Mark 2:5-12 – Arise, and walk

Mark 2:5-12
5
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
6 But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

-“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)  Jesus may have been speaking to the Scribes in Mark 2, but this miracle is for anyone who has ever doubted their salvation; doubted whether the Lord Jesus could truly be the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.  If you need proof of Jesus’ divine power, just tell a paraplegic to get up and go; when that person is still unable to move you’ll realize that not just anyone can work the works that God does.  Jesus tells us in verse 9 that healing is just as hard as saving a soul and by doing one Jesus is proving to all of us that He can do both.

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1 Timothy 6:9-10 – The Love of Money

1 Timothy 6:9-10
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

-Money impacts almost every aspect of life; this can be looked at as either numerous opportunities to show our commitment to the Lord, or many chances to show how much love we have for money. Money is simply a tool and can be neither good nor evil but, just as Paul warns Timothy here in the scripture, any who desire to be rich are setting themselves up for trouble. The Bible says that these people can expect to find temptations AND snares AND foolish and hurtful lusts. Greed is not just one bad road, but is in fact many. Every day, people fight and war and steal and lie and cheat just to make one more dollar or hang onto one more dollar. The life of a Christian is a life of sacrifice; for the sake of the Lord who sacrificed His son to buy our pardon, are we willing to sacrifice our money and the love that we have for it?

Hebrews 2:10-11 – Not ashamed to call us Brethren

Hebrews 2:10-11
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

-Verse 11 tells us everything we need to know about how great Salvation really is; we who are sanctified are made the same as the One who sanctifies us.  So completely are we removed from what we were and changed into what Christ is, that He has no hesitation in claiming us in front of anyone.  Think about every nasty, ungodly thing you’ve ever done and then think about what it would take for a Holy, Holy, Holy God to look at you and be pleased with what He sees.  Jesus Christ became sin so that you would never have to feel the weight of sin and He became shame so that you would never have to feel true shame.

Luke 12:34 – Treasure

Luke 12:34
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

-There are many ways that we can look at this “treasure” as Jesus describes it.  For some, it may help to think about the thing that excites you most; for others, it may be the thing that brings you comfort (or distraction) in the face of trouble.  Whatever your treasure is, it has your heart and it is the “god” of your life.  If that treasure is something other than God Himself, it will lead to nothing but despair in your life because nothing else in the universe can satisfy like the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Isaiah 42:8 – Just say no to “X-mas”

Isaiah 42:8
8 I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

-Every year the more God-honoring aspects of Christmas are marginalized; as nativity scenes give way to giant inflatable Santas and Christmas greetings are replaced by “Merry X-mas”, it can be hard to remember what the holiday is all about.  If you took a poll of random children, it’s a safe bet that they could number and maybe even name Santa’s reindeer; but how many could tell why Jesus was born?  Over 7.8 million letters are sent to Santa each year and Santa’s likeness can be found everywhere from Coke cans to shopping malls to television programs.  Santa may seem like a harmless figment of a child’s imagination, but every time a child looks at a Santa decoration in wonder that is a graven image and every letter sent to Santa in good faith is a little bit of glory that should go to the Lord.  Why build a child’s hope on a lie when only the truth can make them free? (John 8:32) Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:16)

Genesis 18:24-26 – The Judge

Genesis 18:24-26
24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

-Abraham rightly discerned that God in Heaven is the Judge of all the Earth.  2 Timothy 4:1 teaches that the “Lord Jesus Christ shall judge the quick and the dead” and yet there are millions of children (and probably some adults) who believe that Santa Claus is keeping a list and checking it twice; they believe that Santa is judging between naughty and nice.  Santa may seem like a harmless figment of a child’s imagination, but such children grow up thinking that the key to life’s rewards is for your nice deeds to outweigh your naughty ones.  Doing good deeds won’t send you to Hell, but trusting in good deeds sends people to Hell every day.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

James 1:17 -The Reason for the Season

James 1:17
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

-The Bible makes it clear that every good and perfect gift comes from God in Heaven.  Yet there are millions of children (and probably some adults) who look for Santa Claus to bring gifts come Christmas.  Santa may seem like a harmless figment of a child’s imagination, but why build a child’s hope around a myth when there is a God in Heaven waiting for those very children to come to Him. (Matthew 19:14)  Why feed children a lie when only the truth can make them free? (John 8:32)  Believing in Santa won’t send you to Hell, but believing in Santa can distract you from seeing Jesus and that sends people to Hell every day.  “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)

Matthew 1:18-21 -Joseph, being a just man.

Matthew 1:18-21
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

-Imagine what must have been going through Joseph’s mind during this time:  His fiance and love had apparently betrayed him and was now carrying another man’s child.  What a hard decision to leave the woman he loved and move on with his life.  So easy to react harshly and make a public mockery of Mary.  But instead of despondent and rash, Joseph was patient and discreet.  Let this be a lesson in grace to each of us the next time we feel that we have been wronged.  Even though Joseph seemingly had a case, he still planned to treat Mary with respect and dignity and look at how he was rewarded.  A personal revelation from God and the opportunity to help raise the Savior of the world.

Joshua 10:12-14 – The God of Miracles

Joshua 10:12-14
12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.

-What an incredible miracle; the sun and moon simply stop in the sky and daylight continues for “about a whole day”.  Joshua needed the daylight so that the fleeing Amorites wouldn’t be able to escape.  Joshua’s faith to even make such a request is incredible; the event itself is incredible.  The Bible even says that there was no day like it before or after.  But notice why the Bible says there was no other day like it; not because it was a day the sun stood still, but because it was a day where the Lord responded so dramatically to one of His people.  Miracles are great, but they don’t hold a candle to the God who works those miracles.  “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Ephesians 6:12-13 – We Wrestle

Ephesians 6:12-13
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

-I find it interesting that Paul would use the word “wrestle” instead of simply saying fight.  It could easily be dismissed as a simple word choice, but that lightly esteems the truth given in Proverbs 30:5, “every word of God is pure”.  Consider that fighting is an art of intermittent contact; a feint here, a jab there, perhaps a kick depending on the specific discipline being utilized.  Either way, fighters typically spend as much time out of contact as they do in contact- just watch a boxing match.  This is not the case with wrestling.  Once the match starts, the combatants are locked with each other for nearly the entire time.  So it is in our struggle with the powers of darkness; they are constantly pressing, constantly twisting, constantly searching for the opportunity to bring us into submission.  Don’t expect a life of dodging jabs and uppercuts here and there, Satan and his minions will be wrapped around you every second until the Lord stops the fight.