Challenged

…even the blind and the lame will turn you back…  So often people underestimate who we are. If I counted the number of times I’ve been disregarded or was told that I couldn’t do something it merely strengthened my desire to prove them wrong. What they don’t understand is the power within that drives us and the hope and faith in God which supersedes the arrogance of those who see themselves as great in their own eyes or make themselves feel better by putting us down. David was constantly being challenged in this way by rulers of other nations. So too will we be challenged but God in grace gives us power to act in spite of those who believe they lord over us. It is God who establishes the desires of our heart as we strive only to serve according to God’s glory

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Sister’s Keeper

Where is your brother Abel?  Genesis 4:1-16  It was a rhetorical question, not meant to elicit a specific answer but rather to make a point. God already knew that the voice of Abel had been crying out from the ground but he was giving Cain an opportunity to come clean. We all have feelings of anger, frustration and jealously, but the Psalmist reminds us that happy are they whose way is undefiled (119:1-24). The way involves our thoughts followed by our actions. Let’s face it! Our thoughts aren’t always directed towards God! However, through Christ we are afforded the same opportunity as Cain, whose response made clear that he had gotten the message but chose not to accept it. We too have a choice. Are we our sister and brother’s keeper? 

Chosen

…not to be served but to serve.  Matthew 20:17-28  To kick off the early Black Friday event, one of the stores decided to make one of their prized discounted items available to the customers at the end of the line that had gathered outside the store instead of the beginning of the line. I’m not entirely sure what angst that may have caused but I think it probably made some, (particularly those at the front of the line) a bit salty. To some extent in this life, we are all one managerial decision away from being chosen. The mother of James and John thought to get a jump on God’s glory for her sons before the other disciples. Jesus makes clear that God’s Kingdom is not about being the early worm but rather about our willingness towards God will as we work to serve one another. We serve God by serving one another. In serving one another we are all chosen.

An Unexpected Visit

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks...  Luke 10:38-42  Honestly, what was Martha doing? She apparently thought it was very important to take care of some things. As Mary chose to sit at her guest’s feet Martha choses to work and not only does she chide her sister for not helping her she expected Jesus to support her choice to do so. For the first time as I read this passage I can see Christ smiling in his response to Martha. When we make unexpected visits it’s usually to homes of people with whom we have some relationship. Generally we don’t go with any expectations but rather to sit, visit and spend some time with people we love. Sometimes the host chooses to work through the visit. My paternal grandmother did this all the time, insisting that she prepare a meal first then sit and talk over the meal.  My maternal grandmother on the other hand would sit and chat awhile and then ask if you wanted something to eat. There was always that awkward time during which the meal was being prepared. Either way, I always left well fed, both physically and spiritually. Perhaps Martha simply got caught up in the logistics of the unexpected visit. Jesus’ response was to help Martha understand that if a choice had to be made, Mary made the better choice. In any event people do have to eat! Together, the sister team of Mary and Martha actually made for a great combination of hosts!

Discerning The Spirits

If you are the Son of God, command this stone; If you worship me it will be all yours; “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here… Luke 4:1-13  How many times have we heard the expression “If your friend jumped off of a bridge, would you jump too?” In most cases the answer would be “no”. Of course literally we wouldn’t do it. However figuratively, we’ve probably done it many times. The key to not jumping off that “bridge” is not because of the action itself, but rather the thoughts that precede the action. The enemy of what is good and right is not really interested in what we do. The enemy is more interested in what we think and believe ourselves to be. Satan approached Jesus when he was hungry and believed him to be “vulnerable”. So too, he approaches us in the same way. Our reality is that knowingly or unknowingly, in our humanness, sometimes we choose to “jump off the bridge”. The good news is that our God always loves. Our God always cares. Our God always forgives. We must always remember what Christ remembered in times of vulnerability; who we are (identity), to whom we belong (inheritance), and why we are called in spiritual relationship with Him (mission).