Thursday, March 31, 2011

Proverbs 31 - Remix

I decided to write my own spiritual poem about the perfect woman. Proverbs 31 is an acrostic using the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, so to be consistent I used the alphabet as my muse. Enjoy the silliness and note the spiritual implications!

My Virtuous Woman

A woman that is good is hard to find
Because a good woman is not left behind.
Could I overstate her
Demure, elegant stature?
Everything she does is described as kind.
Fair hands are foreign to her,
Gold her heart does not stir.
Her lone, simple joy
Is when her little boy
Just enjoyed her labors as restaurateur.
Kindness to her is not a ploy,
Labor is simply what she enjoys
More so for that
Noble cause that
Opiferously, she stands to deploy.
Peradventure, I would remember when she sat.
Quite, but I do not recall that.
Rest, she will not take,
Sloth, bread will not bake
To place on the table where I lie my pratt.
Under the bed, her good name is not at stake,
Vindicated, she can bear heartache.
When you can only adore
Xanthippes as dressed ore
You end up with a major heartbreak.
Zaftig women may look good, but a virtuous lady is spiritually well proportioned.

Foxey Lady!

Proverbs 31:10-31

What does the Bible say about finding a good lady? Well, read Proverbs 31, it will tell you about the perfect, virtuous wife, it says so in the heading! A good wife knows God, and is very spiritual.

The verse that really spoke to me was verse 25:
      She is clothed with strength and dignity,
      and she laughs without fear of the future.

Why does she laugh with no fear of the future? Because she trusts God right? She throws all her cares to the wind because God is on her side. She knows that Jesus is coming and will say that the lilies of the field have clothes without toiling or spinning, so we shouldn't work hard and just trust God. Right?

Wrong. She laughs with no fear because she has already worked her tail off ensuring that her family is provided for. The virtuous (or noble) woman is not a walking gospel message, she is a walking clothes maker, food bringer, day planner, and crop planter. She is a diligent person who works for her family.

This fact struck me over the head like a 2x4, God is not even mentioned in this passage until the end. Even then, it almost seems like an afterthought. This passage is filled with domesticity. Take care of the household, that's what a good wife does. She doesn't talk your ear off about God and pleasing God. She makes sure you are well taken care of. That's how women did it in the day. Though while times have changed, the principle of domesticity is the same. What should be number 1 in life? The family. There should be no higher occupation.

I said that God was almost an afterthought here for this reason: it's not quite an afterthought. While she is not a traveling preacher, her motivation for her material duties is not carnal, it is divine. She fears the Lord, so she has no room to fear the future. She is focused on the present.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Brighter Tomorrow

You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. —1 Samuel 12:20

"We can’t undo yesterday, but we can act today to influence tomorrow." —David McCasland, Our Daily Bread

Today's 1 Thing I Learned may seem a little cheap, but it struck me nonetheless. I guess you can see from the tags that I have been meditating a lot on sin. I guess the Holy Spirit has been working on me. So now I guess you can infer something about my life. (Hint, all humanity struggles with sin, so there.)

This scripture and quote really struck me with God's willingness to forgive. He says that even though you did this, that and the other thing, I still want to be mine. You are my special possession, not your behavior, but you as a person. Wow, what an amazing thing.

But wait, that's not all! This short passage ALSO satisfies God's justice. He wants His people to serve Him with all their heart moving forward. While we truly cannot redo the past, we can certainly move forward in light of what we have learned. We may be forgiven of sinful deeds, but we are not to continue in those deeds.

This event reminds me of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. Actually, this works as a mirror image. He does not condemn the woman for her past, but expects a different future. And why shouldn't He? She has experienced The Almighty, her life has been altered. Now it's her choice, will she move forward in God's grace or ignore grace and continue in willful disobedience? She is no longer ignorant.

We have the same choice to make. And if you have read this post, you are no longer ignorant. You know what is required of you. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Resounding Yes

Provers 29:13
The poor and the oppressor have this in common—
  the Lord  gives sight to the eyes of both.

There is hope! O glorious day! Hope for me. If God enlightens both the exalted and the humbled, then there is certainly a ray for me.

I am not lovely, but He loves me. My eyes welled with tears while reading this verse. Is this not the message of scripture--that God reaches out to man in whatever state he is in? The answer is a resounding yes. YES!

