Event Calendar

January 2010
S M T W T F S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31EC

Upcoming Events

Pages

Archives

Categories

Meta

January 10, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Mark 10. 39-40

“Jesus said to them (James and John), ‘You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the
baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places
belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

There are no shortcuts to greatness nor honor: both require a commitment to effort and a desire to put others first. James and John came to Jesus (Matthew reports it was actually their mother which provides a very interesting dynamic all on its own) and asked that He allow them to have the next best seats in the Kingdom of Heaven. They did not specify who wanted to sit at His right hand (for power) or His left hand (for counsel). They would be satisfied enough just to be there. It would seem that their desire was for eternal security. They were asking for Jesus to commit Himself to serving their need of doubt. Could they have been concerned more about the “what ifs” for the days ahead in their during life than those of their after life? It might be perceived that they were thinking “I can handle whatever is coming if I know for sure that there is something good coming after.”

Of course, Jesus brought them to three realities of discipleship which would put their question to the side and out of their mind. It was His way of saying “we don’t live in tomorrow, we live for the day.” The day is one in which we serve the Lord our God with everything we have so that we might love our neighbor as ourselves. This is what Jesus was pointing to when He answered the two disciples request with a threefold reality check.

1) You must drink the cup I drink. The cup of the new covenant is a commitment to love. The act of love is a willingness to lay down their lives for another regardless of who that “other” is. The cup of the old covenant toasted the fact that “someone, or something, else” has paid the price for my life. No one paid the price for Jesus’ life. He willingly committed himself to laying down His own life for us believing that God would restore His own in the fullness of Heaven. The cup of the new covenant did not look to the past accomplishments but future opportunities to serve God by loving others.
2) You must be baptized with the baptism Jesus was baptized with. Jesus was not baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Rather, Jesus was baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness. That righteousness was first known as a commitment to living in right relationship with God: what He says I will do I will do. That righteousness was then known as a time of discipline and trial in the spiritual realm because these are the greatest battles and truest testimonies. Finally, righteousness was known by in a life of faith that trusted God in all things visible and invisible, seen and unseen and believed that good triumphs over evil.

These two “qualifications” the disciples said they could do even though they may not have fully understand what they were committing themselves to as followers of Christ. It would have been easy enough to keep them in the visible realm of “toasting to the future” and being baptized in the Jordan River. But, there was far more at work in their lives and in their world than a cup of wine and a dip in the pool. Jesus’ life and ministry was not about a moment or a ceremony but an eternal lifetime and lifestyle. Both of those realities were out of Jesus’ hand to control or order except through faithful obedience to God, His Father, and ours. So, Jesus revealed the third qualification for the positions James and John were seeking.

3) God has purposed and planned the place of each man in the world and in the kingdom. He is preparing each one for that ministry in the world and their reward in Heaven. Just as Jesus did not know the hour nor the day of His test of crucifixion nor of His return to earth on that Last Day, so He did not know whom God would sit in those honored places by Jesus’ side. It could be anyone. But, the position was less important because it was a reward than it was for those who believed in God as Christ followers to live each day as one being prepared to do great things for the glory and honor of God. The end would not justify the means. The reward for faithfulness was given each day regardless of where in Heaven a person would sit.

As God’s mighty men, where is our focus in doing God’s will. Are we seeking the future glory or the present joy?

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who are leading God’s people in worship, service and praise in this end
* For an unborn baby girl whom doctor’s are already informing the parents will be born with
tremendous challenges of life and limbs, her parents who believe God will provide for their
needs, the family committed to support them and friends who will answer the call to help
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of God-
centered obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa in the Waco area that will allow her to best serve
Him and our family
* For the support in now making the move from our home in Austin to our new house in Hewitt
and that the house will be ready this week to do so (only three weeks late!)
* For wisdom in dealing with someone who has an Xbox 360 live addiction
* For courage to deal with our own trials and temptations

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* God’s mercy and grace as we feverishly pack boxes to move; strength of back and clarity of
thought

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, into Your hands we commit our lives and commend our Spirit. Let those who have determined by faith, hope and love to seek Your will be blessed with opportunity to honor and glorify Your Name in all they say and in all they do. AMEN.

January 6, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Matthew 2. 7

“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Why do you come to the celebrate the birth of the King of the Jews, the Babe of Bethlehem, who is Christ the Lord?

As far as scripture informs us there were only three groups of people who came looking for Jesus: shepherds, Magi and King Herod‘s henchmen. Which one best describes who you are?

Shepherds? Men with a profession that was as “low“ as one could go without being reduced to a beggar. Yet, the vocation was a worthy one which Christ Himself identified with. Shepherds watched over their flocks and were willing to lay down their lives for them. This is exactly what Jesus did for all of God‘s people. Only a shepherd could truly understand the meaning of transitioned value and worth. Their lives and livelihood depended on their flock and their obedience to the task. God‘s Mighty Men should strive to be good shepherds.

Magi? These were wise men from the east, perhaps from Persia or even further. Magi were known not really as kings but as seers and professors who majored in “star“ information. Their studies were aligned with the message in the heavens. They acted on what was revealed to them. Why were they called kings?
Perhaps the lavishness of their gifts confused people? Perhaps they had sold all they had or their gifts represented their life savings but they indeed offered great gifts. Maybe their flowing raiment caused them to see far more than was real? They were from the east where flowing robes would have been normal and natural. As seers and visionaries, they may have worked in the courts of a king and thus were clothed accordingly. No matter the reason, they came as they were without pretense to promote themselves. The purpose of these men was clear: we have come to worship Him who has been born “King of the Jews.” So, too, should God‘s Mighty Men come to worship the King with their offerings and see this Light from Heaven come to earth so that men might have life and have it eternally.

Henchmen? Herod only sought a private audience with these visitors from the east so that he could secure his own fate. He feared the competition and unrest of a king whom Heaven and earth, even foreigners, would adore. He feared the revelation of God‘s Word and that its message was true and not just a bunch of words on a page. His own faith was challenged and found wanting. So, determining the time the star had appeared he sent henchmen out to kill all male children two years of age and younger. Their death was merely a precursor to his own. God‘s mighty men have nothing to fear of kings and armies of this world. Their lives are not bound to the earth from which they came. Their death is a symbol of innocence restored by believing that Jesus the Christ came as a baby first and Savior always. Their fate is sealed in faith, hope and love and not in the orders of a trembling earthly leader. They take orders from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

So, as we consider the traditional day of celebration when Magi appeared from the east and honored the Babe of Bethlehem who was King of the Jews and who is Christ the Lord, renew your covenant identity and let the world know who it is that people and God will say you are.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For the lessons from history to propel God‘s children into the gift of a secured future through faith, hope
and love
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of God-
centered obedience; especially with the continued bombings throughout the Middle East and the recent
news of Jewish apartments being constructed in East Jerusalem which may stop peace negotiations
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa as we make preparations to move into the house He desires
to become our home as we will be working in Waco ministering to His people there
* For the return to classrooms, offices and daily routines with the ending of this holiday season
* For warmth to those who are suffering from the cold weather which has been and will be severe

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* For the answered prayer we receive as we trust in God to provide for our family while waiting
to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa and as He has made it possible for us to find
a house to be our home
* For the time of new beginnings committed to God’s mercy and grace in our lives

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Thank you, Father, for the reminders of the true gifts we have been given through Christ our Lord. As you reveal them to Your mighty men may they in turn share this good news with others so that we might live out the truth together of Your Great Love, Your Great Gift, and Your Great Desire for all people. AMEN.

January 5, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Acts 16. 31

“They (Paul and Silas) replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved- you and your
household.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

What bagpiper corps would be complete without a drumline? There is something powerful about a drumline and the driving beat that pulses to the very depth of one‘s soul. The amazing bass sounds that are produced which rumble and roll across the floor (heavy sounds sink) actually cause feet to tap and toes to curl. The driving tenor sounds with rat-a-tats and rhythms cause fingers to begin drumming as well. Before one knows it the whole self from head to toe and all parts in between are caught up in the music and then there is that piping sound which eliminates all distractions to the music that is being produced. Yes, a drumline is a vital necessity to fill out the entire picture. Some might say, the best was saved for last but in true biblical fashion “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” The rising crescendo of gift upon gift is built until one nearly bursts with fullness and then like unwrapping a present we are brought down to one- the first, the Babe of Bethlehem.

The TWELFTH day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING. No, this is not an allusion to the number of disciples who became apostles being complete with the number twelve. All the gifts which have been shared must drive to a certain fullness that cannot be escaped nor denied. In the secular song, we are moved from a simple partridge to twelve drummers drumming. This is no strolling mariachi band that seeks to inspire love in the air but a drum and piper corps that is bringing the party to a climax that would break panes of glass because nothing could contain the celebration: full tables of fowl of every kind, drink of mead, ladies dancing, men marching. Could anything describe more the array of love?

The answer is, of course, yes. All the gifts that man could muster all rise up out of what God has created. What is left for man to do is to believe that there is a God who loves His creation so much He would provide the grandest party to celebrate that He could. Who would be invited? The ones He loves would be the honored guest. Each would believe that they are the one and yet they all would know they are loved equally as one, as the ONE. So, the entire world rejoices just as the heavens were filled with the symphonic praise of angels whose numbers exceed the stars in the heavens and the grains of sand by the sea. All that is needed is the desire to believe.

What do God’s mighty men believe? What drives them like the beat of a different drummer? Whatever it is it becomes a statement of faith. One such statement is brought into the realm of expression as the twelve drummers drumming points to the articles of the Apostles’ Creed. The statement they would live and die by becomes an exhilaration of speech recorded for all time so that others might have in words what at times in inexpressible. It is a statement that lays at the foundation of many congregations of Christ-followers whether they adhere to the Apostles’ Creed by denomination of simply by joint belief. But, do not forget that the statement of our faith is not the drummers. Rather, it is the drumming, words put into action that truly describe what one believes. Faith in action shows love. That is how God showed His love for each of us. God’s Word become real- a baby born in Bethlehem who become a man of God crucified, dead and buried in Jerusalem. But, that wasn’t the end of the story. It wasn’t when the drummers drummed their last beat to sound the end of the day that the celebration came to an end. It was when the partridge in the pear tree flew the coop of a tomb and rose with the wings of an angel to the top of every tree at Christmas and shows that Jesus Christ is the reason for the season.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For the lessons from history to propel God‘s children into the gift of a secured future through faith, hope
and love
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of God-
centered obedience; especially with the continued bombings throughout the Middle East and the recent
news of Jewish apartments being constructed in East Jerusalem which may stop peace negotiations
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa as we make preparations to move into the house He desires
to become our home as we will be working in Waco ministering to His people there

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* For the answered prayer we receive as we trust in God to provide for our family while waiting
to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa and as He has made it possible for us to find
a house to be our home

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Thank you, Father, for the reminders of the true gifts we have been given through Christ our Lord. As you reveal them to Your mighty men may they in turn share this good news with others so that we might live out the truth together of Your Great Love, Your Great Gift, and Your Great Desire for all people. AMEN.

Post tags:

January 4, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Acts 1. 24-26

“Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone‘s heart. Show us which of these two You have chosen to
take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Historians report that the pipers mentioned in “The 12 Days of Christmas“ weren‘t pipers as in flutists but bagpipers of the Celtic kind. Whether in the highlands of Scotland or across the Emerald Isle of Ireland, the sound of bagpipers struck both awe and fear into the heart and soul of listeners. The ‘pipers‘ were musicians in great demand. They commanded an audience wherever they performed. Their music certainly told a tale as most Celtic music does. These pipers were certainly a regal addition to the festive celebration of Christmas. Additionally, these pipers were not only musicians but warriors whose spirit of conviction and victory was a driving force in their presentations. Fitting that the image of these pipers whether individual or in one group would be used to symbolize another group of mighty men whose message has filled the ears of generations since their day of commissioning as the disciples of Jesus the Christ.

The ELEVENTH day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING. Yes, there were originally twelve disciples but one found himself relegated to the dark annals of history as the true betrayer of Jesus the Christ and finds himself missing from the list of twelve so that there are only eleven true disciples in Luke’s transition from Christ’s resurrection to the commissioning of the Church as it began in Luke’s ‘Acts of the Apostles.’ These faithful eleven would soon find their twelfth in Matthias and the gospel choral group would begin to produce a message that would transform the world forever.

Perhaps following an image of the “Pied Piper,” the disciples could be seen as those who were bringing the children of God to the Father instead of leading children away from their homes to serve the piper’s best interest. These pipers of faith, hope and love delivered a song of liberation from the heart of Jerusalem to the outer reaches of the then known world. Their message was sought out by rich and poor alike, peasant and king, even by those who had no idea what the message was but they desired the music that soothed the savage beast which prowled inside them because of sin. With an innocent invitation came a poignant word that rooted itself into their heart, mind and spirit. It was a deep echoing into the deep chasm of mens’ souls. Haunting, lilting and equally uplifting as the bagpipers’ song, the gospel 11 (and again 12) brought life back into the world.

To this day, God’s mighty men are to carry on the message of Jesus the Christ all across the world. Others will follow, some will inquire and still others will want to know more. But, what is needed is the gift of those who will pipe and dance the gospel truth.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will be traveling home and returning to work following the New Years’ celebration and
long holiday season
* For the lessons from history to propel God‘s children into the gift of a secured future through faith, hope
and love
* For the embracing of a happy new year and the transitions planned to improve life to be lived to the
fullest
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of God-
centered obedience; especially with the continued bombings throughout the Middle East and the recent
news of Jewish apartments being constructed in East Jerusalem which may stop peace negotiations
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa as we make preparations to move into the house He desires
to become our home as we will be working in Waco ministering to His people there

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* For the answered prayer we receive as we trust in God to provide for our family while waiting
to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa and as He has made it possible for us to find
a house to be our home

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Thank you, Father, for the reminders of the true gifts we have been given through Christ our Lord. As you reveal them to Your mighty men may they in turn share this good news with others so that we might live out the truth together of Your Great Love, Your Great Gift, and Your Great Desire for all people. AMEN.

Post tags:

January 3, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Joshua 22. 5

“But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the lord gave you: to
love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to obey His commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve
Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Men at worship. I have long supported and encouraged that men be more involved in the act of worship in its expression and not just in the administration of the sacraments. I believe it is a great gift which God‘s mighty men can offer back to God when they become the vehicles through which the Spirit of God can move- literally. So, it is no surprise that on the tenth day of Christmas the gift that was shared was a troupe of ten men who were professional dancers and interpreters of story and song.

The TENTH day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, TEN LORDS A-LEAPING. These were not just any men, nor were they just “song and dance” men out to make a dollar (or whatever the equivalent was in sixteenth century Europe.) No, these were trained professionals who had studied the art of dance and interpretation, the form and shape of movement and choreography, the history of story and song as well as the culture and climate of the audiences for whom they would perform. Their dance was not spontaneous as the “nine ladies dancing” out of the spirit of the moment. Instead, their dance was the result of a very practiced and studied lifestyle with the intent of bringing to life what was reflected by the author and composer of the music and the dance.

It stands to reason then that the Ten Commandments were represented by these ten leaping lords. The commandments were a gift from God delivered to the nation of Israel through Moses. God spoke, Moses recorded and the people were blessed. Somehow though, the ten commandments are not seen as a good gift but that is what they were and are to this day. These commandments described the vision of God’s intent for how human life should be best expressed. They represented the steps of the dance of faith which the mighty men of God should offer in the act of worship called living life before the Lord their God. God’s mighty men are sons of the Most High God, princes of peace. They are the stewards of God’s land; lords of God’s creation. There is much reason to dance for joy. So, as the lady was blessed with such a lavish gift of a professional dance troupe then the people of God ought to be blessed with men who honor and worship God with all their heart and soul.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will be traveling home and returning to work following the New Years’ celebration and
long holiday season
* For the lessons from history to propel God‘s children into the gift of a secured future through faith, hope
and love
* For the embracing of a happy new year and the transitions planned to improve life to be lived to the
fullest
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of God-
centered obedience; especially with the continued bombings throughout the Middle East and the recent
news of Jewish apartments being constructed in East Jerusalem which may stop peace negotiations
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa as we make preparations to move into the house He desires
to become our home as we will be working in Waco ministering to His people there

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* For the answered prayer we receive as we trust in God to provide for our family while waiting
to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa and as He has made it possible for us to find
a house to be our home
* For our safe arrival home from visiting with family in Kentucky, their blessing of life and prosperity until
we meet again, and the transition of moving into our new home in Hewitt

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Thank you, Father, for the reminders of the true gifts we have been given through Christ our Lord. As you reveal them to Your mighty men may they in turn share this good news with others so that we might live out the truth together of Your Great Love, Your Great Gift, and Your Great Desire for all people. AMEN.

Post tags:

January 2, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Galatians 5. 22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

There is some debate as to the original order of the last four days of Christmas as portrayed in the song which leads up to the Epiphanal celebration. For the sake of familiarity, we will stay with the version most familiarly known.

The NINTH day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, NINE LADIES DANCING. It would not have been uncommon to have ladies dancing by themselves in a splendid party. As professional entertainers, it would have been almost unheard of for there to be all female troupes in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Whether noble ladies or “pagan“ women, spontaneous dancing was a picture of great joy and mirth. Rising out of the moment of merriment, the ladies would not be restrained from dancing although their dancing would not be unrestrained. There would be a modicum of decorum expected regardless of their station in society.

So, bearing that in mind, church tradition assigns to nine ladies dancing the fruit of the Spirit as described in the verse above from Galatians. As fruit of the spirit there would be the expectation of decorum which was the expected behavior of all Christ-followers. There was nothing feminized about these fruit nor did their presence in the body of believers, male or female, raise any gender questions. But, it is easy enough to see why the nine fruit of the spirit would be depicted by these ladies dancing. It was spontaneous, rising up out of the moment of spiritual rapture. Feeling moved to expression, the ladies would rise up and begin to dance to the music in celebration of the moment. While it would have been unlawful for the ladies to do so on their own unescorted by their male counterparts, lest they be thought of with some question or disgrace and thereby breaking the law of conventional wisdom, there was no law against women dancing in this way. So, too, no law could be established in the life of the church, even in the midst of the world, that would forbid the fruit of the spirit to be expressed. Those who displayed this fruit were obviously moved by the Spirit of the Lord of the Dance, Jesus the Christ.

Strange how many churches still seek to restrain such lyrical expressions of the Spirit of God. Clapping hands, stomping feet, swaying to the music have long been seen as behavior unseemly to the stoic and station-ridden worship of the church of the middle ages, or even the modern age in some instances. Of course, if the dance is meant to promote one‘s self then it would not be of the spirit and should be silenced.
Thank goodness there was a sense of free spirit maintained in the Spirit of Christmas. Let those with feet to dance dance!.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will be traveling home and returning to work following the New Years’ celebration and
long holiday season
* For the lessons from history to propel God‘s children into the gift of a secured future through faith, hope
and love
* For the embracing of a happy new year
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of God-
centered obedience; especially with the continued bombings throughout the Middle East and the recent
news of Jewish apartments being constructed in East Jerusalem which may stop peace negotiations
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa as we make preparations to move into the house He desires
to become our home as we will be working in Waco ministering to His people there

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* For the answered prayer we receive as we trust in God to provide for our family while waiting
to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa and as He has made it possible for us to find
a house to be our home
* For our safe travel home from visiting with family in Kentucky and the transition of moving into our
new home in Hewitt

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Thank you, Father, for the reminders of the true gifts we have been given through Christ our Lord. As you reveal them to Your mighty men may they in turn share this good news with others so that we might live out the truth together of Your Great Love, Your Great Gift, and Your Great Desire for all people. AMEN.

Post tags:

January 1, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Matthew 5. 11

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because
of me.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

We must be careful of the company we keep, especially when there is a festive holiday party going on. There are always eyes and ears taking notice of what is being done and what is said. Yes, some people do not mind the attention nor do they care what other people say. But, as Christ-followers, words and actions speak loudly about the God we love and the Christ we serve. We follow a code of faith, hope and love that is not easily understood by others. The world outside of faith could easily misinterpret words and actions to mean other things. In the day of Jesus, those who associated themselves with Him were surely looked upon by many as being spiritual terrorists and political anarchists. They would be accused of trying to destroy both church and state as well as the fabric of conventional wisdom with which they clothed themselves. Jesus warned his disciples of such things because He knew the world had taken the truth which God had designed and turned it upside down so that things did not always appear as they should. Good examples of this truth application could be found in the Beatitudes which Jesus included in His Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew. These eight basic truths for living stood so solidly against what people had come to believe that many were confused. But, to those who were being left out beyond hope for righteous living, receiving a blessing from God and especially finding eternal life these truths were welcome news. So what is a possible significance to connecting eight milking maids to the eight beatitudes?

The EIGHTH day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, EIGHT MAIDS A-MILKING. Sometimes it is not in what is being said but in what isn’t being said that teaches a lesson. Some traditions hold that there was coded language included which was not in reference to any theological truth but in a common practice of deception. It is this “deception” that I am alluding which calls in our accountability as Christ-followers to “mean what we say and say what we mean.” There was not, to be sure, anything wrong with having eight milking maids at the party. During this time it was common for women to be the primary milk gatherers. Milk could not be kept fresh because there was no refrigeration so it was consumed in cheeses mostly that would keep a little longer or in goods made with milk such as breads. But, for a party, milk would be a splendid drink to offer because of its rarity. Many maids would be needed to keep the milk flowing for drinking and for eating; such as in custards, cakes and sweet breads.

But, all may not have been as appropriate as it would appear. The term “a-milking” had gained a place of interpretation for illicit behavior between men and women. It could be termed as a proposition which then could be easily undone by simply declaring there was a misunderstanding. It would not be uncommon, unfortunately, for such propositions to take place in a party spirit with so much happening. Of course, that doesn’t make it right either. Even today, we are aware of how words can be twisted so that a clear understanding is not perceived and one can easily excuse themselves by saying “that is not what I meant.”

But, for Christ-followers, the eight truths are not open for interpretation. Jesus meant what He said as He spoke to the poor and displaced in Hebrew society from His home in Nazareth as a boy to His cross in Jerusalem as the Christ. Money and social status were not the determiners of God’s blessing. God was the ultimate judge of who would be blessed and how. The Beatitudes were actually places where Jesus declared that people could find God and enter into a blessed relationship with Him. They were not disqualifying characteristics as some might have thought. We can see some of this confusion when the disciples asked Jesus about the rich young ruler who walked away from discipleship because he would have had to change his use of his wealth saying, “What chance is there for us if he, a rich man, walks away?”

Of course, I am not saying there is anything wrong with maidens at a party or even marriage proposals. But, to be sure, the intentions of our words and actions must be clear and not misunderstood. Jesus taught that we are as easily condemned by the intents of our heart and mind which are seen only by God and not just by our words and actions which are known before people. We must be sure that our commitment to follow Christ comes with a good understanding of what we will be bearing witness to as well because not everyone will understand what we are saying and doing as it may contradict the ways and means of worldliness.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will be traveling home again or returning back to work following the Christmas holidays
* For the lessons from history to propel God‘s children into the gift of a secured future through faith, hope
and love
* For a happy new year 2010
* For all political leaders in the world to seek the means for true peace on earth which comes from God’s
charity and commitment to honor life
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of God-
centered obedience; especially with the continued bombings throughout the Middle East and most
recently in Afghanistan
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa as we make preparations to move into the house He desires
to become our home as we will be working in Waco ministering to His people there

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* For the answered prayer we receive as we trust in God to provide for our family while waiting
to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa and as He has made it possible for us to find
a house to be our home
* For family to be safe in all their travels today and in the days ahead
* For a happy birthday celebration for Paul

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Thank you, Father, for the reminders of the true gifts we have been given through Christ our Lord. As you reveal them to Your mighty men may they in turn share this good news with others so that we might live out the truth together of Your Great Love, Your Great Gift, and Your Great Desire for all people. AMEN.