Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Romans 3:25-26

Romans 3:25-26 "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - he did it to demonstrate
his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

Before this in the old testament under law, atonement had to be made regularly for the sin of the people, placing the penalty of the sin on an animal and sacrificing it before the Lord to atone for the sin committed. Once a year, on the day of Atonement, the high priest had to cleanse himself, come before the Lord, and present sacrifices to atone for the himself, the people of Israel, and the tabernacle. Leviticus 16:30 says, "...on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins."

I don't want to pretend that I understand all of the how and the why of the Old Covenant and it's regulations. But what I do know is that Jesus came as the perfect sacrafice, to atone once and for all time for my sins, since I have placed my faith in his blood. For a time he was forbearnant and patient, but now God in his justice has provided a way for me to be justified, declared righteous before God, by sending Jesus as the perfect ultimate sacrifice. He has taken the penalty of my sin on his shoulders, making it possible for me to be declared righteous before God. I do not have to cleanse myself, as did the high priest before entering the presence of God, but can come "boldly before his presence," as Jesus has already made the sacrafice for my sins which before, separated me from God. This sacrafice of Christ on the cross displays his justice and mercy perfectly. He was merciful, forebearing sins for a time. But in his justice, he sent Christ to atone, "for God so loved the world."

Christ's sacrafice for my atonement leaves me with nothing to bring before God. It is completly through his grace. The segment before these verses describes mankind without God:

"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before there eyes."

Without God I am not rightesous, do not understand or seek God, I am worthless, I do not do good, I am sinful, I do not know peace, I do not fear God.

"This righteousness from  God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who beleive. There is no differance, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

This grace upon grace, God's unmerited favor. God declares me righteous in his sight despite my record of sin, God redeemed me from the power of sin, through absolutely no good work of my own, but by his grace.

Yet I am tempted to beleive that I have some good thing in me. Instead of being filled continually with his grace and in turn  pouring out on others, I deceive myself in to thinking that I have something to offer. I let my pride get in the way of being completely broken before me Savior, admitting my nothingness. It is only when I admit that I have nothing to offer and claim his grace afresh, that I will be able to live a life for God and others. Praise God that he does accept us in our broken state, requiring nothing of ourselves, to be filled with his grace. I must press on today, in light of his grace, to pour myself out.

Matthew 6:30

Matthew 6:30-32 "If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? so do not worry saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

This section of Scripture opens with Jesus saying, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry..." Why should one not worry? The section before emphasizes the importance of storing treasures in heaven and seeing their eternal value instead of a temporary one. how it is impossible to serve both eternal God and temporary material wealth. so worry is not necessary because as it goeson to say in verse 25, "Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Yes all of these things are necessary to life, but they are not the meaning of our existence.

Verse 30 goes on to say that God already knows what I need. It is amazing how, even as a child of the heavenly Father, I worry about difficulties around me, things that have no eternal value. I feed anxious thoughts, not giving attention to God's goodness and his wisdom in knowing already exactly what I need.

Pagans, those who can not call the eternal and all knowing God their heavenly Father, are the ones who strive meaninglessly and anxiousky for these temporary things. but I can call the all powerful and all knowing God my heavenly Father.

Sometimes when I worry about difficulties around me, it is hard for me to give them to God because I know what I want and I don't want what I know I need. But if my eyes are fixed on eternal treasures and the eternal God, I will be able to surrender anxiety about temporary gain and put my trust in the heavenly Father, who already knows and will provide what I need.

I must choose to confess and surrender anxiety to the One who already knows what I need. I must fix my gaze on the eternal, knowing that God who is good, knows what is best for me as he sees the big picture and "works all things got the good of those who are called according to his purpose." I must trust in his goodness by thanking him for it even when I do not understand.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Matthew 6:33-34

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first his kingdom and his righteous, and all these things will be added to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

In these verses, I see the importance of living in light of eternity while dwelling in this moment. Verse 25 says, "...do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about yor body, what you will wear." Isn't that the basis of worry? What will happen? We are so preoccupied with the future tense that we overemphasize it's significance, failing to look at it in light of eternity, and we take for granted this very moment, allowing it to slip away through our fingers.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..." Before anxiously striving after the temporary things of this world I must first seek his kingdom, the eternal kingdom, storing up treasure that will last forever. I must seek his righteousness, aiming to conform myself to the character of the Holy God. I must refocus my gaze on what is eternal over what is temporary, not allowing myself to be fooled by time and the importance of here and now because it is all I ever knew. And what is the promise? "...and all these things will be added to you as well." God just wants our gaze to be fixed on Him, and not on our problems.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Dwell in the moment. As Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God." To combat anxiety about the future, I must give thanks for the present moment even if that moment may seem difficult and mundane. This will bring my attention to today and I will find joy and embrace the blessings that are mine today instead of dwelling in the future tense. Finding contentment in being present in today will leave no room for future anxieties and will enable me to combat the lie that 'tomorrow will be better,' because I am often tempted to believe that lie.

In light of these passages, my goal for today is to spend time in prayer asking God for an eternal perspective and presenting to him the things that I have been dwelling on too much in the future. I will, tonight, write 25 blessings of this day.

1 Peter 1:22

1 Peter 1:22 "Now that you have purified yourself by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for the brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart."

Peter is writing to the church of God who have now been scattered abroad (vs 1-2). It is apparent that the church has already experienced trials which have refined and purified their faith (1:6-7; 4:12-13). Their obedience even through these hard circumstances has given them pure hearts and built up sincere love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. But now Peter is telling them to go a step further and to love each other deeply.

 They already loved sincerely. They truly did love each other without a fake front and hypocrisy. But now they were to love deeply. Deep is below the surface level. Loving one deeply requires knowing one deeply. Knowing one deeply requires effort. It it takes unconditional love because beyond the surface, things will be shown as they really are, raw and broken.

Why were believers commanded to do this? The following verses indicate that it is because of the new birth, which has allowed us to take part in God's family for eternity.1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us that prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will one day pass away but it is love that forever endures.

Love is eternal. I must take that mindset and intentionally love, first sincerly, then deeply. I must take time to truly know a person and to love , even when I see the brokenness beyond the surface.