Take hold of life that is truly LIFE! Pt 1 again

For the next few entries I am going to re-post some blog entries. We have been pretty busy in the Buster household and I have not had the study time that I want for the series on Jesus’ healings. By July I should be able to get back on that series but in the mean time I am going re-post the “True Life” series. I really liked this one. Enjoy!

1st Tim 6:19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

This is one awesome script. There is a statement in there that jumps out @ me; “Take hold of life that is truly life.” When I first truly read that bad boy right there it reached out and slapped my right cheek! What a great statement. “Take hold of life that is truly life.” Oh I read that before but it never really hit me like that. When it did my mind instantly went racing on all that this script could mean. I shared it with Kesha, she instantly went on about what is the life we grab hold of and stuff. It just a small sentence but it set our minds ablaze with all that it could mean. The Life part of it and grabbing hold of it. Where has this statement been hiding? Apparently it’s been hiding in 1st Tim all along and I just never grabbed onto it. So now I have to dig in. I said before that I like to type out scripts; it helps me meditate on them. So out comes the big “Mac Daddy 4 Translation” Bible. What I already typed out above is the NIV version but to be fair it’s only part of the whole script. The whole verse 19 states “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of life that is truly life.” Ol’King James states: “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”. The Amp states: “In this way laying up for themselves [the riches that endure forever] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed”. The Republican version, ops, I mean the New American Standard: “Storing up for themselves the treasure of good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” And everyone’s favorite, the Message: “If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.”

So what is this script talking about? It’s in the last chapter of the book of 1st Tim. I know, I know. Paul didn’t divide his writings into chapters. What ever! It’s in the last part of his letter to ol’Timmy Boy. There are only 3 sentences following this one before the letter ends. So this is part of Paul’s final charge to Tim. The 1st part of verse 19 says “In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves….” Who are “they” and what “way”? Let’s back up to 1st Tim 6:17 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain(boy isn’t that true with all that is going on right now), but put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” Let’s move on to verse 18: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share”. Now verse 19 states “in this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may TAKE HOLD OF LIFE THAT IS TRULY LIFE". So that explains how to grab that LIFE.

This is just the foundation for the next few entries. There is still so much more that I want to explore with this but I want to keep these blogs kind of short. Let that statement “Take Hold of Life that is Truly Life” sets your mind into overdrive today.

Stay blessed, it’s your choice.

Give that Man a Hand! Pt. 2 of 2

Pt. 2: Really, Seriously?!

For Part 1 I used Luke’s record. For this one I’m going to give both Matt and Mark’s account; they complement each other quite well.

Matt 12:9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
11 He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
13 Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Mark 3:1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."
4 Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

I’m going straight after the Pharisees on this one. To get the full picture here you have to plug both Matt and Mark’s story into each other. I’ll show you.

1. Jesus goes into the Synagogue ~ Matt 12:9 & Mark 3:1
2. Man with the wrecked hand is in the crowd ~ Matt 12:10 & Mark 3:1
3. They, the Pharisees, are trying to pin something on Jesus, to see if He would heal on the Sabbath. ~ Matt 12:11
4. Jesus pulls the dude with the wrecked hand up to the front and center. ~ Mark 3:3b
5. Jesus asked what is and is not legal to do on the Sabbath. ~ Matt 12:10b -12 & Mark 3:4
6. Jesus gets ticked off (my fave part)!! ~ Mark 3:5
7. Dude stretches his hand ~ Matt 12:13 & Mark 3:5b
8. Pharisees break #6 on the Big Ten Command list ~ Matt 12:14 & Mark 3:6

This story shows just how crazy the Pharisees and the law keepers had become. They literally became blinded by their own legalism and self righteousness. In this story they were waiting to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath. If they were waiting to see if Jesus would heal then that meant they recognized that Jesus could heal. Did you catch that? They were admitting that Jesus had the power to heal, yet they were so blinded by their own legalism that they can’t really see what was happening right before them! There is nothing in the Old Testament that states it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath. The “no healing on the Sab” rule was added later because the Rabbis considered healing to be work. The Rabbis adding to the word of God is nothing new; Adam did it at the beginning of Time. God told Adam not to eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good/Evil but Adam told Eve not to even touch the tree*. But Jesus, who was the Word made flesh, brought the Pharisees right back to what the Word of God really says, not what men’s additions say. What Sabbath law Jesus is referring to is found in Exodus 23:4-5 and Deut 22:4**. He is reminding the law keeper what God said was lawful to do on the Sabbath. Here’s the deal: the Pharisees where so caught up in the law that they forgot to open their eyes to God’s promise of the Messiah. They could not recognize the Messiah right in front of them even though they admitted that Jesus had the power to heal. It seems everyone was misreading Jesus. Even Johnny Bapt sent his disciples to ask if Jesus was the Messiah or should they look for another. Jesus answered Johnny’s boys with an account of His actions, the same actions that the Pharisees were witnessing first hand. Here’s how Jesus answered the Baptist’s disciples:

Matt 11:4 “Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.’"

