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So let’s talk bread. Jesus makes it plain that the Word of God is as important as physical nourishment. But He does not say meat or food, like He does with the woman at the well (see John 4.) He chooses bread. OK, I get that it is not arbitrary and it is actually a quote from Duet 8:3. But still, why bread?

In a read through the Gospels you can’t miss bread. It is the staple of life, and as such Jesus talks about it all the time, sometimes in the natural sense and other times as a figure for a spiritual truth.
Let’s just brush past a few of these bread ideas. (to get right to the main point skip down to where you see this. --> If you have plenty of time and want to go hard core  – read on by all means.)

All 4 gospels tell the story of Jesus multiplying bread and fish (some of them tell 2 accounts of 2 different times.) Based on how you count, He multiplied 12 loves and 5 - 7 fishes and fed somewhere between 9 and 20 thousand people (just depends on how many women and children those men had along in the crowd of 5,000) and took home 19 baskets of leftovers. Among other things these accounts demonstrate that Jesus was able to take the simplest gifts from the most unexpected places (like a boy's lunch bag) and provide way more than enough for what ever the circumstance required.

Jesus talks about bread when He is explaining that the Father gives good gifts to His children just as an earthly father would not give a child a stone if he asks bread of him. This one tells me that our Father does not switch out our gifts on us. He does not hear our cries for something good, and give us something evil. [There was a branch of theology about 10 or 15 years ago that would warn you not to ask the Father for spiritual gifts for fear that the devil might slip in and give you some false gift that would lead you astray. Seems to me Jesus shuts that argument down. Ask your Father – Ask and keep on asking!]
There was the situation with the Greek woman who wanted her daughter to be set from some demonic oppression. Jesus said, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” (Mark 7:28)
This story strikes me on so many levels, but I only want to talk here about the bread. She is asking for deliverance for her daughter, and Jesus basically says, deliverance is the children’s bread, I can’t give it you a gentile dog like your daughter. [It is a ground breaking story when the woman pushes through this insult, and breaks the dispensational barrier to a period in time when God would allow gentiles full access to the benefits of salvation. You might ponder if there is anything you are writing off as being for a different dispensation (heaven perhaps) that you would like to see in your life today?! Think on that for a while.]
--> Jump to here for the short version:
The one bread story I want to think about today is where Jesus says “I am the bread of Life!” (John 6:48) His ministry is booming. They are following Him in droves. He gets 198,000 unique hits every month on His blog and has 300,000 followers and 2,000,000 FB friends.
He goes and starts talking about being the manna that God sent from heaven. Worse He comes right out and says, “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” (John 6:55-57) WOW! I want you to understand. He did not take the time to stop them from walking away. He did not explain the significance of communion, and the fact that He was talking about Matzos and grape juice.
Only the 11 got the more complete rendition where Jesus gave them physical bread and said – “This is my body broken for you.” He really was not looking for crowds, but for people who would follow Him no matter what it cost them, and no matter how crazy it seemed. He knew that those who took His name would be facing incredibly hard lives, and so he would not water it down, or make it easy.
The gospel is still like that. We should not try to talk people into the kingdom using logical arguments, because logic breaks down when persecution heats up.
I remember leading a young man to the Lord (convincing him rationally anyway.) But one day we were chatting about His Jewish mom, who he could not bring himself to tell about his decision for Christ. He never came back, as he began to consider that fact that his mom needed Jesus. That was too much for him- she was good, and did not need to change. He had been a bad boy, and so change worked in his life, but in his good mom – no way. Very sad.
[One last bit on Jesus' body, the bread of life. We have a good theological backing for the fact that we are cleansed from our sins by the blood of Jesus. So what is with the breaking of His body? I go back to Isaiah 53, where it says “by His stripes we are healed.” I truly believe that the bread we break when we take communion is a depiction of the stripes He bore for our physical healing. It helps me to meditate on that as I take the bread of communion.]
So I ask you now, Has Christ offended you? What rock of offence has He put in your way to test your faith?
Share with us.
Thanks for reading (either long or short version)
Ben

Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Let’s talk about the word “Word.” As I mentioned in an earlier post, Jesus is quoting Moses from Duet 8:3. In the original text the word “Word” does not even exist. But here, Matthew puts a word on it. The word he chooses is “rhema.” This is a Greek word that means the spoken word as distinct from the written word of God which usually is described as “logos” or some form thereof.
Sorry if I am getting too technical here, but hang in there for just a minute and I think you will see where I am going.
As I said the other day in my post “Don't Neglect the Infrastructure” the written Word of God is the basis for all of our understanding of God. Its importance cannot be overstated.
That said, I want to demonstrate today the importance of being able to hear God’s voice today. Logos is important, but without rhema there can be no life.
Lets look at a few places the word rhema shows up.

