Saturday, February 28, 2015

3-1-15 Who Will You Serve

14“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord15But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24)

Thoughts: Bob Dylan wrote a song, "You've Got to Serve Somebody- It may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you got to serve somebody."  The one to whom we owe our allegiance is our Lord- our God.  To serve no one is to serve ourselves- and selfishness is by nature an evil thing and dark hole.  Einstein said, "The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule."  He was speaking of the need to be humble.  Humility, selflessness, and love push us away from a selfish desire to manipulate and control others.   Joshua asks the question before he dies, "who are you going to serve?... Will you go back to be like everyone else, or will you choose to be people of a holy God?"   Many choose the easy way of following feelings and the way put forth by others.  Some will choose to serve God as long as He serves them.  If the going gets tough their faith will get choked out.  But if we serve God no matter what, we will indeed be blessed.  Jesus came to serve us- he helped people, healed people, comforted people, welcomed people.  He died for people to serve us.  But if we want to manipulate the Lord to turn the Creator of the Universe to give us our every whim- we are not helping ourselves, and we are discrediting Him.  God is our greatest help.  But we must choose His help.  When we join Him- to seek to serve Him in good or bad- we will find His love, His help, His strength, His courage, His hope, His purpose, and we will find ourselves.  For our hearts are restless til they find their rest in the Lord.  When we choose Him, we find ourselves chosen.  He is the Lord who serves; we serve and become like the Lord. 

Prayer: Lord, I serve you in the hard times and the great times.  I do not serve you because you bless me.  I serve you because you are worthy and my love for you grows as I see your hand at work in the valleys and in the mountaintops of life.  

Friday, February 27, 2015

2-28-15 Incentive to Serve

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:26)

Thoughts: This verse says a lot about serving Christ and what it means to be a disciple.
First to serve Christ means to follow in his steps.  This means to try to live with kindness, faithfulness, and holiness as Jesus did.  It also means to sacrifice for others as Christ sacrificed for us.  In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, "Whoever wants to follow me must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me."
He also speaks of being close to the person who serves Him.  When we try to live like Christ He enables us by His presence and grace to fulfill His hopes for us.
The second thing He promises to those who try to serve Him is that God will honor them.  The presence and honor of God is an important incentive.  When we humble ourselves to help another God will lift us up.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to serve you.  Help me with your presence and the motivation of your pleasure.  

GoODWorks Blitz- gathering to help the needy. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

God a priority- Psalm 27

1The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?4One thing I ask from the Lord,this only do I seek:that I may dwell in the house of the Lordall the days of my life,to gaze on the beauty of the Lordand to seek him in his temple.
5For in the day of troublehe will keep me safe in his dwelling;he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tentand set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:1,4,5)

Thoughts: The house of the Lord is a sanctuary from fear and from trouble.  The Lord is a priority as the Lord.  The word "Lord" here is a substitute for YHWH- the name for God.  In Hebrew they substituted adonai- "the Lord" for this name.  The Lord is the One whom we serve.  It is the one thing we should seek- to be near Him.  When trouble comes, we want to be near our source of peace and protection- the "Big man upstairs" as some say.  God is larger than any problem we face.  He is stronger than anyone or any problem.  He is so much larger that we can be assured He will win in the end.  Even death cannot defeat Him.  Today, we should make God a priority (as our Lord), so that we know Him and feel comfortable going to Him in the day of trouble. We are so easily distracted these days.  Facebook, Twitter, texting, wasting time on the phone, TV, video games, entertainment, that we forget what is truly important.  

Prayer: Lord I seek you and your presence.  Let me find your presence and peace even in the midst of my trouble.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2-26-15- Lord of Heaven and Earth

Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:8)
At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. (Matt. 11;25)

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. (Acts 17:24)

Thoughts: God is Lord of heaven and earth.  These three passages get three different applications from this same fact.  Psalm 124 reminds us that the one who made everything by His great power is our help- omnipotent.  In Matthew- God knows all things in heaven and earth and reveals and hides to whom He wants- omniscient.  In Acts 17 the One who made everything cannot be restricted to any temple made by human hands- He is everywhere in heaven and earth- omnipresent.
     God is not just the maker of heaven and earth, He is the Lord.  This means He is actively involved- ruling over it all.  The Lord cares for what He is Lord over.  He manages it, cares about the bad done in it, and cares about our goodness.  

