Saturday, March 29, 2014
Acts 4:33-35 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
“I have taken her out and dumped her by the side of the road like the garbage she is. No one will help her because no one cares about her; this is exactly what she deserves.”
Tamar, Rahab, Mary; “she” could have been any one of many, but “she” wasn’t one of them. Someone did care. God cares. In fact, someone sold some things and went without other things so that “she” wouldn’t lack. How many times have I passed by on the other side of the road to avoid involvement? It’s what I pay taxes for, or is it? Do I really have any part in it when government takes from some people in order to enforce the “benevolent” desires of others? What are my responsibilities if I am to be considered a true follower of Jesus?
Sunday, March 30, 2014
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Reading the new headlines recently I came across an article about a church van that collided with another vehicle and three people died and many were injured. Several other vehicles carrying youth from the same church were in the caravan and came upon the horrible scène involving their church family and strangers who had stopped to help. As I as viewing the pictures of the accident I came upon two that tore at my heart but yet amazed me at the love and strength of these young people faced with the tragedy. The first picture was of several people crying and holding each other; the second was of a group of young men kneeling in prayer on the highway. The bond and spiritual faith both groups conveyed was humbling to see. I think of the pain, sorrow, and disbelief all involved will feel over the next few days, weeks, years… will it make them stronger in their faith?
Earthly wisdom would consider trials great pain, great sadness, great depression, or great discouragement. Earthly wisdom says avoid trial and don’t consider them joy. Don’t consider trials joy because you are not exalted the way you want to be exalted. You should care about comfort, being equal to those you envy, fulfilling your selfish ambitions for money, power, comfort, pleasure, recognition, entertainment, etc.
Earthly wisdom looks at the now and so it minimizes the value of love, faith and perseverance. It pushes impatience and the now or never syndrome.
Monday, March 31, 2014
2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
We just went through Valentines Day about a week ago – the “love” day – supposed to be a time when we’re called on to make a special effort to say so to spouses, children, family, and especially if you’re a guy — you are to really go all out for that special girl in your life. But in the Word we are commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ to love our fellow saints as equal parts of the true invisible Church (The Body of Christ). In Romans 12: 9-16 it tells us how to live this out as it says that “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. It goes on to admonish that we “be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” And it also reminds us to “honor one another above ourselves”. Then we are to share with those in need, “practice hospitality”, and to “not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position” otherwise we are dealing in conceit.
In John 15 we are again commanded to remain in the perfect love of Christ. Let us then walk in the will of the Father – that we love one another in Christ and according to the truth the fruit that we are to bear that we may be called disciples of our Savior – that we are to “remain in” His love. This is his command that we “love one another as He has loved us.” If we determine to do these things in our everyday experiences, we will ultimately know what it is to be obedient in love and remain – walk in love. His love!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Ezekiel 18:21 But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die.
Best… Book… Ever. Ezekiel is by far my all-time favorite Book. You have to understand that this message is for God’s own chosen people who have become lost. The theme to our verse today is Repentance/Penance. In order to accomplish the steps to Repentance/Penance one must do the three things outlined in this verse:
1. Stop doing that
2. Start doing what one should
First– Stop doing that. Whatever “that” thing is that you know you need to rid from your life. Just stop. And if you simply cannot, talk to God about the fact that you’re aware that something is not right. Ask for the wisdom you’ll need to overcome what’s preventing you from having a repentant heart. Be honest.
Next–Start doing what you should. Ezekiel was written to a group that chose to go against that which they knew to be right. You know what God wants from you: a relationship. A healthy relationship. Read His Word. Talk with Him. Be His friend. Your desire to sin will diminish quite unnaturally. By doing these things, we can do what the third thing outlined tells us to do: Live. Jesus talks about being a slave to sin (John 8:34). Ezekiel spoke of the same thing centuries before when he said the wicked man is bound to death. If the wicked man repents, he shall live. (Galatians 5:19-21) If the slave repents, he is set free. (John 8:36) Once free, we can live with the fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22b-25)
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
Trusting in God’s faithfulness day by day makes us confident in his great promises for the future. As we struggle in our daily lives we must not forget to seek him out in prayer.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Romans 14:8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
We are all guilty of judging people, whether it is at work, home, church or our own family. We judge the way people dress, the way they look, what they eat, how they talk; the list is endless. We all live in a glass house. We are not so perfect. We know we are not, but we still do it.
Many of us are weak in our faith, as some are strong. Does God judge us? Since we are bound to God, our creator, we have no right to be in judgment of one another…. As God’s children he loves all of us, even with our faults. Each day we live, God loves us unconditionally. When we die His love for us does not die with our earthly bodies.
Friday, April 4, 2014
Luke 21:1-4 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Giving does not always have a monetary meaning. We all give; some money, some talent, and others time.
I sometimes feel like the widow in the scripture. I don’t have much, but what I do have I am willing share with others. I can cook, I can sing, and I can pray. As long as I can do these things, then I will give back to the Lord what I can. I know he will bless me for giving back that which he has given me.