Archive for July, 2003

Its not what you know, it is who you know – Luke 4-6

Knowing about Jesus and about God’s word is not enough. In Luke 4-6, Jesus is constantly talking with people who call themselves his disciples. They know a lot about him. They have seen him heal. They have heard him teach and preach. They have a great amount of head knowledge. However, they are only there to get what they can out of Jesus and use this head knowledge to their advantage. Even Satan tried to do this. He knew the scriptures and what they said about Jesus. He tried to tempt Jesus using the very word of his father. However, Satan knew a lot of “what”, but not even a bit of “who.” The best example may be Matthew (Levi.) Jesus called him to follow him and he got up and left everything behind. He did not know a lot about Jesus when he did this, but he understood Jesus was special. He had the basics of the “who” without much of the “what.” Finally, Jesus talk about fruit in Luke 6:43-45. This passage makes it clear good fruit (deeds) come from a person�s heart, not their mind. You must know who Christ is and not just what he has done.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for being a God who is more than just action. Thank you for being a God who is knowable – causing those who know you to be a beacon of light to this world. Thank you for loving failed humanity so we have an opportunity to know you and be the light of the world. Forgive me for those times I fail to be that light. Forgive me for those times I rely on my “what” knowledge and not my “who” knowledge. Thank you for loving me each and every day. Amen.

Its not what you know, it is who you know – Luke 4-6

Knowing about Jesus and about God’s word is not enough. In Luke 4-6, Jesus is constantly talking with people who call themselves his disciples. They know a lot about him. They have seen him heal. They have heard him teach and preach. They have a great amount of head knowledge. However, they are only there to get what they can out of Jesus and use this head knowledge to their advantage. Even Satan tried to do this. He knew the scriptures and what they said about Jesus. He tried to tempt Jesus using the very word of his father. However, Satan knew a lot of “what”, but not even a bit of “who.” The best example may be Matthew (Levi.) Jesus called him to follow him and he got up and left everything behind. He did not know a lot about Jesus when he did this, but he understood Jesus was special. He had the basics of the “who” without much of the “what.” Finally, Jesus talk about fruit in Luke 6:43-45. This passage makes it clear good fruit (deeds) come from a person�s heart, not their mind. You must know who Christ is and not just what he has done.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for being a God who is more than just action. Thank you for being a God who is knowable – causing those who know you to be a beacon of light to this world. Thank you for loving failed humanity so we have an opportunity to know you and be the light of the world. Forgive me for those times I fail to be that light. Forgive me for those times I rely on my “what” knowledge and not my “who” knowledge. Thank you for loving me each and every day. Amen.

Understanding the Divine – Luke 1-3

I sometime wonder what it would take for a human being to truly understand when God comes to them and gives them an unbelievable interaction and part in the divine plan. If you look at this story you find Zechariah being visited by an angel and told he and his wife would have a son in their later years. Yet, he doubts right in front of the angel. You see that Mary and Joseph are told they will be the parents of the most high God – the Christ – Jesus. Yet when he is twelve and they find him in the temple they don’t understand when he discusses being in his father’s house (God’s house – the temple.) It seems to me that as human we do not have the ability to completely understand the divine even when it hits us right in the face. I would like to believe if God did something similar to me I would not doubt. However, if the track record of other humans holds true, I would probably doubt also.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for using people in your plan of redemption. You could have easily done it alone, but you chose to include us. Thank you for loving us enough to create this plan of redemption – a plan we do not deserve. Thank you for using us even when we fail to see how you are working all around us and even through us. Help me to be a servant in your plan even when I miss the forest for the trees. Help me to follow where I am led regardless if I know where I am going. Thank you for your willingness to lead the blind as each human is at least partially blind to your ways. Thank you for your love and mercy. Amen.

