Monthly Archives: February 2011

Exodus 6; Luke 9; Job 23; I Corinthians 10

 It’s February.  So as I type this, I lay in bed under a bunch of blankets.   The heat is turned up and there is a cup of coffee at my side.  I’m warm and cozy.  It’s 19 degrees outside.  I DREAD those first 5 minutes driving to work before the car warms up.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”   Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”   Luke 9:57-58

 I love spending time with my family. During the most ordinary of times, while watching television or having dinner, there is no place I would rather be than with my family.  So, naturally I give priority to my family on significant occasions such as weddings and funerals.

He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”   Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”    Luke 9:59-60

I’m a planner.  I can see myself doing something momentous for the Lord, but it would have to be well planned. For example, if I was headed off to a mission field, I would need the time to make sure all my affairs were in order at home, before I left.

 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:61-62

This is a tough passage!  I’ve studied it myself and researched what many commentators have said hoping to find the loophole.  The bottom line is that Jesus is telling me that my comfort, societal norms, and my preferences are of little value compared to following him.  The work he has set out for me is urgent and requires great personal sacrifice.

Am I listening?

Lord,

I confess that I struggle with the cost of following you.  Provide me a glimpse of the treasure that lies ahead of me that I may more willingly leave all behind to follow you.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

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Filed under 66 Books, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

Ex. 5; Luke 8; Job 22; I Cor. 9

I like it when people like me.

I like affirmation. I like acknowledgement. I like acceptance.

But I’m no use as an instrument if all I’m interested in is favor in the eyes of others.

So the verse “all things to all people” is a verse that has caused a lot of personal turmoil for me. Initially, it seemed to me that Paul was bending over backwards just to be relevant to people.

Paul, you’re saying that you compromised your identity, your religious and political beliefs, your personal freedoms in Christ just to bring the gospel to people?

Yes.

But, I did some commentary footwork to find that Paul had boundaries.

He became weak to the weak. He “denied himself for their sakes…to gain their souls.”

But he did not “despise nor judge them…and was careful to lay no stumbling block in their way.”

I think that the “what” he did or did not do was significantly less important than the “why” he shared the gospel.

The focus was never inward — always upward.

The focus was not to be popular — but to gain souls.

When I find the courage to share my faith, I find myself caught up in the tension between being relevant and bringing the gospel in its purest form. My “self” wants to engage in the things they engage in, be witty and funny, use their vocabulary to attract attention to myself.

But the Spirit of Jesus who dwells in me yearns to use these things to draw my friends into a rich and relevant relationship with Himself.

Jesus,

I need the strength to be weak.

To be weak to my friends who are weak and who lack their understanding of You. To be weak to my tendency to just want my friends to like me. To be weak to remain weak. Would You be my strength?

I believe You will.

– christiancourier517

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Exodus 4; Luke 7; Job 21; 1 Corinthians 8

Then Moses answered, “What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:1)

Fear.  Insecurity.  Doubt.  Lack of faith.

So God has Moses throw down his staff.  It turns into a snake.  When Moses picks it up it is a staff again.  God shows Moses how he can perform other miracles in His name.

But Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent — either in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant — because I am slow and hesitant in speech.” (Exodus 4:10)

Excuses.  Fear.

So God continues to work on Moses.

Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth?  Who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind?  Is it not I, Yahweh?  Now go!  I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:11)

Good grief, Moses!

Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.” (Exodus 4:12)

Terror.  Lack of faith.  Insecurity.

So I’m thinking God is getting slightly annoyed at this point…

The the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and He said, “Isn’t Aaron the Levite your brother?  I know he can speak well… You will speak with him and tell him what to say.  I will help both you and him to speak and will teach you both what to do.” (Exodus 4:14-15)

God’s patience.  God’s compassion.  God’s willingness to help us in our desperation.

I am so much like Moses.  So many times out of fear, insecurity, doubt, and confusion, I panic.  I worry.  I freak out.

Good grief, Suzie.

