When a loved one is going on a long trip, sometimes they leave a message to their family to comfort them while they were away. In this day and age a text or an email is more popular than a letter. Did you know Jesus did this for us?
John 20:7 says: “and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.”
This is a very intricate phrase that’s often skipped over but it really shows how deep Jesus’s love is for all of us.
In Jesus’s time while a master is eating the servant would wait in the shadows. When the master was done he would use the napkin to wipe his face, crumple it up, and leave it on his plate. The servant than knew the master was done and he could than clean up.
If the master needed to leave the table, but intended to come back, he folded his napkin and placed it to the side and the servant would wait until his master returned to finish his meal.
When Jesus rose from His tomb he left one last message to His followers that is often overlooked as a small detail. He folded the napkin (face cloth) and left it as a note for us that He IS coming back! Just like a loved one leaves a letter to comfort us in their absence and let us know they are coming back, Jesus did this for us. Hallelujah!
Darrick and Kay
Most think about love during the month of February because of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a day of taking your spouse or significant other out for dinner, showering them with chocolates, flowers, and words… and than the day is done and we go back to our lives.
This isn’t the love God talked about in 1 John 4:9:
“”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The whole basis of the Bible is love. In that book God gave us where we started, our family history, wise words of advice, and even what’s to come. It’s a living will written for His children, including our inheritance. He gave us one main rule: love.
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””
The Ten Commandments are based on love. The first half are how to love God, and the second half how to love His children; our brothers and sisters in Christ.
If you step back and think as if you were a child again in your parents house, aren’t these the same basic rules? Respect your parents, and be nice to your brothers and sisters.
If a father asked their child to do something, for love, fear, and respect of the father the child would do it. If the child chose to rebel, there would likely be a consequence. This is the same way we should look at God the Father and His rules He gave us. The rebellion is called sin, and the consequence is death.
What child hasn’t by accident broken something, lost something, or just made a big mistake and had no way to cover the cost to fix it? When we all die someday we will stand in front of Our Father, creator of everything, and will need to confess every single sin down to the smallest misdemeanor. Luckily, we have an “older brother”- Jesus- who seen our mistake, took the consequence, and paid the fine. He traded His innocent, sinless life to cover our sins. Think of it this way, you and your brother are out playing ball. Your brother warns you not to aim towards the building windows in case you get a home run hit, but you do it anyways. The glass breaks and there’s no way your pennies and nickels in that little piggy bank at home will cover that mistake. What will dad think?! Your mind is going crazy, but your big brother, who just started his first job, used his first paycheck to pay for the broken window. He didn’t have to, but because he loved you, he gave everything he had- that is love.
If your brother or sister are in trouble and need your help, isn’t it your responsibility to help them if you can? There are times when you can’t, so you can tell the Father in prayer and ask His help. But remember, if you CAN help them and choose to just pray for them instead that is not the love God intended for us. Father warns us to treat others as we would want to be treated. If we can be there for them, listen, be a friend, make them a meal, visit, make a gift. Praying is important, and we should do that too, but God created us for action and doing. After all, it would have been a totally different story if big brother had ran to tell dad about the broken window because he wanted to save his money for something for himself instead of helping his brother?
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
1 John 4:20
So what does that mean for us? How do we show love to the Father and the Son? How do we grow closer to Him? Again, let’s go back to relating to a child. A young child who looks up to his father may try to dress up like him, or try to read books his dad likes, or pretend to do work like dad with toys. That is not unlike us. Dressing up is like us trying to put on the character of God and His ways. We read the Bible to try to learn what Father teaches us: to do what Jesus did- lead people to God. Just as we watch a young child stumble over the big clothes, try to read a book beyond our comprehension, and play with tools we struggle to understand He smiles with love knowing that we are trying. God does not expect perfection from His children. He knows we will stumble and struggle, but He appreciates our perseverance and admiration towards Him in our trying to be like Him.