Prayer: May my concept of your lordship grow. May I know more of you and entrust myself to you. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Creation Out Of Love 2-25-15

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...
19We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4 selected verses)

Thoughts: Someone asked how could a supernatural God create a natural man with natural instincts.  A better question might be how is it possible for human beings with all their faults, lusts, failures, fickleness (natural impulses) to love at all.  Love is not simply a natural emotion.  It is really hard to reason away love- even among the most selfish of us.  When we seek to describev love, we often use religious and ethereal terms.  The passage above reminds us that love comes from God.  It is a gift and is a godly thing.  God showed love (and not indifference/apathy) in that He came down for us.  It is the most visible way God can show and make known invisible love for us..  Knowing that we are loved by God is not something we can prove- even in the coming of Jesus.  We need God's Spirit to show us and help us acknowledge God's love.  People naturally doubt and are skeptical of love- even a parent's love.  It is a gift to realize that there is a God and that God knows and loves you as an individual   It is it possible for a computer to know your name, your number, your accounts, and where you shop thousands of miles away... is it not possible that the most intelligent being in the universe knows you and is able to know even more about you?
God does not treat us as numbers but calls us by name.  He knows our DNA, our background, more about us that we know ourselves, and He still loves us.
     God, we believe, created us.  Why would He do this?  It was not that He had to do so- no one is greater or forceful to the Almighty.  It was not that He wanted slaves. If so, we are not very good ones.  Christians believe God is love in and of Himself.  The Trinity is a plurality in love.  But God created us in order to glorify Himself- showing His love to those made in His image- and who could also respond in love.  Love elicits an object to love.  Just as a loving person seeks other people out to show love, so God made us in order to give of Himself in love.  It is no surprise, then that God came down for us and gave of Himself for us so that we might live.  This love is from the God who made love (in the original sense) and made us in love.  The Father's love is evident in creation and providence.  The Spirit loves us by sustaining, illuminating, regenerating us.  The Son showed His love on the cross- and making a way for us to respond in love to Him in eternity.
     Out of response to God's love, let us love Him with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves.  

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to love as you have first loved me.  You came first.  You made us in love and made us to love.  


Monday, February 23, 2015

2-24-15 God is Mindful

3When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?c
5You have made themd a little lower than the angelse
and crowned themf with glory and honor.
6You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under theirg feet:
7all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild, (Psalm 8) 

Thoughts: When we look up at the stars and see the vast amount and tremendous space, we get a glimpse of how small we are.  Yet compared to the microscopic world, we are large.  I have often thought that if a computer in Washington can know every American's social security number and keep tract of who they are and where they have spent money and time, then it is a simple thing for God to know us.  He doesn't just know about us- He knows us- and cares for us.  We are more than numbers- we are His workmanship.
God is not an impersonal force like lightning.  He is mindful, personal, loving.  Jesus taught us to call Him Father.  Wre can respond to God's mindfulness- God's love with our own love- which is itself a gift.  

Prayer: Lord, You are worthy of praise and love because you are mindful, merciful, and loving to us.   

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2-23-15- Jesus Example of Service

29As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door, 34and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

Thoughts: This passage seems like an agenda- Jesus went here and there and did this and that.  But there is a theme of service here- meant for us to find.  Jesus served God in the synagogue. Jesus healed Simon's mother-in-law and her response was to serve him- waiting on him.
     After sunset- when Jesus had already had a long day, he healed the sick and demon possessed.  The whole town gathered around.
     Before sunrise Jesus went out to pray to gather his spiritual strength.  He could have slept in.  He had a great goal and purpose.  Jesus' goal of serving the Father meant serving others. 

