“Honoring Imperfect Parents” August 22

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents - God clearly commands us, even as adults, to honor and respect our parents. Yet, many of us grew up in homes that were less than perfect. How do we honor parents when we believe they failed us in some way?God clearly commands us, even as adults, to honor and respect our parents. Yet, many of us grew up in homes that were less than perfect. How do we honor parents when we believe they failed us in some way?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 35 & 36
Psalm 99.1-9
Proverbs 23.22-25
1 Corinthians 4.1-21

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents

 

Proverbs 23.22-25:

Buy the Truth & Do Not Sell It

 

pearlsVerse 23, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”

Matthew 13.45-46 says:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

We should be willing to get God’s truth no matter what the cost and once we have gotten it, we should not be willing to give it up, not for wealth or fame or popularity or anything else.

 

Adult Children & Their Parents

 

As a counselor, some of the most frequent problems I see in marriages involve a failure to properly “leave and cleave.” Spouses fail to make their husbands and wives the primary human relationship. They run first to their parents when there is a problem instead of communicating biblically with their spouses. They may continue to support their parents financially against their spouse’s wishes or neglect their own family unit in other ways.

This is unbiblical and hinders the one-flesh relationship God intended in marriage. Yet, the Bible clearly calls us to honor our parents, no matter what our age.

“Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old” (v. 22).

“Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who bore you rejoice” (v. 25).

But how do you honor parents who failed in some way?

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents

 

We live in a fallen world. I don’t know anyone who grew up in a perfect home. I know I made mistakes, many of them, when raising my children. So did my parents and your parents.

I also know many adult children who refuse to see their childhood through God’s eyes. Instead, often because of unforgiveness and bitterness, they continue to view their childhood through a childish lens. As children, we all have a narrow understanding of the world. We only know how decisions and circumstances affected us. We don’t usually see the big picture.

Children may blame a single mom for leaving a marriage and destroying their home. They may never know that their father was an adulterer or an abuser because their mother didn’t want to destroy their relationship with him.

Children in blended families sometimes resent a step-parent without ever appreciating the difficulties, financial strains, and sacrifice parents and step-parents make. All they can see is that this person was NOT their biological parent. That thinking breeds resentment and rebellion in childhood and a lack of grace and thankfulness in adulthood. They may only see what they perceived as unfairness without considering their own difficult, rebellious attitudes and how that complicated the relationship.

One of the biggest issues is favoritism or perceived favoritism. Certainly, parents need to avoid sinfully favoring or comparing one child to another. Parents are not blameless in this.  Continue reading

“Are We to Forget When Others Sin Against Us?” August 2

 

Are We to Forget When Others Sin Against Us? - Are We to Forget When Others Sin Against Us?What does it mean that God “remembers our sins no more”? Does it means He forgets? Does He expect us to forget what others have done to us?

Also, have you ever wondered “Where is God?” Why doesn’t He seem to be answering my prayers? Why is he allowing this?

 

Today’s Readings:
Esther 5 & 6
Psalm 90.1-6
Proverbs 22.9
Romans 4.1-25

 

Are We to Forget When Others Sin Against Us?

 

Psalm 90.1-6:

Remembering Our Sins No More

 

Did you notice the title of this Psalm? “A Prayer of Moses the Man of God.” I love the way God remembers the good and not the bad. A few days ago in Nehemiah, David was called “the man of God.” Did God forget about David’s adultery? Did He forget that Moses struck the rock when he was told to speak to it?

He didn’t “forget,” He chose to “not remember”!

Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson, in their book Leading and Loving It, have this to say about “not remembering”:

We love this anecdote that author Linda Dillow shares [in her book Calm My Anxious Heart], about Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross. Clara was reminded of a vicious deed someone had done to her years before.

“Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came Clara’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” She had made a conscious choice to forgive a vicious deed, a conscious choice to continue forgiving when reminded of the deed. By replying, “I distinctly remember forgetting it,” Clara Barton was saying, “I remember choosing to forgive, and I still choose to forgive.”

Forgiveness is both a decision and a process. The decision is choosing to “not remember” and the process includes reminding ourselves of that and leaving the situation in God’s hands.

paidAs believers, all our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. God chooses to “not remember” them against us(Is. 43.25) and He asks us to imitate Him (Eph. 5.1) and to choose to forgive just as He has forgiven us (Eph. 4.32).

In reality, “not remembering” is different from “forgetting.” God doesn’t have amnesia and neither do we. When we sin, that sin is a debt we owe to God and others (Matt. 18.21-35). God chooses to not charge that debt to our account, but to charge it to Jesus’ account and that account was paid in full on the cross.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Esther 5 & 6:

Where is God?