No matter what.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Not Doing Enough

Ephesians 5:11
Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. The Bible.

Sometimes just doing nothing is another way of saying you're not doing enough. Sometimes it's not good enough to just not partake in evil things. We are called to be lights in this world and expose evil for what it really is.

That kind of thinking sometimes discourages me. It's hard enough to not participate in things I know are wrong, when I finally get the hang of that now I have to do more? Who came up with the whole extra mile thing anyways?

What's the purpose of exposing sin? For one thing, before exposing sin you'd better make sure your own house is in order. You better know not only what is wrong, but also know why it's wrong so you can provide an answer.

Another reason is for your brethren. Expose sin and maybe you will teach someone else that it is wrong. You may just save a life from wickedness. Be inspired to go the extra mile for those who do not even realize they need it.

It's for your own good, for their own good and, more importantly, for the glory of God.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Religious Relationships

Meditating on the Church/Christ relationship in Ephesians 6...
I've always felt a little queasy about simple statements that are intended to sum up thoughts. One that pertains to this passage is the "Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship." Ephesians 6 brings up a few relationships, including the marriage relationship--the one I was meditating on this morning.
Religion is an institution. It is the establishment. In that sense, religion is a lot like marriage. First comes love, then comes marriage. And so first comes the relationship with Christ, then comes religion.
You would not say that married people have no relationship with each other. They may have a poor relationship or a love/hate relationship, but they have a relationship. So truly religious people (and unreligious for that matter) have a relationship with Christ. The question that must be evaluated is this: What's your relationship like?
Are you and Christ in Ricky & Lucy beds? Different rooms? Are you trying to be friends with benefits?
Sometimes it's easy to blame religion when people are the ones who make relational decisions.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Ephesians 4:17
With the Lord's authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. -The Bible

It struck me as I read this chapter that the Gentiles are not just confused, they are hopelessly confused. There is no use trying to tell a Gentile (read: unbeliever) to live a decent life because they are hopelessly confused.

I was at a lecture the other day given by a congressman who was amazed at the lack of common sense displayed by those in congress. He was assigned to a committee that met at 8 PM and allowed members to give input on the topic at hand. It amazes me, he said, that these men were so long winded, so late in the day. Didn't they know we would like them better if they kept it brief? Common sense? Not when the pride of life is at stake. People are confused.

What really struck me in the term hopelessly is the fact that Paul felt he had to use the qualifier in the first place. This implies that the Church was confused as well. Again, the Church was confused as well. Sometimes we think that the Church has the light of Christ and is immune from the confusion of darkness. And we should be. But that's not always the case.

Don't believe me? Keep reading the chapter. Paul tells the Saints not to lie (25), dwell on anger (26), steal (28) or use foul language (29). These are things that people with the Holy Spirit were doing. Talk about confusion! They had Holy God as their guide, and they still went the wrong direction. We can do it too.

Praise God that we are not hopeless though. Praise Him that we have Hope as our guide, if we only listen to Him.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ignorance is no Excuse

Proverbs 24:12 NLT
Don't excuse yourself by saying, "Look, we didn't know." For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

You can't hide from God. It's as simple as that. There is no idle word or deliberate cover up that He cannot expose.

But I knew that already. He is omnipotent. He can do as He pleases. What shocks me is that He will.
He will repay people for their actions. The context refers to those who refuse social justice to the proverbial "least of these." 

What are you doing that God will expose? 
What are you neglecting that God will expose?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feeling Used

Ephesians 3:10 NLT
God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

Do you feel used?

Not like a dumped boyfriend who was only used to gain social clout. Not like a rung in the corporate ladder for a so-called friends to walk on. In this context, being used is a good thing.

God wants to use His church to display His wisdom to others. Imagine having God's wisdom coursing through your life. The wisdom of the universe on display in your daily interactions.

Amazed? You should be.

This phenomenon should not feel empty. It should be overflowing.

Again I ask, do you feel used?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The God Who Defines Love

Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

I learned that I will never know God's love intellectually. It is too great to understand. I can never know it even though I can experience it.

How many things are there in life that you can experience but never know fully?

We can only know certain aspects of God's love, namely: width, length, height and depth. But while we can know Love's dimensions, can we understand it's purpose, goals, and motivation?

