Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day by Day - Micah 6:8

Using as a base of Study, Day by Day by Charles Swindoll

Micah 6:8 (NIV)
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
I learned this verse back when I was in Calvinettes.    It was a girls club in my church.  I think now-a-days it's called Gems.  I couldn't link to the main page as it wouldn't open for me so this wiki page will have to do.

Putting that aside, I find that it is generally not helpful to look at verses without knowing the context so...for some context I'm now including the verses that came before:

6 With what shall I come before the LORD
   and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
   with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
   with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
Do you ever find in your life that you want to give God something to show him your gratitude for what he has done in your life?   I do.   But because this verse was hammered into me as a child I KNOW what God wants from me.  He doesn't want my stuff, he doesn't want me giving him whatever of my things... it belongs to him anyways.  What he really wants is for me to act in a just manner, he wants to me love dispensing mercy to others, and he wants my humility.    These are the types of things that God wants.

They need to be offered willingly or they aren't truly offered.    And oh man, it is so easy to forget this in the bustle of life.

It's so easy just to say.. okay God I'm going to give you half an hour in the morning and a quick prayer before we eat and that should do you.  But God wants so much more than that.  He wants himself to affect my life.   And to act in just manner, to love mercy, to walk humbly before will take my life ACTION to complete.

Oh that God may bring all this more to the forefront in my life... this is my prayer.   

So what does Chuck have to say about this?

Chuck went on about how there are lists everywhere for all sorts of things, and God has made lists as well.  Lists of things he hates, lists of things he likes and that this is one more list of things that God likes.

I don't know, that list left me wanting something more....

To extend mercy: Chuck took the time to remind us that God has let us know what he wants us from us.   All we must needs to is to exercise wisdom and DO IT.

Let us today: act in a just manner, love to do mercy and to walk humbly before him.  Shall we?    :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 8:32-36

Using as a base of study today Windows of Wisdom by Stephen Olford.

Proverbs 8:32-36    (ESV)

32 “And now, O sons, listen to me:
     blessed are those who keep my ways.
33  Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.
34  Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the Lord,
36 but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death.”
The Proverbs are a bunch of wisdom sayings.  If we play attention to them, they can help us to better live lives pleasing to God.

Today the author is telling us to keep God's ways, to hear his instruction and to not neglect what we are hearing.  We need to be wise in our life.

If I look at the rest of the chapter I see that God created wisdom.  
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
and so we are wise to seek after wisdom, blessed if we do what is wise.    Part of doing that is to listen to instruction and then the heed what we hear.   If we don't we are not wise.  Being wise is a necessity in brings us the favour of God, it brings us to truly living life.     

What the alternative to seeking after wisdom?  We end up injuring ourselves and loving death.   Not something I'm keen on.  :) 

But seriously, what does this mean for practical living.   I know lots of people who don't love the Lord.  And they seem to be living lives of contentment.  I know that in the end, if they fail to find God then they will suffer the second death, they will end up in a place of punishment.  Is this what the author is talking about?   I don't get that impression.    This lack of seeking after wisdom seems to have a more immediacy about it.

God set up the world in such a way that seeking after wisdom should be a part of life.  As believers we know that true wisdom comes from seeking after the things of God.    So if people don't love God or think of him as a part of life, then they are missing out on something vital in life.    So perhaps this is what the author is talking about.  If people don't pursue what should be a natural part of real living, then what's the point really?    It's like an unseen injury to themselves that only becomes truly apparent when they die.

