1. I had intended to participate in NaPoWriMo this month. Day 1 passed me by without notice. Perhaps it’s best I don’t try it this year, since we’ll travel to the US later this month. I’ll still write some poetry, however, if not every day. Point: You can’t do it all; choose wisely.
  2. Last night I lost my ride to the men’s event for this morning. I speak on Saturday. Considering options. Point: You always have options.
  3. Read here this short piece I wrote about being flexible. I’m still learning. Point: Don’t let a wrench in plans discourage you; it’s life.
  4. Plans without work are pipe dreams. So says Pro 13.4. Key word is “diligent.” Something I need to hear often. (Chapter 13 was in my Bible reading this morning.) Point: Get busy.
  5. When King David is about to die, the first thing he tells his son Solomon is to obey God. “Now, carefully obey all the commands of the Lord your God. Carefully obey all his laws, commands, decisions, and agreements. Obey everything that is written in the Law of Moses. If you do this, you will be successful at whatever you do and wherever you go” 1 Kgs 2.3 ERV. Good deathbed advice. Good advice any time. Point: Obey God — what is lacking in your obedience?
  6. The apostle Paul joins humility and tears in Ac 20.18-21. He stays on course to preach the Good News of the grace of God. He does not veer away from opposition. His pride doesn’t seek to preserve his life. Is this why it’s hard to be humble? Point: Humility is akin to courage.
  7. Servants can get lax in their service. Maybe they count themselves privileged and think they can get lazy or have a right to do things forbidden to others. Adab and Abihu found out differently. Obedience means showing respect for holy things. See Lev 22. “Remember my commands, and obey them. I am the Lord. Show respect for my holy name” v. 31-32a. Point: Fear God.

What action points have you noted lately? I’d love to hear them. Share them below.

This is a gratitude I am coming to learn:

My friend, if God has not called you to be very prominent you have reason to thank God that He has consented you should live a quiet, reverent, honest, generous Christian life, uncriticized, unpraised, and unabused. —Tho. Jones, in Joseph Exell’s Biblical Illustrator

What thoughts does this quote generate in you?

We search out people who tell us what we want to hear. Those who tell us otherwise we avoid, ignore, or despise.

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can seek the LORD’s will. But I despise him because he does not prophesy prosperity for me, but disaster. His name is Micaiah son of Imlah. Jehoshaphat said, “The king should not say such things.” 1 Kings 22.8 NET Continue reading

We call it rhetoric, for no one in his right mind would really say such a thing. Someone with as much insight and realism as the great and mighty apostle Paul certainly wouldn’t say it in all seriousness, even as much as he might have been down on himself for his pre-Christian past. But let us not brush off his words so lightly.

For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1 Corinthians 15.9-10 NET Continue reading

HumilityI know a person who takes credit for the accomplishments of others as if they were his own. This is bad enough; worse still when it’s done with God. But the young Joseph gave credit to whom it belonged.

Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “It is not within my power, but God will speak concerning the welfare of Pharaoh.”
Genesis 41:16 NET

I liked the translation of the Bíblia de Jerusalém: “Who am I!” When the Egyptian sovereign told Joseph that he’d heard he could interpret dreams, Joseph answered in this way.

For every good work of the kingdom of God, we ought to reply in similar fashion. And not only reply, but think that way.

For there’s nothing worse in God’s kingdom than to attribute divine accomplishments to ourselves.

serving othersWe learn by repetition of movements and information. Jesus teaches us by repeated words and actions throughout the course of his ministry. And, although he is Master, he wants us to be like him.

For I have given you an example – you should do just as I have done for you.
John 13:15 NET

The emphasis today is on the distance between us and Jesus. The Biblical emphasis is the closeness between us and him.

Jesus performs a miracle and the disciples follow him from a distance. Jesus serves, and has their feet in his face.

Be like Jesus, give the example of what a Christian should be like, and people will get close to you.

 

Text: Matthew 18

Memorize: “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea.” Matthew 18:6 NET

Eternal life matters more than any other thing in this life (verse 8). Whoever causes another, more spiritually fragile and weaker in faith, to lose eternal life will be held responsible and will suffer dire consequences.

It is possible to make someone sin by arrogance (verses 1-5) and, in a way, by omission (verses 10-14) that fails to confront and admonish (verses 15-17). Continue reading