That being said, we are called to anchor ourselves deep in the God who defines love. And it's the most secure, powerful, wonderful place to be.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Matthew 23

     (1) Jesus, multitude and disciples

> Jesus was just questioned by the religious leaders
> He is about to react to them for the people's sake.
     Pronounces judgment which is OT-esque
     Tone: assertive, aggressive, disciplinary, sad -- "what great sorrow awaits you"
     A hypocrite - says A but does Z

(1-12) "Monkey see, monkey do"
     Don't do what you see
     Rather, do what they say
What is the problem with the religious leaders? Look at some key words:
     Moses' seat, seen by men, not life a finger, large phylacteries, best places, greetings, rabbi, father, teacher -- All terms of preeminence. Seeking glory
     We are to be humble servants.

(13-36) Woes
     Jesus calls out their hypocrisy in some very nasty, graphic terms.
     Notably, (13) He says that they are blocking the path to heaven.
[Joe brought up Malachi, and how they argued with God. Remember not to try and deceive yourself.]
NOTE: Religious systems are not inherently evil, man with power is.
Conclusion (31-36)
     Jesus comes out and tells them that they and their false religion is to blame, and the wicked cannot escape.

(37-39) Jerusalem
     Jesus longs to save, but He can't force them.
     Jesus defends His people.

Peter Aceti - Romans


- Romans 1-8 It is the most systematic unfolding of the truth of the gospel of God's righteousness that saves all who believe.

- Romans 9-11 It reflects a universal outlook, with a sovereign God, and with implications for Israel's relation to the Church.

- Romans 12-16 It gives us the understanding and motivation to live a holy and consecrated life.

NOTE: The Gospel is God's message of good news to us.

Why study doctrine?
     To know what we believe
     To know why we believe

Doctrines in Romans
1. Condemnation (1-3) - We're guilty
2. Justification - Acquired innocence
3. Sanctification - Set apart to grow
4. Glorification (8)
5. God's righteous sovereignty (9-11)
6. Our duty (12-16)

There are 3 characters presented for analysis and condemnation
1. The Heathen
     They suppress God's influence
     Key: Romans 1:17; Creation Calls - How can we say, "There is no God?"
2. Hypocrites: Religion
"Jesus looked on religious robes and what he found were religious rogues."
About our conscience: "Listen carefully, things are much worse than they look."
     Don't try to be self-righteous.
     You know you're a law-breaker
"Your conscience will either accuse you or excuse you."
     Only solid doctrine can truly satisfy the conscience.
3. The Jews: Scripture (The Law)
     All are condemned by scripture (there is none righteous).
     The judge of all the world pronounces us guilty, but He can declare us not-guilty.

Jesus paid it all, resistance is not futile (Romans 12:1-2) -- don't be assimilated into the world.
     Closed with this hymn

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Breastplate

A St. Patrick's Day Meditation, from St. Patrick himself (according to tradition). Note the devotion. Note how he submits to doctrine. We may have our doctrine straight, but do we bind ourselves to it the way he did? I think our lives would be much different if we did.

By the way, this is an example of an excellent creed. A creed is a succinct statement of belief that is influenced heavily by scripture. Creeds promote unity within the body of believers and help us to live out our faith.

St. Patrick's Breastplate
I bind to myself today The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity: I believe the Trinity in the Unity The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism, The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial, The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension, The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today The virtue of the love of seraphim, In the obedience of angels, In the hope of resurrection unto reward, In prayers of Patriarchs, In predictions of Prophets, In preaching of Apostles, In faith of Confessors, In purity of holy Virgins, In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today The power of Heaven, The light of the sun, The brightness of the moon, The splendour of fire, The flashing of lightning, The swiftness of wind, The depth of sea, The stability of earth, The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today God's Power to guide me, God's Might to uphold me, God's Wisdom to teach me, God's Eye to watch over me, God's Ear to hear me, God's Word to give me speech, God's Hand to guide me, God's Way to lie before me, God's Shield to shelter me, God's Host to secure me, Against the snares of demons, Against the seductions of vices.
— March, year unknown, mid to end 5th century[

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ron Ward - The Lord's Return

"No one knows how far short we fall better than ourselves."

