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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Saying What the Lord Says
Sometimes the power of culture feels formidable. A lion at Kruger Park.
Numbers 24:13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the LORD says, that is what I will say’?
No amount of money from Balak could persuade Balaam to speak words beyond those that had been revealed to him by the LORD. Balak was angry because he had paid Balaam to complete a task and now he was claiming that Balaam was being either immoral or incompetent. This wasn’t the case, because Balaam had to contend with a higher authority. No amount of silver or gold could make him go against the word of the LORD. Even Balaam, whose character comes into question recognizes the authority of God. He is often associated with the old saying, “The Lord can strike a mighty blow with a crooked stick.”
Saying what the Lord says is not always the “politically correct” thing to do. Followers of Christ in many different cultures may be pressured to conform to society. We go through periods of time where that is easier, and then others, where it is much harder. Today, many Christians around the world are facing persecution for their refusal to submit to the culture, or even their government. Far too often those in power, like Balak, have a hard time understanding why a believer would stand firm in their faith.
The ruler, Balak, thought that his request made perfect sense. The same is true for our secular culture that believes wholeheartedly that their perspective makes sense. However, there is something profound that happens when you come face to face with the reality of God. Even the “crooked stick,” Balaam, was powerless to speak against the word of the LORD. You and I should humble ourselves before the LORD Almighty and realize that we are only beginning to understand the ways of God. We are the ones who need to live in obedience to what the LORD says. It’s through the life of Moses that we begin to see that the closer we are to God, the greater the requirement for obedience. When Moses was on the mountain asking to see the glory of God, he had to hide in the cleft of the rock to be protected. He had become so close to God that even a few meters of disobedience would have resulted in his death.
This conversation with Balaam is a foreshadowing of what would be required of those who follow Christ. The world may try and pressure us into doing something that is viewed as either “good or bad of my own will” but ultimately we have to stand with Balaam and declare, “what the LORD says, that is what I will say.”
Lord, please help your children to have the courage to stand and embrace what you have asked us to say. Amen.
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: Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Observation:
Peter had openly declared that Jesus was the Messiah when suddenly the conversation shifted to suffering, rejection and death. With his affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, Peter had brought with him all of the connotations of that term. Jesus was to be a great military leader, a Davidic Messiah, who would save the people from the earthly authorities. Jesus’ description was a paradigm that didn’t fit into Peter’s thinking.
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was severe. The language reflects a long and unpleasant conversation. The…
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…