10 hrs ago Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”  Luke 5:33-35

John had taken a Nazarite vow and so he abstained from drinking wine and according to today’s verses John also frequently fasted. Jesus on the other hand had just come from a meal at Levi’s house and it appears that the Pharisees had not seen Jesus fast. Of course we know that before Jesus began His ministry He fasted for forty days. The Pharisees made great show of their fasts as well as praying and other outward shows of their religious piety. They wanted to make sure everyone knew just religious they were.

I think the Pharisees were more concerned with whom Jesus ate rather than if He fasted or not. In fact I believe that had Jesus just finished a fast the Pharisees would have come up with another reason to question Him. Jesus just did not fit their idea of how a religious Jew should act and especially how the Messiah should act. They wanted to create the Messiah and therefore God in their image rather than accept God as He is.

Things have not changed much. Too many people including professing Christians want God to conform to our image of God rather than conform to what God wants us to be. So we redefine sin so we can fit in with the culture rather than stand firm and conform the culture to God. We want to be politically correct and accepted by all the right people so we water down God’s Word to make it more palatable in today’s world. People spend so much time trying to make the church look like the world they forget that we are not to conform to the world. Then they wonder why people drift away from or never visit a church.

Jesus came not to conform to the Jewish religion of the day but to change it. If the Jews had been doing everything correctly and in accord with God’s Word and Law then there would have been no reason for Jesus to come. Even though the Pharisees thought they were doing everything right and doing what God wanted they had drifted far from God. In fact they had concealed God’s Word with man’s rules that one could barely recognize the Law.

The Bible is not really that difficult to comprehend and that I believe is part of the problem. It is not that we do not understand what God is saying it is that we do not like what God says. SO like the Pharisees we pick fault. We tell ourselves that if only God had written the Bible today He would have said things differently. Then things we find comfortable would no longer be a sin and we can go merrily on our way.

Have a blessed day,


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Those who are well have no need of a physician

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:27-32

How many doctors do you have? I have seven that I see on a semi regular basis with five of them at least once a year. I have my primary care doctor that I see for the various minor illnesses. I seem him at least once a year. Then there are the specialists. I see my gastroenterologist annually as well as my optometrist and my dermatologist, the dermatologist mostly because I grew up at a time when we were sold tanning oils rather than sunscreen. Finally because I live in the Houston area I see an ear, nose and throat doctor usually once a year. I have an orthopedic surgeon who every three or four years give me a shot in the shoulder for my bursitis. And about three years ago I saw a cardiologist at my gastroenterologist recommendation. It seems that as I get older I add more and more doctors. Up until I turned forty I saw a primary care doctor maybe every two or three years and sometime not even that often.

One thing is certain; I do not go to this many doctors because I am well. Every one of them came into my life because of an illness. I do not enjoy sitting in a waiting room for an hour and reading the National Geographic’s from six years ago. No, most of us only go to a doctor when we are sick. Some of us will not go to a doctor even if we are sick. My dad was like that. He hated going to doctors and would only go is the pain or symptoms got too bad to bear.  There is also a doctor many people never go to see, the great healer, Jesus. As Luke relates in today’s verses, Jesus came not for the righteous but for the sinner. The Pharisees were getting on Jesus because He was eating with and surrounding Himself with the wrong type of people, sinners. The Jews hated tax collectors because they collected for the oppressive Roman government.

What the Pharisees missed is that they too were in need of a doctor. They were so sure they were living a righteous life that they could not see the sin in their own lives. They saw no need for Jesus as they believed they were leading a life according to the law. In doing so they looked down on those they felt fell short of the law.

Throughout my life I have had need of various doctors to keep me healthy and treat various ailments and injuries. But for all they have done for me over the years their work is only temporary. My bodily needs for a doctor pale in comparison for my spiritual needs of the Great Physician. Jesus’ healing is what I desperately need. Jesus came offering healing that is eternal. He still offers this healing today. Some people will accept what Jesus offers and others feel that they are living a good life and have no need for Jesus as they think their good outweighs the bad. The problem is no matter how much good we do it can never cover the sin we do.

Have a blessed day,


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Who can forgive sins but God alone?

On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.” Luke 5:17-26

Today Luke recounts the story of the paralyzed man who was lowered down through a roof by his friends in order for Jesus to heal him. Jesus had been teaching and healing people all over Galilee and people were coming from all over the region to see Jesus and in many cases have Jesus heal them. But Jesus does something different with this paralyzed man. Rather than heal him Jesus forgives the man’s sins.

This forgiveness of sin causes an uproar among the Pharisees. They had been ok with all the healings and they seem at this point to be ok with what Jesus was teaching but for them Jesus had stepped over the line with this forgiveness business. They were right of course because only God can forgive our sins. They saw a man who claimed to have the same power to forgive sin as God does. So Jesus answers them with the question as to which is harder to forgive sin or heal.

Jesus then clearly identifies Himself with God by saying that so they would know He had the power and authority to forgive sins He would heal the man. The man than gets up takes the stretcher/mat he had been lowered on and walks away. The was no came back in a week to see how you are doing healing but instantaneous healing. Everyone was amazed but what they had just witnessed. I would guess that the Pharisees on the other hand may have been more concerned with what Jesus had claimed than any healing that happened.

