Posts

Showing posts from August 2, 2015

Credit

Loyalty to a particular leader is what got the Corinthian church in trouble and divided their ranks. Neither Paul, nor Apollos or Cephas desired this attention as men of God but imprudent people praised the providers of truth rather than the Author of truth. Paul responded by saying, “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (1Corinthians 3:7)  In the tense of the language used here, man’s work is finished action in past time, but God’s work is continuous action in past time and into present time. You are “assigned” your work in the Kingdom of God by the Lord (3:5) but that which grows because of your work is caused by God not by you. If we all could just do the work and leave the ownership of the results to God we would be so much better off. Lifting a person up who might not want to be lifted up is far from what God wants. If you’re going to glory, glory in Christ, in God, in the power of the Spirit, not in what “you” have accomp…

Vowing

Jepthah was a mighty warrior who was initially driven away by his half-brothers because he was from a different mother. But when war came upon the Israelites they went to him and made a deal with him to lead them in battle against the Ammonites. Under his leadership, Israel would defeat the Ammonities but in the middle of battle, Jepthah made a vow to the Lord: "If you give the Ammonities into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering." (Judges 11:30-31) Wow! That is really taking a chance, isn't it? This was a rash vow that could have serious consequences. Maybe Jepthah thought a dog, a lamb or a goat was going to run out first but "When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter [only child], dancing to the sound of tambourines!" (11:34) He explained to her the vow he had made tha…

Waiting

It seems that all of us have to wait at a doctor's office or wait in line or wait for our turn. This is not comfortable for any of us as we have plans for the day and time is ticking as we sit and wait. The spiritual life is no different; however the benefits far outweigh any positives we would receive in temporal waiting. When were the times you were anxious and ready to move ahead of God or actually did? Hind sight reveals how different it might have been if you had just waited. The Psalmist may have been encouraging others passing through a trial, or possibly just internally speaking to himself, even more possible was that God was speaking to him, but whatever the case he challenged to wait for the Lord. He says it twice, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14) What we learn by this challenge is that waiting is not a passive thing. It takes strength of character to wait. It also takes a heart that is dedicated to God's best…

Wholehearted

King Hezekiah's turning back to God is a wonderful story of a leader leading and his people following. "In everything that he [Hezekiah, King of Judah] undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.” (2 Chronicles 31:21) The most descriptive word used to explain the state of his soul toward God is the word “wholeheartedly.” It is also used to describe Caleb, one of the two spies that did enter the Promise Land. (Joshua 14:8) It is like the three emphases of full commitment in marriage: leave, cleave, and become one flesh. “Leaving” relates to the past and means to loosen, depart, or abandon which is done from parents. “Cleaving” relates to the present and is a grasping tightly to each other to create a new alliance and allegiance. The process of “becoming one flesh” relates to the future, a lifetime task never completed and ever deepening. Wholeheartedness or an undivided he…

Black and White

Seems that things always start off as right or wrong and then over the course of time "adjustments" are made that blur the lines and turn things to gray. This happens with those who want to rewrite history and those who want to rewrite the clear message of the gospel. They would contend that what we originally heard or thought was not really the truth or the whole truth and that they have come to "enlighten" us. This is where their baloney would begin. The Apostle Paul had spent much time addressing what it meant to be a believer and live a life that backed up this claim. He had written to the Corinthians and many others churches and also to individuals challenging them to stay true to God. But, there always were others, false teachers that came into communities of believers and with interesting words and new definitions perverted the simplicity and purity of the gospel. So, as Paul brings his letter to the Romans to its end, he shares again this challenge. He say…

Greater Power

Covering present day Iraq, the eastern half of Turkey, down into most of Egypt, the northern half of present day Saudi Arabia, and Israel, Lebanon, present day Syria and Jordan, Assyria ruled for 700 years. Sennacherib, its King, determined to take control of all of Israel. Hezekiah, King of Judah, faced this ominous threat, so, when it was evident that he was near, King Hezekiah, with his officials and military staff blocked off "the water from the springs outside the city." (2 Chronicles 32:3) They stated, "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?" (32:4b) They prepared further by strengthening the city walls and defenses. Next, Hezekiah needed to strengthen the heart of his military officers. They were facing a seasoned and innumerable foe and their own mind could get in the way of victory. So, he gathered them in the square of Jerusalem and spoke to them. He said, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of…