Friday, May 09, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional for 5/9/08

John 7:41-44
41 Others said, "He is the Christ."
Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? 42 Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

Have you ever thought you had God more or less figured out, only to end up confused and humbled? If you haven't already, you will someday. If there is a common theme in the Gospel stories of Jesus, it is one of confusion on the part of those around Him. It seems that plenty of folks thought they had Him figured out and then He went and messed up their notions alltogether. Even the disciples didn't get what they expected most of the time. Look at them again in the Gospels. They spend half the time it seems marveling or amazed at something that Jesus did or said. I find encouragement in this. We serve a God who is bigger and more incomprehensible that we can ever imagine. He keeps revealing more and more of Himself to us as we are ready for it. So get to know Him a little better each day and see what amazing things you can discover.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional for 5/7/08

Matthew 9:9
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

Call me simplistic if you will, but it seems to me that sometimes we overcomplicate simple things. When Jesus called His disciples, He simply asked them to "Follow me". When we seek to be obedient and make new disciples of Jesus Christ, what do we ask them to do? Follow this set or that set of guidelines? Or do we point them to the Master and say, "Follow Him!"? I am not saying that the Christian life is simple or easy at all. I am just saying that we might be guilty sometimes of making things more difficult than they should be for others and especially ourselves.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional for 5/6/08

Hebrews 13:1-3
1 Keep on loving each other as brothers. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

I had the most amazing thing happen on Monday. I had a chance to put these words into practice in a very real way. I got a call on the church phone from a guy who had been given a room at a local motel and some food for the night through the help of our local ministerial association. He called me with an unusual request. He wanted to know if we would wash his clothes for him. He was out of money and had no way to wash them himself. I went to the hotel and got the clothes from him and talked with him for a few minutes. I brought the clothes home and we washed them and then I took them back along with a few other clothing items I thought he might be able to use. He had mentioned the first time I talked to him that he was a believer, and when I went back to deliver his clothes; he told me more of his life story and testimony. We talked for a half hour or so about faith and trusting God. He spoke with great passion about what God had done for him in his life. Before I left, we prayed together and thanked God for the chance to meet this side of heaven. I want to ask you who read this to pray for Nick as well. Pray that God would keep him safe and direct him to the place He has planned for him to live and minister.

Monday, May 05, 2008

How many doctrinal discussions does it take to light our world?

I enjoy reading other's opinions. I like being challenged in my beliefs and taking those challenges back to God's Word to find the truth for myself. In some ways the Bereans are my heros I suppose. But I have honestly scaled back in the last few years and not sought out a lot of discussions online. Maybe it was because I was getting some good discussions from my classes at Liberty Online or maybe I was just tired of getting into arguments over things that increasingly seemed trivial at times. This week, I found myself drawn into a discussion over at the Internet Monk website regarding the Lord's Supper. Actually, it has been somewhat ranging and the discussion I have really gotten into involves some questions about baptism, but in a real sense these two things are tied together. Much of what separates the Body of Christ universal is division(s) on how to handle these two subjects. You can see my posts on the subject in the comment thread, mostly in the later comments since I didn't really get involved in the discussion until 5/3.
If you have any thoughts to share, let me know what you think. I am curious. At some point I am going to rework the ideas I get from this discussion into a post of my own here.

More Than Bread Devotional for 5/5/08

John 8:54-56
54 Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."

I find it amazing that most people I talk to speak of how loving and kind Jesus was. And truth be told, He was loving. He loved everyone, but that didn't keep Him from saying some things that weren't what we would consider nice. Most of the really harsh words went toward the Pharisees and the other hyper-religious people of His day. Many of the times He speaks harshly to try and get through the callous and hardened religious exterior of the self-righteous. And while we should certainly be imitators of Christ, I don't know that I would recommend this harsh approach to the average person. I have tried it in the past, and it is hard to come off as loving when you are admonishing someone. I know this because I have usually failed at it spectacularly when I have tried it in the past. If you have to admonish someone, try to stick to the Word of God and add little or nothing to it. God's Word is the best remedy for a hardened heart.