Monday, June 24, 2019

A Cage Made Of Rules

But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” Luke 13:14

The Sabbath was a great day for healing by our Lord, but some clung to their book of rules. They clung so tightly to them that they could not see what (or who!) was before them.

Like money, rules can be useful to us. When listed in a checklist, a set of rules can help us to see an operation through to a successful conclusion. When followed in training, rules can keep us safe and ease the learning process. Experiencing a catastrophic failure in a system, as some of us have found out, is a tough way to learn a 'don't do that'. However, also like money, rules can be a way to build a cage around ourselves such that we cannot see the Savior.

The ruler growled a rule at the poor woman healed of an infirmity she bore for eighteen years. Six days you can come get healing, leave my Sabbath alone! Dude! Did you just see the Savior heal that woman bound for eighteen years by the Devil? Do you understand at all the pain she endured? This one was still bound by the Devil it would seem, bound up in his cage of good-sounding rules. Read the story in Luke 13 and see how our Savior put his adversaries to shame. It will be the same in the final judgment. Those who love Him will be glorified with Him; those who deny Him will be put to shame.

Trust in Him!


Friday, June 21, 2019

And Another Thing About Service

So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Luke 1:23

Service may be tough, but it also means that I may not get to do what I wanted to do! Wah, wah! Yes, after all these years the crying of the selfish child is all too easily brought forth from memory.

Patience is called for as we see the days of service for Zacharias coming to a close in our verse for today. His term of service had an end and he could go home to do what he wanted to do for a time. After the child came he could learn about another form of service, but that is a story for another day. In serving another we may have to set aside a thing we want to do for a time. That may not be easy in this age where we expect things to arrive so quickly.

We can also note from the verse today that service is often away from the home. That isn't always a comfortable situation either, especially for those of us who like the place called home. Ah, but this place is not our permanent home, and service away from His home is what our Savior did to save us.

Praise God for His service!


Thursday, June 20, 2019

It's Too Much, Ask For Help

Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Exodus 18:18

Much good advice comes from people who don't know much. In-laws, parents, teachers, ministers, and other people such as these offer advice to us because they were once as we are, and they hope that by some good advice we will not plow ahead foolishly as they once did. That it takes a few tries for us to learn to listen to that good advice only stores up another generation of good advisers for the foolish plowers. It's a rite of passage sort of thing.

One of those areas of good advice is often in the asking for help when we reach a point that a duty, task or project is too much for us alone and we need to ask for help. The problem usually is that we are in a stubborn plow-ahead mode and it takes someone we respect such as a, well, see the list above.

Now, of course we are to go to God first in prayer. But sometimes there is so much griping going on in our heads that He cannot get a word of advice in Himself, and so He sends in some advice from some of those folks we didn't always think knew very much. And we're back to the elders thing. Yes, because if one finds the mind too busy griping to listen to the Lord, then an interruption by one with good advice might just be the next best ticket to the wisdom train. And as our Lord Jesus said, if you have left the plow to follow Him, don't look back at it.

Have a great Thursday in Christ our Lord!


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

An Understanding Heart

"Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 1 Kings 3:9

Oh, it is fun to imagine being king at times! We can see the advantage in the power, and in being the first one to know everything. Uh, no, as experience has shown, the person in charge is often not the first to know everything or even anything for that matter. The monarch must fight the urge to believe the first one and condemn the second automatically. Um, what?

If you have been on the hot seat because you were the second party, you know well what I am talking about this morning. The first one gets the sympathetic ear, the chance to tell the story from their perspective in a calm sea. The second one faces the pointed sword of justice, the arresting officers, the angry sea as the authority falls for that age old myth that the first one to run to the chief is the one who is telling the truth. Solomon wanted an understanding heart to be able to judge God's people when faced with the one said this-the other said that cases that would come before him.

Solomon in his position was both president and supreme court, and he was responsible to God for all of Israel. In any case where it was he said-she said, or they said this happened but the other folks say that happened, and in many things where the king on his throne far away would be among the last to know something happened out on the frontier, Solomon wanted discernment through an understanding heart. This was something wonderful in a ruler! I'm with you in asking in prayer for some more of that in our leaders, please.

The good news is that our Lord Jesus is more of that and He will rule one day.

Have a great day in the Lord Jesus!


Monday, June 17, 2019

Service Is Tough

“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Revelation 2:19

I sought out the Lord to teach me patience, and I'm still waiting for that to happen. I sought from the Lord the meaning of steadfast endurance, and I just wish that would end sometime. And then came the subject of service. Service is tough.

Serving is seldom convenient. It is easy when on your way to the second town over to stop and drop something off in the first town as you are going through on your way. But, no the request for service goes something like, "On your way to Florida, can you stop in Juneau and wrestle a grizzly bear for me?" I'm like: Florida? I'm not going anywhere this weekend, and have you never looked at a map or globe or a GPS in your life? No, service is almost never convenient. Its timing seems to be off a little too.

Service is that phone call to do some work on a Friday evening just after (or before) you are going home from the work of a difficult week at the regular job. The call to serve does not come when boredom has begun to lay its heavy hand on your brain and a change would be welcome. Nope, that would be too easy. So, with timing and geography at issue, what else might serving call us for?

For Jesus, serving us in our greatest need called for His life... and a lot of suffering as well. When I read our Lord's words in our verse for today, I hope that my last works will be more than my first, because when service has called, I have not always been ready and willing. Service is tough!

Love in Christ,

Friday, June 14, 2019

Trusting In Him

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You. Psalm 5:11

It is a song of praise. It is a prayer that these things will be done. "Let them..." David wrote, probably because it was not always that way even in his heart. As king, David wanted a peaceful land, and to gain that peace he wrote that all should be joyful in the Lord. Note how much the Lord must do for this:

1. He must be trustworthy.
2. The Lord must be defender of the people.
3. His name must be lovable. 
4. When trust is placed in Him, He must enable joy in Himself
   from those who likely have much to not be joyful about. 

Age can make us to not wake up feeling joyful. The Spirit rejoices in God within us, but the old body just does not feel that joy right away anymore. If that is not enough, feed yourself a little news today from the world... and joy might easily be driven out right there unless it is in and from One who provides a continuous supply. We do not live in a joyful world and our fallen bodies do not provide joy and the feelings of the day likely are not joyful. As David wrote those many years ago, we must trust in God and find our joy in Him.

So graciously does He provide!


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Turning From Idols

For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9

Turning from idols to serve the living and true God, now there is cause for celebration.

Idols are common throughout the known world, and we're not talking natives in the jungle bowing down before a carved wooden thing. Nope, we have an entire host of potential idols in this modern world, and any of them might ensnare us if we are not watchful. Today we even have the option of virtual idols on our computer monitors, if something that a person can touch and bump into is no longer enough for you. Want your idol to talk and move around? No problem, television already did that, but we can go even further and program a virtual world that... You know the story, and a false reality impossible to tell from virtual reality becomes more of an idol with each passing day.

But wait! Given a bit more time, we might bump into robots and androids inhabiting our own 'real' world that are impossible to tell from humans. And of course some will want to have sex with them. Sodom and Gomorrah anyone? Yes, all things come 'round again, as Solomon observed way back in the day.

Turning from idols to the living and true God is a cause for celebration, and the angels in Heaven celebrate each time a lost sheep is brought into the fold by our dear Savior Jesus!

Rejoice in Him!