Receiving Correction Prepares the Way

Today’s passages in the One Year Bible spoke to me of correction and preparation: Correction that leads to wisdom and preparation that makes way for the Glory of God.

Correction

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.” ~ Proverbs 9:7-12

Our lives are built daily by improvements, adjustments, and corrections. Some are major and easy to notice. Other seem insignificant but are just as essential. These changes are progressive and little by little they add up and enrich our lives. In my mind’s eye, I see it as a stone wall of protection.

It is a priceless blessing to have a person or a group of people in your life who will consistently point you in the right direction and help you to stay faithful to the Word of God.  Correction is not always pleasant. Sometimes it hurts. But it will not only build you up but it will also shape your life.

Not everyone embraces correction (or rebuke). We tend to get defensive and reject it. We get offended and see it as a personal attack. At times we make up our minds ahead of time and then fail to pause to take advantage of good counsel, and those God has provided in our lives for that purpose – our pastors, our teachers, our mentors, etc.  Sometimes we meet their correction with mockery or disrespect. Sometimes we see those that yield to correction as weak.

One of my prayers is for the Lord to give me wisdom, but according to all I have read in the Bible those who seek and obtain wisdom must also embrace Godly correction. Accepting it should never be seen as shameful or weak. Why? Because it is a powerful key to open the door to God’s will. If you are continuously learning and open your heart to the God-provided critique that always lines up with the Word of God, I believe you will find the wisdom you seek, and you will live life strong in the Lord and the power of His might!

Preparation

Along with correction and wisdom, the scriptures passages for today in Exodus and Mark spoke of preparing for the Glory of God. I believe they go hand in hand because preparation for the perfect Glory of God will not be completed without some form of correction by God through His servants, through His Word, or by Him directly. We must have His guidance every step of the way just as Moses did and we stay in places of prayer and the Word as Jesus did. I think we will find that receiving correction is a great part in preparing the way!

Exodus

So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. ~ Exodus 40:33-34

Mark

As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Mark 1:2-3

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. Mark 1:9-13

Prayer

Father, Help me to prepare for Your Glory and Your Glory alone!!! Teach me and show me the necessary details of each step of the process. Teach me through Your Word, Your servants, and through Your own Voice. Lord, surround me with those who will challenge me to stay grounded in truth. Give me a heart that is open Godly correction. Holy Ghost, help me to yield as You correct me of anything and in whatever ways necessary to line my life with You and Your Word. In Jesus Name I ask. Amen!

Complete Daily Scripture Passages were: Exodus 39:1-40:38; Mark 1:1-28; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 9:11-12

Love, Instruction, and the Fear of the Lord

Throughout today’s reading of the One Year Bible, three themes stuck out to me:

1. Love
2. Instruction (teaching)
3. The fear of the Lord.

Exodus

In our passage in Exodus God had instructed Moses regarding the building of His Tabernacle. Moses instructed Bezaleel and Bezaleel carried out those instructions precisely.

And Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses. ~ Exodus 38:22

Matthew

In Matthew, Mary Magdalene and other women are at the tomb. There was a great earthquake as the angel rolled away the stone and the Bible says that the men keeping watch were so fearful that they fell over like dead men.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. ~ Matthew 28:2-3

(On a side note – 5 years ago today our area had an earthquake. I felt it and I wonder did those in the surrounding regions feel this earthquake? Did everyone talk about it like we did 5 years ago? Surely they had to…they were people just like you and me)

Later these men went to report to the elder all that had happened, and they were both paid and instructed to tell another story. The Bible says that they did as they were “taught.” Instruction (teaching) can be used for both good and evil purposes.

(This was a passage of scripture that I have never really seen or maybe better to say I never paid attention to it before)

Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. ~ Matthew 28:11-15

At the end of the book of Matthew, we read of Jesus giving the disciples what we call the Great Commission. To go, baptize, and teach!

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ Matthew 28:18-20

Psalms

Psalm 34:1 says, Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. And the Psalmist then goes on to teach us.

Proverbs

The Scripture reading ended today with this verse –

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. ~ Proverbs 9:10

The GREATEST LOVE

It is Valentine’s Day, and I am taken back now to the passage in Matthew because it was the story of the Resurrection of our Lord and the story of the Greatest Love. It is the story of Jesus… Rabonni – our Master and Teacher! What faithful love He has shown through His life, death, burial, resurrection but even so today as He continues to sit at the right hand of the Father praying for you and for me.

Thank you Father for weaving these Scriptures together to teach us Your Word and speak to our heart.

He reminds us today that to make it through this day and these days ahead – walk the path He is lighting for you – in His Love, in obedience to His teaching, and in the fear of the Lord.

Christian Love is…

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But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” ~ 1 Peter‬ ‭4:7-9‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Peter says the end is near and because of that Christians should remain alert, continue in prayer, and focus on loving each other.

In my Bible, this section of 1 Peter is labeled “Living for God.” It reminds me of an old hymn that begins, “Living for Jesus a life that is true, striving to please him in all that I do.” I think Peter would have appreciated the word “striving” here because it seems a lot like the word, “fervent.” These words give us a picture of an athlete straining to win. They speak of perseverance and intensity. Love is fervent, and Peter was fervent. He tried hard, but he didn’t always succeed. Yet in his failures, Peter learned that love is also forgiving. He learned “love covers over a multitude of sins.” Jesus’ love covered Peter’s sins, and His great love will cover yours and mine as well. Should we not also cover and forgive as Jesus does?

