Friday, August 27, 2010

Blinded from the Light

Jesus explained to the disciples that the truth of God was often given in parables so that those who did not truly want to follow God would not understand them. Jesus quoted Isaiah. “Hearing you will hear and not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and urn, so that I should heal them” (Mathew 13:14-15).

This sounds cruel, to blind people so they cannot see the truth, until you remember the history of these people. God had given them the truth many times before, but hating the truth, they killed the prophets whom they knew spoke God’s message. They had rejected the truth time and again, so that when Truth came (Jesus, the Son of God) God blinded their eyes so they would not recognize him for who he was.

“He, that is often reproved and hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Strange Story

After being cramped into a house, so full of people that no one could eat the food the host had prepared, Jesus needed fresh air (Mark 3:20; 4:1; Mathew 13:1). He went for a walk by the sea. The seagulls calling to one another through the air, the sound of water lapping the shore, the sand sift beneath his feet would have refreshed his spirit. But there was no place to stand, no less sit because the multitude who had surrounded the house had followed him pressing each other in an effort to get close to the teacher (Mathew 13:1-3).

Jesus finally got into a boat and sat down. The multitude stood facing him waiting for the next miracle, the next teaching. He began with this story, “Behold a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop; some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mathew 13:8-8).

It was a nice story, but what did it mean? His disciples who were with him in the boat asked him; “Why do you speak to them in parables?” They could not understand why he didn’t just tell the people plainly what he wanted them to know. Jesus told them God’s truth is only given to those who respond to his calling (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Family Problems

When Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, they could not get into the house where he was because of the crowd. So they sent word to him that they wanted him to come out to them. Jesus’ response at first appears rude. “But he answered and said to the one who told him, ‘Who is my mother and who are my brothers/” And He stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my bother and sister and mother” (Mathew 12:48-49).

But Mark gives us a little more insight. He writes of the same occasion, “Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when his own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:20-21).

If our families are not believers they will most likely see us as unstable. Though we continue to love our family, we realize that we have heavenly brothers and sisters, those who do the will of God (Mathew 12:48-49; Mark 3:35).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Warning to a Nation

Yesterday we looked at Jesus’ warning about the returning demon’s affect on an individual. But his warning was also to a nation. “So shall it also be with this wicked generation” (Mathew 12:43-45).

This is especially troubling to me because our nation was founded on godly principles. The Children if Israel rejected God turning to false gods of other nations. Now America is doing the same. The Mosques in America are increasing exponentially. Yoga classes are offered in most gyms and in some churches. It is not unusual to see alters with incense burning to ancestors or gods in Asian restaurants and nail solons. Wicca is practiced in many homes and business, the high priestess being asked to bless new endeavors. The most popular god in the United States is the god or goddess of self.

In every nation that made these choices the behavior of the population deteriorate to infant sacrifice, oppression and slavery. The stories written in the Old Testament about the depths Israel went into send a shiver up my spine (Jeremiah, 2 Kings). The end came suddenly. But God continued to sustain those who belonged to him though they also suffered during the fall of the nation. God will also sustain us no matter what we face.

The only way to stay true in fearful times, is the same way we stay true today, depend fully on his grace (Mathew 28:20, Philippians 4:12-13).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Once I Know

Jesus said, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation” (Mathew 12:43-45).

Notice Jesus is speaking of two victims. One is a man; the other is a nation.

Knowing the truth and then turning from it only embitters a man. Peter says it would be better if they had never believed the truth in the first place (2 Peter 2:20-21). The writer of Hebrews wrote that living sinfully after having once tasted of God’s goodness results in living in dread and fear that the judgment of God is true (Hebrews 10:26-31).

Turning away from truth is not a viable option for us who know God. Remaining dependent on his grace and mercy to give us strength to withstand trouble is the only logical choice for us (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nineveh Judges

The people of Nineveh were fierce. When they conquered their enemies they sometimes skinned them alive. They often chopped of their enemies’ heads and put them on poles around the city to warn others of their power and vengeance. It was no wonder Jonah fled when God told him to preach to these evil people. But eventually Jonah obeyed and the people escaped the judgment of God because of their repentance. (the Book of Jonah).

Jesus told the Pharisees, “The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed One greater than Jonah is here” (Mathew 12:39-41).

This was a slap in the face to the Pharisees. They considered themselves righteous and were nothing like the Ninevites. They were so blinded by their pride in following the Law of Moses that they refused to listen to the One whom Moses wrote would come, the Messiah. Pride blinds our eyes to the truth and will result in our destruction.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Confident Speech

We can tend to look at the negatives in scripture, Jesus warnings, people’s sins and eternal judgment. And we do need to consider these things. But we also need to focus on the good, the promises the eternal rewards. So, let’s take another look at Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in this passage we have been studying.

Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things…” (Mathew 12:34b-35a).

How do we become good? When we accept God’s forgiveness of our sin (1 John 1:9) and partake of his divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We can be confident that God will give us the words we need to say exactly when we need to say them (Mt 10:18-20).

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Tree in Our Heart

Jesus warned us, “…Every idle word men may speak they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt 12:36-37).

The Pharisees were judging Jesus’ miracles as being from Satan with no solid basis from which to make that judgment. Jesus said to them, “How can you being evil, speak good things. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Our words are the fruit from the tree of our heart. That is why we will be judged by what we say. Idle words are words that spill out of our mouths without thinking. They reveal the secrets of our heart.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Jesus was a confronter. He did not pretend that people were good. He did not ignore their poor behavior. He called those who attributed the Holy Spirit’s work to Satan A Brood of vipers (poisonous snakes). He told them, “How can you being evil, speak good things. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mathew 12:34).

Sometimes we are under the wrong impression that Christians should always think the best of everyone. God did not call his children to ignore sinful behavior. Jesus taught us to “call a spade a spade.” He told us to recognize when men are evil.

Only when we acknowledge the truth about others can we confront them and pray for their salvation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Unforgiveble Sin

Jesus said, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Mathew 12:31-32).

The word, “Therefore” always refers back to what was just said. It is like saying, “For this reason,” or ‘because of this.” The Pharisees just said that Jesus cast out demons by the power of Satan. These men are not accidently connecting the Holy Spirit with Satan. They know what they are doing. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “If you were blind, you would have no sin, but now you say ‘we see’. Therefore your sin remains” (John 9:41). When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead these men were more worried about losing their political positions than recognizing the visitation of God (John 11:45-48).

The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11). He is the one who teaches us all truth, guides us into all truth, and reminds us of all Jesus has taught (John 14:26; 16:13). To turn against the Holy Spirit is to turn away from God. No one who dies while rejecting God can be saved.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters abroad” (Mathew 12:30).

Over and over again, Jesus said he and the Father are one, that he did not speak in his own authority, but only spoke what God told him to say. He said that the works he did were not done by him, but by his father. He told Philip, “He who has seen me has seen the father.” He told the crowds, “He who believes in me does not believe in me but in him who sent me.”

To not work with Jesus is to work against God. That means we are against all that is holy, righteous and peaceable. We are in the process of destroying lives, because that is always the result of sin. There is no sin that is of little consequence. Unless sin is killed outright, it will keep producing death.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Winning Every Battle

Jesus said. “How can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house (Mathew 12:29).

Satan knows well that the best way to keep one of God’s children from being affective is to bind them. He may use fear, anxiety, addictions or doubt. His only power is what we lend him through our thoughts. But we can win every battle.

Here is a list of effective weapons

1. Bringing thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:5)
2. Focusing our attention on godly things (Philippians 4:8).
3. Always speaking truth to ourselves as well as others (Ephesians 6:14
4. Making every decision based on righteousness (Ephesians 6;14)
5. Reminding ourselves that the good news brings us peace (Ephesians 6:15)
6. Destroying Satan’s attacks by standing in the faithfulness of God (Ephesians 6:16)
7. Reminding us we are saved so have nothing to fear (Ephesians 6:17
8. Using the word of God when confronted by Satan (Ephesians 6:17).
9. Praying for God’s intervention (Ephesians 6:18)

We don’t have to allow Satan to rob us of our peace.

Monday, August 9, 2010

By What Power?

Jesus cast out demons setting people free from spiritual torment. The Pharisees accused him of casting out demons by the power of Satan. Jesus pointed out the illogic of their reasoning. Satan does not cast out his own servants. If he did that he would be thwarting his own plan to destroy people.

The problem for the Pharisees was that if Satan was not casting out his own servants then the only one left to attribute it to would be God. If God was casting out the demons, they had no choice but to recognize Jesus as righteous. If he was a righteous man, then all he said was true and that would leave the Pharisees in a very bad position.

People who do not want to know the truth will avoid it even if it means being illogical. The smartest people can make the most foolish decisions when they are based on emotions and not on the truth (Mathew 12:25-30)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blind and Mute

Can you imagine what life must have been like for the man whom Jesus healed in Mathew 12:22-23? The torture this man and his family must have lived through would discourage anyone.

