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On that day after Jesus went out of the house, he sat by the lake. And such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat to sit while the whole crowd stood on the shore. He told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground where they did not have much soil. They sprang up quickly because the soil was not deep. But when the sun came up, they were scorched, and because they did not have sufficient root, they withered. Other seeds fell among the thorns, and they grew up and choked them. But other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. The one who has ears had better listen!”
Matthew 13:18-23: “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
“All things are lawful for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “All things are lawful for me”—but I will not be controlled by anything. “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both.” The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Now God indeed raised the Lord and he will raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that anyone who is united with a prostitute is one body with her? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But the one united with the Lord is one spirit with him.
Our bodies will pass away, yet at the same time we have been entrusted to be good stewards of the bodies we have been given. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” We have the freedom to make choices, but not everything we choose will be to our benefit. Our world offers us both good and evil, life and death; and we are called to choose life! We are to honor God with everything, including our bodies: ‘living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God”. (Romans 12:1) Remember, self-control is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit! Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. He called you to this salvation through our gospel, so that you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Take a moment today to thank the Lord God for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Consider their support when difficult times come and their faith that speaks blessing and encouragement to you as you live life alongside of them. God’s design for our lives is that we would live in loving relationship with one another as a response to His amazing love for each one of us. In Matthew 22 Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Built to live in community that reflects the love of Jesus Christ – it is right to praise the Lord for your family in Him!
Now when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul became wholly absorbed with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. When they opposed him and reviled him, he protested by shaking out his clothes and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am guiltless! From now on I will go to the Gentiles!” Then Paul left the synagogue and went to the house of a person named Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the president of the synagogue, believed in the Lord together with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians who heard about it believed and were baptized.
Today we find Paul, Silas, and Timothy in Corinth committed to preaching to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. Many in the synagogue do not listen to Paul, going as far as insulting him and being abusive. Paul decides to leave the synagogue and preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul’s efforts in the synagogue were not wasted. He accomplished preaching the gospel to them, and their leader and his entire household believe in the Lord Jesus. God had purpose for Paul in that synagogue, just as He did for him in going to the Gentiles. There are times when we will feel we are in the wrong place, but God has us there for His purpose. We won’t always understand fully, and that’s OK, that is part of having faith in God. God knows everything in full, and we do not. Rest in the knowledge that God never surprised, and always prepared.
Now as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him. We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said this, he spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. He smeared the mud on the blind man’s eyes and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “sent”). So the blind man went away and washed, and came back seeing.
The disciples automatically think that this physical blindness means that condition must be because of sin; like a physical punishment from God for wrongdoing. Notice how Jesus describes the condition, and the reason for it. This man has been blind from birth so that the power of God could be seen in him. Remember that God has great purpose for every life on this earth. Perhaps you have a physical ailment or limitation, and faith in anything has been hard to come by. Pray that the Lord reveal to you His purpose for your situation. He can be glorified through your life, and He is ready to use you in amazing ways! Perhaps the Lord will heal you. Perhaps His message is the same as He gave to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you – my power is perfected in weakness.” He loves you so much. Let that love fill you up and bring you peace.