Re:Verse passage – James 5:19-20 (day three)
“He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
Policing or shepherding – this is the choice facing all disciples of Jesus Christ regarding life together. Does Christ mean for the church to consist of good citizens, or people of promise? If it is the former, then we have no choice but to police one another in attitude, in behavior, and finally, in thought. If it is the latter, then we must submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, because the brother or sister in whose presence we stand will one day reign in glory. Jesus looked at Simon and saw the end from the beginning: You are Peter, a rock. Every interaction with him from that point took its cue from what Simon could become.
Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:1-16 (day six).
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” Judges 6:14
It sure doesn’t seem like the Lord is with us! Do you know what it is like out there? (Judges 6:13)Gideon responded to his visitor with a complaint, and an observation. Things were not well. If only God would do something.
Little did Gideon know that God did intend to do something…by commissioning him to be the deliverer..
We tend to complain in just the same way. When things aren’t well, or not going the way we would like (big or small), we often look to others to take action, when often enough the problem and solution is staring us in the face.
Just as God sent Gideon to do something about their situation, could it be he is also sending you?
Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:1-16 (day three)
“But now the Lord has abandoned us.”
One of the most common phrases ever to make the rounds through the years in evangelical circles is this one: “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” The only problem with that is that it places an awful lot of faith in one’s ability to know where the sin ends and the person begins. That’s why in practice it just feels like “hate the sinner.” And then, it’s easy to project onto God that same way of assessing persons. If God hates sin, he’s surely going to hate you. Can you imagine that God would actually be very different than that? Gideon couldn’t. God’s big revelation to Gideon, though, is that people are not their sin. Therefore, God had never lost track of Gideon. Or Israel. Nor has God lost track of you.
Re:Verse passage – Mark 1:1-8 (day three)
“… preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…”
The Pharisees didn’t listen to John, so they weren’t going to listen to Jesus. Pharoah didn’t listen to the nine plagues, so he wasn’t ultimately going to listen to the tenth. The family of the rich man in Jesus’s parable of Lazarus hadn’t listened to the prophets, so they wouldn’t listen to a resurrected Lazarus. Do you see a pattern here? God has designed reality in such a way that the now can prepare you for the next. You can refuse to accept the now, or you can turn and face it and let God’s Spirit teach you and form you. Is today inviting you to get ready for tomorrow? Probably.
Re:Verse passage – Philippians 2:19-30 (day seven)
“But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.” vs 22
The relationship of Paul and Timothy is one of my favorite dynamics in the New Testament. Take a look through the latter parts of Acts and the letters to Timothy and you will see the progression of Timothy’s training. It began in such a way where Timothy was a young man in whom Paul saw potential, so he brought him on his team and invested in Him. Then we see Paul challenging Timothy, though young in his faith, to be a leader. He eventually becomes one of Paul’s most trusted companions. Paul saw potential, invested, cultivated, and sent him out!
We all have had those people in our lives who have helped shape our faith journey. They saw the potential in us and invested. They cultivated our theology and then sent us out to do the same for others. This is the model of discipleship!
Have you experienced this? Who has been a Paul to you? Who has been your Timothy? These are questions that we should ask and answer often!
Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. Psalm 36:1
The Holy Spirit speaks. His role is to whisper (loudly) the words of God deep within our hearts. Fullness happens when we listen. And His words, like seeds, buried deep into the human heart bear fruit.
The spiritual battle that rages in the human heart is a war of words. After all Jesus said, “From out of the heart the mouth speaks.” The Psalmist would agree. (Psalm 36:1)
While sin can no longer condemn, it still whispers bullets in this spiritual battle. Lies and half-truths hurling like 9mm slugs. But as children of God, the Spirit offers us a new voice, defensive measures and counter attacks.
Hearing His voice is our superpower. And eventually His words turn battlefields into orchards.
Re:Verse passage – Daniel 12:1-13 (day three)
“Go your way, Daniel.”
How do you respond to a wrenching vision of the advance of a culture-shattering sweep of geopolitical occurrences that will involve the suffering of untold billions of souls and usher in the climactic end of history as we know it? You respond by…going about your business? That’s not the same thing as acting as if coming events don’t matter. To the contrary, the nature of such a vision has everything to do with how one lives now. There are two ways of life from which to choose. One way involves believing that you are at the mercy of world-historical events. That way of life requires you to take or be taken, rule or be ruled, kill or be killed. The other involves understanding that someone other than you clothes the lilies, feeds the sparrows, and cares for you.
Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:16 (day six)
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
There is a reason the ninth commandment is you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, rather than you shall not lie. The former makes a clear connection between the truths (or lies) we speak and our neighbor. False witness is never spoken in a vacuum, but always lands on someone, always leading to a disconnected relationship or community.
God’s plan for his people was a community that knew and trusted each other. He had no desire for a fractured, disconnected people rising out of closed-door gossip, or back-alley grievances. When you boil it down, I think God is saying, “Stop talking ABOUT your neighbor; talk TO your neighbor.”
So, the next time you have a grievance against someone don’t rush to gripe about them to someone else, or pass judgment too quickly, rather go to them, and as much as it is up to you, seek to make things right.
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
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