Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Leading Like A King

We are reading through the Bible as a family this year using "The MacArthur Daily Bible" and today was one of those special days where the Old Testament tied into the New Testament in a way that made my heart go "WOW" and stand in awe of the Author the those very books!

Part of our Old Testament reading was Deuteronomy 17, where God is speaking through Moses and giving the Israelites commands to obey as they get ready to enter into the Promise Land. Verses 14-20 are specifically talking about a future king, and here is what God says:

"When he (the king) is seated on his royal throne, he is to write a copy of this instruction for himself on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It is to remain with him, and he is to read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to observe all the words of this instruction, and to do these statutes." (vs. 18-19)

Just think about that. The first "duty" of a new king was not to hold feasts in his own honor or parade around town showing off his new crown, robe, and chariot. His first responsibility was to painstakingly write out a large chunk of (at least based on the text) Deuteronomy, so that he might have his own copy of God's Word to read each and every day. In doing so, there would be no room for pride as he daily learned to fear the Lord and walk in His ways, and then lead the people to do the same.

God commanded this of each and every king.

We found ourselves in Luke 4 for our New Testament reading. Jesus was lead into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. And, with each temptation thrown at Jesus, He replied by quoting the Scriptures. All three Scriptures came from the same book....can you guess which one?!


Maybe there is no real connection...and maybe there is. I'm not going to write a book on it. :) But, either way, King Jesus is the "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16). He is the only one who has or will ever receive the praises given in 1 Timothy 1:17, "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever." He is the ultimate King of Israel and the church. He also came to fulfill the law. Jesus said in Mathew 5:17-18 "Don't assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished." And, just maybe, that even included the commands in Deuteronomy 17!

We may not be called to be kings (or queens!), and there is only One who is King of kings...but may we be those who follow the command God gave to them thousands of years ago.  May we, daily, open the Bible and read it, meditate on it, and live it out in such a way that we might faithfully lead...faithfully lead others to the feet of Jesus!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Never Hidden by Clouds or Rain

"Then Jesus spoke to them again: "I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Oh, how I have missed the sunlight. I'm not kidding. I forgot how much rain the Vancouver area gets. In recent weeks, you can see me physically chasing after pockets of sunshine when we are out taking a walk. Or, if you were a fly on our wall, you might see me do strange things like sit awkwardly on the floor or arm of a chair or randomly lay in the middle of a room with my face extended to the single beam of light poking through the clouds. Call me Timothy Green....call me crazy....but I miss the sun!

Guess what? We had sun today and we have more of it for the next two days!!! I'm one happy girl! Sunlight is a sweet gift from the Lord and I am thankful for a couple straight days of it. But guess what has come with that beautiful light? A realization of what a bad housekeeper I have been. As long as I am looking at the sun, I feel warm and free. The second I look around me, all I can see is dust particles...EVERYWHERE...in the air, on my counter, and on the floor along with all the bread crumbs and who knows what else. The clouds kept my house a bit dim and kept me "in the dark" about just how dirty it actually was. The sunlight is a welcome friend, but it has also exposed my negligence.

I couldn't help but think of God's Word...of Jesus' words in John 3:19-21:

"This, then, is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and the people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God." 

Only God, through the Holy Spirit, can cause us to run to the light of His Word, the very light that exposes our sin and shows us our need for change, our need for Jesus. Only His children will actually run to that light....a light that yes, exposes our sin and shows us what needs to be repented of and cleaned out...but a light that also shines ever brighter in our hearts as we are changed more and more into the image of Jesus. It's a light that helps us know the character of our great God and His magnificent glory in the face of Jesus Christ!

"For God, who said, "Let shine shine out of darkness" - He has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6

The rain and clouds are supposed to come back all next week, which means that, though my house will look a little bit cleaner :), I'll be missing the sun. But will you join me in rejoicing that the true Light, the Son that gives eternal life, can never be hidden by clouds or rain. We have but to open our Bible and, through the pages of Scripture, we see the face of Jesus, the Light of the world!

"Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else...For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live in integrity. Lord of Hosts, happy is the person who trusts in You."  Psalm 84:10a, 11-12

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Beautiful Tassels!

"The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner. These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all the Lord's commands and obey them and not become unfaithful by following your own heart and your own eyes. This way you will remember and obey all My commands and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the Lord your God." Numbers 15:37-41

Whenever I think about tassels and robes in the Bible, it usually stirs up a negative connotation. I think of the many rebukes that Jesus gave the Pharisees in regards to the long robes they wore. They paraded around to be seen as holy and worthy of honor by men, while their hearts were far from the Lord.

Yet, the above passage speaks to the heart of what these robes and tassels were all about. God commanded them to attach these tassels to their clothes as a daily remembrance of God's commands. As a daily reminder of their need to walk in faithful dependence to their great God. And they were even a reminder of warning at how quick their hearts and eyes could be to run after other idols, to worship something other than God.

As I read, I found myself examining my own life. I found myself looking for tassels that I have attached to the fabric of my days that help me to REMEMBER the Lord, to OBEY His precious commands, and to FLEE from the desires of my flesh, the idols that I am so easily tempted to worship and run after each day. Tassles such as: daily time in the Word of God, dependent prayer, songs of praise, reading articles/books of Biblical encouragement, messages/podcasts of instruction, fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, Bible memorization, and then there are all the many nuances of how these things might play out each day...the tassle possibilities are endless! :)

May we be found as those who lives are full of tassles...of many kinds and many colors...all of them beautifying the fabric of our lives to the praise of God's glory!