Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lenten Lessons--Day 8

Today's Scriptures: Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 11:29-32

The message that Jonah preached to the Ninevites and that Jesus preached to the crowds is the same one that we as Christians look at during Lent: Repent. Stop doing what you have been doing and change your ways! Sin was a problem in Nineveh. Sin was a problem in Jesus' day and sin is STILL a problem today. The bible teaches us that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Sin has been with us since the Garden of Eden and will be with us until the Lord Jesus returns.

So what can we do about it? It is way too easy to get comfortable with our sins, to say to ourselves that they really don't matter that much. It is easy to wait to deal with them. I'll deal with them tomorrow or next week or sometime in the future.

Today God lays it out plainly for us. When the day of judgment comes, which side will you be on?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lenten Lessons--Day 7

Today's Scriptures: Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 6:7-15

The Lord's Prayer (found in our Matthew passage)is not a long and wordy prayer. It is short, simple, and to the point. It is a great example for us to follow in our own prayer lives. You see, it isn't the quantity of our prayers that matter, but the quality. Also, it is important to understand that God doesn't need our prayers to realize our needs.

As we look at the Lord's Prayer, we first see that we need to pray about God's holiness, about the kingdom he has promised us, and about the fulfillment of God's will. You see, prayer isn't about us, it is about God. However, even though our primary focus is on God that doesn't mean we don't pray about ourselves. We need to pray about our dependence on God, for forgiveness, and for the perseverance to keep doing what is good and right in God's eyes. The key idea here is that EVERYTHING that really matters in our lives comes from God.

From Isaiah we learn that no divine word is without its loving effect. That means that if we pray according to the pattern that Jesus gave us, our prayer will never be without results because we are praying in the way God has instructed us to pray. If we do that, our prayer life will come alive and so will we!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lenten Lessons--Day 6

Today's Scriptures: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Mathew 25:31-46

In the Leviticus passage we learn how we are to relate to people. Truthfulness, justice, compassion, and love are the key elements here. But there is a deeper level embedded in this passage--that we do these things, not because of what we are, but because who God is! God is holy and he wants us to be like him--holy.

In the Matthew passage we see that we are to care for people--all people. When we reach out to the "least of these" we are reaching out with Christ's love in the same way Jesus reached out to these people when he walked the earth. No one should be denied our help and our love. NO ONE.

The change of heart that we are called to during Lent is not so much changing who we are as much as it is becoming more of who God has already called us to be. So, let us all take time today for "the least of these" that enter our surroundings today. Reach out with Christ's love and so fulfill what God expects of us!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lenten Lessons--Day 4

Scriptures for today: Isaiah 58:9-14; Luke 5:27-32

How good is good enough for God? The simple answer is that NONE of us will ever be able to be good enough on our own. The problem is that too many people feel that they are "good" people and that is all God requires. when those people become involved in a congregational setting, they often look down on people who are not as "good" as they are. What a joke! None of us is good, only God is good and when we take the time to really think that through it should change us. In Jesus' day the Pharisees and teachers of the law didn't "get it." When Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors they were offended.

In reality, it isn't just the needy and the oppressed, the lost and the forgotten that need to submit to God. We ALL need that submission. When it comes to salvation none of us is self-sufficient. We all need God. We can't be what God wants us to be until we realize this. And when we finally realize this, we will stop blocking our doors(either intentionally or unintentionally) to those who need God.

As we journey through Lent, let us all become as welcoming as Jesus was (and is!)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lenten Lessons--Day 3

Today's Scriptures: Isaiah 58:1-9; Matthew 9:14-15

Fasting is one of the disciplines that many people take on during Lent. I've done it myself, but now I am in a place in my life where complete fasting is not an option because of my diabetes. That is why I find the Scripture in Isaiah so important.The people in Isaiah's day were upset because they felt they had fasted and the Lord missed it! But God hadn't missed it, he instead wanted something more from them. He wasn't interested in His children going through the motions without it reaching their heart. That is why He says:
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

When we are doing these things, then we can look for the Lord and hear Him say, "I'm here!" The Lord is patiently waiting for us to give us our "religious practices" and start loving Him the way He expects!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lenten Lessons--Day 2

First of all, let me apologize that I have been neglectful of this blog. As part of my Lenten Discipline, I am going to do my best to keep up with the blogs with an emphasis on looking at a Scripture or two each day. Secondly, I am sorry that I am starting with day 2!

Scriptures to look at:Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Luke 9:22-25

These two Scriptures have one thing in common--making a decision. Everyday we face many decisions, from the mundane (what will I wear? what will I eat?) to the major (should I change careers? who should I marry?) The choices we make define us. Realizing these decisions define us, how should we choose? Are we going to choose the way that seems right to man or the way that seems right to God?

As for me, I'll take my cue from Joshua. "As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord!"