help from daily scripture reading 143

Psalm 18 below encourages me.  It first terrifies me because it describes God as a violent powerful scary monster that is destroying people and causing destruction on the earth.  God is destroying the enemies of David and saving David from physical destruction because David has been living a life that is very pleasing to God and God is using this opportunity of rescue to lift up His own glory and David’s good. So I can imagine that this God is destroying my enemies and rescuing me from death and abandon as I follow Him and live for Him.   Instead of David, I like to imagine Jesus saying this Psalm as He is being crucified and resurrected.  The enemies of Christ were humiliated and defeated by Jesus on the cross.  But instead of rescuing Jesus like He rescued David repeatedly, God let Jesus die because Jesus took my badness onto Himself when He went to the cross, and Jesus has washed me into His perfect, pure goodness with His blood. So God rescues me because He is pleased with Jesus and I am in Jesus so God is pleased with me.  This psalm also encourages me because God  carefully sets up my failures and successes according to His plans to use me to glorify Him.  I know that He loves me and He is in control.  These thoughts are most encouraging when I start to forget He is real and begin worrying about the future. I was also helped by a related sermon at http://www.barabbasroadchurch.com/audios/risk.html 

David’s Song of Thanks

18 I love you, Lord God,
    and you make me strong.
You are my mighty rock,[a]
    my fortress, my protector,
    the rock where I am safe,
my shield,
    my powerful weapon,[b]
    and my place of shelter.

I praise you, Lord!
    I prayed, and you rescued me
    from my enemies.
Death had wrapped
    its ropes around me,
    and I was almost swallowed
    by its flooding waters.

Ropes from the world
of the dead
    had coiled around me,
    and death had set a trap
    in my path.
I was in terrible trouble
    when I called out to you,
but from your temple
you heard me
    and answered my prayer.

The earth shook and shivered,
    and the mountains trembled
    down to their roots.
You were angry
    and breathed out smoke.
Scorching heat and fiery flames
    spewed from your mouth.

You opened the heavens
    like curtains,
    and you came down
with storm clouds
    under your feet.
10 You rode on the backs
    of flying creatures
    and swooped down
    with the wind as wings.
11 Darkness was your robe;
thunderclouds filled the sky,
    hiding you from sight.
12 Hailstones and fiery coals
lit up the sky
    in front of you.

13 Lord Most High, your voice
    thundered from the heavens,
    as hailstones and fiery coals
    poured down like rain.
14 You scattered your enemies
    with arrows of lightning.
15 You roared at the sea,
    and its deepest channels
    could be seen.
You snorted,
and the earth shook
    to its foundations.

16 You reached down from heaven,
    and you lifted me
    from deep in the ocean.
17 You rescued me from enemies,
    who were hateful
    and too powerful for me.
18 On the day disaster struck,
they came and attacked,
    but you defended me.
19 When I was fenced in,
    you freed and rescued me
    because you love me.

20 You are good to me, Lord,
    because I do right,
    and you reward me
    because I am innocent.
21 I do what you want
    and never turn to do evil.
22 I keep your laws in mind
    and never look away
    from your teachings.
23 I obey you completely
    and guard against sin.
24 You have been good to me
    because I do right;
you have rewarded me
    for being innocent
    by your standards.

25 You are always loyal
    to your loyal people,
    and you are faithful
    to the faithful.
26 With all who are sincere,
    you are sincere,
    but you treat the unfaithful
    as their deeds deserve.
27 You rescue the humble,
    but you put down all
    who are proud.

28 You, the Lord God,
keep my lamp burning
    and turn darkness to light.
29 You help me defeat armies
    and capture cities.

30 Your way is perfect, Lord,
    and your word is correct.
    You are a shield for those
    who run to you for help.
31 You alone are God!
    Only you are a mighty rock.[c]
32 You give me strength
    and guide me right.
33 You make my feet run as fast
    as those of a deer,
    and you help me stand
    on the mountains.

34 You teach my hands to fight
    and my arms to use
    a bow of bronze.
35 You alone are my shield.
    Your right hand supports me,
    and by coming to help me,
    you have made me famous.
36 You clear the way for me,
    and now I won’t stumble.

37 I kept chasing my enemies,
    until I caught them
    and destroyed them.
38 I stuck my sword
    through my enemies,
    and they were crushed
    under my feet.
39 You helped me win victories,
    and you forced my attackers
    to fall victim to me.