Prayer: Help me, O Lord to serve others as you served.  

Peter's Mother-in-law's house Capernaum

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2-22-15 Attitudes in Service

57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:57,58)

Thoughts: The work of the Lord (to which we are to give ourselves fully) is the work of His servants.  He is Lord and we know it, so we serve Him.  This tells us how we should serve:
1) Stand firm and let nothing move you.  Do not be swayed by pressure from people or from circumstance. Do not allow yourself to be washed about by the waves of culture.
2) Give yourselves fully- Be All in.  Do not just put your toe into being a Christian.  Being a follower means total commitment- as Jesus committed Himself for us.
3) You know your labor is not in vain- It is not in vain because we know we are on the winning side.  Christ conquered death.  The work of the Lord has eternal rewards.  

Prayer: Lord, help me ot serve you because of who you are. You are my anchor against the winds and waves of life.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

2-21-15- Only Doing Our Duty

 9Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ” (Luke 17:9,10)

Thoughts: On the one hand, some think that we are basically good people. On the other hand many of these who think this way believe they should be rewarded for being good.  The Bible implies something different.  It says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  We are unworthy servants.  When we do something good- we are doing only what we were supposed to be doing in the first place.  The temptation for those who do good is to have pride in our goodness.  We are designed and called to serve God.  When we fail to serve Him we should be ashamed.  When we serve Him we are only doing our duty and have no need to brag.  A servant is one who treasures humility and knows that bragging on good is not what a truly good servant does. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to serve you.  Show me how I might serve you better.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2-20-15 Seeking Service Instead of Comfort

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:7-10)

Thoughts: There is always will be a temptation to take the easy way.  Why should we get involved when life can be much easier when we let others take care of their own needs.  The temptation to not serve when we know we should is great.  Love for safety and comfort is not the way of righteousness and bravery.  In our consumer oriented culture it is easy to think that life is all about me. The way of service always involves a sense of sacrifice. Christ did not stay in heaven where the ultimate comfort lay.  Love compelled Him to come and give Himself for us.  He faced animosity from the government and from the religious rulers all of his ministry. He washed the feet (in service) of those who were about to betray Him, deny Him, or run away from Him.* Doubtless He was weary of it all.  Yet He faced the cross with bravery with a sense of service and sacrifice.  Paul is enjoining us to not give into the flesh (vs. 8).  If we sow service for God, we will reap reward from God.  If we sow our own comfort leaving God's cause alone, we will reap God leaving us alone.  When God gives us opportunity, we need to make the most of that opportunity. 
This Lent, look for an opportunity to serve Christ by serving others.

Prayer: Help me to see and take opportunities to serve you.

*I just watched an old western movie called "High Noon" starring Gary Cooper.  Cooper was a marshal who had just gotten married and left his marshal star behind in retirement-with a new marshal coming the next day.  But a gunslinger with vows to kill Cooper and take over the town was coming back.  Instead of leaving town, Cooper turns around to face his nemesis and to possibly save the town.  But he was left all alone.  His wife would not help, and the town people cowered away in fear and excuse.  Christ is the One who came for our salvation.  He alone can save us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2-19-15 Lenten Devotional on Service and Witness

Thought: For the season of Lent we will be looking at the idea of service and witness.  These are two key practical concepts for the Christian church.  They are also, in some ways at the heart of the Gospel teaching.  Jesus came to serve (Mark 10:45) and to give his life in service- as a ransom for many.  He also from the beginning sent his disciples out to the towns and villages to spread the good news.  He accepted the praise of children and waving of palm branches by the crowds to spread the good news of his coming to Jerusalem.  One of his last words were to send the disciples out by the power of the Spirit commanding them (and us) to go into all the world to spread good news.
Part of our repentance of every day life is our renewal as well.  Calvin said we get close to God by dying to self (mortification) and living for God (vivification).  Service in humility emphasizes the dying to self.  While witness emphasizes living as a testimony to God's love.  We need this today.  Many simply are Christians in and for their own comfort.  This has been a killer for the church.

