October 6 “Stung by jellyfish” & LINKUP

Nemo & Dorie swimming through jellyfish

God says He’ll complete the work He has begun in us (Phil. 1.6), but we often suffer unnecessarily in the process. Like Nemo and Dorie in the movie Finding Nemo, we ignore God’s instructions and end up “swimming through schools of jellyfish.” Like the fishy pair, we survive, but not without getting stung and suffering a great deal of pain!

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 63 & 64
Psalm 115.14-18
Proverbs 26.27
Philippians 1.1-30

Well, we have completed reading the book of Ephesians and tomorrow we’ll finish the book of Isaiah. Just three more months and we’ll be through the entire Bible.

On to today’s reading …

 

Isaiah 63 & 64:

Filthy rags

Chapter 64 contains the following passage:

4 For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.
You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—
In these ways we continue;
And we need to be saved.
6 But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.

This passage speaks of the greatness of our God and our universal need for salvation. We are like an “unclean thing.” All our righteousness, all our good deeds, all our attempts at trying to save ourselves or earn God’s approval are like filthy rags (I understand the actual wording lends itself to mean “menstrual rags”). We are unclean by nature, sinners from the womb.

cross, lightBut God …

Do you realize that the Bible is all one big “but God”? But God who is rich in mercy, who knows what we are, chose to die in our place!

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5.21).

That’s reason to shout!

 

Psalm 115.14-18:

To die is gain, but only in God’s timing Continue reading

August 10 “Are there contagious sins?”

sin is contagiousWe take every precaution with deadly diseases like ebola, but are there diseases of the soul that are just as deadly?

Today’s Readings:
Job 11 & 12
Psalm 94.1-11
Proverbs 22.24-25
Romans 10.1-21

Job 11 & 12:

Love believes the best

Now it’s Zophar’s turn. He can’t believe what he is hearing. He’s sure that Job is guilty of some serious sin, so he rebukes him sharply.

While Job agrees with Zophar’s assessment of God’s wisdom, power and sovereignty and he doesn’t claim to be perfect, he strongly condemns his simplistic conclusion.

We, too, need to be careful about jumping to conclusions about others. Whenever possible we should give others the benefit of the doubt (1 Cor. 13.7) and let love cover as much as possible (1 Pet. 4.8). Even when we do need to reprove someone, we should do so in a spirit of gentleness continually looking to ourselves lest we also be tempted (Gal. 6.1-2). Continue reading

February 27 “Keeping an eternal perspective”

Have you been hurt, rejected, or persecuted for your faith? How should a believer respond to such treatment? Check out today’s New Testament reading and see how keeping an eternal perspective makes all the difference.

eternal perspective

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 23 & 24
Psalm 28.1-5
Proverbs 10.17-18
Mark 6.1-29

Leviticus 23 & 24:

Does He really “occupy” your life?

Chapter 23 gives instructions concerning the feasts that Israel was to celebrate. These feasts acknowledged and helped them remember God’s sovereign work in their lives, just as Easter and Christmas should do for us. That’s part of the tragedy with the commercialization of those holidays. Easter has become more about bunnies and eggs and less about Christ’s resurrection. Christmas is more about “what will I get” than remembering that the Creator of the Universe humbled Himself to be born in a stable as a little baby with dirty diapers, to grow to be a boy who respected and obeyed His parents, and finally, to be a man who was willing to be beaten, stripped and crucified for me and you!

Notice that the feasts and the sacrifices involved food: meat and grain, oil and wine, things used in the preparation of a meal. Remember that God repeatedly told His people He desired to dwell with them. In Revelation 3.20 Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” 1 Corinthians 6.19 says that we are the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” And in John 1.14 it says that Jesus “became flesh and dwelt among us.”

That word “dwelt” comes from a root word meaning “to tent or encamp, to occupy (as a mansion) or to reside as God did in the Tabernacle of old. His dwelling with us speaks of protection and communion.

Does He really “occupy” your life? Or does He have to stay in the back room most of the time? Maybe He’s only with you on Sundays? Or maybe you say “no, He’s here all the time! I’m always talking about God and church!”

Then the question becomes, how are you doing at living your life in a way that makes Him pleased to be there? Are you going places, watching things, reading things, listening to things or saying things that grieve the Holy Spirit who lives in your “temple”? In other words, does your temple reflect the One who lives there? Continue reading