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The Good Samaritan 


32773No name, just a description.

Luke 10:25-37

One of the most well know parables is Jesus telling about the good Samaritan.  Many a sermon  has been preached on it and many a book written about the incident.  Thousands of years later what one man did for another is still remembered.  If someone acts likewise they are called, “Good Samaritan”.  Still, no one knows the good Samaritan’s name.  Jesus often left out what we as humans would consider a significant fact.  (One of my favorite “omissions” is the one where He knelt and wrote in the sand as they wanted to stone the woman.  Ever wonder what did He write?)

Jesus left out details so we would focus on the point of the parable.  We know what the man was (a Samaritan)  and what kind of man he was (compassionate, caring, sacrificial). This was what Jesus wanted us to focus on, not who he was (name).

Matthew 6: 1-4

1) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  2) So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3) But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4) so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Jesus knew the heart of man.  He knew how we can seek our own glory and reward.  Sadly, as  you look at social media, there are so many that have forgotten what He taught in this parable.  I wonder if no one knew what was done and by who, if it would be done.  I wonder if many would do what they do if it only brought glory to God.

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   As I looked at the “Good Friday” scripture and all The Lord went through, my mind was drawn to His words in Luke 22:42, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (NASB). As a human it was impossible, He wanted to be spared. But, as the Son of God it was possible.  He had to “drink the cup” to fulfill God’s plan, His will.  He had to go through every step, not skipping any, not taking an easier way.

How then should we expect an easier path if God intends us to go through a hard time?  So many times we just want it easier, smoother. But, that is not what Jesus finished His prayer with. It is okay for us to ask for “the cup” to be removed. But, less we lose the blessing of the plan, we should finish with,  “yet not my will, but Yours be done.”  How often do we miss the blessing by not willingly accepting His cup. 

Last June I wanted “the cup” removed instantly.   It was hard to ask for His will be done. My mind wasn’t working completely as it was.   But, I kept asking for His help. Often discouraged, and confused, with fears for what would happen next, I kept alert for the next “sip”.  One drop at a time. Patience alluded me at times. But, The Comforter was always there to help any momentary lapses. 

 In the past nine months, since my subarachnoid and intracranial bleeding stroke, I have gone through a myriad of contemplations.  I have short term memory loss so I take lots of notes. I have to reread what I’ve written in hopes of getting my thoughts on paper before I forget them again.  Our brains are so complex.

 God gave us 100% of a brain and allows most of us access to only 10%.  Can you image how mankind would wreck havoc if we could access all of our brain?  Super computers would not begin to describe them. It is no wonder God only allows us to access so little and that we come here as infants to ‘grow into’ the knowledge our brain can achieve.  

For me part of my brain died. I have been on a  rollercoaster ride of unbelievable magnitude as I learn to maneuver through and around my damaged brain.  I am brain damaged but, not brain dead.  The part that died cannot be made alive.   But, so much more is waiting to be used by His grace.  It reminds me of how I am to be dead to sin and not pick it up again. Grow and move on.  

There have been some hurdles that felt insurmountable as I learned to access other parts of my brain for speech, strength, swallowing… Everything. I am a miracle. Though part of my face feels numb and I’ve trained my throat to swallow without strangling; though my right side is weak and tingling and my head has hurt for 9 months, I am getting well. I function normally. I work full time. Each day I am better, stronger.  One sip at a time. The cup was not taken from me nor given all at once.  I have no doubt God could have made me whole instantly. He chose not to heal me instantly. My cup was full and I had to learn to sip it slowly. I have grown with each sip. 

Jesus took His cup.  As  Christians we will have cups if we are to become more like Him. Someday I may know how many cups I was spared, how many I refused, and the blessings I gained through the ones I accepted by His Grace. 
One sip at a time. One step at a time. Trust. Obey. 

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There is no author noted for this analogy, but its truth is so profound that it needs to be shared.  I have written many blogs on trials, but you can never hear this truth too many times.

  
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.She then asked her to take an egg and break it.

After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. “What’s the point, grandmother?”

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter.

“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?

Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

~Author Unknown

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Have you ever had someone ask you to pray about something with which they are struggling? Or, maybe they are just always talking about the same problem in their life. It is like they never move on or learn. They are stuck; stuck in sin.

Maybe that someone is a kid. As a parent you try and teach kids to do the right thing. When they make a mistake you want them to learn from it and move on and not repeat it. If they come to tell you of a mistake hoping you will be so proud of their admitting it do you forgo the consequences? Wonder where they get such an idea? Have you ever approached God that way?

Mistakes happen. When we keep repeating them they are no longer mistakes. With few exceptions, our mistakes are sin. Sin has consequences. Without them you could sin every Saturday and repent every Sunday. I have known people like that; once is a mistake, twice a habit and then a lifestyle. They make a show every Sunday but, come Monday they’re back in the rut.

Consequences help us to remember we made a mistake. When we truly repent then we turn and return no more to the same place that causes us to repeat the mistakes. Forgiveness of sin upon true repentance is given by our Lord freely. However, that doesn’t guarantee erasing of consequences. God may erase them but, more than likely He will allow you to grow through them. Most of us return to our comfort zone of sin if we are not
reminded by consequences why we turned from them.

If The Lord shows us an area in our life we need to turn from and we repent, we can lean on His power to not return to that sin. If His grace erases consequences too, you are truces blessed. If not, accept what consequences there are and grow.

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thPeace is sought everywhere.  No matter the continent or country, people are looking for peace.  Of course, there are those that destroy peace, but most want to find some sort of common ground and get along.  According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

peace  noun \ˈpēs\ (1) a state in which there is no war or fighting  (2) an agreement to end a war (3) a period of time when there is no war or fighting
The Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology  says:

The Meaning of Peace. In English, the word “peace” conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife.

