Who am I?

Exodus 8; Luke 11; Job 25–26; 1 Corinthians 12

Have you ever read a Bible story from the other point of view? I am betting that when you read today’s Word, you chose one, or two of the characters to identify with. Take Exodus 8, for example. When I read it, I am Aaron or Moses, of course. Why? Because Pharaoh is an idiot. He intentionally sabotages the work of God for his own gain. I want to be on God’s side, so I stay as far away from Pharaoh as possible. Until, I intentionally read the story as Pharaoh.

Like Pharaoh, all of us will experience pain and discomfort in our lives. Now, we probably will not experience the stink of dead frogs gathered in heaps, or swarms of flies, but we will have something from which we need relief. What do we do? We turn to God. We ask him for relief, for help and for provisions. When real desperation shows up, we begin to offer God anything that he wants. We will do whatever it takes, if he would just take it away. And then it’s gone.  The pain subsides.

The true test of our lives shows up not just in the time of distress, but also in the time of relief. Like Pharaoh, it is easy for me to commit to God when I need something.  I know deep down that he can provide it. The hard part is maintaining that faith when I don’t need him. This is exactly what happens in verse 15. As soon as there was relief from the frogs, Pharaoh moved his own direction and worked toward his own gain.

So am I like Pharaoh or Aaron and Moses? I know what I want the answer to be, but I am afraid of what the answer is. The realization that there is darkness in my heart leaves me with two options. The first leads to a dark place that I’d prefer not to talk about, the other is filled with grace and love. It is at the foot of the cross. It is a reminder that even though I have sinned, I have hope. I have hope, I am given new life, because of one sacrifice that was perfect and complete.

Spiritual Authority

Today’s reading: Exodus 7; Luke 10; Job 24; 1 Corinthians 11

February 24th, 2016

When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. – Genesis 7:9

Spiritual Authority

When I used to read this I would think, “Why would God associate with a serpent? Aren’t they bad, like Garden of Eden bad? Why choose this as a miracle?” When posing these types of questions about the Exodus event to a good friend and he pointed me in the right direction and encouraged me to make a study of finding answers. Here are some of the answers I found in my studies.

Why turn the rod in to a serpent? Why a serpent? Have you ever seen Pharaoh’s headdress? Recall the cobra at the crown of Pharaoh’s head. In Egyptian culture the serpent represented spiritual authority. The serpent on Pharaoh’s headdress was a statement that he held supreme spiritual authority. When Moses turns the rod into a serpent it is much more than a miracle, it is a statement that Moses through God had the spiritual authority. Pharaoh’s whole existence was based on the fact that he was god. The one and only true God sent Moses to put Pharaoh in his place. I have come to believe that this was a statement and a warning of things to come. 

Why I AM WHO I AM? When Moses asks God who to say sent him, God says tell them I AM sent you. According to ancient Egyptian culture and beliefs there was one god who was self existent, whom all the other gods came from, and who was the king of their gods, they called him Amun. I AM is from the Hebrew יְהֹוָה meaning “I am the existing one”. Or put another way, nothing besides myself contributed to my existence. So when Moses called out to Pharaoh that I AM says let My people go. Pharaoh, though through a perverted form of the undeniable truth, knew to pay attention. 

Why the 10 plagues that were chosen? One of my friends likes to refer to the 10 plagues as the 10 smack downs. Let me explain his titling. The 10 plagues start off with turning the Nile to blood. Interestingly enough the Egyptians worshiped gods such as Khunum, the god and guardian of the Nile. The plagues continue on picking off Egypt’s top gods one after another and in groupings. For example, there were several prominent Egyptian gods associated with the Nile. The more I study them alongside the plagues the more amazing the event becomes. God has all the authority and He did not leave a shred of doubt to that end. The 10 plagues end with two of the most affront attacks on Egyptian beliefs. The 9th plague is directed toward two Egyptian gods, or rather one combined god. Amun and Ra combined to Amun-Ra. Amun, mentioned above, was believed to be the creator of all other gods and the king of the gods. He was somehow combined with Ra, the god of the sun, to form a some sort of super false god, Amun-Ra. The 9th plague blotted out the sun, as if to say “I AM is here to say your mega super false god does not have any spiritual authority.” Lastly, the 10th plague targets the god who is most real and most highly worshiped to the Egyptian people, Pharaoh himself. Considered to be the son of Ra, this plague takes the next in line, cutting off the linage of the people’s greatest connection to their gods.

A bit of history. Interestingly enough, in 1400 BC, about 50 or so years after the last plague, Pharaoh Akhenaten changed Egypt into a monotheistic culture claiming there was only one true god and pointing to a “war” among the true god and the other 1,000 plus false gods, in which the false gods were destroyed. Temples and statues of the false gods were abandoned and even destroyed. A new city was built and dedicated to this one true god. No images of the god were allowed to be created. No worshiping of the other false gods was allowed, with strict enforcement in the new Egyptian capital city.

Amidst other societal and political pressures many high standing priests lost their power. After Pharaoh Akhenaten died and his second son, Pharaoh Tutankhamun, or perhaps you, as I, know him, King Tut, took power, working with his advisors they returned the Egyptian people to their polytheism roots. But the history of Egyptian culture’s brief encounter with a monotheistic belief structure remains. The more I study the history behind this event, the more I find that the truth cannot be denied. 

 

Lose Yourself

Today’s Reading: Exodus 6; Luke 9; Job 23; 1 Corinthians 10

 
In today’s reading Jesus tells his disciples to take nothing with them but to go proclaim the word and heal.  Jesus assured them that he would provide at all times. This same assurance he has given to us today.  Sometimes in our own personal lives when the day has been long, stressful, and has you running all over the place its reassuring to take a breathe and know God will provide all we need.  God cares for us.

 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

In Luke 9 after a long day of speaking and healing Jesus was not ready to just send people away. He provided food to 5,000 people that were hungry. (There was even left-overs).  When the disciples were ready to call it a night, Jesus was focused on everyone else needs.  He is always focused on us in every aspect of our life the physical as well as the spiritual.

Matthew 20:28 the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

What an amazing example for us and how we can live our life.  The next verse is one of my pocket versus (literally).

Luke 9:23 If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

I carry this verse around with me in my back pocket along with a few others because it is a reminder to submit my life to Him at all times. Putting aside my own selfish desires that I lived with for many years. I still struggle with selfishness but prayerfully look to God now as much as I can. I will continue to pray along this journey as we live our life for His purposes. In my own experiences when I’m doing things for myself and not for God’s kingdom I’m often hurting myself or others and ultimately hurting God when he has asked us to “follow me”. Our testimony’s are amazing examples of the divine plan he has for our lives when we submit to him. Am I willing to deny myself and my ambitions to take up my cross and follow him? Following Jesus is easy when life is going good; our true commitment to Him is revealed during trials. Here are a few questions to ponder.

  • Would I still follow Jesus if it meant losing friends?
  • Would I follow Jesus if I lost a family member?
  •  Would I still follow Jesus if it meant those uncomfortable conversations with family?
  •  Would I still follow Jesus if it meant the loss of my reputation?
  • Would I still follow Jesus if it meant losing my job?
  •  Would I still follow Jesus if it meant losing my life?

Luke 9:59 – 62 says “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus[g] said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Dear God, I know you love me where I’m at and I often have a “but let me” attitude when you want me to do something. I ask to give me a total dedication life to you God that you deserve. I know I’m not always dedicated like I know I should be please give me your courage, strength, and guidance to “take up my cross” and give my life to you daily. When facing various trials remind me that in Psalms 16:5 you say  Lord, are all I have, and you give me all I need; my future is in your hands.  God, in Philippians 3:13 you remind us to keep our faith in you. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.

Amen

Sowing Seeds

Today’s reading: Exodus 5; Luke 8; Job 22; 1 Corinthians 9

Hello,

I’m Jillian, the newest collaborator on your Bible Journal team. A few weeks ago I met two of your fearless members, Jon and BJ at a Metcalf school fundraiser. One glass of wine later I was agreeing to join the Bible Journal! I’ve been getting to know each of you through your journal entries this week. Now it’s time for me to share our story with you.

My husband Lynden and I were married in 2008. I was raised very Catholic. From grade school to grad school I attended Catholic institutions. In 2010 we had our first child. Our son Oliver was born a seemingly healthy happy infant. Our life took a dramatic turn when Ollie was 6 weeks old. What began as just the “flu” quickly turned into something much more serious. Within a few days Ollie was at Children’s in Peoria unable to absorb any nutrition via mouth or IV. For six long weeks we watched him spiral into heart and kidney failure. Doctors told us later they weren’t sure he would survive. I remember feeling lost, desperate and alone. A nun would visit me in the room where I sat alone holding him in my arms, unable to feed or comfort him. She would offer me communion and ask if I’d like him baptized. She repeatedly appealed to my Catholic faith, trying to reach me in a spiritual place but I was empty. Slowly our sweet baby improved and we returned home shaken and a little broken. Oliver required lots of care but eventually we got back to life as we knew it. As the days passed the fear and anxiety of the whole event passed too.

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture” Luke 8:5-7 ESV.

 Lynden and I were sowing seeds all over the place, but our crops were withering. Oliver continued to have minor health problems that brought me to the brink of panic each time. I didn’t have the tools I needed to turn to Jesus for strength and help. In October of 2011, Oliver got an ear infection. Our pediatrician heard a heart murmur he had never heard before. He sent us to get an echo. Two days later we learned that our son has 2 tumors in his heart. His tumors are not operable; we cannot change it we cannot fix it. The next day I drove to work in a fog. I sat in my car on the corner of Empire and Vetaran’s Parkway, tears rolling down my face. A huge flock of birds flew past my windshield and I heard, “Call Amy.” Why…my brain said…no one can fix this. Like a robot I picked up the phone and called Amy Arnold, the mother of Libi, my patient at Easter Seals. Through sobs I told her of Ollie’s diagnosis. She told me to drive home and she’d meet me there in an hour.

Amy arrived at my house that afternoon with about 15 yellow note cards. On each she had written a verse to encourage me. She looked me in the eyes, held my hands and shared with me who Jesus is and about God’s love for us. I’ve been learning about religion and faith my whole life but I had never built a relationship with my Savior.

“And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are not in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes the word away from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But those who have no root; they believe for awhile, and in time of testing fall away.” Luke 8: 9-13 ESV

 Amy gave me seeds. Real seeds that I began to sow. A few weeks later, I called and asked her if I could see her church.  From there I joined a Bible study and then a small group. A few years later, Lynden and I conceived a second child. We lived by Jeremiah 29:11, knowing He had plans for us and our family. In November of 2013 at 24 weeks gestation we learned that our daughter Ruby Mae had six tumors in her heart. She was born at OSF St. Francis on March 3, 2014 with 9 doctors in attendance. She came out smiling, screaming and breathing! After 3 days in the NICU we brought her home and continued this journey only God could have planned.

After Ruby Mae’s birth we sought more medical testing and learned that our children and one of us is affected by a genetic disease. This disease can cause tumors in the brain, heart and kidneys. It can also cause visual impairment and seizures. Prayerfully we decided that new growth in our family would be best achieved through adoption. Lynden and I have always had a heart for orphans and recognized this as Gods’ will in our lives. We vowed to raise our biologic children for a few years until their health was stable and pursue adoption when we felt led. We made plans to end our ability to have more biologic children in order to follow His plan.

In October of 2014 when Ruby Mae was just 5 months old, Oliver was hospitalized. I started feeling ill around then. And so…

“…As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15 ESV

The full measure of our story was revealed to us. Our precious Nadya, the child I couldn’t dream of, or believe He would send us was born 14 very short months after Ruby Mae at OSF St. Francis before a slightly smaller crowd. We learned 2 weeks after she was born that she too is affected with 2 small heart tumors. Although, all three of our children are miracles in my eyes, Nadya is my gift. My living, breathing, sometimes screaming proof of Jesus Christ in our lives. She is my constant reminder that we are all broken, but the love of Jesus makes us whole. Perfection is not a worldly attribute, it is reserved for our heavenly Father.

I am humbly joining the Bible Journal family, so that I may sow more seeds in rich soil. Thank you for being kind and sharing this opportunity with me and our family. We look forward to learning more and growing with you in Him.

~The McGriff Party of 5

McGriff05

 

Trust In God

Today’s Reading: Exodus 4; Luke 7; Job 21; 1 Corinthians 8

After killing an Egyptian, Moses fears for his own life and flees to the land of Midian, content to start anew. But after about forty years, God calls out to him from a burning bush, encouraging him to become the deliverer of his people. Moses is reluctant of course, for there is much at risk. Not only does he consider himself ill equipped for the task, but he is rightfully concerned about his chances for success. Like all of us, Moses is inclined to lean on his own understanding, trusting his intellect and his feelings, instead of trusting God. But God shows him signs and wonders, and makes a compelling case. Moses then responds in obedience, and through God’s power, eventually delivers the Nation of Israel to the land of milk and honey — the promised land.

Most of us are not called to be great deliverers of nations, but we are called to help one another find deliverance from burdens and afflictions.  We are also called to point the way to God in a world that has often lost its way. We are not likely to encounter burning bushes, or have serpents that turn into a staff and back again. Still we are called to listen to God and trust His purposes and His timing.  Ultimately we are called to glorify God.

By observing Moses’s reluctance in the very presence of God, we can see how easily doubt and fear can hold us back from important work. Fortunately, God in His love for us, by His brilliant provision, is willing to show us the way, if we will just pay attention.

But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Unlike Moses, we have the full Bible, complete with the law and the prophesy which is fulfilled in Jesus. God’s word includes the well documented story of Jesus and how the truth of the gospel spread through out the Roman Empire and the Mediterranean. It paints the big picture of God’s provision for all mankind — for us. It is the story of Man’s struggle for truth and righteousness, and redemption, fulfilled in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For in this we have been reconciled to God — fully justified in faith.

Jesus answered “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 4:6

Not only did Jesus’ sacrifice provide the full price for our sin, He demonstrated a life that put God front and center.  He lived a life of serving others first. Through our faith in Jesus we receive the Holy Spirit, and in that power we are transformed to be creatures of God, not just in the flesh but also in the spirit. Though undeserving, because of Jesus’s death on the cross we are made perfect and holy to God. All we have to do is put our trust in Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Corinthians 5:17

God please grant me faith enough to trust you to take my life and shape it to your perfect will. Grant me the wisdom to discern your plan for me and the strength to follow it. May Thy will, not mine be done. Amen.

Judgment or Opportunity?

climbing helping team work success winner concept

Family: Exodus 3; Luke 6. Secret: Job 20; 1 Corinthians 7.

In my post last week, I talked about America’ obsession with being the best.  At this time of the year, the college basketball intra-conference season is in full swing, Rivalry Week is on ESPN, and I anxiously anticipate announcement of the field of 64 on selection Sunday in a few short weeks.  Not much makes me smile more than the CBS NCAA basketball jingle at 11:00 am before the tipoff of the first game of round one on Thursday!

While fun, the fundamentals of competition require a winner and a loser.  In other words, the best team or the game winner cannot be determined without some measure of comparability; something must always be judged against something else.  Someone always has to be second best in order for someone else to be first. This philosophy flies in the face of Luke 6.

In preparation for today’s post, I read Luke 6 last Sunday. Luke 6:37-38 has been on my heart all week.

Luke 6:37-38, Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

As we moved from Genesis to Exodus this week, we began to read through the life of Moses. What we know about him so far was that he was given up by his Levite mother at 3 months, then was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.  He was a Hebrew child in the home of an Egyptian.  Hebrews were slaves to the Egyptians.  Given his situation, how do you think Moses felt?  Do you think he was looked down upon and judged by others because of his heritage? In Exodus 2, we read about Moses killing an Egyptian. When Pharaoh learned of the situation, he threatened to kill Moses, thus Moses fled to Midian.  While not necessarily undeserved, this was another example of judgment in Moses’ life.

Perhaps these experiences give us a little insight on Moses’ reactions to God speaking to him through the burning bush today in Exodus 3. When God told Moses he was going to deliver God’s people out of Egypt.  Moses questioned, and displayed a lack of confidence, Exodus 3:11, But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Can you identify with Moses’ self-doubt?  Have you been criticized or judged for something to the point where you no longer have the confidence to proceed?

As we get to Luke 6:38, Luke switches from words of instruction (do not…) to words of opportunity.

…forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.

Instead of what not to do, he suggests what should be done. Instead of judging or condemning, Luke puts a positive spin on the instructions…  Control your own circumstances, seize the opportunity to make a difference.  Don’t sit back and wait to be criticized, go on the offensive in a good way.

My favorite part of the passage, however, is the 2nd half of verse 38, Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back.

This part of the passage speaks to magnitude. Forgiveness and generosity will be “pouring into your lap”.  If we all tried to get ahead by forgiving, giving or blessing others, what would our world look like?  Imagine people trying to out-love each other.  Instead of the greatest basketball players of all time, what if our measure of comparability evaluated how much forgiveness we have bestowed on others and/or how much generosity has been poured in our laps?  Would you make it on the top 100 list?

Do Not Open This Door

If you open this door
You can leave anytime.
If you open this door
No one would know.
If you open this door
It would be just this once.
If you open this door
You won’t hurt anyone.

All lies we are told.

Today’s reading link: Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; 1 Corinthians 6

God granted us free will so it is our choice to follow him, love him, obey him, and worship him. With free will we also experience the temptation to sin. Sin results in exchanging something good for something bad. Rick Jebb’s post on Spiritual Capital taught about the fruits of the spirit as our capital. In sin, we exchange these fruits (or capital) for something of less value. It’s a bad deal.

We exchange:
Godliness for ungodliness.
The true God for a false idol.
Joy for regret.
Freedom for slavery.
Life for death.
Generosity or kindness for selfishness.
True worship for false religion.
Truth for a lie.

Sexual sin exchanges purity for impurity, love for lust, and even health for disease. We have all been tempted. Fortunately, God always gives us a way out, and the best way out is to flee from sin, especially sexual immorality.  It would be better to not go near the temptation in the first place but we need to flee (run away) from the place where we are tempted. Do not even open the door to invite the temptation in.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV)

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (Ephesians 5:3 NIV)

Perhaps we’re feeling pretty good right now and cannot recall any sexually immoral acts, but Jesus convicts all of us through sins of the heart and mind.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  (Matthew 5:27-28)

We need to remain vigilant that there will be temptation in our future. We can and should be praying up front that we do not enter into temptation. We can prepare for life situations just like an athlete mentally prepares for a game, envisioning the plan and response to the opponent.

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Jesus had a unique and ultimate exchange that proved his deity. He willfully gave his life, through brutal torture, and death on the cross in exchange for our salvation. An exchange none of us can repay, a free gift for all who choose it.

Father God, we have all sinned and fallen short, and through this sin we do not deserve your mercy, but you gave it anyway. Please cleanse our hearts and minds. Please keep us from sin. For the sake of our own lives and for our families, please show us a way out when we are tempted. Thank you for teaching us to flee from sin. We regret when we have opened the door to sin. Our spirits are willing but our flesh is weak. Thank you for the forgiveness through your son Jesus Christ, who washes our slate clean. Amen.

SuperFood

Fresh mixed fruit superfood background with fruits high in antioxidants, vitamin c and dietary fibre.

Exodus 1; Luke 4; Job 18; 1 Corinthians 5

Have you ever noticed the use of the word “bread” in the Bible? It’s everywhere.   I began thinking about it as I read through Luke 4 today when the Devil tempts Jesus to eat after forty days of fasting in the desert. In response to Satan’s offer to turn rocks into bread, Jesus quickly quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 telling Satan that, “man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”   When I am honest, I have to admit that I would not have responded the same way. Instead, I would have likely been eating rocks. How is it that I can avoid such temptation in the future? The easy answer is found by considering three things that ruled Jesus’ life.

Jesus understood the scriptures. A deep understanding of Deuteronomy 8:3 allows him to quickly and confidently retort Satan. We must also have this knowledge close at hand. Paul gives evidence to this conclusion in Ephesians 6:17. He calls the Word of God “the sword of the Spirit.” When we know it, it will cut down the enemy, allowing us to stand strong.

Jesus understood his true needs. I cannot imagine how great a piece of bread would feel in my stomach after not eating for forty days! Jesus could. In fact, he knew that it would not compare to the life-giving bread that he was already receiving from God himself. Jesus clarifies this in John 10:10, explaining that he came to us so that we can have abundant life. Now, I am positive that he was not talking about food, as American’s, we already have that! No, instead he is talking about spiritual renewal and growth that comes from feeding on His bread, “the bread of life” (John 6:53).   When we eat it, we receive His fruits, which look like love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.   (Galatians 5:22-23)

Jesus understood God’s way.  He would not waver even though he was capable of producing food from rocks.  He refused to circumvent God’s plan for his own comfort. I find it noteworthy that he didn’t even flinch. I would have at least asked God for a quick nibble. Instead, Jesus was sold-out. Nothing could make him choose his own will over God’s.

I am thankful today for the opportunity and freedom to study and know God’s word. BibleJournal is an excellent way for all of us to sharpen our swords, deepen our dependence and understand God’s His way. Thank you for following along!

The Fear of the LORD

Today’s reading: Genesis 50; Luke 3; Job 16–17; 1 Corinthians 4

February 17th, 2016

The fear of the LORD

One of my fundamental understandings of God comes from Hebrews 12:29

For our God is a consuming fire. -Hebrews 12:29

From today’s reading we get another glimpse of this truth from John the Baptist  

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. – Luke 3:16-17

From this we start to understand a sense of finality in two states by way of one process. Just a few verses earlier:

And all flesh shall see the salvation of God – Luke 3:6

From God’s Word it is my understanding that God will baptize. We choose; by Holy Ghost or by fire. Frightening, is it not? Do you believe?

My hope and joy is to be in God’s presence with Jesus. My fear and trembling is to be in God’s presence without Jesus. I choose the Holy Ghost. Praise God that He is a giver of good gifts to the undeserving!

I have meet people who have ‘grown up in the church’ and proclaim now to be atheists. On one occasion during discussion with such a fellow, I thought to myself “He does not know God. The things he says of God are not true. Let me proclaim His name.” Seems like an obvious realization; atheist doesn’t know God, right, let me explain. It became clear to me that although he had, as he put it, “grown up in the church”, (perhaps meaning their family attended church) he had a view of God something of the sort of Santa Claus. A great being with all the stuff. When I told him of my joy and trembling of meeting God one day, he did not understand. When I told him who God was, a consuming fire with no tolerance for sin; and of our need for Jesus, he said “That’s in the bible? I’ve never heard that.”

Among many other things in Proverbs, we learn that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and that wisdom will save us from all sorts of trouble, even from death. It is a great tragedy that some are deceived into thinking they know God but do not receive the fear of the LORD. May we all get to know our God and be saved.

In the classic Christian tale, Pilgrim’s Progress, Hope and Christian, two of the main characters, are talking of the Fear of the LORD on their pilgrimage to the Celestial City:

Hope: How will you describe right fear?

Christian: True, or right fear, is discovered by three things:

  1. By its rise. It is caused by saving convictions for sin.
  2. It drives the soul to lay fast hold of Christ for salvation.
  3. It begets and continues in the soul a great reverence of God, His Word, and ways; keeping it tender, and making it afraid to turn from them, to the right hand or to the left; to anything that may dishonour God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak reproachfully.

Foundation in Christ

Today’s Readings: Genesis 49; Luke 2; Job 15; 1 Corinthians 3

As children, we remember the story of the Three Little Pigs,  and in grade schools this story may come up now and then.  As we reflect on this fable the moral is about what we build our house with and whether or not it will stand based on “various trials”.  What we build our foundation on makes a difference.  I know someone who builds houses that could definitely go into more details, but the house I want to focus on today starts with one Cornerstone…Christ.

I Corinthians 3:11  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 

Our foundation plays a factor in all life moments.  This includes our “highs and lows” (as we call them around our dinner table) and everything in-between of our daily lives.  Each day our foundation prayerfully shows characteristics of faith, prayer, wisdom, truth, humbleness, obedience, patience, giving, forgiving, and love.   When we have laid this foundation in ourselves we can depend on the Lord for everything. A daily foundation based in God’s truth, love, and grace will help us to keep a mind of Christ.  Just like our wisdom that comes from above, so does our foundation in life.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Luke 6:48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

The foundation we create starts in our own lives based around God.  It starts with me.  If my foundation is made with the wrong materials or my blueprints are off it can be detrimental. This is something I experienced for many years of my life.

2 Timothy 2:19  But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

We then impact our families and everyone we interact with. Our Christ filled foundation impacts our heart, words, and actions. You will leave a legacy with your family. Often in education people will talk about the legacy they would like to leave with students and colleagues.  Our most important legacy will be with our family.  Your family always sees everything we say and do whether you want them to or not.  A daily walk with God as our foundation will build a foundation in your family. I pray daily that as a family we live more like Christ each day. I pray that God helps me to do this.  If there are any legacy’s I hope to leave it is that God has to be the center of everything. If you build your life on the foundations of God’s truth it can never be shaken.

Matthew 7:24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.

On what have you built the foundation of your life?  Is it holding up?

What distractions in your life keeps you from fully building your foundation on the Bible?

Dear God, Let us always make your truth be our foundation. Let your perfect Word guide us daily and not let storms shake our foundation. Its about you and not me. Thank you for our foundation built on you Lord. Amen