Monday, October 05, 2015

Monday Morning Meditation

I thought I would share a little of what I have been reading in my devotions, and some passages of Scripture that speak to me today.

The first is from a devotional "Streams in the Desert" which is delivered to my inbox each day:

After a while, the stream dried up because there had been no rain in the land. (1 Kgs 17:7)

The education of our faith is incomplete if we have not learned that there is a providence of loss, a ministry of failing and of fading things, a gift of emptiness. The material insecurities of life make for its spiritual establishment. The dwindling stream by which Elijah sat and mused is a true picture of the life of each of us. “It came to pass … that the brook dried up”—that is the history of our yesterday, and a prophecy of our morrows.

In some way or other we will have to learn the difference between trusting in the gift and trusting in the Giver. The gift may be good for a while, but the Giver is the Eternal Love.
Cherith was a difficult problem to Elijah until he got to Zarephath, and then it was all as clear as daylight. God’s hard words are never His last words. The woe and the waste and the tears of life belong to the interlude and not to the finale.

Had Elijah been led straight to Zarephath he would have missed something that helped to make him a wiser prophet and a better man. He lived by faith at Cherith. And whensoever in your life and mine some spring of earthly and outward resource has dried up, it has been that we might learn that our hope and help are in God who made Heaven and earth.
—F. B. Meyer

The second is from a longer article from John Piper on Christ's view of repentance:

Repenting means experiencing a change of mind that now sees God as true and beautiful and worthy of all our praise and all our obedience. This change of mind also embraces Jesus in the same way. We know this because Jesus said, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God.” Seeing God with a new mind includes seeing Jesus with a new mind.
No one is excluded from Jesus’ demand to repent. He made this clear when a group of people came to him with news of two calamities. Innocent people had been killed by Pilate’s massacre and by the fall of the tower of Siloam (Luke 13:1-4). Jesus took the occasion to warn even the bearers of the news: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). In other words, don’t think calamities mean that some people are sinners in need of repentance and others aren’t. All need repentance. Just as all need to be born anew because “that which is born of the flesh is [merely] flesh” (John 3:6), so all must repent because all are sinners.
When Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32), he did not mean that some persons are good enough not to need repentance. He meant some think they are (Luke 18:9), and others have already repented and have been set right with God. For example, the rich young ruler desired “to justify himself” (Luke 10:29) while “the tax collector . . . beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ [and] went down to his house justified [by God!]” (Luke 18:13-14).
Therefore, none is excluded. All need repentance. And the need is urgent. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” What did he mean by perish? He meant that the final judgement of God would fall on those who don’t repent. “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:41). Jesus, the Son of God, is warning people of the judgement to come, and offering escape if we will repent. If we will not repent, Jesus has one word for us, “Woe, to you” (Matthew 11:21).
This is why his demand for repentance is part of his central message that the kingdom of God is at hand. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The gospel—the good news—is that the rule of God has arrived in Jesus to save sinners before it arrives at his second coming in judgement. So the demand to repent is based on the gracious offer that is present to forgive, and on the gracious warning that someday those who refuse the offer will perish in God’s judgement.
I love what Piper is saying here that the gospel is good news, but it does involve turning away from sin. As Oswald Chambers explains so well, sins are not just those things we do or fail to do, it is the attitude of our minds that we set ourselves up as god in our lives and do not listen to God or the promptings of His Spirit. We must spread the true gospel which for some is the aroma of life, but for others is so offensive it is like the stench of death. Jesus never compromised his message and neither should we.
The following passages really convict me of the importance of controlling my mouth and what I say and what I chose to think about, view, and listen to. Is it pure, lovely, excellent, admirable, praiseworthy, or of good report? If not, I cannot expect to find the peace of Christ ruling my mind.  It also challenges me not to be greedy with food or to put anything in my day or my plans above God and his purposes for me.

Ephesians 4:25-5:5 (NKJV)
Therefore putting away lying, let every man speak truthfully with his neighbour, for we are members of one another.
Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
Do not give place to the devil.
Let him who steals steal no more. Instead let him labour, working with his hands, that he may have something to share with him who is in need.
Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners. 
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outbursts, and blasphemies, with all malice, be taken away from you.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
Chapter 5
Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children.
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
And do not let sexual immorality, or any impurity, or greed be named among you, as these are not proper among saints.
Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talk, nor coarse joking, which are not fitting. Instead give thanks.
For this you know, that no sexually immoral or impure person, or one who is greedy, who is an idolator, has any inheritence in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Hebrews 3:7-13 (NKJV)
Therefore as the Holy Spirit says:
Today if you hear His voice,
do not harden your hearts
as in the rebellion
on the day of temptation in the wilderness
where your fathers tested Me and tried Me
and saw My works for forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation
and said, 'They always go astray in their heart,
and they have not known My ways.'
So I swore in My wrath,
'They shall not enter My rest.' (quote from Psalm 95:7-11)

Be attentive brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, and you depart from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today" lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence firmly to the end.

We are partakers in Christ's divine nature... We have the mind of Christ. Let us work, day by day, and moment by moment, to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind! If only I would remember that truth always, in thick and fray of life!

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