Will

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 24 (day three)

“Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

We recognize David least when he is behaving most like a clichéd tyrant—employing his power to bend the world to his will. The writer of 2 Samuel makes apparent that God has established and nurtured the nation for his own purposes. David now behaves as if he has outgrown those purposes, and he moves Israel to a war footing to expand his geopolitical influence in the region. David had determined to take action, and the Lord said, in effect, “Okay, your will be done.” When human beings speak that phrase to God, the final result is good, always. When God speaks that phrase to human beings, things will not end well.

Who will tell me?

Re:Verse reading 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 30-42 (day one)

“Then David said to Jonathan, ‘Who will tell me if your father answers harshly?’ ”  v 10

When you need information, to whom do you turn?  Google?  The Weather Channel?  Your Mom?  Recently, I’ve seen a new pattern.  “Facebook friends, does anyone know a good _____ that you can recommend?”

When David needed insider information, the only person He could turn to was his friend, Jonathan.  (Was the King’s rage a function of his mental/spiritual instability?  Was it something David have done?  Was he charged with a crime? ) Only Jonathan could learn the truth and only Jonathan would risk communicating with a wanted man.

Jesus is our Jonathan.  Our Friend.  Our Messenger from Heaven. The One Person who will communicate with us the truth about the King’s attitude toward us.

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”–John 1:18

TRUTH

Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 18:1-16, 19:1-10 (day seven)

Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. 1 Samuel 18:8-9

Why did Saul look at David with suspicion?  Nothing had changed in their relationship, but now there were singing ladies who foreshadowed a future Saul didn’t like.  Saul began to realize David was treated like a king by both the people and God.  Saul saw the truth, and it was ugly.  The future was David’s to assume by the power of God, and instead of accepting what lay ahead Saul decided to fight.  He would fight David, he would fight God, and he would fight Truth.

Fighting the truth of God was Saul’s big mistake.  It’s understandable though that Saul pushed back.  We do the same.  Whenever the truth of God’s Word infringes on our perceived rights or our deep wants or cultural values we do whatever it takes to squelch the truth. Like Saul, the longer we challenge the truth the more chaotic our heart gets, and we will only find peace when we realize submitting to God’s truth is the greatest act of our lives even when we have to lose something dear to our hearts.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

TELL the truth!

RE Verse reading–Jeremiah 1 (day seven)  “Before you were born. . . I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”–v 5.

The meaning depends on how you say it.  Tell the TRUTH.  TELL the truth.  Both are commandments.  The second was God’s emphasis with Jeremiah.

Apart from this clear call, Jeremiah probably would have stayed silent.  Easy choice in a “politically correct” age.  Some messages tolerated.  Some not. People were (are) tired of hearing it. Old news.

So, the Lord removed the option.  No longer a choice.  Now, a matter of obedience.  Speak up, God told this young believer.  Don’t be timid!  Don’t let them disregard you!  Speak my word!

It is a similar call to the one Christ gave the church.  “Go into all the world and make disciples.  Baptizing them.  Teaching them all that I have commanded you.”–Matthew 28:19-20.  Silence is not an option. He commands us.  TELL the truth!  Even when the world doesn’t want to hear it.

No Health-Wealth Gospel Here

Re: Verse reading–Esther 4:4-17; 7:1-6 (day six)

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai, Esther 4:14

A health-wealth gospel exalts the potential and immediate blessings from God over God himself; it treasures treasure (health/wealth) rather than Jesus. Literally, health and wealth become the measure of one’s faith. It is a far cry from the Gospel of the Scriptures, and certainly wasn’t a Gospel Mordecai subscribed to.

Consider Mordecai’s faith in the face of possible annihilation. Although, he pressures Esther to act, he is confident God will preserve a remnant of his people even if she chooses not too. His faith in the promises of God extend far beyond his own comfort (health-wealth) and self-preservation. Mordecai was a rock! He had confidence in God to fulfill His covenant promises even though he might die. When you face adversity do you have that kind of faith? Your answer will determine what kind of Gospel you subscribe to.

