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Showing posts from January, 2019

While Still a Child

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Scripture:
2Chr. 34:1   Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a boy, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the sacred poles, and the carved and the cast images. 4 In his presence they pulled down the altars of the Baals; he demolished the incense altars that stood above them. He broke down the sacred poles and the carved and the cast images; he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins all around, 7 he broke down the al…

Ignoring Won't Make It Go Away

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Scripture:
Jer. 36:32   Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the secretary Baruch son of Neriah, who wrote on it at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words of the scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah had burned in the fire; and many similar words were added to them.
Observation:
By burning the prophetic words of Jeremiah, the king thought that he had dealt with his problem. Little did he know or understand how wrong he was. In effect, by burning the scroll, the king was annihilating the peoples’ side of the covenant made with Yahweh. The fact that Jeremiah went on to rewrite the scroll reveals something about the nature of God.
Any attempt to destroy the words of God will be futile, because the words represent God’s commitment to humanity. Ignoring God, or God’s word won’t make God go away. God’s love is so intense that no matter what shameful acts we may perform, God will come back again, and again, and again. Look at what happened on Mount Sinai and the first set of tablets with…

Accountability

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Scripture:
Jer. 36:11   When Micaiah son of Gemariah son of Shaphan heard all the words of the LORD from the scroll, 12 he went down to the king’s house, into the secretary’s chamber; and all the officials were sitting there: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the officials. 13 And Micaiah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people. 14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah son of Shelemiah son of Cushi to say to Baruch, “Bring the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” So Baruch son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. 15 And they said to him, “Sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all the words, they turned to one another in alarm, and said to Baruch, “We certainly must report all these words to the king.” 17 Then they questioned Baruch, “Tel…

Facing Opposition

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Scripture:
Neh. 2:9   Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent officers of the army and cavalry with me. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.
Observation:
Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls but when he arrived, the people who were in charge were displeased. During the time of the exile, Samaritans had been allowed to provide jurisdictional leadership. Nehemiah’s arrival was a threat to their power. Both Sanballat and Tobiah were angry because of what this might mean for them because there had not been good relations between them and the first group of returning exiles. The Jews refused to be of help to the Samaritans. The history of this stung in their memories. Now, with the authority of the king behind him, Nehemiah could just might be successful in the rebuild…

Comprehending the Mission

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Scripture:
Is. 61:1   The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
Observation:
This passage from Isaiah is read by our Lord and he uses it to identify himself as the One who is fulfilling this mission. Jesus was able to quote this passage because he had full comprehension of his mission. It also reveals the Triune God, the Spirit who anoints the One who will then send the Spirit. The co-mingling of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because it is the LORD, or Yahweh, who has anointed the Son. Therefore, once the fulness of God is revealed, then the mission begins to unfold.
The Messiah was to preach good news, touch those who were brokenhearted, provide a pathway for freedom for those who were held in captivity. God’s…

Table Fellowship

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Scripture:
Luke 5:27   After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And he got up, left everything, and followed him. Luke 5:29   Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32 I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:33   Then they said to him, “John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink. 34 Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in t…

The Place of Love and Affirmation

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Scripture:
Song of Songs 4:1-4
How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats, moving down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them is bereaved. Your lips are like a crimson thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil. Your neck is like the tower of David, built in courses; on it hang a thousand bucklers, all of them shields of warriors.
Observation:
In this chapter the beauty of the beloved is extolled. What the words reveal is a marriage relationship in which there is mutual affection. This is not about a marriage defined by a legal document, but genuine marriage in which love and affirmation rule the day. Interestingly, the lover doesn’t want his beloved, or his bride because she can provide something for him, but because he simply delights in her.
Ap…

Fountains and Light

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Scripture:
Psalms 36:7-9
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
Observation:
This Psalm on the steadfast love of the Lord is an encouragement to all. We sing about this in church and praise the character of our God. In doing so, sometimes we miss out on the end of this passage where there is a reference to the “fountain of life; in your light we see light.” This is section has a meaning that draws us into an understanding of the Triune God. These are prophetic words regarding the coming of the Messiah. Jesus, the one who is the fountain of life will come, and in him, through the power of the Spirit, we will receive light. That light will make it possible to see the One who is the generator of that light, the Father. The steadfast love of God is revealed in the activity o…

Real Power

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Scripture:
Acts 8:18-24 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and the chains of wickedness.” Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may happen to me.”
Observation:
Simon was “wowed” by what he saw. The power of the Holy Spirit was like nothing he had ever experienced. Seeing the business potential in this power, he wanted to know how he could get a cut of the action. 
Peter was honest with Simon and pointed out t…

Seeing Shadows

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Scripture:
Luke 11:34-36 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”
Observation:
The light of Christ is to shine into every crevice of our being. Jesus would suggest that the light enters our body through the eye. His illustration becomes quite clear because he knows that if you have healthy eyes, then you are able to receive light into your eyes. It’s when you have disease that your vision becomes clouded, filled with shadows and darkness. 
With this understanding in mind, we are asked to consider the type of light in which we are walking. Is it the light that is received by a healthy eye where everything is seen clearly? Or is the light in which we are walking the type produce…

Putting On Jesus

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Scripture:
Ephesians 6:10-17
The Whole Armor of God Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Observation:
The Ap…

Content Matters More Than Presentation

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Scripture:
1Cor. 1:26   Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Observation:
Corinthian society boasted of many orators. These were individuals who had studied the art of speech and verbal presentation. Day by day there were those who shared their points of view and opinions to the gathered people. They won their arguments with their eloquence and presentation.
Now God was calling all v…