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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

Jesus and the Pharisees

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Pope Francis must be a bit of a nightmare for the Roman Curia. His easygoing, warm and inviting Latino approach to life has certainly ruffled a few feathers and raised a few eyebrows over the years since he became Pope. He has a kind of healthy and rather amusing approach to pomp, circumstance and the trappings of his centuries-old office.


However, Pope Francis is undoubtedly very conscious that he stands in the shoes of the humble fisherman. He refuses to wear the traditional papal red leather shoes, preferring instead his well-worn pair. He chooses to travel in a clapped-out Ford rather than the papal limo. He has declined to have the kind of security fitting for a leader of state, even saying no to bulletproof glass. He refuses to be a prisoner of the Vatican but rather its liberator. We should thank God that he is our Pope. Of course, Pope Francis is walking in the steps of jesus — because Jesus too ruffled feathers, kicked against the status quo and moved in the power of the Spirit.


Today we join Jesus seated at a 'nd of banquet, given, it would appear, in his honour. Many of the religious establishment of the day were there, watching to see whether he would step out of line. It is very likely that the sick man was a fellow guest but, remarkably, when he was healed by Jesus there was no joyful celebration, only stony silence. The law of the Sabbath had taken precedence over the law of God’s life and grace. What is at the heart of the matter here? Jesus was constantly challenging preconceptions about God and how to live by faith. He clearly loved the Pharisees, who on the whole were good men devoted to God and his law. They were, however, closed to what God was doing in their midst.



At the World Youth Day in Brazil in 2013, Pope Francis urged the young people present to mess things up in their parishes when they returned home. He meant that when following God’s will we may have to step out of line, ruffle feathers and challenge the status quo – we need to respect what has gone before but be open to what the Spirit is doing now in our midst.


Lord teach me to be open to the work of the Spirit both in my own life and in your world today.


Chris


From Bible Alive


Philippians 1:1–11 • Psalm 110(111) • 1–6   Luke 4:1-6



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"Create in me a pure heart, Oh God"

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Psalm 50 (51)
 
 
10.    Create in me a pure heart, Oh God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 
11.    Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
 
12.    Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
 
Chris
 
Someone in the water — Lord cleanse me
 
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Repentance to Bring Blessing

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Hosea 14: 2-10

 

"The Lord says this: Israel, come back to the Lord your God; your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.  Provide yourself with words and come back to the Lord.  Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away so that we may have happiness again and offer you our words of praise. 

"Assyria cannot save us, we will not ride horses any more, or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made, for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion’ – I will heal their disloyalty, I will love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned from them. 

"I will fall like dew on Israel.  He shall bloom like the lily, and thrust out roots like the poplar, his shoots will spread far; he will have the beauty of the olive and the fragrance of Lebanon. 

"They will come back to live in my shade; they will grow corn that flourishes, they will cultivate vines as renowned as the wine of Helbon.  What has Ephraim to do with idols any more when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him? 

"I am like a cypress ever green; all your fruitfulness comes from me.  Let the wise man understand these words.  Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning. 

"For the ways of the Lord are straight, and virtuous men walk in them, but sinners stumble."

 

When our will is weak, when our thinking is confused, and when our conscience is burdened with a load of guilt, we must remember that God cares for us continually; His compassion never fails.

When our shortcomings and our awareness of our sins overcome us, God’s compassion never fails.

Chris

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The grace of Jesus

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Luke 19:1-10
 
Jesus came to seek and save the lost, for sure, but he also came to flip everything on its head.  
 
If we could but grasp that none of us is righteous.  The only way that anyone can be reconciled with God is through the saving death and resurrection of Jesus.
 
We share a common humanity with every person on Earth: the drug addicts, the prisoners, the cheats, the adulterers and those our media highlight as beyond redemption.  
 
No one is beyond redemption because Jesus died to save us all.
 
Lord Jesus, you came to seek and save the lost.  Grant me a compassionate heart, especially towards those despised and rejected by society; teach me that there for your grace go I.
 
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