Posts

Showing posts from March, 2013

Risen! Ransomed!

Scripture:

Psa. 49:1     Hear this, all you peoples;
        give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
Psa. 49:2     both low and high,
        rich and poor together.

Psa. 49:7     Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,
        there is no price one can give to God for it.
Psa. 49:8     For the ransom of life is costly,
        and can never suffice
Psa. 49:9     that one should live on forever
        and never see the grave.

Psa. 49:15     But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
        for he will receive me.

Psa. 49:20     Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
        they are like the animals that perish.

Observation:

This is the day in which we celebrate the resurrection of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  He is Risen!  He is Risen, indeed! 

And yet, for whom does this day of celebration have meaning?  There are many in the world who simply don't get it.  Why?  Because they don't understand that they stand in need of being ransomed and that today is the day in whic…

Where Is Your God?

Scripture:

Psa. 42:1 As a deer longs for flowing streams,
        so my soul longs for you, O God.
Psa. 42:2     My soul thirsts for God,
        for the living God.
    When shall I come and behold
        the face of God?
Psa. 42:3     My tears have been my food
        day and night,
    while people say to me continually,
        “Where is your God?”

Psa. 42:9      ¶ I say to God, my rock,
        “Why have you forgotten me?
    Why must I walk about mournfully
        because the enemy oppresses me?”
Psa. 42:10     As with a deadly wound in my body,
        my adversaries taunt me,
    while they say to me continually,
        “Where is your God?”

Psa. 42:11      ¶ Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you disquieted within me?
    Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my help and my God.


Observation:

The Psalmist was overcome with a desire to be in the very presence of God.  His soul longed for the quenching waters of sitting in God's presence, seeking his face.  But…

Why Did Jesus Die?

Scripture:

John 17:1 ¶ After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,
John 17:2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Observation:

It is in Jesus' prayer before his death that we have a glimpse of his personal understanding of the path that lay ahead.  The hour had come, it was now time for this final chapter of his life on earth to be written.  The connection between the Father and the Son is always present.  When the Son is glorified, the Father is glorified for they are one, but the Son was on a mission.  His mission was to save God's people -- all people and to provide a path for them to have eternal life.  Interestingly here we don't hear the language of saving people from their sins, but Joh…

Knowing God's Love

Scripture:

I Corinthians 13

12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Observation:

Throughout the Scripture we are encouraged to seek the face of God.  There is something about actually being able to see the face of God which speaks to us about our participation in God.  We know in the Old Testament that if anyone truly looked upon the face of God they would die.  Moses who spent a great deal of time in God's presence speaking with God was so covered with God's glory that the people could not look on him and he had to wear a veil over his face.  If this is true for Moses who was simply in God's presence, how much greater is the glory of God that we cannot look upon his face and survive.  Therefore in this life we can only look upon him as if through a reflection in a mirror, antic…

Holy Loving Diversity

Holy Loving Diversity
Scripture:
1 Cor. 12:12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1 Cor. 12:22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Observation:
Problems withi…

Just Thankful

Scripture:

Psa. 44:8     In God we have boasted continually,
        and we will give thanks to your name forever.

Observation:

David was a man who fought many battles here on this earth.  He had learned that there was no boasting in his personal successes or victories for it was God who led him day in and day out.  He wanted the world to know that it was God who was with him and bringing all the victory.  His praise and thanks to God became a part of his very being.  He realized that there was nothing apart from God.

Application:

It's easy to become wrapped up in the affairs of our daily lives and be so busy that we have no idea whether we are coming or going.  I know -- I've been there!  And then there are moments when we simply stop and slow down long enough to experience the warm and loving presence of God.  It's in those times that we realize that there is nothing greater in our lives than knowing him. 

Today I am simply thankful for the presence of God in my life.  I wou…

Doing With Others in Mind

Scripture:

1Cor. 10:31 ¶ So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
1Cor. 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,
1Cor. 10:33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.

Observation:

Paul felt he had great freedoms in Christ, however, he also realized that he had to take responsibility for the people around him.  That burden became so great that he evaluated his actions through the lens of helping others.  Personal rights were given up for the glory of God.  The potential existed that his context could change on a daily basis.  One day he may have been ministering among the Jews, the next to the Greeks, and the next he may have been in the church.  In each location he may have responded differently.  Why?  Because his goal was not to please himself, but to help others come to know Jesus Christ.  He wanted God to be glorified in his li…

Making the Final Lap

Scripture:

1Cor. 9:24 ¶ Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.
1Cor. 9:25 Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.
1Cor. 9:26 So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air;
1Cor. 9:27 but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.

Observation:


Paul was talking to the Corinthians about the need for spiritual discipline in their lives.  He spent quite a bit of time around the athletes of the day for there was a major sports arena between Athens and Corinth.  Paul, as a tent maker would have been kept busy at such events making tents or repairing the tents of different participants.  Can't you just envision the brightly colored tents surrounding the stadium where each participating athlete stored their equipment and made themselves at home du…

Failure

Scripture:

Josh. 15:63 ¶ But the people of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so the Jebusites live with the people of Judah in Jerusalem to this day.

