Archive for March, 2008
March 22nd, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
We conclude week 7 in Romans 13-14. There is a lot of meat in these two chapters, but again, I’m going to have to narrow my focus today to the Scripture related to Easter. If there’s something you want to discuss from these passages, feel free to post your thoughts in comments. (I’d LOVE to see what you all have to say about Romans 14! There are days of discussion there…)
Romans 13:11-12 (NIV)
11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.
I found this passage particularly applicable tonight, given that Easter is tomorrow. Can you imagine the anticipation that much have been building in heaven as God’s plan unfolded… Jesus yet in the tomb, mere hours away from his glorious resurrection? Still night… death still reigning… but dawn? Almost here.
As the world awakes from slumber, heaven is already rejoicing. Jesus HAS risen! He has achieved ultimate victory for all over sin and death!
Wake up Christ-followers! Salvation is here!
March 21st, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Today is Good Friday, and we’re back in the gospel of Matthew again. Today’s post will focus solely on the verses in today’s reading that point to the events in Christ’s life we remember today… the scourging, humiliation, and brutal crucifixion resulting in our Savior’s death… and the just payment for the sin of all men that choose to accept Him as Lord and commit their lives to following Him.
Matthew 17:22-23 (NIV)
22When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. 23They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.
In this verse, Jesus predicts his death and resurrection. The reaction of the disciples? Grief.
While I can imagine their shock at the news that Jesus would be betrayed and killed, I wonder how they totally seemed to miss His statement that He will be raised to life again on the third day? I’d like to think my reaction would have been more of confusion than sadness.
Of course, we have the advantage of knowing the rest of the story.
I wonder, have you reflected upon the events of Good Friday yet today? Are you broken by the fact that it’s OUR sin that necessitated these things of Jesus? The brutal scourging and beating… the struggle to even carry the cross… the nails being driven through His hands and feet… the people cursing and spitting on Him. Such humiliation and degradation…
Can you even begin to imagine Christ’s pain and agony? Do you dare to try?
Or is the simple fact of fault too much to bear?
Our sin brought the nails… the beatings… the humiliation… the degradation… the spitting… the cursing… the suffering.
And ultimately, our Savior’s death.
How do you respond?
Matthew 18:21-35 (NIV)
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26“The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
30“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
Such an applicable parable to consider as we’re pondering how we respond to the crucifixion of Christ.
Our debt far exceeded that of the unmerciful servant… 10,000 talents? While a tremendous amount of money… it’s nothing compared to the debt of our sin.
Yet Jesus willingly endured the cross for us to cancel our debts and set us free.
How do you respond?
With joy? Thanksgiving? By extending grace to others? Dancing or singing His praise? Expression of your love for Christ?
Or do you react with disdain? Oh, maybe not consciously… but by the way you live, do you demonstrate that the sacrifice Jesus made for you really just isn’t all that important?
This is the challenge of Good Friday. How do we reflect upon and respond to the death of Christ?
Such a horrific day, yet one that enabled such amazing privileges for us. Forgiveness. Grace. A right relationship with God. Eternal life.
If you’re response is anything but sorrow over your sin and thanksgiving for God’s grace… please, please, please. Get real with God tonight, and ask Him to help you have the proper response to His greatest gift.
March 20th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted in » My Life / Family
We watch quite a bit of the Discovery Channel around my house… Mythbusters being our favorite show. They’ve got a lot of good programming.
After watching Smash Lab tonight, I must admit… I’m now certain that this is the worst show they have right now… maybe their worst ever.
For those unfamiliar with the show, they take real-world problems (most of which already have real-world solutions in place), take an unrelated bit of real-world technology, and combine the two to try completely unrealistic solutions. Example? Applying rockets as an emergency braking system for a truck / trailer rig.
Can anyone say STUPID and DANGEROUS?
Now, I know the show is just for entertainment purposes, even though they like to present the things they do as “serious” science or engineering. That’s the problem, though… it’s clearly NOT serious science or engineering.
After tonight’s rocket braking episode, I’ve drawn the line with my viewership of the show. During full-scale testing of their ludicrous solution, the crew nearly got three people killed when the rockets went off prematurely. While no one was injured (thank God!), this near-miss should be enough of a wake-up call for Discovery to pull the plug. It was enough to prompt me to visit Discovery’s website and suggest that they cancel the show… something I’d never done before.
