“Would you raise your hand?” August 1

 

Would you raise your hand? - What if God gave you a dangerous assignment? Would you be willing to go? Would you raise your hand and say, "I will go and if I perish, I perish"? Our passage in Proverbs warns us about the slavery of debt and Paul, in our New Testament reading, hits us with the issue of sin and then shows us God's cure. What if God gave you a dangerous assignment? Would you be willing to go? Would you raise your hand and say, “I will go and if I perish, I perish”?

Our passage in Proverbs warns us about the slavery of debt and Paul, in our New Testament reading, hits us with the issue of sin and then shows us God’s cure.

 

Today’s Readings:
Esther 3 & 4
Psalm 89.46-52
Proverbs 22.7-8
Romans 3.1-31

 

Would you raise your hand?

 

Esther 3& 4:

If I Perish, I Perish

 

Galatians 4.29:

“But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.”

The devil has always been out to destroy that which God loves. It was no different in Esther’s day. But the good news is that the sovereign Lord was, is and always will be in control of the ultimate outcome.

Esther had found favor and become Queen, but even as Queen, her right to come into the King’s presence was limited. But now her people were in great danger and her Cousin Mordecai sent her a message to let her know she needed to petition the King on their behalf. Such a bold move could cost her life.

But Mordecai’s words to Esther encouraged her to trust in God’s sovereignty, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” and she responded in faith, “And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (vs. 16).

I, actually, think Mordecai’s question was more of a challenge than a question. Look at the rest of verse 14:

14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

What about you and me? This is the time and place that God has chosen for us to live and bring Him glory (Acts 17.26). This is the family. This is the spouse. This is the nation. This is the time.

How would you respond if standing up for God or His people could cost your life? Most of us won’t be faced with the risk of, literally, losing our lives, but we are, at times, faced with the risk of losing favor or reputation or some other temporal benefit. How would we respond?

Are we willing to take a stand? Are we willing to be used by our sovereign God for this time in the kingdom? Could we say with Esther, “I will go and if I perish, I perish”? Would you raise your hand? Would I?

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September 6 “God, tattoos, and fashion”

tattoos

Does God really care how we dress or whether we wear jewelry or have tattoos?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 3 & 4
Psalm 105.7-22
Proverbs 24.26-27
1 Corinthians 15.1-28

Isaiah 3 & 4:

Comfort for the righteous

God had sent Isaiah to warn the nation of Israel of coming judgment and the consequences of that judgment. How discouraging it must have been to the righteous people who had not turned their backs on God.

So He spoke to them through the prophet, as well. Chapter 3.10-11:

10 “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them,
For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
For the reward of his hands shall be given him.

Matthew Henry in his commentary says:

Some good people might fear that they should be involved in that ruin, and therefore God bids the prophets comfort them against those fears: “Whatever becomes of the unrighteous nation, let the righteous man know that he shall not be lost in the crowd of sinners. The Judge of all the earth will not slay the righteous with the wicked (Genesis 18:25) no, assure him, in God’s name, that it shall be well with him … and he shall be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger. He shall have divine supports and comforts, which shall abound as afflictions abound, and so it shall be well with him.” When the whole stay of bread is taken away, yet in the day of famine the righteous shall be satisfied … they kept themselves pure from the common iniquity, and therefore the common calamity is not the same thing to them that it is to others. They brought no fuel to the flame, and therefore are not themselves fuel for it.

Table with old book, quill penDr. Henry was a Puritan pastor who lived from 1662-1714 so the language is a little foreign to modern day readers but the depth of his understanding makes it worth the effort. Think about some of his comments on this passage:

He shall be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger. He shall have divine supports and comforts, which shall abound as afflictions abound, and so it shall be well with him.

Think about Daniel and his three friends. They were taken away as captives, but God gave them favor. He gave them wisdom and protected them from being forced to go against their consciences (Dan. 1). He intervened when they were condemned to death for refusing to worship idols instead of the One True God (Dan. 3, 6).

Before his life was over Daniel had served three kings, had been used to interpret dreams, had interceded for his people, and had impacted the kings and kingdoms he served.

When the whole stay of bread is taken away, yet in the day of famine the righteous shall be satisfied … 

Just as He feeds the birds of the air, God can sustain his children in the worst economic times.

