Every Last Word
It seems to be ingrained in us to always want more. We want to get ahead, to make our lives pleasant and comfortable. We want to secure our future, so we prepare for retirement. It’s easy for us to be busy storing up our wealth, forgetting that we are told not to gain treasure here on earth, but rather in heaven.
We hear stories of people in other places and times boldly trusting God and proclaiming his name, even to death. That often seems very far away from the reality of our lives. But we, too, must courageously stand for Christ.
Jesus was not the “nice” guy we often make him out to be. He was notorious for creating uncomfortable situations, and sometimes offended the very people who were feeding him. Today we’ll be looking at one such dinner party. The chances of Jesus staying for dessert at this home are very slim – in fact, his hosts are beginning to cook up a very different plan for him.
When Christians get offended we often call it “righteous anger”. But usually it’s only our personal preferences or sensibilities that have been violated. Today we’ll learn about how to identify hypocrisy in ourselves, and what to do about it.
How often have you heard someone say “if God would just give me a sign, then I would believe in him”? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself. People have been asking for a sign to prove God’s existence for centuries. When skeptics asked Jesus to prove that he was God, he said their only sign would be the sign of Jonah.
It may look great to other people when we clean up our lives and live morally. But self-help methods end up hurting us in the end. The truth is we can’t help ourselves. When we try, we open ourselves to the attacks of the devil who loves to take possession of our souls. What we need is for Jesus Christ to take possession instead.
It’s easy to give up on praying when we don’t see immediate answers. In a culture where instant gratification is the norm, persevering in prayer is a strange concept. But God calls us to continually come before him with boldness. We can have confidence that when we pray according to God’s promises, he will be faithful and delighted to answer them.
Lord, teach us how to pray. The plea that resounds through history started with the disciples. So Jesus taught them. The one who was in constant communication with his Father, showed his disciples how they could have the same relationship.
They say if you want to get something done, give it to someone who’s already busy. Martha was that person. She knew how to get it done, and was great at serving. But somehow in her preparation for Jesus’ visit she forgot the most important thing: the person she was serving.
Everyone knows the story of the Good Samaritan. It shows how we need to be more compassionate to those around us. We need to love others in tangible ways, even across social and religious barriers. But when Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, he wasn’t just trying to inspire us to be better people. There was a lot more to it.
Jesus’ followers came to Him full of excitement because they where able to cast out demons. Jesus responds that they should instead be even more joyful because their names are written in the book of life. What does Jesus mean by this? Why shouldn’t his followers rejoice in casting out demons?