He was not only blind and mute but had a demon that tormented him night and day. He could not physically explain his mental anquish. He couldn’t see the eyes of those who may have had compassion on him, or the expressions of those who feared him. The persons who brought him to Jesus must have loved him inspite of all the emotional pain he had caused them (Mathew 12:22).

Jesus cast out the demon and healed him.

It is hard for us to imagine what it was like to be physically set free like this man was. But all of us have been tormented by unwelcome thoughts. All of us have been blind to the truth in the past. All of us have been left speechless with the hardness of life. But Jesus came to set all of us free from the darkness that would overtake us.

Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy hearted and I will give you rest.” (Mathew 11:28). You too are invited to rest in your Father’s love. Let him open your eyes to see who he is. Allow him to set you free from the darkness that seems to overpower you. Yield your life to him and trust him when you can’t see why he is allowing you to go through your particular circumstances.

Go to him, all of you who are weary of heart and you will find rest for your soul.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

God will Comfort his People

God will comfort his people. When we are suffering he will not crush us or chastise us, but speaks to us words of hope and comfort. Scripture says, “A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench” (Mathew 12:20). Isaiah put it this way, “A bruised reed he will not break a dimly burning wick he will not extinguish (Isaiah 42:3).

A psalmist wrote, “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3). If you are in emotional pain today, rest your head on his shoulder and allow him to comfort you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


A group of men and women in ragged clothes stood in front of the unemployment office. Here and there two or three would strike up a conversation, but the topic covered things like the poor quality of government, the high price of groceries and the unjust boss. Most stood with shoulders slopped, heads bent and hands in their pockets, silent in the afternoon heat.

A long legged man who stood head and shoulders above the crowd came to a small group at the back of the line. Quietly he invited them to join him in a walk to the back side of the building. Raising their shoulders to one another they stepped in line behind the stranger and disappeared from the crowd. Those in front of the line were too busy complaining to take notice making no protest.

For several weeks the unemployment process continued as normal. Then early one morning the tall legged man stood on the front step of the unemployment office and made the following announcement. “I have chosen to give my large fortune to a certain number of you.” The line lost its form as everyone crowded near the front waving hands hoping to get the attention of the speaker. “These chosen few are already chosen and have received the wealth I have accumulated over the last fifty years. You may apply to them for any additional benefits you may need.” With that he quickly stepped inside the door and locked it.

The people were furious. They pounded on the door and demanded their rights. Someone picked up a rock and threw it through a window. In a matter of minutes the door was forced open and every windowpane shattered in a million tiny pieces of glass.

Each one fell silent as they pushed their way past the entrance. The building was entirely empty, no chairs, no desks, no telephones, no computers, no faxes, nothing.

Furious, most people stormed out of the building yelling obscenities as they made their way back to their lean-tos. A few fell to their knees on the hard cement and wept. The sun set and the air cooled. Exhausted those who remained in the building found places to sleep on the floor. Near midnight, the moon forming a blue hue through the broken windows, the stranger returned and woke each sleeping form. “Come with me,’ he said gently. “I have prepared a place for you too.”

(Mathew 12: 21; Romans 15:8-12)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


God choose Abraham to be the Father of his people. But his descendents were not the only people God would choose to serve him. Mathew tells us, “And in his name Gentiles will trust” (Mathew 12:21). This is good news to those of us who are not Jewish by birth.

Paul put it this way, “They are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children who are the seed of Abraham, but in Isaac shall your seed be blessed. The children of the flesh are not the children of God, but the children of the promise shall be called the seed.”

John told us, “If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). John also wrote, “As many as received him to them he gave the power to become the children of God, even as many as believe on his name” (John 1:12). Jesus said, “Whoever hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

We are not physically born into the kingdom of God. We enter by faith in God and his Son Jesus Christ (John 3:36, John 6:37-39; Romans 8:9-11). We come to God because he calls us. We desire God because he wants us.

All who believe in him are welcomed into his presence, even me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Spiritual Advertising

Jesus often told someone he healed not to tell others. This fulfilled prophecy in the Old Testament, “Nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets” (Mathew 12:19). Jesus did not have to brag. He simply allowed the father to work through him (John 14:10).

How different than many today who claim to perform miracles. They send out fliers in order to spread their names as far and wide as possible.

If God works through us, it is not for our glory, but for his.