches with born again pastors doing their best to preach the Word of God to their flock, my ten-mile radius the number is much higher.

In the late 90’s I was attending a church in the town of Midland Park, NJ. At the time there were thirteen protestant churches listed in the phone book. Today, if you go to NJ.com you will find that there are 200 churches listed within five-miles of Midland Park. Folks, Midland Park is 1.53 square miles and has a population of 7,227 (thank you Google.) And that does not include the off-the-grid churches that meet in homes. “Organized religion” just doesn’t meet their needs.

These floaters move from church to church when they get tired of the preaching. They leave when their feelings get hurt. They pull up roots just because they feel like they need a change. We see a new couple come in the back door. We greet them with open arms. Then we find out they are on the fifteen-year plan. They came to our church a dozen years ago, and since have spent three years, more or less in the other four near by churches.

Stickers

I am painting a picture that I believe breaks the heart of God.

Do you remember Jesus’ prayer in John 17?

I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:20-21

God’s idea was reconciliation. His plan was to draw men back to Himself, and in doing so back into community.

But Ben, you say, aren’t we called to guard the truth, and hold to true doctrine.

Absolutely! We must keep the wolves out of the sheepfold, and guard those who come near preaching damnable heresy’s out. These heresies draw people away from Christ. They lead to ungodliness, and make people look less and less like Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when you have to leave, or split, or break fellowship. But for the most part, we know nothing of that. It is time to live in covenant the Jesus and His body.

Death to the Truth

God did something drastic to make reconciliation possible. There was only one way to allow people – enslaved by sin – enemies of God – full of all sorts of lies and misunderstandings – back into relationship with the pure and holy God.

His plan – Crucify the Truth – Take the very Word that spoke the universe into being and put Him to death.

God crucified the Truth to restore relationship! (Tweet This)

Let me say that again so that it has a chance to sink in.

God crucified the Truth to restore relationship. Yet we abandon relationship to preserve our dogma and doctrines.

Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is the way the TRUTH and the life.

We in our flesh were the enemies of all that is true. Still God thought it better for the Truth to die a horrible death than for us to stay on the other side of the veil.

He tore the veil. That veil was the flesh of the Lord Jesus which stood between the sinful man and the Holy God.

Truth is not Dead

The Truth did not stay dead. I get that. This was not the end of the truth, and believe me God has a high regard for truth.

I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name. Psalms 138:2

My desire today is not that you abandon the Word. No, but be reconciled to one another in love. When Paul faced divisions in Corinth, he determined to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

So what about you? Are you a splitter, floater or sticker?

Encounters With Jesus - Available NOW

Encounters With Jesus – Available NOW

Thanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Hey – head over and check out my new book – Encounters With Jesus. If you’ve already read it, do me a huge favor and leave an honest review on Amazon so others will run into it.

Thanks!

Ben

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,053 other followers

%d bloggers like this: