Friday, July 29, 2011

Genesis 49:8–10

"'Judah, your brothers will praise you.  You will grasp your enemies by the neck.All your relatives will bow before you.  Judah, my son, is a young lionthat has finished eating its prey.  Like a lion he crouches and lies down;like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?  The scepter will not depart from Judah,nor the ruler's staff from his descendants,  until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,the one whom all nations will honor.'"
How remarkable that, so early in Israel's history, Jacob would predict (in this blessing on his son Judah) the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, whom all nations will obey! God did not choose Jacob's firstborn son as the Savior's ancestor. He chose the fourth son of Leah, the wife Jacob did not love. Leah was more honored than Rachel, in the long run. What does it mean to you to know that God has everything planned from the beginning, and that in his eternal plan he makes up for what we don't experience on earth?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Matthew 15:22–28

"A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.'
But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. 'Tell her to go away,' they said. 'She is bothering us with all her begging.'
Then Jesus said to the woman, 'I was sent only to help God's lost sheep—the people of Israel.'
But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, 'Lord, help me!'
Jesus responded, 'It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.'
She replied, 'That's true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters' table.'
'Dear woman,' Jesus said to her, 'your faith is great. Your request is granted.' And her daughter was instantly healed."
This woman was persistent! Her persistence must have been born both of love for her daughter and of faith. She recognized Jesus as God, for she worshiped him. This was faith! Because she believed Jesus was God, she believed he could and would grant her request. His seemingly harsh initial attitude might have been more for his fellow Jews to hear than for her. They needed to know that he gave them priority. They also needed to see that faith is what matters. Through this woman's faith, Jesus was able to perform his healing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Matthew 15:32–34

"Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, 'I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.' The disciples replied, 'Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?'

Jesus asked, 'How much bread do you have?'

They replied, 'Seven loaves, and a few small fish.'"


Jesus wanted to feed the crowd. The disciples couldn't see how that was possible. They believed that what they had was not nearly enough. They were looking at their circumstances, logic, and past experience (the food they had would never feed that many). Jesus asked them to entrust to him what little they had. Jesus blows away the criteria of circumstances, logic, and past experiences. He can do miracles with any small thing we are willing to give to him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Genesis 48:11

"Then Jacob said to Joseph, 'I never thought I would see your face again, but now God has let me see your children, too!'"
How many years had Jacob mourned losing Joseph? Never in his wildest dreams did Jacob think he'd see Joseph, or any grandchildren by him, again. If only he had known what God had in store, he would have lived more peacefully. In what areas have you given up hope? Take heart! Know that God is at work, and he can give you more than you can imagine. Trust that he is preparing something great for you, and trust your losses to him.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Matthew 16:15–19

"Then he asked them, 'But who do you say I am?'

Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'

Jesus replied, 'You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.'"
Jesus tells Peter and the disciples that it was God the Father who revealed that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of the living God, as Peter confessed. Jesus wants all the disciples to know that Peter's confession is not merely a human conclusion. It is revelation, an unshakable truth upon which Jesus would build his church. It all starts with a recognition in the spirit of who Jesus is. Any spirituality that does not begin with this revelation of Jesus is not from God. Jesus is the only true foundation—this Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of the living God.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

PRIMAL: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity

Mark Batterson shares with us while touring the catacombs, was brought to realize that the early Christians lived and worshiped differently than we do.  Batterson sought to find out from Scripture what that difference would be. He found that the thing that motivated the early Christians was the great commandment which tells us to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

How does one do that? What can motivate a single-minded love? How does that love manifest itself in our lives? These are questions that Batterson asked and sought to find answers for.

As one reads the book, it would be possible to state that Batterson was giving us a prescription for how to love God with all that is within us and with all that we are and have. In reality, I believe that Batterson seeks to provoke us to think about how we can love God and glorify Him in loving Him. In other words, this is not a twelve step book to loving God. This is a book that says, "Here is what I have learned about loving God, and how that changed my life. Perhaps it will be an encouragement to you to seek to break out of your ruts and chains and truly love God."

This book is a different sort of book. It is not written in a point, by point systematic theology style. It seems to meander its way through the issue of loving God and manifesting that love. At the same time, that is not necessarily a negative point. Batterson never truly leaves the subject, and the main theme is always before the reader.
This is a great book and if you can pick up a copy of this book; I recommend it.  Mark Batterson is the Best-selling author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.