Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

Sonlight, Day 7

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MARK 8:22-26 | They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.”

Jesus did public health ministry and gave private aid. His moral and theological teachings were aimed at re-orienting our outlook and behavior. Social well-being is enhanced by the virtues he encourages, like promise-keeping and truth-telling and nonviolence and generosity. Sometimes, Jesus healed the physical and spiritual oppressions of large crowds, one at a time, in public places.

On other occasions, he helped people privately, as he did the blind man at Bethsaida. Was this because he suspected the motives of the men who brought the blind man? Was it because Jesus wanted to avoid the attention that came with displays of miraculous power? I don't know whether it was modesty or suspicion or even just Jesus' sense that this man needed individual encouragement. (Notice he took him 'by the hand.") One thing is clear, however, and that is, that while Jesus responded to peoples' needs, he had his own ministry agenda and did not allow peoples' desires to dictate it.

What do most people want from Jesus?

What do you want?

What does he most want to give you?

 

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Sonlight, Day 6

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MATTHEW 5:43-45 | “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

One classic way of understanding the seemingly random distribution of reward and suffering in this life is to imagine the reverse. What if God immediately punished evil behavior and rewarded good behavior? Would such a place not be coercive? Would there be room for true freedom and could there be genuine love? Choosing the good because it is good, and loving God because he is worthy in himself, is very different from simply wanting to avoid punishment or desiring divine blessing. Our messy world, with its broken and rebellious creation, does allow for real choices and real love to flourish. You and I can really choose to really love God and to trust his goodness, and despite our suffering, to believe in the final restoration.

How do you understand floods and famines, storms and disasters?

 

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