“Presumptuous Sins = Shaking Your Fists at God” March 9

 

Presumptuous Sins = Shaking Your Fists at God - "Presumptuous sins" are willful disobedience, knowing something is wrong, and yet, doing it anyway! In effect, shaking our fists at God! Could you be doing so in some way?“Presumptuous sins” are willful disobedience, knowing something is wrong, and yet, doing it anyway! In effect, shaking our fists at God! Could you be doing so in some way?

 

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 15 & 16
Psalm 32.1-5
Proverbs 11.16-18
Mark 11.1-19

 

Presumptuous Sins = Shaking Your Fists at God

 

Numbers 15 & 16:

Presumptuous Sins

 

God had delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt and provided for them over and over in the wilderness. So these chapters can’t help but seem astounding, how these people rebelled again and again in spite of how God had revealed Himself to them. And yet, if we’re honest, once again … they are us and we are them!

Verse 15.30 talks about “presumptuous sins.” That is willful disobedience. It means we know it’s wrong and, yet, we do it anyway! Remember, anytime we sin, it’s first and foremost a sin against God. So when we willfully transgress the Lord’s commands to us, we’re shaking our fist at God just as Korah and his bunch did in today’s reading. Instead of fearing God, we’re rebelling against Him!

It may not be as public when we do it, so we think it’s not as bad. But remember God is looking at our hearts and nothing is hidden from Him. Romans 14.23 says, “… for whatever is not from faith is sin.” And James 4.17 says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (NASB).

 

Remember, Remember, Remember

 

Lord's supper communion 1 cor 11

 

The Nation of Israel failed to remember all that God had done for them and quickly turned back to living by their feelings, instead of walking by faith.

God, in His mercy, is constantly showing us ways to “remember.” In 15.37-41 He instructed the Israelites to put tassels on their garments to remind them of the commandments and the importance of obeying them. He was saying “remember, remember, remember”!

Today, we have the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as reminders. We hang plaques on our walls and drink our coffee out of Scripture emblazoned cups.

He has given us His written Word, great biblically sound books, teachings on the radio, on TV, on the Internet and in church. Yet, how often do we leave church after hearing a great message and, instead of “remembering,” … we, immediately, start living for ourselves, fighting and quarreling, and sinning willfully … sometimes on the way home!

In the book of numbers, even after the earth opened and swallowed up the rebels, Continue reading

“Journaling & Self-Examination” February 1

 

Journaling & Self-Examination - As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We'll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal. And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We’ll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal.

And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 13 & 14
Psalm 18.13-19
Proverbs 6.6-11
Matthew 21.1-22

 

Journaling & Self-Examination

 

Exodus 13 & 14:

The Value of Memorials

 

lightstock communion sq

As the Lord delivered the Israelites out of their 430 years of slavery in Egypt, he gave them several things that were to act as memorials for them. First, was the Passover itself.

He, also, told them the first born of all their children and animals belonged to Him. They were to sacrifice the “clean” animals (more about that later) and were to redeem or offer another sacrifice in place of those animals not appropriate for sacrificing (13.13) and they were to offer sacrifices for their firstborn sons. This was to remind them of how the Lord had spared their sons and animals when He brought the final plague on Egypt.

As we continue with our Old Testament narrative, we will repeatedly see God instruct the Nation of Israel to set up memorials. We, too, need our own memorials. It’s so easy to forget what God has done for us and, instead, get focused on what we think He hasn’t done: the prayers He hasn’t answered our way or how He hasn’t blessed us like He has blessed someone else. We need to remind ourselves about the things from which He has already delivered us and the things He has done for us.

Even, if He never did another thing, we should remember the price He paid so our sins could be forgiven. That is the central focus of the Lord’s Supper, the New Testament counterpart to the Passover. It is a memorial to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (emphasis mine)

 

Self-Examination

 

Memorials & Self-ExaminationAnother focus of the Lord Supper is to remind us to examine ourselves. In the Old Testament leaven or yeast represented sin. As the Israelites prepared to leave Egypt and each time they took the Passover, they were to examine themselves and see if there was sin in their lives. We, too, are to ask God to show us if there is unrepentant sin in our lives before we take the Lord’s Supper.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11, emphasis mine)

This isn’t the only time we should examine ourselves. The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 139:23-24:  Continue reading

“Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants?” January 31

 

Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants? - How is your parenting? Are you parenting with a true servant heart? Are you raising children who will have servant hearts when they become husbands, wives, parents, employees or bosses?

 

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant …”

How is your parenting? Are you parenting with a true servant heart? Are you raising children who will have servant hearts when they become husbands, wives, parents, employees or bosses?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 11 & 12
Psalm 18.1-12
Proverbs 6.1-5
Matthew 20.17-34

 

Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants?