40 You made my enemies run,
    and I killed them.
41 They cried out for help,
    but no one saved them;
    they called out to you,
    but there was no answer.
42 I ground them to dust
    blown by the wind,
    and I poured them out
    like mud in the streets.

43 You rescued me
    from stubborn people,
and you made me the leader
of foreign nations,
    who are now my slaves.
44 They obey and come crawling.
45     They have lost all courage,
    and from their fortresses,
    they come trembling.

46 You are the living Lord!
    I will praise you.
You are a mighty rock.[d]
    I will honor you
    for keeping me safe.
47 You took revenge for me,
    and you put nations
    in my power.
48 You protected me
    from violent enemies
    and made me much greater
    than all of them.

49 I will praise you, Lord,
    and I will honor you
    among the nations.
50 You give glorious victories
    to your chosen king.
Your faithful love for David
    and for his descendants
    will never end.

Tags: Jesus psalm 18

help from daily scripture reading 142

Psalm 5 below reminded me of how much I deserve the wrath and scorn of God.  I’m someone who has lied and murdered.  I’ve never killed anyone but in my heart I have murdered others by gossiping, slandering, and looking down on others.  Jesus equates hateful, judgmental, and dismissive anger with murder in Mathew 5:21-22 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mathew%205&version=ESV and in 1 john 3:15 the scripture equates hate with murder http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%203:11-15&version=ESV .  

My lying and murderous self is an enemy of God and justice demands that I’m destroyed and cast out of the presence of God forever.  But in God’s abounding and steadfast love, I will enter the House of God as a friend not enemy.  God’s love for me is so steadfast and abounding that God the Son became the Man Jesus and took the destruction and casting out that I deserve upon himself.  He became the enemy of God in my place on the cross so that I can take His place in the presence of God as His child.  I’m feeling very very loved and thankful right now, and remembering this story helps me celebrate Jesus in my daily life.

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
    consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God,
    for to you do I pray.
Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you[a] and watch.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
    the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
    will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies;
     make your way straight before me.

For there is no truth in their mouth;
    their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
    they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
    let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
    for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
    you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Tags: Jesus psalm 5

help from daily scripture reading 139

These scriptures reminded me to focus on Jesus Christ and be thankful for the life in Him that He has given me through His death and resurrection.  He has given a very undeserving me a little bit of faith in Him, an increasing willingness to accept Him as my King, and a growing desire to follow Him. Meditating on this truth has not only increasingly freed me from the stressful desire to prove myself worthy to God and to people, but has also freed me from sitting in worry about my circumstances and freed me from suffering through anxiety about the future. 

Colossians 2:6-20 CEV http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+2&version=CEV

You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.

Don’t let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments. These arguments may sound wise, but they are only human teachings. They come from the powers of this world[a] and not from Christ.

God lives fully in Christ. 10 And you are fully grown because you belong to Christ, who is over every power and authority. 11 Christ has also taken away your selfish desires, just as circumcision removes flesh from the body. 12 And when you were baptized, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death. 13 You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God’s people. But God let Christ make you[b] alive, when he forgave all our sins.

14 God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. 15 There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory.

16 Don’t let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don’t let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival. 17 These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real!

18 Don’t be cheated by people who make a show of acting humble and who worship angels.[c] They brag about seeing visions. But it is all nonsense, because their minds are filled with selfish desires. 19 They are no longer part of Christ, who is the head of the whole body. Christ gives the body its strength, and he uses its joints and muscles to hold it together, as it grows by the power of God.

20 You died with Christ. Now the forces of the universe[d] don’t have any power over you. Why do you live as if you had to obey such rules as, 21 “Don’t handle this. Don’t taste that. Don’t touch this.”? 22 After these things are used, they are no longer good for anything. So why be bothered with the rules that humans have made up? 23 Obeying these rules may seem to be the smart thing to do. They appear to make you love God more and to be very humble and to have control over your body. But they don’t really have any power over our desires.

