Friday, July 29

The following video is a collection of images from various cultures and time periods depicting the face of Jesus. While none of us can know what He actually looked like while walked the earth in the flesh, we can know that He had a face. Often He is portrayed as a reflection of the particular culture that is representing Him; the blond haired, blue-eyed Scandinavian Jesus knocking at the door, the clean-shaven, and crowned Jesus of the Renaissance paintings, etc. But the New Testament does not tell us what He looked like. In fact we are given no physical description at all of Jesus, except for this reference from the prophet Isaiah.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:2-3

I invite you to take a few moments to watch this video, listen to the words of the song called “King of Glory” by the group Third Day, and praise the name of Jesus! 

                                 (if you are viewing this on Safari you will have to click through to YouTube)

Throughout the week, we have been reflecting on the question that Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16, “Who do you say that I am?” It is a profound question and one that has incredible implications for our lives both now and for eternity. Of course in one sense, Jesus is beyond description. As the King of Heaven and Lord of all creation, He is beyond our ability to define or categorize. Nevertheless, He puts the question to all who would follow Him – Who do you say that He is?

Pastor Jeff Frazier

Thursday, July 28


Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”       - John 14:5-7

Several years ago I was asked to give the invocation at a particular civic event.  This is not an uncommon occurrence for a pastor, but what caught be a little off guard was the fact that this particular group had one specific request.  They asked me not to mention the name Jesus at all during in my prayer.  I was surprised at first and I half jokingly asked them if they knew that I was a Baptist pastor.  The individuals on the committee said that they just wanted a kind of generic prayer and they didn’t want to offend anybody.  I respectfully declined their request and I am sure they found someone else to do it. 

I have often thought about that encounter, and wondered why would someone be offended by the mention of the name Jesus in a prayer?  If you were to walk into a coffee shop discussion and mention god in general, people might have some opinions, but they would not get too worked up.  Even if you brought up the names of Buddha, Mohammed, or the Dali Llama, people are not nearly as likely to have the same kind of reaction as they do to the name Jesus – why? What is it about the name of Jesus that gets such a rise out of people?  Well, for one thing, this is nothing new.  There have been extreme opinions about and reactions to Jesus since He walked the earth.

Jesus is not a controversial figure because He taught about love, or forgiving your enemy, or self-sacrifice.  Many others have taught and proclaimed similar things.  The significance of Jesus is in who He claimed to be! 

Christians have historically affirmed the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. We believe that Jesus is nothing less than the incarnate Son of God in whom the fullness of the Deity dwells in human form; fully divine and fully human—and the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  It is no surprise that most people in the secular culture reject this idea.  However, a surprising number of those who claim to be Christians are not quite so convinced of Jesus' unique nature.  I have even heard some Christian leaders argue that, in the midst of our pluralist and religiously diverse culture, it might be better to ease off the talk about Jesus as exclusively unique.

The fact is, there is a great deal at stake in denying that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

The Way
In the midst of a world teeming with religious diversity, what does it mean to say that Jesus is the Way?  Everybody is looking for the way or the path that is right for him or her, and many are claiming to know what that way is.  Jesus is unique among all other leaders and teachers in that He did say that He knew the way, or that He could show the way, He said that He IS the Way.  It is not popular or politically correct, but Jesus Himself makes it plain that there is no other way, but Him. 

The Truth
What does it mean to say that Jesus is the Truth in a world filled with competing truth claims, as well as people who doubt the very existence of truth? Convoluted and inconclusive speculation about truth has led many to become, like Pontius Pilate, cynical about the very idea —"What is truth?"   According to the Bible, truth is not ultimately to be found in abstract notions or theories, but rather in the person of Jesus Christ, the unique Son of God and the living embodiment of truth. From this perspective, knowing truth depends on being in proper relationship to this one person who is divine truth. Again, Jesus is categorically different from all other prophets, witnesses, and messengers from God.  He did not just know the truth, or teach the truth, He IS the Truth!

The Life
Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came so that we might have the fullness of life, abundant life. Jesus is not just a way we must follow and a truth we must believe, He is an invitation The Life!  To be a Christian means to participate in Life, that is, in Jesus Christ as he participated in the life of the triune God. The fullness of Life in Jesus is found in relationship to the Father through Him. This life is not simply an escape from the divine judgment of death and destruction.  It is not even the promise of getting into heaven someday.  It is the promise of a life lived in fellowship with the God through Jesus right here and now!

If Jesus really is all that He said He is, then how can I agree not to mention His name when I pray?  How can you and I not surrender our very lives to Him and worship as our King and Lord?

Jeff Frazier

Wednesday, July 27


Sunday’s sermon closed with the following words about the person and power of Jesus Christ.  This content was inspired by Scripture (of course) and by a well-known poem by an unknown author called, “The Incomparable Christ”.  May these words encourage and affirm your faith in Him so that you may be able to answer the question, “Who do you say that Jesus is?” with great confidence and conviction.

Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another miracle-worker.  He stands alone on the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils, as the living personal Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Savior of the world. This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a new creation. He, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the serpent, the Christ promised to Abraham, the Christ of the Exodus from Egypt, the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died, the Christ promised to David when he was king, the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a suffering servant, the Christ predicted through the prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.

This is the Christ of the Bible. This is the Jesus we worship. This is the true Christ of the Christian faith. This is the One in whom we have believed. He and He alone is our Lord and Savior. Millions of Christians unite in worshipping him in every nation on every continent. He is worshipped in Clacutta, India; Osaka, Japan; Sydney, Australia; Brussels, Belgium; Nairobi, Kenya; Islamabad, Pakistan; Quito, Ecuador; Havana, Cuba; La Paz, Bolivia; Toronto, Canada; St. Petersburg, Russia; London, England; Ankara, Turkey; Jerusalem, Israel; Beijing, China; and right here in Geneva Illinois.

This Christ is not a reflection of the current cultural mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for your sins and mine.  He is more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible. He and He alone is the Lord.

Oh, that our hearts would sing his praise!  Oh, that we would know the power of his name!  God hasten the day until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Jeff Frazier

Tuesday, July 26


Yesterday we looked at the question that Jesus asked His disciples, “who do you say that I am?”  It is the most important question you will ever have to answer, and how you answer it is the most important thing in your life.  However, before you answer it, you should know how Jesus answered it.  What did Jesus say about who He was?  There are many today that believe Jesus was a great teacher, and a wise prophet, but he was not God.  There are even some who assert that Jesus never actually claimed to be God.  I have to wonder if these people have ever read what Jesus actually said about his own identity.  The ollowing are several statements from the Gospel of John where Jesus uses powerful and unmistakable images to tell his followers just who He really was.

The Bread Of Life

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
The context was the Manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:13-18).  Whoever comes to Him will never again know spiritual hunger.  Like the manna of Exodus 16 every one who seeks Him will find Him (Matt. 7:7-8), but each of us has to find Him for ourselves.  No one can receive Him for us, nor can we receive Him for anyone else. We all get an amount sufficient for our salvation. No one is lacking, and none of Him is wasted!

The Light Of The World

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Literally this means that those who join Jesus as one of His disciples will not be ignorant of spiritual matters but will have the power of understanding especially of the spiritual truth that brings eternal life. When we take the time to learn and apply these truths in faith we discover that the old adage is true. Whatever the spiritual question, Jesus is the answer.

The Gate

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
This is a reference to the Kingdom and recalls the words of the 23rd Psalm, “He makes me lie down in green pasture.” Salvation is found through Jesus, He is the gate to the Kingdom. Having entered through Him we will have the freedom to come and go as we please, dwelling in a state of peace in the midst of plenty. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
No one expects sheep to be responsible for themselves, owners hire shepherds for that purpose. A Shepherd’s job is to accept responsibility for the safety and well being of his flock. Most shepherds only take that to the point where it would threaten their personal safety, rightly deciding that their life is worth more than that of a sheep. A few would be willing to risk their lives to protect their sheep, but our Shepherd knowingly and willingly died to save us, because there was no other way.

The Resurrection And The Life

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
This is an amazing statement. The Lord had already said that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have eternal life. (John 3:16) Here he provided more detail, saying that even though a believer experiences physical death, he will still have life. He was referring to the resurrection of those who die in faith.

The Vine         

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
This image tells us that Jesus is the source of life.  Branches will wither and die if they are cut off from the vine, because the vine is the source of their nourishment and health.  Jesus is saying that in the same way, we are totally dependent on Him for our spiritual nourishment, health, and life.

Now let me ask you a question…could a man who was just a man, and not God, make statements like these and still be considered a wise prophet or a great teacher of humanity?  Are we to assume that Jesus was wise and insightful about our lives and how we should live them, but dead wrong about His own life and who He was?  That would be ridiculous!  If a politician or world leader today were to make such statements about himself or herself, we would immediately think they were delusional or dangerous, or both.

Jesus does not want you to be left in the dark about who He is…but He still puts the question to you and to me – “Who do you say that He is?”

Jeff Frazier

Monday, July 25


When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.  – Matthew 16:13-17

As a pastor I talk to many people who have questions about the Bible, about faith, and about Jesus himself.  There is nothing wrong with asking questions, it is one of the primary ways in which we grow in our faith.  However, I think sometimes we forget that while Jesus is not opposed to us asking questions about Him, He also has some questions for us!   Author and Cistercian monk Thomas Merton writes, “When you begin to seriously question the Word of God, you suddenly discover that it is also questioning you.”

The gospels record several very pointed, and powerful questions that Jesus asked of those around him.  Consider Luke 18:8 — “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Or Matthew 8:26 – “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Or in Mark 10:51, when Jesus asks the blind man the question, “what do you want me to do for you?”  Or again, Luke 6:46 — “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?”  Good questions, all of them, designed (I suspect) to put us on the spot, to keep us honest, and to probe the depth of our hearts.  Dangerous questions, all of them, because they unrelentingly cut to the core of who we are.

But the greatest and most important question is the one found in the passage from Matthew 16 quoted above, “ What about you? Who do you say that I am?”

