Leadership Qualities (Luke 6:37-42)

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

39 He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

41 “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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  (Luke 6:37-42)

Learn it:

            In Jesus’ teaching, he transitions from loving our enemies to not judging others.  Not in the sense of a courtroom but how we look at our neighbors and critique how they live their lives.  One reason he gives us for not doing that is how we judge someone is how they will treat us.  He says that we should be forgiving others instead of judging them.  If we live a life forgiving other people, then we will receive the same kind of grace.  Jesus uses the imagery of how people would measure out grain when they would buy it.  A generous seller could really press down and pack a measuring cup, so you get more bang for your buck. 

            Jesus covers a lot of different areas, but they all fall under the umbrella of leadership.  He talked about not judging other people and then he talks about how we should lead other people.  We have to lead with our eyes open, focused on our heavenly teacher.  We also have to have humility and be working on our own weaknesses before we help someone else.  That is not being a good leader or friend.  We have to be working on our own life, aware of our faults.    

Live it: 

 

            We all are leaders in some way.  Whether in our families, jobs, church, or community we have people watching us.  Jesus has given us some guidelines on how we should live and how it will affect our relationships with others.  We need to be known as forgiving and generous people.  We can do that by being focused on Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit work in our own lives.  That is going to be the best way we can love and lead others.  How can you work on these qualities in your life?  Pray that Jesus would continue to mold you into his image so you can love those around you better.  


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The Call to Exceptional Love and Mercy (Luke 6:27-36)

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)

Learn it:

            In our culture love is a tingly feeling when we see someone that we are attracted too.  Love is a fleeting feeling that can be there one day and gone the next.  Jesus is challenging our view of love and makes it clear how we are supposed to live it out.  He tells his disciples to “love your enemies.”  Then he goes on to describe who your enemy is in case you are unsure.  It is the person that hates you, curses you, physically abuses you, and steals from you.  That is the person we are commanded to love.  We are to love them in a radical way.  We are called to care about them, pray for them, take their beatings, and sacrificially give to them.

            Why are we to do that?  We are supposed to be reflecting the character of God and standing apart from the world.  For the world will love those who love them, but Jesus wants us to love those who reject us.  It’s too easy to love and give to someone who will reciprocate the feelings.  We are called to live a life of sacrifice because we have something greater waiting for us.  We are called to model a life lived out by our Heavenly Father.       

Live it:

            Jesus calls us to a high standard of living.  This command calls us out of our comfort zone and to step into some awkward situations.  In our times our enemy is someone that does not follow Christ.  Christ is not calling us to go out and debate them into becoming a Christian.  We are to love them in real, practical ways.  We need to build a relationship with them so we know their needs.  Then we can begin helping them in whatever way we can.  Maybe it’s by cooking a meal, offering to babysit, or inviting them over for a game night.  These are simple ways to begin the relationship then figure out bigger steps you can take to really display the love of Christ to them. 

            Christ wants us to love people in such a way that they question why we are doing it.  That’s when we can tell them about our Savior.  Can you imagine if every follower of Christ lived a life like that?  I bet the reputation of the church in America would be radically different!  We would go from a religion that is known for what it hates to a group of people displaying the love of their God.  What small step can you take to love your enemy?


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Blessings and Woes (Luke 6:12-26)

He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

           “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21        Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.

            Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

22        Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

24        But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.

25        Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.

            Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.

26        Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.”  (Luke 6:17-27)

 

Learn it: 

            As we continue through Luke, we read about Jesus picks his 12 disciples and then he goes into a sermon message.  This is similar to the Sermon on the Mount that we read in Matthew chapter five, but Luke’s version is a lot shorter.  Jesus begins his sermon with four blessings.  People who began to follow Jesus were typically among the outsiders of society.  If Jews decided to follow Jesus, they would be cut off for their community in hopes of bringing them back.  That is why Jesus is encouraging them by sayings blessed are those that are poor, hungry, weeping, and when people hate you.  It’s all things they are going through. 

            He then goes through four woes that reflect the blessings.  If someone is rich, well fed, joyful, and well-liked they need to examine their lives.  In between the blessings and woes, there is another verse.  This verse is the main point of what Jesus is hoping they will learn.  He wants them to be focused on eternity and find their true happiness there.  Earthly things will pass away but we have a great reward in heaven. 

 

Live it: 

 

            Whatever is currently going on in your life, whether it is good or bad, your joy needs to be found in heaven.  We may struggle to pay bills, find enough food or go through some difficult relationships but we must trust and believe that God is going to get us through it.  Whatever present suffering we may endure we know that heaven will absolutely be worth it.  Sometimes life can get so hard that it’s hard to imagine things getting better.  That is why Jesus gave us the church, so we have a community of believers to surround us and encourage each other.  If you are going through a difficult time, tell someone.  You do not have to go through it alone on your own strength.


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Jesus is Lord over All (Luke 6:1-11)

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

3 Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

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 the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.  (Luke 6:1-11)

Learn it:

            Luke is going through stories of how Jesus relates to his opponents.  The Pharisee’s condemned who Jesus spent his time with, they did not like how his disciples were not fasting, and now they are challenging how Jesus spends his time on the Sabbath.  For Jews, the Sabbath was a day of rest and there were many rules and traditions for people to follow. 

Luke gives us two stories of how the Pharisee’s were watching Jesus and his disciples closely.  We have a story of them picking grain from a field and eating it, and another story of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath.  We see Jesus was again challenging people’s understanding of God’s law.  Where they so focused on following the law, they forgot how much God loves people.  Pastor Harry Ironside wrote, “The point the Lord Jesus was emphasizing is this that man is more important in the eyes of God than any ritual observance.”  This is why the Pharisee’s got so angry because their hearts were not on God but on themselves. 

Live it: 

            When we read the Bible and apply it to our lives, do we do it in a legalistic way or do we do it with the love of God in mind? The Bible tells us time and time of again of the amazing grace and love of Jesus Christ.  It also tells us about different types of sins that we must stay away from and how we should live a life of holiness.  How do we best love other people, do we condemn them for their disobedience, or do we point them to the one that can love them perfectly? 

 

            There tend to be two different kinds of churches.  Churches that focus on strong Biblical teaching, preaching the gospel and the need for repentance, yet their outreach ministries are weak.  Then there are other churches where they have strong outreach ministries, meeting needs in the communities, but people say their teachings are “weak” or “watered down”.  What we need to strive for is to do both.  I think most people will agree with that, but it is a challenge to find that perfect balance.  (Please know this is a generalization and I am sure there are plenty of churches doing both really well, but typically a church will favor in one direction or the other.)


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Sometimes a New Way is Better (Luke 5:33-39)

They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”  34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

 36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”  (Luke 5:33-39)

 Learn it:

             Luke continues the story of Jesus interacting with the Pharisee’s at Levi’s party.  The Pharisee’s then brought up the topic of fasting to Jesus and why his disciples were not doing it.  By this time fasting was a very important part of the Jewish tradition.   Fasting would be a time where someone would show sorrow for their sin and they would typically fast two days a week.  The Pharisee’s were curious as to why Jesus’ disciples were not showing remorse for their sins. 

            Jesus responded by saying that his disciples should be joyful because the bridegroom is currently with them.  It was not the time for fasting but the time for rejoicing.  This is a major shift in how the Jewish leaders would understand fasting.  Jesus tries to help them understand by giving three quick examples of how “new” and “old” things do not always mix well.  He is explaining that his teachings are not a patch that can be applied to Judaism, but it is something brand new.  Jesus ends with a little jab at the Pharisees by saying how some people will prefer the old wine compared to new wine.  He is implying that some people will always want to hold on to the past when they are presented with something new. 

 Live it:

             For a short passage, there is a lot packed into it!  The main thing we can learn from the Pharisee’s is we have to be careful how we hold on to our old traditions.  For the Pharisee’s they were holding on to their traditions in fasting.  In the Mosaic Law they were only required to fast once or twice a year, but through traditions, it eventually changed to twice a week!  We have to hold our traditions, whether it is how a Sunday morning looks or how we do different ministries at the church, with open hands.  Being willing to change if we see we are not being effective anymore. 

            Jesus was not throwing out the practice of fasting completely.  He wanted his disciples to fast when he left.  He wanted to renew how they fasted and what it meant.  We still fast to show express repentance from our sin.  Then we move into a celebration because Christ came and brought forgiveness!  We are not stuck in a process of continually mourning our sins.  We want to live a life of joy.  Our traditions can be good, and we need to make sure that they lead us to celebrate Christ.  We also need to be sure people are still connecting with their original purpose.  Sometimes we need to breath new life into them to help people reconnect with God.  


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Jesus’ Purpose (Luke 5:27-32)

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  (Luke 5:27-32)

Learn it:

            The next story Luke includes after Jesus heals and forgives a paralyzed man is the calling of the disciple Levi.  Levi was a tax collector and this profession was looked down upon.  Nobody liked them and today they would have had the same social category as pimps or informants.  This is a guy Jesus comes up to and says, “Follow me.”  Obviously, word had gotten around about who Jesus was, and Levi immediately followed Him leaving behind his career, which probably paid him pretty well.  It would have been a huge sacrifice for Levi to do this. 

            Levi throws a big party for Jesus and a bunch of Levi’s tax collector friends show up and other people.  While this party is going on the Pharisees, aka the religious leaders, were watching and judging the people Jesus was hanging out with.  Jesus responds to their question telling them it is the sick that need a doctor’s help, not the healthy.  He has come to save those that are lost.  Jesus did not come to save the proud or those who believe they are without sin.

Live it:

            What Jesus said is the best news for us. The only hurdle is that we must first recognize our need for a savior.  The tax collectors and “sinners”, as the Pharisee’s called them, were probably aware of their faults.  Being outcasts in society and always looked down upon.  We need to see that we are desperately sick and need a relationship with Jesus.  And what’s awesome is that Jesus wants to spend time with us and make us better.  That is his purpose for coming.  He came so that we may know him and believe in him.  Praise God!

 

            If Jesus can call Levi, change his life and use him in mighty ways.  How can God use you?  He can transform your life, shape you and mold you into his image.  It is up to us to be obedient to Jesus and respond to the call his has put on our lives.  How can you, like Levi, leave behind your former way of life and glorify God?  Levi did it with a party.  How can you use the ways God has blessed you to bless others?  


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Jesus Can Forgive Our Sins (Luke 5:17-26)

One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”  (Luke 5:17-26)

Learn it:

            In Jesus’ ministry so far, he has been teaching and healing people.  Luke always wanted to keep the two together and that Jesus was not just giving people physical healing but also teaching them.  His teaching began to draw the attention of the religious leaders.  As he is teaching four friends bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus and lay him down.  These guys went to great lengths, climbing on top of a roof, making a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend down to Jesus. 

            What’s interesting is that Luke does not mention if the friends say anything.  All we know is that they brought their friend to Jesus and He responds to their action by saying, “Your sins are forgiven.”  This is a bold statement!  The Pharisee’s are shocked because only God can forgive sins.  They do not make the connection that Jesus is God they just see a man claiming to be God.  This did not set well with them. 

            Then Jesus asks what is easier, to forgive sins or heal someone?  From one point of view, it is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” because there is no way to prove that they are.  Whereas if you heal someone there is evidence.  Jesus than does the thing that should be harder and heals the man.  This miracle proves that he is able to forgive sins and the crowd is amazed at what they saw.  I mean, who wouldn’t?

Live it:

 

            Jesus can bring not only physical healing but more importantly spiritually healing.  He can forgive our sins.  We just have to boldly go before him and ask.  Sometimes we need friends to come into our lives and carry us to Jesus.  What do you need to take before Jesus and ask for forgiveness?  He has the power to forgive and restore your relationship with him.  Is there a friend in your life you need to carry to Jesus?  How can you boldly love someone today?    


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Jesus Heals Unclean People (Luke 5:12-16)

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.  When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.  (Luke 5:12-16)

Learn it:

            When you read this story do you know how scandalous it was?  This leper, an outcast, considered unclean, was not welcome in society came before a respected holy teacher and asked to be healed.  People present would have been shocked and religious leaders would be getting ready to condemn this man.  Yet Jesus’ first response was to reach out and touch this man.  A man who probably has not felt physical contact in a long time.  Jesus showed great compassion and healed this man. 

