Friday, January 10, 2014

Scripture that Puts a Song in My Heart

I will be randomly adding to this post as I read scripture that makes me sing a song I know.  Please feel free to comment and add songs of your own.

Psalm 8
"Lord our Lord how majestic is your names in all the earth!'

God is the Judge--Not You

"Do not judge, or you to will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
                                                                                                                Matthew 7:1-2 (TNIV)

Worry about yourselves.  Spend more time looking internally at your own motives and behaviors and less time judging others.  That's what I think I'm learning through all this.  Does this mean I just let people behave however and do or say nothing?  I don't think so.  A book I was reading recently stated the answer to this dilemma more clearly than I have heard before:  "As I process this with God, I feel he has said two thing to me.  First, have I told you what I believe on this subject?  I have.  And second, I believe God is asking me to embrace this reality: It is God's job to judge.  It is my job to love you as he loves you.  I love you."  from The Beauty of the Broken by Elisa Morgan.

 I think my job is to speak the truth and then love.  God is the ultimate judge.  You will ultimately answer to Him.  That is how I want to be judged.  Show me the truth and then love me as I work through changes I need to make.  The above passage says, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged."  That is how I want to be judged:  Be shown the truth and then love me no matter what.  And, I think as a Christian that is my job.  Show the truth and introduce others to God and love them no matter what.  Does that mean I let them hurt me over and over?  No.  But, I love them no matter what.  I don't hurt them on purpose in return.  I love and forgive.  It is not my job to judge.  It is my job to love and to point them to God.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Worry About Yourself (or Better Yet Don't Worry At All)

I read Matthew 6 and the pressing impression I left with was that I need to focus on myself and really only worry about what God tells me, not what the world tells me.  My motivation for whatever I do should be to serve God.  If that is what I am focused on, I will not be worrying about what others think.  In fact, in Matthew 6, Jesus clearly states that you are not to do things to be seen by others like giving, praying, fasting, etc.  The motivation for such things should not be earthly glory by others or praise from others.  In fact, Jesus is clear that if that is what we are looking for, it will be our only reward. The motivation should be to serve and honor God and when that is your motivation, you don't need anyone else to see.

If your focus is on God, worry should not be a part of your life.  It does not matter what others think.  I heard Steve Chiles once say that "worry is really praying to yourself."  When you worry, you are focused on what you can do or not do about something in your own strength.  None of us has strength enough to handle all of life by ourselves.  The good news is God can and will.  All we have to do is trust Him and wait to see what amazing things he has in store.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cancel the Law?

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.   Truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."  Matthew 5:17-18

I have heard it said in my life, "That is the Old Testament.  It doesn't really apply now since Jesus came."  or "Jesus is all about love and acceptance and not the law."  While I agree Jesus is all about love, the above passage makes it clear to me that the law is not gone.

I think the problem really comes when we're trying to excuse our poor behavior and/or judge others for theirs.  I believe I am responsible for my own behavior.  I am not focused on the law or trying to meet all the laws adopted by the Pharisees.  In response to being asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus said,  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c]38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.  Matthew 22: 37-40 (NIV)

If we really do this--love God and love others, the law falls into place.  We will not intentionally be breaking the law if we are focused on love.  Real love. Check out 1 Corinthians 13 for a definition.  I know when I look at 1 Corinthians, I fall short.  I am not patient, kind, etc. 100% of the time.  There are many times I find myself self-serving.  So, what I need to do is spend my focus on myself and making the necessary changes.  I am so glad Jesus came and provided grace and mercy.  Boy, do I need those.

On the other side of things, I don't need to be judging others.  I should just speak the truth and then act in love.  God is the judge, not me.

What do you think the above passage means when it says Jesus "has not come to abolish the Law or Prophets, but to fulfill them"?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Inherently Evil or Good?

"Never again will I curse the ground because of human beings, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood."    Genesis 8:21 (TNIV)

For most of my life I have heard the argument about whether man is inherently evil or good.  Is a child born good and then corrupted by their experiences in this world?  Or is a child born inherently evil and will remain so until they accept Jesus as LORD and follow Him?  Well, it would seem to me that the above verse answers that pretty clearly.  If we believe that the Bible is truth--which it is--this verse clearly answers that question.  Man is inherently evil and needs God to change His nature.  Seems pretty clear to me.

Leaving Everything to Follow Him

"As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fisherman.  'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.'  At once they left their nets and followed him."
Matthew 4:18-20 (TNIV)

Immediately, they dropped everything to follow.  They did not even know, "the rest of the story."  They did not know how things would turn out.  They did not know the end of the story.  They did not have the New Testament they could read and know how the end turns out.  They only had The Old Testament scrolls, oral stories about God's faithfulness to His people, and their faith.

So, what's our problem?  We do have both the Old and New Testaments and know how the story ends.  We know God wins in the end.  So what is our problem?  When Jesus calls, why don't we drop everything "at once" to follow?

