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Sometimes cousins can be really different. Here I am showing my age, but do you remember the Patty Duke show? Two teenage cousins who looked exactly alike, but were different in every way – one wild and free, one poised and governed by self control.

The Bible gives us a set of cousins who are likewise considerably different.

'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.' "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!' "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. - Matthew 11:17-19

How can these two men, John the Baptist and Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God and Son of man, how can they both be servants of the Most High God, and yet be so different?

That’s what the disciples of John wanted to know, and that’s what the Pharisees wanted to know.

There is one area where they were the same.

They did not dance to the world’s tune.

The world is always trying to get us to compromise what the Lord has put before us.

John came as the final chapter of the Old Covenant. His was the closing hymn, the final chord, of a grand mournful requiem. He came preaching and demonstrating the crushing weight of unrepentant sin, and demanding that men change, and then come to be baptized.

So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? "Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. - Luke 3:7-8

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus preached repentance too. I am not saying that repentance is not part of the Christian walk.

But unlike John, who dressed in an itchy shirt, ate bugs and cried in the wilderness, Jesus sat at the dinner table with all kinds of sinners.

There are two very different dinner tables we read of in the life of Jesus, Levi’s table, with tax collectors and sinners, and Simon’s table, with Pharisees and the religious elite.

These are the same two types of people that came out to John.

Neither group could influence either man.

They played the wedding march for John, but he preached a funeral message in the wilderness.

They played a funeral dirge for the Lord, and He drew them to a wedding feast.

How does the world’s tune influence you?

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to play the Christian life to the tune the world is playing, but I suggest to you today, that you tune your dial to the song of heaven.

What music would heaven have you dance to today.

Lord, help me hear from You what song You are singing over me, and let me live my life to Your rhythm. [Tweet This]

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you again soon.

Shine today!

Ben

 

And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ~ Matthew 8:11-12

Ok – so what do you make of this?

This is where I am in my stroll through Galilee with Jesus and He blurts this beauty out there. Just happened to come on a Friday, so I thought – hey let’s get some chatter going on this one.

So in context He is talking to the Roman Centurion we have been talking about for a few days, and who demonstrated great faith that caught Jesus’ attention.

Perhaps He is simply putting this out there for the Pharisee’s in the following masses. He makes the point that He has not found this kind of faith or understanding of His authority in those of Israel’s race.

John brings light to this in the opening of his wonderful account of Jesus’ life, when He says

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:11-12

So is that it? Or does this run deeper?

Clearly it is not an indictment of all Israel since these that come from the East and West are reclining with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

What do you think?

Tell me your take on these strong word from the Word Made Flesh.

BenThanks for coming by

Ben

"Give us this day… "(Matt 6:11)

It is important for us to realize that we have nothing we have not been given. This is an area of Christian life that can actually stretch our faith considerably. Every material blessing ultimately comes from the Father.

Jehovah Jireh – When we were talking about the Name of the Lord, we noted that this is one of His names: The Lord your provider. In case you do not recall the story, in Genesis 22 God tells Abraham to take Isaac his “son of promise” and sacrifice him on an alter – to present his only son’s blood as a sacrifice to God.

When Isaac and Abraham where alone climbing the mountain to do this deed, Isaac (who was no dummy) took stock of the situation and asked his father what animal they were going to sacrifice. Abraham said: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.” (Gen 22:8 NASB) This is huge, and this God has done. God took His own “Son of Promise” and presented to Himself the innocent blood of the perfect Lamb. [Tweet This]

James tell us :

“Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” James 1:17)

All good things come from the Father, and He gives and does not hold back from us any good thing. In Romans 8 Paul tells us:

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NASB)

More than just material things, Paul tell us in Ephesians:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3 NASB)

This verse is huge. It is written in the past tense implying that we already have everything we need in the Spirit. It has been given to us – deposited in our spiritual bank account for immediate withdrawal. We just have to figure out how to access that account.

The scripture even tells us that if we delight in God, He will give us the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4) There are a couple ways to understand this. You could take it to mean that if you love God He will give you whatever you want. On the other hand, you could read it this way. If you delight in the Lord, then His desires will become your desires.

I had a Pastor when I was in high school, Dr. Richard Halverson, who used to say that if you pray persistently for anything, say for example a million dollars, and really prayed into it, not just say the words, but really prayed daily for that million, you would either get the million, or your heart and desire would change so that the million is no longer the desire of your heart.

Because Our Father is our provider, it is never necessary to compromise in order to get or keep a job, or any other form of provision. God is faithful, and has inordinate supply and so there is never justification to step outside the bounds of good upright conduct in order to protect or secure your income. Don’t ever lie for your boss!

“And what do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) Paul uses this idea to demonstrate that no one member of the body of Christ is superior to another because every gifting and talent that we have comes from God.  We are who we are because God made us that way. This is a big deal too. There are a number of take-aways from this idea.

  • God does not make junk. You were created and gifted by the amazing creator of the Universe Who does all things well.
  • You are not a mistake.
  • God gave you a specific gift/talent mix – I like to think of it as your Spiritual DNA. This unique combination of personality, gifting, talents, temperament is all part of His amazing plan.
  • You yourself are a gift and a provision for the Body of Christ, both on a local basis, and to His body worldwide. There is no one in the body that brings the exact mix that God has put together in you, and you are an integral part of what He wants to do in your local Church, your school, your workplace, your home.

Live like you are a gift today, and be thankful to the One who has given you all things!

Thanks for reading today. Stop in again soon.

Ben

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