Archive for the ‘Bible Text’ Category

Sabbath Day Thoughts

The people of God are not to be like the people of this world.  They are to be worlds apart – in their love, actions, thoughts, words, heart. Imagine looking at the same situation as another but yet having a totally different perspective than they do on the same circumstance. That’s how your whole life should be verses how it used to be and how the world still is.

Think about the difference of perspective between these two groups during the same event.

The people
Exodus 14:11-12 – They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?  12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Moses
Exodus 14:13-14 – And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.  14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

A major difference between Moses & the people at this point is that Moses had come to see and know the LORD. I imagine the people of Israel were still being introduced to the very God was was currently leading them out of slavery. Moses had seen first hand how God had worked from the burning bush to the final plague.  Though the people had probably become integrated in Egyptian society and life at this point, one thing we certainly know from Moses is that he maintained his identity as a descendant of Abraham.

When you take a long journey, you often forget an important item after you’ve left home already.  Sometimes its your toothbrush, extra socks, or a particular bag.  You probably forget to take this item with you because of the commotion often involved in leaving the house quickly.  You thought your spouse or child was going to get the bag perhaps.  Whatever the reason it is because you are thinking about leaving and arriving at your destination more than you are about making sure you have all of your things.

Moses we see was not like this.  In all of the commotion of his own exodus from Egypt, appearing before Pharaoh, and gathering together all of the people of Israel, his mind is still fixed on the great promise of God towards Abraham.  We see this in the fact that he did not forget a most important item:

Exodus 13:19 – Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.”

May our minds be fixed on the world to come to the point that it marks us out as different from the world around us now.  May today be a day where we practice the life of the age to come today.

Shabbat Shalom.

Sabbath Day Thoughts

We often hear Jesus speak about how the Jewish Sabbath got all mixed up in the mind of the nation of Israel by the time he arrived on the scene.   He speaks of how the heart of a man was more important that the outward action that he might observe in his religious service.

In light of that during my morning reading today I took note of something I haven’t seen up until now.  Matthew 25 is the great chapter on preparedness before the coming of the King and ends with the picture of the sheep and goats being separated in the end of the age based on the life of love, service, and kindness that they lived.  Jesus tells us that the judgment in the end of the age will be based on how we cared about people.

And then I noticed this:

Matthew 26:1-2  When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,  2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

The very next thing that comes from the mouth of Jesus is the fact that he will be delivered up to be crucified.  We often think of the last supper sermon as some of the most important words of our Lord because they were spoken on the night he was betrayed.  You often tell your people what is most important right before the end of your time with them.

In light of that think about what Jesus has just said to his disciples in Matthew 25 and directly following that he tells them that he is going to die at the hands of the Romans! He must have felt that his words in Matthew 25 were important if he ends his time with them by saying he is doing to be crucified.

I was an interesting observation this morning I think which again stresses to me the importance of the record in Matthew 25.  We spend much time in our churches and homes talking about “the most important thing” or “what one must do to be saved” – certainly these conversations must be had and continue, but I offer this morning that we should include this great section of Scripture in our conversation.

Matthew 25:31-40  1 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

So as the new year approaches, consider what our lives must be about in anticipation of the coming of the King & his judgment of the world.

Shabbat Shalom.

Sabbath Day Thoughts

As I have said before I realized early in my desire to take a weekly Sabbath that you have to work to not work, after a couple of weeks of out of town visitors, traveling, and stuff to do, I sit down again early this morning and enjoy time with the LORD (and my sweet 4month old).  We’re taking a Sabbath today again finally back to the normal routine that our family really wants and needs.

As I sat down this morning after realizing I could and I reflected on the fact that Israel eventually did not keep the sabbath that was commanded them by their God.

As I have said from the beginning of my own sabbath journey, I am not advocating that Christians keep the sabbath as a command of the LORD and if they don’t they are far from God – this is something that I have begun to see the value and importance of in my own life for my own life.  That being said, I understand what God commanded Israel as He did:

Exodus 20:8  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Deuteronomy 5:15 – You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

This is something I have to remember to do – if not, my life, my schedule and the things of the world will pile up and overload me so that I end up doing work and being worked up when I need to rest.

Honestly, we need to have better control of our lives – doesn’t it seems that sometimes we go from one thing to the next and then to the next without thinking about what it is we’re doing?  We react and respond to things that come at us without realizing that our responses and actions are often without thought.  We make decisions by indecision.

I am understanding more and more that can’t be like this in general with  Christianity and regarding my sabbath taking specifically.  I have to remember throughout the week that I have been redeemed – I’m not living for this life, this job, this task, this errand, etc – I’m living free because of Christ in expectation of the coming Kingdom.  And then today, I am going to celebrate this expectation of rest in the future by resting from the normal routine of Sunday-Friday.

So, more thoughts in my mind today to consider, and I’ll do so today because I’m going to work hard to rest today!

Shabbat Shalom.

John 13:36 – Peter Following Jesus

John 13:36  Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”

I received an email recently with the following question:

Can you provide me a good explanation of Jesus’ words in John 13:36 – I’ve looked up all my resources & can’t find a worthy explanation for that one. My Christadelphian source says it is speaking of the type of death Peter will experience… not sure? maybe. “where I go, you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow later.”

I would imagine that some would agree with the thoughts of my friend above.  I think that this explination may be just what Jesus was speaking about. I am sure othesIn light of the context of the disciples loving each other as Christ loved them (v34 &35) Peter says that he will follow Jesus wherever he goes – and Jesus says that he cannot follow Him where he is going – maybe it isn’t so much he he cannot die like Jesus will, but Peter will later, but the steps Jesus is going to take are not steps that Peter because of his lack of faith, but will be restored later.

I only say this because the next verse is in regards to Peter not following Jesus to the death but denying him. Compare this section to what Peter says in the other Gospels:

Matthew 26:33 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.”

Mark 14:29 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.”

Luke 22:33 But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”

I think Luke gives us the best picture to what I think John 13 might be talking about – He wants to follow Jesus, but because of the fear that Peter has in his heart (which will be evident in the 3x denials that are about to take place), he cannot follow Jesus – but as we know, he will later.

What do you think?

A More Beautiful You (Part 5)

Proverbs 31 is it too outdated for us 2010 modern day women???   I think not!  When I go through this proverb and dissect it line by line for my own personal understanding I say wow up before dark to make food for my family? Buy things of great value? Sew my family’s clothes? Bring my husband good and not harm?  Open my arms to the poor and needy? Walk around with strength, dignity, wisdom, confidence?  These do not sound like a woman of today.  No I think  fast food, prepared meals, nannies , store bought clothes, disgrace and dishonor to husbands, the needy are gross, dirty  people who they tell their children to avoid at all cost, women who are arrogant and prideful  who think they too are a man and must be treated equally as one or else!!

So then I ask myself what must I change about myself to line up with this proverb that God gave us women as a guideline to be virtuous and worth far more then rubies?  Isn’t this just what we are looking for anyway to be valued, to be loved, to be thought of as precious and honorable?  I think so.   So I see that it is my heart that must change before I even think about my daily routine and actions.  I must love my God enough to trust Him that what He gave me as a guideline on how to be virtuous, beautiful, confident, strong and wisdom filled is what I should strive for.   It is what will make me more precious than rubies to my husband and honorable to society.

So in what some women think of as outdated or politically incorrect we find the very thing that God has given us as a picture of a virtuous, beautiful, confident, strong and wisdom filled women.  I am willing to look weird and strange to the entire female population and society at large in order to look right and acceptable to God, how about you?

A More Beautiful You (Part 4)

I have been reading through Proverbs each day this month.  He’s a selection from the reading today.  How appropriate:

Proverbs 31:10-31 – 10 An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels. 11The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22She makes bed coverings for herself;  her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. 24She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

What a great way to end the book of Proverbs.  Though perhaps it seems as if some of the references are outdated and not clear because of the lives we live today – nonetheless this is a picture of a godly, virtuous and excellent woman and wife.

The qualities of this woman are beautiful.  She is caring.  She is self-sacrificial.  She is giving.  She is diligent.  She cares for her husband and family.

And she receives praise from God, her family, and friends because she fears the LORD.  This is the woman to be praised – the one who chooses to fear God and live a life of love.

A More Beautiful You (Part 3)

Galatians 3:27-29 – For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

There are a lot of reasons to love this section of Scripture.  The picture of being united with Christ.  The truth of being a descendant of Abraham by faith.  But one of the reasons I love these verses is because of what verse 28 says and when it says it.

Paul’s letter to the Galatian church was written during a time where there were not “equal rights.”   Men and women didn’t have the same status in society by any means.  It would be rare to find a woman who had a job other than taking care of the house and the kids.  In the Jewish culture of the time the men could do things that the women couldn’t.  And right in the middle of this Paul says that the Christian – whether a man or a woman – are one in Christ Jesus!  There aren’t the distinctions that are found in the world:

“there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and femail, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

Jesus is into leveling the playing field – through his gospel, barriers are broken that exist in this age.  This is good news!  Christian women, you are the daughters of God and the sisters of Christ!  You are heirs of the Abrahamic Promise!  You are filled with the spirit of Christ!  In just these four points you are given more than women of history have been given for a long time – and from the creator of heaven and earth.

This equality did not come by protest.  It did not come by social action.  It was not granted through legislation.  It did not happen because of the times changing.  It came because God is compassionate.  It came because God is merciful.  It came because God values your life.

God doesn’t have prejudices like the world does.  He is not impartial.  And because He has this sort of character – He values men and women alike.

Even in the Old Testament where some would argue that women are not painted in a favorable light, God used women throughout the narrative for His purposes.  Miriam helps save Moses and leads Israel in praise to the LORD.  Rahab is rewarded and rescued.  Deborah leads God’s people.  Hannah’s prayer is answered.  Ruth is cared for.  I could go on and on.  (Feel free to add more in the comments section)

This is not the story of man (as in “males”).  The Bible contains the plan and purposes of God for the earth and it’s inhabitants – man and woman.

So my beautiful Christin sisters, praise the LORD for imparting this mercy and offering you the chance to be a part of His family!

(and guys, we’ve got a lot of praising to do too for God’s mercy on us…but that’s another post for another day…)