We have been called and commissioned to bring the Good News to the world. We each have our place we have been sent to speak love, truth, hope to the people around us. We each have our calling to bring God’s miraculous touch to the world around us. All things are possible when God is in the middle of it! So don’t start today on your own, but ask God for wisdom and to come with you. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide every thought, word, and action you take. Take a look around you, is there someone who will partner with you in ministry? Ask God for more hands for the harvest! Pray without ceasing, God is with you all day, so you don’t need to wait till Sunday or till you show up in church, He will meet you right where you are at. Ask God for wisdom for every situation you will face! Ask God for wisdom for every problem that needs to be solved! Ask God for wisdom to be able to speak hope and life with love to the people around you. Build up relationship with those God had brought into your life! You don’t need to isolate yourself, but you need to love on others and encourage them and help them at their point of need. God hasn’t filled you with a spirit of fear so don’t hold back, He has filled you with a spirit of power, of love, and of sound mind! So grab onto that and put your trust in Him! Stop trying to do it all in your own power and strength, rather allow God’s power and presence to work in and through you to be everything He has created you to be.
Who is your neighbor?
Do you know what you are supposed to do for your neighbor and what you shouldn’t do? Do you love your neighbor? Do you compare yourself to your neighbor? Another perspective would be “who is your neighbor?” God’s Word speaks to us through His Commandments and through Luke 10 on this topic:
13No murder.14No adultery.15No stealing.16No lies about your neighbor.17No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.– Exodus 20 (Commandments 6-10 speak to your neighbor)25Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”26He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”27He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”28“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”29Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”30-32Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.33-35“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’36“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”37“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
Don’t allow the busy-ness of life keep you from hearing the truth and finding true freedom!
38-40As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”41-42The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”– Luke 10
Do you have what you need? Have you asked for what you are in need of? Do you know how to ask?
1One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”2-4So he said, “When you pray, say,Father,Reveal who you are.Set the world right.Keep us alive with three square meals.Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”5-6Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’7“The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’8“But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.9“Here’s what I’m saying:Ask and you’ll get;Seek and you’ll find;Knock and the door will open.10-13“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?”
There really isn’t a neutral stance. You really can’t be on the fence. You are either for or against.
Are you doing things to help it move forward or falling back? If you aren’t helping it move forward, then you are helping it go backwards. Consider the world around you, if you stand still you are falling behind. Similarly if you aren’t for it, you are against it. So where are you at? Are you on the beach near the river in Egypt? Denial — sometime spelled the Nile ;). There is life going on all around you. There are people who need you to step up, to stand up, to give a hand up right where you are at. Don’t ignore your calling! Don’t think you are neutral, stand for something or you will fall for anything!
“Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good…”
We see in this morning’s reading how Jesus describes it…
14-16Jesus delivered a man from a demon that had kept him speechless. The demon gone, the man started talking a blue streak, taking the crowd by complete surprise. But some from the crowd were cynical. “Black magic,” they said. “Some devil trick he’s pulled from his sleeve.” Others were skeptical, waiting around for him to prove himself with a spectacular miracle.17-20Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Any country in civil war for very long is wasted. A constantly squabbling family falls to pieces. If Satan cancels Satan, is there any Satan left? You accuse me of ganging up with the Devil, the prince of demons, to cast out demons, but if you’re slinging devil mud at me, calling me a devil who kicks out devils, doesn’t the same mud stick to your own exorcists? But if it’s God’s finger I’m pointing that sends the demons on their way, then God’s kingdom is here for sure.21-22“When a strong man, armed to the teeth, stands guard in his front yard, his property is safe and sound. But what if a stronger man comes along with superior weapons? Then he’s beaten at his own game, the arsenal that gave him such confidence hauled off, and his precious possessions plundered.23“This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.24-26“When a corrupting spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return, it finds the person swept and dusted, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits dirtier than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place.”27While he was saying these things, some woman lifted her voice above the murmur of the crowd: “Blessed the womb that carried you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”28Jesus commented, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!”
So are you making thing better or worse? Are you helping or causing more of a problem? Let’s be problem solvers rather than problem causers or helpers! Let’s be on the side of right, of love, of hope, of truth!
What is it going to take to convince you?
Would my stories of how God has changed my life be enough? Would seeing how powerful and loving God is be enough? Would it take a miracle? The good thing is that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into heaven, and all things are possible with God! It may seem impossible to us, but without God it is. With God all things are possible!
29-30As the crowd swelled, he took a fresh tack: “The mood of this age is all wrong. Everybody’s looking for proof, but you’re looking for the wrong kind. All you’re looking for is something to titillate your curiosity, satisfy your lust for miracles. But the only proof you’re going to get is the Jonah-proof given to the Ninevites, which looks like no proof at all. What Jonah was to Nineveh, the Son of Man is to this age.32,31“On Judgment Day the Ninevites will stand up and give evidence that will condemn this generation, because when Jonah preached to them they changed their lives. A far greater preacher than Jonah is here, and you squabble about ‘proofs.’ On Judgment Day the Queen of Sheba will come forward and bring evidence that condemns this generation, because she traveled from a far corner of the earth to listen to wise Solomon. Wisdom far greater than Solomon’s is right in front of you, and you quibble over ‘evidence.’33-36“No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It’s put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they’re going. Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room.”
Let your light shine! Open your eyes and shine so that others may be able to see the truth! Don’t put on dark shades and keep yourself from seeing the truth. Keep your eyes open and allow your light to shine so that the window to the soul is able to receive the light of God!
Is it all about a scheme? Is it all about what’s in it for you? Is it all about me, me, me?
Don’t be a fraud. Don’t be walking around putting up front. Allow the inside to be transformed by God and allow the inside out. Allow God’s hand to work in and through your life. Allow your transformation to be the gate for others to witness God’s had at work and receive the hope that is within you.
37-41When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn’t wash up before the meal. But the Master said to him, “I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. Stupid Pharisees! Didn’t the One who made the outside also make the inside? Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands.42“I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God’s love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.43-44“You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flattery. Frauds! You’re just like unmarked graves: People walk over that nice, grassy surface, never suspecting the rot and corruption that is six feet under.”45One of the religion scholars spoke up: “Teacher, do you realize that in saying these things you’re insulting us?”46He said, “Yes, and I can be even more explicit. You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help.47-51“You’re hopeless! You build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed. The tombs you build are monuments to your murdering ancestors more than to the murdered prophets. That accounts for God’s Wisdom saying, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, but they’ll kill them and run them off.’ What it means is that every drop of righteous blood ever spilled from the time earth began until now, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was struck down between altar and sanctuary, is on your heads. Yes, it’s on the bill of this generation and this generation will pay.52“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You took the key of knowledge, but instead of unlocking doors, you locked them. You won’t go in yourself, and won’t let anyone else in either.”53-54As soon as Jesus left the table, the religion scholars and Pharisees went into a rage. They went over and over everything he said, plotting how they could trap him in something from his own mouth.