July 29 2009
Romans 8:31 → If God is for us, who is against us? Is it possible that we ought not consider ourselves truly opposed by anyone? That the infinite God so outpaces whatever and whomever we face so badly that it is our shame to count it as opposition? Our own failure to obey is what causes us to stumble and struggle, not the strength of our enemy. It is that we count earthly struggles at a level worth comparing, when they don't belong there.
Romans 8:28-30 → Man, this is a passage that we use and abuse so much! 1.) All things work together for good. Not all things are good. And good is judged in light of eternity and God. He doesn't make all things good, He makes it work for good. I can't imagine how some of the tragedies people face could ever be made good, but I know they can be made to work for good. It may seem subtle, but it's important. I need to realize that while I proclaim the promises of God, not to make new ones on His behalf. 2.)Foreknew, predestined, called, justified, glorified. This passage on its own does not guarantee a doctrine of irresistible grace or exclude it. It tells us that God has known, and has always known, those who are His, and that He intends to justify and glorify those that are His. It's more in support of working all things together for good , as many of the readers would have been struggling with being ignored, abandoned, neglected, persecuted, and many other bad treatments. He's pointing them to the fact that, while Rome and the opponents of Christianity would not justify or glorify Christians, God would. So, v. 31, who do you want? God or Caesar? (need a hint which is better? All Caesar's got left is a chain of pizza franchises.)
Drop in mostly unrelated directly to today's Scripture: I've got iTunes running in the background, using a random of everything in the “Instrumental” genre. Currently, it's a recording of our National March, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by J.P. Sousa. Now, if you know band music, you know this has got an awesome piccolo solo the first time through the last strain, right after the break strain. If you don't know what that means, you now know how I feel in certain sports metaphors, and in practically all hunting discussions. Just watch a 4 th of July special and listen for the high pitched whistle-sounding part. Anyway, the part is written for the piccolo, the highest pitched mainstream instrument in a band. This recording is of the US Merchant Marine Academy Band, and repeats the solo twice. First time, piccolo as written. Second time? Tuba. Playing the same solo. The tuba, being the lowest pitched mainstream band instrument, covers the piccolo part. My point? The guy that hits that tuba solo rocks it. And it's what makes this an awesome version of the song. Here's somebody who has taken on a part that his instrument and his training (tuba players typically play bass clef, piccolo music is in treble) are not geared toward handling. But he does a phenomenal job. If I remember to, I'll come back and link it here. Sometimes, we have to take on jobs and responsibilities that aren't the perfect match for our training, tools, gifts, and talents. What do we do with those times? Do we tackle it and do the best we can? Do we create a memorable recording? The tuba is still obviously a tuba. You will still, obviously to everyone, not be the nursery worker who has been there 40 years and is wonderful, but you can love kids. You might not be the funnest youth worker, but can you love kids your own way? Can you share what God has done for you, even if you're not the most speaker? Can you still preach, knowing you're not as good as Billy Graham or Charles Spurgeon? When you're a tuba player with a piccolo solo, what do you do? (PS: Most of the rest of the music is Chris Rice's The Living Room Sessions vol. 1 . There were supposed to be more volumes, he did one Christmas one, but that's all. More piano, please!!)
I'm still reading DeYoung & Kluck's Why We Love the Church . I'm now wanting to plan my next vacation to hear DeYoung preach. I just read probably the most touching point in the book, where Kluck talks about that one of the things he loves about their church is the lack of happy endings. That there are people with struggles, with diseases that will kill them, and that the church loves, cares, and prays through those, but isn't addicted to the idea that the only things worth celebrating are the 'happy' stories where people are miraculously healed. He's not any more against the happy healings than I am, but just realizes that it doesn't happen very often, and in light of Romans 8:28-30 above, isn't guaranteed, and is thankful that his church isn't destroyed because life isn't perfect.
Proverbs 29:2 ->Again, wicked rulers, people groaning, but not rebelling? When does Proverbs tell us to lock, load, and march? What? Never?
Proverbs 29:4 → Wait a minute, a man “who demands contributions” (I'm in HCSB, but I can't get reftagger to pull HCSB. Here it is:
4 By justice a king brings stability to a land, but a man [who demands] “ contributions” demolishes it.
Prov 29:4 (HCSB))
Is this anything like earmarks, kickbacks, bribes, and ACORN? Please, find me that verse about overthrowing rulers! Quick, like David did with Saul, who went insane and was abandoned by God. What? He waited—for the country to lose a battle and have the king killed in the process? You mean that 1 Peter 2:17 thing about honoring the king still applies when I didn't vote for him? I have other things to worry about? Like focusing on fearing the Lord, loving the brotherhood, that stuff? Certainly I will exercise my authority as a citizen to speak out, ask my representative to do on my behalf, but at the end of the day, God has not commanded me to change the President of the United States (until election time). He has commanded me many other things to work on first.
Proverbs 29:7 → Are we showing our righteousness in our treatment of the poor? Or do we act unconcerned?
Proverbs 29:9 → Note that sometimes fools take wise men to court, and it's to the detriment of the whole system.
Proverbs 29:12 → Who does a ruler listen to? Who do you listen to? Who do I listen to? Does my commitment to truth extend to demanding it from those around us?
Proverbs 29:15 → Don't leave your teenagers to themselves. It's not just children here. If they be at home, you have to continue to impart wisdom. Even if by rod.
Proverbs 29:18 → Obedience to God-given revelation makes happy. Read: Do what the Bible says.
Proverbs 29:21 → Present your workers with the reality of the work to begin with, and hold high the standards.
1 Peter 2:21-25 → In verse 25, look at the contrast between “continually straying” and “have returned.” It's a beautiful picture, in my mind, of the settled reality of salvation. Beforehand, we can't help but stray. When we come home, it's a completed action. The Shepherd may occasionally have to bonk us with a stick to get us to stay home, but He doesn't let us leave.