… they kept themselves pure from the common iniquity, and therefore the common calamity is not the same thing to them that it is to others. They brought no fuel to the flame, and therefore are not themselves fuel for it. 

Or as Paul said in Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6.7).

What a loving Heavenly Father we serve. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13.5), to meet our needs (Matt. 6.25-34) to limit our trials (1 Cor. 10.13), and to give us wisdom (Jas. 1.5) and grace (Heb. 4.16).

immoral womanGod, tattoos, and fashion

God had been speaking in general terms in verses 10-11, but now He begins to address the women, in particular. Chapter 3.16-24:

16 The LORD says,
“The women of Zion are haughty,
walking along with outstretched necks,
flirting with their eyes,
tripping along with mincing steps,
with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
the LORD will make their scalps bald.”
18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery. the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench;
instead of a sash, a rope;
instead of well-dressed hair, baldness;
instead of fine clothing, sackcloth;
instead of beauty, branding.

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August 28 “Money without peace & contentment”

money in handMoney without peace, contentment, and someone to share it with truly is futility. And if we take it for granted or live like there is no tomorrow, we may find we are working only to give it away or wake up and find it all gone.

Today’s Readings:
Ecclesiastes 4-6
Psalm 102.18-28
Proverbs 24.5-6
1 Corinthians 9.1-27

Ecclesiastes 4-6:

Money without peace & contentment

In this portion of Ecclesiastes, Solomon begins talking about the futility of money for money’s sake.

Better a handful with quietness 
Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind (4.6).

What good is an abundance of money with no peace or contentment?

There is one alone, without companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors,
Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.
But he never asks,
“For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”
This also is vanity and a grave misfortune (4.8).

What good is much success and no one to share it with?

Chapter 5 also warns us to be careful with our words.

“Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?” (5.6).

How easy it is to let our mouths get us in trouble!

There is also a warning against discontent and greed. Look at verse 10 in the New Living Translation:

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! (5.10).

And chapter 6 warns against taking the blessings of God for granted.

2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction (6.2)

We might say it this way: it’s better to find peace and contentment with a modest income than to be constantly working to pay a huge mortgage and trying to keep our heads above water, while appearing to “have it all.”

images[11] (2)

God blesses us so we can be a blessing, not so we can hoard it, use it strictly for our own pleasure, lord it over others, or get proud and boastful. 1 Corinthians 4.7 says:

7 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

As God provides for us, let’s pray for the wisdom to use it wisely. If we take it for granted and live like there is no tomorrow we may wake up and find it all gone. Continue reading

August 1 “Would you raise your hand?”

hands raised, send meWhat if God gave you a dangerous assignment? Would you be willing to go? Would you raise your hand and say, “I will go and if I perish, I perish”?

Today’s Readings:
Esther 3 & 4
Psalm 89.46-52
Proverbs 22.7-8
Romans 3.1-31

Esther 3 & 4:

If I perish, I perish

Galatians 4.29:

“But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.”

The devil has always been out to destroy that which God loves. It was no different in Esther’s day. But the good news is that the sovereign Lord was, is and always will be in control of the ultimate outcome.

Esther had found favor and become Queen, but even as Queen, her right to come into the King’s presence was limited. But now her people were in great danger and her Uncle Mordecai sent her a message to let her know she needed to petition the King on their behalf. Such a bold move could cost her life.

But Mordecai’s words to Esther encouraged her to trust in God’s sovereignty, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” and she responded in faith, “And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (vs. 16).

Actually, I think Mordecai’s question was more of a challenge than a question. Look at the rest of verse 14:

14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

What about you and me? This is the time and place that God has chosen for us to live and bring Him glory (Acts 17.26). This is the family. This is the spouse. This is the nation. This is the time.

How would you respond if standing up for God or His people could cost your life? Most of us won’t be faced with the risk of losing our lives, but we are, at times, faced with the risk of losing favor or reputation or some other temporal benefit. How do we respond?

Are we willing to take a stand? Are we willing to be used by our sovereign God for this time in the kingdom? Could we say with Esther, “I will go and if I perish, I perish”? Would I? Would you?

Continue reading