            Then Jesus told this man to follow the Old Testament law.  Jesus did not want to show disrespect to the priestly order.  He wanted this man to be fully welcomed back into society by following the proper procedures.  Jesus was showing great humility.  After the healing, his popularity increased, and more people were coming to hear his teaching and to be healed.  Any other person would have loved the attention and used it to spread their message.  Jesus is no normal person.  He decided to retreat, pray and find satisfaction in his relationship with God the Father. 

 Live it:

             In this story, we should relate to the leper.  Before we came to Christ, we were unclean.  Not worthy to be in his presence and did not deserve his grace.  Just like Jesus touched the leper before he was clean, like Romans 5:8 says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  This act of love should make us fall on our faces every morning and praise God.  A perfect God sent his son to the earth to redeem the human race.  This should boggle our minds, it does mine!  Why would the creator of the universe do this?  He does it because he is full of compassion, mercy, and grace.  This should lead us to worship him and tell others, just like the leper.  Praise God!  


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Jesus is a Good Fisher of Men (Luke 5:1:11)

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.  (Luke 5:4-11)

Learn it:

            Jesus is out on a lake in a boat with Simon and his partners, teaching to a crowd on shore.  We don’t know his message but after his message, he tells Simon to put his nets down into the deep water.  This would have been a very strange request.  Simon is a very skilled fisherman and the best time to fish is at night and you also fish in the shallow waters.  Jesus is asking them to do the opposite of what makes sense.   Whatever Jesus said during his teaching made an impact in Simon and he did what Jesus said.  When they pull up the nets they are almost bursting because they are so full!  It was amazing!

            Simon at seeing this is filled with awe of who Jesus is and tells him to get away because he is so sinful!  Simon recognizes Jesus as some holy person that he is not worthy to be around.  This was common because Simon was probably a Jew.  Being a fisherman who would have been considered unclean and should not be around people, especially teachers like Jesus!  That is why he has this strong response to Jesus.  Yet what does Jesus do?  Jesus draws Simon closer.  Tells him to come, follow me.

Live it:

            Jesus came to flip things on their head.  In Judaism, if you were sinful, you are unclean and should be kept away from people.  According to Christ, if you are sinful, you need to repent and draw close to him.  Wow!  He is merciful and when we feel unworthy, he wants to pour his love on us.  We need to take the posture that Simon had of humility.  Tell God that we are unworthy of his love but then we can run towards him.  How can you experience the love of God today?  What sins do you need to trust him with?  


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Jesus Heals People and Takes a Break (Luke 4:38-44)

Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.  (Luke 4:38-44)

Learn it:

            After Jesus was teaching in the synagogue he went to Simon’s, the soon to be a disciple of Jesus, house.  While he was there, he performed a miracle by healing her from her sickness.  Jesus gives evidence of the fullness of her healing by saying that she was then able to wait on them.  While Jesus was in the town people then began to bring people to him one by one.  We see Jesus did not do a mass healing but showed compassion by laying hands on each one. 

            Just like in the previous story where Jesus cast out a demon, demons were shouting, “You are the Son of God!”  Demons knew who Jesus was and he did now want people to hear that.  One reason may have been that if people heard demons saying this it could mean that Jesus was a servant of an evil god.  He did not want people to be confused and he would reveal his identity at the proper time.

            Then, just like any other person Jesus needed to take a break.  He needed solitude.  Even the Son of God needed time to breathe and, probably, reconnect with God the Father.  Jesus then needed to move on to another town.  A big theme in Luke is the kingdom of God.  Jesus was going around telling people about his kingdom and it was open to everyone. 

Live it:

            This story reminds us again of the power of Jesus.  The reason Jesus was healing people was to authenticate His teachings.  When he was teaching that he is the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament people may not have truly believed him.  When he then went on to heal people and cast out demons it gives more weight to his words.  We love Jesus not because he is a healer, we love Jesus because he is the Son of God. 

 

            We also learn in this passage the importance of rest.  Reconnecting with God the Father is important for everyone.  How are you doing at spending time with God?  Do you pray and rely on him throughout your day?  While it’s great to be able to spend 30 minutes in the morning praying and talking with God, I know it’s not always possible.  But praying even short prayers throughout the day can be very powerful as well.  That means he is always on your mind and you are dependent on him.  


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