Tags: jesus

help from daily scripture reading 136

These scriptures combined with old and recent sermons from Barabbas Road Church http://www.barabbasroadchurch.com/messages.html and new sermons from Inland Hills Church http://www.inlandhillschurch.com/MEDIA/OnlineMessages.aspx have helped drill into my head recently that I don’t need more faith in Christ, or more of anything.  I just need Jesus.  I need Jesus to “open the eyes of my heart” so I can see Him.  When I start looking elsewhere, I slip into self absorption, fear, anxiety, self-worship and I become a mess like the thorns that choke the seed in that parable that Jesus told http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mathew%2013&version=ESV .  But I’m walking in Him and His power if I simply look at Jesus and who He is, and run to Him like a child http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2010:13-16&version=ESV. I’m good soil if I know His heart and follow Him by remembering His command to love others like He loves us http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2013:34-35&version=ESV (must hear this sermon: http://www.barabbasroadchurch.com/audios/atitude_of_christ.html) . But it is not just any Jesus I need. I don’t need the teachings of Jesus.  I need to put my faith in the Lord Jesus, the GodMan, who made people cower in terror when they realized who He is and the power He has, and who gave His life on the cross in obedience to the will of God.    These scriptures and sermons reminded me of who Jesus really is. That is the Jesus that I am to look to, follow, love, awe, and obey. And without this real Jesus in their life as Lord and Savior, people are like spiritual zombies.

Isaiah 26 (ESV)

1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
    he sets up salvation
    as walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,

    that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
For he has humbled
    the inhabitants of the height,
    the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
    casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
    the feet of the poor,
    the steps of the needy.”

The path of the righteous is level;
     you make level the way of the righteous.
In the path of your judgments,

    O Lord, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
    are the desire of our soul.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
    my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
    the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
10  If favor is shown to the wicked,
    he does not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
    and does not see the majesty of the Lord.
11 O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
    but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
    Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
12 O Lord, you will ordain peace for us,
    for you have indeed done for us all our works.
13 O Lord our God,
     other lords besides you have ruled over us,
     but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
14 They are dead, they will not live;
    they are shades, they will not arise;
to that end you have visited them with destruction
    and wiped out all remembrance of them.
15  But you have increased the nation, O Lord,
    you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
     you have enlarged all the borders of the land.

16 O Lord, in distress they sought you;
    they poured out a whispered prayer
    when your discipline was upon them.
17  Like a pregnant woman

    who writhes and cries out in her pangs
    when she is near to giving birth,
so were we because of you, O Lord;
18      we were pregnant, we writhed,
    but we have given birth to wind.
We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth,
    and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
19  Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
    You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light,
    and the earth will give birth to the dead.

20 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
    and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
    until the fury has passed by.
21  For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place

    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
    and will no more cover its slain.

Psalm 115 (ESV)

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
     for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Why should the nations say,
     “Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;

     he does all that he pleases.

Their idols are silver and gold,
     the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;

    eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
    noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
    feet, but do not walk;
    and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them;
    so do all who trust in them.

O Israel,[a] trust in the Lord!
    He is their help and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!

    He is their help and their shield.
11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
    He is their help and their shield.

12 The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us;
    he will bless the house of Israel;
    he will bless the house of Aaron;
13 he will bless those who fear the Lord,

     both the small and the great.

14 May the Lord give you increase,
    you and your children!
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,

     who made heaven and earth!

16 The heavens are the Lord's heavens,
    but the earth he has given to the children of man.
17  The dead do not praise the Lord,

    nor do any who go down into silence.
18 But we will bless the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!

Mathew 14:22-33 (ESV)

 

22  Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[a] from the land,[b] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[c] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Tags: Jesus

help from daily scripture reading 134

These scriptures helped me think about the power of faith.  I need faith in order to willingly conduct myself in the seemingly impossible way that Jesus describes:  forgiving someone right away for repeated offenses in one day.  But the power to follow and obey Christ doesn’t come from the amount of faith I have.  To do the impossible, I only need faith in the right person and what He has done: Jesus who freed an undeserving me from the power of sin through His self-sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. The impossible is possible if I am in Jesus Christ.  King Jesus has already given me enough faith in Him and His Spirit is in me and has given me a new desire and ability to follow and obey Him.  So when God asks me to do the impossible, instead of asking for more faith in Him, I will ask Him to help me remember who He is and what He has done for me so that my faith is in the right Person.

 

Luke 17:3-6 (CEV)

 

3So be careful what you do.

   Correct any followers [a] of mine who sin, and forgive the ones who say they are sorry. 4Even if one of them mistreats you seven times in one day and says, “I am sorry,” you should still forgive that person. 5The apostles said to the Lord, “Make our faith stronger!”