How you answer this question – Who do you say that Jesus is? – is the most important thing in your life.  You will never be asked a more important question!
Philosopher and theologian Dallas Willard once remarked that we should never underestimate our ability to deceive ourselves. Taken seriously, Jesus' question cuts through our self-serving self-deceptions and leave us wonderfully vulnerable to the transforming presence and power of God.
If you are willing to take this question that Jesus asks seriously, you will discover exactly what the writer to the Hebrews was getting at when he declared: “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).  It is risky business, surfacing the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, letting the word of God—the questions of Jesus—do their work on us.  Risky, perhaps painful, but ultimately necessary and in the end, worth it!

Jeff Frazier

Friday, July 22

John 11:21-27

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and, whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

When our boys were young, we went through a number of family pets. We had a couple of hamsters; we had a couple of lizards; we had a turtle for a few days (our boys found it in the back yard), and we had a whole series of goldfish. We had so many goldfish because we had bad luck in keeping them around very long. The goldfish would do fine in our little tank for a few days, but within a week or so one of our boys would find the goldfish floating in the water and we would have a somber “burial at sea” (if you know what I mean) – and go looking for another goldfish.

Finally, I decided that the problem was in the quality of fish I was buying. So I decided to upgrade our goldfish. I went to the pet store and found a fancy goldfish that cost three times what I had been spending – and this one came with a very interesting guarantee. If anything happened to the goldfish within two weeks – I could bring the dead fish back to the store for a free replacement fish.

We can smile at the promise of a “replacement guarantee” for a fish – but what about a replacement guarantee for our lives? The astonishing truth is that’s what Jesus is saying right in the middle of this story about death.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and, whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Death is inevitable. Pets die: dogs, cats, hamsters and fish all die. People die: grandparents, parents, and sometimes brothers, sisters and children all die. Someday you and I will also die. And death is always painful. Death brings grief and tears – because life is precious and great love results in great grief. But here Jesus proclaims with complete confidence that death is not the end! He offers Jesus offers an audacious guarantee that death will be replaced with life for all who believe in him.

This is the heart of the gospel – the good news that through Jesus we can receive forgiveness for our sins and the certain hope of eternal life. In another well known and well loved verse, Jesus says it this way:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.” John 3:16

If you have not anchored your hope of eternal life in the promise of Jesus – you can do so right now by simply asking him to forgive your sin on the basis of his death on the cross, and to take up residence in your heart by the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that when we open our hearts to Jesus we receive the gift of eternal life – as well as the gift of his Spirit that lives in us. If you have received Jesus as Lord and Savior – thank God for the hope that Christ brings – even in the face of death itself!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Thursday, July 21

John 11:28, 32

And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary… When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

It is not unusual, in my pastoral experience, to hear grieving people express their pain through questions. A family huddles in an I.C.U. waiting room and whispers, “Why has this happened to us?” A parent stands before the casket of a child and groans, “Why our child?”

When my youngest brother, John, died in a traffic accident over 20 years ago – I spent a great deal of time and energy trying to find answers to the “Why?” question – only to find none.

When Jesus arrives in Bethany, both Mary and Martha make the same statement.

“Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.”
I believe this statement is really a series of questions.

“Why didn’t you come right away when we sent word that Lazarus was sick?”

“Why didn’t you do something to intervene in our situation?”

“Why didn’t you choose to heal our brother?”

“Why did our brother have to die? Why now?”

If you have ever experienced the loss of a loved one – my guess is that you can relate to Mary and Martha. For while grief is produced by love – it also brings with it a whole series of questions that, humanly speaking, have no answer.

Notice several things about Jesus’ response to the sisters. He does not scold them for, in a sense, blaming him for not doing anything to help Lazarus. He does not scold them for their thinly veiled questions about his goodness and timing. He simply goes about doing something else.

What he does is reveal who he is by raising Lazarus from the dead.
Grief is the normal human response to death and loss. Grief tends to prompt us to ask questions – we instinctively want to find reasons and answers for our pain. This story tells us that Jesus understands our pain and our questions. This story tells us we can come to him with all of our pain, doubt – and even our anger. The story tells us that Jesus may not give us reasons or answers for our pain, but he does give us the promise that he will redeem our pain though his life.

I sometimes tell people that I have a lot of questions I would like to ask God when I get to heaven – some of them about my own brother’s untimely (at least to me) death at the age of 20. But somehow I think when I finally meet Jesus face to face, those questions will either be answered completely – or simply cease to be important any longer! Thank God for the hope and promise of Jesus!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Wednesday, July 20

John 11:33-36

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

The summer I turned 11 years old I experienced grief for the first time – and I experienced it twice.

First, my grandmother (my mother’s mom – who we all called “Mom-Mom”) died after a short battle with breast cancer. She was 57 years old, which seemed very old to me at the time – but now seems quite young! I have a few memories of being at her funeral – the first I had ever attended – and feeling a kind of confused curiosity. I guess I probably felt sad too, but I think most of the grief I experienced was through watching my mother’s grief over losing her mom.

Second, our family dog, a dachshund-terrier mix named “Sugar,” who had lived with us since I was about 5 years old - was hit by a car right before my eyes on the road that ran in front of the church where our family lived at the time. She had run out across the street – which she never did – and when my father whistled for her (his way of calling her home.)  She immediately obeyed and dashed back across the street and right into the path of a car.

