Author Archives: ps.anglin

Judg. 19; Acts 23; Jer. 33; Ps. 3,4

Today’s readings were disturbing: rape, murder, a vengeful mob, and David on the lamb from his enemies.

Sometimes the weight of the personal struggles around me is difficult to bear. Marital strife, broken relationships, struggles with fear and insecurity, conflict within the church, addictions, an accident, life changing injuries, death and despair… where does it end?

Is there any hope at all?

“But this is what the Lord says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.”  (Jeremiah 33:25-26 NLT)

Mercy – delivering us from the path and punishment we rightly deserve.

He is merciful.

We will be delivered.

Everything will be made right again.

Hence we continue to HOPE

… and yet, God is bringing HOPE to the world NOW, through Christ and those who are “In Christ.”

Am I part of that solution?

Or do I continue to be part of the human problem?

What would it take to move from one to the other?

paul

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Filed under Jeremiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament

Judg. 5; Acts 9; Jer. 18; Mark 4

When I first began reading, I went right to Mark 4 and the parable of the sower.  I love the gospels, parables, and really anything that Jesus said. We can learn so much not only from the words he says, but the way in which he says them (context, audience, language)

Questions from the parable-

Where would I put myself in this parable? Am I the shallow rocky soil? Am I being choked out by the thorns?

How is my growth? Am I springing up quickly with no roots?

When Jesus talks about the seed, it has already begun to grow. The things he says can be relevant to those who are not Christians. Who do they surround themselves with and how is it affecting their hearts? However, his disciples are present and when he is alone with them he clarifies that he was also speaking to them.

How am I spending my time? Am I working 40 hours a week, and spending all my free time on selfish endeavors yet wondering why I am distant from my family, and my growth in Christ is stifled?

The Christian life is a simple one. We can analyze and over-analyze each scripture, we can venture into the Greek roots of words and argue Wesleyan vs. free grace theologies. These things can all be very helpful and I enjoy venturing deep into the meanings of scripture and discussing the harder/more confusing areas of the Bible. But if I have no roots (Mark 4:6) then when the sun comes out I will be scorched.

Who do I spend time with? Am I living a solid, balanced Christian life as defined by Jesus?

Lord give me a discerning heart. What I allow into my heart is what inevitably will come out of me. Help me to be a friend, a son, and a companion who is caring and promoting growth in Christ. I know the happiness you can bring so help me to be an example of all that you’ve done in my life. I am so thankful. As you said ‘iron sharpens iron’ let it be so in my life as I relate to the people around me. In your holy name, amen.

Sam (gueston66books)

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Filed under Mark, New Testament

Judg. 3; Acts 7; Jer. 16; Mark 2

Some folks spoke out against Stephen charging him with blasphemy. Maybe it was because he spoke “full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8)

In the first 50 chapters of Acts 7, Stephen in front of the religious leaders, recaps God’s interaction with His chosen people. I can’t help but think the temple leaders pridefully enjoyed this historical review… until Stephen turns the tables on the religious leaders and confronts them with their own sinfulness.

“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” (Acts 7:51-53)

The Jewish leaders were “cut to the heart”, they were “infuriated.” Stephen doesn’t back down, he continues until the leaders “put their hands over their ears and began shouting”

Stephen is then cast out and killed, not for blasphemy, but for bringing the guilty face to face with truth – the truth about who Jesus is and who they are, and the chasm of sin that separates the two.

Ultimately the Truth convicts, and conviction hurts – it’s painful. That’s why the Truth is difficult to hear, that’s why even as Christians we may be tempted to “cover our ears” from time to time. The Truth about Christ and the truth about who we are can be a stumbling block to hearing the facts.

Lord strengthen me to “hear” the Truth… always. I know you have much to say to me – through the Word, the Spirit and fellow believers. May I be one who is willing to listen, willing to hear… and never one to “cover my ears.” Amen.

Paul

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Filed under Acts, New Testament

Josh. 10, Ps.142-143, Jer. 4, Matt. 18

On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said,

“Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,

and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”

So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies. (Joshua 10:12-13)

This might just be the most radical examples of answered prayer recorded in the pages of scripture. The likelihood of the earth ceasing to rotate for “about a whole day” (ESV) is as likely as a couple of guys surviving a fiery oven or… dead folks being raised to life – it just doesn’t happen – or does it?

Bold prayer in my prayer book is praying for things that are at least within the realm of possibility, that is, things that are naturally possible. The problem with those prayers, at least from the perspective of bringing glory to God is that they can always be chalked up to ‘coincidence’ and explained away. I’m speaking primarily in the sense of how the unbelieving world might perceive answered prayer.

  • I can learn from Joshua to be bold in prayer.

The other aspect of Joshua’s prayer that astounds me is his decision to pray such a prayer publicly. I’ve been hesitant to pray with my children over lost toys – what if we don’t find them? Will my kids be disappointed in God? Will it shake their faith? So I often find myself praying quietly in the silence of my own mind, I find there is much less risk to God’s honor this way in the event He “chooses not to answer.”

  • I can learn from Joshua that bold prayers can be prayed publicly without fear of making God look bad.

How foolish my feeble mind is – to think that God would waste His glory hidden in the closet of my mind. His power and might exists to be seen, to be witnessed, and from that comes glory, honor and praise!

I’m not suggesting that this is formulaic. I’m not suggesting there is always a connection between praying both boldly and publicly and realizing the answer to those prayers. I am suggesting that there is a time and place that warrants this type of prayer.

Lord may I learn to pray boldly, publicly and unashamedly, and Lord help me know when and how to pray such prayers. Amen.

Paul

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Filed under Joshua, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament

Deut. 29, Ps.119:49-72, Isa. 56, Matt. 4

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him…” Matt 4:1-3

This was Jesus’ preparation for public ministry. In order to prepare himself for the temptation to come, Jesus fasted. That is, He willingly and purposefully placed himself in a weakened state. Sounds like a bad idea, but it was brilliant, it was counter-intuitive.

If I knew temptation was coming, I’d make sure I was well rested and well-fed. I would prepare myself for battle by strengthening myself… in myself.

Jesus prepared for ‘battle’ – temptation in preparation for his public ministry – not by strengthening himself in himself, but by strengthening himself in God the Father. For Jesus, fasting signified surrender to the Father’s will. It was the ultimate act of humility and the only way to prepare for the ministry God had for Him.

Surrender through fasting actually strengthened Him and gave Him the ability to resist the temptation. He was in a sense in His strongest place – fully surrendered to the Father.

I’ve never fasted, at least not that I can remember. And yet as I read this story of tempting and testing, of preparation and perseverance, of victory over Satan, of God’s strength in human weakness – I know I’ve had plenty of reason and opportunity to fast.

The next time I come to the end of myself, when all human wisdom is exhausted, when my knowledge of God and scripture fails to provide what I think I need, or when I am asked to do something I know I cannot do in my own strength… I pray I remember to take my cue’s from Jesus and consider the path of hunger. Maybe in some way fasting will make me acutely aware of my weakness and more aware of God’s strength and His ability to sustain me when I rely on Him.

Paul

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