Tag Archives: Grace

Offended

Everyone gets offended. Lately it seems like it happens at every turn. I am offended. This offends me.I remember when I was younger, I had issues with self-control stemming from my AdHd, and I had difficulty relating to others. I found myself often blurting out things and my words would offend others and resulted in many awkward moments. I had great difficulty making real friends, and some things I said were held against me. Two stories I remember not-so-fondly from my childhood include my encounter with an overweight nurse while getting burn treatment for my arm, and an episode with a relative regarding cigarette smoking. Some of my words never were forgotten or forgiven, despite my lack of understanding the issue with them.

Over the years, I have learned more about self-control. I have made many changes and formed many habits to help with my AdHd. Though I still have some struggles with relating with others, I certainly have improved. Yet, I look around and I see that so many people still are getting offended—but it is much worse. The sad truth is the result of the offensive words and deeds. People hold it against others. People take something someone said and misinterpret it, and forever the person is disliked. Forgiveness is far from being found.

Yet as we think about the truth of the forgiveness of God, and we think about how people cling to anger and bitterness, we are found in contempt. We have offended God. Again and again, we have offended God. We will continue to offend God. Even so, He forgives us completely. He never holds it against us for our ignorance. He never lets our selfishness or lack of control taint His love for us. He does not tell us we are no longer welcome and out of His social group. He does not let the offense cause a break in the relationship—instead, God fills the gap with His love and grace. Today, consider what offenses you may be clinging to, and who needs your forgiveness. You may find that you need to forgive even more than the other person needs your forgiveness. 

“For no matter how hard they try, God finds no pleasure with those who are controlled by the flesh.” – Romans 8:8 [TPT]

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” – Colossians 3:13 [NLT]

The Rudolph Nose

I had to chuckle the other evening as I drove home. I came across a deer-crossing street sign and someone had put a red nose on the deer. I said, “Look, it’s Rudolph,” as I passed by the sign. Then I pondered over what some may say when they see the same sign. I know that the sign is the property of the local government, and so technically the nose could be seen as defacement of property. Legal actions could be taken against the person who chose to apply the nose to the sign. At the same time, I found it comical. Please do not get me wrong—I am not in any way saying it’s okay to deface or damage property. What I am trying to express is how I saw this and had a laugh at the cute, comical image.

Over the years, I have found myself on a roller coaster ride with grace. When I was younger, I was happy about grace. I was glad that God gave me grace. I wanted grace. I was stingy and wanted to keep all the grace I could handle. As I got older, I started to learn more about the Law. I started to find myself a bit proud. I started to think better of myself. I sat myself up high. I was smug. I felt somewhat superior to some others. This grew as I attended university and increased my knowledge of the Bible. It’s interesting how we can grow in our knowledge of the Word of God, and separate ourselves so much from grace, because we stand on knowledge. We hold tightly to Scripture, but so tightly that we miss the common thread of love. We like the feeling of being right, being justified, being a child of God. We miss the “all fall short” and the “love others” and “honor everyone.” We become a Pharisee and can be blind to it for a long time, even years later.

As the years pass by, I slowly find myself more broken. I find myself understanding grace more. I find myself needing grace more. I look back on the person I used to be and see how God has changed me. He has shown me that I was sometimes a stumbling block when I should have been a bridge. He has reminded me that the grace I receive, is the same grace that I should pour out to others. He opens my eyes to love simply and deeply—to not make life so difficult and draining. I have long ago realized that the greatest threat to my relationship with God is not Satan; it’s me. I am a long way from the follow-the-rules-down-to-the-last-letter kid I once was in school. I have learned to live, to love, to laugh. I have learned that a Rudolph nose, despite the defacement of property, is funny. I have decided to love anyway, to laugh often, to forgive freely. Life is short. We need a few more Rudolph noses and a lot more love. We desperately all need Jesus. Oh, how sweet the sound of His amazing grace!

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” – Ephesians 1:7 [ESV]

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24 [ESV]

The Non-Weight Lifters

I love going to the gym as much as my schedule permits. The gym is my happy place. I put on some music and spend an hour trying to push my body. One thing that bothers me at the gym is when people sit at machines and do not exercise. The last time I was at the gym, I was exercising on the elliptical machine and peered out to see a handful of people sitting on the weight machines with cell phones in hand. The people sat at the machines the entire time I was on the elliptical machine. I became curious as to why the people would even come to the gym if they were not going to work out.

The people who sat at the machines could tell people that they went to the gym. Perhaps some of the group checked in at the gym on Facebook. Perhaps some of the group will tell friends or family that they were at the gym. They will even tell themselves they were at the gym. But to be at the gym and to actually work out at the gym are two different things. Anyone can go to the gym, but not everyone uses the gym equipment. People can see the check in on Facebook and believe their friend is getting buff, and in the end, their friend was scrolling their Facebook newsfeed. To the blind eye, it appears the person is getting fit; reality says something different.

This same façade is true in the life of a “Christian.” There are many people who claim to be Christians but when outsiders observe their lives, they are not seeing Jesus. There are people who attend church on a regular basis and people who do good deeds, who unfortunately do not know Jesus. These people may know of Jesus, but they never had the blessing of enjoying the presence of God in their lives because they were too busy trying to show everyone they had everything in order, too proud to lean into God, or too blinded by their own façade that they missed the grace so freely poured out. It is sad how many people still today think that they must try to earn their place in heaven.

We are each on a journey. We all need Jesus. Let us not sit at the machines pretending to be Christians. Instead, may our eyes be fixed on Jesus. May our words and our deeds point to Him. May we stop trying to cling to the title of Christian, and instead invest our time in following Jesus by responding to the great commands to love God and love others. Love is not a façade. It’s honest. It’s real. It’s vulnerable. It’s messy. It’s certainly not easy. Love God. Love others. 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31 [NIV]

What is Love Series – Love Always Outline

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  1. Love is Patient… fill in gaps with GRACE
  2. Love is Kind… do GOOD & be GENEROUS to all
  3. Love Rejoices with Truth… DELIGHT in truth
  4. Love Always

“Love Always”… used to use this as my signature for cards and letters

Realized that I do not “Love Always.” 

Always means ALL THE TIME

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 Living Bible (TLB)

If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.

 

Love BEARS all things – Love BEARS always

 

YOU WILL BE LOYAL TO HIM NO MATTER WHAT THE COST

YOU WILL NEVER STOP BEING PATIENT

LOVE COVERS… PROTECTS

 

1 Peter 4:8 (NASB)

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

 

Charles Spurgeon noted that… “This love both covers and bears all things. It never proclaims the errors of others. It refuses to see faults unless it may kindly help in their removal. It stands in the presence of a fault with a finger on its lips.”

 

Love BELIEVES all things – Love BELIEVES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE IN HIM

Expect the best of others (of what’s in them now)

You recognize they are made in the image of God — you see the very best in them now

You believe in someone until you are shown otherwise – give benefit of the doubt

 

Romans 12:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Faith in what God has made available now

 

Love HOPES all things – Love HOPES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS EXPECT THE BEST OF HIM

Expect the best of others (of what is to come)

You recognize that God has a greater purpose in a person’s life, a plan & purpose of His design — you see what God wants to do in a person’s life.

Love looks forward with confidence & grace

Trust that expects fulfillment of the future promises of God

 

1 Timothy 4:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

 

Romans 8:24 The Passion Translation (TPT)

24 For this is the hope of our salvation.

 

But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have?

 

Love ENDURES all things – Love ENDURES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS STAND YOUR GROUND IN DEFENDING HIM

YOU WILL NEVER GIVES UP

To endure – To remain under

Perseveres despite situations / circumstances

No matter what!

 

1 Corinthians 9:12 (NASB)

12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

 

In Closing, look to God to understand what it means to LOVE ALWAYS…

Love Bears… God bears… He pours out grace & mercy despite your sins and shortcomings. Your sins cannot stand up to His grace.

Love Believes… God believes the best in you – God designed you for His good purpose & God sees you as His Son. 

Love Hopes… God has your future beautifully orchestrated & God sees who you will be – the beautiful masterpiece

Love Endures… God loves NO MATTER WHAT… He truly LOVES ALWAYS!

Stooping Down in Gentleness

We live in a broken world, a world filled with pain and suffering and things that are not right. From the very beginning, when God created the world, He foreknew that sin would enter the world. He knew that brokenness would be a way of life for us. He knew that nothing could be done to save the brokenness without Him moving in a mighty way.

