Tuesday, October 17, 2017

God to Build a House of David

Called Into Covenant With God

God's Covenant with David:

Samuel Anoints David King of Israel

1 Chronicles 17:9-15 The Message

7-10 “So here is what you are to tell my servant David: The God-of-the-Angel-Armies has this word for you: I took you from the pasture, tagging after sheep, and made you prince over my people Israel. I was with you everywhere you went and mowed your enemies down before you; and now I’m about to make you famous, ranked with the great names on earth. I’m going to set aside a place for my people Israel and plant them there so they’ll have their own home and not be knocked around anymore; nor will evil nations afflict them as they always have, even during the days I set judges over my people Israel. And finally, I’m going to conquer all your enemies.
10-14 “And now I’m telling you this: God himself will build you a house! When your life is complete and you’re buried with your ancestors, then I’ll raise up your child to succeed you, a child from your own body, and I’ll firmly establish his rule. He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom’s rule forever. I’ll be a father to him, and he’ll be a son to me. I will never remove my gracious love from him as I did from the one who preceded you. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will always be there, rock solid.”
15 Nathan gave David a complete and accurate report of everything he heard and saw in the vision.

For Reflection

God has always been active in the history of Israel.  Here God has selected and prepared David for the task that God sets before him. Now God, in a vision, reveals his intention for the Chosen and the role David is to play.  As God has prepared David, God has also prepared you for your part in the Kingdom of God.  Have confidence in God and follow the lead of Christ.

Pray

Pray that you will remember all that God has done for you.  Pray that you will reflect on the gifts that you have to share with others. Pray for the confidence to trust in God and follow the lead of Jesus Christ fearlessly.

Forward to a friend

Monday, October 16, 2017

Samuel Anoints David as King of Israel

Called Into Covenant With God

God's Covenant with David:

Samuel Anoints David King of Israel


1 Samuel 16:11-13  The Message

11 Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?”
“Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.”
Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.”
12 Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health—bright-eyed, good-looking.
God said, “Up, on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.”
13 Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.
Samuel left and went home to Ramah


For Reflection

David was smaller than his brothers.  His hair was a different color.  His skin was lighter than theirs. David was the youngest son.  His father and the men in the village thought less of him.  Jesse thought so little of him that he did not present him to Samuel as a member of the family.

Why is it that God most always makes an unexpected selection in choosing people for special tasks? Here God decides on a lowly shepherd, one whom almost everyone thinks less of, as the future King of Israel? God is not like us who see superficially.  God sees not how others see us.  God sees our hearts and rushes into our souls to empower us to do God's will.

Pray

Pray that you will have vision far beyond the customary.  Pray to see with God's eyes.  Pray that you will seek God's mission for you.  Pray that you will let go of the conventional wisdom and judge with the uncommon understanding of God.

Forward to a friend

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lust Leads to Adultery

Covenant with God

Called into Covenant with God


Obeying God's Law 

Matthew 5:27-32 The Message

Adultery and Divorce

27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.
29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.
31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.

For Reflection Pray
As I write this Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood producer, is reaping the seeds of uncontrolled lust that he sowed during his highly acclaimed career.  How often have we seen a highly successful person be consumed by a fatal amoral flaw?  The Scriptural passage encourages a moral life, a life rooted in the Holy Spirit, a righteous life. One can mask moral failure for a short time, but that failure will eventually become public and the sin will topple the sinner.  It is not a God delivered punishment but rather the natural outcome of spiritual failure.

The good news is that even if one sins, one can repent.  One never loses the promise in God's covenant, that salvation is always there for the asking.

Pray

Pray for the sinner to humble himself or herself and repent.  Pray that you will remember that your God will always welcome you back like the prodigal son with joy and celebration.  Pray that you will accept the reconciled into the household as God has.  Pray that you will find the courage to welcome the sinner as God has welcomed you, who is also a sinner.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Anger Leads to Murder

Covenant with God

Called into Covenant with God


Obeying God's Law

Matthew 5:21-26 The Message

Murder

21-22 “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.
23-24 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
25-26 “Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.

For Reflection
Here is an excellent example of how Christ honors the Messianic law and extends it.  Not only is murder a sin but so is character assassination,  Even a hateful thought toward another is sinful.  Why?  It is a form of idolatry to place yourself at the center of your universe. In doing so you set yourself higher than God.  Being a Christian requires a great sacrifice.  That sacrifice is your avoidance of self-centeredness.

Pray

Pray for humility.  Pray so that you place God above yourself.  Pray so that you may be filled with the wisdom of righteousness.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Law Finds Fulfillment in Jesus

Covenant with God

Called into Covenant with God


Obeying God's Law

Matthew 5:17-20 The Message 

Completing God’s Law

17-18 “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.
19-20 “Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.

For Reflection
Some people ignore the Old Testament erroneously thinking that the New Testament replaces it.  However, the Gospel Good News is not a superordinate series of writings.  Rather it is the extension of the story of God and God's creation. We are still bound by the law. But, the Christ event has changed the way we interpret our faith.  Let the Hebrew Bible inform the New Testament and the New Testament inform the Hebrew Bible.

Pray
Pray that you will be able to apply the law in service to God with compassion and grace.  Pray that you will teach through your action the loving relationships tha invites others to live in the household of God

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

God's Exclusive Claim

Covenant with God

Called into Covenant with God


Obeying God's Law

Exodus 20:1-12 The Message 

20 1-2 God spoke all these words:
I am God, your God,
    who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
    out of a life of slavery.
3 No other gods, only me.
4-6 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
7 No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.
8-11 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.
12 Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.

For Reflection Pray
The root of all sin is idolatry, placing oneself above God. When one places the possession of things, accomplishment or evokes the name of God as though God was at one's servant or a frivolous entity which one trivializes. God saves you from yourself, physically and spiritually. God recommends that one sets aside time for the development of one's soul to reflect on the story of God in one's life.  God asks that we have trust and confidence in God and not depend wholly on individual achievement.

Pray
Give some time in Sabath to God. Pray and listen to God's call, to.God's encouragement, to God's comfort.  Pray and rest in God.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Chosen Race, a Holy People

Covenant with God

Called into Covenant with God


God's Covenant with Israel

1 Peter 2:1-10 The Message

2 1-3 So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.

The Stone

4-8 Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:
Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion,
    a cornerstone in the place of honor.
Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation
    will never have cause to regret it.
To you who trust him, he’s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him,
The stone the workmen threw out
    is now the chief foundation stone.
For the untrusting it’s
. . . a stone to trip over,
    a boulder blocking the way.
They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.
9-10 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

For Reflection Pray
Salvation in the here and now is not an end state, but, rather, a process of maturing in your response to God's love.  The Stone, once rejected, lives. Christ is the cornerstone of our Christian faith. Upon Christ is placed the anchor for all belief and action.  A stumbling block for the Godless, Christ is the stepping stone into righteous living.

Pray


Pray so that you will live up to the priestly work with which God has entrusted you.  Pray and feed on the word of God.