I’d encourage all of you reading this to do the same. Yes… I know it’s just a TV show… but this is one show that really doesn’t need to be on the air. For one thing, it gives real engineers and scientists a bad name (as NONE of what occurs on that show can be remotely considered “real” science or engineering), but more importantly? They’re gonna end up getting someone hurt… maybe even killed… all in the name of entertainment.
Enough is enough.
March 20th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Well, today was a better day… I’m feeling quite a bit better, so I’m back to my normal posting schedule. Notes from Isaiah 34-39 follow:
Isaiah 36:4-5 (NIV)
4The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah,
” ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? 5You say you have strategy and military strengthâ€”but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?
Isaiah 36:8-12 (NIV)
8” ‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses â€” if you can put riders on them! 9How then can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 10Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’ ”
11Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.”
12But the commander replied, “Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the men sitting on the wall â€” who, like you, will have to eat their own filth and drink their own urine?”
Isaiah 36:13-15 (NIV)
13Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! 15Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’
Isaiah 36:18-20 (NIV)
18“Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 20Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”
Can you sense God’s anger building toward the Assyrian army as their field commander taunts God’s people?
Definitely a bad idea, as we see from the following chapter…
Isaiah 37:33-38 (NIV)
33“Therefore this is what the LORD says concerning the king of Assyria:
”He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield
or build a siege ramp against it.
34By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city,”
declares the LORD.
35“I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!”
36Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning â€” there were all the dead bodies! 37So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.
38One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.
The results for the Assyrians weren’t pretty. God destroyed their army without requiring His people to even take up arms.
I wonder if, in our culture, we think about the consequences of mocking God? I’m not thinking so much of non-believers… you have to expect a lack of respect for God from those that don’t believe. I’m not even thinking of so-called Christians, that mock God by promoting blatantly false teachings about Him. Both groups are clearly deceived, and the consequences for their lack of real faith and trust in Christ are pretty clear.
But what about us, as Christians who claim to walk closely with Jesus, and who profess to live lives wholly devoted to Him? Do we often just give lip service to God’s commands and expectations, in essence mocking Him? While I’d like to think that none of us would actually go to another believer with whom we have conflict and tell them that God is on our side and they can pretty much eat feces and die (that is what the Assyrian commander told God’s people here in Isaiah, after all)… do we really take God seriously and show Him the proper respect in all circumstances?
The consequences of sin are dire. If we’re not taking God seriously… if we’re mocking Him through continual disobedience to Him… we’ve got to ask ourselves a simple question: “Just what kind of relationship do I really have with Christ?”
If the honest answer to that question isn’t very palatable, we need to spend some serious time in prayer and self-examination in an effort to make right what’s wrong.
March 20th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted in » Christian Living, My Life / Family
As I’ve been sick over the past couple of days, sleep hasn’t come easily at times. Each of the past two nights, I’ve found myself wide awake at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. To pass the time (and hopefully get back to sleep), I decided I’d go sit in my recliner in my home office and turn on the TV.
I never knew I was missing out on so much by sleeping.
You see, I discovered the joys of infomercials. Tons of them.
Internet secrets for wealth. Special “medications” for men. Books written to tell us all the secrets that “they” don’t want us to know about… health cures, getting out of debt… you name it.
Scams, scams, and more scams. Simply amazing to me.
Worse than all of these, though?
Supposed “men of God” like Peter Popoff (what a name!) peddling junk like “miracle manna” and “miracle water”, and selling the prosperity gospel through books “Divine Wealth: Supernatural Promises for Millenial Prosperity!”. Yeah… a supposed “Christian”, preying on those who are desperately in search of hope.
What a messed up world.
March 19th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Given that about all I feel like doing right now is lying in my bed wishing God hadn’t allowed me to experience sickness, you won’t find a post from me today on Job 13-14.
Would anyone be so kind as to pick up my slack and post a few thoughts in comments?
It is a bit ironic that Job focuses so much on God’s sovereignty in allowing suffering, and I’ve been so fortunate as to get to experience a bit of that this week. I’m still working on trying to figure that “rejoicing in all things” attitude out. I just don’t feel very thankful tonight!