I remember that I had to go somewhere with my family that night, but whatever it was we did – my heart wasn’t in it. My heart was torn out and lying in the road where I saw Sugar fall. I can still recall the empty kind of pain I felt right down in the middle of me that night and over the next few weeks. What I know now but 
didn’t know then is that I was experiencing grief – the kind of grief that comes from great love. 

Notice that even though Jesus knew Lazarus had died, when he saw the grief of the sisters, and upon seeing the burial place of his friend, he wept. As a child, I liked this verse (John 11:35) because it was the shortest verse in the Bible – and easy to memorize! But as an adult, I love this verse because it tells me that grief is a precious and even holy thing. Even Jesus, the Son of God, who knew he would raise Lazarus from the grave with one word from his mouth, wept at the loss of a friend!

Sometimes, at a funeral or visitation, I will hear people comment when a widow or family does not appear to be openly grieving, “They are so strong.” And while I know what they mean – I don’t think that the absence of tears is necessarily a sign of strength. Jesus’ tears teach us that grief is the result of love, and great grief is the result of great love! When we lose someone we love, it is good, right and healthy to grieve - for grief honors love. In fact, when people struggle to grieve, it is usually because there is something tangled up in the relationship that complicates and inhibits grief – like anger, bitterness or conflict.

Death is real; death is painful; death brings grief – all this is true. This story teaches us that our grief not only honors love – but it also honors God, who created us in his image with the capacity to love. Take a few moments to think about the losses you have experienced in your life. Have you been able to fully grieve those losses? Is it possible you are carrying the pain of unresolved grief in your heart? If so, ask God to walk with you through the depth of that pain – and to allow you to grieve as love deserves. Ask the Holy Spirit to provide you with his comfort, peace and healing as you grieve.

Pastor Brian Coffey

Tuesday, July 19

John 11:17-22

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed home.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

A few years ago I came across a website entitled, “” It’s a rather morbid website that uses actuarial tables to calculate the users projected life-span, and delivers that information in terms of your “personal day of death.” Like I said – it’s a little morbid – but it’s hard not to be curious! So I entered all my information: date of birth, height and weight, basic outlook on life (optimistic), etc., took a deep breath and hit the button. Within a few seconds the site displayed my projected “personal day of death” – along with a running clock that indicated how many seconds I had left to live! I looked at the date – and at the theoretical time I had left – and decided to change some of my data and try again! Even though I know that death is inevitable; and even though I knew the website was just a gimmick – I still wanted to try to push that date back as far as possible!

Notice the statement that Lazarus sisters, Mary and Martha, both make to Jesus. “Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.” This statement, when you stop to think about it, is both true and untrue. It is true in the sense that Jesus surely could have done something to prevent Lazarus’ death. He could have healed him from whatever disease or sickness took his life. On the other hand, the statement is untrue because, even if Jesus healed his friend in the short run, Lazarus was going to die eventually anyway. The truth is, even though Jesus raised him from the dead later in the story – Lazarus eventually died for a second time.

It’s easy for us to mis-identify the center of this story. Upon first reading, most of us would say that the story is about the raising of Lazarus from the dead (notice that I did not include this portion of the story in the reading for this week). After all, it’s not everyday that a dead man walks out of his tomb! But upon closer reading I think we see that the center of the story is Jesus – who he is and what he came to do – and that the raising of Lazarus was simply to prove the point.

We tend to miss this because, like most human beings, we see physical, earthly life as the most important thing there is. We want to extend life, protect it at all cost, and we seek to avoid death. This is understandable and good – for God created life as a precious gift. But this story reminds us that there is something more important than earthly life!

I believe Jesus waited to go to Bethany until after Lazarus had died because he wanted to reveal who he was – and is. Jesus wanted to teach Mary, Martha, all those watching – as well as you and me – two critical truths. First, he wanted to demonstrate that he has authority even over death itself, and second, that this earthly life is not all there is.

Yes, earthly, physical life is precious. We are to appreciate it, love it, protect it, enjoy it, and do whatever we can to enrich and extend it for ourselves and others – for life is a gift from our creator. But, this life is not all there is. This life will end for every one of us, sooner or later. This story tells us that we can pretend that is not so – or we can worry so much about losing our lives that we fail to prepare for the life to come.

Thank God for the beauty and preciousness of life – but ask him to anchor your hope and your heart in the life to come!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Monday, July 18

John 11:17-37 (selected)

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed home.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and, whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary…When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

During the summer of 1982, I served a ministry internship at a church in Pittsburgh. The church was located just across from a city park in an area of the city that had degenerated into a kind of “slum” area. In fact, my internship was focused on developing an outreach to the children of the Hmong refugees that lived in that area of the city, so it was not unusual to see homeless or otherwise very troubled people hanging out or sleeping in the park almost on a daily basis.

