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Showing posts from May, 2013

Aging Gracefully

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Scripture:

Prov. 16:31     Gray hair is a crown of glory;
        it is gained in a righteous life.

Prov. 17:6     Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
        and the glory of children is their parents.

Observation:

Here are more nuggets of wisdom that we get from Solomon.  Gray hair only comes when one has lived a long life.  People who die young, possibly at the hands of their own folly never get to have that gray hair.  Wisdom says that this "crown of glory" comes from having lived a righteous life.  At the same time it is those with gray hair that are probably the grandparents as well.  Not only is gray hair a crown, but so are grandchildren.  And the children are proud of their parents for the way in which the parents have lived and become glory for their own children.

Application:

Today's Scriptures brought me right to my parents.  My mother has the most beautiful gray/white hair.  I remember when she finally started "letting it go."  That was a little har…

A Field for the Poor

Scripture:

Prov. 13:23     The field of the poor may yield much food,
        but it is swept away through injustice.

Observation:

This proverb of Solomon is his observation.  The poor may have access to a field that would produce enough for them to survive.  But sadly, the injustice of the world creates a situation in which their crops are swept away and the poor do not reap the benefits.

Application:

This one little verse caught my attention today as we have been working on a sustainable agriculture project in Kenya.  The poor have banded together and bought a piece of land so that they can grow crops to feed the hungry.  Currently we hold our breath because either this will work, or the crops will be lost.  Why would we lose the crops?  Because there are those who would want to sweep into the fields and steal the food for their own personal benefit and gain rather than allow the food to feed the hungry. 

Injustice after injustice exists in this world and it's amazing how often it af…

The Place of Proclamation

Scripture:

Rom. 10:14  ¶ But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?
Rom. 10:15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Observation:

This text was focused on the Israelites.  Very few had believed and accepted Jesus as the Messiah.  Now the good news was being carried to the Gentiles as well and they were responding.  But there is an important question which is laid before us in this Scripture.  How can someone come to believe if they have never heard?   There is a place for the proclamation of the good news and there are those who are called to deliver this good news!

Application:

The concept of "relational evangelism" has become very popular these days.  The idea that we need to develop relationships with people before we have the right to prese…

A Scandalous Rock

A Scandalous Rock


Scripture: Romans 9:33 as it is written, “See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Observation: This entire chapter is one in which there is discussion regarding the role and place of the Israelites as the children of God.  They are indeed born Israelites, but are they born children of God?  What they were unable to accomplish through the law is now able to be completed by those who are in Christ.  And here comes the description of the Messiah.  He is a stone which is laid among the Israelites, right in the center of Zion.  But the Israelites would struggle with him because he wasn't what they expected.  They stumbled into him and over him.  He was the rock that would make them fall and in the Greek the root of the word to fall is the root for the word scandal.  The religious leaders and others who were so arrogantly following the law found Jesus' be…

The Stickiness of God's Love

Scripture:

Rom. 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Rom. 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
Rom. 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Observation:


This is one of the more famous sections of Scripture, one which I have read and heard frequently throughout my lifetime.  The believer in Jesus Christ is faced with the realities of life here on this earth and they are not always pleasant.  More than likely they are more frequently unpleasant.  However, as God's children, those who have been adopted into the family, we are encouraged that we are not just conquerors in these situations, we are MORE than conquerors, we are victorious because of the one who loved us.  Because of God's great love for us we have been invited into the relationship of t…

The Sweetness of the Invitation into the Trinity

Scripture:

John 16:12-15
16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

16:14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

16:15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Prov. 3:21         My child, do not let these escape from your sight:
        keep sound wisdom and prudence,
Prov. 3:22     and they will be life for your soul
        and adornment for your neck.
Prov. 3:23     Then you will walk on your way securely
        and your foot will not stumble.
Prov. 3:24     If you sit down, you will not be afraid;
        when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Observation:


We read Jesus' words for his disciples and in them he begins to unpack what will happ…

Reaping the Benefit of Holiness

Scripture:

Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Observation:

This entire passage in Romans is called "Slaves to Righteousness."  Here we find a contrast between being slaves to sin vs. being slaves to righteousness.  For the follower of Jesus Christ everything has changed, they have been set free from sin.  The pull of sin is exchanged by the pull of righteousness.  The pull of righteousness effects the way in which we live our lives, and the result is a life full of the fruits of holiness.  This is the benefit of being a slave to God -- a holy life.  By being a slave to God we may once again become the holy people of God that he intended us to be.  And the telos of it all is eternal life.  This is the goal or the end game -- the result of the life of holiness is eternal life.

Application:

This verse makes me reconsider the way in which we have so often prese…

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Scripture:

Psa. 136:1      ¶ O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psa. 136:2     O give thanks to the God of gods,
        for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psa. 136:3     O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;

Psa. 136:4      ¶ who alone does great wonders,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psa. 136:5     who by understanding made the heavens,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psa. 136:6     who spread out the earth on the waters,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psa. 136:7     who made the great lights,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psa. 136:8     the sun to rule over the day,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psa. 136:9     the moon and stars to rule over the night,
        for his steadfast love endures forever;


Observation:

As Solomon's Temple was completed there was a time of dedication.  The musicians were ins…

The Place of Corporate Repentance

Scripture:

2Chr. 7:12 ¶ Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.
2Chr. 7:13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,
2Chr. 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2Chr. 7:15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.
2Chr. 7:16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house so that my name may be there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time.
2Chr. 7:17 As for you, if you walk before me, as your father David walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my ordinances,
2Chr. 7:18 then I will establish your royal throne, as I made cove…

The Glory Filled the House

Scripture:

2Chr. 5:13 It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD,
    “For he is good,
        for his steadfast love endures forever,”
the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,
2Chr. 5:14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.

Observation:

Solomon was dedicating the Temple to God.  Elaborate worship and sacrifice had led up to this very moment when the musicians began to play their instruments and the vocalists sang.  The focus, energy and attention, it was all on worship of God.  A psalm of praise to God was sung in which they praised God for his goodness and recognized that the loving nature of God is eternal.  As they sang this song of love and praise to God, his presence began to fill the temple.  The g…

Have you Had a Bath?

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Scripture:

2Chr. 4:2 Then he made the molten sea; it was round, ten cubits from rim to rim, and five cubits high. A line of thirty cubits would encircle it completely.
2Chr. 4:3 Under it were panels all around, each of ten cubits, surrounding the sea; there were two rows of panels, cast when it was cast.
2Chr. 4:4 It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east; the sea was set on them. The hindquarters of each were toward the inside.
2Chr. 4:5 Its thickness was a handbreadth; its rim was made like the rim of a cup, like the flower of a lily; it held three thousand baths.
2Chr. 4:6 He also made ten basins in which to wash, and set five on the right side, and five on the left. In these they were to rinse what was used for the burnt offering. The sea was for the priests to wash in.

Observation:


Solomon's temple is taking form and the furniture is being made.  One of the items for the temple is the molten sea.  This is to …

KENYA NAZARENE CHURCHES RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT GENDER BASED VIOLENCE THROUGH BOTTLEAID CAMPAIGN

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Samuel Oketch, NCM AEF Coordinator wraps labels across homebank tins meant for BottleaAid Campaign. Looking on is Collins, our security guard. NCM AEF is engaging Kenya Nazarene churches to contribute towards GBV Project by way of BottleAid Campaign. The Campaign was launched by Samuel Oketch at Madungu Centre in LakeVictoria district on 12th April, 2013 during pastors regular meetings. 60 pastors at the event admitted the reality of GBV in our society and agreed to drive the campaign in their churches. To show their seriousness, each and every pastor picked a home bank tin for their churches. So far we have distribed 250 homebanks tins to 250 Nazarene churches in three of our six Kenyan districts. We are yet to launch the campaign in Rift Valley, Western, and Central Districts. Central District Campaign launch is scheduled for this Saturday May 25th at Central Church of the Nazarene during pastros’ regular meetings. There after we are going to organize with our District Superintendent…

The Spirit of Holiness

Scripture:

Rom. 1:4 and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Observation:
In this opening greeting to the church in Rome we find this section which is a defense of the nature of Jesus Christ.  He is fully God and he is fully man.  Most affirm that the statement, "the spirit of holiness" exists to affirm the divine nature of Jesus Christ.  However, there are those who would argue that the term ought to simply be the Holy Spirit -- or they read it to be the Holy Spirit.  But this is not the case.  This is not a description of the action of the Holy Spirit, but this is a description of the very nature of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ's nature is a spirit of holiness.  It is holiness which defines who he is, and if this defines his nature -- then the invitation which we find later in 2 Peter 1:4 takes on clearer meaning:

2Pet. 1:4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious …

The Power of Pentecost and the Clarity of the Gospel

Scripture:

Acts 2:7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

Observation:

It was the day of Pentecost and the humble band of Jesus followers had been waiting and praying for ten days in an upper room in Jerusalem.  They didn't know what it was they were waiting for -- but they were being obedient to Jesus and so, they waited.  Suddenly something happened that no one had ever before experienced and the entire place was filled with the sound of a rushing mighty wind and tongues of fire landed on each of them -- but then they all began to speak and tell the good news of Jesus Christ.  The miracle was that everyone present began to hear them speaking in their language.  In that very moment the power of the Holy Spirit unleashed the spread of the gospel to every corner of the earth.  For the first time people from all over the known world heard the news about Jesus in the…

A Prayer for Comfort

Scripture:

2Th. 2:16 ¶ Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope,
2Th. 2:17 comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Observation:


Those who had become followers of Jesus Christ were facing, or would be facing times of persecution.  Paul knew this far too well for life had been a challenge from the moment he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.  However, it was a challenge which he was willing to meet for along the way he discovered the comforting presence of Jesus Christ in all things.  This final prayer was not about having a life of comfort, but instead was about having the privilege of experiencing a relationship with the Holy Trinity that would result in a deep and abiding sense of comfort in all things.  Through grace we experience eternal comfort -- and the Greek here says something like comfort through the eons.  This means that we step into a relationship of comfort tha…

Love or Ambition

Scripture:

1Kings 2:17 He said, “Please ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.”
1Kings 2:18 Bathsheba said, “Very well; I will speak to the king on your behalf.”


Observation:

While King David was sick and dying a beautiful Shunammite by the name of Abishag kept him company and cared for him.  She was his concubine, although he never had sexual relations with her.  Now, David had passed away and Abishag, while still a virgin, belonged to the new King, Solomon.  However, Adonijah, Solomon's half-brother had wanted to be king.  He was Absalom's younger brother.  He had been just as conniving as his older brother and had worked hard to get the support of the community so that he could be their king.  This was not David's plan -- nor God's plan and ultimately Solomon was anointed and crowned king.  Now, Adonijah had to live with that defeat -- but somehow he just could not be content to move on with his life. 

Under the pretense …

Peacefully Sanctified Entirely

Scripture:

1Th. 5:23 ¶ May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Th. 5:24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

Observation:

Here Paul is expressing his desire for the people of Thessalonica, and that is that they would become wholly and entirely God's holy people.  His prayer is that they would be entirely or wholly sanctified, and then he goes on to explain that this includes the spirit, soul and body.  In other words, every part of their being is to be made holy.  But this is not on their own or by their own power, but by the power of the God of peace.  The God of peace is faithful and he is capable of making them holy, through and through (Luther).  Wesley says, "every part and all that concerns you; all that is of or about you."  This is what can be made holy by the power of the God of peace.

Application:

I find it fascinating that Paul …

God's Will is for us to be Sanctified

Scripture:

1Th. 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication;
1Th. 4:4 that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor,
1Th. 4:5 not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

Observation:

Many believe that Paul is writing from Corinth to the church in Thessalonica.  He has a deep love and concern for these followers of Jesus Christ who are living for him in the midst of a very secular society.  The people of Thessalonica were commonly engaged in pagan practices of worship which included sexual acts.  The pagan religions gave license to all kinds of sexual behaviors and deemed them appropriate for worship.  Corinth was one of the worst towns for this and I'm sure the daily activity of the temple prostitutes was on Paul's mind as he was writing to the people of Thessalonica.  But this God whom we serve is different from the pagan gods.  The God who created us is a holy God and had declared, …

The Passion of Paul

Scripture:

1Th. 3:5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor had been in vain.

Observation:

Paul was a passionate man when it came to two things -- his Savior, and his spiritual children.  In this case the emotion becomes evident in the words that are spoken.  Paul is deeply concerned that the people of Thessalonica are going through a period of temptation and he's not sure that they are able to stand firm in their faith.  Therefore he sent Timothy to them, so that he could encourage them to persevere in the face of temptation.

Application:

Paul did not preach a prosperity gospel, but instead he preached a realistic gospel.  Jesus himself had been tempted and yet by the very power of the word he did not yield to temptation.  Now, these young believers were also to face a time of temptation.  Paul's concern was that they were so young in their faith that they would n…

Taking responsibility means paying the price!

Scripture:

2Sam. 24:24 ¶ But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

1Chr. 21:24 But King David said to Ornan, “No; I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

Observation:


David had disobeyed God and sent his commander out to create a census of his fighting men.  What was he doing?  Instead of trusting in God for the victory he wanted to check on his own resources, and God was not pleased.  David knew he had done something terrible and now he would have to suffer the consequences.  God told him that there would have to be punishment and David could choose from three different options.  He chose to have a plague come on the nation for 3 days because this would be brought about by the hand of God and not by his enemies.  …