‘...I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body,
and after that can do nothing more.
But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who,
after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.
Yes, I tell you, fear him!
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?
Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight.
But even the hairs of your head are all counted.
Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
‘And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others,
the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God;
but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven;
but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities,
do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say;
for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.’...
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.
For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn,
and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field,
which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,
how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!
And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying.
For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Sell your possessions, and give alms.
Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven,
where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12)
Most people are these days.
To me, the most heartbreaking of all are the kids who have never known unconditional love and affirmation by parents.
Small children flocked to Jesus whenever the saw Him. His disciples were annoyed.
Then little children were being brought to Jesus in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said,
‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them;
for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’
And he laid his hands on them and went on his way." (Matthew 19:13-15)
Fear in us adults often leads to escapism, denial, scapegoating.
It is hard work shutting God out of one's life but most people are very good at this.
Jesus, however, is the most interesting Person in the universe!
It's safe to shut off the TV and just talk to God.
He has all the time in the world to relate with you.
Jesus is a Friend of sinners and no one is righteous.
Yes, of course, a healthy respect for the omnipotent Being who created everything is wise.
You and I are accepted before God because the man Christ Jesus is our Mediator, our go-between.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon the Lord?
There they shall be in great terror,
for God is with the company of the righteous.
You would confound the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.
|Then Jesus sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.” (Mark 12:41-44)||Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)|
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”
Compare Mark’s gospel: “Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)
Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.
And He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”
But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”They said to Him, “We are able.”
So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers.
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 18:1-11)
Children delighted in Jesus when he stopped the temple circus the second time after His final arrival in Jerusalem a bit later:
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves.’ ”
Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?”
And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”
The Temple Cleansings
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:1-11)
Seasons of Stress in the World
Screws are Being Tightened
Eight Thousand Million People
The Body of Christ in Perilous Times
At the Gate
Hiding in the Rock
The Hidden of the Lord
"Hard Times" Mavis Staples, (Stephen Foster)
"All the Good Times are Past and Gone" (Norman and Nancy Blake)
Marching Upward to Zion
My Lord Knows the Way Through the Wilderness
No Hiding Place Down Here (Carter Family)
Notes by Lambert Dolphin
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