Sunday, September 20, 2009

To sin or to tempt?

September 20, 2009

The life of Jesus. Read Today: Parable about the lost sheep; Matthew 18:12-14

Matthew 18:14 ISV
(14) In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost."

This verse picks up from where we left off yesterday. As you remember, Jesus promised a punishment for those who cause another to be tempted. Now we have the parable of the Lost sheep. I never tied the two together before but it is so like our Father in heaven to do things this way. Causing others to stumble is bad. But Jesus does not say that he chases after the one who causes the temptation, but the one tempted. He will try to nudge them along so gently to get them back to Him. The one who caused the temptation in the first place is left to their own devices.

So we ask ourselves a serious question. Is it worse to sin, or to be what causes others to sin?

Read for next time: Instructions on church discipline; Matthew 18:15-20

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Causing others temptation

September 19, 2009

The life of Jesus. Read Today: Warnings about stumbling blocks; Matthew 18:7-11; Mark 9:43-50

Matthew 18:7 (Amplified Bible)

7Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influences to do wrong! It is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the person on whose account or by whom the temptation comes!

Sometimes verses just kind of jump at you. Some verses kinda sit there at surprise you when you are not looking. As I prepared for this devotional, this was the latter. I have read this verse in many translations and never did see it there. Jesus is clearly saying that there will be temptations to sin. I can say that from experience. In fact, Jesus says it is necessary. Why, because it builds us. We can choose to sin or not. When we do not we build ourselves up just that much more and are ready for the next step that God has for us.

But the last part of the verses.... ouch! If I am a person that causes temptation in the life of someone else, what is my fate. Jesus does not make it clear, but it does not sound good. So what does that mean to cause someone else to have temptation?

If I am a boss who does not pay my workers a fair wage, and they are tempted to steal to survive am I guilty of causing his temptation?
If I am a husband who hides affection for his wife and she finds herself in the arms of someone else .....
If I am a wife who withholds normal sexual intimacy in life of my husband and he finds it in the arms of someone else .....

Read for next time: Parable about the lost sheep; Matthew 18:12-14
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


September 16, 2009

The life of Jesus. Read Today: John's zeal without understanding; Mark 9:38-42; Luke 9:49-50

You know the old statement 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend.' But is it really true. Sometimes, the person that you perceive to be the enemy is actually the friend. Years ago after I first moved to Oklahoma, and as a baby Christian I started going to a Baptist church. My whole reason for going, they had the time that services met posted on the sign in front. I did not understand the theology of the church and I was just starting to make my way. Later, after I realized that I leaned more towards a charismatic/pentecostal style of faith, I left the church to attend a pentecostal one. We left on good terms, and though they disagreed with my theology we both realized we were Christians.

Now on the other hand, after I got settled in the new church, our pastor got the men together to play in a men's softball league. The church I had gone to before was in it, but another Baptist church in town was not. Their reason, 'if we join with them we endorse what they are doing.' What were we doing. Well, we were getting people saved, helping families in need, and all the other stuff that a church should do. So what was the problem, we were also talking in tongues and preaching divine healing that they did not believe in. They could not get passed the idea that we could be doing the Lord's work as well as them.

Jesus had the same problems. As he walked the earth, people who were not part of His group preached in his name. The disciples called Him on it. What should we do about it? Jesus replied, do nothing.

Mark 9:40 ALT
(40) "For [the one] who is not against you* is for you*.

As Christians, unless there are obvious cult like qualities of a church, or they say you have to do a work to be saved, then we need to learn to accept one another. For just as the one who is not against us is for us, our enemy may not be our enemy.

Read for next time: Warnings about stumbling blocks; Matthew 18:7-11; Mark 9:43-50

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Being First

September 1, 2009

The life of Jesus. Read Today: Disciples argue about who is the greatest; Matthew 18:1-6; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48

Mark 9:35 ESV
(35) And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."

Years ago I attended a real small church. Only 3 staff members and they all ran a print shop part time to keep the church running. While it had a limited membership it was a church with ideals and a desire to grow. Several members joked with the pastor that he only worked 2 days a week. Though we joked about it, it is a common belief that most pastors do little if any real work during the week except for maybe prepare a sermon or two.

Nothing could have been further from the truth in this case. As I already stated he was the one who was running the print shop and drumming up the business for it. He also visited the sick, council with people and made sure that the church was set up for services.

It takes a special person to do that. And it does not matter if the church is big or small, the attitude of a pastor, at least one who succeeds, is one that is a servant. It is the only way to be the first in the kingdom.

Read for next time: John's zeal without understanding; Mark 9:38-42; Luke 9:49-50

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