“How would you fill in the blank?” March 14

 

How would you fill in the blank? - Fill in the blanks: "I won't be happy until ____________." "I must have ___________." What do your answers have to do with your worship?Fill in the blanks: “I won’t be happy until ____________.” “I must have ___________.” What do your answers have to do with your worship?

 

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 25 & 26
Psalm 34.1-7
Proverbs 11.28
Mark 13.21-37

 

How would you fill in the blank?

 

Numbers 25 & 26:

Modern Day Idolaters

 

As we see God’s swift and strong judgment on sin in the Old Testament, we need to remember a couple of things. First, He was protecting the people and the bloodline through which He was going to bring forth the Messiah.

But second, though God is patient and merciful with us in our sin and idolatry, it doesn’t mean He’s changed His mind about sin! It’s only the blood of Christ that keeps us from a similar fate and it was the mercy and love of God that made provision for our salvation. And how great a salvation it is!

We tend to write off the idea that we, too, are idolaters. We may or may not bow down to carved images, but we are frequently guilty of having other things on the throne of our hearts besides God Himself. Things like: I must have a spouse to be happy; I must have a godly husband; I must have a wife who respects me, I must have obedient children; or some other, “I must ..” Even good things can become idols if they are the focal point of our lives in the place of God.

Ask yourself, “Is there something or someone I think I cannot be happy without?”

Our idols can become so important that they blind us (Ezek. 14.1-8). In our blindness we can begin to justify sin or even refuse to see that it exists. We murmur and complain like the children of Israel in the wilderness. We compromise our moral standards, resort to sinful anger, or give in to fear.

When we do, it is sin—pure and simple. No amount of sugar coating will change it, but the answer is just as simple Continue reading

June 28 “Are you ready?”

confidence when He comes

Revelation 22.20, ““Surely I am coming quickly.” Are you ready?

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 19 & 20
Psalm 78.26-33
Proverbs 19.27-29
Acts 8.26-40

1 Chronicles 19 & 20:

Confidence at His coming

Did you notice how God omitted any mention David’s sin with Bathsheba here in 1 Chronicles and how it focuses, instead, on God’s redemptive work and His covenant with David? It’s much like what will happen to us when our redemption is fully realized and we stand before Him at the judgment seat of Christ. Whatever we have done will be tried by fire and those things we did for Christ with a pure heart will be purified like gold, silver and precious stones and that which was worthless will be burned up like wood, hay and stubble (1 Cor. 3.12-15).

That does not mean that we won’t answer to God for those things. Jesus said we will give an account for every idle word that we speak (Matt. 12.36). And 1 John 2 says:

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Continue reading

May 2 “Golden tumors, good works, salvation & Christ’s return”

God is a merciful God. He’s offered us the free gift of salvation. It’s available to any and all who will come to Him in faith and repentance. But there’s coming a day when He will return for His people … Are you ready?

Christ's second return

Photo courtesy Jody Davis, Creative Commons

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 6 & 7
Psalm 55.1-8
Proverbs 15.14
Luke 21.20-38

1 Samuel 6 & 7:

Golden tumors

In yesterday’s reading God had allowed the Philistines to defeat the nation of Israel and to capture the ark of God. The Philistines mistakenly thought their god Dagon had also defeated the God of Israel, but they soon learned differently. When they placed the ark in Dagon’s temple, the statue of Dagon fell over and the second time its head and hands were broken off. And when they moved the ark, the people were plagued with tumors and death.

ark of the covenant

Photo courtesy Ben Schumin, Creative Commons

They soon realized they needed to return it to Israel! So they made an elaborate plan to return it. Part of the plan was to include a sacrifice of five golden tumors and five golden rats as a representative of and payment for their sin.

Can you imagine having to announce your sin to everyone? It reminded me of the woman in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel The Scarlet Letter. She had to wear a giant scarlet “A” sewn to her dress so everyone would know she was an adulteress.

1 John 1.9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Aren’t you glad God made a provision for us to humbly come to Him and confess our sins, instead of commanding us to display golden images of our “tumors”? Jesus allowed Himself to be publicly displayed and humiliated so we don’t have to be.

There are times when we do need to confess our sins to others and rare times when our sin has affected a larger group and we need to go “public” with our confession and repentance, but the only sacrifice required is a contrite heart (Ps. 51.17). Merely saying “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. We must humbly ask God and those we have hurt to forgive us. Then we are to bear the fruit of repentance (Matt. 3.8; Lk. 3.8)—make the changes necessary to demonstrate a changed heart! Continue reading

March 14 “Fill in the blank”

Fill in the blanks. “I won’t be happy until ____________.” “I must have ___________.” What does your answer have to do with your worship?

idolatry

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 25 & 26
Psalm 34.1-7
Proverbs 11.28
Mark 13.21-37

Numbers 25 & 26:

Our sinful idolatry

As we see God’s swift and strong judgment on sin in the Old Testament, we need to remember a couple of things. First, He was protecting the people and the bloodline through which He was going to bring forth the Messiah. But second, though God is patient and merciful with us in our sin and idolatry, it doesn’t mean He’s changed His mind about sin! It’s only the blood of Christ that keeps us from a similar fate and it was the mercy and love of God that made provision for our salvation. And how great a salvation it is!

We tend to write off the idea that we, too, are idolaters. We may or may not bow down to carved images, but we are frequently guilty of having other things on the throne of our hearts besides God Himself. Things like: I must have a spouse to be happy; I must have a godly husband; I must have a wife who respects me, I must have obedient children; or some other, “I must ..” Even good things can become idols if they become the focal point of our lives in the place of God.

Ask yourself, “Is there something or someone I think I cannot be happy without?” Our idols can become so important that they blind us (Ezek. 14.1-8). In our blindness we can begin to justify sin or even refuse to see that it exists. We murmur and complain like the children of Israel in the wilderness. We compromise our moral standards, resort to sinful anger, or give in to fear.

When we do, it is sin—pure and simple. No amount of sugar coating will change it, but the answer is just as simple—to repent and turn away from our idols (Ezek. 14.6), receive God’s provision of forgiveness and seek His help to grow and change, beginning with trusting in His wisdom and timing. Continue reading