Matthew 4:4 – Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

It is the spoken Word of God, and the preaching of it, that quickens faith in any man.

Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.

It is the spoken Word of God that cleanses us.

Ephesians 6:17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

It is the spoken Word of God that is our only weapon for spiritual warfare.

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

It was the spoken Word of God that created all things (we get this because God said… and it was!

1 Peter 1:25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you.

It is the spoken Word of God that can save us.
If you are a child of God, you know this voice. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) You know what I mean. You have been reading the written word, and suddenly it is as if a light goes on inside you. You GET it like never before. Or you are driving down the road in your car, and on the side of the road you see a billboard, or a sign post, or a person, or a cow, or almost anything, and God speaks to your spirit and you know you have heard from the Lord. Perhaps you were talking with someone who is struggling, and you want to bring hope to them, and suddenly a verse from the Bible pops into mind. Or you see something in your mind’s eye that just perfectly answers the need.
It happens countless ways, but this is what brings us life, cleanses us, defends, and arms us. [Tweet This]
Food is good, and I like bread, but without the rhema of God, I die.
Tell me some way you have heard the “rhema” of God.
Thanks for reading today.
Ben

Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4)

This is so full! I am not sure (well – to be perfectly honest – I am positive) I cannot do it justice in one post. Actually, I am pretty sure this will be one of the scriptures that will take up a full semester in heavens classrooms. (I am laughing now because one man's heaven is another’s punishment – and I don’t want to scare anyone off thinking heaven is nothing but a school room – LOL)
Let’s jump in with the original quote. Jesus is actually quoting Moses here. Just before Israel was to cross the Jordan and Moses was headed to the pearly gates, he says this. The funny thing is, “but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD” (and I remind you I am not a Hebrew expert, I am just looking at some reference materials) is just 3 Hebrew words, and 'word' is not one of them. Moses is referring to manna as that which springs forth, or flows out of the mouth of the LORD. Our life comes from within our Creator, and flows to us from His mouth.
Now my minds eye sees a mother bird feeding her brood. To them, she is the source of all life and nourishment. Without taking what she is offering, and eating it, they would die.

Photo Credit: Shirley Binn
Look how wise the little birds are. Every morning (at the very least) they sit and let their mother feed them whatever she has gathered.
A few months ago I was in a conference, and heard Rick Joyner talk about “the Manna test” He said “Do we esteem Him so much that we will seek Him first thing in the morning? This will determine whether you will walk in His way – Manna is a test because it is daily and humbling” (not a direct quote, just what I got down in my notes) We need to come to the Lord with a heart that cries out (like the baby birds) “I must have something fresh from You today! I can only live by what comes from Your mouth!
Will you sit with me in the nest today with heads thrown back and mouths wide open crying out to our Father, “Feed Me! Feed me! I must have more of You today!” [Tweet This] Let’s live like that today.
Oh – one other thing – when He does give you something, make a note of it. Let’s agree to highly esteem what proceeds from His mouth!
Thanks for reading today. More on this verse in my next post.
Ben

Hi all,

My Dad, Robert Nelson

I am trying to collect short (one paragraph - 50- 100 words) stories about good fathers. I would love to include pictures too.

I would love to have a picture to go along with the story. I will publish these stories in a blog post coming up in the middle of next week - So I can take input all week long.

I am looking for good stuff and will post positive stories. If thinking about your dad hurts, i would be glad to pray with you for that, but it would be better to get a private message for that.

Here is what you do:

1) Write a one paragraph story that answers the question. You can do it here or on face book. Or email it to me with the link at the bottom of this page.
2) Link to a picture of your dad on facebook or twitter (or anywhere else on the internet)
3) Get your friends to participate by posting this on Facebook or Twitter [Tweet Invite]

Thanks much for your help!

