July 13, 2020

What I Read Today:

1 Timothy 1; John 6; Daniel 12; Psalm 13; 2 Kings 14; Genesis 16

The words of Psalm 13 really hit home with me today.  For the past several weeks I have been struggling.  I’ve been struggling to lead a group of people who are doing things I don’t agree with.  I’m afraid that their behavior will put people at risk.  

There’s a fine line between faith in God and testing God.  I’m beginning to believe that some are testing God.  

When we don’t care enough about our neighbors to take steps to keep them safe what does that say about us?  When our desire to get what we want is more important than showing concern for those at risk are we following God?  When our demand for our rights and/or personnel freedoms says we can choose to take a risk for another person how is that God-pleasing?

We’re learning something about ourselves during COVID 19.  I’m not sure I like what I see.

But our God is great and good.  I believe in the words of Psalm 13:5-6.  Sometimes there the only things that keep me going.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”  NIV

July 12, 2020

What I Read Today:

What I Read Today;

2 Thessalonians 3; John 5; Daniel 11; Psalm 12; 2 Kings 13; Genesis 15

Abraham was given quite an honor.  God chose him to be the father of the Jewish nation.  It wasn’t that Abraham was perfect.  No, Abraham could be deceitful and he definitely had a temper.  He was impatient and had trouble waiting on God.  That’s how he ended up with a son named Ishmael through his wife’s handmaid Hagar.

However, Abraham had one thing above all else. He trusted God.  

Abraham understood that when God made a promise he kept it.  He may not have understood the how and the why of God, but he trusted that God would do what he said he would do.

So I wonder how Abraham felt standing there looking up at the stars.  Did he wonder how in the world a 90-year-old man would produce so many offspring that they would rival the number of stars in the sky?

But that is exactly what our God did.  Through Abraham, a nation would be born.  Through Abraham King, David would rule.  Through Abraham Jesus Christ would descend.  Through Jesus, billions of souls would be saved.  I don’t know how many souls have been saved, but I bet there aren’t enough stars in the sky to count them.

July 11, 2020

What I Read Today:

2 Thessalonians 2; John 4; Daniel 10; Psalm 11; 2 Kings 12; Genesis 14

In John 4, Jesus and his disciples have crossed into Samaria.  Tired, hot and thirsty, Jesus sits down near a well, while his disciples head into town to find some food.  

Jesus, however, is never one to miss an opportunity.  

The Jewish people looked down at the Samaritans.  The Samaritans weren’t allowed into the temple for worship and the people were told not to associate with them.   So imagine this woman’s amazement, when Jesus asked her for a drink of water.

Jesus knew exactly who this person was.  He knew her past.  He understood her pain.  But he also knew that there was a hole in her heart and that he was going to fill it.  

To Jesus, church membership didn’t matter.  Jesus only cared if your heart was aimed at God.  The only thing that mattered to him was were you willing to turn your life over to him.  Your past is gone, it’s your future that Jesus is concerned about.  

That’s why he offered her the living water of the Gospel.  His disciples were confused, the people of the town were amazed and a woman was saved.  

Quite a day’s work.

July 10, 2020

What I Read Today:

2 Thessalonians 1; John 3; Daniel 9; Psalm 10; 2 Kings 11; Genesis 13

John 3:1-8, “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”  “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. NIV

I can almost hear the confusion in Nicodemus’ voice.  He had to be wondering, “what in the world is Jesus talking about.” 

Jesus was laying it on the line to Nicodemus.  You can’t see the kingdom unless you’ve been “born again.” 

In other words, the spirit has to be in you.  Your life has to reflect a change.  Your focus has to become about God.  The superficial worship that the Jewish people were now engaging in, wasn’t what God wanted for his people.

Contrary to popular opinion, being, “born again”, sometimes takes time.  For every mountaintop experience and Road to Damascus moment, there are hundreds who come to Christ after years of struggle.  

Nicodemus appears to have been one of those.  He and Joseph of Arimethea would remove Jesus from the Cross and bury him.  

Jesus’ point is, that the spirit of God has to penetrate our individual hearts. 

July 9, 2020

What I Read Today:

1 Thessalonians 5; John 2; Daniel 8; Psalm 9; 2 Kings 10; Genesis 12

1 Thessalonians 5:15-24, “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” NIV

Paul’s final instructions to the people of Thessalonica are words of wisdom that we should take to heart ourselves.

His first point, in verse 15, is especially important today.  It seems that we are intent on taking revenge now.  If someone “disrespects me,” I have to get even.  Twitter, Facebook, revenge porn, and all manner of revenge can be found strewn across the internet.  We don’t seem capable of forgiveness.  

In verses 16-18 he gives us a blueprint to follow for how to live our lives.  Paul tells us to do three things, rejoice, pray, and give thanks.   These three lead us to a life that is truly devoted to God.  We have so much to rejoice about.  We have our God who we can pray to.  And our blessings truly should make us thankful, each and every day.

In verses 19-22, Paul is telling us to make sure that we grow in our spiritual lives.  How do you keep the spirit alive?  You feed the spirit with the word of God.  How can we test prophecies, by knowing what the word of God says?  How do we no what God thinks is good and evil?  Read his word.

The Christian life should not be complicated.  Our lives should revolve around our God, his word, and Jesus Christ!  Amen!