Don’t keep it to yourself!

Mark 5:19 NKJV

Have you ever been somewhere so wonderful that you never wanted to leave? That’s how the man in Mark chapter 5 felt after Jesus healed him from a life of insanity. He wanted to travel with Jesus, listen to His teachings, witness His miracles, and enjoy His company. But Jesus told him to go home and tell His family what God had done for him. God doesn’t want you to live remote and distant from the rest of the world! The only way to keep what you have, is to give it away. After a spiritual mountaintop experience, you must take what you’ve received and share it with those in the valley.

The man in today’s reading had spent years living in a graveyard. He was cutting himself and raving incoherently. Now the crowd saw him “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind” (Luke 8:35 NKJV). And that’s still how it works. First Jesus clothes you, then He calls you. When you come to Him, you’re spiritually naked, so He wraps you in His righteousness.

Paul says, “Any man…in Christ…is a new creature: old things are passed away…all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV). Whereas you were once “in Adam” where all die, now you’re “in Christ” where all are made alive spiritually (See 1 Corinthians 15:22).

Hymnist Edwin Mote wrote: “Clothed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” But never forget that once you’re “clothed and in your right mind,” it’s your God-given mandate to go out and tell others what the Lord has done for you.

Soul food: 2 Chr 12-15; John 12:20-36; Ps 102:12-17; Prov 27:10-12

Moet dit nie vir jouself hou nie!

Markus 5:19 NLV

Was jy al ooit op so ‘n wonderlike plek dat jy nooit daarvan wou weggaan nie? Dis hoe die man in Markus hoofstuk 5 gevoel het nadat Jesus hom van ‘n lewe van waansinnigheid genees het. Hy wou saam met Jesus reis, na sy lesse luister, sy wonderwerke sien en sy geselskap geniet. Jesus het egter vir hom gesê om huis toe te gaan en sy familie te vertel wat God vir hom gedoen het. God wil nie hê dat jy verafgeleë en apart van die wêreld moet lewe nie! Die enigste manier om dit wat jy het te behou, is om dit weg te gee. Na ‘n geestelike bergtop ervaring, moet jy dit wat jy ontvang het neem en met die mense in die vallei deel.

Die man in vandag se teksvers het jare lank in die begrafplaas gewoon. Hy het homself gesny en onsamehangend geskree. Later het die mense hom: ‘…by Jesus se voete sien sit, geklee en by sy volle verstand…’ (Lukas 8:35 NLV). Dis hoe dit steeds werk. Eers klee Jesus jou, dan roep Hy jou. Wanneer jy na Hom toe kom, is jy geestelik naak, dus vou Hy jou in sy geregtigheid toe.

Paulus sê: ‘…iemand wat één is met Christus, is ‘n nuwe skepping. Die ou dinge is verby, kyk, die nuwe is hier!’ (2 Korintiërs 5:17 NLV). Waar jy eens ‘in Adam’ was waar almal sterf, is jy nou ‘in Christus’ waar almal geestelik lewend gemaak word (sien 1 Korintiërs 15:22). Die gesangeskrywer Edwin Mote het geskryf: ‘Clothed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.’

Moet egter nooit vergeet dat wanneer jy ‘geklee en by jou volle verstand is,’ dat dit jou Godgegewe mandaat is om uit te gaan en vir ander mense te vertel wat die Here vir jou gedoen het nie.

Sielskos: 2 Kro 12-15; Joh 12:20-36; Ps 102:12-17; Spr 27:10-12

Leave the judging to God (2)

Matthew 7:2 NIV

Jesus said, ‘Do not judge…For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you’ (vv. 1-2 NIV). We can easily fall into the habit of judging others, even though Jesus forbids it. Sometimes we might do it because we’re trying to be honest and point out someone else’s flaw or sin so that they can work on improving. There’s definitely a place for that, and the Bible does tell us to confront sins (take a look at James 5:19-20. But we have to do it in the right way, from a place of love, and with God’s help. If we become judgemental, we’re not only hurting someone, we’re also going against what God’s Word commands.

We also have to consider that the other person could already have repented, confessed their sin, and received God’s forgiveness. They might already be working through an issue with Him. If God’s already forgiven them and is helping them, there’s no need for us to keep bringing it up. We might also start to judge people because we feel insecure about ourselves in some way, so we look for others’ faults to make ourselves feel better.

But Jesus said, ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’ (Matthew 7:3 NIV). Jesus also said, ‘They are blessed who show mercy to others, for God will show mercy to them’ (Matthew 5:7 NCV). God shows us grace and mercy despite our faults, so we should extend the same grace and mercy to others too.

Nahum 1-3; John 6:1-24; Ps 85; Prov 24:11-14

Sharing God’s grace (1)

John 4:10 MSG

When the Samaritan woman met Jesus at the well, and He asked her for a drink of water, He also said: ‘If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you…living water.’

Jesus constantly showed mercy to the people who least deserved it. The woman didn’t have a spotless life. She had already had five husbands, and she wasn’t married to the man she was living with. In her society’s eyes, she was an outcast. But Jesus offered her grace anyway.

We should ask ourselves how we would react in that situation. Are we generous in sharing God’s grace with others, or are we sparing with it, only sharing it with those we think are ‘worthy’? What if God only offered His grace to those who He thought were ‘worthy’? Most of us would probably fall short. But God’s grace says, ‘I know everything about you, good and bad, I know all your shortcomings and sins, and I still love you.’

We can often live our lives as if we’re scared of God, and fearful that He’s going to punish us. We forget about His grace, love, and acceptance. That doesn’t mean we’ll escape His discipline, but His correction comes from a place of love and of wanting us to be the best we can be.

After Jesus had spoken to the woman at the well, she ran back to her village, saying, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did’ (John 4:29 NCV). Even though Jesus knew everything about her, He still made her feel loved and accepted. She wanted others to feel what she felt, and we should be just as enthusiastic to share God’s grace too.

Eph 4:17-6:24; John 2:12-25; Ps 89:1-14; Prov 23:10-14

Be patient

Proverbs 15:18 NIV

In the book of Proverbs, we’re often advised to be patient, or slow to get angry (take a look at Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; 16:32). That doesn’t mean that being angry is always wrong. There are only a few times in Scripture when Jesus showed anger. He got angry with the money changers and merchants in the temple, who weren’t charging fair prices and were treating the holy place as a market. (You can read about this in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18 and John 2:13-22.) He was also angry with the Pharisees in Mark 3:4-5 when they wouldn’t answer His question about whether it was right to heal someone on the Sabbath. Jesus got angry with unfairness, corruption, and hypocrisy, especially when those involved should have known better. But He never became angry about what someone did to Him, and never retaliated or lashed out at people who wronged Him. Even as His executioners nailed Him to the cross, He prayed, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34 NLT).

We should follow His example. Proverbs 15:1 says: ‘A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare’ (NLT). During an argument, what usually happens is the people involved tend to match their tones of voice, so when one shouts, the other shouts back. But if someone takes a moment to check their tone, and replies to a shouted, angry comment with a calm, gentle reply, it can take some of the heat out of the situation, and avoid it becoming a furious confrontation where the people involved achieve very little beyond upsetting each other.

So let’s follow Jesus’ example, and try to be patient, calm and gentle, even when we’re dealing with angry, hurtful people.

1 Sam 27-31; John 1:43-51; Ps 23; Prov 23:4-5