October 5, 2016

Psalms 127-134 - 
It is useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your fingers to the bone.  Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?  Don’t you see that children are God’s best gifts?...

All who fear God, how blessed you are!  How happily you walk on his smooth, straight road!...

”They’ve kicked me around ever since I was  young”...but they never could keep me down...  

Wait, Israel, for God.  Wait with hope.  Hope now; hope always!...

How wonderful, how beautiful when brothers and sisters get along!            

Matthew 9:1-9:17
As Jesus was returning to his hometown by boat, some men carried a paraplegic on a stretcher and set him down in front of them.  Jesus impressed by their bold faith, said to the paraplegic, “Cheer up, son.  I forgive your sins.”  

Some religion scholars whispered, “Why, that’s blasphemy!”  Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering?  Which do you think is simpler to say I forgive your sins or Get up and walk?  Well just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and  authorized to do either, or both...Get up.  Take your bed and go home.  And the man did it.  The crowd was awestruck, amazed and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way.... 

Jesus then saw a man at his work collecting taxes.  His name was Matthew.  Jesus said, “Come along with me.”  Matthew stood up and followed him.   

Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them.  The Pharisees lit into Jesus’s followers.  “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”  Jesus overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick?  Go figure out what this Scripture means: “I’m after mercy, not religion.” I’m here to invite the outsiders, not coddle insiders.” 

A little later John’s followers approached asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees rigorously discipline body and spirit by fasting, but your followers don’t?”  Jesus told them, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine.  You feast.  Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now.  No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire.  This is Kingdom Come!!!