Kingdoms, Kings, and How To Be A Good One

20120331-065216.jpgKingdoms, Kings, and How To Be A Good One

March 31, 2012 Bible Reading

Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20
Luke 9:7-27
Psalms 72:1-20
Proverbs 12:8-9

Old Testament
God is still laying out culture for Israel through Moses in Deuteronomy today. He says:

be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. (Deuteronomy 17:15-17 NIV)

As we will see, the Kings we will read about very soon all seem to break at least one of these instructions.

It’s easy to sit back and say “How could they miss this! God Told them.” Then I think about all of the things God has told me to do that I missed. Where in “my kingdom” have I missed my mark?

New Testament

Jesus says:
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27 NIV)

That came true when Jesus showed his Glory. Do you remember when James and John asked him:

“Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” (Mark 10:37, 38 NIV)

His Glory or His Kingdom is one of service, of sacrifice, of fighting evil with The Word, of resurrection, and of faith. Some of the people standing there saw all of that.

If Jesus truly lives in me, then I can show his Kingdom too, right? His Kingdom is not only the things listed above, but also us, the subjects of His Kingdom. We are His Kingdom.

Psalms
King David is one of my heroes in the Bible too. He was a man of noble character, wise, strong, anointed by God to be King. Even God said he was a man after God’s own heart. He did make some major boo boos, but still did some amazing things in The Spirit of God.

In Psalms, we see David’s final Psalm and it’s about a King. No doubt when he wrote it people must have thought, “this guys is full of himself”. I don’t know about you but to me it seems prophetic about the King that would sit on the Throne in Heaven forever. I believe David was writing about Jesus with a form of aspiration. It’s like David is telling us how The Great King will be.

Great Segway to King Solomon’s writing in Proverbs.

Proverbs

Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
than pretend to be somebody and have no food. (Proverbs 12:9 NIV)

That’s just how Jesus rolls. He served to lead. He didn’t pretend to be great. He served and He was and IS Great.

What do you think?
I would love to know what you think. Thanks to all of my commenters. You guys help me to see why God has asked me to do this.

Today’s Resource
Daily Audio Bible

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The Power of Faith

20120330-194129.jpgThe Power of Faith

Today’s Reading:
Deuteronomy 13:1-15:23
Luke 8:40-9:6
Psalms 71:1-24
Proverbs 12:5-7

Luke
Today in Luke, we read about how Jesus healed the woman that had been bleeding for 12 years. First of all, think about it for a moment. How awful would be for a woman to endure (or her husband for that matter)?

The woman believed that if she only touched Jesus’ cloak that she would be healed. That’s exactly what happened too. Jesus recognized right away that “Power had gone out from Him”.

Couldn’t Jesus have healed her without her believing in Him if Jesus really was God? Of course He could and can. He’s God’s Son. He is God in the flesh.

Jesus healed this woman this way to illustrate the Power of Faith. He called her out of the crowd and made it a point highlight her miracle for a reason. There were many reasons I’m sure, but one that jumped out at me today. He did it to highlight her healing to the people in the crowd and for Bible readers like us for centuries to come. He did it to show that regardless of our cleanliness that God loves us and can heal us by the power of our faith.

This lady had been bleeding for 12 years! No doctors could heal her. She had spent all of her money trying to get healed and nothing. Jesus was all she had left. Her faith in God. She was at the end of her rope and that is where she found God (that sounds familiar). Nothing was going to stop her from getting to Him.

Remember that according to the law of this crowd a bleeding woman was “unclean” and anyone who touched her was “unclean”. Jesus turned the spotlight on this by calling her out of the crowd. In His cunning, Jesus shows us that no matter how “unclean” we are that if we drop our Faith in everything else and cry out to Him, that we can be healed.

Of course I mean the healing of our natural bodies, but not just that. When we get to the end of our rope and cry out to Him not only is our Faith where it should be, but it’s stronger and more concentrated too. Think about it. When we drop our faith in this pill, or that food, or simply the power of “me” to get it all done alone then we have a more concentrated form of our Faith. We’ve dropped everything else and we are clinging to God. Our Faith is more concentrated in the One that can heal Our Spirit, Soul, and Body, Our Heart, Mind, and Will. Then we can be healed by our Faith.

A Noble Wife… There’s An App For That?

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A Noble Wife… There’s An App For That?

Today’s Reading:
Deuteronomy 11:1-12:34
Luke 8:22-39
Psalms 70:1-5
Proverbs 12:4

There’s a lot going on in today’s reading. Moses sets forth a blessing and a curse, Jesus rebukes the wind and rain AND a naked, demon-possessed man. That’s a lot by itself. However, there’s a passage in Proverbs that jumped out at me today. (Good thing it wasn’t that naked, demon-possessed dude. That would have ruined my coffee.)

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4 NIV)

Just sayin’…

Full Disclosure
My wife is definitely a jewel in my crown, but that’s not what this passage is about… to me.

