Matthew chapter 25 part 2

I just want to be a sheep, baaaa. I don’t want to be a goat, nope. Because a goat ain’t got no hope, nope. I just want to be a sherp.

This children’s song reminds us of the truth Jesus told in the story of the sheep and the goats. The sheep are people who let God’s love reach others through them. When they see a need they do something about it. Love shows in action. 

The goats are people who live for themselves. They don’t act in love for others. When they see a need they ignore it.

There are a lot of needs right now as we continue to face the Corona Virus. We can help those in need by calling the lonely, taking food to those who can’t get out to get their own food, giving some money to help those who has lost their job.

Social Distancing doesn’t mean isolation. We have hope in Jesus. Give some hope to others by acting in love to help them.

Matthew chapter 25

Jesus says a lot in these verses about living in faith, using the gifts He has entrusted to us and looking forward to His return. I want to focus my thoughts on the man who was given the smallest amount of money to invest. He didn’t do anything with it except bury it for safe keeping. Why? Because he was afraid.

Fear is a strong emotion that can paralyze us if we let it. I think we are living in a time of national and international fear. People are afraid of the Corona Virus, afraid they won’t be able to get the food and supplies they need, afraid the economy is go in to tank and they won’t have enough money. This fear causes people to board stuff, to stress out over what might happen, to look for false hope in wishful thinking, to blame God for allowing this to happen.

Faith is a very different response. Jesus told people repeatedly, Don’t be Afraid! Why? Because Jesus is with us. His love is more powerful than fear and nothing can ever cut us off from God’s love. Jesus wants to help us carry out load of fears worry and anxiety. He may not take them away right away. But He will be with us and help us.

Jesus may be leading us to trust Him more and the things that we have allowed to become the focal point of our lives less. Jesus said that we should seek being with God and do the right things more and He will take care of the rest. That all begins with trusting God for today and leaving our worries about tomorrow in His hands.

Matthew chapter 20

It didn’t take long after the economic stimulus package was passed  for people to start complaining that it isn’t fair. Why are some people left out? Why do those still employed get the benefit? Why do we even need  to do this? I don’t have the answers, but I do know people have different ideas of fairness.

God’s love and forgiveness that Jesus won for us is not fair. It is not fair that an innocent man died for the guilty, but that is what Jesus did for us! Is it fair that a last minute, death bed concert receive the same gift of forgiveness and eternal life as the person who has lived their whole life in faith? Jesus said yes to the criminal on the cross next to His who asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus says yes in the story of the workers in the vineyard. 

Grace is a gift! Grace is greater than fairness! God’s love and grace help us through the “unfair” times of life.

John chapter 5

Don’t you wish that God would stop the spread of the Corona Virus dead in its tracks and heal all who are ill? Of course we do? God could do it. Why hasn’t He? I don’t know. Instead of telling God what we want Him to do, we should pray for God to act according to His will.

Jesus healed a cripple on the Jewish Sabbath. The man was thankful, joyful. The Jewish religious authorities condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and for claiming to be the Son of God. They refused to believe what theirs eyes could see.

Jesus offers us life and hope in the midst of this and other challenges of life. Could God be using this crisis to call people back to Him, to show that He is God. So many of the things that we trust in haves failed us. So many things that we think are so important are no longer available to us But nothing can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ. God’s Spirit is in us to fill us with love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. Aren’t these the qualities we need right now?

Luke chapter 18

Who do you trust? Where do you put your hope? How do you get through tough times? These are questions we ask when our world has been turned upside down. We know that things will never be the same because of the Corona Virus.

Luke contrasts a poor widow, a repentant sinner, little children and a blind man with the powerful, self righteous and wealthy. God helps those in the first group who trust Him, turn to Him in repentance and  look to Him with hope. Those who are full of pride and full of themselves, those who think they are better than others or think they can count on their money to get them through are most likely to miss out on the help God wants to give them.

We don’t know how everything will work out or how long it will take. But we do know that we can trust God to be with us, we can put our hope in Him to help us and we can run into His living arms because we are His Children. He always lives and welcomes us.