One morning I left the church building (where I slept in a small “apartment” each night) to walk across the park to a donut shop and noticed a man who looked to be sleeping at the foot of a tree just inside the park area. The awkward position the man was lying in the grass drew my curiosity – so I moved a little closer. As I got close enough to see his face – he appeared somewhat ashen in color and I couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not. My heart started to race as it dawned on me that I might have stumbled upon a dead man.

I moved closer and said, “Sir, are you O.K.?” He didn’t seem to hear me because he didn’t move a muscle. I moved even closer and said, a little louder, “Sir! Are you O.K.?” Nothing. I was close enough to him now to see that his eyelids were partially open – and it appeared that his eyes were rolled back in his head. I leaned within inches from his face – and couldn’t detect any signs that he was breathing. My heart was pounding. I reached out and nudged his shoulder, and said, “Sir!” At that moment he suddenly woke up with a violent shudder and growled, “What are you doing?!” I jumped back – almost falling over – and said, “What are YOU doing?!” To which he said, “I’m trying to get a little sleep!”

I was relieved, of course, that the man was, in fact, alive – but the truth is, people die every day. In fact, while you are reading this “10 Minutes with God” entry – about 1,000 people will die worldwide (according to statistics, 1.8 people die every second). Yet, in a way, death still surprises, shocks and frightens us. We don’t like to think about it and try in many ways to push it as far away as possible (except in movies – where we seem to be fascinated with it – probably because death is make-believe in movies). Even with amazing advances in medical science, we feel powerless in the face of death’s inevitability. The human mortality rate is 100%.

In this story from John 11 we see that Jesus was not afraid of death. In fact, it appears that he waited a number of days before going to Lazarus’ aid to demonstrate that not only was he not afraid of death – he was, and is, greater than death! We fear death because we cannot control it and we cannot fully comprehend it. We fear death because we cannot see clearly beyond the grave. But in Jesus, we have one who not only understands death and has lived beyond the grave, but one who ultimately defeats death completely, replacing it with his life – with himself.

If you are like me you think about death every now and then – usually when it happens to someone you know – or someone in your family. If you are like me, you rarely think about your own death – and when those thoughts come you quickly replace them with other thoughts because death is, well, an unpleasant thing to think about. This story reminds us that while death remains an inevitable and unwelcome enemy to life, we do not need to fear death.

Ask God to fill your heart and mind with the hope and peace that come from knowing that Jesus has conquered death through his resurrection life!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Friday, July 15

Luke 6:38

“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. For by the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

We’ve all heard bad lottery stories (see the entry for July 13) – but have you ever heard a story like this? In November, 2010, a retired Canadian couple named Allen and Violet Large won $11.3 million in a lottery.

What do you think they did with their new found mega-wealth? What would you do? I would like to think that had I won such a lottery, I would have considered a number of charitable donations – church, missions, etc. But I also think I would have probably looked to upgrade at least a few elements of my personal life – home, car – and a few toys!

But Allen and Violet did the almost unimaginable. They gave it - all of it - every last cent – to charity. They gave their lottery winnings to the churches, hospitals and fire departments of their community as well as to the Red Cross and to the Salvation Army. In explaining their decision, Violet said, “You don’t miss what you never had.” Allen said, “The money we won is nothing; we have each other. It makes us feel so good to be able to do these things.” 

The story of Allen and Violet Large is striking for many reasons – primarily because giving that much money away seems, at first glance, to be – well, crazy! And that’s because of the “gravitational attraction” of money that we talked about a few days ago. Money is powerful. A lot of money is very powerful. And we struggle to keep our balance in the face of such power. But the Larges kept their balance. Their hearts were not “bent out of shape” by $11.3 million. They understood where their true “treasure” lay – and so they were free to use their money rather than allowing it to use them.

The story of the Larges illustrates the truth that the most effective antidote to the power and lure of money – is generosity. In fact, I believe that generosity lies at the heart of everything good God wants to do in us and in his kingdom. For example; you cannot love and serve money while simultaneously expressing God’s love and grace through great generosity. Conversely, you cannot love and serve God while simultaneously loving money. It might also be said that the kingdom of God is not built with good intentions! The kingdom of God is built as those who love and serve God put their lives and their resources into his service!

You and I will never be free from the power of money until we can be generous with our money. Money cannot seduce your heart when you keep giving it away. And when we are generous with our money - especially when we give our money to purposes that please and honor God – money serves us and not the other way around. And when money becomes our servant – it can accomplish great things for God’s eternal kingdom.

Ask God to keep your heart free from the love of money – and ask him to grow your heart in generosity!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Thursday, July 14

Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Shortly after each of our four sons was born, Lorene and I began a college savings fund for each boy. While we could not afford to put much into those funds, we hoped that what little we could invest would be able to grow over time. And it did! This fall our second son, Jesse, will head off to college – and while his fund covers only a fraction of the total cost of his education – it certainly will help. The interesting thing is that, from the time we started investing in college funds, I never resented the reduction in our expendable income that those investments represented. Where I hated spending money to make car repairs, exactly the opposite was true when it came to our college funds. I enjoyed making those investments because my heart and treasure were both committed to my sons!

