January 10

Currently listening to the alito hearings. It is interesting to hear Ted Kennedy speak about ethics, and the forcible eviction of a family by armed US Marshals, including a 10 year old child. Surley if we looked back in Senate record, we’d find his comments and criticism of the Elian Gonzalez situation…

Praise Habit-Psalm 113

A few months ago, back in my Le Mars days, Phil and I were having youth group one sunday night. The topic was the priority of God in our lives. As people, we try to prioritize things; see sample below.

Food
-steak (medium rare, of course)
-wife’s cheesy-potatos
-wife’s corn casserole
-everything else

Life’s priorities are a little different. Scripture tells us that we are love God with every fibre of our beings, our hearts, minds; we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). We are to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and then, and only then, all of these things (and these things are NOT ONLY financial blessings, see 2 Corinthians 4:11, and 2 corinthains 11 for an exhaustive list of the blessings Paul received when he placed his pursuit of God’s kingdom first).

Phil made the statement that God was number one, and that there was indeed no number 2. Either God is the priority, or He is not. That is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is the gospel. God is jealous, and seeks his rightful place in our lives. Crowder quotes Eugen Peterson in his dissertation of Psalm 113.

“First, God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God” (Peterson quoted on Crowder-125).

2 Peter 1

Often, we seek out God’s power to do things. To pass a test, to get me a job, to get me out of a speeding ticket, to fight off a sin. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that the divine power has granted to us all things which relate to life and godliness. Because of this power, even the ability to participate in the divine nature-how do we do this? There are some who believe that we can attain the perfection of Christ, that this verse shows that we can be sin-free. The following verses actually tell us how we participate…we should be diligent on our walk, we should add virtue (right living and excellence) to our faith, to our right living we should add the knowledge of Christ, we need to go beyond the abstract lntellectual realizations and self-awareness of sin, and put them into practice by excercising self-control over our passions, habits and desires; in our self-control, we should also endure with others, we should bear them up and bear with them. The footnotes in my bible for verse 6 say “as we exercise control over our self and bear with others and with circumstances, godliness needs to be developed in our spiritual life, that we may be like God and express him”. Through this godliness, we exhibit brotherly love, not just the lip-service we pay to one another on sunday mornings, but actual brotherly love, godliness. Because according to scripture, when we are told to mourn with those who mourn and to rejoice with those who rejoice, when there is one unwed mother in our churches, we are ALL unwed mothers. When our brothers and sisters suffer persecution in North Korea, WE suffer persecution. The body of Christ is not merely those who gather in our buildings on Sundays. Somewhere, in Africa, or Mexico, or Vietnam, is the “hand” or the “ear” or the “foot” of God’s church. That should challenge our concept of the body of Christ. It does mine…we tend to think of our individual churches as just that…the body in Le Mars, or Marysville, or Cedar Rapids, of Timbuktu. But the body of Christ has a context outside of “our” individual buildings. Just think, somewhere, right now, a brother or sister in the Lord is being persecuted, is being physically punished because of Christ.

http://www.persecution.com/basic/feature.cfm

When we do those things, and only when we do them, according to verse 8, we cannot be unfruitful, we cannot be idle. If indeed we do not exhibit/express/proclaim these things (diligence, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly love and love), we are blind and have forgotten our own cleansing of sin. I love the boldness of Peter in verses 12 and 13, he writes that even though you know these things, I’m going to remind you of them. He writes that as long as he is alive, he will “stir” us up. We need to be stirred up, we need to be offended by the gospel. We need to allow the Word of God to affect us. We need to be shaken from our comfortable offices, hog yards and homes. The Word is designed to cut through skin and bone, through marrow to our very hearts.

Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.”

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