 

Matthew 20.17-34:

Selfishness & Self-Promotion

 

Verses 20-23:

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.

21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?”

She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to Him, “We are able.”

23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

What a picture this passage is of our sinful, selfish nature apart from the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives! Later we will see the change in the Disciples after the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them and the other believers for the first time.

But now the Disciples, who have been with Him for a large portion of His ministry, listening to Him teach and learning from Him, are still focused on themselves. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, grown men, either convince or allow their mother to come and ask Jesus if they can be His two top advisers when He starts to rule.

It’s obvious they still don’t understand the kind of a kingdom He has come to establish. The Jews expected their Messiah to come and overthrow the oppressive Roman government, but Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom.

The rest of the Disciples weren’t much better, “And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers” (v. 24). The text continues:

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (vv. 25-28).

I have to wonder if there wasn’t a bit of a sigh, a “Don’t you guys get it?” But instead, He explained how godly, Christian leadership should look.

No matter what we are called to do in the body of Christ, whether in our personal and public ministries, or in our personal, familial and secular lives, we are called to have servant hearts. That means we are to have servant attitudes in our marriages, with our children, with our extended families, in our neighborhoods, in the work place, and in the church.

 

Raising Servants

 

girl in hoodie parenting teenHow might that look in our parenting, for example? It does not mean we wait on them hand and foot and neglect teaching them responsibility. It means we cultivate a desire to teach them respect, responsibility, and obedience, not out of a desire to make our own lives easier or to look like successful parents to others, but out of our desire to see them grow up to be godly men and women.

Serving our children includes godly, loving discipline and doing it consistently, even when we’re tired and would rather keep watching TV. It means disciplining when you have worked all day and feel guilty about it, because you know it’s what they need!

Spoiling them, catering to their every whim, giving them every toy or gadget, always letting them do what they want, is not being a loving servant to them. When our children grow up thinking they are the center of the universe and “deserve” everything they can get, we have done them a huge disservice! In fact, we have sinned against them! Ask yourself, “Am I raising the kind of son or daughter I’d want to be married to, have working for me, or have as my boss?”  Continue reading

September 1 “Passionate physical love” & LINKUP

Romantic coupleSolomon and his bride have a lot to teach us about God’s will for passionate physical love within marriage.

Today’s Readings:
Song of Solomon 1 & 2
Psalm 104.1-9
Proverbs 24.15-16
1 Corinthians 11.17-34

Song of Solomon 1 & 2:

God & sex

Just in case you didn’t think God sees sex as a good thing, think again. The Song of Solomon is a book about the sexual relationship between a man and a woman! It’s written in the form of Hebrew poetry, something most of us find somewhat foreign, but if we go through it prayerfully, I believe God will give us some great nuggets of truth. Truths that can open our minds, not just to God’s thoughts on sexual intimacy, but to the incredible love He has for us and the intimacy He desires with us. REMEMBER: Marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and His church (Eph. 5.32)! So even if you’re single, the Song of Songs has much to say to you.

young kissing coupleLet’s start with 1.2:

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is better than wine.”

According to Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus in their book Intimate Issues, the word for kiss in Hebrew is onomatopoetic, that is, it sounds like what it means. They suggest we might translate this verse, “O, that he’d give me some of his smacking kisses that take my breath away.” Continue reading

February 1 “The importance of self-examination”

Sick child

As January comes to an end and the second month of 2014 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We’ll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal.

And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually? Continue reading

January 31 “Are you raising rulers or servants?”

Happy kids

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant …” Ask yourself, “Am I raising the kind of son or daughter I’d want to be married to, have working for me, or have as my boss?”

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 11.1-10 & Exodus 12.1-51
Psalm 18:1-12
Proverbs 6:1-5
Matthew 20:17-34

Exodus 11.1-2 & 12.1-51:

The first Passover

Here we see the institution of the Jewish Passover. God is about to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage. But before Pharaoh will let them go, there will be one last plague–death of the first born.

Each Israelite family was to sacrifice a lamb and put some of the blood on the frame of the door to their house. When the death angel saw it, He was to pass over that home.

Jesus, on the night before He was arrested and the events leading up to the crucifixion began, was in the upper room celebrating the Passover with His disciples. On that night, as He was about to become the final Passover Lamb, that celebration or ordinance became what we call “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper.” It was changed because there was no longer a need for a sacrificial lamb to be slain to temporarily cover sin. Jesus fulfilled that need once and for all. Praise be to the Lamb who was slain for me and for You! Continue reading