The Lord’s Day 8-20-17

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.” – Psalm 8:3-5 NKJV

All the good we know comes from the Lord. The beauty of creation, the skills, talents and abilities of mankind; they all come from the gracious hand of God. Upon that realization, what can our response be but thanks, praise and worship…celebrate the Lord’s Day!

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Higher

How big is God in your eyes?

One of the earliest names for God in the Bible is God Most High (Genesis 14:18-20). It’s an awesome description. No matter what we can see or imagine…He’s higher, bigger, and stronger. The sweeping narrative of the Old Testament reveals God’s awesome power in many different ways, but sadly, the Hebrews often forgot. They simply settled for thinking of Him as just another “god”.

What about you? When you pray, what do you see? Is it the image of Him “high and lifted up” in awesome glory as Isaiah described? Do you see Him as God Most High? Or is He just barely big enough to handle your current situation? Sure, He’s up to the task, but what if He wants even greater things for you. Trust Him today to be who He says He is:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor My ways your ways. For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

How big is God…in your eyes?

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Temperature

Are you a thermometer or thermostat?

Every time the thermostat in your home starts the heat or air-conditioning, it’s because the temperature needs adjustment; and based on its thermometer, action is called for. When a follower of Christ engages others, the same components are there. There’s the ability to sense the current spiritual temperature, and the ability to implement change. However, here’s the challenging question; “Is there a willingness to engage and adjust the temperature of the conversation, or is there contentment to simply reflect the current environment?” Think about what the prophet Micah wrote:

“Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 HCSB

If we want to be a thermostat and only measure temp, you’ll never be part of helping “condition” a room. At the same time, if you ignore the temp and keep everything blowing full speed, the room will get really hot, or really cold.

Striving to be a thermostat will go against the flow. Come to think of it, every time a heating/cooling system kicks on, it’s going “against the flow”. That’s what it’s made for. Will you be part of influencing a room today?

  • Act justly
  • Love faithfulness
  • Walk humbly
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Versions

One day while our son was still too young to read, I heard him “reading” one of his favorite books out loud. He knew the characters and narrated the major points correctly, but the details were off…way off. He was simply using the pictures to make it up as he went. By exercising his “artistic license”, he voiced the good parts, skipped the boring stuff and changed the rest to match his preferences. His story was entertaining, but it didn’t match the author’s version much at all.

We can do that with the Bible too. We can get enthusiastic about verses we like, skip others we don’t necessarily care for, and claim ignorance to the rest. The hard truth however is that a disciple is called to live according to what was given by the Holy Spirit, not our own edited version. Some passages may be tough to understand, but others are just simply tough to live, which is the real reason for their lower position on the “favorites list”.

“All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 HCSB

Are you willing to attempt it today as written?

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Wisdom 2.6

Who sets the boundaries of your steps? Along the path of life there are many voices speaking their version of “truth”. One of the common calls from the shadows is the phrase, “Follow your heart.” That may sound like wise counsel, but for the follower of Christ, the qualifying question should be, “Does it match the desire of God’s heart?” Consider the words of a wise and experienced man:

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.” – Proverbs 2:6-8 NKJV

Today there may be an opportunity to speak a word of instruction; may it come from His knowledge. There may be an opportunity to share your opinion; may it be from within His wisdom. New invitations may be around the corner; may His Word be the standard to compare the options. Who will set the boundaries of your path today?

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Wrath

What would God’s wrath look like totally unleashed?

Well, the Bible describes His judgment falling on the world during the Flood, His righteous anger burning against Sodom, and destruction of idolatrous groups like the Assyrians; but what would it look like for His wrath to be poured out in full measure? The amazing truth is it was…in full measure…on Jesus. You may be  thinking, “Oh, well, yeah you’re talking about that.”, but pause for a moment and really think about it…

For three excruciating hours (in total darkness during the middle of the day), Jesus was separated from the Father to endure God’s wrath on sin…our sin. Isaiah 53 says He was crushed, bruised, scorned and despised in our stead. We talk a lot about being redeemed, but it was a painful transaction because sin costs…a lot. It’s easy to take Jesus’ sacrifice for granted, and it’s also easy to go through the week with a casual attitude toward sin. May we never take sin lightly. May we never forget His grace. May we never forget to thank Him for it. And may we never forget to share it.

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 HCSB

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Meditation

Is meditation compatible with the Christian life?

Yes, if it’s the right kind. Biblical meditation is a directive in scripture. It clarifies cloudy judgment, establishes proper boundaries and measures forward progress. The Bible teaches this principle:

8Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthymeditate on these things.” – Phil. 4:8 NKJV

Unlike eastern style meditation, which focuses on emptying the mind, the Bible teaches us to think deeply on scripture and let the Holy Spirit fill our minds with eternal truth.

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” – Psalm 119:15-16 NKJV

Your thought life matters. If you want your life to be different, you must be willing to think different. Prayerfully ask this today;

What are some things I know to be; True? Noble? Just? Pure? Lovely? Good? Virtuous? Praiseworthy? Now those are things to think about!

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