Fear of Man

Re: Verse reading – Romans 10:8-15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (day four)
It is a simple message…1 Corinthians 15:3-4.  We call it the Easter verse…”that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”  It is not hard to learn, so why do so many fail to communicate this message of redemption?  Could it be the fear of man?  Peter faced the same fear…he was more concerned with what a young slave girl thought about him than what his Lord thought.  Fear of man…does it keep you from sharing the Gospel message?  It does not have to be complicated…Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose on the third day…according to the Scriptures!  Are we afraid of what our family will think? …our co-workers? …our neighbors? …our friends? …a perfect stranger?  Fear of man vs. fear of the God of the Universe…go share, according to the Scriptures!

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Re: Verse reading – Romans 10:8-15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (day three)
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  It’s not uncommon for some to claim that Christianity is exclusivist, whereas other religions or systems of thought possess much more generosity of spirit and remain open to anyone.  The hallmark of God’s revelation in Christ, though, is not exclusivity, but radical inclusivity: “Come, all that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  While the world measures every man by this or that standard to determine his worth, Jesus Christ says that whosoever will may come.  Invitations don’t get more inclusive than that.

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You are Beautiful

Re: Verse reading – Romans 10:8-15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (day two)
Paul, in this letter to the Romans, maps out for us the road to salvation. Consider these questions he poses starting in verse 14: How can they call on the one; how can they believe; how can they hear; how can they preach…without someone?

The beginning of this letter gives an answer to these questions.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20)

And in Luke’s Gospel Jesus speaks to the Pharisees about what his disciples were teaching: “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:40

So, now, back to Paul’s questions, does this give us a pass on witnessing? Certainly not. God has made himself clear about that as well. Go, teach, baptize. This command, or commission as we like to call it, is our call to arms. Even with these marching orders, however, we are called beautiful for obeying.

Think about that. God made himself clearly evident through creation. He doesn’t need us, but he calls us to action to spread the good news of Jesus, and as we go, we are called beautiful. That’s Good News affirmation!

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Beautiful feet

Re: Verse reading – Romans 10:8-15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (day one) 
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  (Romans 10:15, also Isaiah 52:7)  Beautiful feet–isn’t that an oxymoron?  Maybe so in an appearance-focused world.  Not so if feet symbolize efforts made (walking, riding a plane, planning a broadcast, starting a Sunday School class etc.) to bring the Word of God to people who need it.  None of us intuitively knows how to be saved.  We are in darkness until the Lord reveals His character and makes our required response clear.  God’s chosen method for revealing Himself is to send a witness.  “You will be my witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” says the Lord. (Acts 1:8)  “From faith to faith” (Romans 1:17) describes the gradual growth of God’s truth–one person who believes tells another who does not yet believe. When we do it faithfully, those who hear are likely to say, “Man, I never saw anything more beautiful than your feet!”

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Am I grateful?

Re: Verse reading – Psalm 103; Luke 17:11-19 (day seven)
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”–1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  A week of reading Luke 17 has pressed an important question to the surface of my soul.  Am I grateful?  Am I one of the nine (the percentages are sobering) who receive from God and immediately rush back to life as I desire it to be?  What of the Giver?  Don’t I have some obligation to Him?  The New Testament describes a new race of people who are ALIVE to the goodness of God.  Even in suffering.  Happy people.  Unconquered.  “So they went their way. . .rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame in His name.”Acts 5:41“And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”Acts 13:52.  Am I one of these people?  I WANT TO BE!  Lord helping, I will be.  Starting today.  It is His will for me.

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God is patient

Re: Verse reading – Psalm 103, Luke 17:11-19 (day six) 
“Go show yourselves to the priests.” (Luke 17:14)
God is patient.  Thank God!  Those of us who fail Him need this good news.  The 10 Leper story proves the point.  Even after months of Jewish resistance, Jesus is STILL SEEKING for ways to communicate His message in ways that Jews could understand and accept.  He is bending over backwards.  In compliance with Leviticus 14:1-32, Jesus sends the soon-to-be-healed men to the priests whose assignment was to certify actual cases of healing.  Jesus hoped the priests would see the miracle and tell the story.  It was not to be.  Neither the Jewish lepers nor the Jewish nation were willing to imagine a God different from their prejudices.  Strange, noted Jesus, that the Samaritan who had no training or history with scripture was more responsive to truth than those who had “grown up with it”.  Sad. Sometimes to have truth too long is to take it for granted.  Us?

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Do you believe…

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 103, Luke 17:11-19 (day five)
Do you believe that Jesus was the most “joy-filled” person who ever walked this planet?  Do we want to have that kind of “joy-filled” life?  If the answers are yes, then we must look at how He lived and what He taught.   It’s really what we’ve been doing all summer- studying the hows and whats.  Jesus certainly taught about thanksgiving and gratitude (Luke 17).  And He faithfully practiced it  (Last supper, feeding of 5,000, raising of Lazarus, and many more times)  There is a connection to a thankful heart and joy-filled life.  We need look no further than our Lord for proof and practice.  I read this week that Thanksgiving is a “confession of blessings”.  This practice causes us to remember (past), rejoice (present), and regain an eternal perspective (look to the future).

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A Life of Gratefulness

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 103, Luke 17:11-19 (day four)  The psalmist is grateful to God for His bountiful blessing.  Verse 11 says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him.”  David is expressing gratefulness for God’s mercy and forgiveness of sin.  When did God forgive our sin?  It was at Calvary…many years after David wrote these words.  David was expressing gratefulness for God’s promise of forgiveness as if it had already happened.  David understood an important truth…God’s promises are sure!  We too can count on God’s promises, just as if they had already occurred.  We can give thanks for the hope He has given us…we can give thanks for the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us…we can give thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  God’s promises go on and on.  With so much to be grateful for, we can spend the rest of our lives praising and thanking God.

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Re: Verse reading–Psalm 103, Luke 17:11-19 (day three)
“He remembers that we are dust.”  A person who does not express gratitude, who understands no need for thanksgiving, is a person who forgets that he is dependent.  He is dependent on the mercy of others in order to live his daily life.  And finally, he is dependent on God, who has made him.  We chafe against this dependence.  We consider it beneath us.  But this life will end because we are indeed dust.  How will we not be taken by surprise at this inevitable fate?  By practicing thanksgiving.  Gratitude will form us into people who will meet the end of these days with joy for the days that await us beyond.  Thankfulness, therefore, is not just polite.  It is life-giving.

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Praise, Praise, Praise!

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 103, Luke 17:11-19 (day two)
Isn’t it a privilege to read the Word? The text from Psalm 103 washes over you like a comforting blanket. These words not only give reassurance, but also reminds us of the Lord’s provision and strength. Look at the many promises and words of action listed in this song: benefits, forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, love, compassion, satisfies, renews, justice, compassionate, gracious, removes transgressions, and righteousness. This is the kind of God we serve. This kind of comfort is available to those who seek after his heart. Re-read this text, gain strength from these promises, and then return all the praise that is due a God that is so good.

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