Here Jesus is, in a sense, offering us a unique kind of investment strategy. Notice that the issue is not our “treasure” – Jesus assumes that we will each possess treasure, or money. Rather, the issue is where we store up our treasure – or where we invest our treasure. Most of us invest our treasure in homes, cars, clothing, retirement, college funds and more. But Jesus is inviting us to invest in heaven! What does it mean to “store up treasure in heaven”?

Obviously, we store up treasure in heaven when we accept God’s gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. We also store up treasure in heaven when we serve others here on earth in the name of Jesus. But I think Jesus is also saying that we store up treasure when we put our wealth – our money - in the service of his kingdom and his purposes. When we give as an act of worship – we store up treasure in heaven. When we contribute to the material needs of others – we store up treasure in heaven. When our generosity results in the good news of God’s love and salvation being shared with others – we store up treasure in heaven.

So, let me ask you – how’s your investment strategy going? If there is an account with your name on it in heaven – is that account healthy and growing? Do you make regular deposits in the only account that is guaranteed to grow forever?

We all invest our treasure in many ways – and many of our earthly investments are necessary and important. Jesus is reminding us, however, to make sure that a heavenly investment strategy is an intentional part of our portfolio – because only that which is invested with and for him will endure for eternity. Everything else we gain or accomplish in this life will simply fade away.

Ask God to help you trust Jesus at his word – and to help you establish your own eternal investment plan!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Wednesday, July 13

Luke 9:25

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his own soul?
Luke 12: 16-21

And he told them this parable:

“The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I w ill tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Have you ever heard of William “Bud” Post? If not, his story is one to remember. In 1988 Mr. Post won $16.2 million in a lottery – and while most of us would think that from that time on he had it made – exactly the opposite happened. Even though he tried to keep his friends and family happy, within a few years one of his brothers tried to hire a “hit man” to kill him because he hoped to inherit some of the money. Other family members convinced him to invest in their business ideas – which all failed. His ex-girlfriend sued him for some of the winnings. And Mr. Post himself eventually did time in jail for firing a gun at a bill collector. Eventually he accrued so much debt that he filed bankruptcy and ended up living on his Social Security checks.

Now this is a rather dramatic example – and most of us would say, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not that foolish!” Most of us assume that we would handle $16.2 million better than did Mr. Post! But Jesus encourages us think a little more deeply before we assume we would be any different. In this parable of the “rich fool” Jesus basically describes what most of us would simply call the “American Dream.” If you have a good crop, if you earn more than you need – simply build a “bigger barn” and store up all the treasure you can! What’s wrong with that?

If you read Jesus’ words carefully, he doesn’t say there is anything wrong with harvesting a good crop – or with building bigger barns. The danger is in doing so without considering the condition of your soul.

As we talked about yesterday, money is powerful and can rival God himself for the affection and devotion of our hearts. And when money becomes “god” – not only do our priorities become inverted – but we can also lose our souls in the process.

I read where Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest men in the world, once said that he doesn’t attend church on Sunday morning because he doesn’t find worship to be a “cost effective use of his time.” While it is true that if he engaged fully in the worship of God for an hour, he would not be able to use that time for the creation of another computer product – it is also true that, if there is a God who not only created everything but who will someday judge the living and the dead, then money is not the main point of this life and Bill Gates couldn’t be more wrong.

Someday, the Bible says, we will all stand before an almighty and holy God to give an account for our lives. On that day it won’t mean very much to say to the one who created all things by speaking the universe into existence, “Well, I sold a lot of computers!” or, “I had a million dollars in the bank!” or “I had 10 years of crops stored up in my barns!”

On that day the only thing that will matter is whether or not we have entrusted our hearts, minds and souls to the one who gave himself for us. Ask God to help you grow rich toward him.

Pastor Brian Coffey

Tuesday, July 12

Matthew 6:19-24

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

A number of years ago I was on my way to a hardware story to pick up something and I decided to swing by my band to pick up some cash. I used the drive-thru ATM machine – and requested $10 using my bank card (back when you could still withdraw $10 at a time). I was in a hurry – so I took the cash and the receipt without really looking at it – and slipped it into my shirt pocket. A couple of minutes later I reached into my pocket to pay for something small at the hardware store and noticed that I pulled out a $20 bill. After paying for the item – I went to my car and checked the receipt from the ATM because I was pretty sure I had asked for $10, not $20. Sure enough, the receipt said $10 – but I had pulled a $20 bill from my pocket. “That’s odd!” I thought to myself, “I wonder how that happened?” So I drove back to the bank and to the same ATM machine – and used my card to ask for $10 again – just to, you know, be sure. And this time, with me paying very close attention, the machine once again gave me a $20 bill.

I thought to myself, “God works in mysterious ways!” Just kidding. Seriously though, I have to confess, all kinds of things started to run through my mind. I thought about the seemingly endless ways my bank found ways to charge fees. I thought about times when I came through the drive-thru only to find the machine out of service. I wondered how many times I could press the $10 button and get $20 in return? But I knew what I had to do. I went inside and informed the bank management that their machine was being overly generous. At first they were incredulous, “That’s impossible,” they said. But when they checked they found the machine had been loaded improperly – with $20 bills in the $10 slot. Furthermore, they said that the machine had been loaded at 5 am, and I was the first person who reported to problem – and it was after 9 am.

