Archive for April, 2008
April 30th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Back to Job tonight…
Job 25 (NIV)
1Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2“Dominion and awe belong to God;
he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
3Can his forces be numbered?
Upon whom does his light not rise?
4How then can a man be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
5If even the moon is not bright
and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
6how much less man, who is but a maggot â€”
a son of man, who is only a worm!”
While hardly the encouragement Job needed, Bildad the Shuhite speaks truth about who men are as compared to God. He’s almighty, in control of the entire universe… we’re barely able to get through a single day without everything spinning out of control. He’s omniscient, knowing all… the limitations of our knowledge are often painfully clear. He’s eternal and unchanging… our earthly lives are painfully short, with the only constant being change. He’s perfect and sinless… we’re plagued by our imperfections and sinful rebellion.
Why God would want anything to do with us is beyond me.
But He does.
In fact, He desperately loves us and wants us to love Him. So much so that He provided a way for us to be made righteous and pure, in spite of cost to which we can’t begin to relate… by pouring our the blood of His son as payment for our sin.
A debt we can’t pay, paid in full by the grace of God, at the simple cost to us of childlike faith and trust in Jesus.
God is good indeed.
April 30th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Baptist Issues
Yes, I know I promised to stay out of this stuff, but I can’t help myself here.
You see, I couldn’t help but laugh today when I saw there’s a new group forming in SBC life… the Association of Convictional Baptists. Their website isn’t fully functional yet, but they’ve apparently been working on a resolution for the 2008 SBC Annual Meeting.
I won’t get into that… just the name, “Association of Convictional Baptists”. As opposed to the Association for Non-Convictional Baptists?
Conviction is certainly not a trait lacking from ANY Baptist, as far as I can tell.
I know I’m odd, but I wonder… will the new running “gotcha” question to embarrass SBC pastors be, “Have you become a Convictional Baptist yet?” After all, the old standby, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” is REALLY worn out, and just not all that funny. (I suppose this one isn’t either, but again… I admit to being a bit odd.)
April 29th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Apologies to everyone for the hit and miss Bible in a Year blogging. I don’t know about you, but I go through times where I simply just don’t feel like spending the time I need to at night in God’s word… where it feels more a struggle than a joy. It’s frustrating, to say the least.
Anyway, back to Psalms today.
Psalm 38:1-4 (NIV)
1O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2For your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down upon me.
3Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
4My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
This Psalm presents another powerful testimony of brokenness over sin, and causes me to reflect… how often am I utterly broken over my sin? Does a lack of brokenness cause me to delay seeking forgiveness? Once I do turn to God, do I really exhibit true repentance afterwards?
The bottom line, of course, is that sin is serious business, necessitating the crucifixion of our Lord.
Do we give it the weighty consideration we should?
April 25th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Just a quick thought tonight…
Mark 3:1-6 (NIV)
1Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Ever hear the phrase, “no good deed goes unpunished”? Ever feel that way?
I’m sure Jesus understood that all too well. Funny thing, thought… I don’t think He let it bother Him a whole lot. If you ask me, that’s a pretty good thing to remember when we want to throw ourselves a pity party because we’re experiencing difficulty because we’ve stood firm for Christ.
April 23rd, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Back to Job today, again with a bit of catch-up to do.
Job 21:7-13 (NIV)
7Why do the wicked live on,
growing old and increasing in power?
8They see their children established around them,
their offspring before their eyes.
9Their homes are safe and free from fear;
the rod of God is not upon them.
10Their bulls never fail to breed;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11They send forth their children as a flock;
their little ones dance about.
12They sing to the music of tambourine and harp;
they make merry to the sound of the flute.
13They spend their years in prosperity
and go down to the grave in peace.
Job 21:17-18 (NIV)
17“Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out?
How often does calamity come upon them,
the fate God allots in his anger?
18How often are they like straw before the wind,
like chaff swept away by a gale?
Job asks questions we all do from time to time here… why do evil people prosper? Why doesn’t God intervene?
Like Job, I don’t know that I really have an answer, but I will say this… if you think following Christ is all about prospering financially or going through life without pain or difficulty, you’re sorely mistaken about the reason He died for us. The prosperity gospel (despite it’s popularity), is simply off-base Biblically.
The simple fact is that we cannot know the mind of God. We cannot know why He allows certain things to happen… be it why you sometimes find those who reject Him prospering, why His most devoted servants sometimes have lives of extreme difficulty, or even simply why bad things sometimes come our way. God is sovereign… He’s God… He does as He pleases and allows what He chooses to allow.
We don’t have to know WHY… we just have to know that we need to trust Him and follow Him. It’s a tall order, knowing that good things aren’t guaranteed for us here on earth… but easier when we really know Him.
Truth be told, growing our relationship with God that we might KNOW that He is good (not only in theory, or simply intellectually… but really KNOW with every fiber of our being)… that’s what gets us through this life and keeps us on a path that continually runs toward Him.
No biggie, right?
(Don’t we wish!)
April 22nd, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Back to Psalms today. I’m playing a bit of catch up from last week, so today’s reading covers Psalm 30-35.
Psalm 30 (NIV)
1I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
3O LORD, you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.
4Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
5For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6When I felt secure, I said,
”I will never be shaken.”
7O LORD, when you favored me,
you made my mountain [c] stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
8To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9“What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help.”
11You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
I’m not sure exactly what it is about this Psalm that stands out to me, but I really like it. Perhaps it’s the imagery running through my head when reading it, seeing despairing individuals turned into joyous worshippers of God. Perhaps it’s the thought of answered prayers. Whatever the case, the theme of God’s mercy and love for us runs deep here, and it’s powerful.
We all need reminders of the joy that’s found in Christ sometimes. This Psalm does the trick.
As a side note, there’s a great song based on this Psalm, in case it didn’t click for you… “Trading My Sorrows”. Great lyrics on the same theme…
I’m trading my sorrows
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying them down
For the joy of the Lord
I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying them down
For the joy of the Lord.
(Yes Lord refrain…)
I’m pressed but not crushed
Persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse
For his promise will endure
That his joy is going
To be my strength
Though my sorrows may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning.
I’m trading my sorrows…
April 21st, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Quite a bit of catch up reading again today… you definitely don’t want to fall behind too far in this Bible in a Year stuff!
1 Samuel 1:19-22 (NIV)
19Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”
21When the man Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow, 22Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.”
What an interesting start to Samuel’s life… his mother, childless for a long time, prays and God hears her, giving her a child. Out of gratefulness to the God she worships, she dedicates Samuel to God’s service… giving away the most precious gift she had ever received.
Now that’s faith.
I wonder, how many of us pray for our children in such a manner as Hannah? That God has given them to us, and that we want to offer them back to Him that He might be glorified?
If not, shouldn’t we? I know God has unique plans for each of us, but don’t we, as parents, tend to more often try to impress our will into our kids than His? As if we know better?
I pray that I’ll be willing to trust God with my kids. Not that I want to offer them wholly to God to be raised by strangers as Hannah did Samuel, but simply that I’ll be willing to trust God’s wisdom in how He’s made them… that I’ll be able to guide them to discover their God-given gifts and not try to impress my desires into their lives.
To make the most obvious statement you’ll hear today… parenting ain’t easy, is it?
1 Samuel 8:19-20 (NIV)
19But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
Interesting response here from the people of Israel… “no, we want to be like all the others!”
God’s people, chosen specifically by Him… called out to follow Him… blessed to witness miracles of God we can hardly imagine… wanting to be like other nations.
Funny how we, as Christians, often think similarly. While we know God’s ways our best for our lives, and we understand that devoted faith and obedience leads to a life far better than anything we can imagine on our own… we often want to be like those outside a relationship with Christ. Sin looks fun sometimes… God’s expectations and commands seem too hard sometimes… faith is simply a struggle, and we’re tired sometimes.
We try to do life our way, and wonder why we find ourselves miserable.