“Authority: Respect & Abuse” April 29

 

Authority: Respect & Abuse - Lack of respect for authority may be one of the greatest problems facing our nation and the world today. What is the proper biblical attitude toward authority and how should we respond to the abuse of authority?Lack of respect for authority may be one of the greatest problems facing our nation and the world today. What is the proper biblical attitude toward authority and what about the abuse of authority?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 3 & 4
Psalm 52.6-9
Proverbs 15.6-7
Luke 20.1-26

 

Luke 20.1-26:

By what authority?

Verses 1-2, “Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”

Solomon said:

“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1.9).

Solomon had it right. Many people say what amounts to the same thing today. The words may be different, but the heart attitude is the same, a refusal to recognize the authority of God and His Word.

“What right do you have to impose your religion on me?”
“What makes you think the Bible is true?”
“By what authority do you have a National Day of Prayer?”
“How can you say that Jesus is the only way to heaven?”

But before we get too self-righteous about the words and attitudes of non-believers, we need to first take the logs out of our own eyes.

“I know what the Bible says, but …”
“This is 2016 …”
“Me … submit to my husband. What if he’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong with living together? A marriage license is just a piece of paper.”
“Sex isn’t wrong if you’re committed to each other.”

I read a book recently and one of the chapters started out like this, “There is a God. I’m not him.” A simple truth, yet we constantly choose to go our own way, believing we can make our own rules as if the Bible is a book of divine suggestions.

Abuse of Authority

But what about the abuse of authority? How should one respond when mistreated, falsely accused or abused?

Mistreatment and abuse of authority happens in a fallen world. It isn’t anything new. The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for the better part of 400 years. The Jews were mistreated, beaten, killed and enslaved by the Babylonians, the Romans, and others. They were imprisoned, stripped of rights, property, and even life itself, by Hitler and his henchmen. Today they are hated by various Islamic groups and nations who are determined to see them annihilated.

Nations from every continent in the world have been enslaved and abused by other tribes and nations at various times in history. Ungodly people with power and authority have often abused that power.

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

So what should Christians do?

sonogramWell, first we should stand up when others are mistreated, especially those who can’t defend themselves. The Bible specifically mentions widows and orphans. I believe this speaks directly to unborn babies. We can stand up in this area by educating ourselves through organizations like the Life Training Institute and learning how to respond to desperate unwed mothers and their boyfriends in a loving, yet truthful way. We can stand up by supporting our local pro-life organizations. Here in El Paso the Pregnancy Help Center does great work to protect the unborn and minister to their mothers, fathers, and those who have suffered the pain of abortion already.

When we’re mistreated

And how should we respond when we are mistreated or have been in the past? The book of 1 Peter has some things to say on that subject.  Continue reading

“What would they call YOU?” April 28

 

What would they call YOU? - If someone was to describe you using one word, what would they call you? Would it be kind, compassionate, joyful, thankful … or would it be ungrateful, fearful, critical, angry, sarcastic, or bitter? Bitterness can make us self-focused rather than focused on the spiritual good of others. A lack of thankfulness can blind us to God's blessings. Anger and criticism can destroy a relationship, a life, and a testimony.

“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1.20).

Mara means “bitter.” Can you imagine meeting an old friend after a long absence and when she calls you by name, you say, “Don’t call me Donna or Diane or David … call me Bitter.”

If someone was to describe you using one word, what would they call you? Would it be kind, compassionate, joyful, thankful … or would it be ungrateful, fearful, critical, angry, sarcastic, or bitter?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 1 & 2
Psalm 52.1-5
Proverbs 15.4-5
Luke 19.28-48

 

Ruth 1 & 2:

Famine and loss

We’re beginning the book of Ruth, a beautiful little story of God’s mercy and redemptive work even in the midst of great sin and evil. This story takes place during the time of the Judges when, as you remember, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Jud. 17.6, 21.25)

The story starts out talking about a famine in Bethlehem where Naomi and her husband Elimelech live. God often uses famine to discipline His people, but He also uses it to prune and grow and test them.

Because of the famine Elimelech takes his family, Naomi and his two sons, and moves to Moab where he dies. The boys marry and then die prematurely, too. Eventually, Naomi hears that there is bread—prosperity—once again back home so she decides to return.

Packing up

Dr. Amy Baker, a teacher and counselor at Faith Baptist Church in LaFayette, Indiana, paints an interesting picture of this story. She pictures Naomi and her daughters-in-law packing and cleaning and getting the house ready to sell and finally loading the wagon and getting on the road headed for Jerusalem when Naomi says to the girls, in effect, “Why don’t you just go back home to your families? I’m not going to be any good to you.”

