The Pharisees were among the most elite and learned men of all Israel. Considered to be biblical scholars, they were often asked to argue theological truth to provide direction for the followers of Jewish faith. The man born blind presented an argument which they could not answer. The man's argument was: "Jesus has done a good thing; you say that He is evil but the fact that He has done it means that God hears Him; God never hears the prayers of an evil man; therefore, Jesus cannot be a bad man; He must be a good man."
When they were confronted they attacked him unfairly by insulting him and threatening him by force. They ordered him out of the synagogue.
Had it not been for the words of William Barclay I would have missed an important thought here about pragmatic theology. Barclay says:
"Often we have our differences with people, and it is well that it should be so. But the moment insult and abuse and threat enter into an argument, it ceases to be an argument and becomes a contest in bitterness. If in argument we become angry, and resort to wild words and hot threats, then all that we prove is that our case is too weak to be stated as a case ought to be stated."
Disagreements need not be approached with anger and insulting language. The winner of the debate does not out-yell his opponent or wear him down with half-truths and innuendo. Conflict handled with grace enables friends to remain friends, and God to gain the glory from the moment. Beloved, it would be a boring world if we never differed in thought or opinion. It is entirely appropriate to disagree but to do so without being disagreeable. May God help us to learn how to use tact in dealing with our differences.
By the way, tact is the ability to pull the stinger out of the bee without the bee knowing it.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, teach us how to learn from the person who looks at things in a different light. Remind us that You have not made us all alike, and in this journey toward eternity we will undoubtedly encounter people with whom we disagree. In those times, give us words of wisdom spoken with grace so that we can redeem every potential conflict before it happens. Amen and amen.
Most centipedes do not have one hundred feet.Some have only 30.
Daylight saving time was actually the brainchild of Benjamin Franklin.
A group of bears is a sloth; a group of caterpillars is an army; a group of elks is a gang; a group of jellyfish is a smack; a group of rattlesnakes is a rhumba.
When a fish is taken out of water, and exposed only to air, not to oxygen and hydrogen containing water, its gills are unable to control the oxygen intake, the delicate balance cannot be maintained, and the gills inhale a lethal overdose of oxygen. The fish essentially experiences death by "drowning."
TRIVIA - Many people survive by going from one trivial pursuit to the next.The apostle Paul said, "I would prefer to have you eating T-Bone steaks.Instead, you are only able to drink milk." (A loose transliteration of 1 Cor. 3:2)
While living on the surface may be safe, it isn't satisfying.Eventually we need something more than shallow relationships and a life which is punctuated only by simple sentences and elementary textbooks.To grow, we must be nourished by a mature diet of deep friendships and a healthy relationship with God.
GospeLines Prayer:"Heavenly Father, love me as your child, nourish me into spiritual adulthood, and give me strength to walk and not be weary, to run and never faint, to soar as an eagle, and to be like you."Amen and amen.
On that day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea.Such large crowds gathered around Him that He got into a boat and sat down, while the whole crowd stood on the shore.Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “Consider the sower who went out to sow.As he was sowing, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up.Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep.But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered.Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them.Still others fell on good ground, and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times what was sown.Anyone who has ears should listen!”–Matthew 13:1-9 (HCSB)
There are many things to take away from this parable, one being that God is the sower.But why? Because, to successfully grow a crop, the sower needs to know everything about it.Likewise, the Father is the sower because He knows all there is to know about us.
Then we have the different types of ground. What do they symbolize?The path represents a person possessing a hardened heart.The person’s heart has become so hard that Satan comes along and devours the Word (seed) before it has a chance to take root and grow.The rocky ground represents a shallow hearer.Someone that receives the Word with joy, but lacks spiritual depth, and therefore has nothing to fall back on when the world burdens them.The thorns represent those who receive the Word, but then smother it with worldly occupations.And finally, the good ground represents a well rounded Christian that produces crop.
So the question to ask yourself when observing this parable is, “What type of ground are you?”Moreover, what type of ground do you want to be?
