Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hardening of hearts

Today's reading was in Exodus 14-15 and Matthew 17. Read online at http://bit.ly/64hMby.

I got to thinking today about why people come up with reasons to reject God. I know there are plenty, and I don't want to be so naive as to think that there are any legitimate reasons to reject Him. By legitimate reasons I mean those that God would say "oh, yeah, good point" to.

In line with that thinking, Exodus 14-15 tell the story of the first part of Israel's journey - out of the city of Rameses up to the place where they go through the Red Sea. So, as if all of the plagues that God sent into Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to let Israel go weren't enough, Pharaoh turned his heart yet again against Israel and pursued them, saying "why did we let Israel go from serving us? What were we thinking?!" Isn't that a decision to fight against God?

So after Pharaoh made his decision, God decided to use this for His glory, and hardened the heart of Pharaoh. So hard that Pharaoh and the Egyptian host saw the pillar of fire and of smoke, yet continued with their desire to pursue Israel. Then they saw the waters of the Red Sea open up and DRY LAND appear there. That is two separate miracles, folks! So the pillar stands between the Egyptians and Israel, presumably following behind Israel as a barrier until Israel gets to the other side. As the pillar moves, the Egyptian army pursues Israel by going through the same way, but when they get to the middle, the unthinkable happens: God looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar and 'troubled' the host of the Egyptians. Then God takes the wheels off their chariots so they bogged down right there. THEN they say "let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians." Really? So, they didn't figure that out during the plagues? No, they didn't really repent of their actions, they just got "caught". We do the same thing, don't we? We keep living our lies until it becomes impossible to do anymore. Sometimes, however, by that time it is too late to avoid the dire consequences of those lies.

So what do we learn from this? Whatever you do, do not harden your heart against the things of God. People will always let you down - never let what other people do/have done be an excuse for why you won't surrender your life to God. You know what I mean - "I don't wanna be like THOSE people"; "If THAT's what a Christian is, then I don't wanna be one"; blah blah blah.We must draw near to God, grow our relationship with Him through his Word and prayer so we will recognize the things he does in our lives, have the right response to those things and not wait until we are getting pummeled and drowned by the waves of the Red Sea before we take action.

Are you ignoring the workings of God in your life? Maybe you don't even think there is anything God is doing in your life. You would do well to open your eyes, and if you desire to see those things and still don't, please get with me or someone else who can help you with the Bible and discover what it is God is doing! :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What happened to Chivalry?

Today's reading is Exodus 1-2 and Matthew 14:1-21. You can read it HERE.

Yesterday while leaving work I held the door open for a couple of ladies who were also leaving. I do this alot, and most of the time they pass along as if it is expected, or even sometimes offended that I did it. I always think in that situation 'get over yourself', but I never say it. You see, I don't do it for the 'thanks', but because it is the right thing to do. I think we should help people in general, but particularly if it is a woman - hold the door open, help her change her flat tire, pick up a load of books or groceries that she has dropped, on and on, etc. We have let a perverted few in our culture instill fear in us that we cannot help folks for being perceived wrong or politically incorrect. I have particular disdain for being politically correct at this moment in our history, and don't hold political views based on what is 'cool' or what the pointy headed elites tell me my views should be.

Anyway, I also had a few interesting comments on my facebook status as well. We so often give to get, and completely miss the point. I thought it was appropriate that I had that experience last night, because today's reading has Moses being born and raised in Egypt, then growing up and killing one of the Egyptians, and running for fear of his life. He ends up in the backside of the desert sitting by a well, perhaps feeling sorry for himself or just in despair at the course his life has taken. Maybe he is sitting there reflecting on what he did, looking for a way to redeem himself. Then comes a bunch of girls drawing water for their father's flock and shepherds come along and try to tell them they can't do that and to get lost. The Bible says Moses stood up and helped them. They didn't give him thanks, or if they did it doesn't say. All that happened is they ran home to tell daddy. Moses ends up with one of this guy's daughters and having a son. Its kinda funny how you start out with 'chivalry' and end up not being single. Don't do it for the thanks. Do it even if the gal is offended (believe me, even the most flaming liberal women will generally not reject the overture). Do it because it is the right thing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Words of a Father

Today's reading is Genesis 49-50 and Matthew 13:31-58. Read online HERE.

What stuck out to me today was Jacob's (Israel's) words to his sons. He took each of his sons and gave a final statement about each one. Some were good, some were not so good. What a father says about and to his son(s) is key here. It really is a blessing or a cursing, and it carries on into life.

Fathers, are you creating a situation where your son grows up feeling like he's no good, the expectations are too high, that you are unfair, hypocritical, judgmental, etc? Or does he feel like you're preparing him to be a real man? Are you teaching him to love God (or just yourself)? Are you modeling for him how to be a godly father and husband? One the one hand, if you are not secure in your relationship with God (or your own father), it can be very easy to "pass along" those insecurities to your son. He would then have insecurities of his own, and so the pattern continues. Or, will you break that pattern and thrust a stake in the ground and say from this generation forward we will serve the Lord God?

