Do You Push People From Jesus? (Matthew 20:31)

In some cities, the people brought the sick into the streets and sought The Lord to heal them. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole. (Mark 6:56)

However as Jesus left Jericho, two blind men were crying their hearts out for him to come and heal them, but the people rebuked them and told them to hold their peace (Matthew 20:31). Why was it that the people in one city shunned the needy, but people from another city brought them to Jesus?

There are two reasons why this could occur. The first cause would be that the people who shunned away the needy had a distorted view of Jesus: who he was and what he could do. Those who had this diminished or wrong view of Jesus failed to see his willingness and ability to heal or save those who would come to him.

Another possible reason why people pushed the needy away from Jesus was because they had a selfish view of him. They didn’t care about those who lived around them, but instead were concerned only about what they needed or desired and what they could get from Jesus.

We aren’t any different today. What we believe about Jesus determines what we will do with him. If we recognize Jesus’ ability and purpose, we will strive to aid him in his work at reaching out to the needy. However if we fail to see this, our view will be what can Jesus do for me?

How do you see Jesus? The question can be best answered with another question. What are you doing with Jesus? Are you sharing with others how you have experienced his love, forgiveness, strength and mercy or do you simply hoard what you get from Jesus?

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Love: The Missing Ingredient (Proverbs 10:12)

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. (Proverbs 10:12)

Why does love cover sin? Is there not a responsibility for the believer to point out the error of another? Did not Paul tell us to mark the man that causes division (Romans 16:17)? If so, then is it not contradictory to admonish us to cover sin?

As believers, there are two relationships that we must consider: our relationship with others and their relationship with God. Regardless of what we do for either relationship, it should always be motivated by love. When a believer falls into sin, our actions towards them should reflect God’s love in us. If The Lord leads us to provide admonishment, then we are instructed to do it in love (2 Thessalonians 3:15). However this aspect of love goes beyond the scope of the proverb in question.

Proverbs 10:12 admonishes us to cover the sins of another with love. It is the latter part of the verse referring to hatred and strife. Just as hatred in the heart of a person focuses on issues and stirs up trouble with those around them, love does its perfect work. It contrasts hate in that instead of focusing on self and the hurts that have caused hatred, love focuses on others and the needs that they have in order to live successfully. This act of love should not be confused with the putting on of a loving face and acting in a loving manner, but all the while experiencing other emotions in the heart. There is too much of this in Christianity today. It is nothing more than hypocrisy or the playing of a part as one on a stage. The spiritual person will abide in love (John 15:9-12) and this love will be manifested in how he treats others and in particular, those who have sinned against him.

Parents should not allow the sin of their children to affect their relationship with them as well as brothers and sisters, husband and wife and fellow believers. There is a difference between condoning sin and covering it. When sin is covered, it cannot be recognized. Does your relationship with others reflect that their sin is covered or are there actions and attitudes that indicate there is trouble between you and another? If so, then love is absent. You can get it by dwelling in God. There are not three quick steps to complete, but instead a heart condition that needs to occur. By sitting at the feet of he who is love personified, you will gain this much needed virtue for your life.

Gaining Understanding (Proverbs 2:9)

I don’t understand why God has allowed this to happen. It does not make any sense. It’s useless. Have you heard these terms before? Have you said these or similar words? One of my favorite songs that we sang in the nursing home ministry back in the early 80’s was Someday, He’ll Make It Plain To Me. There are some situations in life that we will not be able to understand until we get to the other side in glory, but there are many times that we will be able to make sense of events that do not seem to make sense. How we can gain this ability is found in Proverbs chapter two.

Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
(Proverbs 2:9)

There is a blessing to be received for memorizing scripture, but as with all spiritual blessings it is dependent on the condition of the heart and not the action performed. When I was the principal of a Christian school, we had children memorize a portion of scripture each month. It was a mandatory obligation for which many waited until the end of the month to achieve. For those who did the task out of obligation, I believe that they received little or no benefit from the task because Proverbs 2:1-2 indicates that those receiving and hiding the word of God as a treasure are doing so in the hope of gaining wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Scripture memory out for obligation purposes falls short of this.

God later promises to those, whose hearts are crying out or seeking him as a hid treasure, that they will gain and find what they seek and also gain protection from God. It is after this that God shares that the result of receiving God’s word as a treasure will bring an understanding of every good path. From this we can be confident that if there is a way to know and understand God’s ways, it is through hiding God’s word in the heart of a person truly seeking him.

Being Poor Brings A Blessing (Matthew 5:3)

Blessed are the poor in spirit:for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3

Bad attitude, strong willed, heavy handed, and high minded are all terms that we have heard and to some degree understand. However understanding the term poor in spirit is another story. Sometimes to understand a term it may be best to consider the opposite. By doing this, it can shed light on the original meaning.

