Happy President’s Day

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The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.  (George Washington)

Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.  (John Quincy Adams)

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.  (Abraham Lincoln)

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.  (Theodore Roosevelt)

Authority to Forgive (Matthew 9:1-8)

Matthew 9:1-8

And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed.  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”  And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”  But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”  And he rose and went home.  When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (ESV)

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In this section of scripture we read about Jesus healing the paralytic and we also learn more about the mission of Jesus.

Jesus has the authority to forgive sins.  That means Jesus has the ability and the power to forgive our sins, to cancel out debts, and to pardon us for our transgressions.  We are released from the prison of sin.  We are set free by Jesus.

Demons and Dead Pigs (Matthew 8:28-34)

Jesus had just arrived in Gadarenes when two demon-possessed men came out from the tombs.  These men were so violent that nobody could enter the tombs or even pass by them.

The men cried out to Jesus, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?”  (ESV)

The demons acknowledged the divinity of Jesus and his ultimate victory over evil.

The demons then requested to be cast into a herd of pigs.  Jesus agreed, they went into the pigs, and the pigs ran into the sea where they all drowned.

When the people in the city discovered what happened they were terrified and begged Jesus to leave their region.

I wonder what became of the two men.  They were wildly insane and Jesus made them whole.  They were finally able to function as normal human beings.  I like to think they used their blessing to bring peace and good news everywhere they traveled.

Chocolate God

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The Aztecs and the Mayans were the first people groups to cultivate the cocoa bean and make chocolate.  They would grind up the cocoa seeds and mix it with water to create a drink.  They also used the beans it to make a porridge, and mixed it with various spices.

The Aztecs considered chocolate “food for the gods” and it was served to royal families in golden goblets.  However, the Mayans believed chocolate was a gift from the cocoa god.

In the 1500’s, Cortez exported the cocoa bean to Europe.  The Europeans began mixing it with sugar and the popularity of chocolate spread like wild fire.

I recommend you take a moment today and enjoy a heavily snack of chocolate.  Don’t forget to truly savor the flavor and enjoy each moment.

 

(sources:  www.chocolate-history.co.uk and http://www.exhibits.mannlib.cornell.edu)

 

Peace, Be Still (Matthew 8:23-27)

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Jesus and his disciples were in a boat.  A massive storm started to toss the boat about and the waves were crashing onto the boat.

The disciples were terrified and frantic.  They called out to Jesus, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” (ESV)

Jesus asked the disciples, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” (ESV)

Jesus calmed the storm and the disciples were amazed by his power.  In Mark 4:39, we learn Jesus calmed the storm and said, “Peace!  Be Still!” (ESV)

I wonder if those words were said not just to calm the storm, but also to calm the disciples.  Whenever you feel like you are about to drown and anxiety is overwhelming you, remember the words of Jesus, “Peace!  Be Still!” (ESV)