    6Jesus replied:

   If you had faith no bigger than a tiny mustard seed, you could tell this mulberry tree to pull itself up, roots and all, and to plant itself in the ocean. And it would!

Luke 17:3-6 (Message)

 

 3-4"Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him."

 5The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”

 6But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it.

Luke 17:3-6 (Amplified)

 

3[a]Pay attention and always be on your guard [looking out for one another]. If your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him.

    4And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).

    5The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith (that trust and confidence that spring from our belief in God).

    6And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.

I received a lot of help in understanding this through the sermons of Tim Keller at Redeemer http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/sermonlist/1 and Matt Smith at Barabbas Road Church http://www.whoisbarabbas.com/messages.html

Tags: faith Jesus

help from daily scripture reading 131

These scriptures in Luke 14 helped me as I listened to many sermons from Tim Keller at Redeemer and Matt Smith at Barabbas Road Church over the past couple weeks about submitting to the authority of God rather than treating God as a personal assistant.  These studies and these scriptures aided me as I tried to explain to curious students how following Jesus is about knowing and trusting in Him in a personal way, as He is a person who is the creator and savior and treasure of the world. When compared to the joy of knowing Jesus in those ways, anything is worth losing for Him. As evidenced by His death and resurrection, Jesus was willing to give up everything in order to rescue and enjoy me. Personal objections to giving up control of my life, (which are really objections to giving up my desire to make Him bow down to me or make Him go away), fall away as they begin to appear rather silly within the perspective of who Jesus is and how much He loves me.  Links to sermons are here: http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/  “Jesus our King” http://sermons2.redeemer.com/

http://www.whoisbarabbas.com/messages.html

 

Luke 14 (The Message) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%2014&version=MSG

1-3 One time when Jesus went for a Sabbath meal with one of the top leaders of the Pharisees, all the guests had their eyes on him, watching his every move. Right before him there was a man hugely swollen in his joints. So Jesus asked the religion scholars and Pharisees present, “Is it permitted to heal on the Sabbath? Yes or no?”

 4-6They were silent. So he took the man, healed him, and sent him on his way. Then he said, “Is there anyone here who, if a child or animal fell down a well, wouldn’t rush to pull him out immediately, not asking whether or not it was the Sabbath?” They were stumped. There was nothing they could say to that.

Invite the Misfits

 7-9He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.

 10-11"When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."

 12-14Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”

The Story of the Dinner Party

 15That triggered a response from one of the guests: “How fortunate the one who gets to eat dinner in God’s kingdom!”

 16-17Jesus followed up. “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’

 18"Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’

 19"Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’

 20"And yet another said, ‘I just got married a


nd need to get home to my wife.’

 20"And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’

 22"The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded— and there’s still room.’

 23-24"The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.’"

Figure the Cost

 25-27One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.

 28-30"Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’

 31-32"Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?

 33"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.

 34"Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it’s useless, good for nothing.

   ”Are you listening to this? Really listening?”

 

help from daily scripture reading 130

The scriptures from Luke 12 (see links below) helped me think about and discuss Christ. I was chewing on these scriptures all week and something from them would come to mind frequently as I listened and talked with my middle school and adult students about many topics.  Some topics that came up were:

 The problems with the humanist obsession with happiness. Is it possible to find happiness? Or does happiness happen when you are not looking for it.

 The love of God vs the love of money. 

 Finding security by trusting in God and the gospel vs finding security through money and power.

 Living day to day for Him or for yourself. Thinking about living as if Jesus could come back or you could die any moment.

 The problems with religious and popular cultures focused on courtesy and appearances: a fear of what other people think vs. a fear of what God thinks.

 Siddhartha Guatama Buddha teaching people to develop or cultivate themselves in their own way vs. Jesus calling all people to follow Him.  How does this call of Christ cause people to instinctively resist and fear conversations and learning about following Jesus compared to the ease with which people engage in conversations or learn about Buddhism.

 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2012&version=MSG

 Luke 12 (CEV) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2012&version=CEV

 1As thousands of people crowded around Jesus and were stepping on each other, he told his disciples:

   Be sure to guard against the dishonest teaching [a] of the Pharisees! It is their way of fooling people. 2Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 3Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops.

 4My friends, don’t be afraid of people. They can kill you, but after that, there is nothing else they can do. 5God is the one you must fear. Not only can he take your life, but he can throw you into hell. God is certainly the one you should fear!

    6Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn’t forget a one of them. 7Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don’t be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.

     8If you tell others that you belong to me, the Son of Man will tell God’s angels that you are my followers. 9But if you reject me, you will be rejected in front of them. 10If you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven, but if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you cannot be forgiven.

    11When you are brought to trial in the Jewish meeting places or before rulers or officials, don’t worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. 12At that time the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say.

     13A man in a crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died.”

    14Jesus answered, “Who gave me the right to settle arguments between you and your brother?”

    15Then he said to the crowd, “Don’t be greedy! Owning a lot of things won’t make your life safe.”

    16So Jesus told them this story:

   A rich man’s farm produced a big crop, 17and he said to himself, “What can I do? I don’t have a place large enough to store everything.”

    18Later, he said, “Now I know what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. 19Then I’ll say to myself, `You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.’ ”

    20But God said to him, “You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up?”

    21"This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God."

     22Jesus said to his disciples:

   I tell you not to worry about your life! Don’t worry about having something to eat or wear. 23Life is more than food or clothing. 24Look at the crows! They don’t plant or harvest, and they don’t have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25Can worry make you live longer? [b]26If you don’t have power over small things, why worry about everything else? 27Look how the wild flowers grow! They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth [c] wasn’t as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won’t he do even more for you? You have such little faith! 29Don’t keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31But put God’s work first, and these things will be yours as well.

     32My little group of disciples, don’t be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves moneybags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34Your heart will always be where your treasure is.

     35Be ready and keep your lamps burning 36just like those servants who wait up for their master to return from a wedding feast. As soon as he comes and knocks, they open the door for him. 37Servants are fortunate if their master finds them awake and ready when he comes! I promise you that he will get ready and have his servants sit down so he can serve them. 38Those servants are really fortunate if their master finds them ready, even though he comes late at night or early in the morning. 39You would surely not let a thief break into your home, if you knew when the thief was coming. 40So always be ready! You don’t know when the Son of Man will come.

    41Peter asked Jesus, “Did you say this just for us or for everyone?”

    42The Lord answered:

   Who are faithful and wise servants? Who are the ones the master will put in charge of giving the other servants their food supplies at the proper time? 43Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job. 44A servant who is always faithful will surely be put in charge of everything the master owns.

    45But suppose one of the servants thinks that the master won’t return until late. Suppose that servant starts beating all the other servants and eats and drinks and gets drunk. 46If that happens, the master will come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the servants who cannot be trusted.

    47If servants are not ready or willing to do what their master wants them to do, they will be beaten hard. 48But servants who don’t know what their master wants them to do will not be beaten so hard for doing wrong. If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better.

     49I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! 50I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. 51Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other.

     54Jesus said to all the people:

   As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, “It’s going to rain,” and it does. 55When the south wind blows, you say, “It’s going to get hot,” and it does. 56Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don’t really know what’s going on right now. 57Why don’t you understand the right thing to do? 58When someone accuses you of something, try to settle things before you are taken to court. If you don’t, you will be dragged before the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to the jailer, and you will be locked up. 59You won’t get out until you have paid the last cent you owe.

   

Tags: Jesus luke 12

help from daily scripture reading 129

I’m a follower of Christ who is not a trained bible scholar and I hoped that exposing this reflective journal of my bible readings to the public may help people gain insight into that kind of perspective.  But I do regularly listen to trained bible scholars explain scripture regularly and their research and explanations shape my understandings of scriptures.  These scriptures below helped me remember how much help I have received from one particular bible scholar and preacher, Pastor Matt Smith of Barabbass Road Church through his series on Galatians and Ephesians http://www.whoisbarabbas.com/messages.html.  His sermons have been a help to me in deeply understanding, believing, and confidently accepting what these scriptures below announce: that Jesus is the Christ and that following Him with faith in who He is and what He has done for me, supernaturally gives me the victory over selfish desires so that I can love even those people who seem unlovable. What I mean is that as God’s children through Christ, I have already been given the supernatural desire and power to joyfully follow Him and stop serving the strong desires to do otherwise, desires that never go away as long as I’m in this body.  I can remind myself of who Christ is, what He has done for me by giving His blood and life for me on the cross, and how I have been made supernaturally alive or born again in Him.

 

1 John 5:1-12 (CEV)

 

1If we believe that Jesus is truly Christ, we are God’s children. Everyone who loves the Father will also love his children. 2If we love and obey God, we know that we will love his children. 3We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow.

