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Friday, September 29, 2017

Strength from Where?

Strength from Where?Look at three passages:

  • 2 Chronicles 27:6
  • 2 Samuel 22:36 – 37
  • Ephesians 6:10

(You should be able to hover your mouse over those to read the text, if not you can use Bible Gateway.  Start here for 2 Chronicles 27:6, http://tiny.cc/ndszny)

There is a pattern isn’t there?

We are not strong apart from abiding in Him.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Despicable Me…

There are times when the Word of God is stunning to me.  Two days ago reading 2 Samuel 12:9, the Word of God not only stunned but filleted me.
Despicable Me…
The writer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit describes disobedience as despising the Word of God.  It occurs to me that to despise God’s Word is to despise Him.

Concurrent to my devotional and Bible study I have been working through How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil, by D. A. Carson.  When I read 2 Samuel 12:9 this passage came to mind:
The ultimate measure of evil is the wrath of God (Rom. 1:18ff.), and that wrath is so resolute that it issues in the cross. We are all “by nature deserving of wrath” (Eph. 2:3): apart from the cross, there is no hope for any of us.
In this primal sense, then, evil is evil because it is rebellion against God. Evil is the failure to do what God demands or the performance of what God forbids. Not to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength is a great evil, for God has demanded it; not to love our neighbor as ourself is a great evil, for the same reason. To covet someone’s house or car or wife is a great evil, for God has forbidden covetousness; to nurture bitterness and self-pity is evil, for a similar reason. The dimensions of evil are thus established by the dimensions of God; the ugliness of evil is established by the beauty of God; the filth of evil is established by the purity of God; the selfishness of evil is established by the love of God.
(D. A. Carson, How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 42.)
For me to disobey, lust, covet, not to love, is sin, despising God’s Word, and by extension, God.

James 4:17 reinforces this.  In Psalm 51:4, David declares that his disobedience is against God, he despised God and His Word.

This is hard.  It is especially hard when someone sins against or betrays me.  I have to respond to them in God’s grace or I become engaged in despising Him and His Word.

I am in dire need of His grace to live like this.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Producing Love?

This morning 1 Corinthians 13 was in my reading project.  You know the chapter, love.  Chances are if you have been to a wedding you have heard the passage read.
Producing Love
One of the things about the Word of God that continues to astound me, is how it continues to reveal more in passages that are “familiar”.  Today was no exception.  When I have read or studied this chapter in the past, and if I were pressed the number of passes may be in excess of a hundred, I have always viewed it as an exhortation and a balance to the surrounding chapters on gifts.

While I am still processing what I saw this morning, it was different.

As I was reading through the passage, again, 1 John 4:8 came to mind; specifically, “…God is Love”.  Hard on the heels of that thought, Galatians 5:22 forced its way into my consciousness, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love…”  Now, I may be courting heresy here, but it seems like the love in 1 Corinthians 13 is not something that we can do on our own.

John 15:5 joined the other verses clamoring for attention.  If I do not abide in Christ, I cannot do anything, which would seem to include love.

John 8:31 – 32, and John 15:7, seem to suggest that the Word of God plays some part in our abiding in Christ.

If this line of thinking is correct, one would expect that a person who is not regularly abiding in the Word, abiding in Christ, is incapable of love.  That would also seem to suggest that the things that are presented as love by those who are not so abiding, are not actually love.

Believing Men, who are charged with loving their wives, with raising their children in the Lord, and loving others as themselves, who are not consistently in the Word of God, have no hope of doing any of those assignments.

Even when we are consistently in the Word, if we are not allowing the Word to impact us, to change the way we think (Romans 12:1 – 2), if we are not trusting Him to love through us.  We are pretty much guaranteed to fail.