April 13, 2019

What I read today:

Romans 13; Matthew 13; Jeremiah 37; Psalm 103; 2 Chronicles 25-26; Leviticus 19

David understood exactly who he was.  Psalm 103 sums it up perfectly.  David was a sinful human being.  He was totally unworthy of the grace, mercy, and love of God.  He was totally dependent on God’s mercy for his salvation.  David trusted that God would wipe away all of his many sins.  He knew God as a compassionate God who loved his children and longed to give them grace and mercy.  David waited for the ultimate prize.  The life eternal where he would see God’s face and worship him in Heaven.

We worship that same God.  That God who watches over us and cares for us.  Who is there for our self-inflicted wounds.  Who watches over each one of us during our trials and tribulations.  Who sees our pain and comforts us in our time of trouble.  We too, know that God has taken our sins away and they are now as far as the east is from the west.  He no longer counts our sins against us thanks to the work of Jesus on the Cross.

Rest easy in that peace that passes all understanding.

April 12, 2019

What I read today;

Romans 12; Matthew 12; Jeremiah 36; Psalm 102; 2 Chronicles 23-24; Leviticus 18

The book of Romans is one of the most important letters written in human history.  We here about our sin, salvation, spiritual struggle and God’s love and mercy.

In chapter 12 Paul lays out a roadmap of how we are to try and live our lives.

In the first two verses of Chapter 12, Paul tells us that it’s not good enough to just go through the motions of worship of God.  God wants our whole being. God wants our bodies, minds, and hearts committed to God.

In the third verse of Chapter 12, Paul tells us not to be arrogant.  Not to think too highly of ourselves.  To be humble.

In verses 4-8 of Chapter 12, Paul continues by telling us that all of us can be servants of God.  From the Janitor to the Usher to the Preacher all who serve are important in the life of the Church.

In verses 9-13, Paul lays out what a life of love really looks like.  A life hating evil, that rejoices in God’s grace and mercy and that gives out of the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ.

Finally, in verses 14-21, he defines what a life of love looks like.  He tells us not to hate those who curse us.  He shows us a roadmap of how to lift our brothers and sisters up.  Paul tells us to seek out the lowly and lost.  We’re instructed not to seek revenge, but to leave room for God to seek revenge on our behalf.

It’s a life that’s difficult to actually live.  But a life that each of us should strive to live.

With the week I had it’s a message I need to read over and over again.

April 11, 2019

What I read today;

Romans 11; Matthew 11; Jeremiah 35; Psalm 101; 2 Chronicles 21-22; Leviticus 17

Certain verses in the Bible are doctrinal giants.  They are verses quoted and used without ceasing to show how we are justified, sanctified and how God is glorified.

Verses like Ephesians 2 vs. 8-9 – saved by grace, John 3 vs. 16 – God so loved the world, Genesis 1 – Creation, Genesis 3 – The Fall into Sin, Exodus 20 – The 10 Commandments, Matthew 6 vs. 9-13 – The Lords Prayer, Matthew 26 vs. 26-27 – The Lords Supper.  All of these have been used to build doctrines and helped to create the church as it stands today.

But how do you show people the character of Jesus?

How can we use the Bible to reach out with the Love of God rather than a rulebook

Matthew 11 vs. 27-30;

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

How about we use scripture like Matthew 11 vs. 27-30 and show people the character of Jesus himself.  To explain to people who Jesus is and what he did for us.

 

 

April 10, 2019

What I read today;

Romans 10; Matthew 10; Jeremiah 34; Psalm 100; 2 Chronicles 19-20; Leviticus 16

Some mornings I need to hear from God more than others.  Today is one of those mornings.  It seems God always comes through when I need him.  Today I read Psalm 100.  I’ll let the words of this Psalm speak for themselves.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
     Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come into his presence with singing.

 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he that made us, and we are his;
    we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him, bless his name.

 For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.”NRSV

April 9, 2019

What I read today;

Romans 9; Matthew 9; Jeremiah 33; Psalm 99; 2 Chronicles 17-18; Leviticus 15

We like to surround ourselves with people who think like we do.  It’s in our nature.  We don’t like to hear opposing viewpoints.

We especially don’t like to stand up and be the different one in a crowded room.  People who do, face incredible criticism.

After the attacks of 9/11, the Congress of the United States passed the Patriot Act as a means of preventing future terrorist attacks.  Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold was the lone Senator to vote against the act.   He was concerned that the bill went too far giving the government to much power to obtain information against our own citizens.  He was worried about potential abuses by the executive branch.  The bill passed 98-1 and went on to be signed by the President into Law.  Feingold would lose his re-election bid a few years later.

History has shown that Feingold was right.   Our own government did, in fact, violate our individual citizen’s constitutional rights by gathering cell phone data, e-mails, and other communications.  We then found out that our own intelligence services had used those tools against citizens of friendly nations and their leaders.  Most recently the FISA court may have been misused against a campaign team member of the Trump election team.

Yet Russ Feingold is no longer in the Senate, and the Patriot Act has been reauthorized multiple times.

Standing up against the ruling class is difficult and often comes at a cost.  In 2 Chronicles we read about the prophet Micaiah.  Micaiah stood up against 400 prophets and the King of Israel and told them exactly what they did not want to here.  He ended up in jail.

Today, it is becoming more difficult to proclaim the gospel.  In many countries, those who proclaim the gospel can find themselves in prison or dead.

Going against the crowd is risky.  But that is precisely what God calls us to do.  He calls us to go against the crowd even if that makes us outcasts.  The story of Micaiah is a cautionary tale.  When Jesus says to go into the world, it is with the understanding that there are serious risks.  But the risks are worth it!

April 8, 2019

What I read today;

Romans 8; Matthew 8; Jeremiah 32; Psalm 98; 2 Chronicles 15-16; Leviticus 14

If you are older than 5, you know that things don’t always go the way you want them.  In our lives, we will have stress, struggle, and trouble.  Sometimes our problems are minor in nature.  Other times we are the cause of our own problems.  In some instances, our problems are a matter of chance.

However, in all instances our problems are temporary.  They are temporary because as believers in Jesus Christ we know that our God has achieved victory over our world of sin and pain.  Our struggles may end when we enter heaven’s gates but they will end.

That’s the beauty of the Christian life, summed up in these words of Paul in Romans 8 vs. 31-39;

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written. “For your sake, we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

April 7, 2019

What I read today;

Romans 7; Matthew 7; Jeremiah 31; Psalm 97; 2 Chronicles 13-14; Leviticus 13

Since the fall of man we all face each day with the renewed struggle against our sinful human natures.  We see the results all around us.  Crime, poverty, violence and all sorts of sinful behavior.

In Romans 7 Paul describes that human condition.  He describes the inner struggle that is at war inside of each and every one of us.

However, he also tells us in vs. 25 that Jesus Christ has saved us from that war.  He has given us the hope that he has paid the price for our failures.  He has resolved our lifelong fight in our favor.  No matter how many times we fail, Jesus is there to pick us up and put us back on the road to eternal life.

Like Paul, we say, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” NRSV