All that Jesus points to is what was promised that the Messiah would do. Isaiah 22:18-21 & 35:5-6 prophesies that the Messiah would do the very actions that Jesus was fulfilling. The Pharisees where witnessing the healings first hand. Seriously, they just watched a man’s wrecked hand stretch out before them. The Pharisees were mad because Jesus was being the promised Messiah on the Sabbath. He wasn’t fitting into their time schedule. How blind do you have to be to get upset with God for being God & His timing?! Hmmm. Have I ever been upset with God’s timing? Boy, that question just hit me like a hard right; how ‘bout you? Yep, suddenly I can’t really judge the Pharisees anymore. The only thing I can do is just repent and let Jesus be my Messiah--no matter what time it is.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice!

* Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Gen 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

** Exodus 23: 4 "If you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it.
Deut 22: 4 If you see your brother's donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help him get it to its feet.

Give that Man a Hand! Pt. 1 of 2

The Faith Factor

I have to admit at first I was not really excited about this story. I mean really, what’s the big deal. Jesus was teaching on the Sabbath, dude with withered hand was placed in front of Him, Jesus heals the dude, and the religious folk got mad. This seems to be a reoccurring theme. I’m sure the guy with the healed hand thought it was a big deal but for me, at first, I thought maybe this story could have been passed over. After studying it a bit I’m glad the writers nor the H.Sp. agreed with me. There is some good stuff here. Let’s get digging.

This story is found in 3 of the Gospels: Matt 12:9-14, Mark 3:1-6, Lk 6:6-11. For this entry we’re going with the good Dr. Luke.

Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." So he got up and stood there.
9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"
10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

After reading over this story several times what stands out to me is the action of faith taken. Not the action taken by Jesus but by this guy with the withered hand. Dr. Luke made sure we knew which hand was withered; it was the right hand. This is significant because most people in this world are right handed and it’s likely this guy had lost his livelihood because of the lack of use of that hand. But here he is standing in the middle of a showdown. Will Jesus heal or not heal on the Sabbath? I have a question for you to think about: who on this Sabbath day did more work, Jesus or the man with the withered hand? The only thing that Jesus did was to command this guy to stretch out his hand. It was the guy that had to follow the command. Jesus didn't walk over and yank the guy’s hand into shape. Luke records that Jesus only said “Stretch out your hand” and the guy did all the work. Here’s the faith factor of this story: the man simply did what Jesus said to do. James 2:20 says that faith without works is dead. What if he did not do what Jesus said? What if he didn’t stretch out his hand? What if the guy yelled at Jesus and said “Are you crazy? My hand is withered!” I guess he would have left that synagogue with the same bum hand that he came in with. What Jesus said to do was something that this man could not do before this Sabbath. We don’t know how long his hand had been withered; none of the 3 gospels tells us how long he had been in this condition. All that we know is that he showed up at the synagogue with a wrecked hand, and when he left he had a fully functional right hand; and it’s not because Jesus grabbed his hand and yanked it into shape but because he followed through on what Jesus simply said to do. Is that why some of us are still waiting on our healing--because we’re waiting on Jesus to come yank and shape our withered hands – or whatever part of our body is in need of healing?

In another healing in the gospels we see Jesus making mud for blind eyes* but here is a medical revelation, there is no vital healing power in mud. As-a-matter-of-fact, mud only blocks your vision, it doesn’t help.

If you are waiting on your healing then it may be time to start acting on what you could not previously do. Sometime I want to preach in a service and at the end have all those who need healing to come up and praise and dance and pretend like their in Heaven, for in Heaven there will be no sickness or pain. Ah forget that, don’t wait for the service - If you need healing and you believe 1st Peter 2:24, then do this: turn on some worship music (good worship music ~ not stuff that blames God for sickness or pain) and pretend like you are worshipping before the thrown – I mean literally before the thrown. In heaven we won’t need wheelchairs, crutches, or even band-aids. Just go after it and see your healing come through. After all Jesus said to pray for God’s will to be done here on earth as it is being done right now in heaven. Now don't go crazy with your dancing and get hurt; let your actions fit with your level of faith. In other words, if all you can do is tap your foot, then tap your foot praising God for your complete healing (and etc., etc.). So with all that, it’s time to stretch something. Have fun worshiping!

We’ll leave it right there for now.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.

*John 9:6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes.