Archive for February, 2013

Sitting Around The Table (Exodus 11:1-12:20; Luke 14)

February 28, 2013

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old.  You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the 14th day of the month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.”  Exodus 12:5-6

And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house will be filled.'” Luke 14:23

One of my favorite things to do is to sit around the table with family and friends and  simply talk.  Over the years our dinning room table has hosted many glorious moments as God was teaching us. Today he continues to teach us many things.

Imagine as the people of God gathered around the table to partake of the sacrificial lamb in Exodus 12. In a few short hours the Death Angel would come and destroy all the firstborn sons of Egypt, but because of the blood of the Lamb, God’s people would be spared.  This is the true meaning of Passover (Jesus becoming our passover lamb).

Imagine as the disciples gathered around a table with Jesus that was set by a Pharisee.  Here Jesus sets forth a situation that needed an answer and here Jesus sets forth two stories that needed an answer.  Jesus teaches us how important it is to be humble as we come to His table and how important it is to call others to His table.

Oh how blessed my family is as we sit around the table:

1.  Because of the blood of the Lamb we sit around the table in forgiveness, favor, and with a future.

2. Because of the love of Jesus we sit around the table knowing we are only there by his grace.  We sit around the table knowing we are to compel people to come to grace so that they can sit around the table as well.

Question, “Do you ever sit around the table and do you ever call others to the table?”  Oh how I want to encourage you to do these things simply because of the blood and love of Jesus Christ.

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Something We All Need (Exodus 10; Luke 13)

February 27, 2013

They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived,”  Exodus 10:23

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  Luke 13:5

“If only Egypt could have seen where she was headed.”  This statement rang through my mind as I read Exodus 10.  Here was a nation that has been devastated by its rebellion and still she would not repent.

In Luke 13 Jesus makes clear our need for light.  When the light comes on in a person’s life, they discover the great needs in their life. In Luke 13 we discover no less than 4 great needs:

1.  The need for repentance, Vs: 1-5

All men are sinners.  All men need a Savior.

2.  The need for Mercy,  Vs: 6-9

In the illustration of the fig tree we see the mercy of God in not judging men in the immediate moment of failure.  He gives us mercy instead of wrath.

3.  The need for Liberation, Vs: 10-21

Every day of the week belongs to the Lord and He works in His people 7 days a week.  Growth comes to our lives because we have been liberated to become a part of His kingdom work.

4.  The need for an Open Door, Vs: 22-30

When we repent and seek his mercy, liberation comes as we realize He (Jesus) is the door into heaven.  We submit and stand in the strength of that door.

Question, “Have you received these things from God?”  Luke 13 ends with Jesus weeping over those who would not receive these things.  I wonder, “Does the Lord weep because of the way we try to meet our own needs instead of humbly accepting his meeting of our needs?”

Today, I rejoice in the fact that all my needs have been met.  Both my spiritual and physical needs have been gloriously met in Jesus.  This is why I am able to say, “I am seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  I have no distractions when my needs are met.  Oh that you and I would gain the truth of this statement!  When we do, the light will be shinning in all our dark places.

 

The Difference (Exodus 9; Luke 12)

February 26, 2013

“But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Egypt shall die,” Exodus 9:4

“But I warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed has authority to cast into hell.  Yes, i tell you, fear him!”  Lk 12:5

Recently my youngest son has gotten hooked on an old Tv Program called, “Different Strokes.”  The plot of the program is about two African-American boys who have been adopted by a white man and his daughter.  Certainly the show gives a clear view of racism in the late 1970’s and early 80’s.  To all who knew this family there was a clear distinction that not everyone had the same biological parents.

Question, “When people look at your life, the things you say and the things you do, can they spot any difference in your life that would let them know that you are a child of God?”  When we consider Israel in Exodus 9 we see the difference as the plagues were now afflicting Egypt, but missing them.  God’s people were protected because they were His chosen people.

In Luke 12 we find Jesus teaching many things about the difference in the Christians life.  But the one teaching that stands above all others is Luke 12:4-7. Here Jesus gives us a gentle reminder to not fear man, but to fear (Reverence God).  Our God has sent his son so that we do not have to fear what men can do to us. Death is no longer a weapon in our enemies hands because in Christ we have victory over death.

Wow.  You and I have a clear difference in our lives:

1.  We have God’s favor instead of God’s wrath which is pictured in Exodus 9.

2.  We have God’s love instead of God’s wrath which is pictured in Luke 12: 4-8.

Brothers and sisters may we focus on the difference God has made in our lives.  May we focus on being disciplined  to grow in both his favor and love.  Consider Philippians 2:12-16 as further reading on the difference you and I are to display in this world.

In Need Of Prayer (Exodus 8, Luke 11)

February 23, 2013

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, thus says the Lord, let my people go, that they may serve me.”  Exodus 8:1

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”  Luke 11:1

Question, “Are you in need of prayer?”  I can certainly always say, “yes,” I am in need of prayer.  The people in Exodus 8 needed prayer.  They were in the midst of 10 plaques coming against their enemy (The people of Egypt).  They needed prayer for faithfulness and they needed prayer for clarity in obeying all that Moses said.

In Luke 11, Jesus is modeling for his disciples the discipline of prayer.  As He is praying, Jesus disciples come to him with a request, “teach us to pray.”  R. C. Sproul writes, “Religious teachers were expected to teach their disciples to pray.”

In the first 11 verses we find a model for praying:

1.  Pray with praise and submission to our Sovereign Lord 

2.  Pray with petition that has substance to a Holy God

3.  Pray with purity seeking cleansing for sin

4. Pray with purity in forgiving others

5.  Pray with passion to be protected from your enemies

6.  Pray with praise for the God who does all these things and so much more

At this point, I can hear some of your thoughts, “I tried this and it did not work.” “I asked God and he did not answer.”  Notice the illustrations of God’s love in response in Vs: 5-13.  We serve a great God who will answer all who belong to him.  We must be pointed (Pray the way he requires) and persistent (Ask, seek, and knock) in our prayers.  Then and only then will the door of response come to you!!!

Key-The God who delivered Israel from Egypt and the God who died on the cross for us is the same God now as he was then.  So, talk with him about all of your troubles this very moment.

Lord, Help Me to Follow (Exodus 5; Luke 8)

February 22, 2013

“Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go…” Exodus 5:1

“One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and she said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” Luke 8:22

Years ago I found myself in a most uncomfortable place.  I had just climbed to the top of a pole (That seemed to be 50 feet in the air).  I was at a training camp with 50 other pastors.  I had a harness and ropes tied to me.  I was to jump off the pole and allow the men to ease me down.  This was a team building exercise.  I can still remember thinking, “Lord, what have I gotten myself into?”

This morning we find Moses standing before Pharaoh (Exodus 5).  I wonder if he was thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”  In this passage we see the conflict beginning that will end with God’s glorious victory for his people.  However, there were tough moments along the journey.

This morning we also find Jesus disciples facing a broad range of situations (Luke 8).  Without doubt they were thinking, “What has Jesus gotten us into.”  We see this clearly when they come to Jesus in the boat and they say, “Lord we are perishing.”  

In each case there is a wonderful truth that rings clear, “Those who follow Christ will discover glorious thinks about God.”  Question, “How well do you and I follow the Lord?”

Consider the scene in Luke 8: 16-24:

I.  The disciples set out with Jesus

Jesus always will place us in circumstances that are set out for our understanding.  Even though we often do not understand.

2.  The disciples speak out to Jesus

In the test, they confess their inability to make it.  But they also confess their doubt in Jesus concern for their test.  How often do we question Jesus when He leads us into the storm?

3. The disciples stand out before Jesus

Jesus calms the storm and calls out the disciples, “Where is your faith?”  In the storms it is revealed where we stand with Jesus.

This morning I cry out to our Lord, “Help me to follow you anywhere and everywhere you lead. Help me to follow in faith, seeking to grow and go for your glory.”

