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Showing posts from April, 2009

The door

I am the door.
John 10:9

Many people are struggling, hurting, frustrated, and irritated. They are trying to find the way out of something or into something. Jesus is the door to salvation. It's very simple. The way is a person.

God is fully aware of your situation

And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
Exodus 3:9

Sometimes we need to be encouraged that God knows what we're going through. And God, who is good, who is love, who is justice, and who is the redeemer cares. God really does cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28) and God really does have a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

Living from the alter and courts of God

"Even as the sparrow finds out (seeks) a house, and the swallow her nest in which she may hatch her young; so I, thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God."
Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.

LORD God All-Powerful,
my King and my God,
sparrows find a home
near your altars;
swallows build nests there
to raise their young.
Psalm 84:3 (Adam Clarke, MSG, CEV)
Psalm 84 is about living from the dwelling place of God. The Psalmist sees God's goodness in the lives of the birds who God cares for. He says that even as the birds make a dwelling place to be completely vulnerable, we also desire to dwell with God in vulnerability.

Tempest

And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.

And look, there was a great earthquake under the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves. But he himself continued sleeping.
Matthew 8:24 (NKJV, Literal translation by Donald A. Hagner; my NT Teacher at Fuller)

This is the picture. A huge storm, a tempest, arises covering the boat with waves. We have Jesus and his disciples in a boat on the water, but Matthew chooses the words Mega Seismo or huge earthquake to describe what's happening. In other words, it's a great earthquake of waves. Hagner's translation gives the idea that the floor of the sea shook so hard that waves were created that covered the boat on the surface.

The boat was being pummeled with waves, yet Jesus slept on. What's the point here? Should we sleep during the figurative tempest that comes upon us? Yes we can, but we don't have to. Jesus is fully at peace in the storm, so m…

Drawing near

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
James 4:8a

You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have.
Genesis 45:10

I discovered that Goshen means "drawing near" in ancient Egyptian. The context of Genesis 45 is that Joseph and his brothers have just been reunited and the famine has been going for two years and has five more years to go. Joe's family will be cared for in Egypt near him.

What does it means for God to draw near to you? When God draws near, you get what God has for you. God is full of goodness and is generous. God is kind. God has the answer to all problems.

God is good to you

Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Psalm 34:8a

God is good. That's a settled fact. But, God's goodness is more that a concept: You are meant to experience it.
Walking with God is experiential. Experiencing God's goodness is normal.

A new day

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
Zechariah 4:10

When the sun rises, it's pretty obvious that a new day has begun. But new beginnings or the very beginnings of a figurative new day are harder to perceive sometimes. God created the season cycles. Four seasons in one year. The Hebrew calender, before our modern one, had months that cycled through the seasons to make a year. Every year we have planting times, dormant times, and harvest times in the vegetable kingdom.

In human terms, in human relations, it's easy to see death and it's easy to see birth; and everything in between preoccupies us most of the time. But the beginning of a life is tiny and subtle, yet it's most important because all of life follows to conception of life.

When God …

Meeting: what is it?

Meetings are where people meet. If you went to a meeting, did you meet or get met? I like a meeting where I meet you and you meet me. Meeting is greeting, but substantial meeting is an exchange where you strengthen me and I strengthen you with our words, our stories, our prayers.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
He brews 10:24-25

sweet sonship

The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:
‘ The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.
Ezekiel 18:1-3

The cool thing about this word that is echoed in Jeremiah is that God is saying that generational sin is not the last word. God takes people out of family patterns. God makes you new in Christ. New spiritual DNA that overrules familial DNA. God says, "he's my son", or "she's my daughter"; and those words set your life in place.

reciprocity

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.
Matthew 7:12 (MSG)

True spirituality is a do-ing spirituality. You first be and then do because your are being. To say and not do is fraudulent spirituality. Christ followers and not just believers, but doers. You follow, you learn, and you go and do. What is it that you want? Do that for someone else.

new beginnings

Eight is the number of mew beginnings. Ruth is the 8th book in the Bible and I would summarize Ruth as being about new beginnings. It's about redemption. It's about God turning things around for people and it's a love story.

To experience a new beginning, you need to be free of the past. Things need closure. Funerals and all the rituals we do around bereavement are for our healing from the loss.

generous plans

But generous people plan to do what is generous,
and they stand firm in their generosity.
Isaiah 32:08 (NLB)

The generous lifestyle is the way to live. Generosity is a firm foundation that will support you. Jesus said that the one who hears his word and does them is the one who builds his house on the rock that will stand when the storms come. Most translations use the word "noble" here instead of generous. Noble means generous in the Hebrew. This also means that those who are princes or princesses are to be generous.