In Mark 8:14-17 and other passages we see that Jesus discernment showed that His disciples made wrong choices because they tried to reason instead of relying on God's revelation for them. We too can live in peace if we rely on Gods revelations for our lives e.g. His will for us.
1 Peter 1:24-25 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever. Gods word is alive and full of power. It is sharper than a two edged sword and devides soul and spirit and judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart see Heb4:12 Allow Gods word to work in your life God knows best
The old guy at the corner hasn't seen him. The woman selling the figs
hasn't either. Jesus described him to the scribes at the gate and the kids
in the courtyard. "He's about this tall. Clothes are ragged. Belly length
No one has a clue.
For the better part of the day, Jesus has been searching up and down the
Jerusalem streets. He didn't stop for lunch. Hasn't paused to rest. The
only time his feet aren't moving is when he is asking, "Pardon me, but
have you seen the fellow who used to beg on the corner?"
Finally, a boy gives him a lead. Jesus takes a back street toward the
temple and spots the man sitting on a stump between two donkeys. Christ
approaches from behind and places a hand on his shoulder. "There you are!
I've been looking for you." The fellow turns, and, for the first time,
sees the one who let him see. And what the man did next you may find hard
John introduces us to him with these words. "As [Jesus] passed by, he saw
a man blind from birth" (John 9:1). This man never saw a sunrise. Couldn't
tell purple from pink. The disciples fault the family tree. "Rabbi, who
sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" (John 9:2).
Neither, the God-man replies. Trace this condition back to heaven. The
reason the man was born sightless? So "the works of God might be displayed
in him" (John 9:3).
Jesus spat on the ground.
The cure proved to be as surprising as the cause. "[Jesus] spat on the
ground and made clay of the spittle and applied the clay to his eyes"
The world abounds with paintings of the God-man: in the arms of Mary, in
the Garden of Gethsemane, in the Upper Room, in the darkened tomb. Jesus
touching. Jesus weeping, laughing, teaching... but I've never seen a
painting of Jesus spitting.
Christ smacking his lips a time or two, gathering a mouth of saliva,
working up a blob of drool, and letting it go. Down in the dirt. (Kids,
next time your mother tells you not to spit, show her this passage.) Then
he squats, stirs up a puddle of... I don't know, what would you call it?
Holy putty? Spit therapy? Saliva solution? Whatever the name, he places a
finger-full in his palm, and then, as calmly as a painter spackles a hole
in the wall, Jesus streaks mudmiracle on the blind man's eyes. "Go wash in
the pool of Siloam" (John 9:7).
The beggar feels his way to the fountain, splashes water on his mud-
streaked face, and rubs away the clay. The result is the first chapter of
Genesis, just for him. Light where there was darkness. Virgin eyes focus,
fuzzy figures become human beings, and John receives the Understatement of
the Bible Award when he writes: "he came back seeing" (John 9:7).
Come on, John! Running short of verbs? How about "he raced back seeing"?
"He danced back seeing'? "He roared back whooping and hollering and
kissing everything he could for the first time see"? The guy had to be
We would love to leave him that way, but if this man's life is a cafeteria
line, he's just stepped from the sirloin to the boiled Brussels sprouts.
Look at the reaction of the neighbors:
"Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?" Others were saying, "This
is he," still others were saying, "No, but this is like him." He kept
saying, "I am the one" (John 9:9).
These folks don't celebrate, they debate! They have watched this man grope
and trip since he was a kid (John 9:23), you'd think they would rejoice.
But they don't. They march him down to the "church" to have him kosher-
tested. When the Pharisees ask for an explanation, the-was-blind beggar
says: "He applied clay to my eyes and I washed, and I see" (John 9:15).
Again, we pause for the applause, but none comes. No recognition. No
celebration. Apparently, Jesus failed to consult the healing handbook:
Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his
eyes... the Pharisees were saying, "This man is not from God because he
does not keep the Sabbath" (John 9:14-16). Will no one rejoice with this
man? The neighbors didn't. The preachers didn't. Wait, here come the
parents. But the reaction of the former blind man's parents was even
They called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and
questioned them saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind?"
Then how does he now see?"
His parents answered and said, "We know that this is our son, and that he
was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his
eyes, we do not know. Ask him, he is of age, he will speak for himself."
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews
had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be the Christ, he was
to be put out of the synagogue (John 9:19-22).
