It’s Thursday morning, January 26, 2012. It’s 45 degrees and still raining. But the rain should stop sometime this morning. There has actually been some flooding in the DFW area over the last day.
We worked out last night. There were no bikes available when I got there, so I did a treadmill for about 15 minutes. The incline wouldn’t work on the treadmill I was on, so as soon as I saw a bike get open I got on it for 20 minutes. (Plus two for cool down.) My total workout was 38 minutes. Then I did some upper body strength training. Tonight, we miss the gym because it’s our lifehouse night.
Hmm…today is “Spouses Day.” I must do something nice for my spouse today. Of course I try to something nice for my spouse every day. Is the plural of spouse “spice?” And does it matter, since I only have one?
My Utmost For His Highest
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:30
“A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us if we are not simple.” That’s an interesting statement. How do we become “simple?” For one thing, we can’t think we know better than Jesus. But that’s exactly what we do when we digress in “spiritual communion” with God. And, “we have allowed the cares of the world to come in, and have forgotten the ‘much more’ of our Heavenly Father.”
Earlier in the chapter, Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air…” What is their main goal? To “obey the principle of life that is in them.” They do what they are supposed to do; what they are “wired” to do. “Jesus says that if you are rightly related to Him and obey His Spirit that is in you, God will look after your ‘feathers.’”
Jesus also tells his disciples to “consider the lilies of the field.” They bloom where they are planted. How many of us refuse to grow where we are put? We never take root, always wanting to move around. Especially in our modern society. No one seems to have roots anywhere.
The point Jesus is trying to make here, according to Chambers, is that we simply need to obey the life that God has given us. Of course, there is the underlying concept of not worrying about anything, and allowing God to take care of our needs. But I believe that Chambers has a good point. If we aren’t seeing the “much more” that Jesus keeps mentioning, it is because we aren’t “obeying the life God has given us.” In a statement that seems to be on a totally different subject, Chambers says, “Consecration means the continual separating of myself to one particular thing. We cannot consecrate once and for all. Am I continually separating myself to consider God every day of my life?” So it’s NOT a different subject, after all, is it? And the key word in the first statement is continual. He’s right. We don’t “consecrate” just once. It is a lifelong task. And the goal is to consider God every day.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2
Tabletalk is still considering the image of God in man. This reading describes the dual nature of that image. There is a distinction between the image Deo in the broad sense and in the narrow sense. “The wider sense of the image Deo refers to our possession of certain faculties even in our sinful condition. Despite our corruption, we still think, formulate plans, show affection, create, and so forth, which are all activities that our Creator performs, albeit without sin.” But through Adam, we lost the image Deo in the narrow sense, “which is the ability to obey God and please Him.” Important statement here: “After the fall, human beings, of their own volition, can no longer conform to the Lord’s revealed will (Ps. 14:1-3).”
Note that these things are all part of our physicality. We bear this image Deo in our physical body, even though our Creator does not have a physical body. There have been heresies over time that have tried to assert that everything physical was sinful, and only the spiritual things mattered. However, our bodies are not inherently evil. They are part of God’s creation, and, as such, will be redeemed when Christ returns, “and sin will no longer impair our physicality.” Won’t THAT be a glorious day?
Matthew 17; Exodus 14-15
Matthew 17 begins with the “Transfiguration” (1-8). Jesus takes Peter, James, and John (sounds like a folk group) up on a mountain, where something very strange happens. Jesus begins to shine with a light as bright as the sun. Moses and Elijah appear. The voice of God thunders, telling them to listen to Jesus. Peter, being his usual impulsive self, suggests making three tents. At the sound of the voice of God, they fall on their faces, but Jesus tells them to rise and have no fear. Jesus emphasizes proper “Timing” (9), by telling them not to mention this until after his resurrection. In a moment of “Teaching” (10-13), Jesus compares Elijah to John the Baptist. In another event, the disciples are “Tested” (14-23) and fail as that they are unable to cast a demon out of a boy. When they question their inability, Jesus tells them it was because their faith was weak. Some manuscripts add verse 21, about prayer and fasting. He then tells them of his ensuing arrest, death, and resurrection, which distresses them greatly. Finally, there is a discussion on “Tax” (24-27), wherein Jesus teaches that we should pay the taxes due the government. I find it interesting that commentaries on this passage always say things like “He then provides the money miraculously through a fish.” However, the Bible never says that Peter did what Jesus told him, does it? We just assume that he did.
In Exodus 14, as the children of Israel are “Following” God’s plan (1-4), he reveals to Moses that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart once more, and Pharaoh will chase after them. Pharaoh’s “Fickle” nature is seen again (5-9), as he changes his mind again (just as predicted), gathers up a few chariots (600+) and comes after Israel. They catch up with Israel at the Red Sea. Israel experiences “Fear” (10-12) when they see this. Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Moses is “Firm” in his faith (13-14), telling them that God will fight for them. When Moses cries out to God, God tells him it is time for them to move “Forward” (15-18). He tells Moses to hold his rod out over the sea, which will divide so that they can cross over. In the meantime, God continues to show his “Faithfulness” (19-20) to Israel, placing a large cloud between them and the Egyptians, so that they are hidden. Then God shows his “Force” (21-23), as Moses stretches out his rod over the sea. A great wind arises, dividing the sea and drying the land between the two walls of the sea. All of Israel is able to walk across the sea on dry ground. The Egyptians are “Frustrated” as they try to follow (24-25). As they reach the middle of the sea, the Lord clogs up their chariot wheels. When the Egyptians realize God is fighting against them, they panic and try to turn around and run back. God commands Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea again, restoring the “Flow” of the water (26-29). “What was formerly dry ground with walls of water to help Israel, now becomes a watery grave for their pursuers.” Israel once again experiences “Fear” (30-31), but of a different kind this time. This time it is reverential fear as they realize what has happened.
Immediately after this, in Exodus 15, Israel sings a song of “Gratitude” (1-19), a song of praise to the Lord. Miriam, Moses’s sister, dances and sings another song of the “Glorious” triumph of the Lord (20-21). How quickly they forget! Soon, there is “Grumbling” (22-24), as they have trouble finding drinking water. The water they finally find is bitter. But God shows “Grace” (25-27) and shows Moses a tree, which, when placed in the water, makes it drinkable. God reminds his people that they must hear his voice and obey him, and he will protect them, and not send any of the plagues upon them which he sent upon Egypt.
Father, I pray that I will not grumble to you in complaint, especially after a great victory in my life. We are such fickle creatures, Father. We bless and praise you one minute, then we curse you and grumble against you the next. May it not be so! May we be more faithful, Lord. Once again, your mighty power is shown against Pharaoh. Let that same power be evident in our lives as we try to live for you and obey you. I pray that I would be able to be “simple” before you, Lord, simply obeying, simply doing what I’m supposed to do, and growing where you have put me. Let me cease striving to be something else; somewhere else; other than where you have put me and what you have made me. I pray for satisfaction. I pray that you would be most glorified in me, as I am satisfied in you.
I pray for this day, Lord. Thank you for the rain. I pray that today will be a good work day for Christi and for me. Yesterday was kind of rough. But we made it through. Today is a new day, and your mercies are, indeed, new every morning. We are eternally being made new in your grace and mercy. I pray for Stephanie’s meeting with her teacher today. I’m also grateful for Stephanie’s determination to keep exercising. This is a new thing, and I pray that it continues.
I pray for our lifehouse meeting this evening.
Consider God today.
Grace and peace, friends.