Yesterday, several of us met to study the Bible. The passage we read was Mark 6:45-52 (Jesus walking on the water after feeding the 5,000). Today, while I was reading in my quiet time, I was struck with some irony. See, one of the things we talked about yesterday was how the disciples had just seen Jesus feed 5,000+ people. On top of that, previously, they had been given power to do miracles when they were sent out (Mark 6:7-13). AND, they did something with the power (Mark 6:13 says they actually cast out demons and healed the sick).
Why were they like this? Verse 52 tells us why: their heart was hardened and they did not consider the miracle of the loaves. In short…they had just come off a high, were in a real rough place, and didn’t remember what had happened in the past. We’d never be like that, would we? Would we?
What about the Israelites? How about when they came out of Egypt and were looking at the promised land? They–excelt Joshua and Caleb–said the people were too great . They ignored the fact that God had 1) given it to them and 2) had worked a great many miracles in the past (manna, parting of the Red Sea, etc…). Those goofy Israelites…how could they not remember? I’m glad we aren’t that way. Or are we?
What about Christians today who ignore things God tells them to do–myself included–for all manner of reasons? How about voting? Do you vote for the person God wants you to vote for, or do you pick a lesser of two evils? Do you take the step and give as he tells you or do you not trust Him to provide? How many times do we shirk from our responsibility to witness and pass it off? See…it is easy to be hard on “those” disciples or “those” Israelites because “they” aren’t us. But, we have a record of a huge number of miracles done by God…but what do we do?? They are ignored for whatever reason.
So, while it’s easy to blame “they” we need to constantly look at “me” and “now” to make sure we aren’t the pot calling the kettle black.
I’ve just finished my first Master Life book–well, I finished it late last week actually. It was a good study…I’d recommend to just about anyone to do it. It was fairly basic stuff, but it was good to review and get a different perspective on things.
The whole study focused around The Disciple’s Cross with Christ at the center and various ministries (such as prayer, evangelism, etc…) forming the four “bars” of the cross. I’m uber cusious about how this will come into play in the later books in the series.
For now, though, I’m taking a break and just spending some time reading the Bible. I haven’t figured out where to go so I’m kind of wantering right now.
But, you probably remember that I made up some electronic copies of the lists in the book. Well, after using them, I decided they were too big. So, I redid the files and set them up so I could print 4 per page. Below are the updated copies. You’ll have to monkey with your printer settings so that you’ll get 2 pages on the front and 2 pages on the back. Below are the links:
On April 5th (2008) I started reading through the bible. Well, today, I finished. It was a good experience….I’d like to do it again, but the next time, I’ll probabaly try to do it in a chronological order.
Next, I’ll probabaly start book 1 of the Masterlife series. After that, I’ll start something else on my own.
7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live
I know this was God talking to Ezekiel, but it hit me. We (Christians–followers of Jesus, Saved…not simply those who go to church. REAL Christians) MUST share with those around us. if we don’t, it is our fault that those around us don’t hear.
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
In this passage, we see God talking about leaders who don’t lead. Leaders who worry about their own comfort rather than reaching the lost. Leaders who just let those under them wallow while they–the leaders–are sitting comfortable.
I just wrapped up reading 1 and 2 Kings in my quiet time. You know…the two books that have an overview of Israel and Judah after David and Solomon were kings? Well, I got lost a few times about who was king when so I went looking on the internet for a timeline. I found two that I thought were helpful to me. I’ll link to them for future reference and also just in case you need them.
Oftentimes, we as Christians can fall into the trap that the “Christian” life is hard. There are so many don’ts and dos that at times it can seem very difficult. Well, this morning in my quiet time, I was reading Romans 8 and came across some verses that were interesting:
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Look at verse 10: If Christ be in you, the body is dead. We all know that we “died” to “the old man” but do we act like it? I know that I don’t…most of my struggle is with the “old man.” But, if the old man is dead, how can we struggle? The last part of that verse, and verse 11 goes on to say that we are alive because of the spirit.
So, if our old man is dead and the spirit is what is making our bodies alive, why don’t we live like it?
Have you ever been reading the Bible and come across the phrase Fear God? If not and you want an example, why not look at Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
In English, we sometimes have a hard time understanding exactly what is meant by the phrase. If we “fear” something, we are afraid of them, right? Well, that is one definition (and the most common use today); however, with about 500,000 words in English, we can’t remember every definition of every word, so we get used to the most common (look at the words in this post…none of them are the “big” or “fancy” words like plethora). If you look up fear in the dictionary you’ll find several definitions. One of them is “extreme reverence or awe.” That is what the Bible talks about when we read Fear God. But how can you remember that?
Every day, I receive a daily devotional from RayStedman.org. In today’s devotional, he gave a good acrostic to remember what Fear God means. Here it is:
First, F stands for faith in His existence. You cannot come to God unless you know He is there. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” There is where fear begins: faith that God exists. The whole of the created universe is shouting that at us. All the inner responses of our heart are confirming it. The Word of God declares it. History confirms it. There is a world of evidence that God is there.
Then E: experience of His grace. You never can properly fear God until you have learned what kind of a God He is. He is a God of mercy, of grace, of forgiveness. Until you have stood before Him and felt your guilt, acknowledged it, known you were wrong and corrupt, and heard Him say in your inner heart, “Neither do I condemn you . . . Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11), you will never be able to properly fear God. One element of fear is the experience of the wonder of forgiveness, that God forgives and sends you out with a whole new purpose and a new resource available.
That leads to the third element. A: awe at the majesty, the wisdom, and the wonder of God. What a Being He is! What a marvelous mind that can comprehend all the billions of pieces of information in this universe and hold them continually before Him, that can hear every voice and relate to every person who has ever lived! What a marvelous God! Awe at the sense of His majesty, His comprehensiveness, His unfailing wisdom and power, is part of fearing God.
The last letter, R, stands for resolve. Resolve to do what He says, to “keep His commandments,” as the Searcher puts it here. There are only two commandments; Jesus Himself said that. All the law and the writings can be reduced to two simple things: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). That is in response to His love already shown to you; love Him because He first loved you. And second, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s it. As Micah put it, “What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
18But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
The verses above are from today's reading. Oswold Chambers has this to say about it:
We begin by trusting our ignorance and calling it innocence, by trusting our innocence and calling it purity; and when we hear these rugged statements of Our Lord's, we shrink and say – But I never felt any of those awful things in my heart. We resent what Jesus Christ reveals. Either Jesus Christ is the supreme Authority on the human heart, or He is not worth paying any attention to. Am I prepared to trust His penetration, or do I prefer to trust my innocent ignorance? If I make conscious innocence the test, I am likely to come to a place where I find with a shuddering awakening that what Jesus Christ said is true, and I shall be appalled at the possibility of evil and wrong in me. As long as I remain under the refuge of innocence I am living in a fool's paradise. If I have never been a blackguard, the reason is a mixture of cowardice and the protection of civilized life; but when I am undressed before God, I find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis.
The only thing that safeguards is the Redemption of Jesus Christ. If I will hand myself over to Him, I need never experience the terrible possibilities that are in my heart. Purity is too deep down for me to get to naturally: but when the Holy Spirit comes in, He brings into the centre of my personal life the very Spirit that was manifested in the life of Jesus Christ, viz., Holy Spirit, which is unsullied purity.
This goes back to the roots of salvation. Are we saved by praying a prayer, going to church, and getting our "fire insurance"? No. The christian life is one of relationship. A relationship with the Almightly God of the Universe. He wants to be our friend. He wants us to love Him. He wants to lead and guide us. If only we would allow Him.