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Tag Archives: grace

Words and Deeds

22Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute; and he cured him, so that the one who had been mute could speak and see. 23All the crowds were amazed and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.” 25He knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.26If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.28But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 29Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered. 30Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. 33“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:22-37, NRSV)

This passage gives us the unforgivable sin, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, or speaking against the Holy Spirit.

What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Well, Merriam-Webster Online defines blasphemy as “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God”. So it is insulting the Holy Spirit or showing contempt for the Holy Spirit,

And how does one do this? By saying that someone casts out demons by the devil, and not the Holy Spirit. By saying that something was done by someone or thing other than God.

So what does God do and are any of us really safe from blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

All of our words and deeds should point others to God and the love that is there for all of us, and if we are not doing that, we may be showing contempt for the Holy Spirit. Our words and deeds can not earn us grace, but they can keep others from seeing the love God has for them.

 

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Joseph trusts God

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25, NRSV)

I try to live my life like Joseph. You see Joseph is a man of integrity. He was about to marry Mary and he found out that she was with child Well this voided the wedding and also would wind Mary up being stoned. But you see Joseph knew that that wasn’t the right thing, so he was going to end things with Mary, but not bring her to public shame so she wouldn’t be killed. He looked out for what was right.

Do we look out for what is right?

For what is Just?

For what is best for everyone?

Do we trust God to lead us through life showing His love to all the world?

Let us rejoice as we wait for Jesus to be born and share the grace and love He has given to us with all of the world.

 

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Come to the Waters

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. (Isaiah 55:1-5, NRSV)

Have you ever gotten anything for free?

Actually for free, nit free because it is included in the price of admission?

You see what God gives us in His grace is something that is free. We can not buy it, we can not earn it.

We are all invited to the waters and the table to get our fill. That is the hope of this season!

 

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The Lord’s Servant, part 2

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:1-12, NRSV)

He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

By his punishment we are healed. We are brought back into a right relationship with God through the unjust suffering of God’s servant.

And all of this was done way before you were here. God loves you and wants to give you the life He has for you.

As we wait this Advent in hope and expectation, let us not forget what will happen to this baby born in a manger and the baby was born knowing what would happen. If that isn’t the only gift we need, I’m not sure what could out do it.

Hope and love this advent as we help the world see the grace in the eyes of a baby.

 

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The Writing on the Wall, part 2

Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “So you are Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard of you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that enlightenment, understanding, and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and tell me its interpretation, but they were not able to give the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you are able to read the writing and tell me its interpretation, you shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around your neck, and rank third in the kingdom.” Then Daniel answered in the presence of the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! Nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and let him know the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, glory, and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. He killed those he wanted to kill, kept alive those he wanted to keep alive, honored those he wanted to honor, and degraded those he wanted to degrade. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he acted proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was stripped from him. He was driven from human society, and his mind was made like that of an animal. His dwelling was with the wild asses, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and sets over it whomever he will. And you, Belshazzar his son, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this! You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven! The vessels of his temple have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them. You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in whose power is your very breath, and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored. “So from his presence the hand was sent and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should rank third in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old. (Daniel 5:13-31, NRSV)

Why do you do the things you do?

Daniel was offered a purple robe a gold chain and the place of third in command, but he told the king to give it to someone who wanted it because he did not. He would interpret the writing on the wall because that is the gift that God had given him and was the way that he could help the world.

We have all been given a gift, and how do we use it?

This season of Advent is about preparing for the coming of Christ, our savior. Are we helping the world see the coming of God, or are we worried about getting the right presents and the right gifts for everyone on our list? Are we more worried that people will not get us what we need/want for Christmas than the person who is struggling to make ends meet and is falling further behind?

How do we look at the world and use what God has given us?

How can we make Advent a time where people see the love of God?

 

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The Anger of Haman

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the officials who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and did obeisance to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or do obeisance. Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” When they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would avail; for he had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or do obeisance to him, Haman was infuriated. But he thought it beneath him to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, having been told who Mordecai’s people were, Haman plotted to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur—which means “the lot” —before Haman for the day and for the month, and the lot fell on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and separated among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not appropriate for the king to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued for their destruction, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, so that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.” So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. The king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, and the people as well, to do with them as it seems good to you.” Then the king’s secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king’s satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language; it was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces, giving orders to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation, calling on all the peoples to be ready for that day. The couriers went quickly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion. (Esther 3:1-15, NRSV)

Can you imagine reading a decree that your people are to be killed and removed from the kingdom?

Like any one people is greater than another! We see it every day though.  There is racism and sexism and ageism and you name it isms. We judge people who are different from us and see them as less.

Rather than Haman discovering why Mordecai didn’t bow he just got upset because it wasn’t done his way. How many of us get upset when everything isn’t done our way?

We all need to seek more to understand what is happening and why people do the things they do.

How can you better understand others and work better for peace and share love and mercy with all of the world?

 

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Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

She came to her mother-in-law, who said, “How did things go with you, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “He gave me these six measures of barley, for he said, ‘Do not go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.” (Ruth 3:16-18, NRSV)

Ruth returned to Naomi with the grain Boaz had given her and reported all that happened. Naomi knew that Boaz would be gracious and caring.

Are we gracious and caring with the people we deal with in our lives?

Are we caring for those who can not care for themselves?

 

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