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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Message

One of the great signs that God exists is what He accomplishes when you aren't doing your part very well.  I have been a prime example this week.  In an attempt to keep doing my morning reading IN THE MORNING, I have struggled with my new 5 AM wakeup call, trying to read through bleary eyes and find a time to ponder it afterwards.  I know I have to pick a new time to do this right, but I am afraid that not doing it first thing will lead to it not getting done.  But this week has proved I need not fear, because despite my struggles and poor performance, God looked down on the intent, and gave us a very valuable lesson He tied together Saturday with Proverbs 22:17-21, a passage centered around this verse:
Bow down your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to My knowledge. Now that we see what He has been trying to teach all week, let's go back and see how He intends us to do it.

Monday, I was in I John 2.  This chapter brings up the subject of "antichrists"  those who pretend to be followers of Christ but are anything but.  Teaching the doctrine of the day- which involves in our day such buzz words as "tolerance", "change with the times", and "a loving God wouldn't..."- these antichrists preach conform to the norm, rather than being the light to the world, the salt to the earth, as Jesus asked.  But there is a way to expose the liars and keep your walk pure- John calls it, "abide in Him."  If you use the concordannce to flesh out the meaning of the word "abide", you get these definitions:

Stay;
continue;
dwell;
endure;
Be present;
remain;
stand;
tarry (wait for).

As you ponder those words, you see all the facets of "abide".  It includes living your life in Him, not moving from Him, enduring life with Him, standing up for Him, and waiting for Him.  It is a very powerful concept.

Tuesday, we ventured into Hebrews 11.  If you don't know your Bible well, this is a famous chapter on the Faith of the ancients and the reward it won them- a reward they KNEW they would not see in this life.
These all died by way of faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off. And they were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they who say such things declare plainly that they seek a fatherland.
And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from which they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
But now they stretch forth to a better fatherland, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (vv 14-16)

By abiding in Christ you can weed out the lies; by faith you understand the long term plan.

On Wednesday, I hit Proverbs 4, in particular the last 2 verses;

Ponder the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established.  Do not turn to the right hand nor to the left; remove your foot from evil.
Think about your choices.  WWJD has become an overused and much-mocked acronym, but it is the core of what this verse means.  Each step should be considred through Jesus.  By doing this you avoid evil.

Thursday I was in 2 Chornicles 30, where Hezekiah is trying to bring Judah back to repentance in the wake of Israel's fall and exile by the Assyrians.  At a certain point, the were trying desperately to celebrate the Passover, but had not enough time nor enough priests to get everyone ritually clean.  So Hezekiah did the one thing he could:

But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, May the good LORD pardon everyone
who prepares his heart to seek God, Jehovah, the God of his fathers, though not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
And Jehovah listened to Hezekiah and healed the people. (vv 18-20)

Through preparing their hearts, not their flesh, these people received pardon from God.  This is a well-known concept to those of us who have shared in the Lord's Supper, to pray for your heart's receptiveness beforehand.  But God wants us to do this on a constant basis, for then He will provide pardon, or in some translations, atonement.

Which brings us to Friday- a very difficult chapter, as it was Exodus 7, the story of the plague of bloody water God called down on Pharoah.  But as you look at it, a couple of important concepts emerge.  First, in v. 17 God explains that He will act in such a way that everyone will know that He is the Lord.  This has a corrolary in Romans 1:20, where Paul says everything we need to comprehend the existance and nature of God is in the natural world, creation itself, so that those who refuse to believe have no real excuse.  But God goes a step further for Pharoah; He gives him unmistakable signs, such as the blood-water.

But Pharoah, looking for excuses not to believe, has his "magicians" seem to do the same thing.  Yep, they can cause water to turn red in a bowl or a pool, too.  That was all Pharoah needed to cling to to sustain his disbelief- despite the fact that his people were being sickened by the fish dying in the river, and digging their wells ever deeper in the hopes of finding some place God hadn't affected them.  Just so, part of apply God to our lives includes the ability to see the signs that others willfully ignore.

So the answer to "How do I apply my heart to His knowledge" is this:

Abide in Him (put every part of life in His care).
Have faith, that you may understand the long-term goal.
Ponder your path; avoiding evil.
Prepare your heart every day.
Look for God's actions in your life.

In other words, go beyond worship being a Sunday thing, or a few minutes in the morning.  Makje it an everyday practice, as natural to living your life  as anything else you do.  As John said, the reward is eternal life.

1 comment:

  1. I've tried that 5 am reading bit, too, but it gave me a headache. I kept banging my head on the keyboard when I fell back asleep.

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