Scripture: "For  even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many."  (Mark 10:45).

Thoughts: This saying of Jesus came in response to James and John who wanted a place of greatness in Christ's kingdom.  Jesus' response was that if you want to be great you must become a slave as he did.  If Jesus came to serve, and He is our Lord... then we must learn to serve.  If Jesus washed feet out of love and service, then we must not think any job is too low to do for God's glory.  Pride keeps us from humility and repentance.  But when we embrace humility and service as our goals, it makes our lives meaningful when we serve for God's glory.  It turns cleaning up the dishes into an offering to God.  It turns picking up the clothes into a blessing and a work for the kingdom.  Life- even the menial things gain a purpose.
     Ironically, the giving of one's life for others stands in sharp contrast to the taking of life.  One ideal (proposed by ISIS) implies that the taking of life brings the apocalypse and God's favor.  But the way of Jesus clearly states that the giving of our own life is a better way.  While one way crucifies others, the way of Jesus accepts crucifixion but turns it into resurrection.  The way of secularization says that life is about getting everything for yourself.  The way of terrorism is that life is about helping your own and terrorizing others into submission.  But the way of Jesus- is the way of giving of oneself not in a wasted martyrdom of death and destruction of others- but in a holy martyrdom of turning the other cheek.

Prayer: Lord, turn me away from pride or destruction.  Instead help me to give of myself for others as you gave yourself for me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2-18-15 Ash Wednesday thoughts

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." (Genesis 3:19)

Thoughts: Human beings are more than just chemicals and elements.  We are more than just a complicated arrangement of atoms by total chance.  Love is more than hormones.  There is a purpose in life to honor with our breath the one who gave us breath.  We are called to also enjoy the breath God gave us and to be good stewards of that breath.
The word "spirit", "soul", and "breath" are all the same word in Hebrew (nephesh).  God is the One who gives us life and a soul that goes on forever.
     On Ash Wednesday, we should repent.  The church desperately needs to repent of straying away from God and His Law.  We have gone our own way.  We have believed and acted as if we are just animals- just dust- just instincts.  We have forgotten how to live for good and are instead living like animals--claiming that the way of nature- is always best.  The One who gives us breath calls us to not be just natural dust.   He calls us to purpose, meaning, love, and hope.  He makes beautiful things out of dust. 

Prayer: Every breath I take, O Lord, reminds me that I am not just dust.  You have blessed me with life.  May I live it for you.  

Great song for this devotional and for Ash Wednesday: Gungor "You make beautiful things out of dust."

Monday, February 16, 2015

2-17-15 God the Creator

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
6And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so.8God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
9And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1)

Thoughts: "In the beginning God created"  This is not to be glossed over.  This tells us that the world did not just come to be.  For centuries some said that the world came to be as flies come up from food.  But they forgot that the eggs or maggots were in the food that the flies came up from.  The world did not happen by simple spontaneous combustion- even if the world happened as a big bang.  For scientists to say the whole universe to come from a piece of matter smaller than the head of a pin, goes right along with the idea of creation.  The Bible says God spoke- "Let there be..."  In other words, God caused the world into existence with his directive.  God is the unmoved mover, the ground of all being, the One who made something out of nothing (ex nihilo).  For the big bang to happen so that intelligent life came from it- an intelligent designer must have designed or directed it.  

Prayer: You are worthy of our Praise, O God, for you created all things and by your power they and we are made.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

2-16-15= Peter's commentary on Paul

15Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3) 

Thoughts: Peter is writing of Paul's words as if they were authoritative.  Paul wrote with the wisdom that God gave him.  By the time 2 Peter was being circulated, many of Paul's letters had gained authority.  So this is a rare glimpse of one book of the New Testament testifying to the usefulness and authority of another book by a different author.  Though Paul's writings have some things that are called, "hard to understand" yet they are called "other scriptures" - a part of the sacred writings.  

