Why worry and yet…

Luke 12 exposes my weakness.

“22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Do not worry. I break this commandment dozens if not hundreds of times a day. Sometimes if I’m not worried I worry that I’m too confident. I worry about worrying. Does that sound like I am man who believes in a loving and merciful God? I am that. I do believe that God provides for me, for Mary and me. He always has. And yet I worry. Forgive me Father.

Thank you God for always providing for us. Thank you for taking us to places that we never imagined.

Sheep-I-ness

He is watching.

Not Santa, Jesus, Jesus is watching. Not to see if i do wrong but to see if I do right.

Matthew 25s third story is about Jesus weeding us out, separating genuine believers from false believers.

“Matthew 25:31-46 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ‘

My behavior counts but not in a points score. My behavior shows the condition and attitude of my heart.

If I want to change my behavior step one is a heart transplant.

Ezekiel says about God’s intent for us, “Ezekiel 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”

What are the statutes and ordinances?

“Matthew 22:37-40 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ‘

I have accepted Jesus as my savior, his death and resurrection cover my sin and make it possible for me to be counted as a sheep. The way I treat others will show Jesus my sheepness.

Bold persistence

Luke 11. Jesus teaches what to pray.

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: ” ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. ‘ ”

Then he taught us how to pray.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Persistently, boldly pray.

Why?

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I pray because I have confidence in the One to who I am praying. (Probably supposed to be whom).

With what you’ve been given, how you doing?

What is worse a fake Christian Or a weak Christian? At the end of the world it appears it’s worse to be fake than weak.

In Matthew 25 the second of three stories is about 3 servants.

“Matthew 25:14-30 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

I am looking for the key, for the definition of a true believer so I can point the way or help other people not end up like the one talent guy.

It seems to lie in their beliefs. What do we believe about God? Is he hard and harsh or loving and compassionate? Once a person has met Jesus it’s difficult to continue to see God as hard and harsh. Once a person has met Jesus and received him as savior our view of God has to change.

There is a day of reckoning coming. Christian believers, there is a day coming for us when we will show what we have done. We will be judged on how well we did with whatever God has given us to use.

Paul says this in his first letter to the people in Corinth, “1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”

Later he added this in his second letter, “2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

There is an old song we used to sing in church, the refrain, based on John 13:35 is this, “they will know we are Christians by our obedience to a list of rules”. No, that’s not it, “they will know we are Christians by our successes and wealth”. No! “They will know we are Christians by our LOVE!” Yes, that’s it!

“John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ‘

While we wait….

While we were in the hospital the question came up, “why can’t I just go home to Jesus?”

Who wants to suffer? Who wants to keep slugging it out? Why keep working and fighting? Paul wrestled with the same question in 2 Corinthians.

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

If we wake up in the morning and are still able to fog a mirror, There still must be a purpose on this earth for us.

Then again in his letter to the Philipians he says, “eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.”

Keep on. Who needs to hear the good news? Everyone! Who will accept it? Some. I say this to myself, keep on going, Keep on sharing, keep on serving…He could come back today…or more likely, I could go to Him.

Being neighborly

Luke 10. An expert in the law was close but not there yet. He summed up the entire Old Testament in two sentences.

27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

He understood it all intellectually and could sum it up better than anyone But with his next question he showed that the message hadn’t taken his knowledge the 12″ south to his heart.

Who is my neighbor?

I have talked about the list of people that I pray for. Sometimes I don’t get a chance to pray through my list so while I’m on my way, I will ask the question “who should I pray for?” Who should I pray for? Come on Peter! Let’s make it quicker, Who should you not pray for? No one. Everyone, every person I know that’s who I should pray for. And every person I don’t know.

The answer to the mans question, who is my neighbor is “yes”. Yes, they are your neighbor. The person in trouble, they are your neighbor, the ethnic group the has historically been outcast, they are my neighbor, the downtrodden, those in power, those in prison, those that are sick, those that are well, the young the old. If they are breathing, they are my neighbor.

Who is my neighbor? Yes. Who should I pray for? Who should I be actively involved in sharing Jesus with? Yes. Who should I be servant to? Yes.

How am I doing? Not so good all the time.

Resolutely

Luke chapter 9. I never noticed this before. The numbers don’t seem to line up. Jesus’ ministry lasted 3 years. Luke has 24 chapters. Luke 9 Jesus is already thinking, planning and talking about his departure. That means that most of what we see about Jesus life and ministry in Luke happened in the last few months.

We will see Jesus entry into Jerusalem in Luke 19. It’s as if maybe Luke 9-18 is a flashback or synopsis of all that Jesus taught and then we rejoin the story or maybe all of this happened on the way to Jerusalem. The point is Jerusalem was always the end of the journey. Jesus knew what was coming and did it anyway.

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.

There is so much in here: he sends out his team to minister, he feeds 5 thousand people with 5 loaves and 2 fish, (that’s about the entire population of my little town of Ephrata), Peter makes his statement about Jesus, “You are the Messiah (Christ, savior, long awaited hope of Israel, the One, the Man/God), the transfiguration where Moses and Elijah pop in for a minute, healing a demon possessed boy that disciples couldn’t help, the discussion of who is the greatest ending with Jesus stating the upside down logic of Christianity, for whoever is the LEAST among you all, he is the greatest. The chapter ends with Jesus telling us all that following him is free but it will cost us everything.

My take away is knowing all that he was going to have suffer through, knowing all the sins of the world, my sins, our sins he did it anyway.

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.