    4Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory. 5No one can defeat the world without having faith in Jesus as the Son of God.

 6Water and blood came out from the side of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t just water, but water and blood. [a] The Spirit tells about this, because the Spirit is truthful. 7In fact, there are three who tell about it. 8They are the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree. 9We believe what people tell us. But we can trust what God says even more, and God is the one who has spoken about his Son. 10If we have faith in God’s Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don’t believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar. 11God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. 12And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life.

   

Footnotes:

  1. 1 John 5:6 Water and blood came out from the side of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t just water, but water and blood: See John 19.34. It is also possible to translate, “Jesus Christ came by the water of baptism and by the blood of his death! He was not only baptized, but he bled and died.” The purpose of the verse is to tell that Jesus was truly human and that he really died.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20john%205:1-12&version=CEV

I deserve nothing but Jesus has given me everything in Him

My talents and my passions are a gift from God. Knowing what my talents and passions are is a gift too. And when He enables me to do work with my talents and passions that I enjoy, it is a wonderful gift. I’m not entitled to anything and should be joyful and thankful with whatever work God gives me. Of course it is disappointing when I have to leave a job that I love and that engages my talents and passions so well. But God is good and loves me and has some good plan that is leading me away from that job. Maybe I’ll never be able to enjoy a gift like that type of job again in this lifetime. But it was a gift that ran its course and I have a greater gift that never ends: God with me. The more that I am given the gift of faith that Jesus is God, and God is with me, then the more I’ll enjoy the gift of Jesus in my life and my life in Him. Pray that God will increase my faith, joy, and hope in Him through this slight trial so that I’ll pray and seek to lift Him up with whatever He gives me to do.

help from daily scripture reading 122

These two passages that are helping me during a crisis.  Pray that we will trust that God is in control and that God will teach us to enjoy honoring Him for the right reasons and empower us with His love to do it too, because He is worth far more than my best efforts can achieve.

 

Proverbs 16:4 (CEV)

 

4The LORD has a reason

   for everything he does,

   and he lets evil people live

   only to be punished.

Proverbs 16:4 (The Message)

 

4 God made everything with a place and purpose;
   even the wicked are included—but for judgment.

 

1 Peter 4:7-11 (CEV)

 

7Everything will soon come to an end. So be serious and be sensible enough to pray.

    8Most important of all, you must sincerely love each other, because love wipes away many sins.

    9Welcome people into your home and don’t grumble about it.

    10Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. 11If you have the gift of speaking, preach God’s message. If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God supplies. Everything should be done in a way that will bring honor to God because of Jesus Christ, who is glorious and powerful forever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:7-11 (The Message)

 

7-11Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

 

 

(Source: biblegateway.com)

Tags: jesus

help from daily scripture reading 121

These scriptures helped me consider my responses when someone hurts me and remains unapologetic or unrepentant about their behavior. I have learned that I should love, forgive, serve, and act as if I do not deserve anything from them because I have everything in Christ through His loving grace. However, I have learned also that sometimes, the hurtful behavior increases to the point of being unbearable and results in damage to oneself that hurts ones responsibilities to others.  So, boundaries must be regrettably drawn in order to protect and restore the relationships with those others that God has placed in my life to lovingly serve.  Yet, as I read through these scriptures today, I remembered that I should not just remain in that situation.  I should continue to prayerfully seek strength in Christ to love those who hurt me, and wait for Him to enable me to keep actively lovingly and engaging them in such a way that does not overly damage my other relationship responsibilities. When He does enable me to lovingly serve those who hurt me through the remembrance and realization of the mighty power of His love for me, I should joyfully reengage them.

 

Luke 6:27-38 (CEV)

(Jesus talking)

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

   32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

1 Peter 2:18-25 (CEV)

(Peter talking)

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

 22 “He committed no sin,
   and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[e]

 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[f] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Tags: jesus luke 6

help from a sermon 21

These two sermons by Pastor Matt Smith of Barabbas Road Church in San Diego have really helped me to enjoy Christ.  They conclude his study of Galatians and explain that people are saved by grace alone, and no Christian rules should be added to the gospel as a condition or necessary help to follow Christ.  However, when a person follows Christ, it is assumed that there will be a loving desire for Jesus, to enjoy Jesus, that will cause real changes in a persons desires.  The loving desire for God will outweigh the desires of the flesh.  Spending time enjoying Jesus and the freedom the gospel has given us will empower us to love unlovable people because our desire to serve Christ becomes stronger than our desire to serve in any other way.