Olford touches on this in his  meditation;
He talks about how we are blessed (happy) if we seek after wisdom and do as wisdom says.   We are happy if we seek (like children) to learn and then to do what we have learned.    And all those who don't seek after wisdom are being self-deceptive and don't truly have happiness.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day by Day - John 17:1-8

Using as a base of Study, Day by Day by Charles Swindoll

Today's reading is from John 17:1-8 17 
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
When I first started reading this passage I was drawn to the words "when Jesus had spoken these words.."   I immediately wondered.. what words?  So I went back and looked them up.  In John 16 Jesus had spoken to them about the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and how he would be leaving them and then once they told him they could understand and believed him he replied with 
“Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
This is what had caused Jesus to lift up his head to heaven and then he spoke to God above.   The whole of Chapter 17 is Jesus talking to God his Father.   Jesus knows his work on earth is about done.  He knows it will be a difficult time for him and he needs to talk with his Father.  (at least that's the impression I get).  If you read on in the passage you will see Jesus' concern for the disciples, that God protect them from Satan.    And not only for the disciples but for all those who would come to know and believe in God.   He prays to God for our protection.    Jesus gave us the knowledge of who God truly is, and also prayed to God for our protection.

I feel very humbled when I read these words.  So much aware of how much Jesus loved us, LOVES us, how much he was willing to spend for us to bring us back into right relationship with God.   I how very unworthy of this I feel.   Jesus loves me.   He prayed to God on my behalf to keep me safe.   That to me is a humbling thing.

Swindoll's thoughts on John 17:1-8
He focuses on John 17:4  I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.    Jesus accomplished what he came to earth to do.   And then on the relief it would bring to him to be done and to back in glory with God his Father.

I have to admit, I hadn't thought of things quite in that regard.   Good to see things differently.

Jesus came to earth to accomplish a task - to bring us into right relationship to God and that needed to make sense so he needed to teach the disciples what God was calling him to do.   He taught them, he prayed to God on our behalf out of his deep love for us, and then he looked forward to returning to glory.   Ah...but we are loved and we are led back to God.   This is indeed a good thing.  :)

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Skipper

I watched this over at 22 words this morning. What struck me as how absurd it seems, but he's so willing to talk about something he firmly believes in. How more like him we Christians should be. Willing to talk about our Lord and Saviour much more freely.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 7:1-5

Proverbs 7:1-5 says: (TNIV)
  1 My son, keep my words
   and store up my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and you will live;
   guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
3 Bind them on your fingers;
   write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
   and to insight, “You are my relative.”
5 They will keep you from the adulterous woman,
   from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

Do you ever think about these words "store up my commands within you".     What that means?

How other translations put it

ESV: My son, keep my words     and treasure up my commandments with you;
Amplified:  MY SON, keep my words; lay up within you my commandments [for use when needed] and treasure them.
CEV:  My son, pay close attention   and don't forget   what I tell you to do. 
ERV:  1 My son, remember my words. Don’t forget what I have told you.
KJV:  1My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee
MSG:  Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions.
NASB:  1 My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you.

Keep, pay close attention, do what you are told, remember, lay up, treasure, don't forget

These words are used in conjunction with what God tells us to do.
We need to consider them as importantly as treasure we could find anywhere.

I NEED To consider them as important as my house, my family, my critters, my time alone... I need to treasure God's words into my very own heart and life.

IF I do so...then I will be more readily kept from sin.  I will live as the apple of God's eye.

IMAGINE THAT.   Just take a moment to imagine living in such a way that you know you are the apple of God's eye.   That's what happens when we take God's word and treat it like it's the apple of OUR eye.   Of my eye.  God's word is THAT important.

God's word keeps my path straight.
God's word keeps my ideals where they need to be.
God's word will help me be the kind of mom I really want to be.
God's word will help me be the wife I really want to be.

What do you suppose God's word would help you be?

What does Olford have to say about this text?
"Obedience is love's active response to all the will of God - with joyful anticipation."
- The demands of obedience
    We need to receive God's words and we need to reflect upon them which leads us to relating God's word to our lives.
- the delights of obedience
      We will have vitality and longevity in life if we hold to God's word.
- the dynamics of obedience
   The saying to wisdom you are my sister and to understanding that you are my kin.   I honestly don't get where he was going with that... in calling wisdom your sister is calling for encouragement and understanding as a relative means you are accepting discipline.     I don't get it.   Perhaps others might.     To me these words show the importance of wisdom and understanding.  Just as I hold my family close to me in my heart, so I should hold wisdom and understanding close to my heart.