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Offline geronimo

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Thought provoking
« on: Fri Dec 14, 2018 - 09:53:51 »
 Good morning, or whatever part of the day it is. :-)
 
 I have made a few posts from the reflections of a friend of mine. Today, and noticing this section for the first time, I decided to post the whole of todays offering.  Thought provoking to say the least.

Luke 1:26-28 New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; [a]blessed are you among women!”

 

Pasted from <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NKJV&search=Luke%201:26-28>

 

This selection is the Verse of the Day on www.BibleGateway.com .  Have you ever thought how disruptive this announcement was to Mary's life?  In today's world, she and Joseph would have gone on dates and out to eat.  Maybe they would have gone to the movies, or to the mall to hang out.  Suddenly, all that changed the instant Mary said, "Yes," to God's invitation.  In Mary and Joseph's world, they may have never met face to face, the marriage having been arranged by their parents. 

 

You and I for the most part simply ask God to bless our plans, do we not?  How would our lives be different, yours, mine, if we were to ask God what He wants and what His plans for us include?  To be certain, I am not advocating stopping what you are doing to go into "seeking the will of God for my life" mode.  That is, do not do that unless you cannot find anything worthwhile to do from the opportunities and options that already present themselves.  One of the reasons that I believe that you and I should continue to do what is before us, even if we are seeking direction from the Lord is that you cannot impart direction to a body that is either at rest or simply going in circles or spinning your wheels.  But, if you and I are moving forward with the things that are at hand, then we can be steered by God.  If we simply stand and wait, we may spin round and round but we do not get anywhere until and unless we move forward.

 
To say the above in a different way, we should do what our hands find to do even if we are waiting for a word from God to impart direction.  Do not be surprised if God's plans and invitations are disruptive.  If it were the ordinary, day-to-day of our lives, we do not need an invitation to do those things because we are or should be already doing them.  Thus, we can expect that if God gives you or me an assignment, it will require changing our "normal" to align with His agenda.

 

Mary's invitation from God, extended to her by Gabriel, caused her to be a traveler, going to Egypt from Bethlehem, and ultimately back to Nazareth.  She was present at the crucifixion, so it seems that she followed Jesus' travels at least some of the time.  His invitations to you and me may cause us to be more engaged where we already are.  Our pastor regularly reminds me that there are more unchurched people than ever before right in the city and county where we are.  We all have something we can be doing while we wait to hear from the Lord.

 

 

Father, thank You that You do have plans and purposes for me.  May I too be "about my Father's business" even as the boy Jesus told Mary and Joseph when asked why He had remained in Jerusalem after the feast.  Open my eyes Lord to what is at hand.  If my heart needs to be broken to teach me to recognize the pain of others, so be it.  Please be gentle Father because I know it will hurt.  Convict me of my indifference to the needs to which I should be ministering.  Teach me to see people with needs rather than problems.  If Your plans for me and Your call include things that will be disruptive, lead me that I may be sensitive to Your direction.  Please grant today that I may receive such measure of Your Holy Spirit that I will be enabled to live in a manner that honors You and that strengthens the effect of Your kingdom in my world.  In the name of Jesus, may these things be so.

 



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Thought provoking
« on: Fri Dec 14, 2018 - 09:53:51 »

Offline geronimo

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Re: Thought provoking
« Reply #1 on: Tue Feb 26, 2019 - 12:04:03 »
From the same guy. Just sharing.

Romans 14:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Law of Liberty

14 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

 

Pasted from <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+14%3A1-4&version=NKJV>

 

Are we judgmental?  Jesus notably said:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  Matthew 7:1-5 [NKJV]

 

The line in today's text from Romans 14 that has always brought me up short is Who are you to judge another's servant?  This is not referring to the world at large but to fellow Christ-followers.  The subject in question was whether it was sinful to eat meat that had been offered as sacrifice to pagan gods.  We may think that most of the animals sacrificed on altars were presented as whole burnt offerings, and though some were, most were essentially butchered to be eaten except for the portions burned on the altar.  For Israel, the parts offered were the blood and the fat portions.  There were certain parts of the animal sacrificed that became the property of the priest.  The meat that Paul is talking about here is that from animals offered as sacrifices in pagan temples.  Apart from the portions offered to the pagan deity, the rest was sold in what amounted to a butcher shop.  Paul is addressing the issue that some who had come to Christ from having worshipped the pagan god and having offered such sacrifices themselves could not eat meat from such a source without violating their consciences.  Others has no such scruples.  He is enjoining the one who eats to not condemn the one who is not able to for conscience's sake, nor should the one cannot eat condemn the one who could eat without violating his conscience.

 

I am certain that you can take this teaching of Paul and apply that to situations today where some feel liberty to do a thing that others do not, referring to something not specifically addressed in scripture.  Case in point: I do not purchase lottery tickets.  If you do, I do not condemn you.  If you win the Mega Millions, I will probably wrestle with the question about whether you should share the largesse with your brother in Christ.

 

Another case in point:  I grew up in a tradition that does not believe that it is authorized to use musical instruments in the worship assembly.  One who holds that view cannot participate in an assembly where other than vocal music is used without violating his conscience and obviously should not.  Does not Jesus' teaching, as well as Paul's instruction from today's text, plainly teach  that we should grant one another liberty where there is no direct "Thus saith the Lord"?  I believe it does.  Thus neither should condemn the other.

 

I merely use that as an example of something that has affected me personally.  The larger and perhaps more pertinent question is that of our attitude.  Do we hold judgmental attitudes without even realizing it?  I suspect that we all do in our own particular ways.  Do we draw conclusions about a person's character by the way they dress?  What beverages they consume?  You can make your own list.  The point Paul is making here is that we should work diligently to behave according to our own conscience and understandings and leave others to do the same.  Jesus said of our judging of others, For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

 

If our only hope is the mercy and grace of God, how then can you and I not be likewise merciful toward others?

 

Father, please remove the logs in my eye that I may see clearly.  I once asked You how I do that, and You said that I should cry the logs out of my eyes.  Grant me effective tears of repentance for where I have been unmerciful and a withholder of grace to others when I am utterly lost apart from Your mercy and grace.  I am praising You anew today for the blood of Jesus which washes my sin away and allows me to have Your Spirit live in me.  Grant me then today Father such measure of Your Holy Spirit that I may have Your eyes of compassion and mercy in my dealings with others.  May I live today by Your Holy Spirit's leading that I may honor You in what I do and say.  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.  In the name of Jesus, may these things be so.