September 20 “Refusing to live God’s way”

hands-over-ears[1]

When Jesus spoke truth to the rich young ruler, he turned and walked away. And Jesus didn’t stop him! If we as individuals, or even as a nation, are determined to turn our backs on God and continue refusing to live God’s way, He will let us! But the results could be disastrous.

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 30-32
Psalm 108.7-13
Proverbs 25.23-24
2 Corinthians 11.16-33

 

Isaiah 30-32:

Refusing to live God’s way

Over and over throughout these passages God is warning His people to not rely on themselves or their own wisdom and not to turn to false prophets who merely tell them what they want to hear. He also warned them not to turn to outsiders, other nations, no matter how strong they look. The message is “I am sovereign—I am in control.”

He warns them that all the false prophets, all the strong nations, all the wisdom of man will ultimately be brought to naught. With all the problems in our country today many cling to the idea that some leader, some program, some philosophy, some scientific discovery will solve our problems nationally and individually. We are so much like the people in Isaiah’s time (30.9-13):

Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;
10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
11 Get out of the way,
Turn aside from the path,
Cause the Holy One of Israel
To cease from before us.”

12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel.

“ Because you despise this word,
And trust in oppression and perversity,
And rely on them,
13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you
Like a breach ready to fall,
A bulge in a high wall,
Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.

The list of things we no longer want to hear as a nation is endless:

attitude, disrespectThat rebellion and disrespect is wrong (1 Sam. 15.23). Consequently, we disrespect policeman and other authority figures … and our children disrespect their teachers and parents.

That marriage is to be between one man and one woman for a lifetime (Matt. 19.4-6). Consequently, the rate of divorce and of couples living together without marriage happens across all levels of society in huge numbers and without any shame. And now so-called gay marriage is becoming legal in one state after another.

That sex is holy and reserved for the marriage bed (Heb. 13.4; Rom. 1.24-32). Consequently, sex outside of marriage in all of its forms is rampant: adultery, fornication, rape, incest, molestation, homosexuality, pornography and more.

That life is precious and God is the giver and taker (Acts 17.24-25; Ps. 139.13-16). Consequently, abortion is now called a woman’s right, euthanasia has been openly debated and practiced, murder is rampant in many of our cities, and mass shootings because of anger, hate, or political ideology happen all too often.

WorkerThat work is God-ordained and the way God provides for His people on a day to day basis (2 Thess. 3.10; 1 Tim. 5.8). Consequently, we have husbands and fathers who find every excuse possible not to work and provide for their families, people who know how to “work the system” going for agency to agency, organization to organization, even church to church getting every handout they can, and others who live much of their lives dependent on the government. (Bear in mind, that other passages commanded God’s people to care for the genuinely needy and unable to work.)

But the answer is the same today as it was thousands of years ago. First, to return to God. Not to become independent, but God dependent:

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength …” (30.15).

And 2 Chronicles 7.13-14:

13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

And then choosing to live obediently before Him, know that He is God (Eccl. 12.13; Jn. 14.15; Ps. 100.1-5). Continue reading

May 21 “On holiness & yum-yums”

Your “happiness” is not God’s first concern, rather it’s your holiness! In fact, the “happiness” we crave is often like the yum-yums the White Witch offered Edmund in Narnia, only an illusion.

holiness

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 13 & 14
Psalm 66.1-7
Proverbs 16.25-26
John 6.52-71

2 Samuel 13 & 14:

Sad consequences

God had told David in 2 Samuel 2.11 that, “‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house …”

And so it begins.

David’s sins were adultery and murder. Now his son Ammon has raped his own half-sister and Absalom has murdered Ammon. We think we can sin in secret and our sins don’t affect anyone but us, but we never sin in isolation. First, we set in motion the laws of sowing and reaping, and second, we are discipling our children and others by our lives and behavior. Children, in particular, are much more likely to do what we “do” than what we “say.”

Psalm 66.1-7:

Shouting, singing, and saying

The mode and means of worship are as varied as the personalities, emotions, and circumstances of the worshipers. Here the psalmist instructs us to “shout to the Lord,” to “sing out,” and to “say to God.” All are biblical forms of worship when offered from the heart. In other places we are instructed to “clap,” to “bow down,” and to “make a joyful noise.” God is pleased by our exuberant, as well as, our quiet worship. Continue reading

February 3 “Handling difficult people & parenting difficult children”

Little girl and puppy

How do you handle difficult people? Do you respond with sinful anger and frustration or do you respond as Moses did? What about parenting difficult children?

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 17 & 18
Psalm 18:28-36
Proverbs 6:16-19
Matthew 22:1-22

Exodus 17 & 18:

Handling difficult people

What a group these Israelites were! Again they turn on Moses. Even though they were being led by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, instead of turning to God in prayer, they blame Moses for their thirst. His response is to go straight to God and again God meets their need supernaturally.

What do you do when faced with difficult people? Continue reading