Understanding the Divine – Luke 1-3

I sometime wonder what it would take for a human being to truly understand when God comes to them and gives them an unbelievable interaction and part in the divine plan. If you look at this story you find Zechariah being visited by an angel and told he and his wife would have a son in their later years. Yet, he doubts right in front of the angel. You see that Mary and Joseph are told they will be the parents of the most high God – the Christ – Jesus. Yet when he is twelve and they find him in the temple they don’t understand when he discusses being in his father’s house (God’s house – the temple.) It seems to me that as human we do not have the ability to completely understand the divine even when it hits us right in the face. I would like to believe if God did something similar to me I would not doubt. However, if the track record of other humans holds true, I would probably doubt also.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for using people in your plan of redemption. You could have easily done it alone, but you chose to include us. Thank you for loving us enough to create this plan of redemption – a plan we do not deserve. Thank you for using us even when we fail to see how you are working all around us and even through us. Help me to be a servant in your plan even when I miss the forest for the trees. Help me to follow where I am led regardless if I know where I am going. Thank you for your willingness to lead the blind as each human is at least partially blind to your ways. Thank you for your love and mercy. Amen.

The Anger of the Lord – 2 Kings 22-25

It is easy to wonder why in 2 Kings 22 the Lord tells Josiah that he will spare Judah during his lifetime because he has been faithful to the Lord, but after him Judah will be destroyed. However, if you truly look at the story you will soon realize the answer is simple. God knew Josiah was the only King who would serve him. He knew the Kings to follow would return to the detestable practices of idol worship, ritual prostitution and human sacrifice. If you look at the Old Testament as a whole we see God giving the Israelites second chance after second chance. God had finally determined there was to be no more chances. The only way the people of Israel would see that God was serious was if they were to lose the land he gave them and their identity as a people, his people. It is sad but true. In fact, we often need this to happen to us. We need a life altering experience to open our eyes to God. God does not make these things happen, but he does allow them to happen. Consider this, God often protected and helped Israel to win war. In the case of Babylon he simply didn’t protect them or help them. Babylon caused it to happen and God let it happen. God does the same to us – he lets our mistakes (disobedience to him) cause consequences to happen to us (and hopefully open our eyes.)

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for opening my eyes to your truth. Thank you for letting me own sin teach me to look to you. Thank you for protecting me even in these times so no major harm could come and I would have the opportunity to serve you. Help me to always look to you as my source of truth, strength, courage and direction. Help me to not need another major correction in my life. Thank you for your love and the love you have given me the ability to return. Amen.

The Anger of the Lord – 2 Kings 22-25

It is easy to wonder why in 2 Kings 22 the Lord tells Josiah that he will spare Judah during his lifetime because he has been faithful to the Lord, but after him Judah will be destroyed. However, if you truly look at the story you will soon realize the answer is simple. God knew Josiah was the only King who would serve him. He knew the Kings to follow would return to the detestable practices of idol worship, ritual prostitution and human sacrifice. If you look at the Old Testament as a whole we see God giving the Israelites second chance after second chance. God had finally determined there was to be no more chances. The only way the people of Israel would see that God was serious was if they were to lose the land he gave them and their identity as a people, his people. It is sad but true. In fact, we often need this to happen to us. We need a life altering experience to open our eyes to God. God does not make these things happen, but he does allow them to happen. Consider this, God often protected and helped Israel to win war. In the case of Babylon he simply didn’t protect them or help them. Babylon caused it to happen and God let it happen. God does the same to us – he lets our mistakes (disobedience to him) cause consequences to happen to us (and hopefully open our eyes.)

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for opening my eyes to your truth. Thank you for letting me own sin teach me to look to you. Thank you for protecting me even in these times so no major harm could come and I would have the opportunity to serve you. Help me to always look to you as my source of truth, strength, courage and direction. Help me to not need another major correction in my life. Thank you for your love and the love you have given me the ability to return. Amen.

Consulting God Before You Act – 2 Kings 19-21

Human nature makes many of us want to brag about our exploits, successes, wealth and conquests. Hezekiah was no different. Even though he was a Christ follower he still failed. Even though he was the King who restored true worship of God to the Kingdom of Israel he still failed. He showed the messenger of Babylon all of his riches, his arsenal, the temple, everything. This is like giving your potential enemy reason to attack you (which is exactly what happen.) Hezekiah did not use his God given wisdom in this case. The right course of action would have to been humble. Hezekiah knew the riches of his kingdom and the success they had in dealing with other nations had little to do with their military strength. In fact, there success had everything to do with the sovereign God of all creation intervening on their behalf to protect the nation of Israel. Hezekiah should have prayed to God for wisdom before he made such a foolhardy mistake. It could even be said God had already given him the answer because the only motivation for showing the messenger all of these things was self-aggrandizement, not honoring God. We must each learn to consult God before major decision and other times use common sense given by God.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please forgive me for all the time I have taken matters into my own hands and not consulted you. Please forgive me for taking actions that were not bathed in prayer. Forgive me for believing you would simply bless the actions I chose. Help me to truly follow you each day of my life. Help me to use the common sense you gave me when I am faced with decisions. Help me to seek your will in situations that require more direct help than even common sense can provide. I love you. Amen.

