The poised, young professional woman in white came boldly before the throne of God, dragging alongside her a battered, bruised little girl in filthy rags. “Lord, I’m surrendering this to you, my broken, wounded heart. I caught her running away from you and thinking wrong things again, so I’ve taken her captive, brought her back, and am presenting her to you again. I know she’s not much, but she’s all I have to offer, and I trust by faith she is enough. I have so much to do for you, and so little time, so I won’t keep you long. Amen.” With that, the professional
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,” (Psalm 95:6-7) To ears familiar with a certain chorus, the psalm’s transition here is as jarring as the stopping point is awkward and incomplete. We go from an upbeat worship tune playing in our heads to a solemn, perhaps even tuneless, warning not to harden our hearts against the voice of God. So what is the connection? We are the sheep of his pasture,
“Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it— the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3) In verse one, we helpfully learn this prophecy came to Jeremiah when he was imprisoned/under arrest basically. This is the lead up to God announcing he’s fed up with the evil of the Chaldean oppressors and promises to destroy them (strike them down) and restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel (the kingdom being divided at this time.) First let’s not
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22) According to James, we are deceiving ourselves about what we believe in our hearts when we read the bible, known intellectually what it says, and go out and ignore it in practice. So how do we not turn away from this uncomfortable mirror and promptly forget what we looked like and keep on as we are? In our instant culture and world, we often react by habit and by impulse. If our habits are godly, that is great. If our habits are indistinguishable from our impulses, that’s not so great. Contrary to what
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:10) Today’s verse comes in the middle of the vine and the branches parable urging us to abide in Christ. We were designed to connect to God and we need to receive spiritual nourishment from him to grow and live. Christianity is all about love and relationship to some. To others, it’s really all about rules and regulations with lip service paid to Christ’s atonement for our breaking the rules and regulations in the past. What we actually have is a divine paradox.