Category Archives: Micah

Practice – Affection and perfection

I noticed and interesting thing after I’d finished my list of word ideas to pursue in these next few weeks. The first word of each combination was capitalized but the second was not. It was only a function of digital grammar but it made me think about those combinations differently. The capitalized word became an attribute of God to be practiced and for sure the lower case one the challenge of practicing them. If I looked at them that way, how were they related? Where is it written?

Zephaniah 3:17 For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you.” Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song. Living Bible [TLB]

It’s a fact! “He will love you and not accuse you.” YOU are the object of God’s Affection! Ponder what walking in that Affection might mean.

It’s the definition of that next word that’s the challenge of our daily life. God looked at the male and female he’d created and because they were the completed image of himself, they were by definition Perfect [with a capital P], weren’t they? Our definition of perfection has taken a turn for the worse and lost it’s capital “P.” Rather than being focused on practicing the Affection of God and who he’s created us to be our focus has become skewed by the complication our own ideas of perfection. God is determined to simplify our lives and change our ideas too. Here’s where it’s written.

Micah 6:6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. [NIV]

Our possessions and offerings are different now but they’re still what confuse our perfection.  It’s much harder to give the simplest of things – ourself. He knows firsthand our possessions and our wealth are not the answer to our perfection because He personally experienced everything we struggle with.  The substitution of Jesus Christ “for the sin of [our] soul” has made the capital “P” part of the picture again for us. It takes time and it’s not easy but it’s simple: Perfection will come with the practice of walking daily in his Affection for you.

“He [God] has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

The Perfect Christmas Bread

Christmas BellsYou’ve heard it before; there is far more to Christmas than decorations and beautifully wrapped gifts. Without a doubt these things add to our celebration of the Christmas season but this year let’s make Advent a bigger story. It’s a story about God’s perfect gift for us.  My gift for you these next 26 days is a daily serving of my own “homemade” Christmas bread.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. Micah 5:2

Bethlehem is a name that makes me think of an overcrowded village and a road-weary couple.  Two people forced to make a tough journey at the most inopportune time. Those are not pretty thoughts until you realize the meaning of that small village’s name changes the whole picture.   “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread” in both Hebrew and Aramaic. Jesus is the Bread of Life born in the House of Bread. That’s no accident of history, it’s The Perfect Christmas bread.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26

It was simple thankfulness Jesus felt as he shared that bread with his friends.  Then he spoke those words that gave that bread a new meaning. It was a deeper meaning that took some thought on their part. Today we call it Communion. This Christmas those same words may deserve some deeper thought from us as we celebrate Communion. It’s our thoughtful participation that will change that moment from a holiday ritual to the perfect gift for you to offer at the cradle.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

Jesus says he is THE Bread of Life.  He’s not one of many choices like on the supermarket shelf.  THE Bread of Life promises he can fill your life…forever…if you will just come and believe.

Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

Those words are a familiar part of an old prayer almost everyone has heard. Who would have thought they are not just old ritual words but God’s provision for those who are hungry today; Bread that can be shared.  A small, freshly baked loaf of homemade bread and a card that includes your favorite words “from the mouth of God” would be a great gift for a neighbor or a friend this year.  In fact it would be The Perfect Christmas Bread.

Jesus answered, “It is written: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4