Brothers and sisters, “Take some time and talk to God about your moment of testing.”  Cry out, “Lord, help me to follow you!”

It depends on your Viewpoint (Exodus 4; Luke 7)

February 21, 2013

Then the Lord said, “Who has made man’s mouth?  What makes him, or deaf, or seeing, or blind?”  Is it not I, the Lord?  Exodus 4:11

Lord do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under mu roof.”  Luke 7:6

“It look’s good from here.”  This was the commentary that came from my lips last fall during a high school football game.  On this evening I thought I had a clear view from my broadcast position, but to my surprise, the officials by the goal-post signaled no good.  In that moment, I was humbled to have to say, “I had the wrong viewpoint.”

In a much more significant way, you and I make judgment calls about life based upon our viewpoints.  Consider for a moment Moses viewpoint in Exodus 4.  God is calling Moses back to Egypt.  He would become God’s mouthpiece in the deliverance of his people.  But Moses had a different viewpoint. He was focused on his own inabilities when he should have been focusing on God’s ability.  “Your viewpoint makes all the difference!!!”

Consider the different viewpoints of the five 5 people Luke writes about in Luke 7:

1.  The Centurion-Jesus, a man of authority, 7:1-10

2.  The Widow-Jesus, the one who raises the dead, 7:11-17

3.  The messengers of John the Baptist-Jesus, the healer, 7:18-29

4.  The Pharisee-Jesus the false prophet, 7:30-39

5.  The sinful woman-Jesus, the one who forgives sin, 7:40-56

The viewpoints of these people are all correct, except # 4.  In each case we find a description of Jesus based upon their viewpoint.  Theirs was not a grandstand view or a press box view (As was mine).  Theirs was a first-hand view-point of a Holy God who is everything they said, plus more than we could ever imagine.

Today, I want to challenge you to expand your viewpoint of who Jesus is.  Maybe you ask, “How can I do this?”  You must become a serious student of His Word and you must become a serious disciple who both invests in prayer and in daily walking as he would have you to walk.

For further study:  Matthew 16:21-34; Ephesians 4:17-24

The Voice We are Desperate To Hear (Exodus 3, Luke 6)

February 20, 2013

“When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses,”  Exodus 3:4

And He lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said; ‘blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God,'”  Luke 6:20

My phone said, “one voice mail,” but I could not get the voicemail to play.  I tried over and over to get it to play.  To add more frustration, I received a text from the person who had sent me the voicemail.  Here was their text, “Did you listen to my voice mail?”  At this point I grew very concerned that the message had great value.

Question, “When God speaks, through His Word, do you have a great concern for the value of his message?”  It seems that people are more and more concerned with the knowledge that comes through men and less and less concerned about the knowledge that comes from God.

Consider two passages:

1.  In Exodus 3, God speaks to Moses

Moses turns to see the one who speaks (The All-consuming God), Vs: 1-6.  Moses has reverence before this all-consuming God, Vs: 7-22.  But at the same time, Moses has not learned to trust the voice that speaks to him.

2.  In Luke 6, Jesus speaks to His disciples

In this extended time (Sermon on the Mount), Jesus addresses 5 areas of their lives:  A. The attitudes God blesses, Vs: 20-23, B.  The attitudes God does not bless, Vs: 24-26, C.  Our attitude toward our enemy, Vs: 27-36,  D.  Our attitudes in relationships, Vs: 37-38, and finally E. God’s assessment of our righteousness, Vs: 39-44.

In both these passages we come away with a clear picture of how we are to respond to the voice of God:  “We are to respond with sensitivity to his voice and we are to respond in surrender to his voice.”

His voice directs us to solid paths with a sure future.  But we must be sensitive toward the voice.  What would have happened if Moses would have ignored the voice?  What will happen if we ignore His voice?  In both cases all who hear will end up on slippery paths that have sure failure ahead.

Listen to the voice of God!!!