Ben

Don't Neglect the Infrastructure
As I was pondering this verse, I almost breezed right past this little phrase. “It is written.” Then I began to wonder how often Jesus actually says this. Well, more than wonder, I counted – These 3 words (actually only one Greek word – grapho) are/is recorded 17 times from the mouth of Jesus, and a few more between the devil, (who throws it back a Jesus in the wilderness,) and the collective narrators.
This fascinates me. Jesus, The Word of God made flesh, spends a lot of time talking about the written record of the word. Later in the verse He is going to talk about the verbal communication of God – that which proceeds out of His mouth, but in order to create a context in which to receive the “rhema” or spoken word of God we must have the foundation, or infrastructure of the written word.
Think of a building before they put the walls up. When builders are working on new construction, they first set the foundation, then they create an infrastructure. This includes all the beams and wiring and plumbing. It is actually what holds everything in place. Then they put up the sheetrock and finally we get to paint, paper, furnishings etc.

We will talk in the next blog about the daily bread of the spoken word of God, but today I want to take a few minutes to stress the importance of daily meditation on what is written. Here are 12 things you can do every day to create a biblical infrastructure. [Tweet This]

Read the word
Think about the word
Meditate on the word
Memorize the word
Read the word
Mull over the word
Ponder the word
Read the word
Repeat the word
Sing the word
Pray the word
Read the word
The Bible tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom. I do not believe that He came out of the virgin’s womb with a complete working knowledge of what was written. He did all of the above all His life. And when He was faced with temptation by the devil himself, He went right to that infrastructure that his life was built on. The light goes on when the wires are in place and plugged in properly.
Time and time again the scripture I have been meditating has been exactly what was needed in the situation. For example I spent about 2 years where most of my study and meditation time was spent on the Song of Songs. You might think that would lead to a great imbalance, but I found that every situation I faced, God was able to pull from that well great wisdom. The same thing happened a few years back when I was working my way through the Minor Prophets for a year. It always amazes me how multi-faceted the word is, and what a genius the Holy Spirit is in His ability to apply the word to situations.
Do you have any times you can share when God used a verse you were meditating on when you least expected it?
BenThanks for reading today
Ben

 

