Tag Archives: Trinity

Deuteronomy 1; Psalms 81, 82; Isaiah 29; 3 John 1

The Lord says:

“These people worship me with their mouths,

and honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

Their worship is based on

nothing but human rules.

So I will continue to amaze these people

by doing more and more miracles.

Their wise men will lose their wisdom;

their wise men will not be able to understand.” Isaiah 29:13-14 (NCV)

Their worship is based on nothing but human rules. (NCV)

They act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it. (MSG)

Their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. (NLT)

Their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning]. (AMP)

Their ‘fear of me’ is just a mitzvah – [a good deed performed out of religious duty] – of human origin. (CJB)

Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized. (GNT)

Their worship of Me consists of man-made traditions learned by rote; it is a meaningless sham. (VOICE)

I recently had a conversation with a friend of the family about faith. He told me that he hates religion. Being a nonbeliever, I think he was trying to bait me, hoping I would get offended by his comments, so he could prove that Christians (or at least me) are hypocrites.

My response: I hate religion too. (I think he was a little shocked, never expecting such words to come from the mouth of a missionary).

To make myself clear…I LOVE Jesus. Being in relationship with a Heavenly Father, a Holy Trinity who loves me with an everlasting love is life-altering. My faith in Him gives me the ability to have compassion for the people society has rejected deeming them unworthy with no more value than heaped trash. My belief in Him has allowed me to witness miraculous transformations and partake in the changing of lives, of destinies.

I decided at the beginning of my journey with God that it could never be about “Christianese” and being holier-than-thou. I want ‘real’ and ‘relevant’ instead of artificial rituals. I need the Word of God to come alive, not just be lifeless sentences in an ancient book. I desire a five senses, experiential knowledge of the Savior who gave His life for me. I crave relationship over religiosity, freedom opposed to a ball-and-chain.

If I am going to follow Jesus it has to be a full-on commitment rooted in Him, one where He is seamlessly integrated into my life from morning to night: When I sit. When I walk. When I push my daughters on swings or run to stop my oldest from running into the street. When I lie down. When I rise. When I am bleary eyed and exhausted. When I am washing dishes and folding mounds of laundry. When life is a cake walk. And, when it is a scary, chaotic mess.

My commitment to worship my King originates from my heart, from the created to the Creator. It is initiated by love and longing, not by unattainable rules created by fear, overcomplicated regulations created by man to foster guilt and condemnation.

And so, I choose to worship with adoration Father, who offers me an easy yoke and a light burden. I choose to worship with reverence Son, who beckons me to come and grants rest. I choose to worship with devotion Holy Spirit who gives helps me and produces the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life. (Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:16-17; Galatians 5:22-23).

Yesappa, help me to never turn to rules and regulations, to traditions instead of to You. Help my worship be true, and worthy of Your Glory. Help my heart stay close to Yours; write my name on Your palm and mark me with Your seal upon my forehead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 3 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalm 68, 72, 86; John 14

There are so many rich verses and passage in today’s reading, ones that most believers know as rote, but there was one that stood out to me, as if it was highlighted in my Bible.

“I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back.”  John 14:18 (MSG)

Other versions use the words I will not leave you comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless, fatherless, I will not leave you all alone, I will not leave you without help, I will not abandon you…

Having never been an orphan in the true sense of the word, one who is without parents, my main understanding of this word comes from my work among the orphaned in India. My husband and I live and work in an orphanage. Every child has lost one or both parents to death. Their extended families do not have the resources or the capacity to care for these children and so they are brought to us to house, feed, nurture, and raise in the ways of the Lord. They have been abandoned more than once in their short, little lives.

Even though I am not an orphan physically, in many areas of my life at times, I have felt all alone, helpless, unsupported, abandoned, and rejected. I think everyone on earth has probably felt this way at some point in life. Another who felt that way at different times in his life was David.

