Archive for May, 2018

WHAT DELIGHTS YOU?

05312018 Thursday

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

The blessed life of faith cannot be accomplished apart from the teachings of God’s word. While the idea of “law” conjures up for many the negative of legalism, torah (law), in this context, has the basic sense of “instruction.” Where scripture isn’t the authoritative touchstone in all matters of faith and practice, we are then left to the ever-changing positions and “facts” of competing voices and authorities, missing completely the delight of the blessedness found in the single-minded pursuit of knowing and living God’s instructive word.

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A SLIPPERY SLOPE

05302018 Wednesday.jpg

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1)!

The text is a vivid portrayal of the slippery slope created by cultural influences. The psalmist offers a virulent depiction of the growing comfort with things standing in opposition to what God would desire for you; a progressive regression from walking to sitting; from a passing acquaintance with those holding secular viewpoints on life, to the accepting embrace and seated comfort with this lifestyle of destructive end.

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THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

05292018 Tuesday.jpg

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1)!

In the continuing pursuit of understanding a “blessed” existence, the nuances of the text reveal that it stands in contrast to the existence pursued by the crowds. The blessed “man” of the passage is singular while all three antagonists are plural. The life resulting in blessedness is truly the road less traveled; the narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 5:14). It is a journey against the tide and the prevailing herd mentality; that doesn’t go along to get along. He does not give his ear to many, knowing that whoever captures the ear eventually controls the heart.

 

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UNPACKING “BLESSED”

05282018 Monday

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1)!

The idea of a blessed existence has extensive implications that must be unpackaged to be fully appreciated. While “blessed” means “fortunate” or “happy,” it should not be understood in terms of western interpretation. Most of western culture ascribes good fortune and happiness only to favorable circumstances, if and when they occur. The ancient near eastern (ANE) culture of the psalmist would have had no such point of reference. Their understanding of “blessed” isn’t the reward of favorable circumstances but, rather, the result of a particular kind of life being pursued.

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DODGING DUPLICITY

05272018 Sunday

“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).

Duplicity— “Deception by pretending to entertain one set of intentions while acting under the influence of another.” Whether I am present or absent, Paul says there is a certain way your lives should be conducted. The life of faith isn’t lived for a particular target audience—church friends, the congregation, the Sunday School class. It is a life that strives for consistency, to the degree that there is no difference between one’s private and public life.

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HELP WANTED

05262018 Saturday

“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:25-26).

When it comes to the life we are called to live as people of faith, I think we would all confess our need for help; that we cannot do it on our own; that a supernatural life requires a supernatural source. Thankfully, God has answered the “Help Wanted” appeal. As a result of his gracious gift of the Holy Spirit, we now possess not only the knowledge of how we ought to live, but the means by which this life in Christ can be accomplished.

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SWEATY SATISFACTION

05252018 Friday

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat” (Proverbs 13:4).

God has wired us to work, labor, build, contribute. That’s why taking a few “recovery” days from your exercise program, or vacation days from work, can actually be counterproductive; making you feel soft physically, less attentive mentally, and dull spiritually. Days filled with empty calories and empty calendars may sound attractive, but it leads only to destructive activities and behaviors that, ultimately, destroy the soul. Only in contributing do we find satisfaction.

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