“Are you thirsty for God?” April 7

 

Are you thirsty for God?

Are you thirsty for God, desperate for His truth? Do you yearn to know Him better? And, if not, what is the remedy? What are the diseases that set in from prosperity and how do they affect our desire for God?

 

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 3 & 4
Psalm 42.1-5
Proverbs 13.17-18
Luke 9.1-17

 

Are you thirsty for God?

 

Psalm 42.1-5:

Desperate for God

 

Verse 1, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.”

Have you ever felt so dry and thirsty for God that you thought you would die without Him? Most of us, if we’re honest, would say “no.” Personally, I’m convicted every time I read that verse. In fact, a lack of spiritual enthusiasm for the things of God is almost epidemic in the American church. I read this on John Piper’s website, Desiring God. The post was written by Jon Bloom. You can read the whole post here.

American Christians live in the most prosperous nation in world history and the one in which it costs the least to be a Christian.

This environment can be deadly to faith. It allows false faith to masquerade as real very easily. And its power to dissipate zeal and energy and mission-focus and willingness to risk is extraordinary because it doesn’t come to us with a whip and a threat. It comes to us with a pillow and a promise of comfort for us and our children. The former makes us desperate for God. The latter robs our sense of desperation.

And it’s the lack of a sense of desperation for God that is so deadly. If we don’t feel desperate for God, we don’t tend to cry out to him. Love for this present world sets in subtly, like a spiritual leprosy, damaging spiritual nerve endings so that we don’t feel the erosion and decay happening until it’s too late.

So we must fast and pray for and support the suffering church in the diseases that can set in from harsh adversity. But we must also fast and pray for God to deliver us from the diseases that set in from prosperity. We need him. We can discipline ourselves in various ways. But we cannot manufacture our own desperation. Only God can make us desperate for him.

So God, whatever it takes, increase our awareness of our dependence on you in everything! Keep us desperate for you so that the deceitfulness of sin does not harden our hearts (Hebrews 3:13). In Jesus’ name, amen.

Are you willing to pray that kind of prayer? If so, let’s fast and pray for ourselves and each other and for our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ here in our nation and around the world! May we become desperate for God!  Continue reading

“Presumptuous Sins = Shaking Your Fists at God” March 9

 

Presumptuous Sins = Shaking Your Fists at God - "Presumptuous sins" are willful disobedience, knowing something is wrong, and yet, doing it anyway! In effect, shaking our fists at God! Could you be doing so in some way?“Presumptuous sins” are willful disobedience, knowing something is wrong, and yet, doing it anyway! In effect, shaking our fists at God! Could you be doing so in some way?

 

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 15 & 16
Psalm 32.1-5
Proverbs 11.16-18
Mark 11.1-19

 

Presumptuous Sins = Shaking Your Fists at God

 

Numbers 15 & 16:

Presumptuous Sins

 

God had delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt and provided for them over and over in the wilderness. So these chapters can’t help but seem astounding, how these people rebelled again and again in spite of how God had revealed Himself to them. And yet, if we’re honest, once again … they are us and we are them!

Verse 15.30 talks about “presumptuous sins.” That is willful disobedience. It means we know it’s wrong and, yet, we do it anyway! Remember, anytime we sin, it’s first and foremost a sin against God. So when we willfully transgress the Lord’s commands to us, we’re shaking our fist at God just as Korah and his bunch did in today’s reading. Instead of fearing God, we’re rebelling against Him!

It may not be as public when we do it, so we think it’s not as bad. But remember God is looking at our hearts and nothing is hidden from Him. Romans 14.23 says, “… for whatever is not from faith is sin.” And James 4.17 says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (NASB).

 

Remember, Remember, Remember

 

Lord's supper communion 1 cor 11

 

The Nation of Israel failed to remember all that God had done for them and quickly turned back to living by their feelings, instead of walking by faith.

God, in His mercy, is constantly showing us ways to “remember.” In 15.37-41 He instructed the Israelites to put tassels on their garments to remind them of the commandments and the importance of obeying them. He was saying “remember, remember, remember”!

Today, we have the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as reminders. We hang plaques on our walls and drink our coffee out of Scripture emblazoned cups.

