Reminder of a Parable

These little tasty morsels are a reminder to me of God’s daily invitation to enjoy Him.

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Wearing Two Cloaks

Thoughts rolling around in my head this morning:

Am I looking for relationship, or just permission to do my own thing?  Am I willing to be obedient? Or do I just want acceptance without change?  Do I want the transforming power of God in my life, or am I just looking for that spiritual high?

And then I read from Ephesians 4:

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

–Eph. 4:20-24 (emphasis mine)

The keys on these verses being that you have to lay aside the old self before putting on the new self.  I think my problem sometimes is that I try to put on the new self over top of my old self.  It’s like dressing up in your finest cleanest suit over your dirtiest, grimiest, sweatiest work clothes.  Not too comfortable.

And although I might be putting on a good show on the outside–I look presentable–there is that uncomfortable inside that is making me miserable.

I want the new life God has given me, but I don’t want to give up the comforts and familiarity of that old self.  It feels good to be angry and lash out at people.  I like to be greedy–I get what I want.  But there is something inside me that grieves at this, and I walk away, kicking myself for acting that way.

Abba Father, wretched man that I am! Who will free me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Fear (not quite)

This morning on the way to my quiet time, I stopped by the computer and noticed that Joe at Jungle Pop had posted one of his famous Theology Thursday posts on fearing God. I read through the post thinking, “Yeah, I think that I fear God…probably” and headed off spend some time with God, but as I thought more about what fearing God means, I changed my my mind.

I don’t fear God.

I ran across the verse in Genesis where Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac and the Angel of the Lord stops him just in time:

Gen 22:11-12. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

It occurred to me that Abraham’s actions demonstrate his trust in God and obedience to God even though his natural inclination would be to protect his son, the miracle son, the fulfillment of God’s promise to Him.

This trust and obedience is evidence of fearing God.

I’m afraid that more often than not, I don’t succeed in trusting or obeying God. Instead I obey my own flesh and trust in my own abilities.

It seems to me that these things (trust, obedience, and Godly fear) are all connected somehow, but it is still unclear to me exactly how they relate. But somehow I’m not surprised that trusting and obeying God are related with gaining wisdom:

Prov 9:10. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Family Devotion Questions

Tonight after supper we were doing family together.  When we were done, I asked (as I always do): “Are there any other questions?”

~D~ responded, “How many nipples does an udder have?”

As I looked at him quizzically, he added, “Well, you asked for udder questions.”

~K~ picked up on this line of questioning, “Dad, what is an udder?”

And before I could respond, he said, “Oh I remember, its what they use to steer the ship!”

My wife looked at me with a chuckle, “Well, they’ve got your sense of humor!”

Back to Ephesians

We had our Life Group this week (tonight), and so I’ve been busy getting ready for the group.  We’ve scaled back to once a month over the summer, so the commitment has been somewhat lessened. We’ve not been going through a book or anything–it has been topical.  But, not having a set agenda makes it a little tricky sometimes to figure out what to do.  I keep on reminding myself that this is not my group, and that I need to trust God with whatever happens.

But that is easier said than done.

After praying, I felt that it was time to start a bible study on the 1st chapter of Ephesians.

I have been going through Ephesians on my own and really got a lot out of it.  Last summer and fall, I did a series of posts on the topic:

We covered about the first 6 verses of the chapter, but I actually found some pretty good material from these posts while I was preparing for the group.

We ended up having a great discussion and I saw some new things that I hadn’t ever seen before.

I came away from the group with a new appreciation of God’s acceptance and grace in my life.  I hope that others were blessed as well.

Reviving the Soul

Ps. 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

Reviving the soul. When I read this, I get a picture of a guy that is passed out on the floor, and someone comes along and throws a bucket of ice cold water all over him.  His response is a gasp, a jerk and his eyes come open and he sits up.  He is alive again.

NASB says restoring the soul. But I really like this picture of the guy being revived.  It happens to me, my soul, being washed over by the daily grind of life, is comatose to the things of God. And then the Holy Spirit breathes through His Holy Word, and it’s like a splash of cold  water.

My soul is revived.

A Little Bit of Lion’s Breath

Rev 21:5. And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new ” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

I heard this verse yesterday and thought of the scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Aslan has gone back to the White Witch’s castle after He was raised from the dead and broke the Stone Table.

He leaps over the wall and starts to breathe on the stone statues in the courtyard:

“For a second after Aslan had breathed upon him the stone lion looked just the same.  Then a tiny streak of gold began to run along his white marble back–then it spread–then the colour seemed to lick all over him as the flame licks all over a bit of paper…”

No matter how cold and dead we are, all it takes is the warm breath from the Lion of Judah, and we are made alive.

2 Cor. 5:17. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

I’ll agree that sometimes, it doesn’t seem like anything has changed, but all I have to do is come to Him again and He’ll give me another new beginning.