Wednesday, September 30, 2009

a fish out of water… a fresh look at Jonah

Check out the two-part message entitled “A Fish Out of Water” by Dr. Ravi Zacharias.  For those of you participating in the Old Testament study group, you know Jonah is our first book for study.  I really like the spin of this message—pay attention to the last few lines of Zacharias’s message in part 1—and answer the question: “What is the cure for unrighteousness?”

Fish out of Water, Part 1

Fish out of Water, Part 2

"... Immorality is always preceded by impiety. People are immoral because they are first impious and not the other way around; immorality in our streets is because there is irreverence in our hearts before God, which means that if morality is merely symptomatic.  Then how can we solve it symptomatically by just changing our laws? We have got to change the heart of the individual, and only God is big enough to do that."  (R. Zacharias)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

law-abiding citizens

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.c Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
………………………………………………………. Romans 12: 9-21

As a Believer, I am free from the Law, but that is not the same as being given license to act however I please. In fact, we Believers SHOULD uphold the Law, and even go beyond that!  Our concern with “legalism” and “works-based salvation” often gives us an excuse to claim freedom from the Law in such a way that we are not properly convicted of our offensive, sinful behavior; not only that—we have missed the proper ‘spirit’ of the law entirely.  We do not uphold the law for the sake of the Law, but we are called to live lives that lift up the Name of Jesus to all we come in contact with; living in accordance with the law naturally follows from that.  As Romans says, we are to “live at peace with everyone.”  Where does that leave room for lawlessness and recklessness?  It leaves no such room, and should call us to be  vigilant and diligent in our pursuit of God’s truth, so that through his strength and through the discernment that comes from walking in the Spirit, we might be “a living sacrifice.” (Rom. 12: 1)

Friday, September 25, 2009

a preview

In the very near future, I will be posting blogs related to an Old Testament study group I’ll be facilitating.  Here is a little something to keep on our hearts….

Who is wise? He will realize these things.
Who is discerning? He will understand them.
The ways of the Lord are right,
      the righteous walk in them,
      but the rebellious stumble in them.
Hosea 14: 9

For those of you who live in Lynchburg, come join us for a study of Jonah, Amos, and Hosea, Mondays from 7:00 to 8:00pm from October 3 until November 9. Please email/Facebook me for details.  For those of you outside Lynchburg, follow our journey via my blog once weekly.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

here I am...

I've had the praise chorus "Take Me In" (see post from Sept. 16) stuck in my head since Wednesday morning. So I'll unpack the song a littler further

... take the coal, touch my lips, here I am...

1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7With it he touched my mouth and said,
“See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6: 1-6

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

take me in…

Take me past the outer courts
Into the holy place
Past the brazen altar
Lord I want to see Your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
And the priests who sing Your praise
I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness
But it's only found in one place
Take me into the holy of holies
Take me in by the blood of the lamb
Take me into the holy of holies
Take the coal, touch my lips, here I am

Apparently I have been living under a rock; this song is old yet I have never heard it.  As we, in our church, have been reading The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard, this song struck a chord with me.  God’s desire for us is that we would enter into his holy presence with confidence (Hebrews 4:16) so that we might have fellowship with him (I Corinthians 1:9). 

How do I get past the “outer courts”?  I must partake in the joy of the Lord through tangible, purposeful disciplines. I must read the Scripture (II Timothy 3:16), pray daily (Matthew 6:6), fast and seek solitude and silence (Matthew 4), worship (Romans 1:1-2), and in all things consider Christ as the head of my life (Colossians 2:10). 

Also see: Psalm 24, Hebrews 9.

Take Me In, as performed by Kutless