Monday, April 30, 2012

A Month of Bible, April 30

Well, the month of April has come to an end.  As it closes, I felt it would be good to have one more post.  Today I want to share what I have learned from Yuri recently.  She began a message series on Ruth this month.  I am already learning so much, and she is only through verse 7 of chapter 1!

Yesterday Yuri reminded us who the Moabites were-the offspring of Lot-and their constant attempts to draw the Israelites away from God.  Why would an Israelite choose to go to Moab in time of trouble?!

At the beginning of Ruth, Israel is having a famine.  Ironically, Elimelech and his family were from Bethlehem which means house of bread.  In the Old Testament when we read about famine it is often connected to God's displeasure with the spiritual condition of His people.

So, here is a man who decides that since there is a famine he is going to go to Moab where there is food.  Yuri challenged us to think about our own lives.  When there is a famine in my spiritual life, do I run to Moab or do I trust the Lord to get me through?  Do I take the opportunity to repent or do I run away from God?

Yuri quote:
Elimelech's problem wasn't that he didn't have food, but that his heart and his desire were not for God but for food.

What is my desire?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Month of Bible

Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.  Psalm 119:89

I am aware that it has been a while since I last wrote.  Not for lack of ideas or Bible reading time, but for lack of writing time.

Last Sunday was my turn to share the message at church.  I have been going through 1 John.  Last week we arrived at chapter 2, verses 18-27.  I was re-reminded that studying and talking about the Holy Spirit is not well liked by our enemy.  However, praise God, the victory has been won and we need only to trust.

We talked about three antidotes to falsehood found in these verses:
1.  Anointing of the Holy Spirit-  We are able to discern truth and falsehood because we have the Spirit of the Living God within us.  Yes, the same God who created this universe and raised Jesus from the dead.  This is the power we have within us!
2.  The truth we have heard since the beginning- We are not learning new things.  We do not have to add more to what we have learned.  We have learned what we need to know: Love God.  Love others.  And, in the following verse, we have received the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Savior!
3.  Remain in Him- By the strength of the Holy Spirit we can remain in Him.  We can trust that our God is going to lead us through.

Here is a quote from one of the commentaries that I found helpful:
The antidote to falling into false ideas of the Christian faith is to be found in holding fast to the initial statement of Christian truth given in the apostolic witness, as this is confirmed in our hearts by the anointing given by the Holy Spirit.

Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Month of Bible

No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him-the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough. Psalm 49:7-8

When I read this Psalm this morning, I thought that it was appropriate for the Easter season. No one has enough money or possessions to use as bargaining chips with the Almighty. Nothing I say, do, or give can ransom anyone else's life.

I have to admit, I have tried bargaining with God for the souls of friends. If I do this and this and then pray this prayer, then surely You will save my friend, right God?

Then Easter rolls around and I am reminded that salvation has nothing to do with anything I do, say, or give.

It's about the cross.
It's about the price Jesus paid.
It's about the sacrifice God made.
There is no way to measure the impact, the importance, of the cross, of the price Jesus paid, of the sacrifice God made.
The awe of it brings me to my knees and deepens with each passing moment that I live in awareness of salvation's price.

I've been thinking about that last point, living in awareness of salvation's price. I don't always live in that awareness. But, when I do, it is humbling.

Thank You, Jesus.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Month of Bible

Then they remembered His words. Luke 24:8

This was the focus of my message yesterday. We talked about our tendency to forget the things we have learned from and about Jesus, especially when we are walking through dark and difficult times. At those times we need to remember, and sometimes remembering requires the help of friends, family, fellow Christians.

We watched a video from a survivor of the Hanshin (Kobe) earthquake 17 years ago as she told her hope story. We talked about how important it is for people in Tohoku to hear such stories so that they can remember Jesus' words.

I was going to post it here, but for some reason it is not showing up on the website right now. The website is:

We all have hope stories to share. I have not been through the same experiences as the people in Tohoku, or even in Kobe, but, I have experienced dark times in which Jesus made Himself very real to me and reminded me of His love. I need to be willing to share my hope stories with others. I need to hear those hope stories from others, too.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Month of Bible

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary,
His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,
And to him who has no might He increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
And young men shall fall exhausted;

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Tears fall as I read and type this. I just received the bulletin from Jim's funeral. Inside, Joyce, his wife of 58 years, wrote me a note. "God had other plans for this spring."

We don't know God's plans and try to make our own. But, God's plans are always best. And, when we wait on Him, He renews our strength. We fly, run, walk farther, faster, and higher than we ever could have imagined.

Jim modeled that.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Month of Bible

As I prepare for Sunday's Easter message, I keep reading Luke 24:1-12 over and over. And every time I get a flutter in my heart when I read, "He is not here; He is risen!" Oh, what hope these words bring! Can you imagine how hard it was for the angels to sit there and wait for Mary Magdalene and the others to arrive so that they could proclaim this hope?!

Ah, hope! What a wonderful thing!

He is not here; He is risen!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Month of Bible

On Saturday a friend and I were talking as we traveled into Osaka for a gospel gathering. She asked me what my next topic would be for my blog. I hadn't really thought about what the topic should be, but I did want to find something. She said, "A month of b..." I missed the last word she said because the light turned green and cars muffled her words. I thought she had said, "Bible."

What a great idea! I feel like I have been floundering around in my Bible reading lately, jumping from one place to another. This may not keep me from floundering, but perhaps it will keep me a bit more focused.

On Sunday morning I read the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem from the gospel of Luke, chapter 19. The verse that stuck in my heart was verse 40: "I tell you, " He replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

This lead me to pray that my silence will never be the reason for the rocks to cry out. I do not want to lose my praise!

Yuri chose to focus on this verse during her message-hmm, perhaps God wanted me to pay attention to this verse?! She challenged us to check our hearts for the things that are blocking our praise, such as pride, fear, busyness, etc.

She closed the service with inviting us to literally throw down our cloaks. It was a very meaningful time for me, and I think for others, too.