“Risky Faith” April 8

 

Risky Faith - Faith can be risky. It takes risky faith to turn the other cheek or forgive with no guarantee you won't be hurt again. It takes risky faith to obey God when it makes little sense to our natural way of thinking. It takes risky faith to stand up for the truth in a world of compromise.Faith can be risky. It takes risky faith to turn the other cheek or forgive with no guarantee you won’t be hurt again. It takes risky faith to obey God when it makes little sense to our natural way of thinking. It takes risky faith to stand up for the truth in a world of compromise.

 

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 5 & 6
Psalm 42.6-11
Proverbs 13.19-21
Luke 9.18-36

 

Risky Faith

 

Joshua 5 & 6:

A Hill of Foreskins

 

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.” So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins (5.2-3).

I imagine all the men reading this portion of Scripture cringed a little when they read about flint knives, circumcision, and “the hill of foreskins.” I can’t help thinking the men in Joshua’s time, probably, felt the same way.

 

Their Parents Disobedience

 

The fact that this second generation had not been circumcised was another symptom of their parents disobedience. But now, before they could go in and take the land God had given them, this covenant sign had to be performed. This must have been a memorable (after all, the hill was named after it) and solemn ceremony.

It was, also, a huge step of faith, since this mass circumcision made them vulnerable to attack. In Genesis 34 we read about an angry brother who convinced a whole village to get circumcised by promising to allow his sister to marry her rapist.  While they were weak and in pain, he killed them all in revenge.

 

Risky Faith

 

God watched over them, but humanly speaking, it was a risky decision. Risk is, often, a reality when you step out in faith.

When you forgive and turn the other cheek, you risk being struck again (Matt. 5.39). When you stand up for the truth, you risk being persecuted (Matt. 23:34-36). When you do what’s right, some people are not going to like it. The world does not like the light. Sometimes you’ll, even, be targeted for your faith.

Just ask Barronelle Stutzman. In case you aren’t familiar with her story, Barronelle is a 72-year old grandmother, a florist, and a follower of Christ. She has been targeted by the State of Washington and people on the left for declining to make flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding.

Since then her case has worked it’s way to the Washington Supreme Court where she lost in a 9-0 decision. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court reverses the decision, it could cost Barronelle her livelihood and all her assets.

It’s important to understand that Barronelle wasn’t trying to discriminate against the men. She had provided flowers for them on numerous occasions over a 9-year period, but when one of them asked her to provide flowers for their wedding, she declined because of her religious convictions. Instead, she recommended some other florists.

tree rootsSometimes, persecution, pain, and rejection come from our own families and those closest to us. That can hurt even more deeply. But we must be quick to forgive and keep our eyes on the Lord no matter who mistreats us. Otherwise that hurt can be the seed that grows up into a root of bitterness.

14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many (Heb. 12.14-15 , NLT).

But, as believers, we shouldn’t go looking for persecution. We need to be wise and prayerful. Rod Dreher, in his book The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, says:  Continue reading

“A Fool Has No Heart for Wisdom” May 30

 

A Fool Has No Heart for Wisdom - A fool has no heart for wisdom because wisdom is truth and knowledge applied in a godly way. Only the Spirit of God can provide that ability, but the good news is: the wisdom we need is ours for the asking!A fool has no heart for wisdom because wisdom is truth and knowledge applied in a godly way. Only the Spirit of God can provide that ability, but the good news is, for those who belong to Him, the wisdom we need is ours for the asking! Fools, however, may be a lot more prevalent in our world today than we think.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 7 & 8
Psalm 68.28-35
Proverbs 17.16-17
John 11.1-29

 

Proverbs 17.16-17:

A fool has no heart for wisdom

Verse 16, “Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, since he has no heart for it?”

People with the ability to “buy” wisdom have always surrounded themselves with advisers. The Pharaoh’s of Egypt had their wisemen, as did the Babylonian and other pagan kings. The Jewish kings also had their advisers. In modern times even criminals and kingpins have their lawyers and accountants.

In reality, it’s impossible to “buy” wisdom even if we have the “purchase price.” We may be able to buy information, but we need God’s Spirit and His wisdom to apply it in wise and godly ways.

But the good news is, when we have the Spirit of God because we belong to Him, the wisdom we need is ours for the asking (Jas. 1.5).

Fools, however, are not interested in wisdom, only their own opinions (Prov. 18.2). In fact, Proverbs 23.9 says they despise it. This is the attitude of many in our relative, “my truth is what I believe it is” culture.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

1 Kings 7 & 8:

The last days

The description of the temple is beautiful and amazing to me. Many believe that, even now, preparations are being made to rebuild it, which Scripture tells us will happen as part of the events of the last days. At that time the Jews will resume temple worship.  Continue reading

August 21 “Ease, distraction & poverty”

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Trying to find relief or distraction through entertainment, over-indulgence, and ease will all lead to poverty, not just physical poverty, but often, poverty of the soul.

Today’s Readings:
Job 33 & 34
Psalm 98.4-9
Proverbs 23.19-21
1 Corinthians 3.1-23

Job 33 & 34:

Even evil can result in good

Elihu, the fifth person in this scene, continues with his observations. He has patiently waited while Job and his other three friends have debated the issue of Job’s sufferings and his integrity or lack of it and now he wades in.

While Elihu makes some good observations (we will see in a few chapters that even God did not rebuke him as He did the others), his understanding was still limited. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.12:

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

There will always be things which we don’t fully understand. We see only a small portion of the tapestry of our lives, our families’ lives, and the events playing out around us. And even what we do see, we don’t see clearly. So when we go through a test or a trial or we read about some tragedy, we must filter it all through the goodness of God, the sovereignty of God, and the absolute holiness of God.

We hear of a child being molested, for instance, and we think “Why would God allow such a horrible thing?” But what if, as a result, that child got saved, and then she married a Christian man, and his life was impacted by her testimony, causing him to draw closer to God. Then when they had children, they raised them in a godly home and, as a result, their children were saved and many of the next generation and the next. Maybe a whole line of people was ultimately impacted by that horrible act, changing the eternal destiny of many. From an eternal perspective, would it be worth it? Continue reading

August 17 “The mere edges of His ways” & LINKUP

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Even nature in all its splendor shows us the mere edges of His ways.

Today’s Readings:
Job 26
Psalm 96.11-13
Proverbs 23.10-12
Romans 15.25-33

Job 26:

What an awesome God!

Job and his friends disagreed about the source of Job’s troubles, but they did not disagree about the glory, power, and holiness of God. Here in chapter 26, Job says …

earth, worldHe hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it … He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm … Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?” (v. 7-8, 10-14).

Think about that phrase, “these are the mere edges of His ways.” Even when we view the beauty and majesty of creation or see His power in lightning, hurricanes, and volcanoes or study the intricacies of the human body or watch the birth of a baby, we are only seeing the mere edges of His ways … His power … His wisdom … His glory … His holiness … His sovereignty. What an awesome God we serve!

creation, landscapePsalm 96.11-13:

His glory in creation

Verses 11-12:

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Here nature itself is pictured as rejoicing over the coming of the Lord to rule His creation.

Proverbs 23.10-12:

Apply your heart to instruction

Verse 12, “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.”

Like the loving Father that He is, God encourages us to give heed, to pay close attention to, instruction and knowledge.

prayerRomans 15.25-33: Continue reading

April 8 “Risky faith & a hill of foreskins”

Faith can be risky. It takes risky faith to stand up for the truth in a world of compromise. It takes risky faith to turn the other cheek or forgive with no guarantee of never being hurt again. It takes risky faith to obey God when it makes little sense to our natural way of thinking.

risky faith

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 5 & 6
Psalm 42.6-11
Proverbs 13.19-21
Luke 9.18-36

Joshua 5 & 6:

The hill of foreskins

I imagine all the men reading this portion of Scripture cringed a little when they read about flint knives, circumcision, and “the hill of foreskins.” And all of us women who complain that we somehow have it harder need to remember this passage and others like it.

This was a huge step of faith, since this mass circumcision made them very vulnerable to attack.

Risky faith

In the natural, it was a risky decision. Risk is often a reality when we step out in faith. When you forgive and turn the other cheek, you risk being struck again (Matt. 5.39). When you stand up for the truth, you risk being persecuted (Matthew 23:34-36). When you do what’s right, some people are not going to like it. The world does not like the light. And sometimes persecution, pain, and rejection come from our own families and those closest to us. Continue reading