The opposite of poor in spirit is rich in spirit. When a person is rich, they, in a simplified definition, are considered as having all the resources necessary to do whatever they please. A person who is rich in spirit will be self willed to do and act in any manner that they desire. However, a person who is poor in spirit will see themselves as inept or unable to do or be as he wishes. This is how you and I were when we came to Christ. We formerly were self willed, independent and running our own lives, but by the sovereign work of God and the calling of the Holy Spirit, we came to a point where we recognized ourselves as weak, hopeless and beggars before God. When we did, we finally trusted Christ and the richness of his salvation and the presence of his spirit in our hearts made us supremely blessed. However, the position of poor in spirit is not simply for salvation.

When a person is poor in spirit, he chooses to empty himself. Just as Christ emptied himself to become man or he submitted the free working of his divinity to his father, we too must empty ourselves and submit ourselves to the father. We do this when we recognize that we don’t have any rights and we determine that for our lives, we don’t have any say.

Paul exemplifies this in II Corinthians 12:11: I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Mark records Jesus as saying, And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. (Mark 10:44)

The secret to the blessed life is always contrary to worldly wisdom. The secret to getting, is giving, the secret to living is dying and the secret to success with happiness is to give up or to give up on yourself and submit to God.

Do you want to be happy? Then see yourself as poor and dependent on God and he will bring blessings to your heart.

Pride Versus Hope (Psalm 131)

The enemy of hope is pride. It is a proud heart that raises itself up in trying to deal with matters too lofty for itself. It is a proud heart that refuses to adjust its behavior to what The Lord wants. As a dependent child submits himself to his nurturing mother, a prideful heart will not stand in awe before God and submit itself to him and his plan. A prideful heart cannot and will not wait on The Lord.

Trouble waiting on the Lord reveals a prideful heart that wants to take over. As anxiety builds, so is pride. A person resists submitting to God because they have already submitted to their own pride.

Pride still comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). Pride is not confined to the act of looking down at others. It is the attitude that people have after their hearts have been deceived into thinking that they can handle matters greater than their ability. Whether it be sin, raising children, managing finances, work, or any other area of life makes no difference. Pride moves man into the driver’s seat of his life and as long as he remains there, he will not experience hope.

Man does not need to do anything to get hope. He simply needs to remove himself and his prideful heart from the plan. When he does, The Lord takes over and with him comes hope.

You Need To Wait And Wait (Psalm 130:5)

Make sure that you wait and wait. Yes, wait and wait! For the Christian there are two aspects of waiting in his life. Regardless of how difficult life may become, The Lord wants you to wait and wait.

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. (Psalm 130:5)

One aspect of waiting is found in the word hope. Hope is not something that a person desires or hopes will possibly one day happen. Hope is the expectancy of what we know will happen and is yet to come. We have the hope of casting off our mortality and putting on immortality. We have the hope of the Lord’s return, heaven, seeing The Lord, ruling and reigning with him, the wiping away of all tears and countless other promises in Scripture. These things will take place as promised, but until then, we need to patiently endure. When we patiently endure, we are hoping.

Another aspect of waiting is found in the term “wait”. To wait comes from the word that means “to bind together” or “to collect”. By waiting, a believer holds himself back from anxiously trying to solve the problems in life and allows The Lord to handle them. Philippians states it as, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” In today’s terms we could say to those trying to deliver themselves from the struggles of life, “Get a hold of yourself!” A famous addictions recovery program has captured the phrase, “Let go and let God.” What these phrases have in common is that an individual needs to stop trying and wait on God.

Ask yourself, “am I holding myself back from trying to deliver myself? Am I anxiously trying to bring about answers to my own prayers? Am I accomplishing God’s will in my own power or by my own efforts? If so, you need to WAIT for what God has determined to be your hope and WAIT on God by getting ahold of yourself and stop seeking deliverance by your flesh.

Weeping, Seed, and Fruit (Psalm 126)

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:6)

Why has the Lord allowed this trial? What should I do ? Can anything be gained through these adverse circumstances? A look at Psalm 126 may give you some insight.

This psalm was written in regards to Israel and their deliverance from captivity in Babylon, which lasted for about 70 years. Many people refer to this psalm in regards to evangelism, but its true purpose is in relation to trials.

As Israel was taken to a land where they did not want to go, trials take us places in life where we do not want to go. During times of trials, our hearts become heavy and our eyes wet with tears. It is in the midst of these tears that The Lord wants us to continue on and bear our precious seed. The word for precious also carries the idea of a possession. This possession is what we have given to us as people of God. The New Testament speaks in this manner: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

God promises that if we continue on through tears, we will produce fruit in our lives. The purpose for the trial is the fruit. Seeds of faith produce fruit of faith. Patience produces greater patience and also the fruit of victory for others as you patiently encourage them along.