Today (Sunday, July 15, 2012) I preached on 1 Sam 17. Here was what I intended to say. [chuckle] Some time early this week, the audio will be available. [Here's a link to the audio version] It went really well, and since I had this all prepared, and some folks like to read; I figured I would put it out here.
If you are not a reader, I suggest you wait for the audio later this week.
Note – the blue text below is the actual text of the NIV copied from BibleGateway.com.
We are going to look at possibly the best-known Bible story in the world today. The Story of David and Goliath is used as a metaphor everywhere, in sports, in business, in politics.  Everyone knows this story. I don’t want to just tell you the story today though, I would love to actually read most of it to you. For most people it is a 30 second sound bite story. Little guy kills big guy, but today I want to get down to some of the how and why he was able to do it.
The superhero thing comes from the fact that I was looking for a word that we would all understand that meant Killer of Champions. And this worked nicely since we probably all know what a superhero does – he solves BIG problems.
The first 4 verses of the text set the scene – in short the Philistines were on one mountain, the Israelites on anther, and there was a valley in between.
A champion named Goliath, [Boooo] who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.
That’s 9’6” – add boots and a helmet and you have the height of this cross, (a 10 ft cross) and his shoulders – probably about like this cross bar as well.
 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b];
His armor weighed about as much as David, fully clothed and soaking wet.
 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c] 
His spear head weighs (guys) about as much as 2 sledge hammers (ladies) or a medium sized turkey! (I know that was a bit sexist – sorry folks)
His shield bearer went ahead of him.
Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul?
Everybody say “Servants of Saul” (that’s important write that down)
Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel!
Everybody say “The Army’s of Israel” (that’s important write that down)
 Give me a man and let us fight each other. ” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
Everybody say “dismayed and terrified”
12 Now David [Cheer!] was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah.
Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14 David [Cheer!]  was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David [Cheer!] went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16 For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.
Forty days! Can anybody think of any other 40 periods in the Bible?
Noah’s Rain
Death of Jacob
Moses spent 40 days fasting waiting on the Lord for the law – twice!
Spies spent 40 days checking the wilderness, and Israel had to spend 40 years wandering – one for each of those days.
Elijah traveled 40 days and nights on one meal to get to Horeb, to hear from the Lord.
Jesus Fasted 40 days and nights
40 days is always a time of testing
17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah[d] of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance[e] from them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”
20 Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a servant!
This is the starting point with God. No man can have a relationship with the Lord until first he has bowed his knee and become the servant of God.
The apostles had this identity. There is a word – Doulos in the Greek, and many of the writers of the New Testament called themselves by this name.
Ok –back to the story
23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath,stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”
26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine
Everybody say Uncircumcised Philistine – we will be back to this in a minute.
Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.
Sometimes when you think you need a Superhero what you really need is a Shepherd
A shepherd is the most despised of men. They are thought to be uneducated, unsophisticated outcasts. So it is today. Pastors and full time ministers of every sort are mocked at every turn by our society.
However, when you face a lion or a bear, or a giant you need a shepherd on your side.
You are not intended to walk though this life alone. God has put you in a body in your area, and has put people in your life. We have a good shepherd here, Chet, who cares for this flock well. I stand with a group of men, who love the Lord deeply, and I have often seen them weep over your souls, and your needs. 
When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 
The original indicates this means he was coming up – One thing about our enemy is that left unchecked, he will continue to take ground
42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals! ”
I want to take a few minutes here and talk to you about The Power of Words
Paul says in Eph 6:16 - In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
I want you to understand that he best weapons satan has are his words. I am not talking about some fuzzy spiritual warfare theory here, I am talking about the real world. How did satan nutralize the entire Israeli army in our story. Some big guy stood up and started distorting the truth. Let’s go back to those important things we wrote down before.
Servants of Saul
The Army’s of Israel
Goliath puts a spin on the truth that distorts it just enough to cause terror, or total discouragement.
But David knows how to talk as well. When confronted with a lie, or half-truth David recites the actual truth.  And in his words we will find the next characteristic of a superhero.
Remember what he said above
Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
In this one phrase we learn David’s main superpower –he calls Goliath an uncircumcised philistine. What’s the point you ask?
Circumcision is a sign of covenant. David knows that he has a covenant with the Lord God – the Ruler of the Angel Armies, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And this giant does not have any such ally.
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a Son
David knows he is a son. He has a covenant with God, and he knows this from experience as a shepherd. He walked in his son-ship every day.
Let’s get back to the story – pay attention to the way David talks to this giant.
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
In my mind – that is the best part of the story right there. David is not intimidated by the words of the enemy. He goes on the attack – and set’s the proper groundwork for this battle.
It is not between a giant and a little boy, it is between a giant and the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Eternal God of the Universe. And suddenly the Giant doesn’t look so big. [Tweet This]
I love that David who is standing there with a shepherds crook, a sling and a few small stones has just told the giant he was going to cut off his head.
David – get real – you don’t have anything sharp in your possession – You can’t even reach his head –could you please be a little more realistic?
I love this – let read on.
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 
Do you see this – David is running toward his enemy!
49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. [Big Cheer]
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a Savior
When David cuts off the giant’s head, he demonstrates his total mastery of this battle. This day David is a savior to Israel.
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath[f] and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.
54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.
There it is – no big surprise today, David killed Goliath. But how does it help today.
How do you know a giant when you see one?
Well – know for a fact that there are giants in the land. They may not have the name Goliath, but perhaps you have seen giants around. You know how you can recognize a giant. When you hear it talk you get afraid.
Maybe you have run into a giant – Unemployment, Recession, Cancer, Fibro Mialga,
They use words like Hopeless, Incurable, bankruptcy, foreclosure.
We here these words, and we loose hope. We sit on the hillside and sharpen our swords, polish our shields and shake in our boots.
You say – Ben, you don’t understand. This is not a storybook, this is real life. How do I deal with this HUGE stuff in real life?
Let me tell you something. Aa long as you treat the Bible – even the story of David and Goliath like a story book, rather than a testimony of God showing up on the behalf of his own people, you will be stuck on the hill side shaking in your boots.
We must run to the battle – we must take the promises of God to His New Testament Children and Run to the battle.
Big brave words from the pulpit, but I could not be more serious. The enemy wants to shake us to our core, and rob us of any impact we might have in the world, and he uses his words to shut us down.
We must rise up and fight this battle.
I want you to see how each of these 4 characteristics is in Jesus life, and then I want you to hear a call for you to walk in this same anointing.
Jesus came as a servant (Phil 2:5) He is the Good/Great Shepherd, He is the very Son of very God, and clearly He came to save us from our sin.
You need to:
Be a servant!(it take your eyes off the fear for your own life.)
Be a shepherd(get in a relationship with someone you can help and you will see God show up for you in the small ways)
Realize you are a son(don’t see your self as an outcast, but as a son or daughter of the King)

