Daily Word

Ephesians 4

Read Ephesians 4 – For Christ’s sake – I was raised with that expression; it wasn’t said in reverence to the LORD, much like people say o.m.g. today without thinking about the Lord they are offending.  But hear the words as the truth that they are…

For Christ’s sake live worthy of your calling.  For Christ’s sake always be humble and gentle.  For Christ’s sake live in unity with the church, your eternal brothers and sisters, by the power of the Holy Spirit in you. (:1-3)

And let’s talk about church.  Many people have strayed from church or go merely as spectators.  Verses :11-16 address the importance and purpose of church.  

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church body.”  :11-12

The leadership is to equip us and our responsibility is to build up the church body.  No spectators and no immature believers… you are not called to make things up as you go.  You are called to:

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”  :15

It’s time to live for Christ’s sake… in the past you may have lied, been ruled by anger, stolen, used harsh/foul language and brought sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit in any number of ways.  Jesus is calling you to turn from that to a life of honesty, generosity, helpful and encouraging talk, forgiveness, kindness and tenderheartedness.  Can you feel your soul relax as you read the last sentence?  The things the Lord expects you to give up are garbage and everything he calls you to is beautiful. 

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

Daily Word

Confession – part 1

Confession part 1 – When I was about 5 years old I was shopping with my grandma at JCPenney.  They used to have bins of hard candy for sale by the register.   I asked for some butterscotch and she said no.   She never said no.  I decided in my heart that this was a mistake and that I really deserved that butterscotch. I took one. My grandma discovered my disobedience to her and my theft from the store…. The guilt and shame were awful! 

I hadn’t thought about that in forever, but the LORD put it on my heart recently and I have to admit, I was perplexed as to why.

At the retreat last month we did an exercise on confession.  We were to confess one thing on paper – that was all ours – we weren’t going to share it, no one was going to read it besides me and Jesus.  

I wrote mine, but didn’t know what to do next.   I saw it as a situation out of my control, and knew I would repeat the sin the next time it came around. That’s not repentance, the thing I’m supposed to do after my confession and his forgiveness.  

I started to cry which in turn caused my mascara to melt and burned my eyes. I got distracted from the emotion and had to go wash my face. That made me laugh, but still cry. I felt like a mess inside and out. 

By the time I got back we were on to the next thing.  We were to confess something else to a partner (we were instructed to go with a PG confession for this).  I silently asked the LORD what he wanted me to confess as I walked outside with a younger mom.  As clear as day, Jesus brought up the butterscotch!

Beloved, what comes to mind as you read my story?  Do you have guilt over something you did when you were little?  Do you recognize the difference between conviction from the Holy Spirit and guilt from the enemy?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”  Psalm 139:23-24

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 15

Read Deuteronomy 15 – Just imagine a world where everyone got a clean slate every seven years. That is the world God ordained for Israel. Have you ever lent money to someone who couldn’t repay? It hangs over one’s head – whether you play the part of borrower or lender. And one could argue that it’s not fair, but when God says to cancel a debt, don’t you suppose he will honor your faithfulness far beyond the amount? Proverbs 19:17 assures, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD – and he will repay you!”
This went for personal debt as well as for slaves. A person could sell himself/herself as a slave, but in the 7th year they were released from service with provisions. This was like a commemorative act from when the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt (:13-15).
However, the slave had the option of remaining in the masters household, as things were good, there was love for your family and he/she felt well taken care of. In such case, that slave would be marked with an awl piercing of the earlobe, and this was a bond for life(:16-17). This is much like we experience when we give our life to Jesus as LORD and Savior.
And the LORD required the firstborn of all the animals be dedicated to him, unless it was lame or blemished, in which case it could be used for food. One would never sacrifice an animal with a defect. We see this illustrated in Genesis with Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, Cain gave halfheartedly to the LORD with his crops, while Abel gave the best portions from his flocks. Abel’s gift was accepted, but Cain’s was not. I know this is a strange concept to us today, but remember that a day would come when Jesus would be the perfect sacrifice for all times. These blood sacrifices were preparing hearts for the ultimate atonement of Jesus Christ.
Beloved, one could read Deuteronomy and be perplexed by the seemingly strange requests. My hope is that you are forming the notion that Jesus is on every page and the LORD has something special just for you in every chapter.