How can they do this? Granted, to be put out of the synagogue is serious.
But isn't refusing to help your child even more so?
Who was really blind that day? The neighbors didn't see the man; they saw
a novelty. The church leaders didn't see the man; they saw a technicality.
The parents didn't see their son, they saw a social difficulty. In the
end, no one saw him. "So they put him out" (John 9:34).
And now, here he is, on a back street of Jerusalem. The fellow has to be
bewildered. Born blind only to be healed. Healed only to be kicked out.
Kicked out only to be left alone. The peak of Everest and the heat of
Sahara, all in one Sabbath. Now he can't even beg anymore. How would that
You may know all too well. I know of a man who has buried four children. A
single mother in our church is raising two autistic sons. We buried a
neighbor whose cancer led to heart trouble that created pneumonia. Her
health record was as thick as a phone book. Do some people seem to be
dealt more than their share of bad hands?
If so, Jesus knows. He knows how they feel and he knows where they are:
Jesus heard that they had thrown him out and went and found him (John 9:35
In case the stable birth wasn't enough. If three decades of earth walking
and miracle working is insufficient. If there be any doubt regarding God's
full-born devotion, he does things like this. He tracks down a troubled
The beggar lifts his eyes to look into the face of the one who started all
this. Is he going to criticize Christ? Complain to Christ? You can't blame
him for doing both. After all, he didn't volunteer for the disease or the
deliverance. But he does neither. No, "he worshiped him" (John 9:38).
And when you see him, you will, too.
Just as he came for the blind man, Jesus is coming for you. The hand that
touched the blind man's shoulder will touch your cheeks. The face that
changed his life will change yours.
“The Lord is Good” - period.
Everything about God is good, including everything that is related to me...
His thoughts about me,
His plans for me,
His actions toward me,
His guidance in me,
His blessings to me,
His protection of me,
His purposes fulfilled through me and
His ordained circumstances that surround me at this very moment in my life.
They may not look good,
sound good or
feel good – but because they are ordained of God,
THEY ARE GOOD.
Colossians 3:3 says that “your life is hid with Christ in God.” Every detail of your life is contained in Him, including your present circumstances, trials, and needs.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
A professional football player’s team was having a terrible season, losing week after week. A reporter asked him how he stayed motivated to play hard and give his best even though his team lost almost every game. He responded, “My dad is watching that game. My mom is watching that game. You better believe I’m going to do my best!” He recognized that there was more at stake than just winning or losing. People were watching, and that reality always drove him to do his best.
Jesus reminded us of this reality in the early portions of His Sermon on the Mount. We should live our lives with a recognition that what we do is observed by those around us—and this visible life makes a statement about our God. He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). How does the light of our lives shine? By bringing the heart and character of Christ into the situations that engage us every day. By showing compassion as He did for the marginalized or forgotten. By displaying concern for the Father’s name and reputation.
People are watching us. The question is, What do they see?
Let your light shine—whether you’re a candle in a corner or a lighthouse on a hill.
One song can spark a moment.
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest.
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship.
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea.
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation.
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness.
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey.
One word must start a prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits.
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom.
One heart can know what's true.
One life can make the difference.
Be that "One" today.
You see, it's up to YOU!
The year was 1972 and fans packed Munich’s Olympic Stadium to witness the completion of the men’s marathon. By the time the race’s competitors reached the stadium, they would already have run 26 miles! Spectators waited in anticipation to see which contestant would arrive first and to cheer him to the finish line.
A roar from the crowd greeted the first runner to enter the stadium—German Norbert Sudhaus. Fans shouted encouragement and applauded wildly as he began the final, grueling lap of the race. However, cheers turned to gasps as, halfway around the track, Sudhaus was tackled by security guards. As it turns out, Norbert Sudhaus was an imposter. Wearing a blue track vest and yellow running shorts, he had snuck onto the race’s course just outside of Olympic Stadium and had tricked the crowd into thinking he was an actual contestant.
Moments later, when the real leader of the marathon (American Frank Shorter) ran into the stadium, he was dismayed to hear catcalls from the crowd. Shorter thought the boos were directed at him, oblivious that the spectators were still expressing outrage at Sudhaus’ hoax. Shorter would go on to win the marathon, and he remains the last American man to have won an Olympic gold medal in the event.
