Impress them on your children

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭6:5-9‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Source: http://bible.com/113/deu.6.5-9.nivuk

God’s Word needs to permeate our existence.

Doing ministry Jesus’ way

“He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks: where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.’ They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.” – Luke‬ ‭22:10-13‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

This is a beautiful example doing ministry Jesus’ way, i.e. the natural and the supernatural completely interwoven.

  1. Jesus obviously talked to the people who owned the house previously about celebrating the Passover in this location. This shows that there are things we have to do in the natural to prepare for future ministry. However, we need to trust Jesus to help us make the right connections. The disciples meeting the man with the jar is evidence that He is God since only God can orchestrate such “coincidence”.
  2. Jesus is making preparations for us to serve Him in ministry. We need to listen to Him and act in faith. If we do, we will “things just as Jesus tells us”.

Living in a time of entitlement

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭17:1‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Why did Jesus only take Peter, James and John with him up the mountain? Wouldn’t the other disciples also have benefited from being part of the transfiguration experience? Was it unfair to only let a few benefit? In today’s culture of entitlement and self-glorification, it may seem an unjust call from Jesus.

However, the Holy Spirit immediately reminded me of Paul’s image of the church as the body of Christ. We are all members of the body but we have different functions within the body. This means that we will not all have the same experiences and it is not reasonable to expect all of us to enjoy the same opportunities. May God give us the willingness to submit to His lordship and trust that He knows what experiences will help us become more like Christ.

God requires obedience

But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.’ (‭1 Samuel‬ ‭15‬:‭22-23‬ NIVUK)

When God gives us instructions, we need to carry them out to the letter – even if it is hard. Scripture is filled with many instructions that are hard to carry out but these instructions lead to abundant life. Saul’s disobedience here marks the end of his kingship.

Holy Spirit, please move my heart to be willing to obey Your Word.

Genesis 8

Obedience cultivates patience . . . or does patience cultivate obedience . . . mmm . . . one thing is clear from this Scripture: Noah was a patient, obedient, thankful man. I wonder what he would have thought of our ‘instant everything’ culture. I think that this culture makes it hard for us to wait on God in obedience. If God doesn’t answer us or act on a request right away, we may think that He probably didn’t hear us, or we are not important enough, or He just doesn’t care . . . However, most of the time He is probably working out an answer to our request in a grand, glorious manner but when, because of our impatience, we take matters in our own hands, we may miss the marvelous answer He intended.

Noah is perfectly human. He makes his own investigation into the state of the post flood earth by sending out a raven and a dove. Then when the dove doesn’t return, Noah removes the covering from the ark, and see that the earth is dry. He still doesn’t leave the ark though. He waits on God’s command. Wow! Can you imagine the temptation to leave the ark after all of the months stuck inside?! From this I learn that it is ok to wonder whether God is finished working out His plan, as long as we don’t try to rush that plan into completion. Perhaps obedience cultivates patience then . . . 🙂

Noah knows how to say thank you. The first thing that He does after God sees him, his family, and all the living organisms on the ark through this trial is to thank God. God is so pleased by his thankful, humble response that He promises never to “curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done” as long as the earth exists. God extends His grace, giving humankind what we do not deserve, and His mercy, not giving us what we deserve.

It is important to remember that the Bible teaches that there is a day when the earth will cease to exist. One of the commentaries on biblestudytools.net ties Genesis 8 with this passage from 2 Peter: “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” Christians are looking forward to the day when everything will be restored to its proper order. Are you ready for it?

Genesis 6

The first few chapters of Genesis are filled with all kinds of fascinating accounts. When it comes to the interpretation of these accounts, Bible scholars differ on what exactly some passages may mean. Fortunately these puzzling passages don’t detract from the main meaning of the passage, the book, the testament it is found in, or the Bible. Since the Bible don’t say much to clarify these passages, I have to assume that a detailed understanding of these passages is not that important.

Genesis 6 talks about ‘sons of God’, ‘daughters of men’, and ‘Nephilim’. The NETBible explains it as follows: “The Hebrew phrase translated “sons of God” (בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים, bÿne-ha’elohim) occurs only here (Gen 6:2, 4) and in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. There are three major interpretations of the phrase here. (1) In the Book of Job the phrase clearly refers to angelic beings. In Gen 6 the “sons of God” are distinct from “humankind,” suggesting they were not human. This is consistent with the use of the phrase in Job. Since the passage speaks of these beings cohabiting with women, they must have taken physical form or possessed the bodies of men. An early Jewish tradition preserved in 1 En. 6-7 elaborates on this angelic revolt and even names the ringleaders. (2) Not all scholars accept the angelic interpretation of the “sons of God,” however. Some argue that the “sons of God” were members of Seth’s line, traced back to God through Adam in Gen 5, while the “daughters of humankind” were descendants of Cain. But, as noted above, the text distinguishes the “sons of God” from humankind (which would include the Sethites as well as the Cainites) and suggests that the “daughters of humankind” are human women in general, not just Cainites. (3) Others identify the “sons of God” as powerful tyrants, perhaps demon-possessed, who viewed themselves as divine and, following the example of Lamech (see Gen 4:19), practiced polygamy. But usage of the phrase “sons of God” in Job militates against this view. For literature on the subject see G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:135.” Fascinating, eh?

Again we read of a man, Noah, who ‘walked with God’ (compare Enoch in Genesis 5), which stood in stark contrast with the rest of humankind at this point in the universe’s history: “God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. As mentioned in a previous posting, the direct translation of ‘walked with God’ is ‘to rub shoulders with’, which can be translated to ‘live in close proximity to’ or ‘maintain cordial relations with’. As a result of his relationship with God, he and his family will be saved from God’s judgment on the evilness of humankind. Let us pray that the Lord will raise up (and protect) Godly husbands that can give their families the spiritual guidance they need to be right with God.

I think it is not too much of a stretch to say that because Noah ‘walked with God’, it wasn’t hard for him to follow God’s instructions, as strange as they might have sounded. How often we complain that we cannot hear the voice of God. Might it just be that we are not ‘walking with God’ as we should be, and that that is the reason we are not hearing Him?

Another component of ‘walking with God’ is being obedient to Him, recognizing that since He is God, He knows what is best. We read in the text that “Noah did everything just as God commanded him“. Are we willing to be that humble? Western thought encourages individualism to such a strong degree, that it interferes with our ability to humbly obey our Creator . . .