It is helpful for us to remember that when God makes a promise, he keeps it. His word is most definitely true. Moses reminds the people of that yet again. It is also helpful for us to remember that these words are spoken as part of the Old Covenant God made with his people. There was such a focus on being obedient. The people we were rewarded for their obedience and cursed when they disobeyed. There was a focus on earning and deserving. That’s not the same way things work now.
Jesus came and brought with him the New Covenant. He took on flesh, and he was our sacrificial lamb. We are cleansed and our righteousness is in Jesus. Now the focus is on believing and receiving. Our blessing comes from having faith in Jesus. Jesus bore our sins and failings in obedience on the cross. Our response and desire to please God and do his will comes from our gratitude to our Savior.
There are so many messages bombarding us these days. It used
to be there was the newspaper, the evening news, and a magazine or two. With
the internet and social media, it seems we can’t escape someone trying to tell
us something every second of the day. We hear these days about “fake” news. We
know we can’t “believe everything we read.” So, what can we do? There is freedom
when you can unplug and just be still in God’s presence. You can hear so much more.
Today in my stillness, I can hear the wind rustling in the
trees, birds chirping, car horns in the distance, a dog barking (not mine), and
a rooster cock-a-doodle-doing (they do that here in Mexico it seems at every
hour of the day)! In my quiet time, I have God’s word. As verse 5 and 6 says, “Every
word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do
not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.” I
don’t need to worry about fake news. I can trust God and his word.
While today’s Bible reading is short, it’s powerful. Any time God’s word talks about itself I stop and listen. It’s the instruction book of life we all long to have. It’s our love story with God. It illuminates the foundation of what we believe. It’s God’s gift to us.
How many times do you read a familiar passage but it sounds different? There is a new message that jumps out this time that you didn’t hear before. That’s a great example of what the writer says here, “[F]or the word of God is alive and powerful.” God’s word is alive and speaks to us differently at different times. It certainly is powerful when you think of how it fits so beautifully together, building on itself, one passage supporting another. Continue reading “Hebrews 4:12-13 – Word of God”
Verse 10 is one of my go-to verses when I’m feeling weak and unsure of myself. Those times come more often than I’d like to admit, but having the assurance God is protecting is all I need to feel energized. “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power!” We can all call upon this mighty power to help us stay strong and courageous during the storms of life.
The verses that follow have always been important to me, too, because they speak of how God equips us, the broken sinner, to be ready for the world each day. The armor of God was fun to teach children as well because it was so easy to act out. While the “armor” we had available, shoes, shield, helmet, and belt we used for our dramatization look completely different than what the 1st century Christians were using, the visual is still very helpful in making an impression. Continue reading “Ephesians 6:10-24 – Be Strong”
There are several things going on in today’s reading. While my focus will be mainly on the parable, I wanted to also point out a couple other observations.
The reference to women following Jesus seems to be just sort of stuck in between things. But the message should be huge. In the culture and day, women were not allowed to learn from rabbis. Because Jesus welcomed them and allowed them in his close circle of followers, that shows all people are equal in God’s eyes. Women are still today asserting their strength and voice after feeling second class to men. We should all only worry about the most important relationship of all, with our Creator, Savior and Guide. If we hear and obey, we are all part of God’s family. Jesus offers us all an intimate relationship with him.
Did the “good soil” parable speak to you differently today? Jesus does a very good job of using this parable to separate the different people who hear his word. We have the “path” people, the “rock” people, the “thorn” people and the “good soil” people. Which one describes you the best? Continue reading “Luke 8:1-21 – Good Soil”