God promises me that He is with me.  He will never leave me.  He will never forsake me.  There is nothing that will separate me from Him.  In fact, because I have accepted Christ’s death for the forgiveness of my sins, I have God’s Holy Spirit living in me.  Wow!  I don’t need to be afraid.  I don’t need to doubt.  I just need to trust.  God really does know what is best for me.  He loves me.  His will for me is to draw near to Him through every trial and life circumstance.

As a believer in Him, God wants to use my life to further His Kingdom.  In my own frailty and weakness, I will never be able to accomplish great things for God.  It is only when I rely on His strength and power that I can have an incredible impact for Him.

God, thank You for loving me so much.  Thank you that You are so patient with me.  Lord, I am so grateful that I don’t have to be fearful or insecure.  With You all things are possible.  Help me to trust You in all that I do.  I pray, Lord, that I would walk by faith, knowing that You are sovereign.  Please help my unbelief, Lord.  You are faithful and true.  I praise Your holy name.

Suzie (suzielawyer)


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Filed under 66 Books, Exodus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament

Exodus 3; Luke 6; Job 20; I Corinthians 7

I have a love/hate attitude toward ‘Bible stories’.  I like them because of how they so easily introduce young children to the power, imagination, and the goodness of their Creator. On the other hand, as an adult I’ve discovered great and (in hindsight) possibly obvious truths I’d been numbed to because I considered some passages of scripture so familiar from my childhood that I neglected to reexamine them from an adult’s perspective. Jesus’ ‘Wise and Foolish Builders’ metaphor is but the latest example.

 

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”  Luke 6:46-49

 

I’ve long been impacted by Luke 6:46.  What I’ve never noticed before is that it immediately precedes the wise and foolish builders.  Jesus points out the striking irrationality of recognizing Him as Lord, but declining to obey Him.  Then He offers the story of the wise and foolish builders as a motivation for our obedience.  Jesus paints a picture explaining that God’s commands protect us from the calamity that would otherwise come with the storms of life that arise from time to time.

I found myself caught off guard as I read the passage this time. I notice that Jesus isn’t saying “Obey me because it is right, obey me because I deserve it, obey me because I am God.” He would be justified in saying any of that, and all of it is true. What does He instead choose to say? “Obey me because my commands are a means through which I protect you.”

 

John 14:21 immediately came to mind.

21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.

It says that:

Obedience to His Commands = Our Love for Him

This relationship is not new to me.  However, what I’m seeing in Luke 6 for the first time is that this has a reciprocal equation.  As a dad, protecting my family is one of the ways I express my love for them.  Therefore, I’m seeing in Jesus’ words:

His Commands = His Love for Us.

(You know you’re an engineer when you can turn Bible verses into equations.)

 

His commands provide us an outlet for our love for Him, and they are a practical means through which He protects and blesses us.  In His demand for our obedience, He’s actually inviting us to let Him love us.  Even as He requires from me the obedience He deserves, He’s offering me something I could never deserve.

Dear God, thank you for your commands. Thank you for your protection. Thank you for your love!

mmattix

 

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Filed under Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Uncategorized

Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; I Corinthians 6

We’ve all heard it. Most of us have even said it. “Because I said so.”

Usually this is said out of exhaustion when your child asks why they have to do what you just told them to do. While we usually try to give a good explanation, sometimes the best answer is simply “Because I said so.” It means “I am the parent. I know better than you do. I am in charge. Do as I say. I’m not in the mood to discuss this anymore.”

In Luke 5 Jesus tells Simon to let down his nets in the deep water. 

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:5 NIV)

Simon is obedient, even when it didn’t make sense.  He did mention that he has tried that and failed but he doesn’t argue with Jesus, he simply obeys. To his surprise, the catch is huge!!

How many times have I dismissed what Jesus tells me to do because I think I know better? After all, haven’t I tried that before and failed? Maybe those commands of Jesus are for other people. People who haven’t tried before and failed. Not me. Been there, done that, got the T shirt but no real success. But when I read this in Luke 5 I can’t help but think… What have I missed out on because I didn’t simply do what Jesus told me to do?

suegraff

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