WARNING - Work in Progress

WARNING - Work in Progress
WARNING - Work in Progress

Sunday, November 18, 2018

High and Lifted Up - 11/18/18

Warning Preachy...

1 Samuel 2:1- Hannah Prayed: My heart rejoices in the LORD; my horn is lifted up by the LORD. My mouth boasts over my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.  

~ have you ever been overjoyed: maybe at the birth of a child, at your wedding, or maybe when God had directly answered your prayer like he did with Hannah. Hannah's heart was overjoyed and she sang out in Praise to God because of it.

She says that her horn is lifted up by the Lord.  There are a couple meanings here: first as the horn is a common representation of strength signifying that she is made strong by the Lord, but as it is attached to a female who just became a mother for the first time by miraculous means, it may be just as likely directly meaning the head dressing of women that signified the difference between a mother and a non-mother.  However, I accept the first as a simple significance of strength.  In either case, Hannah can now boast to Peninnah because God has given her a son and she acknowledges that it was the Lord who saved her from her shame.

1 Samuel 2:2There is no one holy like the LORD. There is no one besides you! And there is no rock like our God.

~ No one is "Holy" like the Lord. What does it mean that God is Holy?

The idea of Holy has to do with separation: no one is Holy like the Lord.  Of all the deities of men, none is "holy" (separated) from sin.  In fact, other world religions aren't concerned with being separated from sin as our God is.  The followers of other world religions seek to better themselves in order to be acceptable to their deity, but the Christian God knew that there was nothing that you and I could do to separate yourself from sin, so he gave His one and only son to destroy sin and death allowing us to be separated us from it by His grace.  When we are in faith in Jesus, we will still struggle against sin but it's affect to us are canceled and we are made righteous in the sight of God; by Jesus we are given the grace of becoming Holy as well.

It is because of this grace that we struggle and combat the present sin in our lives as we live on this earth.  Not sure who said it but someone once said that we tend to think that we are physical beings having a spiritual experience but in Jesus we are actually spiritual beings having a physical experience.

1 Samuel 2:3Do not boast so proudly, or let arrogant words come out of your mouth, for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and actions are weighed by him.  

~ our normal way of comparing ourselves is against other people.  We determine if we win or lose against another person, or how well we do in school against our fellow students, and when it comes to being Holy we compare ourselves to other people, people like mass murderers, but in reality our spirituality is measured against God alone.  When we compare ourselves to God we recognize our desperate need for Jesus alone.
1 Samuel 2:4-10The bows of the warriors are broken, but the feeble are clothed with strength. 5 ¶ Those who are full hire themselves out for food, but those who are starving hunger no more. The woman who is childless gives birth to seven, but the woman with many sons pines away. 6 ¶ The LORD brings death and gives life; he sends some down to Sheol, and he raises others up. 7 ¶ The LORD brings poverty and gives wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 8 ¶ He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the trash heap. He seats them with noblemen and gives them a throne of honor. For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; he has set the world on them. 9 ¶ He guards the steps of his faithful ones, but the wicked perish in darkness, for a person does not prevail by his own strength. 10 ¶ Those who oppose the LORD will be shattered; he will thunder in the heavens against them. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. He will give power to his king; he will lift up the horn of his anointed.

~ Hannah's prayer is prophetic as she makes mention of the future Messiah who was expected to come to Israel.  As she does, she recognizes her own salvation to be just a smaller microcosm of the salvation that is to come to us all through Jesus.

Just as Hannah's Horn is lifted up, her shame was alleviated and she was given strength and deliverance.  When Jesus came he was put to shame and nailed to a Roman cross where the sins of the world were placed upon him.  But on the third day he was lifted up and declared victorious over sin and death: King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Through this Jesus who has been lifted up, you and I are redeemed and like Hannah are spared our shame.  For we are people who are not Holy separated from sin but through Jesus was are granted forgiveness and deemed righteous as we trust in Him. When you and I have understood the reality of the salvation that is given us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we too will rejoice and sing with Hannah concerning our own salvation.

If you are not bursting out in praise for our God, I invite you to get to know Him and the great salvation deliverance you can have from your shame that he has for you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Who Do You Trust? - 11/07/2018


Mark 12:38-40

38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

Question, who were the people Jesus had the biggest issue with?

Answer, it seems the teachers of the Jewish Law. (Mark 12:38-40)

In this section Jesus didn't just come up with a rebuke of the Jewish leaders out of a vacuum, but it was in response to the direct happenings going on since chapter 11-- his entry into Jerusalem.
In chapter 11 Jesus road into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey thus proclaiming himself to be King of the Jews.  In response the leaders of the Jewish Law began to test Jesus; challenging his authority as King.  If you'll recall, they asked him questions about divorce, marriage in heaven, and paying taxes to Caesar.  Each time Jesus outwitted them which only discredited their own authority.  And finally, in Mark 12:38-40, Jesus tells his disciples to beware of the teachings of the teachers of the Law because they will be most severely punished.

So here's another question, what was the main problem with the Teachers of the Law?  While there were plenty of problems the main one, in my thinking, is that they did not recognize the authority of Jesus or consider him their King.  They simply would not accept his authority in their lives or in their government.

What about us?  Do we accept the authority of Jesus in our lives?  Do we accept him in our government?  

At first blush we all will answer "yes" to both questions, but do we really?  Accepting the authority of Jesus as King means that we will trust him in our everyday lives (even when it's difficult) and in our government (again, even when it's difficult). 
This morning, many people are disappointed with the American mid-term election results just as many are happy with them, but in the end, do we accept the authority of Jesus as King either way?  Do we trust that he is King and in control no matter the circumstances?

Sometimes I have to remind myself that things will be alright despite my health complications, my financial struggles, my social issues, or my government.  I have to remind myself of this because I believe that Jesus is ultimately the King of my life and my world in whom I will trust.