Archives For bible story

Judge Dredd

February 2, 2013 — Leave a comment

Judge Dredd

There has been a huge increase in the last few years of super hero movies, and many have been blockbuster hits. Add to that another genre, spy movies, and a trend emerges – people want to believe that there are those in the world who can overcome anything, defy all the odds, save the day.

Some of the biggest hits have been Batman, Spiderman and James Bond. But no hero movie may ever eclipse the popularity of Marvel’s Avengers. This movie alone brought in over 1.5 billion dollars in box office receipts worldwide. Only a handful of movies can claim to have exceeded that amount.

What is the fascination with heroes? Why do you think they are so popular? Imagine for a moment that you had a say in the next super hero movie –what would it be about? Who would be the star? What powers would the hero have? Who would be the villain?

Often when we look at the bible, we see stories of individuals who have accomplished great things – heroes! Nobody in the bible could turn invisible at will, and there were no armored flying suits, no aliens from another planet who wielded a hammer of justice. But they did have a Hulk!

Have you heard the story of Samson from the book of Judges? Samson had great strength, and it seemed that the more angry he became, the more damage he could do. He killed a lion with his bare hands, destroyed an army with a donkey’s jawbone, and pushed an entire pagan temple to the ground.

Also in the book of Judges is the story of the hero Gideon. The Israelites were under judgment because they had sinned against God. Their crops were being destroyed, their animals slaughtered by a persistent enemy from Midian. An angel appeared one day to Gideon, and he addressed Gideon as “Mighty Warrior.” Gideon looked around to see who the angel was talking to. As far as Gideon knew, he was pretty average – he said, “my family is the weakest, and I’m the youngest in the family.”

Gideon was told by the angel that he would deliver Israel from the Midianites. How could Gideon, just an average person, do such a great thing? He doubted that he was the right person.

In Judges 6:17 he said to the angel of the Lord “If you’re talking to me, give me a sign.” In fact, Gideon was so fearful of the things God asked him to do, he asked for 3 signs, and God did what Gideon asked each time.

So, Gideon raised and army and prepared to go to war. God saw the assembled army and asked Gideon to send the majority of them home. In the end, he went to war with 300 men against the nation of Midian, and by the power of God alone, the entire army was defeated.

Has God ever led you to do something that was beyond your power? What did He ask of you? How were you able to do what He asked? Do you think “average” people are capable of doing incredible things? Give some examples of “average Joes” who made a big impact on history.

 

You might remember many stories from the bible involving Jesus and fish. He was always talking about fish and handing out fish to eat. He traveled all over the place with fishermen, and, more importantly, Jesus chose fishermen for the important job of spreading his word and building his church.

One of the symbols of Christianity is the fish symbol, seen above. The Greek word for “fish” is “ichthus” (here’s what it looks like in Greek – ἰχθύς), and each letter is the first letter of the words Jesus Christ God’s Son Savior (ησοῦς Χριστός Θεοῦ Υἱός Σωτήρ).

What I’m saying is, the fish is a major component of the imagery of Christianity. Here’s what I found in a 30 second Google search -

Jesus called disciples in terms of fishing, saying ”from now on you will be catching men” (Lk 5:1-10). Two stories of miraculous catches of fish are told in Luke 5:1-11 and John 21:1-8. All of the gospel writers agree that he fed thousands with fish and bread. There was the feeding of 5000 (John 6:1-14), and the feeding of the 4000 (Mark 8:1-9). He compares the kingdom of heaven to a fishing net (Matt 13:47-48). Jesus often preached from fishing boats (Matt 13:1-3; Mark 4:1-9; Luke 5:1-3) and sailed in fishing boats (Mark 4:35-41; Matt 8:23-27). Jesus was given fish to eat after his resurrection in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36-43), and he cooked fish for his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:9-14).

But there’s one more story.  You may have heard it in church right around April 15th.  Jesus paid taxes with a coin found in the mouth of a fish (Matt 17:24-27).

I have heard this story many times in church and in bible study classes, and I always wonder how in the world did the coin get in the fish’s mouth?  I have made up some unlikely scenarios in the past.  Maybe there was a wind storm and some coins blew off a table somewhere and ended up in the water.  Maybe someone was using the Sea of Galilee as a wishing well.  Could be that someone had a rough day/life and all they had left was a few coins, and in disgust, he pitched them into the water. I mean, coins are shiny, fish like shiny stuff, so if a shiny coin ends up in the water somehow, it’s not inconceivable that a fish would try to eat it. Right?

Think about it from the perspective of the fish. Fish are not all that smart, although apparently they can be trained if you’re a Mythbuster (that’s video proof if you follow the link). Fish just kinda float there until something catches their attention, and if it looks anything like food they lunge for it, put it in their mouth, then dart off the other direction.

I’ve caught fish with a paperclip before – no bait, just a shiny, shiny paperclip. Think what a fish must be thinking if a coin is slowly tumbling through the water – “Shiny. Must be food. I will eat it.”

That’s about the extent of it if you’re a fish. The coin got there somehow, right?

Could be that it was just flat out a miracle.  Jesus said there’d be a coin and there was one, end of story.

It’s not really the end though. The same God who called the disciples, who filled the nets with fish, who fed thousands with a little kid’s Lunchable, that same God is calling you! He wants to fill your nets – he wants to bless you beyond your wildest imagination! He wants to take the only thing we can give him – our lives – and change the lives of thousands!

Jesus once told his disciples, what I’ve done is nothing compared to what you will do. Do you believe the words of your savior? Do you believe you could do more than he did? He sent his Spirit so that we can! Ask anything in his name and he will do it!

A fish – the little fish that could – was sufficient to work a miracle with, not just once, but time and again. A smelly, scaley fish enriched the lives of so many people – and how much more has God got planned for you!

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you right now? Call on him to enable you to be a fisherman, ask him to help fill your nets, ask him to enable you to change the world!

 

Folsom Prison Blues

April 30, 2012 — Leave a comment

Johnny Cash is the *bomb* – I love that guy.  I’ve been listening to his music since I could, well, listen.  There’s something about it – soulful, haunting, sometimes even angry.  I can always find a Johnny Cash song for whatever I’m going through in life.  I can identify with Folsom Prison Blues right now.  Nope – not incarcerated at this time, but I feel trapped.  Have you ever felt that way?  Trapped by circumstances, by life, by a job or a relationship?  Ever felt that things will never change, and there’s no way out?

Out of all the people in the bible, if you feel this way, maybe you can identify with Paul.  He actually did spent some time in the pokey, and he didn’t even do anything wrong.  Maybe that’s why I can identify.  Everything is good in life, I have no reason to complain, and yet here I am, trapped.

Philippians 1:12-19 tells a little bit about Paul’s attitude while he was cooling his heals. Can you imagine being joyful while being imprisoned for something you didn’t do?  Can you imagine suffering for something that you did that was the right thing?

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