Sunday, January 20, 2008

Days 18 & 19 out of 90

Sorry, crew, for the late post tonight - we were on the road for five hours Friday and again today as we went back and forth to East Texas for a first cousin's wedding today. I had no internet in Gladewater, so I'm just now posting for yesterday and today's reading. See you in the morning for church --

Day 18/90; Exodus 36-40, Psalms 60-65, & Luke 4-6
Key Points:
  • The people of Israel obeyed all that God gave them to do, down to the smallest detail – a reminder to me that obedience matters, and that obeying quickly and fully is important to God.
  • I was impressed in Exodus 36 how the people of Israel collected more than enough gold and silver to do what God had asked them to do. This is just a reminder that God provides for His mission through the generosity of His people when they believe their giving is significant to His work.
  • I liked the end of Exodus 40 – as we complete the book and Moses completes construction of the tabernacle, God’s fills the tabernacle with His presence and glory. And Israel was led by the glory of God – exactly how I desire our church to be led – moving directly in step with God’s Spirit.
  • As I said before, the psalms challenge us to trust in God alone and in nothing else (notice Psalm 62:6 – He alone is my rock and my salvation). One fruit of a heart that trusts God is the prayerful life. One who trusts God alone cries out to Him in times of blessing and in times of trial. I have a way to go.
  • I love Psalm 63 because it describes a passionate pursuit of God that I long to have. So many of us have been lulled to sleep by religion and become self-righteous and proud – which kills our passionate intimacy with Christ.
  • Verse of the Day: Psalm 66:16: ‘Come & Listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”
  • I am always impressed that Jesus rebuke the devil with three verses from Deuteronomy. If I only had Deuteronomy to protect myself spiritually, I would be in trouble.
  • You also can’t help but notice how Jesus slips away by himself regularly to pray and be alone with God. Obvious, but needing to be said: if Jesus needs prayer time alone with God, then so do we.
Day 19/90; Leviticus 1-5, Psalms 66-71, & Luke 7-9
Key Points:

  • When I read the beginning of Leviticus, I’m reminded of the verses throughout the OT (psalms and the prophets) where God says that He doesn’t need or even want sacrifices from the people. What He wants is a contrite heart and a broken spirit – he wants repentance. Even the commands of Leviticus seem to drive at the heart – God wants them to bring their best animal, their best grain, their best oil – to show that their heart is repentant before Him. And to show that they trust Him. By giving God their best, they are saying that they trust Him with the rest.
  • Leviticus also repeats the powerful atonement theme (sacrifice for another) that will define the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. But here in Leviticus we start to grasp the seriousness of sin before God that will require the atoning death of Christ.
  • Psalm 67:1-2 is one of theme verses for my family – we pray that God will be gracious to us (because we definitely don’t deserve all the favor that He has shown us) and that we would then respond by making His name great among all the nations. He is worthy of praise from every corner of the globe.
  • Verse of the Day: Psalm 68:20: “Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”
  • Luke’s gospel at this point turns up the heat in each chapter with the tension building between Jesus and the Pharisees – the Jewish leaders always concerned with outward appearance and external legalism while Jesus is always concerned with grace and mercy and heart-change. I am constantly challenged by this difference, especially as a religious leader. We all need to make sure that we get more complaints about being a “friend of sinners” than we do about “keeping the outside of the cup clean.”
  • Luke continues to weave together the joint themes of faith and obedience (as do all the gospels). Our faith in the person of Jesus (who He is) and the power of God (what He can do) should lead us to obey whole-heartedly. The two are not in conflict – they build on each other.

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