Players Versus Pretenders
If you’ve ever led people, then you’ve come across followers like Norbert Sudhaus, who would rather act the part than to put in the effort needed to become a champion. These people are pretenders, and while they can sometimes masquerade as players, a keen observer can tell the two apart. For a leader, it’s important to identify the pretenders within an organization before they disrupt the team’s momentum and damage its relationships.
Pretenders look the part and talk the part, but they fall short of fulfilling the part. Here are some of the ways to distinguish between who’s a real team player and who’s merely posturing for self-advancement.
1. Players have a servant’s mindset; pretenders have a selfish mindset.
Players do things for the benefit of others and the organization, while pretenders think only of benefitting themselves. A pretender is singly focused on outcomes that are in his or her best interest.
2. Players are mission-conscious; pretenders are position-conscious.
Players will give up a position to achieve a mission. Pretenders will give up a mission to achieve a position. For players, the progress of the mission is much more important than their own place within it, but a pretender will value his or her position more highly than just about anything else.
3. Players deliver the goods; pretenders only make promises.
A player is a team member who can be counted on to finish a task every time. The pretender will claim the ability to do so; but in the end, he or she does not consistently execute.
4. Players are job-happy; pretenders are job-hunters
Players love what they do and do it well. For them, work is fulfilling and meaningful, and they are devoted to carrying out their responsibilities with excellence. On the other hand, pretenders always see greener grass elsewhere. Since they’re constantly on the lookout to better their situation, they have no loyalty and will break commitments whenever doing so helps them to get ahead.
5. Players love to see others succeed; pretenders are only interested in their own success.
Rabbi Harold Kushner had a player’s mindset when he said, “The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people’s lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.”
I think we all start out as competitors, but the goal is to grow past that mindset. In my adult life, I have evolved from competitor, to personal achiever, to team player, and on to team-builder. A player is happy when another member of the team succeeds because it benefits all. The pretender sees success as a win-lose proposition, and resents it when another person “wins.”
6. Players value integrity; pretenders value image.
In navigation, the rule is that what’s under the surface should be heavier than what is above the surface. Otherwise, the ship will capsize in a storm. Integrity is similar; what’s under the surface must be greater than what is in plain sight. A player can be counted on to do the right thing, even if nobody is looking.
Contrarily, pretenders do the right thing only when being watched, and they do whatever is expedient otherwise. Furthermore, since they focus on appearance rather than character, pretenders won’t admit fault when mistakes are made. They blame others for all of their problems instead of taking personal ownership of them.
7. Players make the hard choices; pretenders make the easy choices.
With a hard choice, the price is paid on the front end; the payoff only comes later. Such choices almost always include risk, and they usually involve the sacrifice of placing the organization above oneself too. Peter Drucker once said, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Players aren’t afraid to make those decisions.
8. Players finish well; pretenders fade out.
Some people start as players, but at some point they turn into pretenders. Why? I believe it’s because they overestimate the event and underestimate the process. They make the choice to begin, but they get tired of the work it takes to continue. Or they begin and proceed until they are confronted with the need to change. Unwilling to adjust, they begin pretending in order to get by. On the other hand, a player takes all tasks to completion.
Do you have a better idea of who the players and pretenders are within your team or organization? Remember that players will always ADD to the team’s efforts. But pretenders, at least in the long run, will COST the team. Knowing the difference between the two means that you’ll count on the right person to get the job done.
If we think of the common problems that can break apart our marriages as
“illnesses” we may be more inclined to seek treatment and healing than
separation or divorce. In last weeks Marriage Message we focused on the
issues of how our moods and putting the “ME” ahead of the “WE” in marriage
can tear us apart.
We want to share four common “illnesses” (or problem areas) that can
infect even the healthiest of marriages. If they go undiagnosed or
untreated they can lead to the “death” of a marriage. This shortened
version comes from pastor/counselor, Wayne Coggins in the book, Lovers for
Life published by Christian Publications. (This book has many great
contributing authors, which Pastor Coggins is one of them.) He writes:
1. Marital Anemia. I’m convinced that more marriages are in danger of
anemia (tired blood) than of getting blasted apart by a surprise affair
or deception. Drifting apart a little each day can leave a couple
vulnerable to all kinds of problems. For a marriage to stay fresh and
vibrant it needs frequent doses of fun and re-creation [notice how
Coggins changed the word, "recreation"].
