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Tag Archives: simple

Naaman Healed of Leprosy

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” 8But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. (2 Kings 5:1-14, NRSV)

This is a great passage because people get angry because of assumptions.

The king of Israel is mad because he thinks the king of Aram is picking a fight with him because he heard there was a prophet of God in Israel that could heal his general. And then Naama is mad because what he is told to do is too easy and why wouldn’t the prophet come out for me, doesn’t he know who I am?

And yet Elisha told Naaman what to do and Naaman’s servant tells him if it were something hard you would have done it without question, so why not do this? So he did and he is cured.

How often do we make things worse than they should be by assuming or not wanting to do what is simple?

 

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Love One Another

8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10, NRSV)

Seems pretty easy, doesn’t it. I mean don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t covet all of these are things against our neighbor and if we love our neighbor we will not want to harm them in any way, so we just love.

I mean all of the commandments are about love. Either love of God or love of neighbor. So we love God and we love neighbor, which is everyone other than God, including ourselves.

If we love each other, there will be no issues.

Pretty simple, yet the hardest thing to do.

 

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God Calls Samuel

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.” Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.”So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.” As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. (1 Samuel 3:1-21, NRSV)

If only getting God’s call was as easy as seeing the name God come across our cellphone and we could just answer.

But would you answer?

If you got that screen on your phone, would you answer the call?

Because like Samuel, we all are called and sometimes we are called to tell those we love that God is not happy with them. Or to do something we really don’t want to do.

We say we wish it was plain and simple for us to know what God wanted, but if we knew would that really make it any easier?

God’s life for us is something we can’t imagine. And God wants us to follow Him.

So let us give up our lives and follow where He is leading us.

 

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fulfilled the law…

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:8-14, NRSV)

Have you ever wondered how you might fulfill the law?

Paul tells the Romans here how to do that and it is really simple.

Love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law! It is that simple. Then Paul goes on to explain the commandments and how by doing them you are really loving your neighbor. So if we can love each other, we will fulfill the law.

That is what Jesus came to show us. That we need to love as He loved us. Without exception and where we were.

So fulfill the law and love your neighbor!

 

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how to live

170220The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. You shall each revere your mother and father, and you shall keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves: I am the LORD your God. When you offer a sacrifice of well-being to the LORD, offer it in such a way that it is acceptable on your behalf. It shall be eaten on the same day you offer it, or on the next day; and anything left over until the third day shall be consumed in fire. If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination; it will not be acceptable. All who eat it shall be subject to punishment, because they have profaned what is holy to the LORD; and any such person shall be cut off from the people. When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God. You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:1-18, NRSV)

How are we to live:

Honor mother and father.

Do not make idols.

Make acceptable sacrifices, and eat them in the right amount of time.

Reap your harvest but leave some for gleaning.

Do not steal.

Do not deal falsely.

Do not lie.

Do not swear falsely.

Do not profane the name of the Lord.

Do not defraud your neighbor.

Do not steal.

Pay people when they work.

Do not make fun of the deaf.

Do not cause the blind to stumble.

Fear God and follow where He leads you.

Pretty simple, right?

 

 

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simple and clear

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (Acts 9:1-9, NRSV)

Sometimes I wish the signs God gave me were simple and clear, like being blinded on the road and hearing the voice of Jesus speak to me. Or a burning bush and the voice of God bellowing…

But would I follow? And maybe, just maybe, God’s signs to me are simple and clear, and I just can’t see/hear them because I’m too caught up in looking at my own sin and not able to let go to see them or hear them.

Plus if a voice came from the clouds, or from a burning unconsumed bush I would run away screaming like a little girl!

Jesus does call each of us in a simple clear way that we can understand and only we can understand. That is why Moses got a burning bush and Saul was knocked down and blinded on the Damascus road. That is what they needed. That was their 2X4!

God hits you with what you need, and yes it is always simple and clear. Just listen and tune into God and you will see the sign!

 

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Prayer…

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and sit will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:1-13, ESV)

I believe I can easily say this is a passage of scripture that has most pastors running for the hills when we see it. You see the text says that is you ask for something God will give it, and if you seek something you will find it and if you knock it will be opened… Well we have all had those times we asked and we did not get what we asked for, and we sought, and are still seeking, and we knocked and the door seemed to shut even tighter…

But the point of the verses is Jesus teaching the disciples to pray, and it is a simple yet complex thing to have a conversation with the Father. But Jesus breaks it down for us, in a conversation and relationship builder.

Prayer is really simple, it is a conversation. Jesus addresses God as Father, or better yet, as Daddy. The word Abba is the very familial word for father and would be equivalent to our word daddy. Jesus tells us to call the Father Daddy! And then He tells us to ask Daddy to keep His name holy. We can not do that, only He can, and so we ask Him to work His holiness in and through all that we have and everywhere we go, that He would be holy in us and around us, that His kingdom would come and be made known here. And then He breaks it down to three easy to remember petitions:

  1. For provision
  2. For relationships
  3. For safety

Jesus tells the disciples to ask for their daily bread. Ask for the things they need in order to survive. Then He tells them to ask for forgiveness as they have forgiven. We need to keep the lines of communication open and seek to right our wrongs. We must constantly be in check of the relationships we are in and keep them moving forward. Then He tells them to to ask to not be lead into temptation. This is for our safety. We need to stay out of the place that will get us into trouble and we could all use assistance in this!

So it is easy. Simple. And the next part is Jesus did not say to pray these words but to pray in this way, so take His outline:

  1. Open the conversation: Daddy
  2. Ask for provision
  3. Ask for relationship help/advice/time
  4. Ask for safety

And when you do this, do it in your words, honestly what you are thinking and feeling in your heart.

And then comes the hard part and what I believe the text pastors like to stray away from deals with, Trust…

We have to trust that God will actually give us what we need. And be there for us as He has promised. In order for Jesus to show the disciples this is something they can believe in He tells them about a man who has late night visitors. He goes to a neighbor and asks for some bread. Now most of us today would see this as a huge inconvenience on the man who is asleep in his house with his children. Yet the word translated above as “impudence” is better translated shamelessness. Because of the man who did not have what he needed for his guest and goes shamelessly to his neighbor seeking help, the neighbor will get up and give it to him. Also because in the system of Jesus’ day, if the man did not rise and help the man who came knocking, the sleeping man would be the one who would be shamed for not helping his neighbor in need. And if this is how we humans do things, and help people around us, how much more can we trust in, believe in, have faith in Jesus and Daddy God to follow through on what He has promised. You see it is true that he will follow through on His promises. But He will not give us what we ask for, He will give us what we need. That is why answers to prayers can be, Yes, No and Not right now, Or my parental favorite: Maybe…

But is that all this lesson give us?

An easy outline for prayer. Jesus telling us to honestly tell our Father what we are feeling and holding dear in our hearts, and then to trust. Yes and no…

You see there is a connection between this text and the text of Luke 4:1-13. This is the text of the Temptation of Jesus, and the temptations are for Food, Power, and touching Heaven.

Satan tells Jesus to turn the stones into bread – He needs His daily provision. But Jesus says we have to live on the very word of God. You see, even though Jesus could turn the stones to bread, He needed to ask God to provide for Him, because God will give us what we need, not what we ourselves are seeking after or wanting.

Then Satan offers Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world. He offers Him relationships with subjects to follow Him. You see relationships treated in the wrong way leads to broken lives and hurt people. We need to hold the power in the right place and allow God to hold the place pf supreme power in our lives and all of our relationships, otherwise things could go astray.

Then Satan tells Jesus to go to the pinnacle of the temple and throw Himself down, because the Holy Angels will not allow Him to hurt Himself. You see in Jesus day, the pinnacle of the Temple was the place where Heaven and earth met. It was the highest place in the world, and Jesus could jump from here and not get hurt. And while this is true, we are not to go into places where we can be hurt.

So this simple prayer is a way for us to manage our temptations as well as maintain our relationship with God. So talk simply, honestly and trusting in what God has promised, for He will never let us down.

 

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