He has given us His written Word, great biblically sound books, teachings on the radio, on TV, on the Internet and in church. Yet, how often do we leave church after hearing a great message and, instead of “remembering,” … we, immediately, start living for ourselves, fighting and quarreling, and sinning willfully … sometimes on the way home!

In the book of numbers, even after the earth opened and swallowed up the rebels, Continue reading

“Journaling & Self-Examination” February 1

 

Journaling & Self-Examination - As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We'll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal. And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We’ll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal.

And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 13 & 14
Psalm 18.13-19
Proverbs 6.6-11
Matthew 21.1-22

 

Journaling & Self-Examination

 

Exodus 13 & 14:

The Value of Memorials

 

lightstock communion sq

As the Lord delivered the Israelites out of their 430 years of slavery in Egypt, he gave them several things that were to act as memorials for them. First, was the Passover itself.

He, also, told them the first born of all their children and animals belonged to Him. They were to sacrifice the “clean” animals (more about that later) and were to redeem or offer another sacrifice in place of those animals not appropriate for sacrificing (13.13) and they were to offer sacrifices for their firstborn sons. This was to remind them of how the Lord had spared their sons and animals when He brought the final plague on Egypt.

As we continue with our Old Testament narrative, we will repeatedly see God instruct the Nation of Israel to set up memorials. We, too, need our own memorials. It’s so easy to forget what God has done for us and, instead, get focused on what we think He hasn’t done: the prayers He hasn’t answered our way or how He hasn’t blessed us like He has blessed someone else. We need to remind ourselves about the things from which He has already delivered us and the things He has done for us.

Even, if He never did another thing, we should remember the price He paid so our sins could be forgiven. That is the central focus of the Lord’s Supper, the New Testament counterpart to the Passover. It is a memorial to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (emphasis mine)

 

Self-Examination

 

Memorials & Self-ExaminationAnother focus of the Lord Supper is to remind us to examine ourselves. In the Old Testament leaven or yeast represented sin. As the Israelites prepared to leave Egypt and each time they took the Passover, they were to examine themselves and see if there was sin in their lives. We, too, are to ask God to show us if there is unrepentant sin in our lives before we take the Lord’s Supper.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11, emphasis mine)

This isn’t the only time we should examine ourselves. The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 139:23-24:  Continue reading

April 7 “Are you desperate for God?”

Are you desperate for God, thirsty for His truth? Or is He just something you check off your to-do list?

desperate for God

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 3 & 4
Psalm 42.1-5
Proverbs 13.17-18
Luke 9.1-17

Deuteronomy 3 & 4:

Keep your eyes on Him

The Nation of Israel was about to enter the Promised Land by crossing over the Jordan River. As they went, they were to keep their eyes on the ark, which represented the presence of God. Once again God would supernaturally allow them to cross over on dry land.

We, too, are to keep our eyes on God, trusting Him to lead us and guide us through the difficulties and battles of life.

Isaiah 43.2:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you
. Continue reading

April 2 “Total depravity, sexual immorality & cannibalism”

God offers full disclosure. He allows us to make our own choices, but we should not think we can disobey God and somehow be in control of where it ends. Today’s reading in Deuteronomy gives us a stark picture of total depravity.

total depravity

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 27 & 28
Psalm 39.12-13
Proverbs 13.7-8
Luke 6.27-49

Deuteronomy 27 & 28:

Memorials and the Ten Commandments

Chapter 27.2-3, “… you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the LORD your God is giving you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ just as the LORD God of your fathers promised you.”

Some people think it’s foolish to make such a big deal about things like having the “Ten Commandments” posted in the schools and other public places. But, apparently, God thinks it a pretty good idea to have reminders of the truth! We see God telling His people to set up memorials and reminders over and over in the Scriptures.

moses holding the ten commandments

The Scriptures themselves are reminders, too, and we should be faithful to read and meditate on them so we can remember His love, remember His promises, and remember His faithfulness.

The flesh of your sons and daughters

Chapter 28—it’s hard to read some of this, “…your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you … You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters … he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat …The tender and delicate woman … will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, her placenta … she will eat them secretly …” Continue reading

February 1 “The importance of self-examination”

Sick child

As January comes to an end and the second month of 2014 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We’ll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal.

And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually? Continue reading