Blog through the Bible 4

•January 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Again, I have committed myself to reading through the Bible every year using a reading calendar I first found through Jerry Fine and One on One With God. I have found it to be an excellent calendar and have learned so much over my time reading through Scripture.

Today, I read a little rebuke by Elihu to Job that caught my attention. Now, if you remember Job’s story you know he had a great life that ended up with one very bad day that changed everything. Job maintained his integrity before God even when his “friends” showed up and proceeded to condemn as obviously being a wicked person because God had struck him down with all of this disaster. Great friends, I know. Elihu is the youngest of the four friends and keeps quiet until he sees that Job has continued to maintain his innocence in the face of the other three’s accusations. Then he pipes up and shows why it is often necessary for those who are young to simply be content and listen sometimes. Here is a little phrase that the Holy Spirit nudged me on:

Job 35:16b

… multiplies words without knowledge

How often do we do this very thing? BTW Elihu is doing this very thing he accuses Job of doing. How often do we use and seek to use more and more eloquently designed speech to impress God somehow into giving us what we want? How often do we fake our way through a conversation we know nothing about with big and empty words? Basically, that is what he is saying. It is possible to use many words, big important sounding words, yet not really gain anymore knowledge. God knows our hearts, our steps our everything. In fact, in Job 34:21, Elihu points out that God sees everything, God sees “all [man’s] steps.” God knows what you need before you ever ask, maybe it’s not fancy speech you need, but to ask God exactly what it is you need, not want.

Blog Through the Bible 3

•January 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Job 28:12-28 (English Standard Version)

12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
17Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.

20″From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
21It is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

23 “God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
24For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
26when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
28And he said to man,’Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.'”

This is a passage from my readings today. It stewed with me most of the day. It was as if it just stuck with me and poked at my thoughts. It is an interesting concept that Job is pointing out to his so-called friends. Now, if you have read the book of Job you will know that his friends weren’t really great at comfort. Empathy was not in their vocabulary. Job points out simply that the value of wisdom is immeasurable. That is true wisdom. There is no price that can be put on true authentic wisdom. It is far greater than any precious jewel or mineral. Its worth surpasses the finest platinum and gold. However, true wisdom is only known and understood by God. I think the key is in verse 24. Only God “sees everything under the heavens.” This sight includes the entire scope of history. Only God sees everything, so only God can truly make a wise decision. Human wisdom, then, is only true as it is consistent with God’s wisdom and will. God’s greatest priority is to see us experience Him in fullness, to share in His wonderful love, grace and wisdom. Our paths are never more true than when they are guided by the only source of true wisdom, that is God. How do we know God’s heart? Practice spiritual disciplines. Be diligent in your worship of God, fellowship with other believers, bible study, prayer time, witnessing, serving and obedience to God. The end of that path is the greatest reward you will ever find. And it is marked with the wisdom of God.

Blog Through the Bible 2

•January 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Interesting statement in Matthew 11:6 –

“And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

John the Baptist has been imprisoned and hears of the remarkable nature of Jesus’ ministry. He sends some of his disciples to confirm with Jesus wether he is the “one” i.e. is Jesus the Messiah. Jesus responds with a description of just what His ministry looks like. People’s physical needs are met, they are experiencing life anew, and they are hearing the good news of the Kingdom. Then Jesus shares this simple statement. The word for “blessed” is the same as the one used in the famous beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, makarios. Blessed in our lives if we do not find offense at Jesus and His methods? ways? attitudes? What exactly is He saying by saying that we are blessed if we don’t take offense?

Perhaps the truth is found in our approach of Jesus, our expectations on His actions. How often do we seek Christ with a preconceived idea of how He should act. The Messiah in 1st century Judaism was thought to be coming as a military victor, he would restore the Jewish nation to its rightful place as ruling power over the world. But Jesus came and healed the sick, the lame, the leper. He didn’t fit. What is our response when Jesus doesn’t fit our thought?

