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“Son remember in your lifetime you received your good things and likewise Lazarus evil things but now he is comforted and you are tormented”  Luke 16:26

“I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.”  Luke 16:27

“If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”  Luke 16:31


As I sometimes have done in the past, I have to start this post out with a disclaimer.  I am going to use a math process of proofs in my discussion in this post.  As I am not a biblical scholar, I am even the lessor, a mathematical scholar, or barely an adequate practitioner.  So to go much behind the initial point I will try to make, in some mathematical reasoning, would sadly be beyond my competence.  Having stated that:  here we go.

As I remember back to the heady days of geometry, there was a process called a “proof” and part of that proof was made up of statements called “if-then, statements.” The logic being if this is true, then this also must be true.  If p then q.  Yet the truth is, that this process goes far beyond just the process of mathematical equations.

At least for me, I have found that the process, and the logic beyond it, has often filtered into my prayer life.  God, if you will x, then I will y.  God, I want to do x, will you please show me y, that means x is okay.  God, I am lost and in a quandary, if I could only see x from you, then I would know y (or why.).  Am I saying here, that to ask for guidance is wrong or against God?  Hardly.  What I have to watch out for in my asking, is thinking that I have no resource available to help me and have to wait for some divine sign, some burning bush, some thunderous voice from above.

Jesus is telling a parable to the Pharisees, whom the bible says were lovers of money and things that came with it.  God, through the Mosaic Law and the prophets had given people guidance about how to live:  Deuteronomy 30:6, ….to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.  Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11  The man in  Jesus’ Parable who is rich, does not follow the law while alive so is in eternal torment.  He begs that, a poor man Lazarus, whom the rich man ignored in life, but who now is in eternal paradise, be allowed to go back and warn his brothers to follow God’s law so that they use their riches as intended and not end up in eternal torment.  It is the end of the reply that Jesus says that Abraham gives to the man, that chills me to the core.  If they do not hear..neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead! (bold and underlined added)

Jesus Christ came to earth, He lived, He died (for us) and He rose again and lives even today.  While He was on this earth, He taught us how to live.  When He returned to heaven, Our Heavenly Father sent the Holy Spirit to us, to help us to understand what it is that Jesus Christ taught.  But how often have I gone to God; crying I have no idea what it is that You want.  If You would just give me a sign!!!!!  Then I would know and believe!  God I am having trouble with someone……have I forgiven?  God what should I do about this job offer? This promotion? Please these six numbers be the lottery winning numbers?  Whom are you serving; God or mammon?  Dear God, do I really have to go here…or help there? Do you love the Lord Your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and body?  Do you love others as you love yourself?

There is an enemy and he tries to get in the way, anyway he can.  He tries to confuse.  He definitely tempts us to try paths, not intended by God.  He is powerful and we do need God’s help.  We are not sufficient in ourselves.  That is one of the reasons that we have the gospels to read and the Holy Spirit to help us interpret.  I believe God does want an active relationship with us and within that relationship there is an allowance, even a desire for the asking of questions; the asking for guidance.  Yet, I also know my motives.  And if I’m honest with myself, I know that I want to get something for my own glorification here on earth; money, someone with the perfect worldly body, a prestigious title, earthly popularity, earthly power.  Even if I achieve some of those, I want more.  So I pray.  In my prayer I say, show me a sign either specifically for or against what I want.  Might God ponder and say in His reply:  “My Son, who has risen from the dead, has answered this already.  Why will you believe this sign, when you did not believe the sign which is Jesus Christ?”

Thus, may it be that we are wise enough to use the resources given to us by Our Heavenly Father.  May we take time to read the Word mercifully supplied to us by Our Heavenly Father.  May we ask for wisdom and help in interpretation through the Holy Spirit as we read and contemplate.  Please, dear brothers and sisters, it is not about us being self sufficient in our understanding of God’s Will and Jesus Christ’s teachings.  It is about understanding, that God has mercifully and abundantly supplied help for us; including, sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to come and be our personal Teacher and Savior.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You for the Word, which you have so abundantly given for our wisdom.  We confess that we often do not utilize those resources or want to disregard them, instead seeking some sign from You.  We further repent, that we want to do opposite of Your teachings and ask You for permission to do so.  Pour out Your Wisdom on us, that we will take the time to read and study Your word.  Help us, Dear Father, to connect with Your wonderful Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to illuminate those things that are beyond our earthly comprehension.  That through that study, we will come to See You more, in all things in our lives, and become even more joyously dependent on You and Your wonderful Guidance.  In the name of the one who came to Teach and Save us, Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.

Away with you Satan!  For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only will you serve.  Matthew 4:10

Jesus is the Son of God, one of the Three Heavenly Triune.  As God on earth, He showed His power over Satan by easily casting out demons.  Before Jesus Christ could even take action, the demons recognized Him and were deathly afraid, knowing of His power and might.  Jesus could have easily answered Satan’s temptations in His own words.  Yet what did decide to use?  Not new words that would have shown His wisdom, power and majesty, no He chose to use His Father’s words.  Words given to Moses in the wilderness (see Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16 and 6:13).

Again I am no scholar in the least, but I think this is why Jesus felt it important to tell the story of His temptation (remember the disciples were not with Him yet).  Jesus knew that we would all face temptations, not having the power that He has to resist.  So what He did was to give us the reference material that would provide the strength to ward off and overcome the temptations.  With Power and Humility, He called upon the words of Almighty God, the same words available to us, and Satan fled.

We have so many resources today.  Some are of an older nature.  I admit that I have a set of encyclopedias and I will from time to time, just to relive the experience, go and look some topic up in them.  Yet today there is so much more available for us to choose from to find our answers.  Wiki followed by some word has become synonymous with instant if perhaps questionable information.  Don’t know where to find something?  Well just Google it.  In classes that I teach I tell a story of horses pulling a specific wagon.  I wanted to know how much the empty wagon weighed, so what did I do?  You guessed it; I Googled it.  Now here is another frustrating aspect of the information/internet age.  I searched for the weight of the wagon.  Well don’t you know I found who made the wagon, what it was made from, the diameter of the wheels, nicknames for it, all sorts of information but after hours of searching I couldn’t find the weight of the wagon.  So I told that story in class and you can guess what happened.  Out came the smart phones and within five minutes someone came up to me with the answer I was looking for.  It took all my strength not to take that smart phone and chuck it across the room.

And that’s the challenge today.  We have so many resources out there to help us live our lives.  Often they are contradictory.  I will admit to reading some of the plethora of self help books out there.  Yet in the end I know where my greatest resource lies, the Word of God, the bible.  Yes some of what I read I don’t understand.  Yes some of what I reread I get either for the first time or because of life’s circumstances I get something new I had not seen before.  But I always get something, the right thing.  And it is all right there in one source

Jesus Christ does not lie.  He was tempted.  We are tempted so much more than He.  He understood and understands that.  That is why He came to earth in the first place.  He gave us the answer and where to find the answers.  The answer is His Father, the Creator and the answers are in His word.

May we find that to be the ultimate resource that we daily turn to.

Prayers of blessings to you.  Amen

We often hear a phrase “Hear the good news…………” followed by Jesus Christ is risen or Jesus Christ came to save our souls.  You may also hear that the good news is proclaimed in the bible.  If you have read parts of the bible you may think to yourself; this is no longer news.  I’ve heard or read it before.

I would ask you think about what is news based upon what we see and read in today’s media.  If you think about it; there is nothing really new.  Natural disasters have happened before, wars have happened, people have done unspeakable things to each other, fraud etc.  Even good news, people have won the lottery, or done brave things; people have been elected again etc.  What is new perhaps is that it is happening to a new place or someone different though alas sometimes the news is that it is happening in the same place over again.

So how does the bible and what it says about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit be new?  It is new in the context that we have changed.  That our circumstances change daily; sometimes in small ways, sometimes in very large ways.  While God is consistent; the same loving God today, as yesterday and tomorrow.  Our ability to see His consistent Love, Grace and Mercy in our lives is what is new and news worthy.

Thus, read the bible with fresh eyes.  Pray with the expectation of new

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