In so many of his Psalms he writes, prays, and sings about those times when his enemies are upon him, hating him, wishing him dead; he expresses the frustration and desolation of being pursued and scorned. He prays to God for help, safety, protection, vindication; he puts his trust in the only God who loves him and will always be there for him – just like he will always be there for me…and everyone.

Father of orphans,
champion of widows
,
is God in his holy house.
God makes homes for the homeless,
leads prisoners to freedom
Psalm 68:5-6 (MSG)

 Blessed be the Lord—
day after day he carries us along.
He’s our Savior, our God, oh yes!
He’s God-for-us, he’s God-who-saves-us
Psalm 68:19-20 (MSG)

Because he rescues the poor at the first sign of need,
the destitute who have run out of luck.
He opens a place in his heart for the down-and-out,
he restores the wretched of the earth.
He frees them from tyranny and torture—
when they bleed, he bleeds;
when they die, he dies
. Psalm 72:12-14 (MSG)

You’re well-known as good and forgiving,
bighearted to all who ask for help.
Pay attention, God, to my prayer;
bend down and listen to my cry for help.
Every time I’m in trouble I call on you,
confident that you’ll answer
. Psalm 86:5-7 (MSG)

But you, O God, are both tender and kind,
not easily angered, immense in love,
and you never, never quit.
So look me in the eye and show kindness,
give your servant the strength to go on,
save your dear, dear child!
Make a show of how much you love me
so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed,
As you, God, gently and powerfully
put me back on my feet
.
Psalm 86:15-17 (MSG)

In John, Jesus also reminds that when He leaves for a time, the Father will send another person of Himself – Holy Spirit – to comfort help and guide; a person who will abide with me forever (John 14:16). And, multiple times throughout both the Old and the New Testaments, God promises He will “never leave me nor forsake me” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Hebrews 13:5).

All persons in the Trinity of God have promised me that they will never disappear, never forsake, never abandon, never leave me without comfort or help. Because God promised this, and because I know that it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18), I can be certain that I will never be an orphan in the spirit.

Yesappa, thank you for Your promise to never leave me as an orphan and to be with me forever. You are continually coming toward me, not matter what I do, no matter what I am struggling with. You love me with an everlasting love which I will never be able to match, but still You will always be there for me, helping me, protecting me, providing for me, and comforting me. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

2 Chronicles 11,12; Revelation 2; Zephaniah 3; John 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.   John 1:1-5

The opening of John’s gospel has quickly become one of my favorite Bible passages.  I’d largely ignored it in the past, but that changed last year when my daughter had to memorize the first 13 verses to deliver for her school’s annual speech competition.  I practiced it with her so often that I learned it myself, and with every repetition I saw more of the riches of meaning packed into the words.

  • The mystery of the Trinity both compounded and clarified
  • The confirmation of Christ’s timelessness
  • The declaration of Christ as our Creator
  • The revelation of Christ as the source of all life and light (knowledge, wisdom, grace,  TRUTH!) that darkness cannot overcome

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God —  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.                    John 1:9-13

The Light came into this world.  In doing so He gave up EVERYTHING, doing the very thing He later demanded of the rich young ruler.  He stepped down from His eternal throne, willingly giving up control of His divine abilities to the will of His Father.  In the truest sense He was never outside the plan of His Father, yet in another sense the True Light put Himself at the mercy of the helplessly blind.  As the world, we were so blind that we could not even recognize Light when we saw it.  We didn’t know our Maker when we met Him.  How incredible!

Yet, the Third Person of the Trinity worked in the hearts of some, just as He more recently worked within my own.  We were given sight, we saw the True Light, and we were given (unearned!) the right to become a child of God!  Reborn not from our own will, but of God’s alone.

Heavenly Father, as we continue into the Christmas season, I thank you for the revelation and reminder of who your Son truly is.  I renew my admission that I could never have broken through my blindness to recognize Him on my own.  I am a new man because of You and You alone.  Please mature me and pull me deeper into the Light with each passing day, and please use me to spread this Light to the blind I encounter every day!  Amen.

Michael    (mmattix)

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Filed under 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament