Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oh we DO LOVE those Taxes!!

As I write this we are in the last few weeks before the mid term elections.

Obama and his "kin" are being excoriated for never seeing a tax hike they didn't like. We have plunged further into debt in the two short years he has been in office than all the other 234 years of this country's history COMBINED. Patty Murray and Gregoire are being taken to task for the 8 BILLION deficit in the State of Washington. The way out is more taxes. Tax and spend.

Come to find out, taxes weren't that appreciated in Jesus' day either. The taxes for the oppressive Roman government were collected by entrepreneurs, who could use their power and position to enhance their personal wealth. (Sounds like our Senators) But in that day they were called what they were - sinners.

9 "As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?[d]”

Did you catch that? Sinners and scum...

12 "When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’[e] For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

OK. OK. The real story here isn't taxes or government. Many abusive governments have come and gone since Jesus was walking the planet.

The real story is that Jesus knows that we are ALL sinners. That our artificial categorization of the righteous and the sinner breaks down under the scrutiny of the high holy standards of God Almighty.

That Jesus came to SAVE sinners. That the first step toward a relationship toward God is the free admission of our own sinfulness. That God loves every single one of us. No one is excluded.

Not even polititians.

Or IRS agents...

Friday, October 15, 2010

When God Doesn't Seem to Care

We're in the life of Jesus now. Jesus does lots of miracles.
LOTS of miracles. He heals people. He casts out demons. He makes things happen that could not happen in the natural.

As an aside - Buddha never did a miracle. Mohammed never did a miracle. Those are man made religions. Jesus, God in flesh, did miracles one after the other.

So now, there are 13 men in a boat. They cross this large lake.

23 "Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.

Say what?

Jesus was sleeping.

I know, in the natural world, he was exhausted. He would routinely get up before dawn (about 4:30 am) to pray to his heavenly Father.

Then he was pursued all day long by people with needs and demands. Sort of like the combination of polititian and celebrity.

He had delivered some sermons to a very large crowd. So he was tired. And was fast asleep.

25 "The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

I have felt like them many times. Lord, do you not know? Do you not care? Is it just me? Have I done something wrong, and now I'm being punished? Lord, save us! We're going to drown!!!!

26 "Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm."

It was so easy! Jesus is God. Nothing happens that He does not allow.

27 "The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

I'm always amazed, in retrospect. But at the time, its

Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Things I Don't Understand

There is, of course, a lot I do not understand.
Here is one of the many things that puzzle me...

Jesus said,
38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’[p] 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,[q] carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow."

I have never met a person who does this.
I don't know any Christian community that fully embraces this.
We all are influenced by it.
But what would happen if all Christians everywhere fully embraced it?
Already in Muslim countries Christians are routinely killed for their faith.
Would we all perish?
All become pooor?

It is one of those things I really do not understand...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Words of Jesus

The Words of Jesus

A few days have gone by and all of a sudden the reading is in the sayings of Jesus. Not his lineage, or miraculous birth, or the 30 years of life before he began his "career" as an itinerant preacher.

The words themselves.
I have read the story of many people who, as adults, were introduced to the New Testament and were blown away.

I remember the story of Anil Kant, a singer/composer from India who said he started reading the New Testament and could not put it down for 3 weeks.

Or Mark Ishmael from Egypt who wept as he read, and could not eat or sleep as he read the words of Jesus.

Here, for today, are a few of the words of Jesus...

1 "One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.

3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,[a]
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,[b]
for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you[c] and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way."