 

Where is God? - Have you ever wondered "Where is God?" Why doesn't He seem to be answering my prayers? Why is he allowing this?

God is always at work, on behalf of His people, even when we can’t see what He is doing. In the book of Esther, there is no prophet, no direct words from God. God’s activities are not, at first, apparent.

But He causes a pagan king to suffer a sleepless night and to ask his servant to read to him—from a government record. What an unlikely “bedtime story.” Then God has the reader go to something that happened five years previously, concerning one of His servants, Mordecai, and his loyalty to the King! As you will remember from yesterday’s reading, Mordecai is in wicked Haman’s crosshairs.  Continue reading

“Could You Be a Contentious Woman?” July 17

 

Could You Be a Contentious Woman?

 

Could you be a contentious woman? Do you ever find yourself arguing for argument’s sake? Do you feel like it’s your job to point out the other side of the issue? Do you enjoy a good debate? Do you have to have the last word?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 30 & 31
Psalm 85.1-7
Proverbs 21.9-11
Acts 20.1-16

 

Could You Be a Contentious Woman?

 

Proverbs 21.9-11:

If the Shoe Fits?

 

Verse 9, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”

My thesaurus uses some of the following synonyms: controversial, debatable, arguable, touchy. The Encarta Dictionary defines her as, “frequently engaging in and seeming to enjoy arguments and disputes.”

Do you ever find yourself arguing for arguments sake? Do you feel like it’s your job to point out the other side of the issue? Do you enjoy a good debate? Do you have to have the last word?

Ladies, we need to ask ourselves those questions without trying to justify or minimize our actions. If we can answer “yes” to any of them, let’s ask God to help us search our hearts (Ps. 139.23-24) and help us grow and change.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

2 Chronicles 30 & 31:

What happens when God’s people come together?

 

Here in these two chapters Hezekiah calls the people to repentance and worship. He sends runners throughout the land even to the Northern Kingdom to extend the invitation. Although most of the people in the Northern Kingdom “laughed at them and mocked them,” the people of Judah came together with “singleness of heart.” What followed was a great revival with the people giving in abundance to support the priests and Levites and the operation of the temple. And when they did, God blessed them abundantly.

 

Psalm 85.1-7:

Forgiving Like God Forgives

 

Verses 2-3, “You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah. You have taken away all Your wrath. You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.”

When God forgives and covers sin, He ceases to be angry about it. We are told in Ephesians 4.32 to “forgive just as God in Christ also has forgiven us.” If we truly forgive we choose to cease being angry, too. It may take time for our feelings to completely come into line, but we can choose to treat that person with God’s love if we will rely on His grace.  Continue reading

“Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches” June 13

 

Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches - Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.


Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 14
Psalm 73.10-20
Proverbs 18.18-19
John 20.1-31

 

Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches

 

Family Feuds

Proverbs 18.18-19:

 

Verse 19, “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

If you have ever seen or been a part of a family feud, you know they can last for years, partly because of the intensity of the emotional ties. So we must seek to avoid unnecessary conflict within our families.

Family feuds are often over money, favoritism, or failure to take responsibilities seriously.

Favoritism can be real or imagined, but the sovereignty of God must always be kept in mind. If God has allowed some mistreatment or lack of favor, what character quality (Gal. 5.22-23) might He be developing in your life and how does God want you to respond?

When it comes to responsibility, whether it’s children taking responsibility for themselves or siblings taking responsibility to care for aging parents, we are accountable for ourselves regardless of what someone else does or doesn’t do. Remember God rewards those who do right with the right heart attitude.

And when it comes to money, Jesus makes it clear how Christians should respond:

 

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! (1 Cor. 6).

When we feel we are being cheated (not repaid for a debt or not given what we are due), God says to forgive and let it go. How we respond when it comes to money reveals a lot about our attitude toward God. Matthew 6:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money].

Verses 14-15 warn us to forgive those who wrong us:

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt. 6).

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16.26).

Of course, avoiding conflict must be balanced with other biblical truths. We cannot use obeying God in one area to excuse our sin in another. We can’t use peace with our parents, for instance, as an excuse for a lack of submission to our husbands. We can’t allow what our family will think or whether they will be offended, to excuse drunkenness, gossip or any other sin. Romans 12.2 tells us:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” And 12.18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

“If it is possible …” At times, even though we refrain from arguing, being self-righteous or unnecessarily contentious, there are those who do not want to be at peace with us, even in our own families. We are to be salt and light. Salt sometimes stings and light always exposes darkness. And sometimes that brings anger and rejection from others.

hands reconciliationBut while family feuds can be challenging and emotions can run high, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to reconcile those relationships. Jesus said in Matthew 5.23-24:

23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

God puts a high priority on unity and reconciliation and we should do all we can to be at peace within our biological families and within the family of God.

Is doesn’t matter who is more in the right. “The one who knows goes!”

James 4.17, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

 

God puts a high priority on unity and reconciliation and we should do all we can to be at peace within our biological families and within the family of God.

 

Family Feuds & Sissies - Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.“But you don’t know what they did to me!” No, maybe not, but Jesus does. Matthew 5:  Continue reading

“How to Forgive When You’re Not Feeling It” April 23

 

How to Forgive When You're Not Feeling It - We've all been there. We know God says we should forgive, but we're just not feeling it! We're not even sure we want to!  "After all ... it's not the first time!"  "If I forgive he'll think it's OK to do it again."  "What she said really hurt! It's time someone gave her some of her own medicine!"  "I'll forgive, but I'm not going to forget!"  "I'm just not ready to forgive."  "I don't know how to forgive when I'm not feeling it!"  It would be hypocritical to say I forgive when I don't mean it!"  What are the 3 promises of forgiveness and how can they help us forgive, even when we're not feeling it?

We’ve all been there. We know God says we should forgive, but we’re just not feeling it! We’re not even sure we want to!

“After all … it’s not the first time!”

“If I forgive he’ll think it’s OK to do it again.”

“What she said really hurt! It’s time someone gave her some of her own medicine!”

“I’ll forgive, but I’m not going to forget!”

“I’m just not ready to forgive.”

“I don’t know how to forgive when I’m not feeling it!”

It would be hypocritical to say I forgive when I don’t mean it!”

What are the 3 promises of forgiveness and how can they help us forgive, even when we’re not feeling it?

 

Today’s Readings:
Judges 11 & 12
Psalm 50.7-15
Proverbs 14.28
Luke 17.1-19

 

How to Forgive When You Aren’t Feeling It

 

Luke 17.1-19:

Increase Our Faith

 

Even the disciples struggled with this idea. Look at their conversation with Jesus in verses 3-5:

“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

“Increase our faith.” My paraphrase, “You’ve got to be kidding! Even if someone sins against me over and over in the same day and comes back saying, ‘I repent,’ I must forgive him?”

“Increase our faith.” Basically the disciples were saying, “That’s too hard. You’re going to have to give us some supernatural faith if we’re expected to do that!”

 

Faith is Not the Problem

 

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Then he went on to tell them a parable about a slave and his master.

And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 

Jesus ended the parable by saying:

10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

Jesus had not changed the subject; He was still talking about forgiveness. Faith is not the problem when we refuse to forgive, obedience is! If Jesus is truly our Lord and we His servants, we should willingly obey Him even when it is challenging or seems unfair to us. And when we step out in faith, He provides the strength and ability.

It’s important to remember that biblical forgiveness is not about feelings. Sometimes we won’t feel like forgiving. The servant in the parable probably didn’t feel like serving his master when he was hot and tired and hungry himself, but he did it as an act of obedience. So too, we are to forgive as an act of obedience, as an act of our will.

 

The Three Promises of Forgiveness

 

So how, specifically, do we do that?  Continue reading

“The Importance of Preaching the Gospel to Yourself” February 18

 

Preach the Gospel to Yourself Everyday

When do we need the Gospel? Is it a one-time thing? Does it have anything to do with our ongoing walk with God? Could focusing on it help us love God more?

Also, are we responsible for our own spiritual growth or is that the responsibility of our pastors and teachers.

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 7 & 8
Psalm 24.7-10
Proverbs 9.10-12
Mark 1.1-22

 

The Importance of Preaching the Gospel to Yourself

 

Leviticus 7 & 8:

Walking in the Truth of the Gospel

 

We’ve been reading about all the offerings under the Levitical system. Notice that a sin offering had to be made for Aaron and his sons just like all the rest of the people (8.14).

Even those God has placed in the ministry as leaders today are imperfect men and women. They are neither sinless nor infallible.

All of us must walk constantly in the truth of the Gospel. You might think, “Well, I accepted the Gospel once so that has nothing to do with me any longer.” It is true that when we accept the Gospel (the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, His forgiveness and cleansing, and are made His sons and daughters), it’s a one-time decision. But it is, also, true that until we get to heaven, we will have the pull of sin constantly at work in us (Rom. 7.13-25).

We need to run back to the cross and remember that it’s only by His grace that we are able to walk in obedience, rather than any inherent goodness in us. The Apostle Paul said:

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Rom. 7.18).

When we realize we have sinned, we can run back to the cross. The same grace that saved us is available to help us live the Christian life. God will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness when we confess our sin (1 Jn. 1.9).

Some have called this “preaching the Gospel to yourself.”  We need to remind ourselves that He died for all of our sins: past, present, and future.

The more we contemplate that and understand His goodness, mercy, and grace, rather than giving us a license to sin, it should give us a greater desire to please Him in return.

 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Lk.7.47 NASB).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 24.7-10

The King of Glory

 

Verse 7, “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.”

According to Matthew Henry in his Commentary on the Whole Bible, this pictures Christ’s ascension into heaven after His death and resurrection, and the welcome He received there. He paid the price with His blood for entry, not just for Himself, but for us, also, so that we can enter in with Him! What good news!

 

Proverbs 9.10-12

Truth & Lies, Wisdom & Scoffing

 

Dollarphotoclub hands over ears

Verse 12 says, “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”

We are constantly reminded in Scripture that we alone are responsible for our acceptance or rejection of truth (Ezek. 18.20; 2 Cor. 5.10). We can’t blame our pastors or our teachers or our family. The Word and the wisdom that goes with it are there for all to see and to accept or reject.

That, also, means we are responsible for our own spiritual growth and for whether or not we are hearing solid biblical teaching. No matter where we attend church or whose teaching we sit under, we must be good Bereans.  Continue reading

“An Outline for Prayer” January 7

 

An Outline for Prayer - Do you ever feel inadequate or frustrated with your prayer life? If so, you're not alone. It appears even the disciples wanted more when they said, "Lord, teach us to pray." In our New Testament reading we'll talk about Jesus' outline for prayer and how we can use it during our devotional time. We'll also talk about our motives for praying and reading God's Word.Do you ever feel inadequate or frustrated with your prayer life? If so, you’re not alone. It appears even the disciples wanted more when they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

In our New Testament reading we’ll talk about Jesus’ outline for prayer and how we can use it during our devotional time. We’ll also talk about our motives for praying and reading God’s Word.

From our Old Testament reading, “How do you evaluate opportunities?,” we’ll see how not to make decisions and some ways to evaluate opportunities.

Also, today, “The Joy of Spiritual Prosperity,” “The Fear of God,” and “The Importance of Forgiveness.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 13 & 14
Psalm 4.4-8
Proverbs 2.1-5
Matthew 6.1-18

 

An Outline for Prayer

 

Matthew 6.1-18:

Motives

 

In the introduction to the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus addresses motives. Why do we do what we do, whether praying, fasting, giving, or reading through the Bible?

Our goal in anything should be the same as Paul’s was in 2 Corinthians 5.9.

“I make it my ambition [some translations say goal or aim] whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to the Lord.”

Paul was saying, I want to please God with my life whether through life or through death. There may be other appropriate goals, but pleasing God should be our primary goal in life.

When it comes to reading His Word, what would be pleasing to Him? Not to gather a lot of Bible knowledge so we can impress others. Not to say we did it. Not to check one more thing off our to-do list.

We are to discipline ourselves to read and study and meditate on God’s Word for the purpose of becoming more like Christ (1 Tim. 4.7) and, like Mary, so we will come to know Him better by sitting at His feet (Lk. 10.38-42).

So as we start this new year in God’s Word, let’s read more thoughtfully. Let’s take time to ask God how we should apply it to specific areas of our lives and pray for His grace to make those changes.

 

“Lord, teach us to pray”

 

Verses 5-13 contain a great outline for prayer. In the parallel passage in Luke 11, one of the disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” That request was followed by this model prayer. Rather than praying it repetitiously, try taking each phrase and expanding on it in your own words.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” – We should let worship be the starting point. You might pray one or more of the names of God or talk to Him about His various attributes. Continue reading

“Lessons from a Fish’s Belly” December 18

 

Important Lessons from a Fish's BellyYou may think you know the story of Jonah, but there is so much more for us to learn from his book. There is the fact that disobedience and running from God can land us in some pretty nasty circumstances. But there is, also, a great lesson in God’s mercy and willingness to forgive in the rest of the story.

Our New Testament reading is from Revelation 8 with the beginning of the seven trumpet judgments. The first four are horrible enough, but before the fifth one sounds an angel cries, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet …”

 

Today’s Readings:
Jonah 1-4
Psalm 144.1-8
Proverbs 30.6-9
Revelation 8.1-13

 

Lessons from a Fish’s Belly

 

Jonah 1-4:

The Real Lesson from Jonah

 

Most of us grew up hearing the story of Jonah in Sunday school or at least had some vague idea of what it was all about. But there is so much more to be learned from this little book.