I am not advocating being irresponsible, but I am saying that all
responsibility with no breaks for fun is a sure ticket to burnout and
boredom. I often ask couples whose responsibility it is to make the time
available for investing in their marriages. God’s? Should we expect God to
give us an extra day of the week right after Sunday and call it Funday?
While that may be a nice fantasy, the truth is that if we value our
marriage relationships, we must take the time to keep them alive and
[Cindy and I (Steve) have found this to be important in our marriage. And
it doesn't take a lot of money to make it work. With careful planning and
a little creativity you can do just about anything that interests the both
of you to accomplish the RE-creation of energy in your marriage.]
2. Presumption. While attending a Marriage Encounter Weekend back in the
1970′s, I learned that most relationships go through 3 stages. The
first is ROMANCE, that time we’re so enamored with our newly discovered
love that talking for hours is done genuinely and joyfully. I sometimes
jokingly share that romance is the anesthetic that enables two normally
very cautious people to cast fate to the wind and commit marriage.
The second relational stage is DISILLUSIONMENT. This is the time when we
discover the packages we thought we got when we married our sweethearts
aren’t exactly what we had expected. It is when we become inescapably
aware of the painful truth that in order for there to be disillusionment,
there must have been an illusion.
That girl who was so witty and funny and always had the right thing to say
turns out not to have an “off button” on her vocal chords! And that guy
who didn’t always have a lot to say, but what he did say was “deep,” turns
out to be the strong, silent type who doesn’t know how to communicate at
all in matters of the heart.
The third stage presents a fork in the road with one direction marked
ACCEPTANCE and the other REJECTION. It’s during this stage that the
“rubber meets the road,” so to speak, and the real work of keeping a
marriage healthy and growing is done or evaded. This is where presumption
does its deadly deed by presuming that “it will all work out somehow.”
You see, “it”, or the marriage, doesn’t do the work of communicating when
you’re weary of forgiving each other. It’s YOU, the partners in marriage,
who do that work. It’s you whom makes the value judgment that the
imperfect person you married is indeed the most valuable treasure in your
life, in spite of those imperfections.
3. Heart Problems. While there are many variations of this condition,
probably none are as threatening as unforgiveness and bitterness. If
allowed to remain in marriage, they can clog marital arteries quicker
than cheeseburgers and French fries can clog your natural ones. They
will cut off the life-giving love and communication that are necessary
for the health and growth of the relationship.
May I suggest a simple procedure that can fix this problem? Try reaching
over to your loved one and taking his or her hand in yours. Then, simply
pray for one another, asking God to help each of you to forgive the other
for the hurts that have occurred in your relationship.
You see, I believe that if God asks us to do something, He is faithful to
provide the ability to do so. In Ephesians 4:32 we are told to be “kind to
one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s
sake hath forgiven you.” (KJV) If it feels like the walls of bitterness
are too high and trust too shattered to glue back together, believe me --
no, believe God —forgiveness is the miracle cure that can make healing
4. Secret-Life Syndrome. This occurs when a secret part of our lives is
allowed to grow until it suddenly springs into view. While this malady
has been around since Adam and Eve tried to hide their secret life and
sin from God, in recent years a strain has been at work through the
unlikely agent of the computer.
The addictive nature of Internet pornography and on-line chat rooms is
taking a huge toll on marriages. It is such a shame-saturated problem in
people’s lives that it often grows hidden and undetected until it has done
severe damage to a marriage.
The real heart-cry that I hear from couples is for true intimacy and that
wonderful feeling of connectedness that a healthy marriage can bring. That
which can be found in chat-room affairs or cyber fantasies is NOT the real
deal. Real love can’t be found in one-night stands or a secret life apart
from your spouse.
[Cindy and I have personally seen the destruction this can cause in
marriages. If you'd like to find some resources and help in this area go
to our web site and see what we make available on this subject.]
If you feel there are one or more “illnesses” in your marriage that need
healing or maybe even that your marriage is close to “death”, Pastor
Coggins has this encouragement:
“The Lord, who is the Great Physician, can and does heal and restore
marriages in need of a miracle moment of healing. He is also more than
willing to share His rich wisdom with us on this subject so that we can
build healthy marriages right out of the chute. The fact is that He wrote
the Book on it, and His office is never closed.”
We pray this has been helpful. It’s a great reminder to all of us—because
we all experience those types of “illnesses” in our marriages and need a
touch from the Great Physician to bring healing.
Our prayers are with you. God Bless! - Steve and Cindy Wright