Friday, February 18, 2011

Do you let your critics define you?

Do you let your critics define you?

There was only one perfect man in the entire history of the world.

So, of course, he did not have any critics, right?

Wrong. Today he is accused of working by the power of the devil. Do you have critics? Do you define yourself by what they say? Jesus most definately DID NOT!!

Matthew 12:24 "But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All the people were astonished!

After leaving the place where the religious leaders had started to plot to kill him, Jesus withdrew and healed everybody who was ill.

Matthew 12:15 "Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”[b]

Jesus and Beelzebul
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

Apparently people had gotten somewhat used to Jesus healing people. However, healing and casting a demon out of a man created astonishment.

Who is this man? Might he really be the long awaited Messiah? Might he be the Christ??

Monday, February 14, 2011

What, or Who is the Final Authority?

Today there is a story that revolves around a debate.
The debate is:

What, or Who is the Final Authority?

That debate is still raging today.
The Bible says - sex before, or outside of marriage - is sin.
Culture says - we will have sex whenever, and with whomever, we want. And you cannot tell us otherwise!

The Bible says - Thou shalt not murder!
Culture says - if we have sex but don't want the baby, we have full right to kill it - right to the time it will be born!

In Jesus day, the debate was a little more simple.
Who was the final arbiter of God's will on earth? The LAW, which they had had for thousands of years, or some itenerant preacher who could do miracles?

Matthew 12:1 "At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a] you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus."

The argument that Jesus, as God in human flesh, was the Lord - was blasphemous to the religious leaders.

Even though he was doing miracles, and healing people and doing good, they decided they had to find a way to kill him!

Today the same debate. Who decides what is right and what is wrong?

And the reaction is equally hard and even violent!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Come to me - if you are weary or burdened

We live in the richest country in the world.
Our society, with its freedom and abundant opportunity, is the envy of the entire world.

Why, then, would we be weary? Or burdened?
Oh, but we are...

Jesus words, spoken to downtrodden peasants in Palestine 2000 years ago, still resonate today!

Matthew 11:27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Come to me, says Jesus.

Who WAS he, to make such an offer?

I will give you rest. You WILL find rest for your souls.

Only God could speak that way. Only God could deliver on that promise. Especially 2000 years later. Only God...