Make Time for Joyous Occasions

“Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.” – Matthew 22:1-3 Jesus’ sermons are full of life with teachings about the Kingdom of God, and in them, He used two types of parables to describe believers’ lives. The first concerns judgment, like the parables in the book of Matthew dividing the sheep and the goats, or the story of the separation of the wheat and the weeds. As believers, the good news is you don’t have to worry about judgment because Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection have brought us salvation. We are loved, called, and forgiven and can now experience God’s joy in our lives. Speaking of joy, Jesus talks about

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Careless Toward Convention

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.’” – Luke 19:5,6 Yesterday, we learned about a stubby tax collector named Zacchaeus and how he went to great lengths to see Jesus. Today, I want to examine the Lord’s unconventional response to his effort. Though he was a member of a hated and immoral profession and was held in low esteem because of his short stature, Jesus stopped right under the tree into which he had climbed. Rather than reprimand or judge him, He instructed him to come down, because He was going over to his house that very day! This was shocking not only because of who he was, but also because Jews typically didn’t invite themselves to the home of another, especially one who

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The Harm in Hypocrisy

“The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’” – Luke  13:15,16 Something we should be careful of whenever we hold someone else to a rigid standard is a lurking evil called hypocrisy. Unfortunately, the church is no stranger to this contradiction of word and deed, and it’s been prevalent in religion since the beginning of time. However, Christ had authority to call it out, because He alone could read the thoughts and intentions of human hearts. In fact, He had no qualms about speaking boldly to the Pharisees when they made a villain out of Him for healing a demon-possessed

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Love the Least Likely

“When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.” – Matthew 8:1-3 One of the most powerful things Jesus did after He started His earthly ministry was to touch a man with leprosy. In the culture of His day, lepers were outcasts, and everywhere they went, they were required to announce their presence by shouting “unclean” so that others were warned and could scatter. Furthermore, in many regions, those diagnosed as leprous were required to leave their homes and families to be isolated from everyone they knew, lest they spread the illness to them. Banished to a life of separation and obscurity, the disease

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