A Different Job Awaits (Exodus 2; Luke 5)

February 19, 2013

“The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months,”  Exodus 2:2

“And Jesus said to Simon, do not be afraid; from now own you will be catching men,”  Luke 5:10

Could it be possible that you are not going to finish your life in the way you thought you would?  Most likely you and I both do not know when and how we will finish out our days on the earth.  However, we take great heart in knowing that God does know and He has a plan set for those that will honor Him.

Consider both the Parents of Moses (Exodus 2) and the Disciples (Luke 5).  Moses parents had no clue that God would give them a child that would lead Israel from bondage.  All they knew was that their God loved them and they were walking in faithfulness. God’s plans were fulfilled because of their obedience.  The Disciples were not even following Jesus when He met them, but now they were following Him.  On this day (Luke 5) they would receive this great call to be full-time disciples.  Little did they know that a different job awaited them.

Maybe you find yourself in a place where you really do not know what is ahead.  Take heart, God has better in store for you than you mind can handle.  Moses would lead 2 million people and the Disciples would lead the first church.  All they knew was that God had a plan and they were to walk in obedience to that plan.

Here were Peters last words before his death, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  II Peter 3:18.  This is my prayer for you this day.

Trials and temptations (Exodus 1; Luke 4)

February 18, 2013

“Now there arose a new King in Egypt who did not know Joseph,”  Exodus 1:8

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for 40 days, being tempted by the Devil.”  Luke 4:1-2A

Yes, “Everyone has trials and temptations,”  including you and I.  Today’s more for Christ readings both include great trials and temptations:

Consider Israel in Exodus 1

The nation is formed in Vs: 1-7.  God has preformed what he predicted (A great nation).  The nation is feared, Vs: 8-22.  The king did not favor God nor his people.  He feared that God’s people who rise up so he begins a process to destroy all male babies.  However the real King provided a way of escape.  In the midst of trials and temptation, God always makes a way of escape.

Consider Jesus, Lk 4:1-13

Jesus is tempted by Satan and Jesus overcome Satan.  As we read these verses we notice two things:

1.  Everyday temptations:  Jesus was tempted by physical desires (Would he make his own food from a rock).   Jesus was faced with positional desires (Would he chose to become the leader of this world).  Jesus was faced with prideful desires (The world could see his power).  Jesus overcame Satan, and by doing so he was able to give us a pattern of victory in our trials and temptations.

Question:  How was Jesus able and how was Israel able to overcome?  They were both committed to the power of the Word of God.  Both believed in the power and promises of the word.  The one difference was in that Jesus was the Living Word.

This day, the Lord desires for you to bring your trials and temptations before him, Hebrews 2:18, 4:16-18.  This day the Lord desires for you and I to walk as He walked.  In your trials allow God to be God!!!

The Songs of the Blessed (Genesis 48; Luke 1:39-80)

February 15, 2013

“By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying, ‘God make you as Ephraim and Manasseh.'”  Genesis 49:29

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Luke 1:46

Recently I was trying to watch TV in our bedroom.  However it was virtually impossible because of the noise coming from our bathroom.  Our youngest son, commonly known as King John, was taking a shower. As he showered he was singing to the top of his voice.  Finally it ended and a few minutes later, he burst through the door and asked, “Dad, did you like my singing?”   

Question, “What have you been singing lately?”  In both Genesis 48 and Luke 1 we find examples of the songs of the blessed.  Jacob was blessed to have generations to follow him.

In Luke’s account we find several songs of blessing:

1. Elizabeth song, Vs: 39-45

2.  Mary’s song, Vs: 45-56

3.  Zechariah’s son, Vs: 67-80

I want to encourage you to see the beauty of the blessings we receive because of our understanding about these songs.  I also want to encourage you to consider the blessings God has given you.

When John asked, “Dad, how did you like my singing?”  I had to be honest and say, “I loved it,” because of the one who was singing.  In the same way the song in my heart today is one of blessing because of the one I am singing about.

Take some time to write down what He is doing in your life and who He is in your life.  To your surprise you will have a song of praise.  Now that you have it, share it with others.