Some want peace in their personal lives, between family members like siblings, etc.  Others want peace at their school, or job.  Maybe peace is needed in a church or neighborhood.  No matter what kind of peace, it all starts with you.

First, and most importantly, you must have the Prince of Peace in your life, or all your efforts will be futile.

Secondly, you have to daily seek peace.  Sometimes it may even be a moment by moment, standing on His promises to get you through the situation.

Finally, you need to understand there’s a reason we say “Peace like a River”.  Not a lake, or the ocean … a river. That thought struck me this past week.  I did a little research on what the Bible says.

Isaiah 66:12a NASB “For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;”…

Isaiah 48:14 NASB “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

A lake is a body of water, mostly still.  The ocean goes in and out against the shore.  But, a river, a river takes a journey.  Life is a journey, peace is a journey.  Daily going forward, putting the day before behind you.  God always says it just right doesn’t He?

He will be with you on your journey, and His peace is there for you.  There are many verses in the Bible about peace.

John 14:1 NASB  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

John 14:27  NASB  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

THIS ONE SHOULD GET YOU UP SHOUTING PTL AND PTA: (That’s Southernese for “Praise the Lord” and “Pass the Ammunition”.  ‘Cause we know when you win one battle, another is just around the corner and you need to reload the ammunition.  But, we also know, HE HAS ALREADY WON THE WAR at Calvary!)

John 16:33 NASB  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 20:19  NASB “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the  doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

John 20:21 NASB “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

John 20:26  NASB “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Philippians 4:7  NASB “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:15  NASB “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

May your life this year be peace like a river; a journey moving you forward.

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In 1937 Thomas Dorsey wrote “Peace in The Valley” for Mahalia Jackson.  It has been recorded by everyone imaginable.  The lyrics are hopeful, a FINAL day of peace.  It talks about peace in the valley in the future.  Well, my future in Heaven will not be a valley.  And truthfully, the valleys seem to all be in the here and now.  Yet, I can have PEACE in the VALLEY now according to scripture.  God’s word says, th

Psalm 23:4 (NASB)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

It seems with every year I have found myself saying on December 31st, “next year will be better.”  I look over what has been and think it cannot get worse, then it does.  The year my parents both had open heart surgery and my oldest brother was in the horrible car wreck that ruined his life, also brought a loss job for my husband, an unfavorable medical diagnosis for myself and several other calamities.  Since then I’ve had a brother killed in a plane crash, more job loses, both parents and a parent in law went on to be with the Lord.  We’ve had a daughter almost killed in a collapsed building during a tornado, a granddaughter needing a stomach pumped, more car wrecks, more illnesses, foreclosure and losing my dream house … heart-break after heart-break.  Sometimes it just seems to keep coming and you think, when will the feasting years come.  In the Bible Joseph had bad years followed by good years.  King Solomon had great years.  So then why can’t we?   We do, we just don’t see it that way because we’re looking at the circumstances.  So many times we look at our lives when we need to look around us, or across the world, to see just how good we do have it in our life.

No matter what you are going through, God doesn’t make mistakes.  With the bad comes His presence.  If you focus on the bad of the circumstance you stumble.  When you look back and see all He’s brought you through you know He can carry you through it all. Remind yourself daily all God HAS brought you through, all HE has done for you.  Don’t let people tell you He won’t give you more than you can handle.  That’s not what that scripture means anyway.  He’ll never allow more to touch you that will cause you to lose your faith and give up.  You might feel like you’re going to, but, He’ll be there and He’ll remind you who He is and what He’s done.  We truthfully have no idea how much we can handle anyway.  I just need to remember that all goes through His hand’s before it ever touches me.

So with this new  year I’ll not worry about if it’s all going to turn around and be great.  Neither will I “borrow trouble” as  mom liked to say.  I’ll take each day as He gives it, thanking Him for all the blessings that satan* tries to make me forget by enticing me to look at the circumstances in life.  This year, 2015, will bring what He allows.  Good or bad does not matter as I can rejoice in Him regardless.  I will soon welcome my fifth grandchild.  Grandchildren are wonderful blessings.  My two daughters are blessings.  We are about to celebrate 38 years of marriage.  I’m looking at a cold and clear blue sky with white puff clouds.  I see a variety of large wading birds out back.  The heat is on and I am toasty, the cat is purring.  Hubby’s casting for that big one.  I may see the bobcat walk by, or the flock of wild turkeys.  God’s creation is beautiful, He cares about every detail.  He cares about me and all my details.  He’s not ignoring them, He’s allowing them. I can take comfort in knowing they will work to my good regardless of whether they or good things or bad.  Blessings are everywhere.

Romans 8:28 NASB

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I’m looking forward to 2015 Lord.  Help me to trust You each day, keeping my focus on You and not whatever the day brings.  Teach me.

*satan is always lower case in my writings, because he is one.

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Decorations are up, presents wrapped, schedule is set.

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But, sadly we have mostly forgotten He is the Reason. We fight the lines, the politically correct, and we make time in our schedule to go to church. But, we forget the Reason. It’s not simply Christ’s birth. There was a Reason His birth was needed. There is a Reason we remember His Birth. The Season should include our entire life not just a few hectic weeks each Christmas. In two days will your reason be over for the season until next year? Or, will your . Season be an entire life of celebrating the Reason? The Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself, took our place, so that we could live in eternity with His Father. Our sin is His reason for coming. He is the Reason we have The Hope of eternity.

John 3:17 ~ “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Merry Christmas from my home to yours. May you be blessed with the presence, the Reason … Our Lord’s presence in your life daily through out the years. ~ Renee’

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