DOUBT AND VERIFICATION

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MUSINGS – February 16, 2019
DOUBT AND VERIFICATION

Matthew 11:1-6

After Jesus finished giving his twelve disciples these instructions, he moved on from there to teach his message in their cities. When John was in prison, he heard about the things Christ had done. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?” Jesus answered John’s disciples, “Go back, and tell John what you hear and see: Blind people see again, lame people are walking, those with skin diseases are made clean, deaf people hear again, dead people are brought back to life, and poor people hear the Good News. Whoever doesn’t lose his faith in me is indeed blessed.”

Read John 1:29-36 and you’ll find John’s revelation that Jesus is the Son of God. He even spread the news that he had seen the proof with his own eyes. And Jesus will testify that, “Of all the people ever born, no one is greater than John the Baptizer.” (Matthew 11:11) Yet this great man, from his prison cell asked, “Are you the one?”

As strange as it may seem, John’s doubt gives me faith. If a great man like John the Baptizer had questioned his own belief, then lesser people, like myself, who have doubts and questions, are free to question Jesus. Jesus didn’t condemn him for his questioning. He sent him proof. Jesus will do the same for us.
Lord, I believe. Forgive my unbelief. Amen.

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DESERVING DISCIPLESHIP

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MUSINGS – February 15, 2019
DESERVING DISCIPLESHIP


Matthew 10:34-42

Don’t think that I came to bring peace to earth. I didn’t come to bring peace but conflict. I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will be the members of his own family. “The person who loves his father or mother more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. The person who loves a son or daughter more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me doesn’t deserve to be my disciple. The person who tries to preserve his life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for me will preserve it. “The person who welcomes you welcomes me, and the person who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. The person who welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. The person who welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. I can guarantee this truth: Whoever gives any of my humble followers a cup of cold water because that person is my disciple will certainly never lose his reward.”

For the last few days we have been studying the instructions that Jesus gave the twelve disciples before sending them off on their own into the land of Israel. This last section is less of an instruction and more of a lesson on what it takes to be a true disciple.

Anything that is valued more than following Jesus is to be left behind. In a rather crude way of summarizing this teaching, we are to be empty of self and full of Jesus. At the same time we are not puppets, because we all have our own gifts and defects that God can use to His glory. As the Apostle Paul States, we are many parts but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) We don’t get to  decide what parts we play any more than a hand can choose to be an eye.

Each morning Ella and I pray that the light out Jesus shines through us, that people see Jesus when looking at us.

When I first read thus prayer of John Wesley’s out spoke to me. To me this what it takes to be deserving of discipleship snd
I often say it as my own prayer. ““I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”


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DENY OR PROCLAIM

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MUSINGS – February 14, 2019
DENY OR PROCLAIM

Matthew 10:29-33
Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s permission. Every hair on your head has been counted. Don’t be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows. “So I will acknowledge in front of my Father in heaven that person who acknowledges me in front of others. But I will tell my Father in heaven that I don’t know the person who tells others that he doesn’t know me.

That reminded me of that last supper when Jesus said, “The hand of the one who will betray me is with me on the table. The Son of Man is going to die the way it has been planned for him. But how horrible it will be for that person who betrays him.” So they began to discuss with each other who could do such a thing. (Luke 22:21-23)

Sadly the truth is that they all betrayed Jesus. Yes, Judas was the one who went to the chief priest, however after Jesus’s arrest, they all went into hiding rather than testifying in his behalf. All four Gospels chronicle Peters denial*. In Peter’s defense, he was the only one brave enough to follow into the courtyard.

These same men later went into the world and proclaimed his good news that Christ had died, Christ had risen, and Christ will come again. They did this because their sins (and ours) had been nailed to that cross and covered by the blood of the Sacrificial Lamb

We are given only two choices deny or proclaim. And in turn, when we stand before God, we will be welcomed or turned away.

. *Luke 22:54-62. Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, John 18:13-27 Visit my daily devotions blog Daily journal My sermons Random Thoughts All the blog posts in one place All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

