“When You’re Too Busy & Distracted” April 11

 

When You're Busy & Distracted - We all understand that the things of this world can distract us from our devotion to God. But seemingly good things, like our religion and our service to Him, can make us busy and distracted, too. Could there be something in your life that's distracting you from whole-hearted devotion to God? If so, what can you do about it?We all understand that the things of this world can distract us from our devotion to God. But seemingly good things, like our religious activities and our service to Him, can make us busy and distracted, too. Could there be something in your life that’s distracting you from whole-hearted devotion to God? If so, what can you do about it?

 

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 11 & 12
Psalm 44.4-19
Proverbs 14.1-2
Luke 10.25-42

 

When You’re Too Busy & Distracted

 

Luke 10.25-42:

Samaritans, Servants & Busyness

 

This passage contains two very familiar stories: Jesus’ teaching on the Good Samaritan and the story of Mary and Martha.

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Notice that little phrase “wanting to justify himself.” He knew what the law said, but his desire was to be justified, to look good, maybe to be sure his ticket to heaven was valid. He was focused on himself, not God and others.

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

These men were religious. But in another passage, Jesus said they enjoyed praying on the street corners and doing good deeds to look good to others (Matt. 6.1-5). They thought their knowledge of the law and their heritage guaranteed them a place in heaven (Jn. 8.39). They were focused on their importance and religiosity. But what Jesus saw was their lack of love and obedience.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

This religious lawyer knew what the law said, but he failed to grasp the meaning of it. If we love God, we’ll have more than a desire to know the law. We should have a desire to obey it. Obeying it means loving those God places in our paths, whether we consider them friends or enemies. It means going out of our way to help others just as the Samaritan did.

In verses 38-42 we meet Martha and her sister Mary.

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was blessed with the gift of serving. She probably did it well and was, most likely, a blessing to many.

Jesus didn’t say serving was wrong. In fact, serving is one of the Holy Spirit inspired gifts to the body of Christ. The problem wasn’t that Martha wanted to serve; the problem
was that she was “distracted” by it. She was focused on her busyness.  Continue reading

“Cats, Dogs & Animal Rights” March 23

 

Cats, Dogs & Animal Rights - Whether we're dog people or cat people, most of us love our animals. But what does the Bible say about our pets? What about animal rights? And what about humans, are we just higher forms of animals? How should a Christian view his or her animals? See our Proverbs reading.

We hear a lot about “animal rights” these days. It has become a cause for celebrities and others—almost a religion with some. But what does the Bible say about our animals.

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 7 & 8
Psalm 37.5-11
Proverbs 12.9-10
Luke 1.39-56

 

Cats, Dogs & Animal Rights

 

Proverbs 12.9-10:

Love Your Cats & Dogs, But …

 

We hear a lot about “animal rights” these days. It has become a cause for celebrities and others—almost a religion with some.

Animal rights written on yellow road sign over blue sky.

Animals certainly are a part of God’s creation. And as verse 10 says, “A righteous man regards the life of his animal …” A righteous man will treat his animals well, but animals are not on an equal par with people! We are not just higher forms of animals. We were made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1.26-27) and He breathed His Spirit into us (Gen. 2.7) giving us an eternal soul.

1 Corinthians 15.39 says, “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.”

So love you cat or dog, your hamster or gerbil and take good care of them as part of God’s creation. Enjoy them, but keep your affection and regard for them in the right place.

 

TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:

 

Deuteronomy 7 & 8:

Remember … Remember … Remember!

 

Remember … remember … remember! This seems to be the theme of much of today’s Old Testament reading.

When you’re afraid of your enemies, remember what I did to Egypt when they tried to keep you in bondage. When you’re afraid the task is too big for you, remember what I did for you in the wilderness. And when you have experienced success, remember Who enabled you to be where you are!

And God reminds us … Continue reading

“10 Steps to Parenting God’s Way” March 22

 

10 Steps to Parenting God's Way - I couldn't decide what to title this post. There were so many things I wanted to highlight. I could have called it "Parenting 101" or "Delighting in the Lord" from Psalm 37 or "Wisdom, Respect & Stupidity" from our Proverbs reading. Or even, "Mary, Saint or Sinner" because there is so much confusion about the mother of Jesus. Does she intercede for believers? How should a Christian view her? You can read more about this in today's New Testament commentary. But because I like these posts to be practical, something you can put to use in your life today, I decided to focus on the practical ways we can apply God's parenting principles.I couldn’t decide what to title this post. There were so many things I wanted to highlight. I could have called it “Parenting 101” or “Delighting in the Lord” from Psalm 37 or “Wisdom, Respect & Stupidity” from our Proverbs reading.

Or even, “Mary, Saint or Sinner” because there is so much confusion about the mother of Jesus. Does she intercede for believers? How should a Christian view her? You can read more about this in today’s New Testament commentary.

But because I like these posts to be practical, something you can put to use in your life today, I decided to focus on the practical ways we can apply God’s parenting principles.

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 5 & 6
Psalm 37.1-4
Proverbs 12.9
Luke 1.21-38

 

10 Steps to Parenting God’s Way

 

Deuteronomy 5 & 6:

Parenting 101

 

Chapter 6.6-9 is one of the clearest passages on parenting. It says:

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

First we are to hide God’s Word in our hearts. Then we are to faithfully teach it to our children, not just in formal ways, but as we go about our everyday activities—when we are relaxing at home or having a family dinner, when we are out running errands, when we go to bed at night and the first thing in the morning.

We should constantly look for ways to incorporate spiritual lessons into the events of everyday life. But we can’t do that unless He is an ever present reality in our own lives—unless we’re aware of His involvement all the time, in the daily routine of life.

Do you stop to consider what He says when you feel the pressure to make a sale at work? When you have a fussy child? When the waiter gets your order wrong? When you feel unjustly accused? When someone just zipped into your parking space?

Do you seek His guidance when faced with a decision or a choice to respond to some person or situation? Do you seek His peace when your are anxious or His ability to forgive when angry?

Is Jesus only someone you sing about on Sunday or is your relationship with Him a reality all the time?

Where’s your Bible? Is it where you’ll see it and pick it up first thing in the morning or does it spend the week in the car with empty soda cups and gum wrappers and until you carry it in to church on Sunday?

And the last time you had a personality conflict, Continue reading