Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mark 3: Who Are My Mother and My Brothers?

Mark 3:31-35 

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

   31 Then His mother and His brothers came and, standing outside, they sent word to Him, calling [for] Him.

   32 And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, Your mother and Your brothers and Your sisters are outside asking for You.

   33 And He replied, Who are My mother and My brothers?

   34 And looking around on those who sat in a circle about Him, He said, See! Here are My mother and My brothers;

   35 For whoever does the things God wills is My brother and sister and mother!

Jesus' ministry was out of the religious box.  His compassion for those who were hurting emotionally, physically, and spiritually trumped the law of men.  

Imagine living in a system when God's prescribed day of rest (the Sabbath) was enclosed in a box, which constricted the peoples' heart of compassion in such a way that the "rest" (doing nothing) was more important then healing hurting people.

How dare He?  

Cast out demons. verse 11

Restore a withered hand. verse 5

Heal all who had distressing bodily diseases. verse 10

Jesus was so counter culture, that he was accused of being "possessed by Beelzebub." verse 22

Even Jesus' kinsmen (His family) tried to stop Him from doing good by ministering to others.  They even labeled Him as "deranged." verse 21

It was in this setting that Jesus asked, "Who are My mother and My brothers?" I used to think Jesus was disrespecting His family with that question, but He was trying to teach everyone a better way.  

Listen to what God says to do and then do it no matter what others who are caught in the religious system of do' s and don't s says.  

Jesus says that those who do the things that God wills are His mother and His brothers!

Holy Spirit of the Living God, empower us to hear and to obey by doing.  Whether physically resting or physically acting to touch others, guide and empower us.  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Matthew 12:1-21: "I Desire Mercy"

Matthew 12:6-7

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

6 But I tell you, Something greater and more exalted and more majestic than the temple is here! 7 And if you had only known what this saying means, I desire mercy [readiness to help, to spare, to forgive] rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims, you would not have condemned the guiltless.

If you have been in Christian services, mercy is a word that is prevalent.  As Christians, we understand that being saved means Jesus releases His mercy upon all of our mistakes (sins)...past, present and future.  

In faith, we trust that God in His mercy has forgiven us, and my friends, if we have been sincere in giving our lives to Him, He definitely has forgiven and forgotten those missteps! we offer that same mercy to each other?

Matthew 10:8
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give.
Matthew 12:7 amplifies what mercy looks that, to help, to spare, to forgive.  Freely His mercy has been given to us, and freely we should give it to each other.  The preceding verse talks about the mercy which spurs us to perform miraculous feats, and that is wonderful.  
But... I want to focus on freely giving mercy to the person who talks behind your back, spreading lies and disunity.  What about those who have misused their power to make your life difficult?  
Jesus doesn't say give mercy to your best buddy, and forget about those who have injured you in some way.  As a matter of fact, I believe mercy is only applicable when a wrong has been committed.  
So...The next time someone who has hurt you is struggling be ready to help, to spare and to forgive, because you have freely received mercy.  Now, freely give it!!!
Jesus, empower us to give mercy freely.  For Your glory, and in Your name, AMEN!!! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

John 5: The Vice of Vainglory

John 5:44 

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

44 How is it possible for you to believe [how can you learn to believe], you who [are content to seek and] receive praise and honor and glory from one another, and yet do not seek the praise and honor and glory which come from Him Who alone is God?

Vainglory, it's not a word we think about much nowadays. Yet, we should think about the implications of becoming entangled in it, because it is a sin that entices even the most sincere Christian.

The definition of vainglory listed in my copy of the Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language states that it is "Glory, pride, or boastfulness that is vain; vanity excited by one's own performances; empty pride; undue elation of mind" (original copyright 1904 and printed in 1965).

None of us can boast about our accomplishments, because any good we have done is because of Him!  He bestows gifts and talents.  He empowers us to be successful.

It's up to us to utilize those gifts and talents for His glory and not our own.  

Have you ever been in situations where everyone is attempting to one-up the others?  When we act like that, it's like we are saying to God, "I don't need You.  I can do it all by myself."  That thought process is not only childish, but arrogant.

Personally, I have asked the Holy Spirit to convict me of any vainglorious attitude.  I am well aware I need God's power to be successful in all that I am and do.  Yet the temptation remains for me, for all of us.

The verse above asks an important and eternal question.  How can we believe when we focus on seeking and receiving praise and glory for ourselves, when God is the One Who is responsible for the blessing of success?  

The moment a person thinks they are free from pride (vainglory), is the moment this insidious vice has rooted in their soul.

It's a sobering and humbling thought, isn't it?

Holy Spirit, please reveal any vainglory in our lives.  Open our eyes to see Your power flow through us which yields success.  All honor and power and GLORY be to the One called Jesus.  AMEN!!!