Many people think love is surface level- words, simple actions/gifts for those closest to us. But it’s not. Love is so much deeper. An example is Jesus didnt go around saying “I love you! I love you! Love you too!” and kept to helping His own family. He showed love with actions all over- he healed people, encouraged them, corrected them, he banished demons, and taught important lessons. He encouraged children to come learn from him, made the blind see, the lame walk, fed the hungry, and raised the dead. Ultimately He loved us so much He died for us. Even after death He loved us (a lot of Christians don’t even know this) but he left us a secret message in a simple gesture that says he is coming back for us. THAT is love.
“and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.” John 20:7
When Jesus rose from the dead he folded his face cloth (napkin) before he left The tomb to let us know He IS coming back to get us!
To believe the way our Father wants isn’t just any old simple belief: it’s a childlike belief. A whole hearted, convinced, innocent, strong conviction that you KNOW your Father is watching over you, loves you, and is holding His promise to come for you again.
Many want to think if they say the words “I believe in Jesus” that they are good and saved forever. But Jesus says in the parable of the ten virgins to the five last virgins who came late “But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’” (Matthew 25:12 )
Jesus wants relationship, God wants your love, the Holy Spirit wants your trust. Three in one, all are needed. If one is missing than the whole thing breaks down.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:20
no trust=no relationship or love.
no love=no relationship or trust.
No relationship= no love or trust.
Its simple. Love your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as you would want yourself to be loved.
Darrick and Kay
“So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?””
John 7:16-19 ESV
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”
Mark 12:30 ESV
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 ESV
“This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””
Matthew 22:38-40 ESV
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV
“You shall therefore obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.””
Deuteronomy 27:10 ESV
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
John 15:10 ESV
“Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.”
Psalms 119:127 ESV
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
1 John 5:3 ESV
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”
1 John 3:23 ESV
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8 ESV
“”And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”
Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV
“So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.”
Deuteronomy 8:6 ESV
“”You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.”
Leviticus 19:17 ESV
“Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.””
1 Kings 8:61 ESV
“Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”
Amos 5:15 ESV
“You have declared today that the Lord is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice.”
Deuteronomy 26:17 ESV
“”But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”
Deuteronomy 28:15 ESV
“But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.”
2 Kings 10:31 ESV
“He (King Amon) abandoned the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord.”
2 Kings 21:22 ESV
“For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.”
Micah 4:5 ESV
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!”
Psalms 119:1 ESV
“For many are called, but few are chosen.””
Matthew 22:14 ESV
“”Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”
Matthew 7:13 ESV
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Matthew 7:14 ESV
“and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Matthew 10:22 ESV
“”And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
Luke 12:8-9 ESV
“Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
Luke 12:43-48 ESV
God Bless you, and your walk,
Darrick and Kay
Quoted from the Brant Hansen page on Facebook. I found this article very insightful!
Mangers are odd little things. They’re feeding troughs, of course. In ancient Israel, they were made of stone.
They’re not super-comfortable, but you know what? In a pinch, they can be kind of protective.
That’s why experts -priests who lived near Bethlehem, near a hill known for raising sacrificial lambs- would put lambs in them.
Not all the lambs; just the ones they thought were without blemish and suitable for the blood sacrifices that took place twice a day. Sacrifices to cover sin.
These were the lambs Bethlehem was famous for. There was a hill there with a tower, “Migdal Eder”, and the flocks nearby were the ones that yielded lambs for sacrifice.
The priests wanted to keep the lambs without bumps and bruises. So they’d wrap them up tightly. They’d swaddle them, wrapping them in cloths, like precious and terribly fragile bottles of wine.
And they’d lay them in a manger.
“Manger” is only mentioned in one account of Jesus’ birth. (It’s in Luke.) And it makes sense. There’s really only a small group of people who would understand it’s significance. And they are the very ones who hear the words:
“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”
Shepherds! The shepherds of the sacrificial flock.
They knew what the cloths and the manger meant.
“This will be a sign to you,” the angel said. And it was. It wouldn’t have been a sign to many. But to them? Most definitely. And this sign was staggering.
The long-expected King wasn’t headed to a palace. No, this was going to be different.
He was going to be sacrificed.
They knew where the Messiah was born… but they also knew where He was headed.
“Peace on earth
and mercy mild
God and sinners, reconciled.”
I found this article to be amazing- I never knew that piece of history!
