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Participation in Christ includes Rescue

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Scripture:
Psa. 82:0   A Psalm of Asaph. 1God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: 2“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. 4Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Observation:
The Psalms of Asaph take on a different tone than those of David. Living in a time when Solomon has been laid to rest and powerful forces are at work tearing the kingdom apart, Asaph plays his prophetic role by speaking to the community through song.
In ancient days judges would rule their courtrooms on a daily basis, making decisions without fear of those in authority. However, there were times when the king would make an appearance, bringing a watchful eye to the court. At that moment the king was in the court and would the tenor would immediately change for there would be no possibility of bribery or fools pl…

Trying to Hide our Earthly Passions

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Scripture:
He said to him, “Go in peace.”  But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “My master has let that Aramean Naaman off too lightly by not accepting from him what he offered. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something out of him.” So Gehazi went after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he jumped down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is everything all right?” He replied, “Yes, but my master has sent me to say, ‘Two members of a company of prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim; please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’” Naaman said, “Please accept two talents.” He urged him, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and gave them to two of his servants, who carried them in front of Gehazi. When he came to the citadel, he took the bags from them, and stored them inside; he dismissed the men, and t…

Instruction in the Work of Christ’s Mission

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Scripture:
Luke 9:1   Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. 5 Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
Observation:
Jesus is a great model of a teacher and leader. God’s purpose is to bring salvation to humanity. For this purpose, Jesus wants to prepare and empower the twelve for current and future service. They have no idea that Jesus will leave them to continue this ministry in his absence. Jesus is always preparing for the future and so he calls them together and shares his power with them and…

Generosity and Hospitality: Why Women are the Model

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Scripture:
2Kings 4:8  One day Elisha was passing through Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to have a meal. So whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for a meal. 9She said to her husband, “Look, I am sure that this man who regularly passes our way is a holy man of God. 10Let us make a small roof chamber with walls, and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”
Observation:
How easy it is to overlook this woman, the Shunammite, whom we are told was a “wealthy woman,” or as other translations say, “a great woman,” a woman fearing sin,” or a “woman eminent for piety before God.” What’s interesting is that we are not told that her husband is wealthy, and this can lead us to all kinds of consideration. She may have inherited her own wealth. At the same time, her husband may have had a great estate and she may have been the one who diligently managed the household, being trusted with the family’s resour…

New Living in New Creation

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Scripture:
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:15–20 NRSV)
Observation:
This entire chapter begins with an encouragement from Paul for the Ephesians to become imitators of Christ. In this context he discusses the influences of the culture upon life in the new Christian community. The life of the Christ-follower (imitator) is to be different from that which is found in the world. 
Application:
If God’s people are new creation, then there is new living. Careful attentiveness must be given to the ways in which the culture is allowed to i…

Sometimes You Just Need to Go Home

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Scripture:
Psa. 127:0   A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. 1Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. 2It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.
Observation:
This, one of the Psalms of ascents, becomes a reminder that God’s people are supposed to rest in the LORD. The word house may mean a building, or it could mean a family or household. Whichever it is, this seems to suggest that we are to learn to leave the worry to God and life a restful life. This does not mean that one doesn’t work, but it does mean that we are not be restless. Vs 1-2 seem to suggest ‘Leave it all to God; let go and let God,’ and enjoy a restful life. In the Bible, the opposite of rest is not work but restlessness. We are not to live anxious lives, but to do God’s work, and then find peace and restful sleep.
Application:
Today happens to be my birthday, a…

What Have I Done to You?

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Scripture:
1 Kings 19:20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?”
Observation:
God had told Elijah to anoint leaders for the nation. While this final person, Elisha, was not anointed like the kings were, he was anointed by the act of Elijah throwing his mantle over his shoulders. It was a stunning moment in the life of a young man who appears to have been a wealthy farmer. He had twelve oxen yoked together which was a reflection of his success. As soon as Elijah through his mantle over him, Elisha knew that he had been called by God. The mantle itself represented a holy anointing for the work that would stretch out before Elisha.
In that moment Elijah realized the magnitude of the call on the life of Elisha crying out, “what have I done to you?” Elijah had his moments of despair as a prophet and he realized that he would be calling Elisha to a v…