Showing posts from May 6, 2012

Judging Rightly

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” John 7:24 Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders who use the healing on the Sabbath of the man at the pool of Bethesda as the catalytic event to denounce his ministry and message.
They have judged him because of his supposed violation of working on the Sabbath. Jesus reminds them of their need to circumcise on the Sabbath if it is the eighth day from birth, which would also be a work. If the ceremonial cleansing of one boy child in the nation is permitted on the Sabbath then would the actual healing of the entire person (body, soul and spirit) be forbidden on the Sabbath. It is an argument without response.
I, as well as all of us, am prone to fall into this method of judging. Whether it is the amount of color in a person’s skin, their ethnic heritage, their outward beauty or lack thereof, their wealth or poverty, their stature or strength, their possessions or any other measurement, it is judging on the basis of appe…

Always Praise

When you experience deliverance, whether in a large or small way, are you able to understand it as a provision of a loving God and praise Him for it? Psalm 107 illustrates how to do that. It states, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (107:1)
This Psalm is the last part of the thread of the two previous Psalms. Psalm 105 walks the reader through Israel’s history to the time of the Exodus while Psalm 106 continues the nation’s history from the Exodus to the captivity by the Babylonians. Psalm 107 then takes us in to the restoration from that exile. This Psalm describes four life predicaments and God’s deliverance to illustrate what the captivity was like for the people of God.
“Some wandered in desert wastelands…Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom…Some suffered affliction through their rebellious ways…Others reeled and staggered as one in a great storm on the sea.” The Israelites were parched persons in prison full of pride and continually in peril…

Sealed, Now Serve

“On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27b Here is a reference to the blessing of God the Father given and spoken to Jesus at his baptism.

In every one of the gospels it is stated that when Jesus was baptized by his cousin John the baptizer, after He came out of the water the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon him and the Father spoke from heaven. He said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:21; John 1:32) This was the beginning of Jesus’ ministry years and an affirmation of sonship, love and satisfaction.
The words of the Father and the presence of the Holy Spirit was the seal of approval placed on Jesus. It is no coincidence that the Father places His seal on us also as we conform to Christ’s image, (Romans 8:29). 2 Corinthians 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30 all speak of this event in our lives. “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and pu…

Idol Stubbornness

“When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.” 1 Samuel 5:3-4
In Samuel’s day the Israelites had lost a war to the Philistines who took the ark of God which was foolishly brought to the battle lines to act as an encouragement to the soldiers of Israel. It did not work and the ark was captured. It was in Philistine territory for seven months (1 Samuel 6:1) in which time God produced tumors in the people of the cities where it resided and gave the above demonstration of His power over the Philistine idol god, Dagon.
Rather than bow to the God of Israel the Philistines chose to send Him away, back to Israel, out of their sight and supposedly far eno…

Peaceful Heart

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 This is the NIV translation and the King James Bible translation is, “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”
We can use the physical condition of the physical heart to illustrate this truth. We hear much about physical exercise to get your heart rate up and thus strengthen your heart and keep you healthy. The good condition of the heart as it pumps blood filled with oxygen certainly brings “life” to all corners of the body.
Then, we can look at the heart not as an organ but as the center of our existence. It can be identified as the mind, emotions and will of a person. Here too a “heart at peace” or one that is “sound” is bringing life to the whole body. Our mind can become filled with all kinds of evil thoughts among them envy, spoken of as one of the deadliest fruits of selfishness and responsible for “the rottenness of the bones.”
Our emotion can pine for that wh…

The Way of Healing

“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’” John 5:6-8 This is one of the seven miracles presented by John which reveals truth about Jesus and truth about people.
This man had been disabled for thirty-eight years, probably most of his life. He had been at the pool a while because he says he had attempted to enter the waters when stirred for healing but always came in second. He was hopeless, discouraged, possibly even frustrated about his situation.
So, why does Jesus ask him, “Do you want to get well?” It seems like this is a no brainer. Wasn’t he at the pool that possibly brought healing? Hadn’t he attempted to enter the pool seeking healing? What’s the point of Jesus’ quest…

Coming Home

“’The Lord bless him!’ Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. ‘He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.’ She added, ‘That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers.’” Ruth 2:20 Ruth’s story takes place in the time of the Judges and reveals the movement of a Jewish family to a foreign land to get away from famine, presumably a discipline of God upon Israel for their idolatry.
Naomi, the wife of Elimelech, willingly goes with her husband and two sons not knowing that she will return without any of them. Her plight is being a foreigner in the land of Moab who in time acquires two in-law daughters, but has no homestead, no money, and no hope. Her decision is to go back to Bethlehem where at least she will be among relatives. Ruth, her daughter-in-law, being committed to her accompanies her.
When they arrive, Divine appointments lead Ruth to gather droppings in the fields of Boaz, a near relative. Upon hearing this, Naomi recognizes him as able to p…