Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Many of us are familiar with the event in which Jesus cast demons out of man and sent them into a herd of pigs. The details are recorded in Matthew, and if you use a red-letter edition of the Bible, then you will see two little red letters stand out among the black letters. Jesus simply says, “Go.” And with that imperative a host of demons flee into a host of swine.

Demons obey Jesus.

This event reminds us that Satan and his minions are subject to God. We also see in Scripture that the wind and waves, fish, the dead, and even donkeys obey the voice of their Creator.

If these demons immediately obey Jesus at His command to go, then shouldn’t we? This command in Matthew 8 reminds me of another command in Matthew 28. At this point Jesus has already died, risen again, and spent 40 days teaching His disciples, and then He leaves them with a final commission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…”

Unfortunately, the demons obey Jesus’ command to go better than most Christians do.

To be fair, the word used for go in Matthew 28:18 isn’t a “drop what you’re doing and go” kind of command; it could better be translated “as you are going.” Since you are going to be going anyway, teach all nations as you go.

As you are going to work, tell your coworkers about me.
As you are going to school, tell your classmates about me.
As you are going to lunch, tell your waitress about me.

So as believers in Jesus, let’s not let the demons out-obey us. As you are going today, tell people about Jesus.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Although it is hopefully something we do not practice, we are probably all familiar with how bribery works. It has been well reported how some people will try to slip some money to someone else in an attempt to gain preferential treatment. And while bribery may work sometimes, it is not something we should be doing.

Just imagine trying to bribe your teacher to get a better grade. “My friend Mr. Washington thinks I deserve an A.” No self-respecting teacher would change your grade (at least not for a dollar!); instead, the teacher wants you to work harder, study, and earn the A yourself.

Some of us may have been guilty of bribing our parents. You may have never offered them money, but perhaps you did extra chores without being asked. Instead of being motivated by love or appreciation for all your parents did for you, you were thinking, “They will remember this next time I ask for something.” That is a selfish motivation; it is deception disguised as love.

What is even worse than that is when we try to bribe God. I like to ask people why God should let them into heaven, and I usually hear a list of things they do, haven’t done, stopped doing, or do better than other people.

“I go to church every week.”
“I’ve never killed anybody.”
“I quit cussing.”
“I’m not as bad as she is.”

In essence they are bribing God. They are saying, “When I stand before God in judgment, He will remember that I…” But that isn’t how God works.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

If you are making a list of all the things you do, haven’t done, stopped doing, or do better than other people, then you are boasting in your own good works, which are not sufficient to save you. The only way to be saved is by God’s grace (which He extended 2,000 years ago) and your total faith in Jesus, and Jesus alone.

If you already have been saved, then remember that we still can’t bribe God for a better life. Health, promotions, obedient children, and retirement accounts aren’t the result of our good works. Our good works should be out of love and appreciation for what God has already done, not for what we hope He will do.