Observation:

God had promised the children of Israel that he would drive out all of their enemies before them.  Now, as they enter the promised land we discover that they never do dislodge all of the people in the land God has promised them.  This is a significant statement, for not even all of Jerusalem is taken by the children of Israel.  The Jebusites remain in the city of Jerusalem until the time of King David.  But is this a failure on the part of God?  Why is it that God has promised them victory and now they are unable to drive out the enemy?  This is not a failure on the part of God, but this is a failure on the part of God's people.  They were unwilling to put forth the effort to displace the remainder of the people and to allow God to lead them.  The result was failure and a divided Zion. …

Honoring God With Your Body

Scripture:

1Cor. 6:12  ¶     “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.
1Cor. 6:13 “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
1Cor. 6:14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
1Cor. 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!
1Cor. 6:16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
1Cor. 6:17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
1Cor. 6:18  ¶     Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
1Cor. 6:19 Do you not know tha…

Where is Your Devotion?

Scripture:

Josh. 7:10  ¶     The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?
Josh. 7:11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.
Josh. 7:12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.
Josh. 7:13  ¶     “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.

Josh. 7:19  ¶     Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide…

Why Imitate?

Scripture:

1Cor. 4:14  ¶     I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children.
1Cor. 4:15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
1Cor. 4:16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
1Cor. 4:17 For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Observation:

Paul was worried about the different teachers who had come and influenced the church in Corinth.  His concern came from his deep heart of love and compassion for those who had come to faith under his ministry.  These were his spiritual children and he loved them as a father.  He wanted to remind them of that father's love which runs much deeper than that of a simple instructor.  Often the instructors were more concerned about their own reputation than the…

A Community of Faith

Scripture:

I Corinthians 3:16
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

Observation:

Paul had been talking about the community of faith found in Corinth.  This dear and somewhat troubled church was arguing again.  This time the discussion led them to human leadership and which persons they would follow.  The conversation was leading to a rather destructive attitude toward the body of Christ.  The body was being divided because loyalties were divided.  Somehow they didn't understand that this division was exactly what the enemy would desire.  There is nothing better for our enemy than to take the body of Christ, divide it up and leave it splintered in tiny ineffective pieces.  Paul understood the value of the community of faith being united together.

To help the Corinthians understand this better Paul bega…

Knowing Christ

Scripture:

1Cor. 2:1  ¶ When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom.
1Cor. 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1Cor. 2:3 And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
1Cor. 2:4 My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1Cor. 2:5 so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Observation:

Paul highlights the centrality of his ministry in this passage to the Corinthians.  "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified."  Paul had come to know Christ in a very personal and intimate way.  His faith was built upon the foundation of that relationship with Christ, nothing more, nothing less.  Therefore when he proclaimed the things that he had come to know in relation to his faith, it was Jesus Christ.  Wha…

Jesus is Branded on My Body

Scripture:

Gal. 6:11 ¶ See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand!
Gal. 6:12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Gal. 6:13 Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh.
Gal. 6:14 May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Gal. 6:15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!
Gal. 6:16 As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Gal. 6:17 ¶ From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.
Gal. 6:18 ¶ May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

Observation:

Paul is wrapping up his le…

Who is Guiding You?

Scripture:

Gal. 5:22 ¶ By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
Gal. 5:23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
Gal. 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Gal. 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
Gal. 5:26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

Observation:

Paul had been writing to the Galatians about the freedoms they enjoyed in Christ.  The Gentiles were not bound by the earlier law and the Jewish Christians had affirmed the freedoms which came from being in Christ.  They were not required to follow the Jewish laws of circumcision and this was a huge issue for them.  In contrast to this Paul wanted to make sure that these people understood that the freedoms that had come to them out of their relationship with Christ in the Spirit.  This was not a license to live …

Daddy!

Scripture:

Gal. 4:1 ¶ My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property;
Gal. 4:2 but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.
Gal. 4:3 So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world.
Gal. 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
Gal. 4:5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
Gal. 4:6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Gal. 4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Observation:

When Jesus was born in the flesh the potential for our relationship with God was changed.  We could be adopted as children.  This changed everything.  The relationship of a worker to their boss is simply a work relationsh…

Cursed Is Everyone Who Hangs on a Tree

Scripture:

Deut. 21:22 ¶ When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree,
Deut. 21:23 his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land that the LORD your God is giving you for possession.

Gal. 3:10 ¶ For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.”
Gal. 3:11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
Gal. 3:12 But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.”
Gal. 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—
Gal. 3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham migh…

It's All About Christ!

Scripture:

Gal. 2:15 ¶ We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;
Gal. 2:16 yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.
Gal. 2:17 But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!
Gal. 2:18 But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor.
Gal. 2:19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ;
Gal. 2:20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


Observation:


There was a great struggle in the ear…

Slaying Giants

Scripture:

Deut. 9:1 ¶ Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross the Jordan today, to go in and dispossess nations larger and mightier than you, great cities, fortified to the heavens,
Deut. 9:2 a strong and tall people, the offspring of the Anakim, whom you know. You have heard it said of them, “Who can stand up to the Anakim?”
Deut. 9:3 Know then today that the LORD your God is the one who crosses over before you as a devouring fire; he will defeat them and subdue them before you, so that you may dispossess and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.
Deut. 9:4 ¶ When the LORD your God thrusts them out before you, do not say to yourself, “It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to occupy this land”; it is rather because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you.
Deut. 9:5 It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to occupy their land; but because of the wicke…