Seriously though. We as the Body of Christ are His Church. Believers in Christ are his Church and His Church is referred to as Jesus’ Bride throughout the Bible. Rather than doing what I used to do with this Proverb which was to take it, Bible open and pointing, to my wife and say “see what it says!” I try not to do that now. I could write a book on how NOT to act. (hey… maybe that’s an idea.) That’s what I used to do when I found something I wanted to use to “change” someone else. Instead, I’m learning to look within to make changes and look outside to respond to others needs. I did mention I am learning, right?

Regardless, looking at ourselves as members of the Body of Christ, we are the Bride of The Bridegoom. Therefore, acting nobly in our character is a way to make God smile! I like that better. I certainly get more smiles that way than I do running to Amber with Bible open saying, “See what it says!”.

Download the App Below and do a search for “bride”. When you read through the scriptures think about it from the perspective that Jesus is the Bridegroom and his Church is his Bride.

Bible Resource Alert!
One of the best Bible Apps I know of is YouVersion. It allows you to search for partial phrases and go right to where that phrase is used in the Bible. For me that helps to see where the same message transcends centuries from Moses to Isaiah to Jesus to Paul (you get the idea). You can bookmark and make notes to refer to.

Ever see one of those “disrespectful” whipper-snappers in church “texting” away on their phones during the service? Chances are they are actually doing more in the Bible than those folks “people watching” in church. 😉 They’re probably using YouVersion to make notes from the service.

Pretty sure it’s available for any smartphone and for the ipad. Use this link and try it out.

Water Your Roots

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Deep Roots

Today we read about Jesus’ parable on the Farmer Sowing Seeds. “How is this relevant to me today?”, you ask. I can’t answer that. Only you can. Before we can get into that, let’s take see what today’s reading is.

Today’s Reading:
Dueteronomy 9:1-10:22
Luke 8:4-21
Psalms 69:19-36
Proverbs 12:2-3

You can readi it or listen to it on your own, but I’ll provide a couple of excerpts today. So go grab that dusty book on the shelf or use one of the links above to dive in today.

Today’s Message To Me
In the Old Testament, Moses recounts the history of Israel’s trials in the desert and describes the culture they have been given from God. The Ten Commandments were inscribed by the Finger of God. Establishing “roots” for His People.

In Luke today, Jesus tells the parable of the Farmer Sowing Seeds. This is what grabbed my attention. Jesus illustrates how believers are by showing four places that his seed (He says His seed is his Word). In John 1:1, We see that Jesus IS the Word. So, what about these four places his word falls?
The Path
Those that have heard The Word, but become deceived by the devil and stop believing.
The Rock
Those that hear The Word and receive The Word with joy, but because of the lack of Roots (in the Word) they fall away quickly in times of testing.
The Thorns
Those that hear, but allow themselves to be choked by the business of life and their own desires. For that reason they never mature in Christ or the Word.
The Good Soil
Those that hear the Word, receive it, hold on to it in times of testing, base their lives in it with their Roots, and don’t get distracted by their own lives and desires. Those produce good fruit.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt like I’ve been each one of those from time to time.

Here it comes… My favorite part of reading God’s Word everyday. The part where He dynamically ties it all together for us.

No one can be established through wickedness,
but the righteous cannot be uprooted. (Proverbs 12:3 NIV)

The Message I Got
Grow your roots strong, ground them in my Word, use them in your times of testing for encouragement and self defense, and you will not be uprooted.

That’s what I got out of it today… What do you get? Leave a Comment and share with the rest of us.

Does My Holy GPS Needs New Maps?

20120327-064435.jpgToday’s Reading:
Deuteronomy: 7:1 – 8:20
Luke: 7:36 – 8:3
Psalms: 69:1-18
Proverbs: 12:1

Today, one thing stood out to me the most in the reading. I love the story of Jesus showing mercy to the woman washing his feet with her tears, but that’s not what jumped out at me today. Nope, this is what got me today:

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1 NIV)

Proverbs has a way of filleting you to the bone. In my life, I’ve seen A LOT of discipline. My “Skinny Granny” used to tell me that I was hard-headed as child. She was also a wise woman…

I have dealt with much discipline in life. It’s hard to “love discipline” as a human being. It is human nature not to enjoy being disciplined. However, as new creations in Christ, we can begin to accept discipline for what it is, a correction of course. That’s right. Just a simple correction of course. A Holy Spirit GPS telling us… “Right turn ahead”. The good news is The Holy Spirt won’t need its maps updated.

As a new creation in Christ, the corrections I’ve received become less about the pain I feel as I’m going through the correction and more about the destination I see beyond the pain. That does make it easier to bear for me.

I’ve had discipline in the form of an 8th Grade Football coach asking me if I was going to quit. That hurt me. I was not a quitter. So, I didn’t quit. I became a captain on my team. It’s come in the form a College Professor telling me I was going to be serving fries for the rest of my life. I used to hate that guy. Now I love him because his haunting voice drove me to live up to my potential. Correction has come in the form of a Tib-Fib fracture that would make you physically ill to see the X-rays and doctors telling me you possibly will not walk again. I learned not to help big guys out of trucks that will fall on you. Seriously, I learned that determination is good, people love and depend on me, and that I have responsibility to all around me. Discipline has come in thousands of other forms, that I dare not mention here for the lack of time and your attention!