The question I would like to pose is what did this man really need? Whatever healing he received from Jesus was only temporary. What I mean by that is this man was going to ultimately die. Every healing that was ever done either by God or man only put death off no did away with it. What the man really needed is what Jesus did first for him, forgiveness of his sins. That forgiveness is eternal. The healing was only for this life. Healing is great and when God heals we all need to give a big halleluiah. But the biggest halleluiah should come when a person accepts the forgiveness of their sins from Jesus. That is an eternal halleluiah.

Have a blessed day,


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He would withdraw to desolate places and pray

While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Luke 5:12-16

Today’s verses are an example of how I start out thinking I will go one way only to discover as I finish reading I need to go a completely different direction. As I started reading I was sure today’s essay would be on healing. After all Luke is describing Jesus healing a man with leprosy. What else but healing?

Then I got to verse 16 and everything changed. Here we see Jesus getting away from the crowd and finding a place to pray. In fact more than that Jesus goes to a desolate place, some place people would be reluctant to follow. Jesus needed time to be with the Father and the Sprite. He wanted a place free of distractions.

For all eternity the Father, Son and Sprite had been in this intimate relationship and now the Son finds Himself apart in His human body. Still He wanted that time alone with the Father and Sprite. He wanted that intimate communication free form the demanding crowd. So Jesus went off by Himself.

We will never know the closeness of the trinity. Three personalities sharing the same essence. Our relationship with God will always be less than what they share. Still we need that time alone with God. Yes we can pray anywhere. We can pray in the car or bus on the way to work. We can pray at a football game or on a busy city street and God will hear our prayers. But praying is not just letting God knows what we want or need, He already knows that. No, prayer is spending time in communion with God. For that we really need alone time with Him.

We need to find a place where we are free from distractions be they noise, family or friend. We need to put aside the world and concentrate on God and becoming closer to Him. In today’s world that is easier said than done. Distractions are everywhere. Radios and TVs blare. Our spouse or kids need something. The phone never seems to stop ringing and someone is at the door with a package, petition, or way to save us money on electricity or with the latest Watchtower or asking if we have heard of the Book of Mormon. Still we need that time with God.

Each of us need to find that certain place and or time where we can be free to talk with God. Jesus needed it so why do we think we need it any less?

Have a blessed day,


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They left everything

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5:8-11

Imagine leaving your job and family and following someone you had known for a few days. The person you are going to follow has not money and no means of support. In fact they do not even own a house or any possessions except for the cloths they are wearing. Talk about a leap of faith. But that is exactly what Simon, James and John do in today’s verses.

The three had a business together and we know that Simon was married and supported his mother-in-law. Yet there was something about the new rabbi that made them want to give up everything they had and follow Him. I can imagine their friends and family telling them they were crazy to do what they were doing. I am sure they were reminded of their responsibilities. Seems there is always someone ready to tell you why you cannot do what you want to do.

Today few of us are ever asked to give up everything we own to follow Jesus and live on faith that God will provide. I am afraid I would be like the rich ruler of Luke 18:18-30 that asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. We tend to love our stuff and take great pains to keep what we have and add to it. And the more we have the harder it is to leave behind.

Yet Simon, James and John left everything behind to follow Jesus. Jesus touched them in a way that made giving everything up seem worth it. He still touches people in the same way today. Maybe we do not have to give up everything to follow Him today but we do have to give up one very important thing. We have to turn our life over to Him.

Have a blessed day,


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At your word I will let down the nets

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. Luke 5:1-7

If you have ever spent a day fishing and had nothing to show for your efforts then you can identify with Simon, soon to the Peter. I haven’t fished in years because most of the times all I ever came away with was a sunburn. I have never had any luck fishing. For Simon however fishing was his livelihood. No fish, no money and no food on the table. They had worked all night and now find their boat commandeered by Jesus as He taught the crowd.

Then after listening to Jesus teach Simon is commanded by Jesus to go out once more in the lake and cast nets to fish. The first thing Simon says is Master we have worked all night and have nothing to show for it. He leaves out the part of being tired and sleepy. But, Simon goes on the say that is Jesus says so then he will do as Jesus commands and cast out the nets. I am sure that in the back of his mind Simon is thinking that this is not the time of day to be fishing. But even though he knows that the best fishing is at night he does what Jesus asks.

Sometimes we are called to do something at an inconvenient time or maybe after we have tried and failed and our first thought may be why me and why now. We may ask, “Lord don’t you know I have tried to do that and failed?” It is then we need to be like Simon and put out to the water and cast out our nets. Just maybe we will find that out nets are filled to breaking. I have often heard this said and have found it to be true that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. May each of us be ready to answer when He calls.

Have a blessed day,


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Who Wrote the Bible? (Part 4)


Another great post in this series.

Originally posted on Veracity:

Who Wrote The Bible

Who wrote the Bible?

Welcome back to our series on the authorship of the Bible. In this post we will explore evidence that points to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as the writers of the four canonical gospels.

Setting aside for now discussions about canonicity, inerrancy, and textual criticism, how much confidence can we have that the four gospels were written by their traditionally-accepted authors?

Because none of the gospel writers identified themselves by name as the author of the text, these foundational books of the Christian faith remain technically anonymous. It is no surprise therefore that skeptics seek to discredit the claims of Christianity by questioning the traditional authorship of the gospels. Likewise it is no surprise that well-meaning proponents of the faith get in over their heads when it comes to defending the traditional authorship. As you can see from spirited discussions like this one (be sure to read…

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