Is it frustration?
Is it anger?
Is it offense?

When we truly seek to trust Christ and His plan for our spiritual act of worship is surrender. It is to trust our lives to His plan. How many people fail to experience blessing because they are offended at Jesus’ methods, His plan, His purpose because it doesn’t fit our idea? Underlying this idea of not taking offense is one of trust and faith. Trusting and believing that Jesus is who He says He is and that His way is the best way. In this trust and faith, one experiences the blessing of being within God’s will and plan.

Blog Through the Bible

•January 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

A standard goal for me personally has been to read through the Bible every year. I use a bible reading calendar from Jerry Fine at www.oneononewithgod.org it is well worth it. I now try to make sure I use a different translation each time in order to see some of the subtle differences in how we have understood the original texts. So, since I want to blog more this year, mainly because I hope it will help me unload a few things sometimes, I thought it would be fun to post about insights I receive as I read through the text. Hence, the title: Blog through the Bible. Obviously, it’s mid-January. I have already read several days but oh well. I will start here. I was reading in Genesis 17 actually a day behind so I had to catch up. Here is the passage:

Genesis 17:18

And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!”
ESV

Abraham is seeking for God to fulfill His covenant promise by blessing Ishmael instead of some future promised offspring. Remember, Sarai has convinced Abram that they need to conceive a child with her servant Hagar instead of waiting on God. Abram now seeks to have God, who is reconfirming His covenant promise with him, fulfill this covenant based on his own terms instead of what God has promised. He asks God to fulfill the covenant promise through Ishmael instead of the promised son by Sarai. How often do we attempt to make God fulfill His plan and purpose through us based on our own terms and definitions. We can’t make God cut corners or take shortcuts to fulfill His plan. We are called to trust it, and that is the heart of faith. Our faith is not a complete blindness in the absence of things but a total trust that God will fulfill His promise in spite of things not appearing like it. Remember, “faith is the… conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Abram struggled to see God’s ability to fulfill this covenant over his age, Sarai’s age and so on. So, he tried to convince God to circumvent His plan and use his own methods. May all of us seek to fulfill God’s plan for us according to faith in Him and not our own abilities.

Passionate Purpose

•May 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

Harrison, my nine year old and oldest, got in trouble last Monday after school. When I got home from the church I was greeted with the information that I needed to go have a talk with him. At the end of our talk he made a statement that surprised me – he openly wished that Adam and Eve had never sinned so that he wouldn’t have to deal with sin now. Quite a deep thought for a nine year old boy! My response to him was to point to Christ. When in doubt, give the Sunday School answer right? I asked how we would ever know the depth of God’s love if Christ had not come. So, perhaps there is a greater purpose at work.

I would like to focus this morning on one aspect of this coming relayed by Paul in Philippians 2:6-8:
6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Pursue passionate purpose over personal privilege
o Christ had all the privilege in the world because of his Deity
o He emptied himself of these privileges to come to earth to offer Himself as a sacrifice
o John 13 – the role of a servant – humblest of all servants was the foot washer
o Death on the cross as a criminal – the most vile of death in their culture and He willingly went to the cross in innocence in obedience to the Father

Our response should be the same. Often we pursue personal privilege to sit at the best spots, own the best things, be treated as royalty. We seek personal glory in things for which God deserves the honor. The task of humility in the individual is a great challenge because it is not being weak, or a sissy, but giving credit to whom it is due. That credit is due to God. We fulfill God’s ultimate plan and honor Him the most when our lives pursue His purpose for us out of love for Him.

Psalm 9:10

•April 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10

A helpful reminder to us as we seek to lead in the church. In the midst of busyness, trial, tiredness, and struggle our priority ought to be seeking our Lord. The Bible tells us of the incredible things God has done throughout history for His people and for those earnestly seek Him. Let that challenge us to remain consistent and faithful in our determination to daily commit ourselves to Him and Him alone.

Resurrection

•April 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

21 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.

1 Corinthians 15:12-23

 
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