Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day six)
“He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”-Jesus, Luke 16:31
God’s allowing Samuel to rise from the dead is most definitely curious, surprising even, but the message he delivered to Saul most certainly was not. The message was the same message he had heard several times before, to no avail. These hard words had never led Saul to repentance, nor would they now.
Never take God’s Word for granted; never pass by His voice heard in the Scriptures. You never have to go elsewhere to find the will of God for your life, and though His words can be hard at times, they are meant from your good. So, seek God now; listen to His words today; repent while repentance can be found.
“We have sinned against the Lord.” 1 Samuel 7:6
We tend to reinterpret everything individually. We ask, “what does it mean to me?” Rather than, “what does it mean to us?” Not so with the House of Israel. Repentance was not an individual thing, but a corporate thing. Even when the prophet Isaiah had his encounter with God, he declared, “Woe is me! For I am lost; I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5)
The truth is, we are far more connected than we realize. We have not only sinned individually, but corporately; we, all together, are a sinful people. We must not only ask the me questions, but also the us questions. We must not only be concerned with ourselves, but also our neighbor, and our church. And where required we must repent (repentance is real change; a genuine turning to God)…together.
In what ways do you think we (not you) need to repent? Ask the Holy Spirit to show us.
Re: Verse reading–Luke 16:19-31 (day six)
The last books (chronologically) in the Old Testament where written about 400 years before Jesus was born. The books of Moses were written another 1100 years before that. That was old then, and it is old now. Antiquated. But listen to how Jesus spoke of these Scriptures, “Moses and the prophets,” as if their words weren’t antiquated at all. These weren’t archaic voices from the ancients, but God-breathed words put to paper meant to quicken the dead hearts of men and women until the end of time. God’s voice is as clear and relevant now, as it was when He first inspired Moses and the prophets to write them.
When we come to God’s Word, we are not coming to an old thing, but we are coming to words spoken by a person, to us NOW. Let’s not take them for granted like the rich man and his brothers.
Re:Verse reading–Luke 15:1-2, 11-32 (day six)
“I didn’t come into the world to condemn every sinner, I came to forgive and give life even to the worst sinner.”-Jesus, (John 3:17, my own paraphrase)
The older son wanted his dad to condemn his brother, rather than rejoice in his restoration. The whole point of the story is to expose the disparity between the pharisees’ condemnation of sinners and God’s mercy and grace towards sinners (that’s us). In keeping with the story, Jesus’ purpose in telling it was not to stick it to the pharisees. He wanted them to come to their senses too; he wanted them to repent and know the grace and mercy of the Father that the younger son enjoyed.
The question for us is the same Jesus had for the pharisees, will we rejoice when God redeems the most unworthy of sinners (for sometimes we think somehow we are worthy) and gathers them in our church family? Are better yet, should we repent (as a church family) of our indifference towards sinners?
Re:Verse reading–Luke 4:14-30 (day six)
And he added, “I tell you the truth…” Luke 4:24
I need hard words from Jesus, often. I need the chisel of his word to chip away the hardness of my heart. I need the two-edged-swordness of his word to cut between the bone and marrow. In his graciousness, Jesus doesn’t say the things we want to hear, but those things we are desperate to hear, the kind of words that are meant to lead us to repentance.
Paul, when writing to Timothy, told him that there would be a day when people would gather around them “ear ticklers.” (2 Tim. 4:3) Truth is our ears don’t need ear ticklers for our ears to be tickled; we tend to tickle our own ears just fine, all we have to do is avoid the chisel and sword of God’s Word.
This year 2018, more than ever, open his Word, read it, need it. Embrace his hard words, don’t avoid them.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 2:1-29 (day five)
4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Many people have inaccurate pictures or views of God. 1) God is a “wise and loving patriarchal figure” (grandfather in the sky) filled with wisdom and knowledge, but not actively engaged in the lives of His children. He won’t challenge or confront sin, idleness, or apathy. He’s too loving to do that sort of thing. 2) He’s a “genie in a bottle” ready to answer and fulfill all our requests and petitions at a moments notice.
Each of God’s character traits (Love, Kindness, Sovereignty, Righteousness, Holiness, etc.) exist for the purpose of His Glory AND our good. They both go together. To separate them is poor theology at best, and manipulative theology at worst. John Stott says, “For God’s kindness leads us towards repentance. That is its goal. It is intended to give us space in which to repent, not to give us an excuse for sinning.”
We must seek to find and understand both God’s Glory and our good as we worship, follow, serve, and grow.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 2:1-29 (day four)
The character of God is who He is…the very essence of His being. Verse 4 says that the kindness (one of His character qualities) of God leads you to repentance. Everything about God will draw you to Him…choose any character quality of God and it will inspire worship, lead to obedience, bring a sense of awe or confront with repentance. God is in the business of changing lives. Ezekiel says that God will take our heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. He will change us so we can enter into a right relationship with Him. We are without excuse when we stand before God. How we have responded to His character through obedience will determine the outcome of our relationship with Him. What does your character inspire? Does it lead others to God? Does it lead to repentance? It will if our lives look like Jesus…we will give an accurate picture of the character of God.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 2:1-29 (day one)
“To every man according to his deeds.”–v 6 (see also Psalm 62:12) In Romans 2, Paul makes startling statements. God will judge all men. . .based on their deeds. . . based on the light (truth) they had.
No works-theology here. Just unapologetic connection of faith and the works that rise from repentance. On that coming day, God will need no other evidence. “To those who by perseverance. . .seek for glory and honor. . .eternal life.” “To those who are self-seeking. . . wrath and indignation.”–v 8-9. Clear enough?
God will also judge us based on the light (truth) we had. Those without the law will be judged without reference to it. God is not unfair. He holds no man accountable for things he never heard. Those with the Law will answer to an even a higher standard.
“Little children, let us love in deed and in truth”—1 John 3:18. On the last day, God will use both categories to judge us.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17; Leviticus 19:16-18; Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 5:13-16 (day six)
“And who is my neighbor?” he asked (Luke 10:29). That is a wonderful and honest question. It was honest because the lawyer asking Jesus wanted to know the limits of the second greatest commandment; surely it doesn’t mean for us to love everyone. It was a wonderful question because Jesus’ answer serves as a great reminder for us as to whom we are called to love in every day life.
Jesus uses a simple parable to say that even the least likely person is your neighbor. The one on the opposite side of the road. The one with opposing views. The one no one else will love. The bloodied. The violated. The poor. The ones we normally would try to avoid when we are too busy, or because their need is too great. The least likely person is our neighbor. Will we love our neighbor? Will we shine our light to our neighbor? I am willing to repent of lovelessness, and eager to learn how to love as I ought.