“Blending In & Hiding Out” May 3

 

Blending In & Hiding Out - God has always desired for His people to be set apart, holy, different from the world around us - so we can manifest His holiness. Instead, we like to blend in and hide out. God has always desired for His people to be set apart, holy, different from the world around us – so we can manifest His holiness. Instead, we like blending in and hiding out.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 8 & 9
Psalm 55.9-15
Proverbs 15.15-17
Luke 22.1-23

 

Blending In & Hiding Out

 

1 Samuel 8 & 9:

Is There Any Difference?

 

God has always desired for His people to be set apart, holy, different from the world around us – to manifest His holiness.

Matthew 5.16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

That light in us is supposed to shine and in so doing bring God glory. Peter reminded us to:

“Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1.16).

As we live in “grace obedience” (understanding that we cannot live holy lives without the help of the Holy Spirit, relying on Him, repenting and calling on His mercy when we fail), we bring Him glory. And that difference, that light, will draw others to Christ.

Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (Jn. 12.32).

But, like the people of Israel in asking for a king (1 Sam. 8.4), we often prefer to blend in, to be closet Christians, to act much like the world around us. Our children, too, complain that it’s unfair they can’t dress and act like the rest of the world. I wonder if we have failed to instill the importance of their calling in them because we don’t always believe and live it ourselves.

Let’s pray that we would truly let our light so shine before men that they would see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Let’s pray that when their lives are falling apart, they would see something different in us and be drawn to it. And when they ask, we would “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks [us] a reason for the hope that is in [us]” (1 Pet. 3.15).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 55.9-15:

Betrayed by a Friend

 

David had been betrayed. It wasn’t an enemy who had betrayed him, but someone he considered a close friend. Who among us hasn’t felt that disappointment, hurt, even anger over some betrayal? Yet …

Ephesians 4.26 says, “Be angry, and do not sin,” and verses 31 & 32 say, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Romans 12.21 raises the bar even higher:  Continue reading

“How does God guide His children?” March 10

 

compass guidance

How does God work through the combination of His Word

and His Spirit to guide His people?

 

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 17 & 18
Psalm 32.6-11
Proverbs 11.19-21
Mark 11.20-33

 

How does God guide His children?

 

Psalm 32.6-11:

He Guides Us with His Eye

 

Verse 8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”

eye scan recognition

Matthew Henry had this to say about verse 8, “He teaches us by his word and guides us with his eye, by the secret intimations of his will in the hints and turns of Providence, which he enables his people to understand and take direction from, as a master makes a servant know his mind by a wink of his eye.”

Read that quote once again slowly.

It’s that combination of His Word, the circumstances of our lives (the secret intimations of his will in the hints and turns of Providence), and His Holy Spirit’s guidance (which he enables his people to understand and take direction from). They work together, but we won’t recognize the leading of His Spirit apart from a faithful intake and an understanding of His Word.

 

TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:

 

Numbers 17 & 18:

Exceedingly Abundantly Above All

 

God had told the Nation of Israel that they would not be allowed to go into the Promised Land because they had believed the evil report of the ten spies, instead of trusting God to give them the strength and the ability to defeat His enemies.

But even so, he continued to speak to them in miraculous ways:

“Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds” (17.8).

When they questioned Moses rightful leadership, He said He would cause the rod of His chosen leader to bud. He not only caused it to bud, but to produce blossoms and ripe almonds! He doesn’t just do the minimum; He is able and willing to do so much more.

Ephesians 3.20-21 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”

Few of us have trouble believing that God is powerful and able to do miraculous things, but I wonder how many of us really believe He will do great things in our lives?

Do you believe—really believe—that He wants to do great things in your life? your marriage? your children and grandchildren? your finances?

But what is even more incredible Continue reading

December 9 “The Word of God … cafeteria style”

Word of God

How to you view the Word of God? As the commands and revelation of the Creator of heaven and earth or as a divine cafeteria where you get to choose the entrees you find tasty?

