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Archive for May, 2010

John 9:1-23

God teaches us so many things in this chapter.  One of them that stands out to me is the wrong, prevalent belief people in those days (and people in our days) have that personal sin is the cause of personal suffering.

When Jesus and His disciples passed by a man blind from birth, His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

While Jesus did not deny the general connection between sin and suffering that came into the world when Adam sinned, Jesus did refute the idea that personals acts of sins were the direct cause of personal suffering.  Jesus, as the perfectly innocent man suffered the most grievous crimes.  Jesus was the innocent Suffering Servant.  Suffering often is a means God uses to display His glory.  Jesus answered His disciples, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”

When we are suffering, may we not try to figure out some mystical reason for the suffering as if we could manipulate our situation, but let us prayerfully ask God to help us know how to glorify His name in the midst of suffering!

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2 Samuel 23-24

I am so thankful that God is not only holy and righteous, but He is also loving and merciful.

When David sinned against the Lord by doing a census to boost his pride and to depend on his own military strength as opposed to the might and faithfulness of the Lord, God, in His holiness, punished David.  God gave three options to David: 7 years of famine, 3 years of defeat at the hands of his enemies, or 3 days of the Lord’s plague.  David chose the 3 days of the Lord’s plague, saying, “Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

The Lord, through the plague, killed 70,000 men, but “when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘It is enough; now restrain your hand.’

Did David and the people deserve mercy?  Absolutely not.  Do ANY of us deserve mercy?  Absolutely not.  All of us deserve to be dead right now.  Yet, God, in His loving mercy has chosen to restrain His hand.

And His mercy and perfect justice met at the cross of Jesus Christ where when Jesus died, He cried out, “It is finished.”  At the cross, punishment was finally and truly “enough.”

Praise God for His undeserved mercy!

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John 7-8

Jesus never tells us to base our assurance of salvation based on some thing we did in the past.

Our assurance of salvation is surely rooted in what JESUS did in the past through living the only righteous life that pleased God, dying the only death that was sufficient to atone for sin, and rising again from the dead in victory over sin and death.

But personally, Jesus never tells us to base our assurance of salvation based on some thing WE did in the past.  Raising our hand to make a “decision” for Jesus is not sufficient.  Praying the “sinner’s prayer” some time long ago is not sufficient.  Walking an aisle many years ago to “follow Jesus” is not sufficient.  And being born in a Christian home is not sufficient.

The physical children of Abraham were not true spiritual children of Abraham by mere biological descent, but the test of true spiritual lineage from Abraham is doing the works of Abraham.  But it is only the TEST of true spiritual lineage, not the REQUIREMENT to become of the true spiritual lineage.

JESUS’ life of works applied to our lives by the Holy Spirit through the gift of faith is what BRINGS US into Abraham’s family.  OUR life of works is simply the TEST because children always reflect their father.  We must take these twin truths seriously. We must never boast except in the cross of Christ.  But we must also be diligent to examine ourselves and do mortify sin and love God and love others for the glory of God.

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2 Samuel 15-22

Joab, David’s army commander is a very intriguing character.  At times he displays good qualities, but at other times, he displays very despicable qualities.  It is hard to pin down who Joab was because most of Scripture simply describes what he did and the inaction of David in response.

As David’s inaction to Joab, his actions, including his wicked deed, persisted, the influence and power Joab had over David increased.  Joab could disobey a clear command from David not to kill his son Absalom and receive no punishment.  Joab could kill in cold-blooded murder the newly appointed commander of David’s army and also receive no punishment, but even the unilateral support of the rest of the army.

If we do not take sin and wickedness seriously, then over time, it will be harder and harder to root out.  Let’s mortify sin and be committed to killing sin!  And let’s do so with great hope that because Jesus died and rose again, we too have died to sin and have been raised to newness of life.  The power of sin over us has been broken.

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John 6:22-71

Jesus is NOT whoever we want Jesus to be.

Jesus, the true Jesus, is revealed clearly in the Bible.  In this passage, we see that huge crowds loved and praised the Jesus that they crafted in their own minds.  But, when Jesus spoke and clarified who He truly was as God and King over all, thousands decisively turned back and no longer walked with Him.

How deadly this is!  They had the King of all creation right in front of them, and they wanted to manipulate Him?  They wanted to use Him for their own pleasure and gain?  They wanted Him to be their puppet?  We all do this!  Does not God’s just sentence of wrath against sin make sense in light of how we have treated God?  If we are alive, everything is undeserved mercy and grace.  And through God’s free gift of Jesus Christ, our lives and eternity is all undeserved mercy and grace.

I want to stop treating people according to what I think they “deserve.”  God help me.

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2 Samuel 11-14

Sin is so deceptive, and it makes us insane as well.

David committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, while he was away serving David on the battlefield, the place where David should have been.  Since she conceived, David could not hide his sinful adultery, so he brought Uriah back from the battlefield, and tried to encourage him to go home, eat, drink, be merry, and be intimate with his wife, so that the pregnancy could be explained away.  But when David sees Uriah’s honor in not taking advantage of this trip home to experience joy that his other soldiers could not, David’s sin and desire to hide his sin multiplies.

David writes a letter to his army commander to put Uriah in the most violent and dangerous place in the battlefield, and to retreat and pull away from Uriah so that he would die.  And even more so, David sent this death sentence letter with Uriah to hand-deliver to the army commander.  David knew that Uriah was so honorable and loyal, that he wouldn’t peak inside the letter to figure out what was going on, and that he would fight to the death for David.

Crazy story in history.  Yet are our lives of sin that much different?  Outwardly, the actual sin may be “less severe,” but do we not also go to great and insane lengths trying to hide our sin as well?  Don’t we often go to great lengths to sin in the first place and then try to hide it.  We are more like David than we think.  May God help us to see our sin, to confess it, to bring it to the open, and to repent and turn to Jesus by faith alone!

May God love us and bring friends like Nathan to rebuke us so we don’t live in the insanity and deception of our sin long.

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John 4-6:21

It is really humbling and convicting to see how easily we want to “worship” and “serve” King Jesus so that Jesus could actually serve our own selfish desires.  Do we really understand what it means that Jesus is King?   That Jesus the King defines what life in God’s Kingdom looks like?  That Jesus the King models what life in God’s Kingdom looks like?  How often do I try to make King Jesus my personal puppet or slave, as if I were “king,” and He needed to meet my demands?   That is the essence  of sin!  Ugh!   God help me.  God help the church not seek to make Jesus “king by force” to do our bidding, but to joyfully submit our lives to His Kingship.

Jesus defines life and models life in His Kingdom as taking up a cross (or an electric chair or lethal injection), and following Him.  Giving up our lives for His glory.  Impossible without God’s grace and help from His Holy Spirit.  We need to be people and churches who pray down heaven because we need it!

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