Keeping My Mind On “Much More”

It’s FRIDAY!!!! Woot! Friday morning, January 27, 2012. 38 degrees out, this morning. High of 69 today. The ten day forecast shows pretty mild weather. February starts next week, and that’s when we usually get our “winter” in the DFW area.

I don’t have much to talk about today…life is pretty “normal” around here (normal, of course, is relative…our normal would likely be insanity for some of you). We’ll be back at 24 Hour Fitness tonight, chugging away on the recumbent bikes and treadmills. All together, we’ve lost a total of 24 pounds in two weeks! How cool is THAT??

Some mornings, I just don’t feel like doing this. But I carry on, anyway. Hopefully, God will show me something really cool today.

My Utmost For His Highest

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25

The KJV says, “…take no thought for your life…” in this verse. “Do not be anxious.” Don’t worry about it. “A warning which needs to be reiterated is that the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, will choke all that God puts in.” This is not something that we “grow out of,” as people say. This is a danger that will pursue us all of our days, for our enemy is relentless. If it’s not clothes and food we worry about, it will be something else…money or the lack thereof; friends or lack of friends; difficult circumstances; unemployment (which kind of relates to the lack of money). There is a veritable plethora of things that threaten to choke out God in our lives.

The Lord would have us be concerned about one thing, and one thing only. That is our relationship with him. Common sense, as we call it, would scream out that absurdity of this notion. Why, we have to consider how we are going to live!! We must worry about what we will eat or drink! Jesus says differently. “Well, Jesus just doesn’t understand my circumstances!” Ah, but he knows them better than we do, “and He says we must not think about these things so as to make them the one concern of our life.” And then this: “Whenever there is competition, be sure that you put your relationship to God first.” “The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance I owe only to the giver of all good things.” (Rich Mullins)

Just like yesterday, Chambers refers to the “much more.” “Keep your mind on the ‘much more’ of your heavenly Father.”

Tabletalk Magazine

Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? … You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong” (Habakkuk 1:12-13)

What Habakkuk was objecting to in his writing was the fact that God was about to use the wicked nation of Babylon to bring judgment upon Israel. “Why would a holy God use wicked men to chastise His people?” God did not attempt to justify himself to Habakkuk, nor did he need to. God owes no one any explanation. Ever. He is God. He does what he pleases. (Psalm 115:3) What God did, however, was remind Habakkuk of this fact: But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:20) God’s intent is never the same as the intent of evil men. See Genesis 50:19-20 for proof of that.

We know from Scripture that God is holy and cannot look on sin. We are reminded of this in the passage quoted above. Habakkuk’s statement does not mean that God is blind to sin. Rather it means he cannot tolerate it. We, on the other hand, “are fallen, impure people (Ps. 14:2-3) who are so tolerant of sin that we believe a proclivity to do what is wrong is essential to humanity.” (I had to look up “proclivity.” It means “tendency.” Why not just say “tendency?”) On of our favorite “proverbs” is, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” This implies that God must forgive all people, whether they repent or not.

“Mercy that is obligated, however, is not mercy at all.” We call God sovereign, which means that he has the right to have mercy “on whom He will have mercy (Rom. 9:15).” “Grace and forgiveness are not dispensed indiscriminately to all men but only to those the Lord has chosen for salvation.” And it is incorrect to state that sin is essential to being human. It does invade every fiber of our being, but this is because of Adam. It was not part of our original creation, in the image of God. Sin is real. Sin is serious. We are finite. That is essential humanity. Jesus was essentially human. In his human form, he was finite. But he was also sinless. In him, our sin is forgiven. It is washed away. And that is why God, who cannot tolerate sin, can look upon us who have sinned.

The Bible Panorama

Matthew 18:1-20; Exodus 16-18

Jesus begins chapter 18 with an illustration, saying that anyone who wishes to follow him must “Come” to him as a little child (1-5). He then speaks of the “Condemnation” (6-9) that will fall on anyone who causes such a child to sin. Jesus teaches strict self-control in this passage. He stresses the Father’s “Caring” over all of his “little ones,” (10-14) even to the point that the one lost one is more important, for a time, than the 99 who are safe. In the context of sin and temptation, he speaks of “Confrontation” (15-20) that should occur if a brother sins against us. There is a process outlined. We should follow this process, and if our brother is not reconciled, he is to be “as a Gentile and a tax collector.” The popular verse 20, For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them, is often taken out of context. The passage is about discipline.

Exodus 16 sees the Israelites “Moaning” (1-3) against Moses because they’re hungry, and they liked the food they had in Egypt. God hears them and provides them with “Miraculous” food (4-5), bread from heaven. They are given instructions to gather daily and twice as much on the day preceding the Sabbath. They are not to try to store any, except for the Sabbath. This bread from heaven provides them with “Meals” (6-18).” However, some disobey and try to gather more than they need, attempting to store it up. This results in “Maggots” (19-20), as the food spoils. It is also stated that the sun would get hot, “Melting” the bread (21). The “Memorial” of the Sabbath is kept, as they gathered double on the sixth day (22-30). The bread was called “Manna” (31-36) which meant “what is it?” A jar of manna was to be kept as a memorial to God’s faithfulness. I wonder whatever happened to that jar?

In chapter 17, we see “Insubordination” (1-3) as the people begin, once again, to grumble. This time, it is because there is no water. The Lord gives Moses “Instruction” to strike a rock, causing water to flow from it (4-7). As Amalek comes out to fight against Israel, we see “Intercession” (8-15) as Moses holds out his arms before the Lord during the fighting. When his arms were held up, they were winning. When he got tired and they drooped, they were losing. So Aaron and Hur stood on either side of him and held his arms up. This strongly emphasizes the need for us to engage in prayer for our leaders, holding them up before the Lord. Moses builds an altar, calling it “The Lord Is My Banner” (YHWH Nissi).

Chapter 18 begins with “Dealings” between Moses and Jethro, his father-in-law (1-8). Moses is hospitable, welcoming Jethro and his family. Moses’s wife and sons are also with him. Moses takes the time to tell Jethro everything God has done for them. Jethro shows great “Delight” in what Moses tells him (9-12). He thanks God and brings sacrifices to the Lord. In modern terms, we might say he was “converted.” Moses deals with “Disputes” among the Israelites, acting as judge (13-16). He is busy from morning until evening. Jethro observes this and suggests “Delegation,” (17-26) saying that Moses should select reliable men from among the Israelites to help him. Moses humbly accepts this idea. Afterward, we see “Departure” (27), as Jethro leaves. “He has come to know God and has contributed towards the fashioning of a legal system, which remains in principle throughout the world today.”

Father, I thank you for the rich blessings you have given me and my family. I pray that the Holy Spirit will fill me, helping me keep you and my relationship with you at the top of my priorities. Let me keep you above the “stuff of earth” that competes for my allegiance. Let the things of this world not choke out what you have given me. Let my joy remain full in you. Let my relationship to you be first.

I pray that you would help me recognize the seriousness of sin. It’s strangely wonderful to me that this reading came on the heels of a discussion at our lifehouse last night. We discussed at length the fact that the modern Church does not seem to take sin seriously. We seem to have the same attitude that is mentioned in the Tabletalk reading, that sin is just something we do, and that’s okay. But, Lord, it is most definitely NOT okay! We must take it seriously, because you have told us that you take it seriously. You cannot tolerate sin, or look upon it. It is only because of the blood of Christ that you can look at us at all! Otherwise, we would be covered with sin! I praise you that Christ has washed away all my sin, past present and future. But this is not an excuse for me to sin more! I pray for a mind and spirit that recognizes the seriousness of sin and that I will be faithful to confess my sin to you and my sinfulness to my brothers and sisters.

Let us all be more like children in our relationship to you, Lord. May we look to you as our Father on a daily basis. And I pray that I would never be one that would cause another to stumble.

Forgive me when I grumble in dissatisfaction, Lord. May I always be satisfied with the provision that you give me.

I pray for this day. May Christi and I both have a good workday on this Friday. Keep us faithful to exercise our bodies this weekend, and continue to grant us success in our efforts to lose weight. we want to glorify you with our bodies, Lord.

I pray for my friend, Andy, in California. He may be getting a job playing piano at a church. I pray that this comes through for him and will be the kind of boost that he needs to change his circumstances for the better. Show your grace mightily in his life, Lord.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we all be successful in combating the “stuff of earth” today.

Grace and peace, friends.