2 Peter 3:1-3
Note that scoffers WILL come.

1 Corinthians 16:22
Bold statements: If you don't love the Lord, you are anathema.
Christ's return: Maranatha
     If you use it as a greeting, it may change the way you live.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-2
2 Thessalonians 4 a parallel to Enoch's life
(1-8) Work of faith
     Enoch walked with God
(9-12) Labor of Love
     Enoch pleased God
(13-18) Patience of Hope
     God took Enoch
A scoffer says, The Lord is not coming.
     Their greatest trait is denial.
(1) Urge & Exhort - Know that this is important
(3) Will of God is our sanctification
     We will be different
     We are different because we are His
          Sexual purity is important
          "Our vessel" = our wife and marital relationship.

"When you defraud somebody, it doesn't stop at the courthouse; it goes all the way to the throne of God."

Urge - Live a life of purity. It's seen in your personal interactions.

(9-12) Walk of Love
     Love increases as you live purely.
"You want to find a spouse? Expose yourself! ...expose yourself in the ministry and work of Christ."

Patience of Hope
     Without something to look forward to, why would we be here?

Andrew Santiago - Matthew 21 (Hermeneutic Sunday)

Characters / Scene
On the way to Jerusalem
     12 Disciples
(12-17) (23-46)
     12 Disciples

"The truth hurts" - Jesus proved that it did.
About the Temple Traders
     Detracted from the Lord, and used Him for profit.
     Why not set up in the market.
          Unbiblical methods
          Thieves: Rob God of temple money
[Joe mentioned that they were thieves who stole attention from God.]
Jeremiah and Psalms were quoted in this passage.

(11) They think of Christ as a prophet -- It's amazing
     There is an ironic parallel with Jeremiah.
     A prophet who is not honored or respected.

Fig Tree - Do you really believe this faith is possible?
     God can say no, but we get an answer ever time.

(23-27) Jesus deploys a mental paradox
     They know they cannot answer without trapping themselves.

(12-14) Contrast between destruction and restoration
     Things get destroyed
     People get restored
[Joe marveled at the fact that we can be restored.]

Irony: John gets credit, but Jesus does not.

     History brought to current day.
     The tendencies of humanity are shown. Namely, to reject God's messenger.

(41) Irony: They pronounced their own demise.

My Conclusion / Suggestion for the chapter
Look for displays of Christ's authority in this passage. Each section contains some reference to His authority. Know that Jesus never lost control of his situation, He directly influenced everything that happened around him. His trip to Jerusalem to die was completely planned out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Craig Fritchey - Finding Our Spiritual Gift

Ephesians 4:11-16
About talents not being spiritual gifts: "Those are gifts to the world, but not spiritual gifts."
Basic function and purpose of the Spiritual Gift: That we be grounded, to stand firm as the body.
     Equip for the ministry
     Unity of faith
     Edify the body
"The Lord doesn't give you just one spiritual gift, He'll give you a combo pack."

Three Questions to Ask Yourself
What does the Lord burden your heart for?
What do you do well?
What do people encourage you in?

Romans 12:9
Love: A gift without love is not worth giving.

About the gifts...
Apostles laid the foundation of the Church.
     Had all of the spiritual gifts.
     They are not currently active, but they are recorded in scripture.
Prophets spoke as from God.
Pastors all elders must be pastors, all pastors need not be elders.
Exhortation: Good? Keep it up! Bad? Stop it! Then provide alternatives.
Wisdom - See James 3:17
     No double-speech
     They practice what they preach and provide guidance.
Knowledge - They can explain deep passages of scripture.

Click here to see Craig's list of spiritual gifts!

Andy Fritchey - Perfecting the Saints

Matthew 5:48
Perfection = Our standard

3 Part Process
Col. 2:9-16 - Positional perfection
     (In God's view)
1 Jn. 3:2-3 - Ultimate perfection
     (When we're with Him)
Eph. 4:11-16 - Experiential perfection
     (Process in the flesh)

Luke 2:40, 52 - Jesus went through it...
God knows all
Jesus experienced everything (Heb. 5:8-9)
Keys to growth: Suffering, Bible Reading & Others
     In order to keep growing, we need discipleship.

Acts 8:26-(31)-35
God uses the Holy Spirit in us to teasch
     Definition of commitment = Come alongside and aid
Mark 1:17
     "I will" personal investment
     "Make you become" personal instruction
     "Fishers of men" personal intention
Teaching is for everyone to do - whatever capacity you can handle.
     On the platform
     One on one

Click to see Andy's handout.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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