Deuteronomy 18:9-14 – Holy Living

Read Deuteronomy 18:9-14

What God wants more than anything is for us to stay focused on him. Period. God knew the people were going to cross into the promised land and be surrounded by all kinds of evil. He had to call it out here in this passage. When we don’t know something is bad for us, we can get into trouble. I think of the child burning his hand on the stove because his mom didn’t warn him it was going to be hot.

The word “detestable” is pretty strong. In the King James and the ESV  the word is “abomination.” According to the Google dictionary, the Biblical meaning of detestable is synonymous to abomination or “exceptionally loathsome, hateful, sinful, wicked, or vile.” Do you think this will stop the people or will that make it even more of an enticement?

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2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – Who Are Your Peeps?

Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Paul is warning us here to be careful of non-believers in our circle of friends, your “peeps.” Other translations would say don’t be “yoked” with unbelievers. Why? Because believers and unbelievers don’t mix well. We can easily go astray and leave our faith in Jesus behind when we are connected to unbelievers. This can be in marriage, in business, in close friendships.

When I first thought about this, I had a hard time because our call is to seek the lost, those that don’t know Jesus’ saving grace. Many times we need to befriend an unbeliever to get them to trust us enough to hear our message, to really listen and understand what our mission is. How do we balance that? Plus, the world is full of unbelievers, so clearly Paul is not saying to avoid them altogether.

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Matthew 21:12-17 – An Angry Jesus

Read Matthew 21:12-17

The steeple of Emanuel African Methodist Church, Charleston, SC

Have you ever arrived home only to find your dog had chewed up the couch or destroyed your favorite pair of shoes? We’ve all seen pictures of children covered in flour sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor or having made a clown face on their younger sibling with mom’s favorite lipstick. What would be your reaction to the unexpected?

Perhaps you could keep your cool. Perhaps you would blow up in anger. In today’s reading Jesus made his way to the temple. That’s nothing particularly surprising. However, when Jesus saw how the Temple had been transformed into something he was not expecting, he came unglued. Jesus got mad. You might say he had a bit of a tantrum.

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1 Peter 2:1-11 – Living Stones

Read 1 Peter 2:1-11

We are living stones. That is an image not on my radar. I may be living and breathing, seeing and smelling– but as a stone? Not so much. But when you play out the metaphor here, with Jesus being the cornerstone, I’m thrilled to be a living stone.

We’ve all seen buildings with a prominent cornerstone. It will often have the year engraved.  Wikipedia defines “cornerstone” (or foundation stone or setting stone) to be “the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.” Now think about how this impacts us when we think of Jesus as the chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:19-22). Continue reading “1 Peter 2:1-11 – Living Stones”

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1 Peter 1:13-25 – Holy Living

Read 1 Peter 1:13-25

God has chosen you and set you apart to do mighty things. You may not feel all that special, and you might wonder what you could ever do to make a difference. I know, because I’ve questioned, too. I have never felt worthy to be used by God. However, when he does use me, there is no better feeling of accomplishment. My life matters. My purpose was for moments like those. Then I ask, how can I make more of them happen? When will God use me again?

The important thing is to never stop serving. We must seek holiness, and God will set us up for success in the kingdom. His word is clear. “You must be holy because I am holy.”  We can often fall back into our old habits, so we need to take care to not do that. We have seen and felt what being holy feels like. We should never want that feeling to go away. Yet some stray. It’s inevitable. Even though we know better now.

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