Jonah received a call from God to go to the capital of Assyria, the city of Nineveh. The Assyrians were the enemies of Israel and Judah. Instead of obeying God he got on a ship going in the opposite direction only to have God bring a fierce storm against the ship. He ended up being thrown overboard, though reluctantly, by the crew when they realized that it was the only way to save the ship and themselves. Jonah 1:

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, “We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.

They recognized God’s hand in what was happening, and the text says they feared Him and offered sacrifices to Him. Even God’s judgment can cause people to turn to Him.

Back to Jonah himself. Don’t you wonder what it was like to be inside that fish’s belly for three days and three nights? God knows just how to get our attention. We don’t know everything that went through his mind, but chapter 2 gives us some insight:

1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said.
“I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction,
And He answered me.

Even though he had been disobedient and was running from God, he turned back to Him in his time of trouble.

He knew God was faithful:

4 Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight;
Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’

7 “ When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the LORD;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
8 “Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the LORD.”
10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Chapter 3:

1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”

Notice, God did not say, Continue reading

“Tinkering with a Broken System” November 20

 

Tinkering with a Broken System - Most people would agree things in our nation are broken, but there's little agreement about what change is needed. Can we tinker with a broken system and expect to fix it?Most people would agree things in our nation are broken, but there’s little agreement about what change is needed. Can we tinker with a broken system and expect to fix it?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 31 & 32
Psalm 130.1-4
Proverbs 28.28
James 1.1-27

 

Tinkering with a Broken System

 

Ezekiel 31 & 32:

Morality, Tolerance & Equality

 

In chapters 31 and 32 God continues to speak to Egypt, perhaps more as a warning to His people that they could no longer turn to worldly powers like Egypt for help and protection. In chapter 31 He compared Egypt to a great tree under which many had taken refuge, but which was about to be broken and destroyed.

Egypt is also a picture of the world and the world’s system. As a nation, we have attempted to live under that system. We have tried to legislate morality, tolerance, and equality. We have expected the government to provide for every need or imagined need, but our system, too, is broken.

The problem is the world’s version of morality, tolerance and equality is not one based on God’s Word and His standard. We are expected to “tolerate” things that are contrary to biblical morality. Equality is no longer about equal opportunity to work hard and make your way in the world, it’s about taking from one and giving to another. And morality is a morality that turns biblical morality on its ear.

No matter how much we “tinker” with our broken system, as long as it’s based on a faulty foundation, it will never have the ability to fix what is wrong in our nation. As believers we must look to God in our own lives and pray for genuine heart change in the lives of others.  Continue reading

“Are you playing spiritual games?” November 14

 

Are you playing spiritual games? - God will not play spiritual pat-a-cake with us by allowing us to seek His help while we continue turning to our idols and self-efforts. If God doesn't seem to be answering our prayers, maybe we need to ask ourselves, "Am I playing spiritual games with God?"God will not play spiritual pat-a-cake with us by allowing us to seek His help while we continue turning to our idols and self-efforts. If God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers, maybe we need to ask ourselves, “Am I playing spiritual games with God?”

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 19 & 20
Psalm 125.1-5
Proverbs 28.22
Hebrews 10.1-18

 

Are you playing spiritual games?

 

Ezekiel 19 & 20:

Spiritual Patty-Cake

 

As you’re reading the book of Ezekiel, it might help to remember that this book does not follow Jeremiah chronologically. Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah, although Jeremiah was about 20 years older and began his prophetic ministry over 30 years earlier. Their prophecies about the fall of Jerusalem and the various deportations cover the same events, but while Jeremiah was prophesying to the people in Jerusalem and later in Egypt where he was forced to go late in his ministry, Ezekiel was prophesying in Babylon to those who had been taken captive.

In chapter 20, some of the elders of Israel living in captivity came to Ezekiel and asked him to seek the Lord on their behalf. But it’s obvious from God’s response that, despite coming to the prophet, they continued with their idolatry.

Sometimes we forget that the events of the Old Testament are historically true. These were real people and real events.

And if we’re honest, at the heart level, they were not that much different from us. How many times have we prayed and asked God for help and wisdom while we continue to try to work things out in our own strength and in our own way? How often have we turned to our idols for help (something sweet to comfort ourselves, a drink to help us relax, buying something to lift our spirits …) or manipulation (getting angry, pouting, crying, withholding affection …) in order to control someone or something? Continue reading