Nov 12 2012

Psalm 101 – The haughty and arrogant / Do not endure

Psalm 101 – Biblical royal ethics

In Psalm 101 David sets the ethical standards for his court. I have taken the one in Psalm 101:5 and worded it as a directive.

The haughty and arrogant
Do not endure

There are at least seven other ethical standards in this Psalm. Which one do you find most striking?

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Nov 11 2012

Psalm 100 – God made us / We did not make ourselves

For many of us Psalm 100:3 is obvious

God made us
We did not make ourselves

But how often to we think through even a few of the ramifications?

  • Since God made me He owns me.
  • God can do to me what He pleases
  • God can do with me what He pleases
  • What I do affects God’s reputation
  • My purpose in life is to serve God
  • My purpose in life is to glorify God

Can you think of some more? If so why not leave them as a comment?

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Nov 10 2012

Psalm 99 – The LORD answers, forgives, and corrects

Psalm 99:8 summarizes a significant Old Testament pattern.

The LORD answers those
That call upon Him
He forgives them
Yet corrects their sin

The LORD does answer when His people call out to Him. Those who cry or call out to him need to see themselves as totally dependent on Him: unable to fix this problem without Him. Sometimes it is sin that has caused their desperate situation. Their cry to the LORD is their repentance. Their repentance brings them forgiveness. To help them avoid that sin in future the LORD may avenge or correct them. He may have used their desperate situation as that correction. Or He may take them through yet another difficult experience to help them learn obedience.

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Nov 09 2012

Luke 7 – The self-righteous still judge / One who was forgiven

In Luke 7:36-39, 48-50 Jesus has dinner with a self-righteous pharisee. The pharisee’s self-righteousness shows in his judgmental attitude toward one of the by-standers. She is a sinner. She showers affection on Jesus. Why? From Luke 7:48 we learn of her earlier forgiveness. Her actions display her response to that forgiveness.

So here we see that –

The self-righteous still judge
One who was forgiven

Some questions we might ask ourselves:

  • Do I ignore or even deny others forgiveness?
  • Do I criticize those who forgive?
  • Do I forgive?

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Nov 07 2012

Luke 7 29-30 is a Side Comment

Luke 7 29-30 is often skipped by the big fat books or they have conflicting things to say about it..

Here are some things about the narrator’s side comment in Luke 7:29-30

  1. It interrupts Jesus’ speech that started in Luke 7:24. This interruption is unexpected. Therefore it is probably important. (A point we learn from Steven Runge’s¬† discourse analysis.)
  2. It contrasts the reaction to Jesus by two groups based on their acceptance of John’s baptism.
    1. Common people and the despised tax collectors
      1. Acknowledged God’s justice – Accepted the free and easy entry into the kingdom.
      2. Accepted John’s baptism
    2. Pharisees and Mosaic Lawyers
      1. Rejected God’s purpose for themselves – As the spiritual leaders they should have been the first to receive John’s baptism and enter the kingdom
      2. Rejected John’s baptism
  3. “God’s justice” is probably that God made entry, into the kingdom offered by Jesus, available to all. It was not limited to “the righteous,” the wealthy, the “important,” or any other select group. This would show His justice.
  4. This aside probably sets up Luke 7:31-35. It says that no matter what you do, the religious leaders will reject the humble repentance (wise action) called for the by the baptism of John.
  5. It makes the religious leaders the unresponsive children in the market of verse 32 (Luke 7:32)
  6.  Luke 7:33-34 expands this idea
    1. John is like the children who sing the dirge
    2. Jesus is like the children who play the flute
  7. The last line of Jesus’ speech (Luke 7:35) would then mean that common people and tax collectors of Luke 7:29 are the children of wisdom. The Pharisees and Mosaic Lawyers would by contrast be the children of ???? What a sharp but carefully worded correction.

