Deuteronomy 6:5-9

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Looking for a Sign from God?

Many people today are looking for a sign from God. Some are looking for signs that will give them clarity on a decision they need to make or for general direction in life. I have read stories like the picture of Jesus in a potato, toast, and many other things that people interpret as a sign from God. If you are honest with yourself, you probably have sought the Lord’s will in this way to some degree or another. Maybe you prayed and told God “if you want me to do this, then cause such and such to happen; if not cause something else to happen.” Often when this happens you are very sincere about your request and desire to follow the Lord, but the problem with this is that God has already revealed His will, and it is found in the Word of God.

Jesus was confronted with people in His day that were falling into the same sin we do by looking for a sign. Jesus, in Matthew 12, is confronted by some scribes and Pharisees who said to Him “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” In Jesus’ response to them, He first tells them an “evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it…” We see from His reply that it is an evil generation that looks for signs as opposed to the righteous. If we are not supposed to look for signs what are we to look for? Jesus answers this in His response to the people pointing them to the Word of God. He tells them the only sign that will be given is “the sign of Jonah the prophet.” Remember that Jesus is talking to people who knew the Old Testament very well. He points them to the Scriptures and says “just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The answer the people were looking for was found in the Word of God, but they were looking for an external sign. More specifically, Jesus points them to the His own resurrection as the only sign that would be given. He promises them that He would follow the model of Jonah; spending three days in the earth and then victoriously raising from the dead.

The Resurrection of Jesus is the main doctrine that sets Christianity apart from all other world religions. The Leader of Christianity, Jesus Christ, died like every other religious leader, but He was not abandoned to the grave, but rose again. As we approach Easter, we celebrate the fact that Jesus’ death on the cross paid our sin debt in full. We rejoice that it is by grace that we have been saved through faith and that not of ourselves. It is a gift of God. We rejoice in all of this, but it would not be true if Jesus had not risen from the grave. Paul said to the church in Corinth that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain… your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins.” We could say it this way; Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter saw the significance of the resurrection in his first sermon recorded after Pentecost. Peter tells the people that “God raised Jesus up again, putting an end to the agony of death…” He then directs the people to the Word of God in Psalm 16 where David said “You will not abandon my soul to Hades nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” Peter says that David looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ. The resurrection was a crucial part of the gospel they presented to the people.

We should take note that the early church didn’t look for signs but looked to the Word of God for direction in their lives. They continually devoted themselves to the Word of God and preached it with boldness. This Easter ask someone what is the significance of the resurrection of Jesus. Be willing to share that because Jesus conquered death on your behalf you can have eternal life by repenting of your sins, trusting in His work on the cross, and committing your life to Him.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Comments on a song...

I was driving home tonight from my in-laws, my hubby was at work and my children were asleep in the back seat. I was listening to the Casting Crowns c.d. I started listening to the song, “Somewhere in the Middle”. Now for the record I am not quoting scripture, I am not quoting God’s inspired, or God’s breathed word. This is just a song which is man written. However I think it had some great points. I’m just going to pull out some of the words and comment on them:

“Somewhere between the hot and the cold”-This line reminds me of Rev. 3:15
“Somewhere between the new and the old”
“Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender Cause I'm losing all control”-Wow, to completely surrender, does that mean we should give up all control??? Hmmm…
“The God we want and the God who is But will we trade our dreams for his Or are we caught in the middle”-This line is so true, and relevant for today. So many people try to make God into who they want instead of who He really is and what He really wants for their lives. (Is that postmodern???)
“Somewhere between my faith and my plans”

Anyway this song really got me thinking. I know that people struggle with being “somewhere in the middle”. Why is this? God calls us to be strong in our faith, completely trusting in Him. Are we afraid of losing control? I have been accused of this in the past. (for those who don’t know me, I’m a bit controlling) It’s hard not to be in complete control of things like our children, our finances, our relationships. Even when it comes to sin, I work so hard to achieve that “righteousness” that I only end up further away from God. Only He can make us righteous. Our righteousness on our own, is like filthy rags to Him. He wants to cleanse us, we cannot cleanse ourselves. Wasn't it His blood that cleansed us anyway? So why do we forget that? Why do we try to “help” God out? For me it is a control thing, I am learning to completely surrender. It is a daily thing. That is why it is so important to be in His word and in prayer. I challenge us all to surrender daily.
Luke 9:23-And He was saying to them all, " If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Rev. 3:15-16-“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth."