Archive for October, 2022
REPETITION AND RESPONSE
“Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:7).
It’s a repetitious statement, occurring some 105 times in the Old Testament—“You shall be My people, and I will be your God.” Repetition has its benefits. At some point what is done, repetitiously, becomes second nature. This is why, in their respective sport, athletes train with repetitious discipline, doing everyday the same drills over and over. In athletic competition, there is no greater fallacy than rising to the occasion. Only on the rarest occasions does performance exceed what is practiced. What is true in sport is all the more true in matters of faith—a sometime religion never becomes an established faith; defining who you are and how you live.
ORGANIZING HOLY SPACE
“But all things must be done properly and in an orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
From this passage, along with others, it’s apparent that the apostle, Paul, doesn’t like disorder; that things are best done when done a certain way. From his concern for disorder in the church at Corinth (2 Cor. 12:20), or leaving Titus in Crete to put things in order (Titus 1:5), Paul recognizes that things operate more effectively and efficiently when organized. Whether it’s in the home, the work place, or the gym, taking the time to organize is telling; it reveals that how you do anything is how you do everything.
“When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the Lord our God commanded you? Then you shall say to your son…’”(Deuteronomy 6:20-21).
Memories make for powerful stories but they are also intended for the motivation of God’s people. Scripture challenges us often to remember, but never for the purpose of reflection alone. Our memories and memorials of God’s faithfulness were never intended to be a hitching post to the past but a guide post to the future. The faithfulness of God’s provision in days gone by is an assurance of his paving the way to even greater days that lie ahead.
“Then He said to them, ’My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me’” (Matthew 26:38).
Stoicism is a philosophical view that believes life should be lived void of any emotion. Unfortunately, many have embraced stoicism as a Christian virtue. It isn’t! The gospels reveal the emotional responses of Jesus to some of his most grievous moments. We see him weeping at the grave of his friend Lazarus. He wept again as he considered the lostness of Jerusalem. And now, he is deeply troubled by the looming cross. Emotion is real. The only limitation place on our grief is that we do not grieve as if we have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
PURPOSE AND PROCESS
Posted by bobbydagnel in Uncategorized on October 27, 2022
“For you have been called for this purpose, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
The life of faith must be for us a toil of love. Having found one’s purpose in Christ Jesus is to embrace the unceasing, and never satisfied, process of following after him. Being called to work out our salvation (Phil. 2:12) necessitates getting sweaty when our preference is to be comfortable. Yet, in so doing, we find great joy in this process of “becoming.” Only when you have decided what you want to be, will you be willing to do the work that exemplifies it.
KEEP TAKING IT
Posted by bobbydagnel in Uncategorized on October 26, 2022
“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it again” (John 10:17).
Pain and adversity play such a conflicting role in the human experience. Intuitively, it is something to be avoided. Experientially, however, it is the very thing that brings growth, strength, and maturity. A world champion boxer once said he doesn’t start counting the number of reps for any exercise until the pain begins, because only at this point are you confronted with the very thing that makes you a champion. Even the Son of Man recognized that the endurance of pain and suffering would take him to a place that, otherwise, would have never been realized. We need not go searching for hardship, but when it finds us, we need not run in fear. By persevering, the Father’s love shapes us into the saints he would have us to become.
Posted by bobbydagnel in Uncategorized on October 25, 2022
“So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it” (1 Chronicles 10:13).
Once you have compromised the convictions and belief of your faith, you’re just that—compromised. The willingness to compromise can often be traced to adverse circumstances. For those whose sense of well-being is linked to favorable conditions, it is these most vulnerable to compromising their values. Otherwise, like Saul, life “feels” out of control. In his desperation, instead of trusting in God’s sovereign rule, and the authority of God’s word, Saul leaned upon other “authorities” that stood in direct conflict to God’s reign. Such is the battle of the mind for every believer; will God’s word be my authoritative guide in all matters of faith and practice, or will I seek out other voices; those more accommodating to the beliefs of the modern world?
THE SHAME OF QUIET QUITTING
Posted by bobbydagnel in Uncategorized on October 24, 2022
“In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).
A 2022 Gallup Survey indicates at least half of the U.S. workforce consists of “quiet quitters”; employees who put no more effort into their jobs than absolutely necessary. With such contentment for the least-common-denominator, it presents a unique opportunity for believers to shine in the workplace. Who could have imagined a time when the virtue of seeking daily to do your very best would be such an anomaly? Let’s not forget, it was a laborer’s Son that did the work of dying on the cross for our sins. Thus, nowhere should our commitment to Him be more evident than in how we labor in the workplace.
THE POWER OF SMALLNESS
Posted by bobbydagnel in Uncategorized on October 23, 2022
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (Galatians 5:9).
Small things matter. They are foundational to the accomplishment of great things. The cumulative effect of daily committing oneself to being the presence of Christ, bearing the fruit of the Spirit at the intersection of human engagement, impacts the world for the Kingdom of God and the seeking of God’s justice in ways that far surpass the occasional advocacy of some flavor-of-the- day cause. While the ego looks to the horizon for great opportunities, the Spirit desires to be active where our feet are.
Posted by bobbydagnel in Uncategorized on October 22, 2022
“In whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things” (1 John 3:20).
Every person is keenly aware of their own heart—our sins, failures, and shortcomings. Instead of self-condemnation it should turn our hearts to God, the Righteous Judge, who knows our hearts and possesses an even greater knowledge of our infirmities. It is this awareness that leads us not to hide our sins but to confess them, that we might continue on the path of repentance, obedience, and doing the things that are pleasing to Him (v.21-22).