I don't mean to neglect the daughters - it is of utmost importance that fathers are there for their daughters, but there is so much there it deserves another post at another time. Perhaps you were a son with a father that was lost, or that gave you a cursing rather than a blessing. The great news is that if you are born again, you have a Father in heaven who is perfect; a Father who will give you what you need, including that rite of passage into manhood. If you are not saved (born again), there is still good news for you. First, take care of the salvation issue. Read my post from January 18 HERE and follow the instructions. Once you have done that, get with a mature Christian at a Bible believing church to help you get established in your faith, and get to know the Father you never had! Even if you had a great father growing up, you can still use that as a foundation for getting to know your perfect heavenly Father!

Time prohibits me this morning from discussing Matthew, but in the parables in this passage Jesus is giving us pictures of just how precious the kingdom of Heaven is.

Have an awesome day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Of Egypt and the Sower

Today's daily reading is Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30. You can read it HERE.

Jacob and family go into Egypt. They find favor in Pharaoh's eyes, and dwell in the land of Goshen with their cattle.

In Matthew, we see the parable of the sower. Many folks I know are being 'choked' with the cares of this world, and thus are unable to grow spiritually. Where do you think you are today?

Tonight is Worship Team practice at Crossroads. A highlight of my week!!! Will post my thoughts about that later!

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 18, 2010

My daily reading for today was in Genesis 43-45 and Matthew 12:24-50. You can read the passages online HERE.

In Genesis, we see the children of Israel again sent to Joseph in Eqypt, this time with their youngest brother Benjamin, according to the requirement given to them by Joseph the last time they were there. There are a few different things I saw in the passage that showed me how God deals with us and how we should be with folks who have wronged us.

First, we sometimes see God like we see many authority figures: an overbearing boss, the school principal, a mean parent; someone consumed with zapping us when we do wrong. Don't misunderstand, God will judge the wicked, but God is also merciful to those who humble themselves and turn (repent) to Him. It is by God's grace that he provides for our needs. Joseph was a picture of God's grace in that God rescued him from his desperate situation and elevated him to the #2 position in Egypt. Joseph then became a picture of God's mercy, first in that through obedience to God he was able to provide food to a world suffering from a horrible famine. Second, he had the power to "get even" with his brothers who sold him into Eqypt so many years ago, yet he still loved them, and saw the BIG picture, which was the greater plan God had for his presence in Eqypt and for the future nation of Israel.

On a personal note, Joseph pictured the mercy and grace of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. Like Joseph, Jesus was rejected by his own people. Jesus is still rejected by most people today. Despite this, God says he LOVED THE WORLD so much, that he sent his son to them, knowing what they would do. God could have sent down legions of angels to destroy those who murdered Jesus, but it was by that very act God provided a way for us to be with Him in heaven and to be freed from the bondage of sin. Just as Joseph provided a way for those who sold him to slavery (and the whole world) to escape a famine that would have surely killed them, God provided a way for us to be saved from a 'famine' that would also kill us spiritually: our sin.

If you are not sure about your own spiritual condition, please consider the following. We inherited a sin nature from Adam. Therefore, we all have sin (Romans 5:12). We cannot be in the presence of a holy God when we die because of that sin. (We are not sinners BECAUSE we sin; rather, we sin because we ARE sinners). Jesus was sent to remedy this situation. He was born sinless, lived a perfect sinless life, died on the cross according to the scriptures, was buried and raised from the dead on the third day according to the scriptures, and by doing so conquered sin and death. Now God, through his love for us, offers to take all our sin and wash it away through Christ's sacrifice and victory. You can spend a lifetime trying to understand every little detail of this, and many have. But before you live another moment, will you accept God's free offer of salvation? Romans 10:9-13 tells us how to do this. "that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. "

And some people think that the Bible isn't relevant for today...!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Long time no post!

Well, it has been a while, hasn't it! A lot has happened since my last post. I am now a part of the worship team at Crossroads Church in Grain Valley (www.direction4living.com). I will be posting Sunday Setlists soon - perhaps by next week. I'd post this week, but I DON'T HAVE THE LIST!!!

Anyway, I have lots to share, and look forward to doing so in the coming days!

For now, here is today's daily reading schedule, from Back To The Bible:

Genesis 41-42; Matthew 12:1-23


Joseph meets up with his brethren whom he hasn't seen since they sold him back in the day. This is after he interprets some dreams regarding the coming days of plenty and of famine. Joseph controls the situation so he can be sure his father and youngest brother are still alive. Its also interesting how Joseph's dream, which his brothers were angry about, comes to pass. In Matthew, Jesus gets into it with some Pharisees regarding the Sabbath day. Jesus healed folks on that day and Pharisees were getting all over him for doing work on that day. Really? Its amazing that healing from God was occurring at all, and the Pharisees were worried about it happening on the Sabbath. Sounds like us sometimes. We need to be IN the world and not OF it, but when we act like we are OF the world but not IN it (pharisees/hypocrites), we look like Pharisees to the world.