God sent His one and only Son to save us, to redeem us, to pay a price we could not pay. He reached out to restore us and bring us back into a relationship with Him. Every day we have the opportunity to enjoy a relationship with our heavenly Father. Because Jesus suffered the wrath that was to be our punishment, we can enjoy His “wrap-around presence.” This is because God has stooped down to us to bring us back into His holy presence.

When the world is beating you down, when you are lost in your brokenness, be reminded of the stooping down gentleness of God. Who am I that He would even consider me? Yet, our God moves through the brokenness with gentleness. He does not attack our brokenness, but beautifully works through it and makes us new. Strange enough, when we take something broken and try to repair it, the end result is never something better. Superglue and duct tape only go so far. But we serve a God of the impossible. With God, we are a masterpiece. He makes us great—better than we ever were. With Him moving through us, navigating through the brokenness, each day we are made more into the image of His Son. All because He has stooped down in gentleness.

“You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” – Psalm 18:35 [TPT]

 

Handle With Care: Add Fabric Softener

Week 3 – Add Fabric Softener

[Hebrews 10:24-25]

CARING LIKE BARNABAS

 

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. [NLT]

 

GENEROUSActs 4:36-37 – Barnabas sold land to provide for fellow Christians

ACCEPTINGActs 9:26-28 – Barnabas took a chance with Paul when the other’s weren’t accepting him.

ENCOURAGINGActs 11:23-24 – Barnabas was glad to see what God did through others and encouraged them to all remain true to God.

GRACIOUSActs 15:36-41 – Barnabas extended grace to John Mark, not giving up on John Mark.

 

Embrace – Encourage – Equip – Empower

 

Put yourself aside and let others get ahead (Philippians 2:3-4)

Speak what is helpful for building others up (Ephesians 4:29)

 

2 Timothy 4:11 – Paul later requested John Mark because he was profitable to the ministry.

 

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Acts 15:36-41 and Philippians 2:3-4. How does this passage in Philippians relate to the narrative in Acts 15?

2) Read Ephesians 4:29. What does Paul describe in this passage? How do we live this out?

3) Read Romans 15:1-6 Who are we to please? What does this passage describe as the relationship between the strong and weak? How can we live this out?

4) Read 1 Timothy 2:1-3. What does this passage say is most important, and why is this most important?

 

Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.

 

Handle With Care: No More Bleach

Week 2 – No More Bleach

[Matthew 23:1-36]

CARING FOR TRUTH

Living a Façade

Live the Truth to Glorify God

If you are living a fake life, you aren’t living as He created you, but as you have concocted. Isaiah 43:7 – you were created to glorify God. Ephesians 2:10 – You are God’s masterpiece – He created you to do good works that He planned long ago.

Accept the Truth to Receive Grace

If you don’t accept the truth, you don’t accept the grace God is ready to pour out. Ephesians 2:8 – It is by grace you have been saved.

Embrace the Truth to Grow in Christ

You can’t allow God to work through your life to prune, discipline, etc. if you aren’t acknowledging the truth. Colossians 2:6-7

Seek the Truth to Enjoy Peace in Christ

Trying to keep up the fake life causes you to carry a heavy burden, one day you will not be able to keep it up. Philippians 4:7 – He offers a peace beyond understanding.

Share the Truth to Guide Others to New Life in Him

Living transparent life allows people to see what God is doing in YOUR life – and this will point people to Jesus! 2 Corinthians 5:20

 Luke 16:15 – And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. [ESV]

 

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Matthew 23:4.

  • What does this mean?
  • How do we do this?
  • How can we live without placing heavy loads on people?

 

2) Read Matthew 23:13-14.

  • What does this mean?
  • How do we do this?
  • How can we live as door openers?

 

3) Read Matthew 23:23-26.

  • What does this mean?
  • How do we do this?
  • How can we live focused on the more important?

 

Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.

 

 

Behold the Lamb Series

Week 1 – The Lamb of God

[John 1:29, Leviticus 17:11]

Here is the LAMB OF GOD who takes away the sin of the world.

  • Behold –to point something out
  • Here – to indicate a place … John is drawing attention to Jesus
  • Lamb of God – sent by God, provided by God
  • Takes Away – removes, blots out

Lamb in a Sacrificial Sense: God is holy and righteous, separate from sin

Atonement – Reconciliation – wipe clean, sacrifice that cleanses from sin

Leviticus 17:11 – For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement. [CSB]

Leviticus 4:32-35 – “kipper” – make atonement, make reconciliation, to purge, to wipe clean

Leviticus 5:5-6

Leviticus 4:5-6 – The anointed priest will then take some of the bull’s blood and bring it into the tent of meeting. The priest is to dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the LORD in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. [CSB]

Leviticus 16:14-16 – He is to take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger against the east side of the mercy seat; then he will sprinkle some of the blood with his finger before the mercy seat seven times. When he slaughters the male goat for the people’s sin offering and brings its blood inside the curtain, he will do the same with its blood as he did with the bull’s blood: He is to sprinkle it against the mercy seat and in front of it. He will make atonement for the most holy place in this way for all their sins because of the Israelites’ impurities and rebellious acts. He will do the same for the tent of meeting that remains among them, because it is surrounded by their impurities. [CSB]

Hebrews 9:11-12, 16-22, 24-28

Confession / Costly / Identification / Personal

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read John 1:29. Does John the Baptist’s statement about the Lamb of God refer to sacrifice? If yes, how can you tell?

2) The phrase “sin of the world” is bold and radical. Why? How can we live this out?

3) In what sense is God’s provision of the animal sacrifice for forgiveness of sins an expression of mercy?

4) Were animal sacrifices actually adequate to atone for sin?

5) How is the Lamb of God a more sufficient sacrifice than the previous sacrificial system?

 

Week 2 – The Lamb Who Takes Our Place

[Isaiah 53]

Substitute – a person acting or serving in place of another.

Bears Our Sin (v. 4)

2 Corinthians 5:21 – He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [CSB]

Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so Christ could make us acceptable to God. [CEV]

1 Peter 2:24-25 – and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. [NASB]

Receives Our Punishment (v.5-6)

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [NIV]

Acts Voluntarily (v. 7)

John 10:11 – I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [ESV]

Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many [NLT]

 Revelation 5:6, 9-10 – Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth… And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” [NIV]

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Isaiah 53:1-3. How was Jesus a man of sorrows? How is the description of Jesus that we read about in this passage not what was expected?

2) Read Isaiah 53:4-6. List every “our” phrase. What does the list say to you?

3) Read Isaiah 53:6. Are you one of the sheep? Even today?

4) Read Isaiah 53:7. How does this passage describe the Lamb of God?

5) Read Isaiah 53:10. Who killed Jesus? Who was to blame?

 

Week 3 – The Lamb Who Redeems Us from Slavery

[1 Peter 1:18-19, Mark 10:44-45, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20]

Intro: Last week we looked at Isaiah 53, which promised One Who was coming to redeem from their bondage to sin and death… tonight we discuss The Lamb Who Redeems Us from Slavery.

Free: Not bound, confined or detained; having no obligations; capable of moving or turning in any direction.

Slave: Held in servitude; completely subservient.

We were REDEEMED from the empty way of life

1 Peter 1:18-19 – For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. [NIV]        Redemption – deliverance from captivity by means of ransom price

With the life of Jesus given as a RANSOM for many

Mark 10:44-45 – And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [NASV]

We were bought with a high price, so we must HONOR GOD WITH BODY

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. [NLT]

Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

How to live free?

  1. Accept God’s Word2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. [ESV]
  2. Accept God’s GraceRomans 5:18 – Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. [ESV]
  3. Accept God’s Victory1 John 5:5 – Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [NIV]

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Romans 8:1-4. What does it mean that the law was weakened by the flesh? How did Jesus fulfill the law’s requirement?

2) Read Romans 8:5-9. What are the two types of people? In reading this passage, do you think it is possible for a believer to be living with the mind-set of the flesh and be hostile to God?

3) Read Romans 8:15-17. How is this passage empowering?

4) From tonight’s reading in the book of Romans, what are some of the things the Holy Spirit will help us live out if we live in the Spirit?

Week 4 – The Passover Lamb of Whom We Partake

[1 Corinthians 5:7, Exodus 12:3-14, Matthew 26:26-30]

Passover Lamb – Passover Instituted

Exodus 12:3-14 – Instructions for Passover

The Lord’s Supper Instituted

Matthew 26:26-30 – 3rd cup, Cup of Redemption

Bread – blessed, broken – “Take and eat it; this is My body.”

Cup – “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Cup of Promise – 4th cup “I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” PROMISE TO COME

Handling the Leaven

1 Corinthians 5:1-8

  1. 3 – Even though I am absent in the body, I am present in spirit.
  2. 7 – Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.
  3. 8 – Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of SINCERITY and TRUTH.