Good Friday

Re:Verse reading–Mark 15:16-20, 24-40; Mark 16:1-8 day five)

As believers, the Empty Tomb is the pivotal picture of our faith, hope, and life. But, before it was empty, it was occupied. The scripture tells us in all four of the gospel accounts, that Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb.  The details are given: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. What we know for certain is that Jesus was dead, and that His body was placed in the tomb. The occupied tomb communicated undeniable hopelessness to His followers.

I wonder if they were thinking somehow Jesus could escape death. Maybe at the last possible second, God would send an angel or another miracle would spare His life. There was no angel’s rescue that day. There was no life saving miracle. There was just darkness and despair. Jesus was killed. The tomb was sealed. The guard was posted to stand watch. The disciples were hiding in confusion, devastation, and fear. And the Savior lies lifeless in a tomb.

How did His followers process what has just happened? They must have had a thousand painful questions. “How could He be the long awaited King if He was just killed?” “Is there something we could have done to stop it?” “If they tortured and slaughtered Him like that, what will they do to us?” On Friday they watched, waited, and worried.

 

Words

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 26:47-50, 57-66; 27:11-26 (day six)

It was a loud mess, a cacophony of voices, some hushed and others loud, as Jesus was paraded into Caiphas’ courtyard in the middle of the night. It went from courtyard to courtroom with the raising of the high priest’s hand; everyone went silent, and every eye on Jesus. The silence lasted for only a moment when one, then two began to make accusation against Jesus in disjointed coordination, as if they had rehearsed what they would say. Three. Four. Ten. A pause and then ten more just the same. Each pause was followed by feverish anticipation of what this man might say in his defense. As if to raise the stakes and rouse a response, each accusation became more outlandish than the next.

Silence. And yet without even a word his very presence spoke with authority, and they felt it, and hated him for it.

He would eventually speak, making a declaration rather than a defense. His words, albeit few, sealed his fate. Their plan was working, so they thought; they had sprung their trap. Little did they know that his words, which brought him condemnation and them triumph, played into the hand of a sovereign and gracious God. Words.

But now

Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day seven)

“But now a righteousness from God. . .has been made known. . . [which] comes through faith in Jesus Christ”–v 21-22.  For three chapters, Paul has described what “was”.  A sad picture.  Honest.  Hard to hear.  The fair judgement of God on the human race.  Gentiles.  Jews.  “But now” he says with great energy and excitement!  Something new.  The righteousness of God.  That righteousness that God intrinsically has.  That righteousness that He requires of all who would be part of His Kingdom.

The riddle is solved!  (Mercy offered) How could God be merciful to people who did not deserve it?  How could He love those who had not loved Him and, at the same time, maintain His own Holy standards?  Christ is the solution to this problem that no human could have imagined.

Christ became our redeemer.  Christ became our propitiation.  His blood paid our debt.

In ages past, this wasn’t clear.  BUT NOW it is!

Let it go

RE Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day seven)  “Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.”–Exodus 20:9-10.  Unless you’ve been on another planet for the past few years, you have heard (or heard of) the Disney movie, “Frozen” and the featured song, “Let it go”.  As Queen Elsa “lets go” of her fears to embrace her strengths, believers “let go” of our fears to discover our strength in union with Christ.  It is a weekly spiritual rhythm called sabbath.  WORK for six days!  This is the command of God.  Get up!  Think! Innovate!  Achieve!  Subdue!  Rule! (see Genesis 1)  But, on the sabbath learn a different skill.  Let it go! Rest!  Pray! Seek His face!  Engage the world with courage, then retreat from it to declare your trust in Something higher.  We are double-sided creations, dual-natured.  God commands us to work, and then to let it go.

Different Perspective Required

Re:Verse reading – Luke 6:27-36; Romans 12:17-21  (Day Five)  Often times as believers, it seems a logical course of behavior and living would be to withdraw from society and forego the tension, unkindness, and overall lack of integrity found in secular culture. Its influences of scheming, cheating, and dishonesty bring unwanted problems and difficulties.  But Jesus’ words in Luke 6 would indicate a different approach to this issue.  Instead of insulation and isolation, Jesus promotes love, forgiveness, and compassion.  He unapologetically presumes that believers should and will interact in secular culture and He truthfully shares what can be the result.  Yet, when weighed against eternal perspective and promises (Luke 6:35), enduring these reactions and responses from “enemies” pales in comparison.