They obviously love Naomi. Both of them weep and tell her they want to go with her, but Orpah eventually heads back to her family. Ruth does not, instead, she insists on going with Naomi.

What is going on here? We don’t know all the details, but we can glean a great many truths—some of them sad and some beautiful. Continue reading

April 29 “Authority: I know what the Bible says, but …”

We’re tempted to scoff at the Pharisees and their refusal to acknowledge Jesus’ authority. We would never do that … or would we?

images[2]

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 3 & 4
Psalm 52.6-9
Proverbs 15.6-7
Luke 20.1-26

Ruth 3 & 4:

A kinsman-redeemer

Chapter 3 opens with these verses:

1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”

5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”

Even though the custom seems very strange to us, Ruth was obeying her mother-in-law and doing the morally right thing to appeal to Boaz to marry her under the levirate law. Boaz commended her for her request. After their marriage, the first child born to Boaz and Ruth was Obed, the grandfather of King David and ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Boaz as Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer was a type of Jesus Christ Himself who would later redeem us because we had been sold into sin and had no means to redeem ourselves.

Psalm 52.6-9:

The end of the wicked

The psalmist compares the ultimate destruction of evil doers and God’s care for the righteous. He acknowledges that the wicked may boastfully appear to succeed for a time, but will ultimately be judged and become a laughing stock. Continue reading

April 28 “Just call me “Bitter” … or “Fearful” or “Critical” or “Angry”!”

If someone was to describe you using one word, what would it be? Would it be kind, compassionate, joyful, thankful … or would it be ungrateful, fearful, critical, angry, or bitter?

bitter

Bitterness can make us self-focused rather than focused on the spiritual good of others. A lack of thankfulness can blind us to God’s blessings. Anger and criticism can destroy a relationship, a life, and a testimony.

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 1 & 2
Psalm 52.1-5
Proverbs 15.4-5
Luke 19.28-48

Ruth 1 & 2:

Famine and loss

We’re beginning the book of Ruth, a beautiful little story of God’s mercy and His redemptive work even in the midst of great sin and evil. This story takes place during the time of the judges when, as you remember, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

The story starts out talking about a famine in Bethlehem where Naomi and her husband Elimelech live. God often uses famine to discipline His people, but He also uses it to prune and grow and test them.

Because of the famine Elimelech takes his family, Naomi and his two sons, and moves to Moab where he dies. The boys marry and then die prematurely, too. Naomi hears that there is bread—prosperity—once again back home so she decides to return.

Packing up

Dr. Amy Baker, a teacher and counselor at Faith Baptist Church in LaFayette, Indiana, paints an interesting picture of this story. She pictures Naomi and her daughters-in-law packing and cleaning and getting the house ready to sell and finally loading the wagon and getting on the road headed for Jerusalem when Naomi says to the girls, in effect, “Why don’t you just go back home to your families? I’m not going to be any good to you.”

They obviously love Naomi. Both of them weep and tell her they want to go with her, but Orpah eventually heads back to her family. Ruth does not, instead, she insists on going with Naomi.

What is going on here? We don’t know all the details, but we can glean a great many truths—some of them sad and some beautiful. Continue reading

April 2 “I know that’s what the Bible says, but …”

We’ve just returned from a funeral (my husband’s 94-year-old dad) and an unexpected road trip. I didn’t realize just how tired I was until I took a good look at this post. I mistakenly posted April 29th as April 2nd. So you all got a preview! April 2 will be out soon! 🙂

When the religious leaders challenged Jesus, “By what authority are You doing these things?” We’re tempted to scoff at their blatant disregard. We would never do that … or would we?

what the bible says

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 3 & 4
Psalm 52.6-9
Proverbs 15.6-7
Luke 20.1-26

Ruth 3 & 4:

A kinsman-redeemer

Chapter 3.1-5:

1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”

5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”

Even though the custom seems very strange to us, Ruth was obeying her mother-in-law and doing the morally right thing to appeal to Boaz to marry her under the levirate law. Boaz commended her for her request.

The first child born to Boaz and Ruth was Obed, the grandfather of King David and ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Boaz as Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer was a type of Jesus Christ Himself who would later redeem us when we had been sold into sin and had no means to redeem ourselves.

Psalm 52.6-9:

The end of the wicked

The psalmist compares the ultimate destruction of evil doers and God’s care for the righteous. He acknowledges that the wicked may boastfully appear to succeed for a time, but will ultimately be judged and become a laughing stock. Continue reading