Your Life Tells a Story Too

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, Matthew 13:1-3

Parables were stories that Jesus used to communicate important truths. Most parables had one major point a few minor points.

Storytelling is actually a way current day marketers describe what they do for a living. They have a story to tell about a product or a company.

Think about current advertising. What story does Walmart tell? Low prices. What story does Nike tell? Just do it and be active.

What about Apple, Lexus, Jeep, Rolex, GoDaddy, Microsoft, Coca-cola, Pepsi. They all have stories to tell and spend millions to build their brands.

Whether we want to believe it or not, but we are telling others a story about who we are and what we believe just by our actions.

Think of the green-haired, tattooed 22-year-old wearing a profanity-laden shirt. She is telling a story and decidedly so. Most of us, however, aren’t as obvious.

Our stories are more subtle, more nuanced. Our stories may be of anger or of peace, frustration or joy, confusion or focused.

What story are you telling?

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Welcome to the Family of God

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-48

Jesus’ point here isn’t to disregard His mother and brothers but to make a broader point.

We are the family of God, and we are in a very very large family.

In that family are people we love and appreciate, and others. If He calls them His brothers, sisters, and mothers, then they are in our family too.

The kicker, of course, is what makes us family: doing the will of His father in heaven, that is, believing in Jesus Christ as the only way to get to the father.

Is the bar high or very low for entry into this family? It’s as low as it could be, i.e., “whosoever will may come” Revelation 22:17

But you have to believe to enter.

If the bar is set so low, then why do few people enter? As many reasons as there are people probably.

We’ve heard all the excuses:

  • hypocrites in the Church
  • Jesus wasn’t God
  • why would he accept me?
  • how could he forgive sin?
  • why does He tolerate the innocent being hurt and killed while the guilty go free?
  • the church has hurt me

We even struggle answering some of those questions ourselves. It’s okay to admit that, even to people who are questioning you. We don’t have all the answers, but we our lives have been changed.

No one can refute or argue that.

Rejoice, Brothers and Sisters, and continue to love those in the Family of God. God pulled them out of the mire too.

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Let’s Be Careful Out There

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” Matthew 12:43-45

What’s implied within these verses is the spiritual warfare going on in and around us.

Perhaps Jesus’ words were a warning to the man he drove the spirits from or perhaps it was a broader warning to the religious leaders and society in general.

There were many interpretations to this and the parallel passage in Luke 11:24

Jesus drove out demons (sweeping the house) and the Pharisees were hindering people from opening their lives to the things of God. They frowned upon those who weren’t as righteous or legalistic as they were. They had even accused Jesus of being influenced by Beelzebul, the prince of demons.

Jesus was warning them about what they were doing.

Even today many religions teach that you must “empty yourself” to find yourself. When people do that, they open themselves up to unknown spirits. It’s a dangerous practice that could result in demon possession of increased proportions. It’s even worse for the Believer.

Unfortunately, our lives are filled with advertisements for satanic things. Children’s movies and books, cartoons, music. It’s all there and nearly unavoidable.

I recall when the Harry Potter books came out that Christians informed me that those books and subsequent movies were no different than C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia fantasy books. (While not wanting to debate the topic now, essentially, Potter glorified witchcraft and saw it as a positive, whereas Narnia saw it for what it was, witchcraft and something to be avoided).

Society has gotten progressively worse since that series came out.

Like the Hill Street Blues Precinct Captain would say before sending the police officers out each shift, “And hey, hey! Let’s be careful out there, okay?”

That warning is truer now in the spiritual world than it ever has been. Satan has devised many ways to occupy the Christian’s time and resources.

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

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38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12:38-42

The religious leaders already saw countless miracles up to this point, but they weren’t satisfied. They would never be satisfied. What would Jesus need to do to prove himself?

Fortunately, the Son of God never needed to prove Himself to anyone. His responses were as much for his disciples and those who gathered around Him as they were for the leaders. Of course, we get to absorb His wisdom as well.

In this passage, Jesus used Jonah, the Queen of the South, and Solomon as examples of great witnesses for the truth, but notes that someone greater than all three was in their midst.

It’s hard to get into the religious leaders’ mindset. I doubt they truly cared about Jesus Himself or his welfare. They sought to trap Him many times. They thought they were being clever but He knew them well.

Jesus gave us the answer they needed to hear but it would have been interesting if He had turned the question back on them: what sign would convince you that I am the Son of God? Of course we know that no sign would have satisfied them.

People today may not believe the Gospel message but they are confronted with people whose lives have been changed, namely yours and mine. But that’s where we bow out and let the Holy Spirit minister and draw people to Himself as only He can do.

People don’t need more convincing or evidence that Jesus is who He said He was.

They do need to be drawn to Him. We pray for that to happen for the ones we know and befriend.

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My Inside Voice

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:30-37

We all know this: words mean things. How often have you said something and immediately wanted to retract the words? More times than you can count probably.

Words are powerful tools in the life of a Believer.

They can heal and they can wound.

They bring life but they can also bring death.

They can be full of love and compassion, but they can also exude bitterness and hatred.

How so? Well, verses 35-36 tell us. It’s what we’ve been storing up inside of us. Both good and bad comes out at the most unexpected times.

So what are you storing up inside of you?
What thoughts are you thinking that should have been given over to Christ long ago? (2 Corinthians 10:5)
What verses have you been hiding in your heart that you might not sin against Him? (Psalm 119:11)

These are questions we all must answer as we live out our lives.

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