Friday, June 17, 2011

Musings in Matthew (Matthew 3 & 4)

I don't know if I ever really noticed or why this stood out to me this time around, but did you notice that John the Baptist's and Jesus' message was the exact same? Both went about preaching "repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand".

If that was the message to prepare people for Jesus' coming, AND it was the message that Jesus also preached, is it not STILL the message we should proclaim as we prepare for His Second Coming?

I realize that there are a lot of other things people need to know... after all, there are hurting people with lives full of messes whether it's a rocky marriage, out of control finances, raising children, etc. But I would like to submit that if we first don't lead someone to a relationship with Jesus, what makes us think we can help with the marriage, finances, or family?

We do run the risk of sounding condemning, unless we begin to be transparent in telling people about our personal experience in repentance and beginning a relationship with Christ. See, I think it meant something for John the Baptist who gave up a "normal" life in order to preach this message that made the message sincere. And no one can question Jesus' sincerity, after all He died and rose again to prove His love for us was sincere. I guess I have to ask myself, and we have to ask ourselves... are we sincere? What have we given up to follow Christ? Is our love for those Jesus died for sincere? If not, what does it sound like when we preach "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"? I'll leave that for you to answer...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Musings in Matthew (Chapters 1 & 2)

Have you ever read in the bible and thought, "I've read this before" and then you have to fight your mind to stay completely engaged so that you keep your mind and heart open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit? That started to happen to me while reading Matthew today, but then something hit me: did you ever notice how God communicated to Joseph? God often spoke to Joseph in his dreams. That's not too unusual, God spoke to many people in the Bible thru their dreams; and I suspect God still speaks to people thru their dreams. Here's the point that got me thinking... notice how Joseph immediately KNEW it was God! He didn't wonder if God spoke to him; he just KNEW it.

A group of my girlfriends and myself just recently went thru the study "Experiencing God". The study talked about hearing and knowing God's voice. One verse in the study is John 8:47 which says "he who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God" (ouch) Another passage is John 10 where Jesus talks about being the Good Shepherd and His sheep know His voice. In pondering on those verses, I think about times in my own life where I am struggling to hear the voice of God. I doubt that I am hearing Him. Why? Am I not His? Or is it that I don't know His voice?

Scary to think. Mostly I feel as if God is silent or I doubt His voice when I am not spending the time I should with Him. Most of us who proudly proclaim we are Christians have heard and have been taught the importance of a daily quiet time with God. Yet I am certain it is not just me who can neglect that special time alone with God. I suspect with all my dealings with so many who are struggling to hear His voice, it is because we haven't been spending time with Him and given enough time, we "forget" what He sounds like.

This has happened too much to me. I have failed too often and neglected to set aside time with my Savior, and yet I long to hear from Him. My desire is to truly know God. To know His voice from all others in my life, so that the moment He speaks to me, I will respond just as Joseph did, and obey His every command. It could mean the difference between life and death.