Understand that you have Savior DNA– ok – you are not The Savior but you are hooked up to The Savior and His name is JESUS.


Thanks for reading today. Keep your eyes open for the audio copy - it's better!


Ben

 

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matt 5:13)
Stop just a minute! Did Jesus just say that if I was not impacting my world as salt, that I was GOOD FOR NOTHING? Hmmmm – I think I'd better think it out again.

Jesus was famous for “hard sayings” but this one always gets me.

Let’s review:
Salt that is flavorless is good for nothing.
You are salt.
If you are not having an impact on your world, you are good for nothing. [Tweet This]
Yikes – that did not help.
Some of you don’t know me that well, and may not realize that I trying to use humor as a device to take the edge off some of Jesus strongest words, however He was not playing around. He could not be more serious.
As I said in my previous post: Salt is not something you do, it is something you are. So here Jesus is not so much yelling at us and telling us to be salty, but giving us a way to see if we are Salt!
Since salt is not something you do, but something you are, if we are not salty, then there is no hope for us – unless…
Ok – here it is – are you ready. If you are not salt, you must become salt. Your old – non-salty (aka good for nothing but the be trampled by the wrath of God) nature must be thrown out, and you must receive a new salty nature! You must be born again! (John 3:7)
If that is you, please check my post called “What Peace?” or “Repentace,the path to comfort” where you can find out how to get a new nature.
Thanks for reading. If these posts are doing you any good, let me know, and tell a friend.
Ben

You are the salt of the earth. (Matt 5:13)
You are salt. The applications here are pretty clear. Salt flavors,salt preserves and salt heals. The thing that distinguishes salt from any other substance is that it is salty. (thank you Dr. Obvious!) In earlier days people used to preserve fish in cases of salt. The fishermen would pack the fish in salt, and when they were ready to use the fish they would take it out of the salt. Next they would taste the salt. If it tasted like fish they would throw it out on the road where it would pack down into the “pavement” of the day. If it tasted like salt, they would simply pack the next catch of fish in the same salt.
In Mark’s gospel Jesus says “Salt is good.” This is in great dispute these days, and many say that Jesus is not giving us nutritional information here, but as I understand it you body needs salt – good salt – not processed salt, but natural sea salt.
Taste – Christians are supposed to flavor their world. There should be a marked difference in a group when you walk in. The whole group will "taste" better. I know that sounds funny, but when Jesus hung out with sinners (which He was known to do) He was certainly not drawn down to their debauchery, but rather the entire group was lifted up. He was followed all over not just for the miracles He did, though there was that, but also because He was good company. The woman at the well went away so moved by this man, that she brought the entire city of Samaria back to hear this Jew.
Preservative – We are called to be a preservative to our town, city, school, workplace, country and world. Think of the day God and Abraham discussed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham negotiated with God from 50 down to 10 and finally God walked the few good people out of the city before their destruction. Twice in the book of Ezekiel God says that He was looking for intercessors to come to the defense of the nation, making a hedge. Our influence in society staves off the judgment of God, and can leave more time for our friends and loved ones to get properly salted!
Healing – I think of Jeremiah’s words to the prophets and priests of his day.
“And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. (Jer 6:14)”
As salt in our nation, we cannot let those who do not know God think they are in a safe and comfortable place. Salt, when applied to a wound stings, but that sting it the salt doing its work. Jude says it this way:
 “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 22,23)
As I say all this, I see that I am often a tasteless Christian, leaving the conversations I am in without adding any godly flavor. It is real easy for me to get all – What should I do to be more salty  but as I write this I am realizing that salt is salt because it is salty. Victory is in the being, not in the doing. [tweet this] Let’s get salty folks. The world needs salt that has some taste, some preservative power, and some healing sting.
What does it mean to you to be salty? Do you have victories to share? Are there places you see even now where you could be more salty?
Thanks for reading today!
Ben 

Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 NKJV)
These are the earliest recorded words of Jesus (post incarnation) and I want to look at how they lay out the pattern for His entire life. I was a little confused when I jumped in, because I was meditating on the verse as I had memorized it many years ago in the KJV much as it appears above, but then I looked it up in my “BlueLetterBible” ap in the NASB it shows up like this: “Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
I am thinking – which is it? So I looked up this word that can be business or house, and found that it is a pretty vague word. It is basically a pronoun that is translated based on context as: which, who, those, this, mother of, son of, and dozens of other things. I think if I, the great Greek scholar that I am (just kidding) were to translate this today, I would probably go with “Didn’t you know I’d be doin’ My Father’s stuff?” (Clearly not an English major either – sorry Eva.)
Let me get serious for a couple minutes. This is probably one of the most significant defining points in my theology. Jesus says it over and over again. He came to do the will of the Father, and has called us to do the same.
Consider these other statements of Jesus:

“BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO THY WILL.” (Heb 10:9)

Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19)

I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30)

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” (John 14:10)

For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.” (John 12:49)

This is not exhaustive either. It is critical for us to understand that Jesus is a demonstration of the will of God. In fact in Hebrews 1:3 the writer makes the point that Jesus is the best picture we will ever see of the will of God this side of heaven. The writer says that Jesus is “the exact representation of God.” The writer also says that Jesus is a better representation of God than God earlier revelations of Him through the prophets, so don’t let something you read in the prophets trump what you see in the life of Jesus. Jesus is the plumb line by which all scripture and all interpretation of scripture must be measured. That’s right, Isaiah does not trump Jesus, nor does Paul. Moses and Elijah came to learn from Jesus, not the other way around!
I want to make 2 simple points here.

    1)    If you want to know the will of God, look at Jesus. This may sound obvious, but we often argue against this with our nearly fatalistic theology. Everything that happens to you is not necessarily the will of God for your life! If you can not find Jesus doing something, do not assume it is something God does. Jesus never put sickness on anyone, yet often we blame God for our diseases. Jesus calmed storms, yet we call them acts of God. Jesus fed multitudes, but we blame God for famines. Be careful of the accusation you make against God.
2)    Jesus said over and over in the verses above, that He did not do these things by His own power. In other words He did not heal the sick because He was God, but because He was connected to the will of God, and walking in what He was seeing the Father do. This is why He could tell us to do the same thing. It is still the will of God to save, deliver, heal, set free, feed the multitude and raise the dead. We just need to submit to His will to the same extent Jesus did.

BenI desire to walk this out. Do you? I am convinced that as we meditate on His words, and press into His will we will see more and more the Fathers “stuff” show up in our lives.
Thanks for reading. Come back again soon!
Ben

 

In Luke 6 Jesus preaches a sermon very similar to the sermon on the mount. It may be the same sermon from a different man’s point of view, or it may be that Jesus preached this content a number of times.
In any case there is something very interesting about Luke’s account. As with much of Luke’s gospel there is an edge to Jesus' words that is not always present in some of the other accounts.
When Jesus gives the Beatitudes in Luke, He first pronounces blessing, and then the turns them around. Here he says “Woe to you…”
So today, I am going to take the liberty of turning Matthew’s beatitudes around. I know this is not scripture, but it makes an impact on me when I think about these things.
Woe unto those who are the rich in spirit, for they have no part in the kingdom of heaven.
Woe unto those who do not mourn over sin, for they shall receive torment.
Woe unto those who will not submit to the will of God, for they shall inherit eternal destruction.
Woe unto those who hunger and thirst for wickedness, for they shall never be satisfied.
Woe unto those who are unmerciful, for they shall receive no mercy.
Woe unto those with impure in hearts, for they shall never see God.
Woe unto those who are troublemakers, for they shall be called sons of the devil.
Woe unto those who have persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for they will never see the kingdom of heaven.
And as Jesus himself gave this last one “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)
BenI hope this impacts you as much as it impacts me. Do you think this goes too far? I don't, but let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading.
Ben
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