My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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Praise and Provision
Singing carols at a grocery store in Manchester, UK and supporting a charity at Christmas.
Psa. 148:13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
14He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the LORD!
The Psalmist draws us into a center of praise for the LORD. We respond because the very character of God is revealed in that which we see and hear and we have no choice but to respond to the revelation. We serve a transcendent God who is above everything in heaven and earth. This is a great mystery and yet, it is one into which we have been invited, for God has a people.
Those who call upon the name of the LORD are his people and for them there is a horn of plenty, or provision. God rejoices in those who are close to him. The response of the people is to praise the LORD, and this is God’s plan to share the good news. Those who are close to God will share their praise of God and this is how the world will get to know the LORD. God chooses to use those within the intimate circle who are reflecting the image the very brightest, to share good news with the world.
Let us all praise the LORD!
The entire Christmas season is one of evangelization. This is a term that some people are struggling with these days and wondering how it fits into the postmodern world. At the same time the message of the Psalmist from so long ago makes it pretty simple. God’s plan is to use God’s people to praise him! It is through our praise of God that the world will hear about the LORD — and this is evangelization, to go and tell the good news! What better time is there to share good news, than at Christmas?
Lest we think Christmas is over, let’s just remember that this is only the second day of Christmas. We celebrated advent, anticipating the arrival of Jesus, but now — he’s here!!!! Now’s the time to share and to rejoice in what the arrival of the Messiah means for all of us. It’s not the day to pack up the tree, it’s the season to relish the presence of Christ.
Without knowing the Messiah, the Psalmist was already drawing God’s people into a beautiful future. God’s people, the saints, the holy ones, are close to the LORD. Isn’t that true today, that God’s people, who are called to be holy because he is holy, are drawn close through the presence of Jesus? Jesus makes is possible for us to have an intimate relationship with God. It is in this relationship that God has promised provision. We’re not sure that we want to talk about that too much because we don’t want to succumb to the “health and wealth” gospel nor to the “prosperity” gospel, but there is a “provision” gospel, which is a place of profound trust in God for our daily needs. This is a place where we follow God on the journey, taking very little in our bags, knowing that God will provide along the way. This results in great joy as the very character of God is revealed in all that is provided. God is glorified and praised because of the revelation of a loving and caring nature which is seen in Jesus. This is why we celebrate the birth of our Lord.
These days of Christmas should naturally be a time of evangelization as we all share the good news of Jesus with those around us. This is God’s plan. The people that we meet and encounter on a daily basis, they need to hear the good news. In the past couple of decades we’ve been taught much about “friendship evangelism.” The end result is that there is often no proclamation — no telling of good news. There’s just a hope that at some point there will be an attraction to Christ through friendship. This may happen from time to time, but the Scriptures talk about praising the Lord! We are to praise the LORD — with our voice, sharing the good news of the arrival of the Messiah. This is Christmas! Now, let us celebrate the entire season well and pray for opportunities to share the good news that we hold so dear. Trust the LORD for the journey and don’t stress, but believe that God will provide, even for the opportunities to share the good news.
Lord, I pray for opportunity today and every day of Christmas to share with someone about you. Amen.
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Scripture: 1Sam. 2:18 Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Observation:
Little Samuel was being raised in the presence of Eli’s wicked sons. They were doing things wrong, and stealing food from the sacrifices they were supposed to be making on behalf of the people. In their midst was a precious little boy whose mother was influencing him to do everything right. She brought him a new robe every year so that it would fit properly and he wore the linen ephod, a priestly garment, over the top. This was what he should have been doing and he did it right, when Eli’s sons took short-cuts in everything that they were doing.
Hannah came back year after year to check in her son and give him a new garment. One can imagine that she encouraged him to do the right things and to serve God faithfully. Surely, day after day, whi…