Luke 9:23 says:
"If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me" (Voice)

Every single day . . .May I be willing to listen and follow every day (and drop everything at once when He calls)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Getting Specific Instructions from God

I was reading the story of Noah and the Ark in Genesis 6 and I found myself asking "Why does Noah get such specific instructions and why don't I?"  God gave him very specific building instructions and how to fill the ark with what animals.  When I commented out loud that it sure would be nice to get such specific instructions, immediately I figured out the answer, "Listen."  Could it be that we don't listen to the instructions?  Could it be that we fill our lives with so much business and noise that we don't make time or space in our lives to really listen?  Could it be that if we hear the first instruction, we start making our own plans or questioning and talking so much that we don't take time to listen to the rest of the instructions?  I know when I am giving instructions to my kids and they leave halfway through, how frustrated I get.  Is that how God is with us?  Are we facing trials and difficulties we could avoid if we only listened to all the instructions?  I plan to make an intentional effort to slow down and listen to all of the instructions before charging ahead.  Now, I do realize that sometimes God only gives you one step at a time.  So, I plan to spend time really listening as I make each move. And, I know He will be right beside me, helping me all the way if I don't charge ahead.  He will tell me what I need to know if I will only listen.


Here is a question for all of you out there.  Genesis 6:4 says, "The Nephalim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of the human beings and had children by them.  They were the heroes of old, men of reknown."  What does this mean?  Who were the sons of God?  Where did they go?  Are they still among us and still having children with the daughters of human beings?  Could this truth have contributed to the mythology of Greece and Rome?  Could it have inspired the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan?

For some possible answers/discussion see Answers in Genesis.

God Took Him Away

"When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.  After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years.  Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."  Genesis  6:21-24  (TNIV)

This is my dream for the end of my life on Earth.  I'd rather not suffer pain or trauma, but just be taken to Heaven.  What about you?

Be Warned You Rulers of the Earth

"Therefore, you kings be wise, be warned you rulers of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling."  Psalms 2:10-11 (TNIV)

This sounds like a pretty clear warning to me.  The LORD is the one is charge, not the rulers of the world.  They need to serve Him and follow His plans.  No matter what the rulers of this world plan, ultimately they will not have success.  Oh, it may seem that way for a while.  See my earlier post.
God is ultimately in charge.  Remembering that helps me breathe easier and keeps my blood pressure down no matter what is going on the world.

God is Never Late, But Sometimes Right On the Dot

Psalm 1

"Blessed are those who do not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but who delight in the law of the LORD and meditate on his law day and night.  They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither--whatever they do prospers.   Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will be destroyed." (TNIV)

Oh, how I cling to this promise.  "The LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will be destroyed."  I believe this is true, but boy are there days it is hard to remember.  There are days it certainly seems that the wicked are in charge and are going to win.  There are days it is hard to cling to this promise.  I just need to remember "the LORD watches over the way of the righteous."  And, I am among the righteous because I have Jesus in my heart and He is LORD of my life.  So, no matter what the wicked do and how much it seems like they are winning and in charge, they are not.  The LORD is in charge and the day is coming when "the way of the wicked will be destroyed."

I read another passage this week that reminded me that what God tells us will happen does not always happen the minute we think it will happen.  This time I was reading about "The Fall" in Genesis 3.  The serpent asked Eve "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?"  Eve answered with what God had told her, "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die."  The serpent told her,"You will not certainly die."  This was not true.  True, when Eve and then Adam ate the fruit, they did not immediately die.  That is probably what they thought would happen.  But, they did die.  They were kicked out of the garden and death entered their lives.  Death did not happen immediately, but it did happen.  What God tells us will happen WILL HAPPEN.  Sometimes (OK, many times) it doesn't happen immediately, but it WILL HAPPEN.

One thing I have been learning through life is that God will really meet my needs.  Intellectually, I say I have known this for a long time.  Practically, it's sometimes hard to wait and I think maybe this time He won't.  Well, He always keeps His promises.  Every single time.   Sometimes, it's not at the moment we want, or the way we think we want, but it is always the way we need.  God keeps His promises.  There is coming a day when the righteous will head to Heaven to spend eternity with God and never have to deal with the wicked again.  That day is coming.  May I be patient and follow God until that day comes.  He WILL keep His promises.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Time for a Restart

Well, here we are at the beginning of a new year once again.  I started last year with good intentions to keep up with this blog and I did just that until April.  Then, nothing.  That does not mean I stopped searching for the truth.  I just stopped blogging about it.  I could give you a million excuses, but that is not what this is about.  I have good intentions once again and I hope they last past April this year.  So, I will be posting as new truths hit me.  Will it be everyday?  Maybe, Maybe not, Maybe more than once a day.  We'll just see what this year holds.  I will be putting this blog post on Facebook, but not every one.  So, if you want to see when I post, please follow me.  And, please keep me accountable if there is a huge space between blog posts.  You have permission to get on my case about it.  :)