Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

by Jeff A. Jenkins
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” These simple words in the beloved hymn for children, speak to the most profound truth in Scripture.
There is another song that we sing as adults that proclaims the same truth. “Why did my Savior come to earth, and to the humble go? Why did he choose the lowly birth, because he loves me so.”
In a world where the idea of love is given multiple definitions, it is one of the greatest blessings of life to know of the love Jesus has for us. Each time we gather around the Table of our Lord, we are reminded of his great love for us.
As we eat the bread and drink the fruit of the vine, we remember again how blessed we are to know his love. One of the greatest principles associated with his love for us is that it cannot be taken away from us.
Paul states this very clearly in Romans 8:35-39, when he says that there is nothing in this world that can “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.”
God will never remove his love from us. In spite of how we may treat him and how we may live, Jesus will still love us. He loved those who hung him on the cross and treated him with such cruelty a long time ago.
Dear Father, help us never forget the most profound fact in all the world. May we never forget how much we are loved by our Savior. As we gather to feast on the Lord’s Supper, help us to always be thankful for the amazing love that has been showered upon us.

For All of Us

by Jeff A. Jenkins
grandmason2.gifOne of the highlights of my childhood was our frequent trips to visit our grandparents. My most vivid memories of those trips consists of the times that my Grandmother would make me a special cup of coffee (about two-thirds milk & sugar and one-third coffee).
Early in the morning, we would sit on a stool at the kitchen window watching my grandfather and his men load their big trucks and take off for the day. She would tell me all about what the men would be doing throughout the day.
I would ask questions and she would patiently answer every question. I thought that my “maw-maw,” was the most fun person in the whole world. Moreover, even though there were several other grandchildren in the house I believed that she made that “special” coffee just for me.
What I learned later in life was that she would have done the same for any of her grandchildren and there were times that she made special things for each of them.
Our Father in Heaven sent his son to die for the whole world (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Jesus gave his life a “ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:6)
While it is true that God is the Savior of “all men” (1 Timothy 4:10), there is definitely a unique characteristic to the relationship he has with “believers.”
As we gather around the table, may we be reminded of the fact that Christ is the Savior of all, but the relationship we have with him through his covenant is special indeed.
Father, help us to be mindful of the fact that you gave your Son for everyone. Help us never forget the unique relationship we have through the covenant as we observe the Lord’s Supper.

Nothing But the Cross

by Jeff A. Jenkins
AcroCorinth1.jpgIt was a coastal city with more than one half a million people living in it. History says that sailors would frequent the city hawking their goods searching for fame and fortune.
When visiting the city they would find prostitutes on the street who would come down from the acroCorinth seeking “customers.”
While touring the ancient ruins several years ago our guide said that these “temple prostitutes” would write on their dusty sandals the words, “follow me.” Those two words would then be “inscribed” on the streets to lead the men up to the mountain.
The Apostle Paul came to Corinth with an altogether different message. His message was focused. It was singular. During his eighteen to twenty month stay he proclaimed the message of salvation.
The heart of his message is written in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2: “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom…For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Nothing but the Cross. That was the heart of everything Paul taught. The centrality of the Cross needs to become a reality in the life of every Christian. We should sing more about the Cross, we should teach more about the Cross, we should think more about the Cross.
When we meet together around the Table as God’s gathered people, the Cross becomes central to our worship. Paul reminded the Corinthians and all of us that when we partake of the Lord’s Supper we are to proclaiming the message of the Cross until Jesus comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).
For a short time in our busy lives we need to block out everything in the world around us that would distract us and focus completely on the Cross. Thinking about the Cross will instill within us a desire to live better lives every day.
Dear Father, help us to focus more on the Cross of our Savior. Help us to know only, “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Help us dear God, to carry the message of salvation with us always. Help us to center all of our life around Jesus and the Cross.