Remove old yeast – sin/sinner

We are to be the new unleavened batch

  • Sincerity of mind & integrity of character (Pure inner motives)
  • Truth – divine truth / God’s Truth

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Looking at Exodus 12, in what ways did the Passover lamb protect the families of God’s people?

2) How is the Passover lamb in Exodus similar to the sacrifice of Christ?

3) Read Matthew 26:28. How could these words fill us with sorrow? Why should these words fill us with joy?

4) Read Matthew 26:29. How does the celebration of the Lord’s Supper anticipate a future celebration with Jesus? How does this give you hope?

5) Read Exodus 12:11. How is this in relation with how we approach the Lord’s Supper?

Week 5 – The Triumphant Lamb We Worship

[Revelation 5]

Jesus has fierceness & fearlessness of a Lion (v. 5) and tenderness and humility of a Lamb (v. 6).

  • Scroll is the action plan
    • Scroll is an Action Plan to judge, cleanse, and prepare the nations for Jesus’ rule over Earth, while bringing the Church to maturity and into unity with redeemed Israel.
  • Scroll is the Title Deed to the Earth
    • By taking the scroll, He accepted responsibility to cleanse and rule Earth.

Jesus is the only Man found worthy, deserving, and capable to take scroll from Father.

  • Who is worthy? No one.
  • John wept bitterly.
  • He hears – Lion of Tribe of JudahLion – boldness, strength, fierceness
  • He sees – Lamb SlainLamb – humility, gentleness, weakness, submission

He alone could redeem us:

  • He was related to us (Man of God)
  • He was willing to do it
  • He was able to pay the price

Highest government council around throne. (Living angels – angelic, elders – human)

They fell awestruck before the worthy Man and boldly proclaimed their agreement with the Father’s decree to make Jesus supreme leader of whole Earth forever.

Because of His obedience to death, God highly exalted Jesus in heaven and on earth

Philippians 2:8-10 – And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [NIV]

 Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Psalm 96:1-9. This Psalm speaks of the King of the earth and provides reasons to worship. What are some of the reasons listed?

2) Read Psalm 96:6-12. This passage speaks of the need to “ascribe to the Lord.” What does it mean to “ascribe to the Lord”? This passage speaks of our witness. When considering this passage, what are we supposed to be sharing when we witness? In verse 10, it says, “Say among the nations,” which is again pointing to our witness. When considering this passage, what are we supposed to be sharing when we witness?

3) Read Psalm 96:11-13. How does this passage describe worship? How does this description change the way you think about worship? This Psalm ends waiting for what? How does this relate to tonight’s look at Revelation?

 

 

In the Breach

We can glean a lot from the leadership of Moses. This picture we get of him standing in the breach is one that exemplifies what it means to be a leader. Don’t stop reading with the excuse that you are not a leader. Everyone is leading someone. The question is—do you stand in the breach?

First, you have to know what it means that Moses stood before God in the breach. When you consider a breach, picture a wall. You have a wall for protection. This wall works great so long as it remains intact. However, there are moments when there is a breach in the wall—a breakdown of the wall at some point that makes the wall ineffective. Now whatever you are trying to keep out is now coming through this break in the wall. When soldiers are protecting an area and there is a breach, the soldiers will use their own bodies to stand at the breach to continue to ensure the area is protected.

When we look at Moses and this picture of him standing before God in the breach, we see a leader who is concerned for the Israelites, the people he was leading. Despite their sin, their shortcomings and failures, he cared for the people. He sought for their best interest. He stood between them and God and made his plea of intercession. He recognized their weakness. He recognized their sin, but he did not let that change the way He cared for them. He sought the mercy of God. He prayed for the people.

As a leader, the most important thing is to care for the people you are leading—to love them. Love them like Jesus loves them. Love them with all that you are and love them despite their shortcomings and failures. Look at them as God sees them. Do all you can to stand in the breach. Pray for them. Give them your very best as you pour into their lives. Treat your time with them as precious. Don’t sell them short. Don’t treat them as a number or a task. Seek their best interest always. Love them. Love them like Jesus.

“So he said he would have destroyed them–if Moses his chosen one had not stood before him in the breach to turn his wrath away from destroying them.” – Psalm 106:23 [CSB]

Taste and See

The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.

Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.

Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?

Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]