Category Archives: Sunday

From the Mouth of God

Continue reading

Thanks for Sharing Lord!

Isaiah 12;1 In that day you will say:
“I will praise you, Lord.  Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.  2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”  3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Today I will praise you Lord:
You are faithful even when I deserve anger:
Faithful to intervene because of need
Faithful to love even before obedience
Faithful to teach that need can lead to obedience
You are the Comforter:
When I am uncomfortable
When I am sorrowful
And finally when I am repentant
You are Salvation:
From life with no purpose
Or purpose with no life
You are the reality of  life and purpose
You are the power and defender of my salvation:
You make known what seems unknowable
You defend the faith you’ve given
You draw life-giving water up from the deep wells of salvation so we can drink together.
You have become my Salvation for the sake of your own joy:
Your joy has become my shared joy.
Thanks for sharing Lord!

Reminded to Remember

2 Peter 3:1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. 

“We are so often in the position of men whose need is not so much to be taught as to be reminded of what we already know.”  William Barclay

One of the snags of being devoted to reading the Word of truth over and over again and blogging about it is feeling you need to come up with something new.  But you know what?  When the time comes to hit “publish” and all your hours of thought, writing and rewriting don’t even make sense to you it’s time to hit “delete” first.  The Word that remains is that stand-alone scripture of last Wednesday from Isaiah “so that you [I] may know and believe me [the Lord] and understand that I am he.” That’s the first lesson of faith.  

That, my internet friends, has become part of what I call a custom designed object lesson. I share it because I know Christ lives in me.  That one thing is so important that if I never learned anything else that would be enough for God.  But…I need these daily reminders so I can live what I already know. Today that lesson is completed and confirmed by the Apostle and Barclay.

The object of what I read is to…
* stimulate you [me] to wholesome thinking
* recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior
– be reminded of what I already know

Intimacy of Inadequacy

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

There’s a reassurance in being part of a church body and all the services that body offers.  We share a focus, we share some like beliefs, we meet together and sometimes we even share our innermost thoughts.  Church is a spot dedicated to “family” intimacy but learning obedience to our faith with that kind of intimacy is hard.  It’s not purposely hidden but in my experience it doesn’t happen frequently either. 

There are moments in life with God that may be so meaningful and intimate they are closely guarded because they’re soul-bearing revelations.  That kind of intimacy strips away all our pretensions of adequacy and sophistication. It’s that intimacy of inadequacy that reveals the real and absolute naked truth of our need for God. God bless and multiply those moments when that kind of intimacy makes it plan for us to see it’s how the “righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.”

Segue

Continue reading

Only One Right Answer

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

• Compassion • kindness • humility •gentleness • forgiveness • love
• thankfulness. 

I’m a list-maker so lists in Scripture always catch my eye.  The thing about lists is they serve a necessary purpose in daily life.  They’re usually filled with things to do and the object is twofold; to be reminded and to be able to √ items off. That’s how lists work.  I think Paul’s √ list of virtues works the same way.  It’s both a to-do and a reminder list but it has an added benefit.

Paul’s reminders are the right response to being “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved” but they’re about more than behavior.   What if there’s another purpose to those reminders – the training of the heart?  What if each thing on that list of virtues is also a ? to ask yourself that applies to “whatever you do, whether in word or deed?”  What if the answer to each ? is as important as being able to √ it off?

• Compassion? • kindness? • humility? •gentleness? • forgiveness? • love?
• thankfulness?

Only the right answer makes it possible to add a √ mark after any of those virtues and there’s only one right answer to each of those ?’s.  “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly… And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 

Either/Or

Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ…22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

17 reality, however, is found in Christ
* 22 things that are all destined to perish with use
23 self-imposed worship…[ 3 versions]
– lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence NIV
– no value against fleshly indulgence NASB
– no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires TLB 

Sometimes I begin by reading a passage of Scripture and jotting phrases that catch my attention [see above].  My go-to version is usually the NIV.  I frequently re-read the same passage in a few other versions hoping slightly different words will gel into a focus.  Then the hard part begins: to trust God really has something in that Word that will nourish faith in my daily life.  I try to write a sentence or two based on those phrases.  Today that focus seems to be either/or.  

Either you learn how to live every day as if “reality, however, is found in Christ” OR all you’re investing yourself in is “self-imposed worship.”  Is it possible, even likely, the very best spiritual nourishment we choose, reading the Bible, praying, service, church attendance and even writing a blog about faith, can become self-imposed worship of rules and regulations, not Christ?

We all know the answer to that question is yes.  The Scripture is very discreet about how it words *verse 22 so I will be too.  “Reality, however, [that’s] found in Christ” requires the same diligence of daily nourishment for our hearts that food does for our bodies.  Both kinds of nourishment are subject to the same natural processes.  Unless our investment is able to renew the reality of Christ in us and become our true worship that has real “effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires” it’s just the waste of “self-imposed worship.”