Too Many Friends

www.bible.com/72/pro.18.24.hcsb

Is it possible to have too many friends? You can be friendly with many people, but cannot have too many good friends, and even fewer best friends. Consider your close friends. Do you have more than five? Ten? These are people that know you inside and out, not just the image you project to others. How many people know your heart? I’d say it’s not very many.

Of these close friends, who do you consider to be the best friend? Maybe one or two? Who is the first you call when you’ve got that new job or that tragic diagnosis? Are there many?

Jesus said “I no longer call you servants. I call you friends.” There is a friend who is closer than a brother. I hope you have one. Thankfully, we all have a friend who is closer than that.

God bless you today.

Great Commission

www.bible.com/72/mat.28.19.hcsb

Do you have life-goals? One of mine to to meet my grandfather. He died several years before I was born, in 1961. Never got the chance to meet him. But my grandfather became a Christian later in life, and someday when I die, I will get a chance to meet him.

To do that, I’ve got to make sure that I’ve followed God’s will to the best of my ability, and pray for His grace to be applied to the rest. There’s a lot.

So what is God’s will? Did you read the verse above? That’s the first part of the Great Commission. That’s what God wants from us. That’s what He wants us to do. He wants us to make disciples out of all the nations, all the peoples of the earth, all the languages, cultures, ethnicities, everywhere. Once one is reached in each, more can be won. Then we follow discipleship with baptism. We are are baptism into the One Name, because this is the source of our unity among such diversity of peoples. We are all saved by the same God, through the same blood and filled by the same Spirit. We are saved in Jesus. And this One Name is all Three in One, the Triunity of God.

What follows is the teaching, everything that Jesus commanded the Apostles to pass on to the Body of Christ. This is the will of God, that the whole world would be saved through His Name. It’s a big job, but we have an even greater God to work it out. We have but to plant the seeds, and God gives the increase.

What seeds of discipleship can you plant today?

When King Uzziah Died

www.bible.com/1713/isa.6.8.csb

Isaiah’s call was memorable. He notes that when the wicked King Uzziah died, he went to the Temple, and there had a vision of the Lord, where the train of the Lord filled the Temple. And the Lord said to His attendants, “who will go for us?” Isaiah, being awed by the spectacle, volunteered for service. He had no idea that this one act would result in his death at the hands of wicked King Mannaseh by being dawn in two, according to tradition. But that would not be for many years, and the longest book of prophecy and hope would be written by his hand.

Isaiah is the greatest writing prophet of the Old Testament, but we might learn something, not from his prophecies, but his willingness to serve. We too live in a world of wicked rulers. God is still looking for someone who will stand up for righteousness and be willing to follow Jesus. Would you be that person today?

May I encourage you on this Monday to listen for God’s voice in your daily work. Be attentive to those moments that righteousness is needed, not conformity. Keep your lips ready to speak a word of kindness or encouragement to others. For this day is a precious gift from God.

God bless you today.

Y’all

www.bible.com/1713/1co.6.19.csb

There are times in Scripture where English simply falls short of the original. This verse is one of them. Unless you know some of the Greek behind it, you don’t get the intended meaning of this passage.

For example, I have often heard this verse used as justification against smoking, drinking, or even overeating. How? Because all of those things desecrate the Temple that is the body. The body is understood here as one’s own body, and anything that harms the body, even lack of exercise, is preached as misusing the Temple of God, from which the wrath of God may be involved.

However, a simple check back into the Greek of the text reveals something else. The word for “your” in English can be both singular and plural, unfortunately. While the verse can be understood of speaking of your personal body, the word is translating a plural original, meaning “y’all’s” body. In this context, y’all does a better job communicating the intent of the original. This also changes the meaning. Instead of one’s personal body in question, it is the body of believers as a whole that is the Temple. The Spirit dwells among us, it just in us. When we are together, we are the Temple, not just by ourselves.

Now does that mean smoking and drinking and whatnot are good for us? By no means, but it does mean that we cannot press this verse into service to be against it.

This means that our body of believers is a gift from God. That ought to change our attitude as we meet together this morning.

God bless!

Am I Better Off Not Knowing?

www.bible.com/1713/mat.8.10.csb

The people that Jesus was born into knew the Scripture since childhood, at least until the age of 12, when only those that showed an aptitude for Scripture were allowed on i their education. Others went to work in the trades. So in all if Israel’s, everyone was expected to be familiar with the Scriptures, if not have them memorized

Enter the Romans, of whom Jesus is referring here. This particular Roman has demonstrated greater faith because he trusts that Jesus can heal on his request, and that without even touching the subject of his healing. Somehow, this one thing impresses Jesus. That by itself deserves some discussion. Jesus marveled at this. It is often that others marvel at His words, but here He is, marveling at this Roman. Wow.

So back to my point. Everyone in Israel was to be familiar with the Scriptures, and all Jews attended synagogue (which can be reasonably assumed, though there were probably some who did not). Yet in all this cultural faith, Jesus found one outside of it with greater faith than these. And maybe that’s why. All of these Jews are practicing a cultural piety without any of its substance. This man comes from a different culture and finds in Judaism, and especially in this Rabbi, something to believe in. We don’t know what else happened to him, but we have this complement from Jesus, which is a lot.

Let me challenge you today to rise above your cultural piety, your going to church because you always have, and practice. personal faith that challenges you. Going with the flow doesn’t impress Jesus. Personal faith and practice does.

May God be with you on this Saturday.

Little Commentary Needed

www.bible.com/1713/mat.6.34.csb

Do you ever worry? That little that creeps up in your gut when you’re unsure what the future holds, or if the paycheck will make it to the bank before the check you wrote on it? (guilty) Some of us like to live dangerously. Others worry. This verse is my go to verse on worry, for I love the last phrase. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

He’s right. Go thou and do likewise. God bless!

Love Challenge

www.bible.com/1713/mat.5.44.csb

I would rather be challenged to love those I already love more. I know how they will respond and it will strengthen us. But this is not that challenge.

When Jesus teaches this in the Sermon on the Mount, He is talking to the people of Galilee and more importantly, His disciples. He is challenging them to express love towards a group that they would ordinarily avoid: their enemies.

Enemies can be one of two kinds, personal and impersonal. Personal enemies are people you know with whom you may have once been friends, but have had a falling out. You may have good reasons for your animus, and they might too. But these are faces you know and respond with revulsion.

Impersonal enemies are those you don’t know personally, but hate who they are anyway, be it politics, religion, authority or some other very good reason. Many people hate Trump, but very few know him. They hate what he stands for and the things he says, though he has not done anything personal to them.

And then there is the word used here for “love”. While Jesus probably didn’t speak Greek (but Aramaic), a special Greek Word is employed here to get across His meaning. As the Apostle Matthew records it, Jesus says we ought to agape our enemies, to love with respect and honor, even to the point of sacrifice of necessary. That is the most powerful love imaginable, because that’s how God loved us.

While we were enemies, God demonstrated His own love for us by sending His Son, who died for our sins. We who were enemies of God, were loved lavishly by Him. O the grace and love we have been given. May God never ceased to be praised for His marvelous gift!

So we who have been so lavishly loved. Now we must give that same love to our enemies. We must extend the same love given to us unto others. That is the challenge today. Not to those who will love us back, but to those who may not.

How will you show this love today? Can you? For it is the unique test of the Christian to show love in gratitude for the love showed to him. If we cannot share that love, then we haven’t really understood it.

God bless you in your walk today!