Sunday, June 30, 2013


Hi y'all! I laughed all the way home yesterday. :) I had gone to Tuskegee, about 50 miles up the road, to participate in their Juneteenth Celebration and to sell some books. Well, the day started out somewhat overcast, but everyone seemed to be semi-satisfied with that 'cause it kept the temperatures down and the sun from beating down on our heads. There was a tentative feeling about the weather all day, however, and I heard a number of people murmuring they had prayed to hold back the rain. Now, who they were praying to was at issue in my mind because, whereas it was Jesus who delivered us slaves out of bondage, it seemed homage was being paid to everyone but Jesus on this high-Afrique occasion. My musings aside, however, a beautifully diverse program had been planned and a good time was being had by all, including the folk at the 'fish & grits' stand (not to mention the stand with the sausages on the grill to die for :) So along about 4 o'clock, when all the activities were simmering at a steady beat, the wind picks up--only slightly at first, enough to knock over my umbrella. Then it swirled a little harder--enough to get the attention of the musicians on the bandstand, who shut down for fear of impending lightning. Then the wind became even more demanding, and us vendors started to pack up--casually at first--while our host got on the mike to apologize that the event might have to end sooner than planned. About that time, all rain broke loose. We were deluged in a matter of seconds, not to mention the wind that was whipping at a mild tornado pace. I was soaked from head to toe, down to my skivvies in less than a heartbeat. It had seemed like we'd have a few minutes to pack up before the rain came, but it turned into a mini-flood on the Square in micro seconds. Children were squealing and water was standing wade-high in the streets in a twinkling of an eye. When I was able to toss all of my rain-soaked paraphernalia into my truck and squish my rain-soaked body into the driver's seat, I started to smile. And when I'd driven less than a mile to find that it was dry just down the road, I started to laugh. "Lord, You're too much!!"
I was reminded of the words I love most in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John), referring to Jesus' life and ministry in the New Testament--'suddenly'; 'immediately'. Isn't that how Jesus operated in His earthly ministry? There is nothing too hard for God, and Jesus proved that every time He was around the throngs that came to witness His miracles. It started when the angels got in on Jesus' birth. (Luke 2:13) Remember the crippled man at the Bethesda pool who had been there 38 long years? When Jesus took up his case, the Bible says 'immediately' the man took up his bed and walked. (John 5:9) Or the woman with the issue of blood? She touched the hem of Jesus' garment and immediately her blood was cut off. (Luke 8:44) How about Lazarus, laying in a tomb for four long days? "Lord, by this time he stinketh," Martha said. But when Jesus said, "Lazarus, come forth." Guess what? He did--immediately. (John 11:44) And if you do a quick search of the word, 'immediately', you'll find it got it's start in the New Testament, and it's usually referring to Jesus touching the lives of people who believed He had the power, authority and willingness to help them. (Matthew 8:3; Matthew 20:34; Mark 1:31; Mark 1:42; Mark 10:52; Luke 4:39)
That rain reminded me that Jesus does not take a long time to do anything. When we're in His presence and He takes up our case, things change--immediately, suddenly. And until then, we are to pray, watch, trust, believe and find enormous comfort in knowing that Jesus will take up our case (because His word says so: John 14:14). And when He does, we will be deluged with an answer, just like I was with the rain. What seems like dry ground only moments before will be soaked with His marvelous provision. We don't have to worry. It won't take long. Our God reigns!! Love you. :jb

Monday, June 3, 2013

Just & The Justifier!!

Hi, everybody! God is so wise…so good…so merciful…that in one act of love He became both--Just & The Justifier--of the whole world, for all time. God decreed in the beginning that if Adam & Eve sinned against Him--ate from that tree which He forbade them eat--"thou shall surely die”. (Genesis 2:17) And the rest is history. Adam & Eve sinned and mankind (all of their progeny) has been sinning & dying ever since. But God, in his infinite wisdom and love, had conceived a plan before the foundation of the world to redeem us, restore us, and bring us back to a right relationship Himself. (John 3:16; 1 Peter 1:20)
God handed down The Law through Moses, with full knowledge that no human being on the face of the earth would ever be able to fulfill it, because The Law is perfect--the essence of God--and we are not. So over 2,000 years ago, God drew a line in the sand of time & said, ‘STOP!’ (my paraphrase :) ‘It should be clear y'all by now that you—Jew & Gentile alike--cannot accomplish The Law; it is perfect and you are not.’  God summed up the sins of all mankind, past, present & future (for our sakes ‘cause all things are past tense to God), and declared, on the basis of The Law, “that they are all under sin”; “that there is none righteous, no not one”; ”for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:9-23)
And in this sweeping condemnation, a miraculous thing happened!! God sent His only begotten Son to earth as a baby to become the Law (John 1:14); to fulfill The Law (Matthew 5:17), to finish The Law (John 19:30), and to remove The Law (Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:13). When Jesus Christ died on the cross, in one fell swoop, two marvelous things happened for all of us: God became Just—since He has declared everyone under sin, Jesus could die once for all the sins that stemmed from Adam. The blood of Jesus paid the price for the sins of the whole world, for all time. (Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Galatians 2:16; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 10:12; I John 2:2) And God became The Justifier—because, now, anyone who believes in the finished work of Jesus Christ is saved & justified by faith in His blood and God’s power to raise Him from the dead! (Romans 3:26; Romans 4:5; Romans 10:9). As The Justifier, God is making a New Nation—a family of believers in Jesus Christ from every tribe & every nation, whose righteousness is not that of trying to keep The Law, but who God declares righteous on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord! (1 Peter 2:9) Faithful Abraham being our example. (Romans 4:3) Only God could conceive such a glorious, grace-filled plan that gives every man, woman, boy & girl on the face of the earth an equal opportunity to enter into God’s Faith Nation. So when you get thru shoutin'… Go tell somebody ‘bout Jesus!! Much love, :jb