A new way to think

Re:Verse reading–Luke 12:22-34 (day seven)

“Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his THOUGHTS. . .and He (God) will have compassion on him.”–Isaiah 55:7.

What if our real problem is not what we do (or don’t do)?  What if the deeper issue is what we think–what we think about?

Jesus called us to repentance (meta noia–“to think again”), and one of the most powerful “brain changes” for the believer is a new conception of God in our conscious and unconscious thoughts.

“Consider the lilies” Jesus says in Luke 12:27.  It is word of intentional, logical thought.  Think about them!  Observe!  Consider! Let the created world guide you to some new conclusions about God!

Many think that life is hard and stingy.  Not true, says Jesus.   God is dependably generous, extravagant even.  The proof is all around us.

To have new lives, we will need to think this new thought. God is generous and good!



Re:Verse reading–Luke 12:22-34 (day six)

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

My girls have never had to worry about their basic needs being met. Whether food, shelter, or clothing, they have always had what they needed. When they are hungry or need something, they simply come to me (often) and let me know; they expect me to meet those needs. Sometimes, I tell them to wait, or I offer something different then what they asked for, but they know to come to me.

Here’s the truth, I want to meet their every need; I want them to have the best life possible, and so I gladly give to them! This is true of dads, because it is first true of our Father in heaven; he has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Jesus reminds his listeners to not worry because God knows your needs and will meet them, but He desires far more for you than food and clothing, for He longs for you to have the kingdom.

I want to desire His kingdom, don’t you? Let’s stop worrying about food and clothing, and run to the Father and ask Him for the Kingdom, for His Word promises that he is glad to give it.


Re:Verse reading–Luke 12:22-34 (day five)

Luke 12:31-  “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”   Jesus’ language signals a deeper thought that we might miss because we lose the first century background and understanding with today’s western cultural perspective. Jesus strategically uses the word kingdom. He was signaling to His listeners that in fact God (His Father) was The King of a real and present kingdom where there is an active, caring, generous, and powerful ruler on the throne. A kingdom in which men can belong and find peace and trust in its King. A kingdom where the King lovingly and graciously meets the needs of His subjects. A kingdom that signals to the world that The Living God is in control, His will is done, and His purposes are accomplished.
Seeking His kingdom directs us to constantly focus on the King and His greatness. Sounds like worship to me!  Worship and worry don’t go together.

Seek First…

Re:Verse reading–Luke 12:22-34 (day four)

This passage culminates in v. 31.  Luke records the Lord’s words to consider the ravens…consider the lilies…don’t seek what you will eat…don’t focus on the things that will distract you.  Verse 31 then says, “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

The best commentary on Scripture is Scripture.  In Matthew 6:33, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus adds, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.”  When we are focused on God, and having our lives paint an accurate picture of His holiness, we will have our needs met.  Out of reverence to God for what He has done for us, we should live our lives in obedience to Him.

Do you ever get distracted?  Have you been given the riches of the gospel, but live as if you are a pauper?  When we live our lives in the grace of the Lord, a lost world can witness the truth of His word, in our lives.  We give glory to God’s name!


Re:Verse reading–Luke 12:22-34 (day three)

“Consider the lilies.”  Considering, mulling something over, or––more to the point––meditating, just seems a little…weird.  But so what?  So is the entire Christ life when compared with the world’s way of living.  Meditation means holding something before the mind in such a way that it overwhelms all other thoughts for a time.  In this way, we will come to know and believe the things that Jesus teaches.  Meditation will seem difficult to most of us.  But let’s understand something.  We already practice the harmful mirror image of mediation.  It’s called worry.  Worrying, too, is holding something before the mind so that it overwhelms all other thoughts.  Jesus tells us to use these skills to meditate instead of to worry.  When we do, when we consider the lilies, then we will know that we are in his care.

Consider the Bluebonnets

Re:Verse reading–Luke 12:22-34 (day two)  But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? vs. 28 

I’m not a native, most know that I am very proud of my Missouri roots. There is one thing that I adopted as soon as I got here 18 years ago…the bluebonnets. There is just nothing that compares to driving down a country highway and seeing that feast of color. Did you know that there are fields of flowers that sometimes go completely unseen? Can you imagine? Why did God make such vibrant beauty and not force folks to take a look at it? As a matter of fact why did he need to create so many different kinds of flowers, with different shapes, colors, and smells at all?

If God would take such care for something so transient, shouldn’t it make you take a breath? Maybe that’s why he did it after all, so that the next time you saw those patches along the highway you would stop, breath, and let go of all the stuff that is cluttering your mind.


Re:Verse reading–Luke 12:22-34 (day one) 

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.”–v 24.

A wonderful word.  Nothing exactly like in English.  Consider–katanoeo.  (kata=down, noeo=to think, “to think an issue down to its logical conclusion”)

Some people stop short of the full teaching of Christ on material possessions.  “Do not worry. . .about what you will eat. . .or wear.”–v 22.  These are undeniably His words.

But we also have a positive power against anxiety.  We can REPLACE thoughts of not having enough with accurate, inspiring thoughts of God’s economy at work in the world. We can meditate on His generosity.

“God spends more in a day feeding His sparrows than the King of France makes in a year.”–Martin Luther.   We live under a generous and global providence.

Doesn’t make my anxieties go away.  Does give me something inspiring to consider as I face life without fear.


Cry against it

RE Verse reading–Jonah 1:1-3, 3:1-5, 4:1-11 (day seven)

“Go to Ninevah the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before me.”-1:1

The Hebrew words are helpful.   Qara (ka ra’) meant “to call or cry out”.  Al meant “upon or against”.  The idea is SPEECH that “puts pressure ON” or “argues AGAINST” the status quo.

Strange assignment, isn’t it?  To represent God’s truth into the political/social/moral conversations of men.   To re introduce God as the first principle.  To call men to repent of unbelief and wickedness.   To warn of God’s judgment.

It is a job we frequently side-step.  It feels so negative, so intolerant.  Who wants to be “that guy?”  Right?

But if all men will ANSWER to God (see 2 Corinthians 5:10), then part of His mercy is to WARN them in advance. And if we belong to God, how can we edit or refuse to speak the message He gives us?

Jonah resisted this assignment.  Do we?


Happy Fruit of a Holy Fear

Re:Verse reading–Jonah 1:1-3, 3:1-5, 4:1-11 (day six)

Fear is not all bad. After all the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We know why Jonah fled, he fled because he wanted nothing to do with God’s mercy towards the Ninevites. His lack of fear of the Lord produced a hardened compassion-less heart; he was much more concerned with his own comfort than the desperate need of an entire people.

So fear is not all bad. Fear the Lord, for it is not only the beginning of wisdom but the also the beginning of faith. It is there that we taste the goodness of God, his mercy and compassion through Jesus, each day moving us further away from self-centeredness to selflessness. We can’t help but love the Ninevites.

God’s Fierce Mercy

Re:Verse reading–Jonah 1:1-3, 3:1-5, 4:1-11 (day five) 

Often people will say the God of the Old Testament is judgmental, harsh, and filled with wrath, while in the New Testament He is merciful, gracious, loving, and forgiving. Yet, what we find is that there is NO Difference in His nature and character from Genesis to Revelation. There is a “fierce mercy” found in His nature throughout scripture. He demonstrates it in Jonah. He is not hindered or threatened by seemingly man made boundaries (geographical, moral, social) in His love and kindness for people. Jonah knew this to be true about God (Jonah 4:2).

In the New Testament, Jesus is the perfect picture of God’s mercy as He crossed many of the same boundaries to seek and to save the lost. His love for lepers, tax collectors, sinners, and criminals was clearly evident.

Are we filled with that same view and perspective to love and to minister to people?        Are there boundaries (moral, social, political) that we will not cross to share the gospel? God’s mercy says there are none.