What I read this morning
Ezra 5; Job 21; Micah 1; Acts 5; 1 Peter 2-3
Christians get accused of hypocrisy more than any other group in the world today. Why you ask? Mostly because we deserve it.
While we’re never going to be perfect, the truth is often we don’t act the way that God wants us to behave. We gossip, we judge, and we often behave worse than the people we’re gossiping about or judging.
Peter tells us to conduct ourselves honorably and accept the authority of every human institution.
He didn’t say that we had to accept all the decisions as acceptable, did he?
The truth is that there are a lot of decisions our government will make that we just don’t agree with. There will be a lot of things done in congress, the white house or the supreme court that we will shake our head at.
But we should obey the government and, more importantly, honor and pray for those in elected office.
I don’t agree with many of our politicians on issues like abortion. There are many other issues I don’t agree with them on. I do my duty and vote, but once the people have spoken, I do my best to dutifully obey the laws passed until those laws conflict with God’s commands.
Peter lived in a time when the Roman government supported pagan rituals that were so horrible that they couldn’t be shown on cable tv.
As christians, our job is not to change the people by force of government. Our job is to point sinners toward Jesus and allow the holy spirit to change the hearts of people and turn them towards God.
Ezra 4; Job 20; Jonah 4; Acts 4; James 5 & 1 Peter 1
I’ve had the opportunity to be part of some very special things in my career. I was at BlueBook in the ’90s when it started to take off. I put together the launch of Hach’s LDO which is still one of there most successful launches. I was the leader of two youth groups that went from 0 members to 15-20 members in the 1990s as well.
All of them have one thing in common.
As they began to be successful, critics came out of the woodworks. Jealousy and envy caused attacks to come from places that I least expected.
Ezra records that as the temple rebuild proceeded critics came out to attack and were ultimately successful in stopping, temporarily, the progress on construction of a new temple.
People attack and criticize what they don’t understand. When they see someone being successful envy is at the door. That turns into attacks from those who fear they are being left behind or that they may in someway look bad.
Ezra would fight back and ultimately finish reconstruction. In the end, the critics faded into the background to be lost forever. Ezra knew he was completing God’s plans.
If God is at your center then leave the critics where they belong. Behind you.
What I read today
Ezra 3; Job 19; Jonah 3; Acts 3; James 3-4
We tend to like to think we’re better than others. Truth is most of the time that’s a defense mechanism. We know we’ve failed, so we point out the failures of others to make ourselves feel better. The problem is that we never build anyone up by tearing someone else down.
That’s why James tells us to not speak evil against one another. That’s hard sometimes because the way some people behave can give us an easy target.
We need to remember that we are no better. We’re all God’s children working towards heaven.
What I read today
Ezra 2; Job 18; Jonah 2; Acts 2; James 1-2
I can imagine that the day described in Acts 2 started out like any other day. Then everything changed.
From a quiet group gathered for worship to a group of men speaking in foreign languages.
Throughout the centuries since Jesus death, God had given ordinary people the extraordinary ability to reach other people. Whether it was the Apostle Paul going through Europe, or Jon Hus condemning the behavior of popes God has supplied men and women who were quite ordinary to take on issues and problems within our world. Are you someone who has the ability? Are you someone God is calling? Am I?
What I read today
Ezra 1; Job 17; Jonah 1; Acts 1; Hebrews 12-13
The book of Hebrews comes to an end with two iconic chapters. These two chapters describe our lives as they are, our lives as God wants us to strive to be, and finally, God’s wish for all of us to be united.
Chapter 12 vs. 1-4 tells us that our lives will be a struggle with sin. We will fight sin, we will lose, we will fight some more, and we will likely lose. That’s our life. However, vs. 2 points out that we shouldn’t focus on our losing battles with sin. We should focus on Jesus Christ. Sinners need to focus on what Jesus did for us and what he continues doing for us as he perfects us and provides us the perfection we need to enter eternal life.
Chapter 12 vs. 14-15 shows us that we need to strive for peace with everyone. Since we are all sinners, we need to not put stumbling blocks in peoples way. Christians should be welcoming and not judgemental. We have a habit of pointing out the sins of others. Since we are all sinners, we need to be careful not to judge another to the point that we can cause bitterness to drive a wedge between that person and his savior destroying the faith of a brother or sisters.
Chapter 13 vs. 1-5 tells us to live a life of love. These verses tell us to give our lives in service to one another.
Finally, chapter 13 vs. 14-15 point us to our heavenly home and the actual debt we owe to Jesus which is a sacrifice of praise for the one who’s done everything for us.
What I read today
2 Chronicles 36; Job 16; Obadiah; John 21; Hebrews 10-11
Hebrews is a complicated book. It jumps all over the place as you read it. Chapter 10 talks about Jesus sacrifice for our sins. Then tells us to watch out that we don’t lose our faith and wander away and even goes so far as to say if we willfully sin we can lose our faith.
That’s confusing because many of us struggle with sin. We fight and lose. We try to change our ways but wind up right back where we started.
Then chapter 11 talks about faith. It defines faith. It tells us we can’t do anything apart from faith.
It can be confusing, can’t it?
In the end, there is a subtle comment in chapter 11 verse 40 that I think tells us what the author is telling us about. He says that we are being “made perfect.”
It’s easy to read these chapters and think that we must be “perfect.” Then we can fall into despair because we realize that we are far from perfect. The answer is that when we come to faith in Jesus, the process of being perfected in our daily lives will be ongoing and lifelong. The reality is that we will never accomplish that goal in this lifetime. That’s why Jesus had to come to the earth. He had to be the one to make us perfect. It’s his perfect life that we are given when we trust Jesus for our salvation.
What I read today
2 Chronicles 35; Job 15; Amos 9; John 20; Hebrews 8-9
Where will you spend eternity?
It’s a question that haunts each one of us. Hebrews 9 tells us of a Savior who’s very purpose was to provide each and every one of us a way to spend eternity with him. A savior who sacrificed himself so that mankind would have a way to God.
Are you eagerly waiting for him?