Tapping The Tax Man – Good News for September 21

21 09 2010

Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.

The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”





Troubled Times – Good News for September 12

12 09 2010

Luke 15:1-10

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable.

“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.

I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.‘ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Daily Path: I am deeply troubled by recent events in the world. The recent natural “acts of God” that have caused much suffering are not the cause of what weighs heavy on my mind, although all of those impacted need our prayers. Rather it is the words of men lashing out at one another in the name of religion and those scribes who chose to fan the flames of hatred.

I offer these three passages:

“I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.” Timothy 1:12-17

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28

Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” Qur’an 7:199





Dr. Jesus – Good News for July 2

2 07 2010

Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

The Daily Path: I shudder to think where I would be if the Son of God didn’t make house calls.





From A Distance – Good News for March 6

6 03 2010

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable.

“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.

Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’

So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.

Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’

He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’“

The Daily Path: While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.

Like the youngest son, I, too, was a long way off when the Father saw me walking back towards home. He came running to me with open arms and glad heart. Since my return from the pork farm, I have been showered with His grace. God’s celebration feast has been a daily occurrence in my life.

Trust me friends. At this moment you may feel like a very long way from home, but our Father is really right there at your side. Just take a tiny step and He’ll see you. I know this to be true.





Dinner Guests – Good News for February 20

20 02 2010

Luke 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.

Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

The Daily Path: That explains it! Now I know why Jesus asked me to supper.

Psst… even though it’s Lent, I’m having a second helping at His table!





Doctor In The House – Good News for January 16

16 01 2010

Mark 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus.

While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

The Daily Path: Can you believe it? A doctor that still makes house calls! And so often He is knocking at our door before we even realize an illness has taken hold. Christ knows what’s in our hearts. The perfect cardiologist.

Room To Chat: Father, help us to care for a country full of your children. Let us come to the aid of those in crisis for no other reason than they are in need.





Reconnect – Good News for September 21

21 09 2009

Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

The Daily Path: Ironically, it was a point in my life when I felt the most disconnected from God that I heard His voice calling me. In today’s reading we find people gathered around Jesus who were also feeling disconnected (“sinners”). I’m convinced that they felt an overwhelming emptiness and were drawn to the light of Jesus to reconnect.

This morning I received very sad news about a former colleague who’s husband became so disconnected that he took his own life. My heart weighs heavy as I think about this family and their son who is the same age as my oldest. This is such a tragedy.

While I cannot claim to know the full burden of anxiety that Keith bore, I can understand some of it. What I can comprehend makes me even more thankful for how God has reached out to hold me close during the most difficult time of my life. I’m reminded of what amazing gifts I have been given and how precious they are. I’m reminded that behind it all is a loving and merciful Father… one who loved me enough to get my attention and say “Come follow me, again.”

I hope that in that final instant of Keith’s life that God once again held out his hand to draw him near. To reconnect.

Room to Chat: Father, bring your love, strength and peace to Keith’s wife and son in the day’s ahead. Help them hear your voice in the midst this storm. Be merciful to your child who found this life to be too great a challenge. Hold him close again. This we ask in the name of Jesus, who you sent to forgive all our sins.

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