 

Luke chapter 12

The spread of the Corona Virus has brought a lot of worry and fear to the surface for many people. We worry about getting sick and the people we love catching the virus. We are afraid of the national, local and personal impact of the virus. We are afraid that our investments and savings will never recover or that we won’t have enough money to pay our bills.

Jesus warns us about the danger of letting money become the dominant thing in our lives. Two important questions.

1. What are you doing with your money?

2. What is your money doing to you?

Have you seen the spring flowers starting to come out of the ground and the trees starting to bud? If God takes care of the flowers of the field and the birds in the air, He will take care of us. Worrying about things we have no control over only makes things worse. Three important questions.

1. What are you worrying about?

2. What is worrying doing to you?

3. What are you worrying about that God can’t help you with?

Jesus promises to always be with us. God’s perfect love has the power to overcome our fears. Maybe we should be trusting God more, worrying less and loving / caring / sharing more with others.

Luke chapter 16

There is a growing debate in our country over how to respond to the Corona Virus threat. Do we continue to try to isolate people from the spread of the virus at the expense of the economy? Or do we reopen businesses and public gatherings and risk the spread of the virus to the elderly and the health compromised? I don’t know the answer. I do pray for wisdom for our leaders to know what to do and ask God, if it is His will, to stop the spread of this disease.

There is another debate that we see in our world and in the reading for today. Do we just live for this life, for the things we have and enjoy right now? Or do we live as children of God, returning God’s love by loving others and looking forward to eternal life with Christ?

Those who were opposed to Jesus, who felt threatened by Him, refused to believe even after Jesus raised Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, from the dead. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to give us forgiveness and life.

An question we all need to answer: Am I living for this world and this life or am I living  with the Lord and for eternal life with Him?

Mark chapter 6

There are two different kinds of power, two different kingdoms represented in this reading.

Herod represents the power of the world, ruthlees, self serving, opposed to God. His kingdom and others like his don’t last.

Jesus brings the Kingdom of God to people and invites us to enter. It is the kingdom of love, forgiveness, service and walking with God. God’s Kingdom last forever.

We can see these two competing ideas playing out in our world right now.

Self serving people are not concern about others. They are hoarding supplies that others need. They are doing things that put other people at risk. They are only concern about themselves.

Jesus followers are looking for ways to help others. They are checking in on the lonely and the at risk. They are donating goods or money to food banks to help those in need. They are finding ways to encourage others to trust in Jesus who loves and cares for them. They are showing their love for God by loving and serving others.

Which path are you on?

Matthew chapter 13

Jesus told parables, stories from life that make a point. Stories are easier to remember than facts and figures. Stories are easier to relate to than charts and graphs. Stories hit home when they relate to our lives.

Jesus stories remind us that we live in a time and place were we face challenges as followers of Jesus. We live among people who not only reject Jesus, but also with some who want to crowd out the Christian faith. But they will not succeed. God’s kingdom will grow. Jesus will gather His followers together and bring them into His Kingdom.

In the challenging and uncertain time we are living in right now we trust that Jesus will always be with us and watch over us. He will lead us through the storms of life. He is our Lord, Savior and Friend. We can count on Him.

 

 

Matthew chapter 11; Luke chapter 11

What a strange morning! It is Sunday and I am going to church to open the doors for anyone who wants to meditate, pray or talk with me. No worship services or Sunday School or Bible classes or Confirmation Class. The potential spread of the Corona Virus has temporarily stopped  public worship services at the church.

Maybe the news, the spread of this disease, the resulting financial challenges and the isolation are getting to you. Jesus tells us to bring all our cares and concerns to Him and He will give us rest. Put the worries of the world, the problems you can’t solve, the fears that haunt you on Jesus because He loves and cares for you.

Jesus also tells us to ask Him for the help we need, to seek His presence in our lives and to open our hearts to Him. Even if you feel isolated and alone, you are not. God is with us. Jesus is for us. The Holy will guide us through these challenging days.