The point is, focusing on the direction I need to go the instant I see or feel a correction has become my goal. That focus helps me to endure the “discipline” or “correction” for what it truly is. Course Correction. Then as I change course my focus is not on what I did wrong. I’ve learned from it and my focus is now in the right direction.

The reason the Proverb stuck out to me is because its relevant even now in my life. There is always something going on that I can get better at. As I am sanctified to Christ or I am being made more like him each day, I know and understand that corrections must come. I know I am not perfect (See Amber… I do know it;) ). Although, I still get that sick feeling in my stomach when I make a mistake, I do strive to learn from it and reach my destination with The Holy Spirit as my guide.

Honey, Grasshoppers, and Speaking in Code

20120326-080055.jpgToday’s Reading
Deuteronomy: 5:1-6:25
Luke: 7:11-35
Psalms: 68:19-35
Proverbs: 11:29-31

In today’s reading in Luke, Jesus does a little speaking in code that I haven’t previously noticed. When John the Baptist (one of my heroes in the Bible) sends messengers to Jesus to ask him if he is the One that John was to precede, Jesus answers with a reference to the Isaiah’s prophetic writings along with the fruit Jesus was bearing at that moment to give them their answer.

John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'” At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” (Luke 7:18-23 NIV)

Why Jesus Didn’t Give A Straight Answer
Jesus was referencing the prophecy that Isaiah wrote down. Jesus knew that John the Baptist would understand His answer because John would be able to recognize the scriptures and Jesus by his Fruit. Jesus could have just said: Yes. Go and tell your buddy John to get ready for a celebration. BUT… he didn’t. He did it this way to illustrate the fulfilling of the scriptures. Jesus made a reference to this portion of the Bible:

say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert. (Isaiah 35:4-6 NIV)

Reading The Bible In A Year

You’ll hear me say it a lot. That’s why I love reading the entire Bible, cover to cover, each year. You begin to recall portions that sound familiar and can get a deeper meaning from the Bible. Read along with me and leave your comments to share what YOU think.

What Jesus DOESN’T Say About Helping Others

20120325-082843.jpgToday’s Reading:
Deut: 4:1-49
Luke: 6:39-7:10
Psalms: 68:1-18
Proverbs: 11:28

What Jesus DOESN’T Say About Helping Others
This morning I had to stop the DAB Podcast and scribble down a few things. I made it through Deuteronomy, but Luke stopped me in my tracks.

Before we can get into what Jesus doesn’t say about helping people, we need to see what he does say. Here goes:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:41, 42 NIV)

Taking a “Damage Control Inventory” where I look around and see where this applies to me and my life, I see this is a common deception I continually fall victim to. I want to help people so much that I spout off some “words of wisdom” (Yeah Right) before examining my own actions in regards to a similar situation.

Where I see my shortcomings most is with my family and friends. That’s so sad, because I want nothing more than to be there to help them through whatever they are going through. What I end up doing is seeing how they are not helping me and getting upset about it. Then I recognize how unhelpful my selfishness has become and I feel guilty. Finally, I leave the situation alone in hopes not to repeat the process again later… only to disappoint myself (and others) again. Vicious cycle.

Let’s review… members of my family and friends are going through tough times and I am concerned about me. Hmmm. I just identified the “red flag”. From now on, I should recognize the deception right there. The moment I’m concerned about self for the sake of self I am being decieved.

What Jesus DOESN’T Say
So, what is it that Jesus doesn’t say about helping out your brother? If. That’s right, If. He doesn’t say “If you want to say something then examine yourself first and If you want to then go and say something.” He says to “Remove the speck from your own eye, then you help your brother remove his” (paraphrasing of course but you get the idea). No Ifs…

He’s not saying fix yourself if you feel like it. He’s saying FIX YOURSELF… THEN HELP YOUR BROTHER. Of course he’s also pointing out that we are hypocritical and that is where I have left this passage every other time I’ve read it.

That’s why I love reading the Bible in a full revolution each year. I see something new each time. The Bible is so dynamic.

How Does This Picture Relate?
Before we can even help our children, we have to address the problems that are immediate in our own lives (those planks and specks) like oxygen on a falling plane. Like most things in the Kingdom of God, it is counter-intuitive. Our natural inclination is to help those around us before helping our selves because “that is the right thing to” when in fact ‘our help’ is keeping them from the very things they need. And if WE work on OURSELVES first then we can be fit to help out when we are needed.

This picture puts things into perspective. If we try to help those that we love the most without providing attention to the immediate needs for change in our own circumstances all involved will perish.

Review Time
First look to myself and what obstacles stand in the way of me helping those around me and address them myself instead of waiting for others to help me. Then I MUST go to the other person and offer help. Invest in their needs by listening and reacting; not controlling, suggesting, forcing, manipulating, or anything else. Simply being present, waiting, and responding with the Love that Jesus modeled and filled me with as a believer.