Friday, March 4, 2011

Restore and Grant

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and

grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”

Psalm 51:12 (NIV)

When children get into trouble with their parents, they want to regain the feeling that all things are forgiven. As a teenager, when I knew I was not in my mother’s good graces I would go out of my way to be sure that I had done all my chores before she got home from work.

King David sinned against God. He realized his transgression when the prophet Nathan confronted him. In Psalm 51, he pleads with God to do a new work in his heart.

When we fail God, we go through the same steps: we realize we have sinned; we ask forgiveness; we petition the Lord to restore to us the sense that we are loved,

God answered David’s plea. In spite of the dysfunction of his family, in later years a descendant of David gave birth to the Son of God.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our Fruit

Read Matthew 3:110

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8

John the Baptist preaches to the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He calls them ‘a brood of vipers’, a very critical phrase. The Pharisees stayed away from those who non-Jewish. The Sadducees only believed in the first five books of God’s Word. These two groups were always at odds with each other. But they both opposed Jesus.

Earlier in this passage, John tells his hearers to “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near.” To repent means to change behavior.

We know neither group followed John’s direction. The two groups interfered with Jesus’ ministry at every turn.

How does John’s message apply to us in the 21st Century? When we come to Christ, we are all eager to do what God tells us. A little while later, things get hard and we begin to let our old selves take over. We get confused in what we are to do. Basically we take our eyes off Jesus and believe we can live our lives the way we want.

But we can’t. When we ask Jesus to live in our hearts, we turn over control of our lives to Him. We have to do this every day. God wants us to ask each day what it is He has for us to do and how He wants us to act.

Our actions, as well as our reactions, are supposed to honor Christ. We can no longer let things slide by, we have to align our behavior, as well as our hearts, with what would honor Him

Monday, February 28, 2011

Loving God

“‘Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that

God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all

your heat, with all your understanding and with all your strength,

and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all the burnt offerings

and sacrifices. ’” Mark 12:32-34 (NIV)

The teacher of the law got it right. He agreed with Jesus on the point of what was the greatest commandment.

Our Lord was quoting passages from what we now call the Old Testament. The teachers knew these passages. They knew the words, not necessarily the intent.

In our 21st Century world, do we forget to put in practice what we learned as children to actually think kindly of our neighbors? Even when they choose to live differently than we do?

We have lived in our home for 35 years. At one time we knew they people who lived around us, eleven families. Some, we knew better than others. People died and others moved. Now, we know two sets of our neighbors.

At least two of the houses on the street are empty-one for a few years now; the other has become a rental. Some of the people who have moved in choose not to acknowledge our presence. If I would happen to see a dangerous situation transpire, I would do what I could to take away the burden.

If any of them had a need I know I should help with, my reason for choosing to help any of them would be because of my love for God.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...