Consulting God Before You Act – 2 Kings 19-21

Human nature makes many of us want to brag about our exploits, successes, wealth and conquests. Hezekiah was no different. Even though he was a Christ follower he still failed. Even though he was the King who restored true worship of God to the Kingdom of Israel he still failed. He showed the messenger of Babylon all of his riches, his arsenal, the temple, everything. This is like giving your potential enemy reason to attack you (which is exactly what happen.) Hezekiah did not use his God given wisdom in this case. The right course of action would have to been humble. Hezekiah knew the riches of his kingdom and the success they had in dealing with other nations had little to do with their military strength. In fact, there success had everything to do with the sovereign God of all creation intervening on their behalf to protect the nation of Israel. Hezekiah should have prayed to God for wisdom before he made such a foolhardy mistake. It could even be said God had already given him the answer because the only motivation for showing the messenger all of these things was self-aggrandizement, not honoring God. We must each learn to consult God before major decision and other times use common sense given by God.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please forgive me for all the time I have taken matters into my own hands and not consulted you. Please forgive me for taking actions that were not bathed in prayer. Forgive me for believing you would simply bless the actions I chose. Help me to truly follow you each day of my life. Help me to use the common sense you gave me when I am faced with decisions. Help me to seek your will in situations that require more direct help than even common sense can provide. I love you. Amen.

Godly Patience – 2 Kings 15-18

Those who are not Christ followers often say they cannot believe in a god who is cruel and vengeful. They look at much of the Old Testament and see a god who punishes his people and shows great wrath. It is true that God requires obedience and he can be vengeful when people do not obey. However, you must first look and see his patience. God put up with the people of Israel worshiping false God’s for generation after generation before he took any action. Even when he did take action he simply exiled the people through the nation o f Assyria. He also promised them a nation would one day be rebuilt for the Jewish people (modern day Israel.) If you look at the word of God as a whole you find God being very patient, generous and kind to his people. God is so patient, generous and kind, he even sent his son to die for us and has stopped handing down the same type of justice and discipline you see in the Old Testament. In fact, he has said final justice will be served, but only after he has given ample opportunity for the whole world to hear the truth of the Gospel (Good News).

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your patients. Thank you that your discipline in the new covenant brings us back on track. Thank you for sending your son to die in my place and that of every on person. Help me to serve you and see your discipline as an opportunity for growth. Help me to love you to the greatest extent possible. Help me to listen to your word and your voice. Your love is amazing. Amen.

Godly Patience – 2 Kings 15-18

Those who are not Christ followers often say they cannot believe in a god who is cruel and vengeful. They look at much of the Old Testament and see a god who punishes his people and shows great wrath. It is true that God requires obedience and he can be vengeful when people do not obey. However, you must first look and see his patience. God put up with the people of Israel worshiping false God’s for generation after generation before he took any action. Even when he did take action he simply exiled the people through the nation o f Assyria. He also promised them a nation would one day be rebuilt for the Jewish people (modern day Israel.) If you look at the word of God as a whole you find God being very patient, generous and kind to his people. God is so patient, generous and kind, he even sent his son to die for us and has stopped handing down the same type of justice and discipline you see in the Old Testament. In fact, he has said final justice will be served, but only after he has given ample opportunity for the whole world to hear the truth of the Gospel (Good News).

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your patients. Thank you that your discipline in the new covenant brings us back on track. Thank you for sending your son to die in my place and that of every on person. Help me to serve you and see your discipline as an opportunity for growth. Help me to love you to the greatest extent possible. Help me to listen to your word and your voice. Your love is amazing. Amen.