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 9 & 10
Psalm 139.13-16
Proverbs 29.21
3 John 1-14

 

Hosea 9 & 10:

Rejecting the revelation of God

Even though Scripture tells us that everyone has enough revelation of God through His creation to recognize there is a Creator and to cry out to know Him (Rom. 1.18-23), many people live in ignorance of the Word of God.

Sadder still, is to be given the amount of special revelation Israel was given as a nation, and to ignore or reject it.

“I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing” (8.12).

God so desired to reach the heart of His people that He gave them prophets to proclaim the truth to them, but instead of heeding God’s warning, they ridiculed them, calling them fools … insane (9.7).

Little has changed. We live in a day when the Word of God has free reign. He has revealed Himself to us through the His Word and the prophets who wrote it. And He has blessed us with pastors and teachers and others who can help us understand His written Word.

The Word of God … divine suggestions?

There is such an abundance of good spiritual resources available and, yet, so few take advantage of them. Most people are content to come to church on Sundays thinking they have their ticket punched for heaven and to live life their own way the rest of the time.

The Word of God is “interesting” to them and they like hearing a nice message, but they don’t acknowledge it as God’s written revelation and command to them. It’s optional, depending on whether or not they “agree with it”! They take the Word of God as a suggestion, not the Word of a Holy Sovereign God.

We don’t get to decide whether or not we “agree” with God. Do we really understand what it means in Romans 10 when it says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (v. 9)? It is the person who confesses that Jesus is “Lord” who is truly saved! Lord, means “Master”—the One who has the right to tell us how to live—what is right and what is wrong! His Word is to be the sole authority in our lives!

Mature woman making stop gesture signAnd yet, too often, I hear people say in regard to a passage of Scripture, “I just don’t agree with that.” Or in the context of counseling, “I tried that, but it didn’t work.”

God’s Word is true, if it’s not “working” for us, we better go back and look at our Continue reading

March 10 “How God guides His people”

How does God work through the combination of His Word and His Spirit to guide His people?

How God guides

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 17 & 18
Psalm 32.6-11
Proverbs 11.19-21
Mark 11.20-33

Numbers 17 & 18:

Exceedingly abundantly above all

I love 17.8, “Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.” God in His patience and long-suffering with the children of Israel and because of their continued rebellion and questioning of His chosen leadership had said He would cause the rod of the man He had chosen to bud. He not only caused it to bud, but to produce blossoms and ripe almonds! He doesn’t just do the minimum; He is able and willing to do so much more.

Ephesians 3.20-21 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”

Few of us have trouble believing that God is powerful and able to do miraculous things, but I wonder how many of us really believe He will do great things in our lives.

Do you believe—really believe—that He wants to do great things in your life? your marriage? your children and grandchildren? your finances? Continue reading

February 4 “Idols of the heart”

Idols of the Heart

We are repeatedly warned, even in the New Testament, to avoid, in fact flee from, idolatry. But giant statues aren’t the only kind of idols. What “idols of the heart” do we worship that can hinder our relationships with God and with others?

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 19 & 20
Psalm 18.37-45
Proverbs 6.20-25
Matthew 22.23-46

Exodus 19 & 20

The Ten Commandments

In chapter 19 God displays His power and majesty so that the people will have no doubt that He is God and that Moses is His representative. The need for them to be outwardly clean was a visual representation of the inward cleanliness with which they were to approach a Holy God.

Then in chapter 20 God gives the Ten Commandments to the people Himself. Later He will write them on stone tablets.

The first command is “Have no other gods before me” (20:3). This, of course, was a prohibition against worshipping false gods of any kind. It was spoken to a people living in a culture where most people believed in and worshipped many gods, polytheism.

The second was to “Make no images, no likenesses of anything in heaven or on earth” (20:4). They were not to make an image of anything that was in heaven (angels, God Himself, or people who had gone to heaven) or on earth (man, woman, animals, or anything else). This command did not forbid artistic expression, but forbids the use of these items as part of our worship. Continue reading