Archive for May, 2010

Opposing good is evil


                “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

                “Don’t stop him,” Jesus said.  “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us (Mark 9:38-39.)


                We see here that good done in the name of Christ can never be evil.  Yet, if we stand in the way of a good action, then we ourselves become evil.  The disciples tell Jesus that they attempted to stop a man from doing miracles in his name, simply because he was not associated with them (his disciples.)  Jesus is revealing that associations outside of his name do not make true believers; it is only the good that we do in his name that matters.  What that man shared was the belief in the very name of Jesus Christ.  He was a brother, because he acknowledged the power of our Lord, even though he was not a disciple.  The beginning of a Christian life, begins, and remains in the hands of Jesus Christ.  We, who call Jesus Christ master, are bound only by our servitude to him, and to one another because we serve him.

                Many Pharisees at the time of Christ attempted to stop Jesus from doing good, based upon rules of the law.  The law was not evil, yet men took it and twisted it, telling Jesus it was unlawful to heal a man on the Sabbath.   If the Sabbath gets in the way of the healing of a man, then it gets in the way of the working of God.  This is why; Christians are not under the law, but under the commandment of Love.  Anything that is truly selfless is not considered work, but service.  Through service we do all things in love.  Jesus has told us that the greatest commandment is to, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the First and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it.  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All of the Law and the Commandments hang on these two commandments” (Mathew 22: 37-40.)  If we follow these two commandments we follow all ten.  When love God and others it is impossible to do harm to anyone, and we become obedient to the law, but not mastered by it so as to allow it to be a stringent boundary that would leave us unable to love someone through acts of kindness and goodness; even if, say, we did it on the Sabbath, if good was done to another, then it is the work of God, and not our own work (The Sabbath was a day out of every week that the Israelites were to keep Holy; they were not supposed to do work on the Sabbath.  The Jews, during the days of Christ, considered it work to heal people.  So they accused Jesus Christ of healing on the Sabbath, and thereby claimed he was breaking the Sabbath commandment.  Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it?

                Today, when we do good things for others in the name of Jesus Christ, we are revealing our love and faith in him, and I believe that anyone who tries to stop someone from doing good in his name, whether they are misguided or not, gets in the way of God.  To stop someone from being loved, is to is to go against our Lord and savior.  Doing good in the name of Christ, without stipulation, is the true working of God.  Catholics can do good, but not because they are Catholics doing good.  Protestants can do good for Christ, but not because they are protestant doing good.  Even Jehovah’s witnesses can do good, but they are not in the right if they do works under the name of being Jehovah’s witnesses.  Rather, the only affiliation that makes an action pleasing to God the Father is the action that is done in the name of his son.  I believe, that it’s hard to keep the gospel simple, and it’s hard to simply keep Christ in the center of the gospel.  No denomination will ever bring salvation; Jesus Christ is the name that carries power; that name alone is what binds together the faithful.

                “Lord Father we ask and pray today that You would give us discernment Lord, and we ask that You would allow Your faithful servants to see that it is Your Son that makes all things possible.  Lord, help us to not stop others from doing good in the name of Jesus Christ, but to do good ourselves in His name.  Lord help us to not call ourselves to faith in the name of a church or denomination, but in the name of Your Son, in whomever He dwells (the Holy Spirit), makes up the body of Christ.  Father, we pray that You will continue to bestow upon us the Holy Spirit, and that through us, Your miracles would continue to be done upon this earth.  We thank You Father, we love You, and we praise You in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”

Being a messanger of God!


             “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me, receives the one who sent me.  He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.  And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.  And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Mathew 10: 40-42.) 


            In the culture of Jesus’ day, communication across long distances was done through the use of messengers.  Emissaries of one king would bring that kings message to another king.  To mistreat a king’s messenger was to mistreat the king who sent him.  To treat the messenger well, was to treat the king well.  Many messengers were treated exactly the way the king would be treated; acting as a substitute for the king in his absence.  They were rewarded for being his messengers.  The receiving of the messenger would be reported back to the king, and this would dictate future relations.  Those who received the messenger joyfully, would receive a reward, but those who mistreated the messenger would be mistreated.

            God sent his son in to this world, and in turn, Jesus Christ sent his disciples in to the world to baptize and make disciples.  Nearly two thousand years have passed, and the links in a long chain of God’s messengers has not been broken.  When you receive God’s messengers you are receiving God himself.  The way to know a messenger is to determine whether or not he or she has twisted the message, or has altered it in any way; to altar God’s message is to bring upon oneself future destruction.  Jesus says, “My doctrine is not mine, but his who sent me.  If anyone wills to do his will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority.  He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.”