GospeLines Prayer: “Father, make us into good ground.Mold us into the image of Your Son so that we may produce crop for Your kingdom.More importantly, let us daily remember the sacrifice Your Son made so that we may have eternal life in Your presence, Father.Amen.”
Amen and Amen!
≈ Devotional for Thursday, April 7, 2011
It Is Not Easy To Practice What We Preach
“If you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect Word – the Word that sets you free – and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
James 1: 23-25.
“Don’t worry about what you do not understand… Worry about what you do understand in the Bible but do not live by.” — Corrie Ten Boom
It’s relatively easy for me to give sermons, write studies (even daily devotions, for that matter), and say all the right things. It’s not nearly as easy, however, to practice what I preach! But a much bigger blessing comes from the latter!
Let’s start talking less and doing more! If we do so, God through us will have a deep impact upon those we share the Gospel with and our brothers and sisters in Christ we seek to minister too. Seeing an example of someone who believes in and lives by the Word of God, will cause others to have their interest peeked in true devotion to God by both our beliefs and actions.
May the Holy Spirit help us to practice what we preach.
The transition from high school graduate to college freshman was a mischievous journey of youthful blunders and academic laziness. In the Fall of 1962, thankfully, there wasn't a lot of trouble for an eighteen year old to get into in Brownwood, TX, especially at a Baptist College. By the time they let the freshmen on campus the first football game was history. There were rumors that some of our upper-classmen spent the night in an Abilene jail because they were caught "painting campus." The tradition was, to travel to the opposing team's campus the night before the game, paint our school's initials on everything you could, and return home without getting caught. It wasn't as malicious as it sounds - we used whitewash which could be easily removed.
A knock came on my dormitory door the night before our second game, which was against Abilene Christian College. As a part of freshman initiation, I was expected to obey my upper-classmen (within reason). "Let's go, Freshman!" they barked in mock anger. So we piled in a car and headed north. After about 45 minutes I asked where we were going. "Abilene," was the response. "Why?" I queried. "We're going to Abilene Christian College to paint campus." I had never spent the night in jail before, so I began to wonder how I would explain to my parents that on my second night away from home, at a Baptist college, I was arrested.
Our first stop was the football stadium which was surrounded by a seven foot chain-link fence with barbed wire on top. It took awhile to hurdle it but soon we were at the fifty yard line inscribing our initials with 50 pound bags of dry lime on the wet grass. About ten minutes into our work I looked across the campus where I saw the men's dormitory a hundred yards away. It was well after midnight, and there were students running out of the dormitory toward their cars. We had been caught! Instead of trying to hide we decided to make a run for it. We dropped everything and sprinted toward the fence (It didn't taken nearly as long to get over the second time). When we reached the Brownwood highway we were sure we were safe, until two cars suddenly came upon us from behind. The first one passed… IT WAS SOME OF OUR CLASSMATES.Later we learned that it was they who were running out of the dormitory where they had been painting on doors, walls, etc. etc. The second car had red lights on top and pulled us both over. The officer shined his flashlight inside and asked what we were doing. It wasn't like it was a secret anymore, we were covered with whitewash. So I spoke up and said that we had been painting campus.
What that Abilene police officer said next shocked me, but I will remember it as long as I live. He said, "Well, like my Daddy always said, if you are going to do something, do a good job, so good luck!" We made a U-turn, retrieved our whitewash and finished the job!
That night I learned about mercy, but those words also remind me that any task worth doing is worth doing right! Whether it is in relationships, work, or play, we have a responsibility to give it our very best effort. Whatever God has placed before you, He has enabled you to perform the task. Call upon His unlimited resources and invest yourself in a way that would honor your Father.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, keep me from becoming slothful in my commitments. Instill in my soul the importance of behaving as though You are the audience, when I am on the job, in my sanctuary of worship, or when I am a father and a husband. In every part of my life, give me the desire to offer the best I can give. Amen and amen.