Archive for March, 2008
March 31st, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted in » My Life / Family
From time to time, we ask our kids the same question most parents do… “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
We were talking to our kids tonight, and asked that question of Jenna. Her answer cracked me up.
Jenna said, “I want to be a pastor!”
So much for our standing as good Southern Baptists…
For the record, Jenna is 3 years old, and she doesn’t understand the complexities of why our confession of faith, the BF&M 2000, would prohibit her from doing what she wants to do. In fact, when asked just what it is that pastors really do, she said, “Pastors drive cars to the city!”
And here I thought we were raising a little girl that loves Jesus so much she wants to serve Him in a powerful way. Turns out, we’ve just got another truck driver on our hands…
You just never know what children will come up with to say!
March 31st, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Today, we’re wrapping up our weekly study of Old Testament history by finishing Judges.
I don’t have any specific Scriptures I want to reference today, but did want to note one general theme here… the consequences of sin. These 5 chapters are thick with this. Idolatry… marital unfaithfulness… sexual sin… even murder… all leading to conflict amongst the tribes of Israel. Ultimately? We have brothers killing brothers on a huge scale.
I’m not a scholar on these passages, but it certainly appears to me that individual sin snowballed, and affected tens of thousands of people.
What do you think? Can the consequences of our individual sins affect other people, and compound to create huge negative impacts on families, communities… even nations? Do we fail to take sin seriously enough because we dismiss the possibility for wide-ranging impacts?
March 31st, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Just out of curiosity, who’s still following along with me as I blog through the Bible in a Year? Remember, we’re using the reading plan found here.
March 30th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Back to Genesis tonight.
Genesis 32:24-28 (NIV)
24So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27The man asked him, “What is your name?”
”Jacob,” he answered.
28Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
While I’m not sure I fully understand this passage, the idea of wrestling with God is one that fascinates me. Why?
Well, first of all, it’s simply that God allows it. After all, God is God… He commands our love and respect, and when we struggle with Him in any manner regarding following His will, it’s pretty disrespectful. God could expect instant obedience, but He often lets us struggle with His direction for a while before determining that we’re going to follow.
Secondly, I find interesting that our “wrestling” with God doesn’t always result in our obedience. In a way, He seems to allow us to win (or at least to get out of His grasp). Sometimes, He lets the struggle end and He allows us to follow our own path. Of course, when our “wrestling” endsin this manner, we generally suffer consequences… but the fact that God allows the struggle to end at some point is interesting. He wants REAL love and devotion… not coerced service.
Lastly, I find interesting that our wrestling with God often results in a far deeper devotion to His cause than does instant obedience. By struggling with God over direction, we often come to see why that direction is best, which allows ourselves more fully than when we obey based on blind faith. I’m not sure which is better… deep faith that allows instant submission to His will, or faith developed through struggles. I suppose it doesn’t really matter if the end result is the same… committed faith, trust, and obedience.
That is our goal, isn’t it?
March 29th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
We wrap up week 8 in Romans, concluding the book with chapters 15 and 16.
Romans 15:1-3 (NIV)
1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
Romans 15:5-7 (NIV)
5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
I love what Paul says here about the importance of unity as believers. I’ll admit, it’s probably because I get so fed up with believers nit-picking each other to death over points of Scripture where disagreement really doesn’t mean a whole lot. I honestly believe that much of arises not so much out of a desire for Biblical correctness, but out of selfish pride, as much as many would argue to the contrary.
Why? Paul writes in Romans 15:1 that we ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Are we really bearing with the weak when we see another believer that has fallen based on our understanding of debatable Scriptures and we jump all over them trying to make them see the issue as we do? Do our disagreements prevent us from glorifying God with united hearts? Do our arguments bring praise to God?
I know I’m ranting a bit here, but this is an issue that bothers me a lot.
What about you? What are your thoughts on these verses?
March 28th, 2008 | 5 Comments | Posted in » Bible in a Year
It’s interesting… I’ve enjoyed this Bible in a Year thing quite a bit as a whole, but I really look forward to certain days of the week. I just tend to get SO much more from Friday and Saturday readings, where we focus on the New Testament.
If I use this same reading plan again in the future, I think I’ll shuffle the days a bit. Fridays and Saturdays are generally lower-traffic blog days, so if others tend to get more out of the New Testament readings than other days, it makes more sense to have those readings occur during the week when people generally interact more.
Anyway… enough side commentary… on to discussion of today’s readings.
In today’s passages, you can’t help but notice the way Jesus really starts rocking the boat of the religious leaders of the time. Blinded by false teachings, Jesus really starts opening some eyes.
Check it out:
Matthew 21:6-10 (NIV)
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
”Hosanna to the Son of David!”
”Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
”Hosanna in the highest!”
10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The whole city was stirred by Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem. Here comes the Savior… the Christ… the Messiah… the King of all Kings… entering Jerusalem on a donkey. How many of the Jews would have expected their Messiah to come in such a manner? None of them expected Him to look like He did… and their reaction to Jesus is anything but favorable. His next move surely ruffled some feathers….
Matthew 21:12-15 (NIV)
12Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13“It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’ ”
14The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
Jesus didn’t play around… he cleared the temple… ridding it of the mockery of God it had become. While you’d think this bold act might open the eyes of blind spiritual leaders, the reaction was a bit different. They were indignant.
Jesus attacked not only their false beliefs and teachings, but their livelihoods. And again, given that they would have never anticipated their Messiah to come in the form of Jesus, I suppose that’s an expected response. Really, it’s simply sad, though. After all, those that rejected Jesus with the most passion were those that should have known the Scriptures well enough to recognize Him as Savior.
So Jesus continues His teaching… tackling head on the false teachings of Israel’s religious elite…
Matthew 21:31-32 (NIV)
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
Matthew 21:42-46 (NIV)
42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
” ‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
One of the most common things you hear about Jesus… one of the false beliefs we hear… is that Jesus was some mild-mannered, nice guy, religious teacher. Kind of a Mr. Rogers of sorts that taught of God.
He’s anything but. While Jesus often exhibited love and tenderness… healing the lame, loving children, providing comfort to the hurting, and yes, even crying… Jesus is a man’s man… unafraid to stand for truth… boldly proclaiming it to those that need it most. I know it’s a crude expression, but His confrontation of the religious elite took some serious stones. Jesus knew standing for truth and confronting the false teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees would cost Him His life… and He did it anyway.
How many of us… especially us Christian men… truly follow Jesus’s example? How many of us exhibit such courage in following Christ? Taking risks for God when He asks us to… saying the unpopular when it’s necessary… standing for truth when we know it will hurt?
We fear following God’s lead because it might lead to a little bit of difficulty in this life?
How can we do anything but follow where God leads? Our Savior Jesus gave His life that we might experience reconciliation with God… eternal life!
If God loves us that much… and we KNOW this… how can we have such a lack of trust to believe that He won’t see us through whatever difficulties come our way as a result of following?
Having the depth of relationship with Christ that enables this kind of faith is definitely a life-long challenge, but it’s what we all ought to strive towards.