Luke 7 29-30 Summary

I think you need the interruption in Jesus’ speech so that you can understand the rest of Jesus’ speech. Remember that the first readers of this account were probably Romans who would not know these details about the people in Jesus’ audience.

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Nov 06 2012

Luke 7 – Doing godly deeds / May offend some

In Luke 7:13-23 Jesus does the Godly deeds that the Old Testament predicted Messiah would do. However some people, especially the religious leaders take offense. They want others to think that they are the most direct link to God. Jesus does Messianic signs that show that He, a lowly person by material measures, is a much closer link to God. In fact He is the ultimate link to God.

We should do godly deeds

When we do godly deeds today some may take offense. Here are some possible reasons. They feel guilty because they are not the ones doing it. They despise the person to whom you minister and therefore despise you. To name just two.

Do not be surprised when this happens to you. If it happened to Jesus then it can happen to you. See John 15:18-21.

Here is a truth

Doing godly deeds
May offend some

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Nov 05 2012

Luke 7 – One’s present actions point to / One’s future status

When John the Baptist begins to doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus points to His current ministry as adequate evidence that He will fulfill all the prophets said about Messiah. See Luke 7:18-23. In other words

One’s present actions point to
One’s future status

Is the same not true for us? Does not what we do today clearly show what we will be like tomorrow?

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Nov 04 2012

Luke 7 – People are intimidated / By an evident act of God

My time with my Bible this morning had me working in Luke 7:11-17. Here Jesus raises from the dead the son of the widow of Nain He also restores him back to her.

As a result of this clear act of God the English text says (Luke 7:16) that “Fear gripped them.” The word “fear” as used here is not being scared of some danger. Rather it is seeing yourself as small or insignificant. That is unable to control or resist the person present or event that occurred.

People are intimidated
By an evident act of God

I think we saw this with the hurricane that recently damaged a heavily populated area of the United States

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Sep 25 2010

Do Not Brag

Luke 9:18-22 has an interesting command. Peter has correctly stated that Jesus is Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one of God. Immediately Jesus commands the disciples not to tell anyone. Why not? Because Jesus must suffer, be rejected, die and be raised from the dead.

How about us? Do we seek attention for the special things God has done for us? Maybe we should not. Who knows but what we too, like Jesus, have many things to suffer, rejection to face and maybe even killed. If we brag about a special relationship to God, will not the name of God be slandered when we suffer? People will think that either we have lied about this relationship or that God is not able to protect His own.

When God shows himself to us in special ways or uses us to do His work in some unique way, we should keep quiet. For we do not know what will happen in the future.

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Sep 03 2010

Preventing Suicide (Part 1)

Why do some social groups have a high rate of suicides? What can they do to prevent it?

I have had occasions to wonder about this. For instance, I had a cousin who did it. He was in a mental institution for murdering his wife and children. He says he had a dream that told him to kill them. What make him crack the first time? What made him decide to take his own life? I have speculations, but no answers, for my questions about him.

Being somewhat of an academic I “hit the books.” And am happy to share my list with you. One thing is troubling. They start with guessing that someone is already thinking about “ending it all.” But if we wait until then we are already in a losing battle. Why not start with doing things to make sure our children, friends, and relatives “suicide proof?” We do things for our loved ones like teach them to swim and have then wear flotation aids to “drown proof” them. What can we do to “suicide proof” them? At the end of this series we will give some suggestions.

The simple answer is to love them. However, there are those who are “loved” who still take their own lives. So there is more to it than that. I wonder if some take their own lives so that those who love them avoid shame when the public learns of some “crime” they have committed. A suicide in the family they think will bring sympathy to the family, while having your name in “Guilty in the Courts” will bring shame. However, both bring shame to the family. People will wonder why the family did not see the suicide coming and work to prevent it; or did not help the person stay out of trouble.

Each family and each community needs to discover their own ways of preventing suicide. I am looking for good examples. However every community and family without a recent suicide is a good example.

Part 2 looks at the stories involving suicide in the Bible. We will look for what drove these people to do it.

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