Friday, October 14, 2022

Fear and Knowledge


For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” But they did not understand this saying and were afraid to ask Him. – Mark 9:31-32

 Way back at the beginning of my IT career, I was sent to a conference in Evansville, Indiana.  I was so fresh into the IT world that I was still wet behind the ears! But I was eager to learn, and determined to take notes on everything, learn everything, and then …. “air message”.  The lecturer kept saying “air message”. 

In my mind I kept wondering what that was.  Was it a fault code from bad air in the room?  We were working with a mainframe at the time – one just a few weeks shy of using punch cards.  “Air message” he would say and regardless of what the remaining part of the sentence was – I stopped at those two words. 

Finally, we got a break, and I asked another lady who was attending what “air message” was.  She laughed hard!  Who knew that no further than from Cadiz to Evansville I’d run into a change in dialect. While I heard “air message” the speaker was saying “error message”.  I felt like a bubble headed ninny! But – because I asked – I got a lot out of the rest of the lecture.

Jesus’ disciples understood Jesus’  words.  Dialect was not their problem.  I think it was because of their pride they didn’t ask more questions about Jesus’ statement that He would die and be raised again on the third day. 

Mark wrote “they were afraid to ask Him”. Keep in mind, Jesus had  just overheard them trying to figure out who would be greatest as they walked through Galilee.  He had also just healed a boy from lifelong demon oppression – when they couldn’t.  No doubt their thoughts were the same as mine when OI didn’t want to ask, “what’s an air message?” – but should have – and would have understood more.

Sometimes we go through trials in our lives and we just don’t understand why.  Was it something we did, something we said? Are we being punished by God?  Is there something we’re supposed to learn from it? 

God welcomes all questions, and in His time reveals all answers.  Friends, it’s not like He doesn’t know our every thought!  Never be afraid to just ask. I’ve heard people say, “knowledge is power”, but honestly, knowledge is peace. It will uncloud your heart and head so you can move forward.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Yes or No is Enough


“Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

Therefore, Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?”

And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!”

Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. – Mark 6:18-26

I was raised to believe that I should not dance because dancing is why John the Baptist was beheaded.  But if we read this – and read it to understand – we see that it was the oath Herod gave that made him “exceedingly sorry” and caused him to behead John the Baptist. Dancing had nothing to do with it.  Instead, here we find why God says not to swear or make an oath to anyone. 

In Matthew 5:31-37 Jesus says:

“But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head,  because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

I know there’s times when people will not believe we are going to do what we say.  But that’s their problem – not ours.  The way to prove your honesty is just that – prove it by being honest.  Come through on your promises, and treat the promise made in simple words will build your character.

But creating an oath, promising more than you can deliver, or swearing on anything is just a good way for to allow satan to steal your honesty and give you grief.  It’s a trap when people need more than your Yes or No.  Don’t fall into it.