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Showing posts from October 20, 2013

Pride and Humility

Which of these is the most desirable? Be careful in your answer. Pride goes before a fall. Humility can be used as a façade for pride. The human heart is very wicked and can convince us that we are acting in humility when it is really our pride running the show.

Jesus had many confrontations with the Scribes and Pharisees. These were men who sought positions and titles of honor. They were convinced that "ministry was handing down laws to the people and adding to their burdens." They wanted to command but not necessarily participate. It was all a show to them and their heart was far from love.
So, Jesus said when talking with them, "The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23:11-12) "A true spiritual leader directs his people into freedom and a closer fellowship with Christ, not into bondage to his ideas and beliefs." (Warren Wiersbe)
Most often, the attr…

Life and Death

What do you believe about life now and death eventually? Will death be the end of your existence or is there life after death?
The Sadducees came to Jesus with a question about a woman who married a man and then lost her husband to death. There was a Jewish law that required the man's brother to step in and marry the widow so that the first brother's line could be preserved. So the Sadducees came trying to stump Jesus with the scenario of seven brothers all dying after fulfilling this law related to their bother and his wife. Their question was, "at the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?" (Luke 20:32)
Jesus confronts them in the following way. One, he knew that the Sadducees didn't even believe in the resurrection so their scenario was strictly fiction to them meant only to trap him. Two, he explained that "those…in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage" so it doesn't mat…

Nothing But Leaves

What is the state of your Christian life?
Jesus is in the last days of his ministry and is traveling to Jerusalem from Bethany which is a couple miles due east of the city. He encounters a fig tree in the road that is in full foliage early in the fig season. So as he approaches he is anticipating figs among the foliage yet the tree is barren. Looking up at it he proclaims the tree to be dead. Later, on his return to Bethany, the disciples will notice evidences of this with discolored leaves hanging and laying on the ground. (Matthew 21:18-19)
This event can be linked to the act which followed that day which was the second cleansing of the Temple. Jesus went in and saw a bustling business of selling animals of various values to Temple attendees for their worship sacrifices. I'm sure it might have seemed very normal a day but Jesus knew that this was a violation of the purpose of the Temple. It was to be a house of prayer and men had made it a den of thieves.
The Temple, its sacri…

Faithfulness

What is the consequence of being a faithful person? Jesus shared a parable in Luke 19:11-27 which explains the answer to this question.
"A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return." (vs. 12)This was a normal event when kingdoms conquered new territory or when a present ruler died and sought to give his rule as an inheritance to someone else. The new ruler had to be authorized by the controlling kingdom.
"So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'" (vs. 13) These servants were not slaves because they would not have received money but were employees who worked in the master's business. They were all given the same amount, one mina, and told to put the money to work.
When the nobleman returned as king, one servant had earned ten more and was given charge over ten cities. One servant had earned five more and was given charge …

Deserved

When have you found yourself in a situation where your expectations and assumptions didn't end up being fulfilled? What was your response, did you feel like you deserved more?
Peter was working through his understanding of what it meant to follow Jesus. He had given up his life's work to do it. He might have thought that just giving up this enabled him to have more than the average believer who didn't give up that much. He was bewildered. (Matthew 19:25)
So, Jesus told the disciples the parable of the landowner and his workers. (Matthew 20:1-16. Early in the morning, around 6am, the landowner went out to secure workers. These workers haggled over price and made a contract for 1 penny for a day's labor, then went to work confident of their wages at the end of the day.
The landowner went back to the city square at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm and employed others but not with a contract, they just went to work depending on the landowner to do what was "right" for their w…

Powerful Words

As I was reading the account of Lazarus being raised from the dead in John 11, I was made aware of the tremendous power and incomparable love Jesus had for the disciples, for Lazarus, his family, and the Jews who looked on. It is expressed so clearly by John as he writes this personal witness to the event.
This, the last of the miracles done by Jesus before he is crucified and resurrected, illustrates the specific emphasis of the book of John. This account of Lazarus is only mentioned here, not in the other three Gospels. Also, there are specific words used by John to emphasize the message of Jesus to the world. Note the following:
The person of God as "Father" is mentioned 44 times in Matthew, 5 in Mark, 20 in Luke, and 121 times in John.
The word "world" is used 9 times in Matthew, 3 in Mark, 3 in Luke, and 79 times in John.
The word "truth" is used 1 time in Matthew, 3 in Mark, 3 in Luke, and 25 times in John.
The word "light" is used 7 time…

Equal Love

There is a prodigal son's tale shared by Jesus in Luke 15. A man had two sons and the younger desired his one-third of the inheritance before the father died. Interestingly the father granted his desire, allowed him to leave but patiently watched for his return. The son did what we would expect…he wasted all that he had been given and eventually ended up with no friends, no self-respect and penniless.
So, he decides to return home, confess his unworthiness and seek to be merely a servant in the home of his father. But when he does return he is met by his father, declared to still be his son, cleaned up and becomes the center of a celebration.
When the older son finds out, he is livid. He cannot understand the actions of the father neither does he have any desire to see his brother or celebrate with him. He is incensed and berates the father declaring unequal treatment by him even though he has already received two-thirds of the inheritance…everything the father now possesses.
The…