Love is fervent and forgiving, and it is practical and demonstrated with attitudes that glorify God. The practical application taught here is to show hospitality to one another – without grudging. Peter understood hospitality as more than greeting people before or after church services; more than having friends over for dinner. Real hospitality is expressed in self-sacrificing ways without grumbling or resentment.

Fervent, forgiving, practical, glorifying God – true Christian love will create strong bonds and have amazing results because true Christian love always points others to Jesus!

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” ~ John 13:35

Meditations on Mark

“And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly. And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it.” – Mark 7:35-36

It’s a mystery to me that sometimes Jesus told those whom he healed to go and tell others, and sometimes he told them to keep silent. The reasons for this are not always obvious from scripture, and I’ve read several commentaries that try to give various explanations. But all attempts at explanation aside, there’s one thing that I cannot get past- that disobedience to Christ, no matter how well-intentioned, is still disobedience.

I don’t want to read too much into this passage here. The man who was deaf and dumb was indeed healed by Christ, but the fact remains that Jesus kept ordering him not to tell anyone what he had done, but he just kept doing it.

Hendriksen takes a pretty strong view of the man when he says, “…it takes more than admiration and enthusiasm to be a true follower of Christ. Many Christ-admirers are lost. The true mark of discipleship is revealed in John 15:14, ‘You are my friends if you do what I bid you.’ The people were doing just the opposite.”

This takes me to a place of self-examination. Am I a Christ-follower or simply a Christ-admirer?

__________

“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 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.” – Matthew 10:43-45

This seems to defy human thinking. Just take a look at children, what do they do? They fight for the front seat in the car, they want the first piece and biggest piece of cake, they want to be the leader of the pack, etc. Our natural tendencies are not to sit in the back seat, but to drive the car.

Probably the most famous missionary quotes of the twentieth-century was made by Jim Elliot when he said “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Men and women who spend their lives in the pursuits of power and fame lose everything in the end. Those who seek first the kingdom of God and walk as Christ walked, serving others, gain everything in the end.

Lord, I pray that you help me to keep this in the forefront of my very human mind.

The Nazarite (one who is separated)

Numbers 6:1-2 – And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when either man or  woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord.

Mark 12:11 – When they shall lead you and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Mark 13:13 – and ye shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Psalm 49:15 – But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

Psalm 49:20 – Man that is in honor and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

Proverbs 10:27a; 28a – fear of the Lord prolongeth days; hope of the righteous shall be gladness.

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The Lord is speaking to me today about the Nazarite. I feel like I have separated myself unto the Lord. I pray that God helps me to be found faithful in all that He requires and asks me to do. Please God give me strength and help in this hour, from Your Word or from any source You chose. Please God give me discernment.

The Nazarite (means one separated) was a person who was separated completely to the Lord. Absention from wine, the symbol of natural joy, was the expression of  devotedness which found all it’s joy in the Lord. The long hair of the Nazarite, was naturally a reproach to others.  It was a visible sign of the Nazarite’s separation and willingness to bear reproach for the Lord’s sake. The Nazarite found the perfect fulfillment in Jesus who was holy, harmless, undefiled, “separate from sinners” and utterly set apart to the Father and allowed no mere natural claim to hinder or divert Him.

Scripture references for above statements:

Wine an expression of joy –

Psalm 104:15a – and wine that maketh glad the heart of man

Joy in the Lord –
Psalm 97:12 – Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 
Habakkuk 3:18 – Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation. Philippians 3:3 – For we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:10 – But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

Hair as a reproach to men –

1 Corinthians 11:14 – Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

Holy, Harmless, Separate –

Hebrews 7:26 – For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than the heavens. 

Set apart to the Father –

John 1:18 – No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
John 6:38 – For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

No natural claim will hinder him –

Matthew 12:46-50 – While he yet talked to the people, behold his mother and his brethren stood without desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister ad mother.

These passages and the study regarding the Nazarite was a real encouragement for me. Often this walk is so difficult because of the loneliness. Sometimes for me though the loneliness is right in the middle of a crowd. Often it seems there is no where to fit. I don’t fit with one crowd or the other. Lord help me! I ASK YOU, PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS and TO BE CONTENT WHEREVER YOU MAY HAVE ME. In JESUS Name. Amen!!!

Must Everything Change?

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; He hath made every thing beautiful in his time. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, 11a

Everything must change. Just as God created the earth to move from one season to the next, He will also allow changes and seasons in our lives. Some of these changes, like the seasons, are expected, beautiful, and welcome. Others come unexpectedly, unwanted, and leave us wondering what to do next.

We tend to equate the winter season with death and the spring season with life. Although it may appear and feel that way in the natural, there is actually just as much life in the dormant seed as in the brightest bloom.

The answer to all of our changes and our changing times is to put our faith in God, who does not change! King Solomon said that God makes “everything beautiful in his time.” He will transform the winter season of your life into spring…in His time. When we accept changes and trust His timing, asking the Lord to show us the beauty and purposes of even our hardest seasons, our faith will grow and we will experience transformation like the landscapes of spring.