Luke 5:17-26 : One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
I was chatting to a friend yesterday who shared with me about his family, how his aunties, uncles and cousins have struggled terribly with serious illness, death, and divorce. He asked me the question, ‘Mark how do you encourage people like this to read the Bible?’ Wow that got me thinking. Then late last night something came to me:
‘How do I encourage people to read the Bible? I become the Bible to those around me. I speak the Bible, the Word being always on my lips. Not quoting chapter and verse, but opportunities and promises.’
In being immersed in the Bible, the words became part of who I am. They infuse my attitude and my actions. Over time, I don’t so much think, ‘now what is the Biblical approach here?’ I just do it. But not in my own strength, my own authority, but through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. My true authority is only in Jesus, regardless of my titles, degrees or whatever leadership role I might hold.
So that is why I spend so much time every day reading the Bible. I seek to be immersed in the Word so that it becomes part of my thinking and my actions. I seek to live the Word, that who I am reflects the love of God.
As my ministry has grown, I receive more and more comments of appreciation. This is very cool to receive! But actually I realise that the reason my ministry is growing isn’t me, but God working through me. For that reason I give praise to God.. I am just a vessel!
To God be all glory, honour and praise!
Rev Mark Brown
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