Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
A WARNING ABOUT DIVISION
Matthew 12:22-30 Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn't speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. (23) The crowd was amazed and asked, "Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?" (24) But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, "No wonder He can cast out demons. He gets His power from Satan, the prince of demons." (25) Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, "Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. (26) And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. (27) And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. (28) But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. (29) For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house. (30) "Anyone who isn't with Me opposes Me, and anyone who isn't working with Me is actually working against Me.
A demon possessed man is set free. “Hallelujah! The Kingdom of God is among us.”
All too quickly that man is forgotten, dismissed, if you will. The religious leaders of the day attack the healer and the Spirit with which He operates. Their motive is not revealed in this passage and Jesus does not address it. First He addresses the foolishness of their argument. A house divided cannot continue to stand. It will fall miserably.
There is also an ominous warning here. Jesus alludes to His power and ability to plunder and bind Satan and then He says this, "Anyone who isn't with Me opposes Me, and anyone who isn't working with Me is actually working against Me.”
Today three armed gunmen killed several people and wounded others in San Bernardino, CA. Before the attackers were caught, their motives known and the bodies of the dead had a chance to get cold, social media lit up with arguments over gun control. Well-meaning believers on both sides of this issue pulled out all stops to disgrace the other side.
Many people posted things like, “Praying for San Bernardino.” In the midst of it all, a friend far away in Pakistan contacted me. Not being fully aware of our geography here, she was concerned for my safety. I was touched even though I’m over 2,000 miles away. Her posts on social media was all about praying for the nations of the world.
I was… no, I am convicted by her faith and her conviction to pray instead of argue.
Yes, I have a conviction on the issue of gun control, but this is neither the place, nor the time. Now is the time to pray, “Our Father in heaven, holy is Your name. Bring Your Kingdom in all its fullness to this planet. Cause Your will to be done here as it is in heaven. Meet our needs. Forgive our sins, and remind us, empower us to forgive those who sin against us. Lead us away from temptation. Deliver us from evil and the evil one. Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Comfort those in San Bernardino and bring the truth to the forefront. Draw the lost to Yourself. And, Father, unite Your church. Even so, Lord Jesus, come. In Jesus name, AMEN!!!
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
HOPE OF ALL THE WORLD
Matthew 12:14-21 Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus. (15) But Jesus knew what they were planning. So He left that area, and many people followed Him. He healed all the sick among them, (16) but He warned them not to reveal who He was. (17) This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning Him: (18) "Look at My Servant, whom I have chosen. He is My Beloved, who pleases Me. I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations. (19) He will not fight or shout or raise His voice in public. (20) He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally He will cause justice to be victorious. (21) And His name will be the hope of all the world."
Although there are no red letters in this passage the words of Christ are implied and His actions speak volumes.
Someone recently asked me why Jesus often told people not to tell who He was. 1) In this case there were people out to kill Him and it was not yet time for Him to die. 2) Jesus goal was always to glorify the Father, not Himself. His glory would come in the Father’s time. 3) Where there is light there will be bugs. Larger crowds don’t necessarily mean more faithful followers. And larger crowds can impede helping those who really need help.
The quote from Isaiah 42 is one of my favorite prophecies because it clearly proclaims the gentleness of our Savior. It proclaims, “If there is the least flicker of light, any hint of hope, the smallest seed of faith God will help.” In Mark 9 A man brings his son to Jesus seeking deliverance for the lad. He has tried for some time to help his boy, and even tried the disciples of Jesus to no avail. In speaking with Christ he expresses some doubt. “Heal him if you can.” Jesus addresses the doubt, not because He wishes to heap condemnation on the man. Rather, Jesus is causing him to search his heart for that which pleases the Father and overcomes the world, faith and honesty. (See Hebrews 11:6, 1John 5:4, John 4:23-24)
Mark 9:24 The father instantly cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"
This dad does it. He gets it right. He is honest about how much faith he has. And Jesus looks beyond all the doubt and sees that flicker of light, that hint of hope. Yes, Jesus sees that tiny seed of faith and He pulls it to the forefront. And then Jesus commands the evil spirit to leave and of course, it does. In that moment that dad is strengthened, that weak reed becomes unbreakable, the flickering candle flares up into a bright light. He is victorious in Jesus and hope has returned to his heart.
Father in heaven, may our words and our lives point to You and Your glory. Grant us the ability to see the light in those around us, however dim that light may be. And rather than snuffing it out grant us wisdom to fan it into healing, faithful hope. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!