Sunday, August 30, 2015

NOT A CROWN of JEWELS but of THORNS: SCS No. 57

Washington National Cathedral 

Sunday, August 30, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 57

PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts of a broken nation.  All we ask is that Your will be done and whatever Your will is to give us the strength and wisdom to live Your will till Your Son comes back.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE for Today: Mark 12:35-44 (KJV)
35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?
36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.


SERMON for Today:

While in the temple, Jesus publicly raises a question that he has already discussed in private with his disciples (Mark 8:12): who is the Messiah?  Here Jesus is essentially asking is he the son of David or the Lord of David? Jesus’ point is not to deny that the Messiah is a descendant of David. Jesus is saying He anticipates being exalted to the right hand of God, and thus He will far transcend any expectation of a merely political, Davidic messiah.

The people and the rulers were expecting the Messiah to be an earthly King.  Jesus knew what lay ahead for Him.  Being crucified on the cross and resurrection was the future He had to look forward to not an earthly crown of a King but rather one of thorns.

Next Jesus contrasts the abuses of the scribes and the widow who gave all she had.  This story could have come out of any newspaper in America today.  Corruption among leaders even of churches is not rare and good people giving till it hurts is not rare either. This is a story that will be played out until Jesus comes again.

What is most needed is for people to read this and decide that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, and dedicate their whole beings to trying to live lives to honor Him and His Father.
Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.

  
© Ed Cooper, August 30, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s.)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS: SCS No. 56



Sunday, August 23, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 56

PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts of a broken nation.  All we ask is that Your will be done and whatever Your will is to give us the strength and wisdom to live Your will till Your Son comes back.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE for Today: Mark 12:28-34 (ESV)

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.


SERMON for Today:

Most often this portion of Scripture is called the Great Commandment, but actually there are two commandments.  One is easier than the other to follow.

The first one about loving God above everything else is easier than the second one.  God has shown His love to us by sending His Son to give us hope and life.  He created a beautiful world for us to live in and look at.  He will give us help and comfort in our time of need.  Once you make the decision that God is not dead, but rather is alive and well He is easy to love.

The second commandment is much more difficult.  

Romans 13:8-10 (ESV) 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Here the Apostle Paul is further explaining what is expected of someone trying to live a life in the steps of Jesus.  Be clear.  Neighbor does not just mean those folks you like or approve of.  Neighbor means all your fellow human beings.

It is easier to love a good and great God than some people, but Jesus said to love humanity as much as we love ourselves.  What a peaceful world we would have if we all could only follow these two commandments.
  
© Ed Cooper, August 23, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s.)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CAUSES FEAR and LOSS of TRUST


The Mountain Home VA Healthcare System sent me a letter signed by the Director of the Medical Center stating that on my next visit to my provider that my medications would most likely be changed.  When I called my psychiatrist, she said it was to prepare us so staff would be safer when they told us of the cut in or outright denial of some of the medications we were taking.  My entire reply to her is not appropriate for here, but part of what I said was that if a psychiatrist did not have enough of a relationship with a person they were serving to discuss medications over time with them then they needed to let someone else serve that person.

You may be one of those who think that no psych med is a good thing and that mental illnesses do not exist.  However much I disagree with the public mental health system, the VA system and most private providers, I still have to come to terms with the symptoms that DSM-5 have listed under Bipolar I, PTSD, and DID.  I have found some of the medications at some levels to be helpful.  Now the VA has decided the most helpful one to me should be taken away from me.  Who decided and why is beyond me, but I know it causes me fear.  I do not trust the VA.

The future no longer looks the same.  How a bureaucrat thinks it is OK to come between a physician and a patient is beyond my understanding.  If you know please let me know.  My email is
edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

© Ed Cooper, 8/15/2015, Stoney Creek