Darrick and Kay
There is a distinct difference between “religious” and “relationship”. Jesus even writes about this in the story of Martha and Mary. Jesus loved both Martha and Mary, and they loved him. There was a distinct difference between these two women though. (Luke 10)
Martha was “distracted with much serving”. She was a busy body- she did all the right things: cleaned, cooked food, readied the house, but she did so with anxiety, fear, and that transferred to her getting after her sister Mary for not helping her. We all know the busy bodies who get worked up about the little things- the food, the cleaning, everything else but they forget to greet the guests and make them feel welcomed. The simple hospitality that goes beyond preparing the food.
Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and just listened to him. She spent time with him and built the relationship; She learned things Martha couldn’t. Martha was stressed with her busyness and jealous of the relationship Mary had with Jesus, she lashed out and asked Jesus to send Mary to help her- but Jesus defended Mary and said she did well and that her time spent with him wouldn’t be taken from her.
We see this in our churches. There’s some churches that are busy with bake sales, parades, missionaries, etc.- all good things on the outside. But on the inside what most don’t see is the stress, the annoyance, the pride that their church is better than others because they do more. Jesus seen this in Martha.
Than you have small churches with a small congregation. They are simple, gentle, but the relationship inside the church is strong. Everyone knows everyone else, and their families, and their health, even their pets. If one person is sick- there’s many who bring them food, visit, and pray for them while not in church. No one is stressed, or angry at anyone else. Everyone is just there to help everyone else. This is like Mary and Jesus. The relationship is strong. Jesus could simply lick his lips and Mary would have jumped to grab him something to drink joyfully. Martha, in her distraction, would never notice such things and might even see it as an annoyance to be pulled from her task.
Those that have a true relationship with Jesus are obvious. They are the “Clara’s” in the movie “War Room”, they are the Martin Luther’s (Protestant reformation), and they are the Mary’s who sat at Jesus feet. They hunger for His teachings, have no fear in declaring the truth, and no shame in spending time with Him.
Relationship with the Lord is very important. Jesus stated over 20 times in the gospel “follow me”. It’s very simple and childlike. “and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4). God wants us to be His children, He wants us to come to Him, to spend time with Him just like a small child listening on their parents lap, even if they don’t understand all the teachings. To trust just as a child holding their parents hand as they cross a busy street. To love as if the child got hurt and run to the parent to hold them close. Finally, to rejoice as if the child ran to look at a toy and got lost in a busy shopping mall and came back to the parents just as the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)
The parable of weeds (Mathew 13:24-30), I feel, describes the Martha’s And Mary’s of our churches. The parable talks about the kingdom of God is like a farmer who sows good wheat in his field, but an enemy throws weed seeds in too. The wheat and weeds grow together (to pull the weeds would uproot the wheat) until harvest. A funny thing about wheat is when it’s ready to be harvested it bows at the stem just like the believers bow to Our Lord. Just as weeds are in the field the religious come to church but they do so pridefully merely just to try and proclaim that they go to church so therefore must be a good person. They do works, but have no faith. They seek no relationship with Jesus, daydream during sermons, and can’t wait until church is done so they can get on with their lives. Just as the weeds, they do not bow, but stand proud at the harvest time. Jesus doesn’t make another entrance in their life until the next Sunday when they drag their feet to church. these are the same people Jesus has warned,
“Later the other virgins arrived and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’
1But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’
Matthew 25: 11-12
The parable of the ten virgins also describes ten believers who had their lamps but only five were prepared with oil (the relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit). When Jesus came only 5 of them had oil to light their way. Jesus said to the rest of them that came later “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” Matthew 25:12
True relationship with Jesus is essential. He loves every one of us, and has prepared a place for us in heaven, but in his journey he never made anyone follow him. He never turned anyone away who wanted to listen. He never dragged them to his sermons and never waited while they finished their task for them to follow. He always told them- leave everything behind and follow me. If they paused than Jesus said they weren’t ready to follow him (they had no oil like the Virgins, they did not bow like the wheat). Jesus was not hesitant to correct anyone either, not because he was mean, but because he loved them. He wanted them to know the right teachings so they were not lead astray. Just as a shepherd corrects the direction of His sheep, He corrects us in our ways because He loves us.
Darrick and Kay