As you struggle along, sow seeds of forgiveness, temperance, gentleness and you will receive a bounty of fruit for yourself, others and for the glory of God.

Peace That Seems To Pass People’s Understanding (Psalm 122:7)

Peace, in my opinion, is one of the most misunderstood terms in the bible. Sometimes people refer to peace as a state of happiness. Others refer to it as a condition where they are sure about something I.e. “I have peace about it. Yet others consider it a state of contentment. Although these emotions may be present with peace! these beliefs about peace are wrong.

The term peace carries the idea of “to set at one” much like to reset a broken leg or arm. With that understood, peace is the state that occurs after a state of division, confusion or disharmony. Consider two countries who are at the brink of war. A negotiator brings representatives of each country together for peace talks to where they finally arrive at terms of peace. The end result is two countries that were at a division are brought together again. When this occurs, the countries are said to be at peace. Sometimes we use the term correctly by saying that we need to see somebody and make peace. Others may say that somebody has made or is a peace with God.

This same condition occurs in our hearts. Problems may arise in life to where our hearts are confused, hurt or fearful. At that point, The Lord brings promises from his word to our attention. Immediately after he speaks to us, our hearts are set at one again. The problem may still be present in our lives, but his word has restored our hearts.

In Psalm 122:7, the Psalmist speaks of Jerusalem in these words: Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. Notice that peace occurs in Jerusalem and not outside of Jerusalem. Many think that when The Lord brings peace to their lives everything will be wonderful. It will not be and until the Lord returns, it never will be. But his promises of peace will occur within the walls of Jerusalem and for us within the walls of our heart. Regardless of what takes place in our lives, we can have peace in our hearts.

While in the midst of a trial, seek God through his word so that he may set your heart at one again.

Patience And Faith (2 Thessalonians 1:4)

One winter day, I walked into the living room where my daughter was engulfed in a movie. For the sake of not being unloving, I allowed her to watch what she wanted and I joined her. The longer I watched the movie, the more uneasy I became. Tension began to rise up inside and as the movie trailed on, the tension increased. The movie seemed to go on forever. I continually checked my watch to see when it would be over. I finally couldn’t bear any more and needed to leave, but before leaving, I asked the name of the movie. With a gleeful smile my daughter exclaimed, “Little Women.” It may be a wonderful movie for girls, but it requires great patience or endurance for a guy to watch it.

Similarly, as we live life, we are faced with situations that are not pleasing. The Thessalonians experienced this and were praised for their patience and faith (2 Thessalonians 1:4). They. patiently endured the hardship in life until another obstacle was faced. It was at these times that The Lord would bring truth to their hearts and then move upon them to persuade them to follow truth and not react to the circumstance. Their positive response to God was faith and with their faith, they continued on or endured after which the cycle began again.

Each day, we face trials. While in those trials, we need to seek for the truth that The Lord is bringing our way and then allow him to move us to follow in obedience of faith. It is the mixing of truth with our faith that allows The Lord to provide us the patience that we need.

We cannot muster up patience no more than we can muster up spirituality. It is all The Lord. It is his truth, his faith, his patience and subsequently will be his glory. We are but vessels that he entrusts to use in bring himself glory. What trial are you facing? What truth or promise do you need to help you endure? Seek it and experience patience and faith.

Too Ugly To Love (Ephesians 2:4)

In biblical times, many marriages were previously arranged and those marrying had no choice in the matter. However for most reading this, the case is much different. When selecting a life’s mate we were drawn to someone who had physical features that satisfied our desires. We also were drawn to people who had similar interests. But imagine what it would be like if you purposefully chose the opposite.

Could you choose someone to marry whom you thought was ugly. Could you live with somebody who detests everything that you enjoy and the things that they like you despise? Would you fellowship with them? Could you? Better yet, could you become consumed in love with them? Not me!

Because Ephesians 2:4 states, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” we can know that God loves us.

• God loved you and me who were ugly with sin.
• God loved you and me who despised him and everything good.
• God loved you and me who enjoyed sin, which he hates with all of his being.

Stop and think, God’s love for you and me was so great that he sought us regardless of our position, desires or guilt. If he loved you and me then, he most certainly loves us now. If he loved us when we were consumed in sin, he loves us now that we are free through his redemption. If he loved us when our hearts longed for sin, he will love us as we desire him to pick us up when we have fallen again. If he loved us when we boasted of our sinful acts, he will love us when we are ashamed for falling. If he loved us when we were ungodly or the opposite of God, he will love us now that we have been renewed in Christ.

God’s love cannot be measured because God cannot be measured, but we can determine the greatness of his loved based on the obstacles that he overcame just to be able to express his love to us.