            There are many false teachers, and false prophets today who are not connected to the apostles’, nor to Christ, nor to his Father.  Anyone who has distorted the message is someone that should not be received warmly.  Sinners we always welcome, but false disciples and prophets should be rejected (those who are attempting to use God’s word to benefit themselves.)  Despite many deceivers, there are many who are still preaching the gospel; they are still seeking to get God’s message across to others today.  That message is, ‘that God has made a way; that God loves them, and that through Jesus Christ, anyone can have a relationship with the eternal creator of the universe.  Anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus Christ has eternal life, and is called to be a disciple.  We who share that message share one another.  We are all brothers and sisters in the Lord.  We share the same Father.  We all carry the same message.  As you go out today, recognize that you are another link in a long chain of those who have been sent by God out in to the world to do his work, and to carry his message to those who are lost.  Sow some seeds today in the hearts of those around you.  Share a scripture with them.  Tell them what the gospel is, and give them the opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we thank You for all that You have done, and for all that You are going to continue to do.  We ask Lord that You will send us into the world, with Your message and not ours.  Give us the strength to continue spreading Your gospel, and Your message to the world, and help us Lord, to make more disciples for Your Glory, and for Your Kingdom.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Overcoming the Fear of following Him


                “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?  And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Mathew 10: 29-31.)


                The command of Jesus Christ is clear; preach the gospel and do not fear anyone who threatens you, or attempts to silence you, even with death.  There are two kinds of death; bodily death, and eternal death.  Jesus makes this life and the next adversaries.  Wanting to keep this life and the one to come are incompatible.  He tells the people in this scripture not to worry, because they are worth more than many sparrows who die every day.  If something so invaluable is remembered by God, how much more is God going to care for the lives of his human children.  The images and comparisons Jesus uses here are used to bring his listeners out of fear.  They, like most people, were afraid of dying.  They had forgotten that God was in control of their lives, and they began to live as though the bodily life was all there was.  Those who stood for God during this time period were constantly being tested.  Israel was subject to whichever conqueror decided to invade them next.  And every conqueror, whether it be the Greeks, or the Romans, or the Egyptians, often made laws and decrees that made practicing the Jewish faith a very dangerous thing.  At one point, any mother who chose to circumcise her son would be crucified along with that son.  During another period, if one chose to not make a sacrifice to a pagan Idol they would be immediately killed.  Yet God allowed these things to occur.  Jesus is clear that these deaths were not outside of God’s control.  So many of these Jews had become like their conquerors because they feared the conquerors rather than God.  Jesus reminds them to not fear death, because the life that really matters is the internal one that lives within each human beings heart.  The body may die, but the soul shall live.

                If we look at all of the apostles, we see a wonderful example of how God controls the death of every human being; and we are reminded of the commitment we are making when we choose to live for God.  According to the church historians, Peter was crucified upside down in Rome.  Andrew was crucified in Greece.  James was beheaded by King Herod.  Philip was crucified and then stoned to death.  Bartholomew was flayed alive (skin cut from the body) and then crucified.  Thomas was stabbed to death by four soldiers with spears.  Mathew was axed to death.  James the less was apparently clubbed to death.  Thaddeus was crucified.  It is believed that Simon was crucified in Persia.  Matthias, the one chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot, was burned to death.  John was nearly burned in oil.  What I’m about to say is what makes the deaths of these men more beautiful than a sunset on a warm summer night.  None of these men are dead.  Peter, Andrew, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Mathew, James the less, Thaddeus, Simon, Matthias, and John never died.  They are with the Lord, as is every human being who has ever made Jesus Christ their’ everything.  Jesus said, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17: 33.)

                The 12 Disciples couldn’t be made to shut up, but today His followers need to be reminded to speak up.  Why?  Do we have a different message today than they had?  How many of us profess Christ in our daily lives to those who know nothing about Him?  Today missionaries across the globe are putting themselves in harm’s way to bring the message in to Muslims countries, but we it seems difficult to convince a churchgoer in the United States to lean over in a coffee shop and ask the person next to them if they know Jesus Christ.  Today, if we are afraid of anything but not doing the work of spreading the gospel in love, then we may not be on the side we think we are on.  This week let’s get moving.  Let’s look for opportunities to insert in to our conversations with other the truth of the Gospel, without fear, no matter what may come.

                “Heavenly Father, remove from us the fear of death and the fear of other people, and give Your message to give to others.  Father, make Your message like a burning in our hearts that we just can’t bear to keep hidden from others.  Father, help us to remember that we share eternal life with all those who died for their faith in You and in Your son.  Give us opportunities to give away the eternal life we have been so freely given.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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