Saturday, April 5, 2014
Hebrews 6:1-2 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Have you ever lost something and found yourself looking for it over and over in the same places? Car keys, for example… You’ve checked everywhere twice except the one place they may be. It’s frustrating, right? One of the hardest things about it to me is the hint of defeat that I feel as I’m flipping over couch cushions for the second time. The author of Hebrews is reminding us in Chapter six that it is pointless to go over and over the things that we should have learned and understood from the get-go. We need to understand that sometimes we are unable to move forward until we are willing to admit that enough is enough. Like realizing that it doesn’t matter how many times I look in the refrigerator, the keys are not going to magically appear there… I need to move on and expand my horizons. In Hebrews, the author is stating that going back to God’s “elementary teachings” (instead of moving beyond that, maturing, and looking for a deeper understanding of His nature) is not how a Christian ought to be. We grow by applying what we know while passionately continuing to learn. Who knows?… Perhaps I’ll think to put up a hook for my car keys the next time I find them in my coat pocket after swearing I had taken them out. ….There’s always hope.
Prayer: Father, You are holy! AMEN
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
In this verse Jesus is telling us that our obedience to God is more important than who our family or parents are. Faithfully living out the gospel in our personal life is more important than the honor of being a respected son or daughter.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Luke 3:7-8 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
Back in the 80’s, I used to work in a Chick-fil-A in the Ogden mall. I used to spend my breaks window shopping at all the stores. I remember one day walking through a store that had funny and interesting t-shirts. Being Mormon at the time, there was one in particular that caught my eye. It said: “Club Mormon! 10% and you are in!” I loved that shirt! It struck a chord because I knew many people who felt that being Mormon and paying a full tithe was enough to get them in God’s good graces. As I think about that, and think about my walk with Christ, I am reminded of the verse from Luke 3:7-8. “When the crowds came to John for baptism, Jesus said, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, we’re safe, because we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. God was and is aware of how we often associate membership with salvation. As long as I go to a good church, everything will be OK. But this is a lie. Membership does not save, outward ordinances do not save. The only salvation is belief in Christ Jesus; that He died for your sins and rose again. And if we truly believe, then we want to be more like He who saved us. We want to love more, serve more, and emulate God in all we do. Sure we will fall short, sure we will fail. But our fruits will show who we serve by who we try to be like.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Micah 7:7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
Mired in the helplessness of my current condition. Discomfited on every side by the sin in which I find myself daily.
Where can I turn for relief from that which tears me on every side? I can turn to my God. I must turn to my God. He is my Savior; the source of my salvation through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. How long must I wait? As long as is necessary, for I have confidence that He is my salvation and He will hear me when I cry in humility.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
When we talk about loss, most often we think of it in terms of death. During our lives though, many people come and go for various reasons. Relationships end. A neighbor moves out of town for a new job. A brother, sister, or even a pastor leaves a church to answer a new calling for the Lord. The reasons are many and when we invest a part of ourselves in those relationships, the sorrow at losing them is very real.
We can mourn the loss of the living as well as those who are no longer with us in the body. The counter-balance to that sense of loss is knowing that someday, when we too are away from the body and at home with the Lord, that someday we will be reunited with our fellow believers.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Matthew 6:1-4 Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
A tall, well built, man was walking along a street on the west side of the city. As he walked along he observed cigarette butts, scattered paper and trash. He continued walking and in the distance he observed a person sitting against a building. As he came closer it was a man and he noticed his feet were wrapped in rags. He approached the man. He bent down and removed his shoes, and handed them to the man. Not a word was spoken between them. He stood up, turned and went on his way with a big smile and a heart full of love.
Prayer: God our Father, you call each of us by name, and you treasure each of us individually as though no-one else exists. Inspire us to respect and value
each person who comes into our lives this day. AMEN
Friday, April 11, 2014
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
I wonder sometimes at the things I see on friends’ Facebook pages. I look at some of the little memes they share and often find myself shaking my head, not in judgment, but at the wonder of it. I see Christians sharing things that are anything but Christ-like. I see people sharing Christian memes but wonder if they know the life they’re leading is directly in opposition to God’s Word.
Christianity is hard, messy business. In our journey to become more like the Christ, who was perfect, we invest in people who will hurt us and let us down. We can face ridicule when we take a stand for something that’s not popular. Often we’re called to sacrifice. Jesus, who we are trying to emulate in this life, wants us to pray for the ones who from a worldly view would be our enemies. And on top of all of this, He expects us to share what we have with those who don’t have what we do.
As we grow as Christians, we need to be ever mindful that people are constantly examining everything we do and say. Often, others will point to the hypocrisy of Christians who are talking the talk but not walking the walk. They use this as an excuse to justify their own shortcomings. What we like or share on social media, along with everything else we do and say, should reflect the love of Christ to others.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Romans 5:19 for as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Seems pretty straight-forward. Or is it? If one man or a group does wrong, the crowd is compelled to join in, whether right or wrong. Is there a mob mentality? Or do we need to see a big picture? Adam sinned, mans disobedience entered the earth, many or all were made sinners. Jesus entered the world. Because of His righteous act at the cross, God’s grace overflowed to many and still does. The obedience of one man, JESUS, many shall be made righteous and whole.