“Happiness, Sacrifice, Obedience & the Goal of Life” December 21

 

What is the goal of life? - Many believe the goal of life is happiness. Even when we say we know better, we often live like it is. What should the goal of life be for a believer?Many believe the goal of life is happiness. Even when we say we know better, we often live like it is. What should the goal of life be for a believer?

Our reading in Revelation tells us about the Two Witnesses. With fire to devour their enemies, the power to shut heaven, turn water to blood, and strike the earth with plagues, they will warn, preach, and prophesy during the first half of the Tribulation.

 

Today’s Readings:
Micah 6 & 7
Psalm 145.10-16
Proverbs 30.15
Revelation 11.1-19

 

Happiness, Sacrifice, Obedience & the Goal of Life

 

Micah 6 & 7:

The Goal of Life

 

Chapter 6.6-8 is so important for us to remember:

6 With what shall I come before the LORD,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

1 Samuel 15.22 says it this way:

“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.

God does not want our sacrifices alone. He isn’t looking for Continue reading

“Why do you follow Jesus?” May 19

 

Why do you follow Jesus?Recently I heard of someone who said he was willing to come to church to “see what God has to offer him.” That’s understandable for an unbeliever who is just beginning to explore the claims of Christ. But sadly, many professing believers seem to follow Him for much the same reason.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 9 & 10
Psalm 65.1-8
Proverbs 16.20-21
John 6.1-21

 

John 6.1-21:

Why do you follow Jesus?

head scratchingVerse 2, “Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.”

They didn’t follow Him because they saw their need for spiritual change, but for what He could do for them. Sadly, that hasn’t changed for many people.

God does bless those who love Him, but that should never be our primary motive for serving Him. We are to live our lives to please God out of our desire to bring glory and honor to His name, not with a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

2 Samuel 9 & 10:

Don’t be unequally yoked

Chapters 9 & 10 give us a glimpse of David’s heart—first as he showed kindness to Mephibosheth as a way of honoring his covenant with Jonathan and in chapter 10 as he sent representatives to comfort Hanun at the time of his father’s death.

Sadly, David’s gesture toward Hanun was not only rejected, but met with ridicule by Hanun when he shamed and humiliated David’s ambassadors. Should we be surprised when our gestures of peace and kindness are met with rejection? Those in the world often find it hard to believe we don’t have ulterior motives, because of what’s in their own hearts.  Continue reading

October 11 “Worship, truth & fables”

Lonely FlowerBecause something is popular or “the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t make it biblically sound. In fact, when a Samaritan woman met Jesus and pointed out what was popular in her religious tradition, He told her, “… those who worship [God] must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4.24)—spirit, with the right heart attitude, and truth, according to His commands.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 7 & 8
Psalm 118.1-4
Proverbs 27.5-6
Colossians 2.1-23

I know I run the risk of offending some today. I pray that I don’t, but even more, I pray that those who are offended will dig into God’s Word and prayerfully seek the truth for themselves.

 

Jeremiah 7 & 8:

Tickling their ears

The prophet continues along the same lines as yesterday’s reading, even repeating some of the same phrases.

In chapter 8 Jeremiah again speaks specifically to false teachers, priests and prophets:

10 … Everyone is given to covetousness;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
When there is no peace.

Once again he condemns them for giving a false assurance of peace.

He also condemns the people because they were listening to falsehood. Even though our leaders are responsible for what they teach, we are responsible to make sure what we’re hearing and learning lines up with God’s Word! Because something is popular or “the way we’ve always done it” does not make it biblically sound. Continue reading

September 29 “The superficial doctrine of prosperity and happiness” & LINKUP

walk away, back viewSadly, many who buy into the superficial doctrine of prosperity and happiness, will walk away from God at some point when it doesn’t deliver. Sadder still, the reality of God’s love and care for His children and the work of grace through salvation are so much greater and more wonderful than they can imagine!

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 49 & 50
Psalm 112.1-4
Proverbs 26.13-15
Ephesians 1.1-23

 

Isaiah 49 & 50:

The coming Messiah

These two chapters continue to talk about the (then) coming Messiah. He would be a man—a human being—born of a woman (49.1) and a light not just to the Jews but to the Gentiles, as well (49.6). Though there would be a time of separation from the nation of Israel, He would not divorce her (50.1). He would suffer torment at the time of His first advent (50.6-7).

There is an invitation to all who are in darkness to come and trust in the name of the Lord (50.10), as well as, a warning that manmade religion will not work (50.11). We can do nothing to save ourselves; all our attempts at being good enough or finding our own way to God (“you who kindle a fire”) are futile.

Men and women have been trying to find their own way to God since the tower of Babel and, probably, even before then. But there is only one Way. 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

May 19 “Do not be unequally yoked” & LINKUP

We’re commanded to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Nowhere is that truer than in our choice of a spouse.

unequally yoked

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 9 & 10
Psalm 65.1-8
Proverbs 16.20-21
John 6.1-21

2 Samuel 9 & 10:

Don’t be unequally yoked

Chapters 9 & 10 give us a glimpse of David’s heart—first as he showed kindness to Mephibosheth as a way of honoring his covenant with Jonathan and in chapter 10 as he sent representatives to comfort Hanun at the time of his father’s death.

Sadly, David’s gesture toward Hanun was not only rejected, but met with ridicule by Hanun when he shamed and humiliated David’s ambassadors. Should we be surprised when our gestures of peace and kindness are met with rejection? Those in the world often find it hard to believe we don’t have ulterior motives, because of what’s in their own hearts.

But this is also a reminder that we can’t “make friends” with the world. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6.14).

We are to love them biblically, pray for them, and share God’s truth, but not be “yoked together” with them. This means dating, marriage, partnerships, and other close associations, especially those that require agreement on decisions, seeking advice, etc.

Nowhere is this truer than in our choice of a spouse. Paul said if you’re single you’re free to marry but only “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7.39).

However, if you’re already married to an unbeliever, you’re not to divorce him or her. You’re to live for Christ and allow your godly behavior to be all the more evident (1 Cor. 7.12-14; 1 Pet. 3.1-2). Continue reading