TOUGH ROW TO HOE

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MUSINGS – February 12, 2019

TOUGH ROW TO HOE

Matthew 10:21-23 “Brother will hand over brother to death; a father will hand over his child. Children will rebel against their parents and kill them. Everyone will hate you because you are committed to me. But the person who patiently endures to the end will be saved. So when they persecute you in one city, flee to another. I can guarantee this truth: Before you have gone through every city in Israel, the Son of Man will come. We are still,with this sculpture, in the midst of Christ’s institutions to his disciples before sending then off on their own. However here he is predicting not their present trials but future hardships as well. My mother had an expression, “That’s a tough row to hoe.” If you’ve never gardened, you might not understand. Long after the last rain when the sun has baked the earth, it can become as hard as bricks. Even in that condition, and maybe especially in those conditions, you still have to work the soil and remove the weeds. But is truly a tough row to hoe. Christ is, metaphorically, telling hisdisciples that they will have a tough row to hoe. It is going to be hardship upon hardship. Pain and suffering and loss of life is not much of a pep talk. These twelve men have left jobs and families to follow him. They were work-a-day men who were not terribly spiritually minded. When they began to understand that Jesus was the messiah, they were still expecting him to establish an earthly kingdom. They were expecting earthly rewards and places of power in this new kingdom. But now he tells them the truth of their future, if they continue to follow him. This was their chance to abandon him, but they didn’t. Things haven’t changed that much for Christ’s followers today. For the most part we in America a sheltered from being killed because we are his follower. That is not true in other parts of the world. But still families are divided and brother against brother still happens because we choose to follow Jesus. It still isn’t much of a pep talk, is it? Our reward is eternal life and our goal is to bring others into that life also. The question remains, are we willing to endure until the end? Visit my daily devotions blog Daily journal My sermons blog Random Thoughts All the blog posts in one place All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

TRIAL OR OPPORTUNITY?

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TRIAL OR OPPORTUNITY?

MUSINGS – February 11, 2019

Matthew 10:16-20

I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as cunning as snakes but as innocent as doves. Watch out for people who will hand you over to the Jewish courts and whip you in their synagogues. Because of me you will even be brought in front of governors and kings to testify to them and to everyone in the world. When they hand you over to the authorities, don’t worry about what to say or how to say it. When the time comes, you will be given what to say. Indeed, you’re not the ones who will be speaking. The Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you.”

Still speaking to the twelve as he instructs them to go throughout Israel, Jesus gives them a warning and a promise. He warns them that the Jewish authorities will do everything they can to stop the message they are to deliver. The promise is that, when they are brought before the rulers, it is an opportunity for the spirit of God to speak through them. I will admit that

I too often focus on the trial rather than the opportunity. How about you?



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PEACE BE WITH YOU

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MUSINGS – February 19, 2019

PEACE BE WITH YOU

Matthew 10:1-15

Jesus called his twelve disciples and gave them authority to force evil spirits out of people and to cure every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first and foremost, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James (son of Alphaeus), and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.


Jesus sent these twelve out with the following instructions: “Don’t go among people who are not Jewish or into any Samaritan city. Instead, go to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel. As you go, spread this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Cure the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse those with skin diseases, and force demons out of people. Give these things without charging, since you received them without paying. “Don’t take any gold, silver, or even copper coins in your pockets. Don’t take a traveling bag for the trip, a change of clothes, sandals, or a walking stick. After all, the worker deserves to have his needs met. “When you go into a city or village, look for people who will listen to you there. Stay with them until you leave that place. When you go into a house, greet the family. If it is a family that listens to you, allow your greeting to stand. But if it is not receptive, take back your greeting. If anyone doesn’t welcome you or listen to what you say, leave that house or city, and shake its dust off your feet. I can guarantee this truth: Judgment day will be better for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city.


The disciples were sent out into Israel taking nothing but the gospel and the power of Christ.  Several times earlier Jesus had berated them for their lack of faith. This was a test of their faith and the faith of those who received them.


The disciples were to greet others with a blessing, “Peace be with you.” To those who refused the good news the blessing was withdrawn. Those who refuse the peace of Christ should be troubled. Their souls should remain restless so that they keep seeking so that someday they may onces again be offered that peace that can not be found in the world.


Remember that, though your message is sound and true, you mash not be the right messenger for that person. Pray that the right messager be sent to them, then move on.


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WHERE ARE THEY?

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WHERE ARE THEY?

Matthew 9:35-38 Jesus went to all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues and spread the Good News of the kingdom. He also cured every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were troubled and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops.” . “Troubled and helpless“, still discribes the human condition. We are like sheep without a shepherd. Or sometimes we have too many shepherds and we don’t know which one to follow. Where are the workers? The Lord’s workers are still few. Pray for workers. But more importantly BE a worker! Share God’s love every day and every way that you are able. Invite people into God’s kingdom. If you don’t think that you are able or don’t know what you can do for Jesus, read Matthew 25:35-40. Visit my daily devotions blog Daily journal And my sermons blog Random Thoughts All the blog posts in one place All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams