Grudging Obligation

Re:Verse passage – 2 Corinthians 9:6-12 (day seven)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; vs 8

God never gives us anything out of grudging obligation. He always happily and graciously gives out of His love for us. He always provides when we need it. He is always there when we need Him. Yet, it seems that when we return the gift it is out of grudging obligation. We count to the exact percentile of 1/10th of our paycheck. We hold money back when we see a rainy day coming. We let our circumstances dictate our giving. What would it look like for us to give to God as He gives to us? It begins in the heart. Money has a hold on our heart stronger than almost anything in this world, but when we trust God over money, our giving will no longer be out of grudging obligation but out of love.

Commonality

Re:Verse passage – Acts 2:42-47 (day seven)

And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common. vs 44

“You have more in common with a Christian living in a village in Kenya than you do your non-Christian friends that live right down the street.” I often say things like this to our students. You may not be able to talk about the latest Marvel movie or the hottest new song, but there is something unique that brings us all together as Christians. Christ living in me relates and connects to Christ living in you. That commonality creates a bond that is tighter than any friendship the world can offer. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit bridges languages, race, color, and creed. We are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, and even if it may seem that we are miles apart in interests, hobbies, or politics, we can know that we are Better when we are Together because Christ is our commonality.

Correction

Re:Verse passage – 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (day seven)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable […] for correction.” vs 16

What we have here is a promise from God that if we are faithful to the study of His Word, it will begin to shape every part of our being. We will find ourselves questioning, wondering, and reasoning with the Scriptures as it corrects our very beliefs. This has led many people to begin to “deconstruct” their faith. Deconstruction is not in and of itself wrong as long as the deconstruction and what is being reconstructed in its place are both sourced in Scripture. The problem in many modern cases of deconstruction is that the source of both constructions are found outside of Scripture. If we use anything outside of the Word of God to prop up our faith, the structure will crumble under the weight of the smallest resistance. The majority of us do not need a full on deconstruction, but what we do need is to refortify our structure with Scripture and let God correct the areas where we have allowed the world to influence our faith.

Fearless

Re:Verse passage – Romans 8:15-17, Ephesians 5:22-32 (day seven)

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  Ephesians 8:15

If you have seen the banners around church recently, you know that Monday begins Impact Youth Camp. If you have seen those banners you have seen our image for this year features a lion with the word FEARLESS in the middle.

There is a subliminal message in that image. It is easy to allow the spirit of fear to burden our hearts and minds, but as the Lord (Lion of Judah) adopts us into Hs family, He removes that fear. In its place, He instills in us a spirit of “power and love and discipline” (2 Tim 1:7).  Would you please pray for our students this week? Pray that they would be released from their burdens of slavery. Pray that they are equipped to share their faith without fear. Pray that they are emboldened to reach their friends and loved ones with the Gospel. Pray for those who will cry out “Abba! Father!” for the very first time! Pray that our students realize how much Better we are Together! 

Better Together

Re:Verse passage – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27  (day seven)

Today we celebrate the start of Better Together.  If you have been around this church for a minute, you recognize this. We learn together. We laugh together. We worship together. We dream together. We pray together. We play together. Through this series we will do all these things (maybe even all of them today). Yet, this isn’t new information. This is an intentional time for us to remind one another of how special it is to be together.

What is it that you need to be reminded of? Do you need to be reminded that you have a family that you can lean on in your days of struggle? Do you need to be reminded that you have a place in this church to serve with your gifts? Do you need to be reminded that you are not alone inside and outside of these walls? On this Pentecost Sunday, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of how and why He led you to FBCSA. Each of us will have different answers on how we got to this place, but I would guess all of us will answer the why in a similar way: we are Better Together!

Comfort in Repentance

Re:Verse passage – Job 42:5-17 (day seven) 

Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes. vs 6

Job’s confession is beautiful. You could feel it building over the last several weeks. The tension of Job’s initial reaction to his situation was beginning to wain as the Lord was speaking. It was in the voice of the Lord that Job finally felt comfort. His family and friends thought that they were bringing him comfort, but they could not comfort him the way God could: through repentance. Even more beautiful in this confession is that we find the word for repent comes from the same root as the word comfort (Strong’s H5162). There is true comfort found in repentance.

We often fail to repent because we feel that admitting our faults will become painful, but when we repent, God meets us in our brokenness and takes away the pain. Spend some time today as we wrap up this series on Job bringing your faults to God. Let God meet you and bring you comfort in your repentance. Repentance Sheet

Behemoth and Leviathan

Re:Verse passage – Job 40:6-9, 15-19; 41:1-7, 10-11; 42:1-6 (day seven)

Who are these magnificent creatures? It is fun to speculate. Hippopotamus? Giant crocodile? Dinosaurs? Mythological creatures? My mind races with the possibilities of what this could mean on scientific/biological level, but that is not the point of what God nor the author of this book are trying to get across. The beauty of the poetical extravagance which is used to describe these creatures is meant to bring our minds to the realization that:

    1. God is a great creator. He cares for us.
    2. God is in control. We are not.

If we are unable to control, let alone understand, the most complex creatures on this planet, who are we to think that we can control the God who created and ordered the entire universe?!  By looking into creation (Jesus speaks on this too), we can see that God has a master plan in order. It is our job to trust Him.

Armchair Quarterback

Re:Verse passage – Job 38:1-7; 40:6-9 (day seven)

And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Job 38:3b

Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Let him who reproves God answer it.  Job 40:2

Growing up as the child of a high school football coach in the state of Texas, you learned the phrase “armchair quarterback” real quick. Every person thinks that they know what plays should have been called when and which players should have been where. Most people are decent enough to keep these opinions to themselves, but others forget that they aren’t in their armchair and display their opinions openly from the stands to where everyone can hear them. These unqualified and highly opinionated faultfinders have a knack for getting under your skin.

I am gad I am not God. Can you imagine what He hears? The world is full of faultfinders, but unlike at a football game, the Omniscient God knows and hears every thought we have. If we are honest, we have all had moments where we became the armchair quarterback, instructing God on what He should do. That is what makes God so incredible. He is not angered by our unqualified opinions. He wants us to bring these to him, because as we do, He is able to answer back and show us how His plan will always bring home the win!

Elihu’s Traits

Re:Verse passage – Job 32:1-10; 33:2-4, 22-30; 35:9-10; 37:14-24 (day seven)

Although there are things I would correct in Elihu’s theology, I find myself drawn to several character traits that I believe would do us well to replicate when we find ourselves in the position to give advice.

  1. He was patient. “Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were years older than he.” (32:4) Even though he knew the advice Job was receiving was inaccurate, He waited his turn.
  2. He kept his focus heavenward. “Behold, God does all these oftentimes with men.” (33:29) Everything that Elihu focused on revolved around God and spiritual concerns.
  3. He was ready to be challenged. “Refute me if you can; Array yourselves before me, take your stand.” (33:5) He was confident enough that he was in the right mindset (heavenward). He was also humble enough (patient) to allow Job to have a rebuttal if Job could refute his claims.

What I see today is a lot of people rushing to share their unwarranted advice. I see people leaning more on feelings than on spiritual truth. I see people unwilling to hear out the other side and be challenged. Want to know someone else who epitomizes these three traits? You might find Him in John 8:1-11.

By the Skin of My Teeth

Re:Verse passage – Job 19:20-27 (day seven)

I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. vs 20b

I was “today” years old when I realized this idiom was from Job. As with other popular lines found in the Bible, this phrase has become a part of our cultural vernacular. In Job’s instance, he might have literally escaped by the skin of his teeth (his gums were likely the only part of his body that escaped affliction), but when we use this phrase today, we are referring to barely managing to do something. “He passed his exam by the skin of his teeth.”

For how many of us is this more than vernacular? We find ourselves moving so fast from one project to the next that we do barely enough get by. When this rhythm becomes the norm, it begins to bleed into our spiritual walk. We do barely enough to check our boxes and move on to the next thing. God promises so much more to us when we put in the intentional effort to abide with Him. Don’t just try to get through it by the skin of your teeth, dwell in and with Him, and watch what He does when you put in the work to abide. John 15:1-11