This little story illustrates the truth that money is powerful. Jesus says it this way:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

In other words, our money – our treasure – has the power to capture our hearts. When and if money captures our hearts – it then has the power to establish our priorities and make our decisions. Money exerts a kind of “gravitational attraction” on our lives. First it attracts our hearts; then it bends our values and behavior. That’s what was happening to me as I pressed the $10 button at the ATM. That’s what happens when we consider taking a job that will uproot our family because it pays a few dollars more. That’s why our culture tends to be fascinated with celebrity athletes and entertainers – their wealth exerts a gravitational attraction on our attention!

Money is so powerful, Jesus says, that it can function like a god in our lives and hearts. It can draw our attention, affection and even our devotion. And once money captures our hearts, it becomes our god – and money is a lousy god! Don’t misunderstand me – money can accomplish many wonderful things (more on that later this week) – but money, like gravity, is powerful and can be very, very dangerous. That’s why Jesus says,

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Ask God to show you if there is any way in which money has captured your heart – by drawing your affection, by bending your values, or by causing you great anxiety. Ask him to help your heart to become free from the love of – or servitude of money and free to worship and serve him above all.

Pastor Brian Coffey

Monday, July 11

Matthew 6:19-24

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The other day I came across a news story that just begged to be part of our current sermon series, “What Did Jesus Say?” – and, in particular, part of the sermon I am currently working on, “What Did Jesus Say About Money?”

The story was about Californian named Lou Balducci, who took a cushion off a weathered wooden rocking chair in his back yard and found Jesus. Actually, he found a knot-hole that he thought looked like the face of Jesus (see the photo below and decide for yourself!).

By his own admission, Mr. Balducci was “not very religious,” so he began to ask other family members and friends about the knot-hole. Many of them agreed that the knot-hole bore a vague resemblance to what they pictured Jesus to look like – and several indicated they thought it might be a “sign from God” – or that the old chair might have spiritual or healing powers. 

So what did Mr Balducci do? He thought about it for a couple of months – then put the chair up for sale on ebay for $25,000.

Whatever else we might make of this story – it does introduce us to the issue of Jesus and money! So what did Jesus say about money?

Scholars tell us that Jesus had as much to say about money as almost any other topic. And in most of the places where he talks directly about money he simply assumes that money is necessary. Money – or some form of it – has been around from the beginnings of human civilization. From what we know of Jesus’ early life, he worked as a carpenter with his father, Joseph. We can assume that they were paid for their work. When Jesus left his carpenter’s shop to begin his full time ministry, his group of disciples had a treasurer (Judas) who was responsible to keep their funds. So, even for Jesus himself, money was necessary.

In this text from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of “treasure.” By “treasure” Jesus means money or material wealth. We all have treasure. We may have $100 million, or we may have 10 cents, but we all have treasure. The questions Jesus wants us to think about are: Where do we invest our treasure?

How is our treasure connected to our hearts? And, what does our treasure do to us?

With these questions in mind, thank God for the treasure he has entrusted to you and ask him to teach you how to manage that treasure for his purposes.

Pastor Brian Coffey

Friday, July 8


I have often heard Christians talk about being under “spiritual attack” when they are struggling in some way.  I think it is important to point out that Satan can and does launch attacks against believers.  Sometimes he works top discourage us our hearts through failure, and self-doubt.  Sometimes his tactics are to get us to go along with the culture around us so that we will gradually drift from the truth of the Gospel.  Other times he accuses us in our hearts and causes us to doubt the love and forgiveness of our God.  However, we must also keep in mind that not every difficult situation or spiritual dry spell is an attack of the evil one. I think we may sometimes forget that while Satan is working hard to thwart the work of God in our lives, the Holy Spirit is working even harder to bring about genuine spiritual transformation.  In fact, throughout the Scriptures we see God doing some of his best work in the hearts of His people through pain and struggle.  Listen to the words of the psalmist from Psalm 42…

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’  These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.  Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God- Psalm 42:1-5

In his remarkably insightful book “The Screwtape Letters”, C.S. Lewis writes about the reality of spiritual warfare in the midst of what he calls “troughs” (spiritual dryness, or the feeling that God is distant).  Keep in mind that in this book, Lewis is writing from the fictional perspective of one demon advising another on how to destroy the spiritual life of a human being.

Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this.  To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense.  But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing.  One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth.  He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself–creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.  We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons.  We want to suck in, He wants to give out.  We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over.  Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct… He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation.  Be He never allows this state of affairs to last long.  Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at lest from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives.  He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs–to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish.  It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be.  Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best…Do not be deceived, Wormwood.  Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.  (C.S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters”)

The devil wants very much for the Christian’s troughs and droughts to appear terminal and permanent to him or her.  He wants very much for us to lose sight of our Savior’s use of such periods in our lives for His glory.  He desires that we should forget that some of our Lord’s favorite subjects have endured these droughts for long periods and have come to know His love and mercy even in the midst of them .  Even in our feelings of spiritual desertion, we may still obey the Savior.  Such obedience meets with joyful reward.  Jesus promised:  “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”  (1 John15:10)

There is nothing so contrary to the nature of the devil as love, for he is a spirit who is full of malice. . . The devil understands many things, but there is nothing that he would make such bungling work at as imitating the divine, holy, humble love of a true saint.  - Jonathan Edwards, “The Glory and Honor of God”

Jeff Frazier

Thursday, July 7


C.S. Lewis writes about two extremes to avoid when dealing with spiritual forces of evil, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.“ (The Screwtape Letters)

I don’t know about you, but I think that most of the people in our comfortable culture fall into the first kind of error.  Most people today just don’t believe in or think about demons, devils, or spiritual forces at all.  I think this is one of Satan’s best weapons, his ability to keep people from believing in him.  After all, if you don’t believe in something, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about it and that much more vulnerable to it (if it really were real).

Many years ago I had the opportunity to go to Russia with a small group of men from our church.  Our purpose was to help our sister church, “Transfiguration Baptist Church of Samara Russia”, celebrate their 100th birthday, the church had survived for a century and they had outlasted communism!  Among the many wonderful experiences on that trip was the time I spent praying with the senior pastor of that church, Pastor Victor.  Pastor Victor prayed everywhere and for everything.  He would stop whatever he was doing (and whatever you were doing) and begin to pray regardless of the situation.  I noticed that just about every time Pastor Victor prayed, he would pray about defeating the Devil, or stopping the work of demons, etc.  He prayed against the forces of Satan in a nearby gypsy community where they were trying to plant a new church.  He prayed to bind the Devil from spreading the evil disease of cancer in a dying woman’s body.  He prayed against the Satanic forces at work in the Russian government and in the Russian Orthodox church. 

It seemed like everything was a spiritual battle to him.  Now, I want you to know that I believe in the power of prayer and in the reality of spiritual forces in the world, but I must admit that at the time I was a little uncomfortable with all of the talk about spiritual warfare, and even thinking to myself that Victor was just a little over the top with the whole Devil thing.  But the truth was that Victor understood something that I did not (at least not yet).  He had a perspective that I lacked, a perspective much closer to that of the authors of the New Testament. Victor had been a pastor in a communist country for over 20 years.  He had led his church through oppression and darkness that most of us in the comfortable suburbs of America cannot even imagine.  For him, everything was a spiritual battle.  In his view, the Christian life was a very real battle between good and evil, darkness and light. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  – Ephesians 6:12

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.   – 1 Peter 5:8

We do have a very real enemy!  But it is not the liberals or the conservatives.  It is not the democrats or the republicans.  It is not the educational system, the tax code, the federal government or the economy.  Our enemy is the ancient enemy of God – the Devil himself.
 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  – 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

Jeff Frazier

Wednesday, July 6


If you were to ask the average person on the street the question; who or what is the devil?  Their answers would range from the totally ridiculous to the totally abstract – from a little red guy in tights with horns who sits on your shoulder, whispering in your ear, urging you to sin, to a metaphorical expression used to describe the personification of evil.  The Bible, however, gives us a clear portrait of who Satan is and how he affects our lives.  Put simply, the Bible defines Satan as an angelic being who fell from his position in heaven due to his sin and rebellion against God and is now completely opposed to God, doing all in his power to destroy God's purposes on earth.

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  – Luke 10:18

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn!  You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!  You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”  But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.          - Isaiah 14:12-15

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.  Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.  So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.  Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.  So I threw you to the earth.  – Ezekiel 28:14-17

The name Lucifer means “Morning Star”.  Satan was once Lucifer, one of God’s angles, in fact, the most beautiful of all the angels. It’s hard to imagine a being who was as close to God as Lucifer (Satan) was somehow coming to believe that he could overthrow God.  Even the most depraved mind should be able to see that the creature cannot possibly contend with the Creator.  And yet Satan attempted to dethrone God and strives to this day to defy His authority, to destroy His plans and harass His people. 

The reason for the fall of Lucifer from heaven was the pride in his own heart.  “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” This has always been Satan’s desire – to be God, and it is the very temptation he used in the Garden of Eden to get Eve to disobey God: “You will be like God.” (Gen. 3:5)

It is all too easy to read these passages and dismiss them as some kind of biblical fairy-tales, myths or legends.  However, the same selfish pride that led to the downfall of Satan resides in the heart of every man and woman on earth.  This is probably why he (Satan) is so often successful in his attempts to tempt, deceive, and distract us humans.  There is a part of each one of us that wants to become God too.  We think we know better than God how to run our own lives.  We want to be in control.  We don’t want to have to answer to anyone, or be accountable for our actions.  Perhaps we would be better off if we viewed the story of the fall of Satan as a warning to our own hearts.  The truth is that if such a fall from grace could happen to an angelic being in the presence of God, then we certainly are not immune to the possibility of it in our hearts. 

Oh Lord Jesus, do not let us fall into the sin of pride.  Keep us always humble and keenly aware of our constant need for your grace and mercy.  Protect us from the schemes of the evil one and teach us to find our refuge and strength in You and You alone – Amen.

Jeff Frazier