Thursday, April 19, 2018

Jesus, Our Example on the Throne

Acknowledging God

The Lord God the Almighty

Hebrews 12:1-11 The Message


Discipline in a Long-Distance Race

12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
4-11 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
    but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
    the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

For Reflection

God's sacrifice for our sake should not be one taken in vain.  We who know Christ, we who love Christ, we who follow Christ, we who are to mirror Christ's life, WE are trusted with the will of God for his people. Will we dare let God down?

Pray

Pray so that you can run the race to its conclusion in obedience to the will of God.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Moses Summoned By God

Acknowledging God

The Lord God Almighty

Exodus 19:20-25 The Message

18-20 Mount Sinai was all smoke because God had come down on it as fire. Smoke poured from it like smoke from a furnace. The whole mountain shuddered in huge spasms. The trumpet blasts grew louder and louder. Moses spoke and God answered in thunder. God descended to the peak of Mount Sinai. God called Moses up to the peak and Moses climbed up.
21-22 God said to Moses, “Go down. Warn the people not to break through the barricades to get a look at God lest many of them die. And the priests also, warn them to prepare themselves for the holy meeting, lest God break out against them.”
23 Moses said to God, “But the people can’t climb Mount Sinai. You’ve already warned us well telling us: ‘Post boundaries around the mountain. Respect the holy mountain.’”
24 God told him, “Go down and then bring Aaron back up with you. But make sure that the priests and the people don’t break through and come up to God, lest he break out against them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people. He said to them:

For Reflection

Moses was known as an oracle. He spoke in judgment of the people's disputes as a representative of God. He was an emissary of God. God had given him exclusive access to the Word.  Not even the priests who were by their office authorized to speak to God were not holy enough to approach God on the mountain.  Only Moses.

It gave Moses the exclusive authority to speak for God. Moses words became God's words. 

Pray

Pray so that you can hear the words of God, spoken in your soul.  Listen and meditate on God's will for you to witness to the Holy Spirit and through your action reveal God to those around you.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Job's Plain Determination

Acknowledging God

TheLord God Almighty 

Job 1:6-12 The Message
The First Test: Family and Fortune
6-7 One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”
Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”
8 God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”
9-10 Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can’t lose!
11 “But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”
12 God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.

For Reflection

The challenges of life affect us all.  Even Job, a most righteous and faithful person is exposed to troubles. We are always tested by the problems of daily life and our humanity. The story of Job is not so much about what he has to confront but the attitude with which he responds. Job struggles to see God's intent in the events of his life. All who are around him cannot see God's intent for the life that is Job. Do you look for God's intention in the events of your life? Do you take the painful events as opportunities to grow in grace?

Pray

Pray so that you develop a vision of the intent of God in all that you confront.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

God Promises Mercy to All People

Acknowledging God

The Lord God, The Almighty

Genesis 9:8-17 The Message
8-11 Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you, along with everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ship with you. I’m setting up my covenant with you that never again will everything living be destroyed by floodwaters; no, never again will a flood destroy the Earth.”
12-16 God continued, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between the Earth and me. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth, and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.”
17 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I’ve set up between me and everything living on the Earth.”

For Reflection

God's covenant confirms the continuation of the human race. The sign of that covenant is the rainbow.  It is a recurring symbol of God's promise. The earth has been purified and reborn.  Noah is the new Adam. God secured the reboot with a promise. Noah is the best of humankind in the worst times. The spark of righteousness lives in Noah and us all.

Pray

Pray in search of your inner Noah.  Look for the desires deeply embedded in your soul.  Pray and discover your path to righteousness in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Lose Your Life for My Sake

Acknowledging God

All Glory and Honor

John 10:11-18 The Message

11-13 “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.
14-18 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”

For Reflection

Jesus was equivalent to God. Because Christ sacrificed his life, we are asked to sacrifice ours.  Some die for the love of God in Christ. They first died to their old self-centered life and were re-born into a new life in Christ.  Because of Christ, we can become equivalent to Christ, not in substance, but in form. Thus, we are saved from ourselves and reconciled to God.

Pray

Pray that you will worship God and follow Christ.  Pray that you will take on the cloak of Christ, die to your old life and mature into a new life in service to God. Pray that you will seek opportunities to become like Christ, a God collaborator.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Consequences of Following Christ

Acknowledging God

All Glory and Honor 

Matthew 10:34-39 The Message

34-37 “Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.
38-39 “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.

For Reflection

When you decide to choose to follow Christ, you emerge as a baby from a protected, comfortable societal womb into an alternative society of God-fearing folk. Your perceptions of the world will change.  Your desires to follow the Way of Christ will dominate your activity.

Be prepared. Your choice will come with a social price. Those who knew you before this transformation may not be comfortable with a new relationship and push you toward behaving as you had before. Find your new self in the image of Christ and be encouraged, comforted, and emboldened by the Holy Spirit that has displaced old desires in your soul.

Pray

Pray for the courage to embrace your new self.  Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pray for wisdom. Pray for opportunities to grow into Grace.

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