Prayer: Lord, help me respect others and especially your word.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

2-15-15 Acts 8: Philip and the eunuch

26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopiana eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”b
34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  (Acts 8:26-36)

Thoughts: Philip, the deacon, preached the gospel to this man.  He was reading the scripture, but Philip explained it to him.  The Word of God read is made real when it is explained in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit led Philip to the eunuch.  It is said that the eunuch brought the gospel along with Mark and perhaps Simon the Cyrene to Ethiopia.  Philip was ready to explain the good news wherever he went. He knew the content and was ready to be used of the Spirit.  The Spirit not only inspires the Word but makes it real to us- leading others to speak it to us in blood or in time, and opening our eyes to the Word.  So we should always be ready and prayerfully able to be used of the Spirit of God to help someone else. 

Prayer: Lord, take your Holy Word and make it clear to me by the power of your Holy Spirit.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

2-14-15 A Theory of Inspiration from Paul

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. (1 Corinthians 2:13) 

Thoughts: Paul explains his theory of inspiration here.  His words, turned into scripture, were not just good philosophy or poetry or the history of his experience with God.  He wasn't just a smart guy pouring out brilliant words.  Rather, he believes the Holy Spirit taught him what to say.  So he is explaining spiritual truths with words given by the Holy Spirit.  We do not read Paul because he is a great grammatician or rhetorician.  There are evidence of Greek minds who make Paul's style seem plain and simple.  But Paul speaks to our hearts because he speaks led by the Holy Spirit.  So the Holy Spirit takes Paul's words and makes them new and real to us today.  God's truths are not just pretty words, but eternal principles that speak to the core of our being- even if they rebuke us or convict us.  The Spirit is the missing ingredient in many theories of inspiration. It is not just that the words are true, but that the spirit inspired their writing, and illuminates and inspires us by the words used.  The same Spirit who taught Paul is the Spirit of God that teaches us and lives inside us.
      On Valentine's Day, perhaps we need to remind ourselves of the missing ingredient.  Love is more than hormones or attraction.  Human love cannot be quantified or measured.  Love is the invisible gift of God that motivates us, teaches us, encourages us.  So the Spirit is the invisible gift of God that inspired Paul to write and inspires us to listen.  

Prayer: Lord, may your Spirit inspire me to understand, love, and apply your Holy Word. 

Paul writing in Prison

Thursday, February 12, 2015

2-13-15- Jesus first sermon

16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”f
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk. 4)

Thoughts: Jesus read the scroll.  He saw the scriptures spoke of him.  He believed God was fulfiling scripture right before their eyes.   It was his custom to go to the synagogue.  But it was not his custom to claim that he was the Messiah- the fulfillment of scripture and dreams.  For stating this truth they tried to kill him.  Jesus could have avoided the whole issue by not making any claim.  But Jesus knew he had to start making the claim if he was to fulfill his purpose.  The scripture was not dead to him, but alive.  It is also alive to us in a different way.  The truth needs to be told.  Scripture needs to be clarified and preached- which is what Christ did.  

Prayer: Let me speak your word honestly and for a greater good.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2-12-15- Scripture as the Word

9How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
105Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
107I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
109Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
110The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.
113I hate double-minded people,
but I love your law.
114You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
115Away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commands of my God!
116Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;

Thoughts: Clearly the Psalmist equates the statutes- the laws of God with the Bible (Old Testament) and the Word of God  The Bible is seen as a strength, a lamp to us in darkness, a source of reliable and sustaining promises.  The Bible teaches us how to please God, be close to God, and keep our way pure.
Our task is to hide the word in our hearts (vs. 11).  This means love it   But we cannot love it or know it by heart without learning the words.  Scriptures gives us the light of God's Word as a light bulb gives us light.  The Bible is a lamp- but the essence of the word of the Lord is the light coming from the lamp.  It brings joy, hope, strength, and real help to us.  

Prayer: Lord, may I treat the scripture with respect as not only a special record but a real source of hope strength and joy for me now.