Partaking of Communion for the First Time

by Jeff A. Jenkins
communiontray.jpgCassandra called our office two weeks ago because she was struggling through a difficult time. She was requesting financial assistance. She had not eaten in two days.
Our office staff called one of our men who does an outstanding job helping those with special needs and he went to work. He and his wife took the young lady a meal, helped her out with a few other needs, and invited her to church.
Cassandra came to church with them last Sunday. She also came the following Sunday. One of our elders spoke with her about studying the Bible. He and his wife studied with her on Tuesday night and Cassandra became a Christian that night.
She read through the accounts of salvation in the book of Acts and after her study she said, “If I died today I would be lost.” She had a strong desire to obey God. Praise God for tender hearts. Praise God for concerned Christians who are willing to help. Praise God for his powerful Message.
On this Lord’s Day, Cassandra will dine with God’s people around his table for the first time in her life. She will eat the bread and drink the fruit of the fine as a Christian for the first time. She is excited about her new life and her new family.
Many of us will observe the communion today as a routine part of our lives. Some of us have partaken of the Lord’s Supper thousands of times in your life. May God help us never forget the significance of gathering together with his people to observe this wonderful feast.

Dear Father, we are thankful for every new child of yours who will observe the supper for the first time this Sunday. Please help those of us who have been Christians for many years not to take this wonderful blessing for granted.

Living by Faith

by Jeff A. Jenkins
faith12.jpgMore than 2500 years ago, Habakkuk, a man of God, approached God in prayer.
He literally “cried out” to God. He pleaded with God to do something about the mess in the world around him. He wondered aloud if God would hear his prayer?
He spoke of violence, iniquity, wickedness, destruction, strife, and contention. He talked about the wicked overcoming the righteous and the fact that many ignored the laws of God (Habakkuk 1:2-4).
God responded to Habakkuk by saying that if he were told all that God was doing he wouldn’t believe it (Habakkuk 1:5). God was working among his people. God was still in charge.
God then tells Habakkuk that there is something he could do to help. The first thing was to clearly proclaim God’s message (Habakkuk 2:2). In addition, he was told that he should live his life by faith.
“Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) The point is that regardless of what others around you are doing, God’s people should decide to live by faith.
Now, 2500 years removed from the days of Habakkuk, people of God again find themselves in a world that has lost it’s way. The very words Habakkuk used to define his world, are words that define our world.
God’s people need the strength to live our lives by faith. When we gather as God’s people around his table we gain strength to live our lives by faith. We gain strength to live by faith when we encourage one another and pray with one another.
Dear God, help us in our fallen world to live our lives by faith. As we gather around the table, as your family may we gain strength from one another and from the feast that we share.

A Time For Great Growth

by Jeff A. Jenkins
manbible8.JPGIt has been a genuine privilege for me to be associated this week with around sixty young men who are between fifteen years of age and college age. We have been involved in serious Bible study.
They have learned to prepare and preach sermons. At the beginning of the week we asked them to stand, state their name, where they are from, and what they hoped to gain from this week. Some of them struggled with this simple task.
By the end of the week each of the young men preached their sermons and each of them did an outstanding job. They had studied their text, prepared the lesson, and each of them delivered a Biblical, practical sermon. It was thrilling to watch them grow during the week.
When we gather around the Table of our Lord each week it provides a marvelous opportunity for us to grow. All Christians understand that our Lord desires that we grow (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).
When we read from scripture how Jesus suffered, died, and was raised for us, it helps us grow. When we bow our heads in prayer and draw near to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), it encourages growth.
When we understand that communion is a time of fellowship with Christians in the local church as well as God’s people around the world, we can grow (Acts 2:42).
The knowledge that we are encouraging one another to love and to involve ourselves in good works, we will grow (Hebrews 10:25).
Growth is vitally important to our walk with God. May God help all of us to look at the communion as a time of Spiritual growth.
Dear Father, as we gather around the table of our savior, help us to understand the importance of growing in our walk with you. Help us to grow in our faith, in our love, and in our relationship with you, as well as our relationship with Christians around the world.

Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?

by Jeff A. Jenkins
Our Savior came to earth for two primary reasons. First, he came to show us how to live. Peter said, Christ left “an example for you to follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, instructed us on a number of occasions that we should follow the example of Jesus. “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). In Galatians 4:19, Paul stated that his prayer was that Christ would be “formed in you.”
In addition to coming to earth to show us how to live, Jesus also came to die. It was his death on the cross that insured the salvation of every person (Luke 19:10). He said of himself, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).
After Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, Luke tells us that he was “determined to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). He was determined to make this journey because of his commitment to saving the world through his death.
When God’s family gathers at the Table we should be thankful that Jesus came to die so that we might have life. We should also be thankful that through his example we learn how to live.
“Why did my Savior come to earth,
And to the humble go?
Why did He choose a lowly birth?
Because He loved me so!
Why did He drink the bitter cup
Of sorrow, pain and woe?
Why on the cross be lifted up?
Because He loved me so!
He loved me so
He loved me so
He gave His precious life for me, for me
Because He loved me so”
G.J. Dailey (Words Public Domain)

He Did Something About It

by Jeff A. Jenkins
Recently while attending a baseball game with some close friends I saw something that was very frightening. We watched a fan reach for a foul ball over a railing and he fell thirty feet from the upper deck to the ground level bleachers.
Fortunately the gentleman is doing well, but watching him fall left me with an eerie, helpless feeling. I so wanted to reach out across the stadium and help the man, but I was powerless to do so. My desire to help could not overcome by inability to help.
Imagine that someone sitting nearby could have reached out to keep the man from falling, but was not willing to do so because of a lack of concern or some other reason.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience…But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1-7).

Our God is rich in mercy and in love. He has the power to make us alive together with Christ. He made this possible by allowing Jesus to die for us (Romans 5:8). God has both the power to save and the desire to save. Praise God. God can and God will.
As we gather to observe the memorial feast let us be thankful that our God can and our God will save us from falling!
Dear Father, we are thankful that you have both the power and the willingness to reach out to save us when we are falling. May we remember as we gather around the table that Christ sacrificed his life so that we may live.

Independence

This weekend our nation will pause to celebrate Independence Day. The Fourth of July is a federal holiday that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. This annual holiday is a reminder that we won our freedom from our oppressor.

Every Sunday, Christians all over the world pause to celebrate a much more meaningful Independence Day. Because of the death of our Savior, we obtained our freedom from the great oppressor (Revelation 12:9-10). Continue reading “Independence”

In Remembrance of Jesus

by Jeff A. Jenkins

“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:19-20).

On Christmas Eve four years ago we buried my Mother. It was the most difficult Christmas our family has ever had. It changed forever the way I will view Christmas.
For the first two or three years after my Mother’s passing the whole family would gather at her grave during the Christmas holidays to remember her. We would circle her resting place; join hands, sing, pray, and cry together.
One year that stands out in my mind was a cold, rainy, dreary winter evening. We made our circle, sang a couple of songs and prayed. The older generations went to our vehicles, but the grandchildren stood in the rain for what must have been an hour.
They sang more songs and started telling Maw-maw stories. One moment they were laughing, the next moment they were crying. Why would they do this? Why would they put themselves through this discomfort? Why would we involve ourselves in this ritual?
It was our love for Mom. We remember her because of all she did for us while she was alive. We sang songs she liked, we told stories about her and we prayed because we want to keep her memory alive in our hearts.
Not one of us has ever thought we should rush through this ritual. We have never thought it lasted to long. We have never thought it is too cold or damp or anything else to take the time to remember Mom.
Isn’t this how it should be when we gather to remember our Lord? Shouldn’t we sing songs about him, tell stories that remind us of him, and give thanks to God for what he did for us while he was on earth?
May I encourage you as you gather with the people of God this week not to rush through this beautiful remembrance. Please don’t complain about the length of time you are there. Leave the cares of life behind for just a few moments.
Drink in the fact that Jesus loved you so much that he gave his life for you. Remember how he continues to bless your life everyday. Thank God for the blessing of being with the family during this inspiring moment.
Dear Father, when we are gathered as Your family help us to cherish the opportunity to remember our Savior. Help us, dear God not to rush through this meaningful time. Help us to focus our hearts and our minds on Jesus as we dine together during this precious feast.