Author Archives: lisalibdan

Job 1-3; Acts 7:1-19

Job lost his 500 oxen, 500 female donkeys, vary many servants, and his sons and daughters all on the same day. Job had everything beside his wife stripped from him.

His response?

Job tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped the Lord.

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?  In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:10b

Job was not denying his pain – tearing his robe and shaving his head were significant representation of grief; however, he brought his grief to the Lord and chose not to sin.

So what is Sin?

Tim Keller puts it well:

Nearly everyone defines sin as breaking a list of rules. Jesus, though, shows us that a man who has violated virtually nothing on the list of moral misbehaviors can be every bit as spiritually lost as the most profligate, immoral person. Why? Because sin is not just breaking the rules, it is putting yourself in the place of God as Savior, Lord, and Judge (Prodigal God page 43).

While Job was in tremendous pain he chose to still worship God instead of lashing out in anger and bitterness. Anger and bitterness is communicating that God does not have control and he does not know what he is doing. Job chose not put himself as God and say I know a better way. He simply brought his brokenness to God.

As I am personally wrestling through a challenge it is easy to want to play God, ask why, and be bitter. I am reminded by Job to trust that God does have a plan and that I am called to say, “Lord, you are good and you are the giver of good things – even if they are hard – I give you the situation and my brokenness.”

 

 

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2 Chronicles 32-33; John 18:24-40

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Back-story: “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus answered to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I just die with you, I will not deny you!” Matthew 26:33-34

Following Jesus is a bumpy path. It is easy to say, “Yes Lord I will….” But in the thick of it it is more difficult to follow through on the promise. While this passage only shows Peter’s failure as Peter’s life unfolds Peter lives up to his words and dies in Jesus’ name.

Peter must have felt scared that night, I would have, he was facing people who were powerful and unsupportive of Jesus, and he hid behind a lie.

The part of this story that can be easily overlooked, but is the most important, is this:
Jesus already knew Peter would deny him and he still invited Peter to walk with him, follow him, and eventually lead the new Christian movement.

Jesus looks beyond the denial, beyond the flaws, and says, “Follow me.”

Lisa

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Chronicles 20-22; John 10:22-42

What is salvation worth? When I read through John 10 I cannot imagine people standing before me with stones; yet Jesus stands firm and speaks truth.

“I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”

We are called to do what we know how to do – follow – and Jesus will do the rest. People who do not know Jesus may consider what I believe to be blasphemy; but it is not my job to convince them only to exemplify truth. I cannot let the “stones” of unbelievers cause me to waiver when I know that I have the most prized gift anyone can receive – salvation!

The religious leaders who did not believe in Jesus asked him to speak plainly, because they did not understand Jesus’ words. When people live in unbelief they are unable see clearly.  It takes the spirit’s prompting to make sense of Jesus and accept his words as truth.

I have found that when I am willing to invite God into my daily challenges – through prayer – I experience his prevailing power. I can follow him and stand firm even when I may appear to be blasphemous to an onlooker

Knowing and following Jesus all begins with Prayer.  As my relationship with Jesus becomes more intimate I can say “Yes I follow you and that is what matters and is taking priority.”

My favorite book on this is “Too Busy Not to Pray.” As a read through it again I find myself reminded that as I slow down to simply be with Him it allows me to follow and stand firm amidst the trials that my life brings.

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2 Kings 9-11; John 5:1-24

The healing at the Pool on the Sabbath

Do you want to be healed? Do you want to walk again?

Jesus offers this gift to those who are willing to believe. He extends his hand to the broken – blind, lame paralyzed – Jesus sees past the brokenness and extends grace. Jesus follows the works of his Father and invites broken people into wholeness.

This simple story paints a picture of God’s character. The God who is able to do all things has his precious son healing the broken and inviting them to choose to believe.

When I read through scripture it is easy to say “What do I need to take away?”  Today before drawing any conclusion I said, “God what do you want me to see in your word? Who are you?”   I am challenged to slow down and read over a passage multiple times to see Jesus.

This particular passage is a declaration of God’s grace, his gift of salvation and our example of how to reach out to the broken as well as how to receive God’s healing when we need to be humble and invite Him in.

God – you are reaching out your hand daily inviting me to come with you. Remind me to want to come with you and accept your invitation each morning anew. I want to live out  my belief in you.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life .

 

 

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1 Samuel 17-18; Luke 15:1-10

As a middle school teacher I am always creating lesson plans and worksheets filled with questions. It is my goal to help students become thinkers and innovators.  Because I am not a natural writer I stress about what to write and how to word it (today included!). What is the best way to tackle my given passage?  Once again I found myself unsure of where to start so I started with what I know – science – research – knowledge. I started researching sheep! Sheep are funny animals. There are many ways to raise them, care for them, make a profit by them, and protect them. Sheep are needy and quite helpless without a caregiver. Their tails get cut so that they stay healthy from disease, there are all types of fences and houses to keep the predators out… the list is long and complicated. If you are a sheep farmer it is important to know all of the cutting edge research and technology to keep your sheep safe.

In 2009, it was estimated that 247,200 sheep and lambs were killed by predators in the United States (USDA, 2010), costing farmers and ranchers $20.5 million. Predation accounted for 37.0 percent of sheep and lamb death losses for the year.” (http://www.sheep101.info/predators.html)

I had never stopped to think about the amount of loss that farmers and ranchers have had; however, this is exactly why Jesus refers to caring for sheep in the bible. In Luke 15 Jesus tells a parable about finding a lost sheep.

Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. Just so, I tell you there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Jesus views lost people as sheep, helpless and in need of a protector and savior. Jesus fights to save all people. Even when he has 99 he will still look for the one remaining. So I’ve posed some questions to think through, bring before Jesus and allow him to challenge me:

  • What is taking priority in my life over reaching lost people?
  • Who near me is in need of a savior and protector?
  • How can I better look for and reach out to the people who need saving in my life?
  • How do I receive the “sinner” in my life and help point him toward Jesus?
  • What does having joy like Jesus look like?
  • Why don’t I always hunt diligently to reach the lost?

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