audio

http://www.whoisbarabbas.com/audios/natureoffreedom.html

http://www.whoisbarabbas.com/audios/freetolove.html

video

http://www.whoisbarabbas.com/videos/natureoffreedomvid.html

http://www.whoisbarabbas.com/videos/freetolovevid.html

help from daily scripture reading 120

These scriptures reminded me to make and protect my time to delight in Christ alone.  I should not feel ashamed about doing this when times are busy and people need my help.  If I’m not delighting in Christ, than I lose my focus on Him.  I stop remembering His love for me in all circumstances. I become quickly frustrated, depressed, anxious, and angry during hard times.   However, if I am focused on Christ and the reality of Him while I look at the disturbing realities and pressures around me, than on the outside I might be sad or frustrated, but deep down I’m more loving, thankful, joyful, and prayerful.  The frustrated, whiny, angry, depressed me is not really a good help to anyone.

  Luke 5:15-16 (CEV)

15News about Jesus kept spreading. Large crowds came to listen to him teach and to be healed of their diseases. 16But Jesus would often go to some place where he could be alone and pray.

(Source: biblegateway.com)

Tags: jesus luke 5

help from daily scripture reading 119

These scriptures helped remind me of how easy it is to think I’ve cleaned up after I see how God has overwhelmed my desire for my familiar sins with a growing love for Him.  But if I was aware of the ton of sin deep down inside me, unfamiliar and familiar, then I would never come across to others as stuck up, or imagine myself presentable.  But I do come across as stuck up to others and I do often use people rather than love them, sometimes unwittingly and sometimes not.  I am filthier than I could ever imagine. Thank you Jesus for loving me so much that you washed me in your blood.  Thank you for giving me your cleanliness and bringing me into you.

 

Proverbs 13:12-14  (CEV)

12 Don’t imagine yourself to be quite presentable
   when you haven’t had a bath in weeks.

 13 Don’t be stuck-up
   and think you’re better than everyone else.

 14 Don’t be greedy,
   merciless and cruel as wolves,
Tearing into the poor and feasting on them,
   shredding the needy to pieces only to discard them.

Proverbs 13:12-14 (the Message)

12others think they are perfect,

but they are stained by sin.

13Some people are stuck-up

and act like snobs;

14others are so greedy

that they gobble down

the poor and homeless.

 

 

(Source: biblegateway.com)

help from daily scripture reading 116

These scriptures illustrated to me the common hatred toward Jesus as well as the minimizing of Jesus to a good teacher.  People hate Jesus when He tells them that they do evil things. We all do evil things and Jesus shows us how evil we are by demonstrating to us the way we should have lived:  perfectly good and perfectly loving.  He shows us how evil we are by having to die on the cross in order to make us clean in His goodness. 

 

John 7:1-18 (CEV)

1Jesus decided to leave Judea and to start going through Galilee because the Jewish leaders of the people wanted to kill him. 2It was almost time for the Festival of Shelters, 3and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Why don’t you go to Judea? Then your disciples can see what you are doing. 4No one does anything in secret, if they want others to know about them. So let the world know what you are doing!” 5Even Jesus’ own brothers had not yet become his followers.

    6Jesus answered, “My time hasn’t yet come, [a] but your time is always here. 7The people of this world cannot hate you. They hate me, because I tell them that they do evil things. 8Go on to the festival. My time hasn’t yet come, and I am not going.” 9Jesus said this and stayed on in Galilee.

Jesus at the Festival of Shelters

 10After Jesus’ brothers had gone to the festival, he went secretly, without telling anyone.

    11During the festival the Jewish leaders looked for Jesus and asked, “Where is he?” 12The crowds even got into an argument about him. Some were saying, “Jesus is a good man,” while others were saying, “He is lying to everyone.” 13But the people were afraid of their leaders, and none of them talked in public about him.

    14When the festival was about half over, Jesus went into the temple and started teaching. 15The leaders were surprised and said, “How does this man know so much? He has never been taught!”

    16Jesus replied:

I am not teaching something that I thought up. What I teach comes from the one who sent me. 17If you really want to obey God, you will know if what I teach comes from God or from me. 18If I wanted to bring honor to myself, I would speak for myself. But I want to honor the one who sent me. That is why I tell the truth and not a lie.

Tags: jesus john 7