Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday, July 11 ~ Miriam

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Chronicles 11-12; Psalm 119:153-160; 1 Corinthians 5.
Today's scripture focus is Luke 8:16-21.

16 “Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”
19 And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” 21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

I'm not going to expound on the entire passage today, just focus on the first couple of verses.  Somehow, as has happened before, it seems that I got a passage that I particularly needed this week.  I will admit to feeling a little disconnected or uprooted, if you will, lately.  Even as I help prepare for our church's VBS in a few weeks, even as I read this blog daily, even as I serve in the church in various ways and play Christian music, somehow it all seems a little distant at the moment.   It seems I've been focusing too much on the outward and not enough on the inward.

From Mark Driscoll's sermon Jesus' True Family:

The secular version is: you’re defined by your appearance, by your job, by your performance, by your status in life. So it’s whatever you do or accomplish that determines your identity.

In Christianity, it’s completely the opposite. Through the grace of God, and the work of Jesus, and the love of the Father, we receive an identity. And out of that identity, there is activity, not so that God would love us, but because he already has, not so that God would accept us, but because in Christ, he already does. So who we are determines what we do. It is not that what we do determines who we are. That’s the miracle of Christianity. And so as God commands us to activity, it is simply the outworking of our identity. He makes us someone so we can do some things.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” It’s theologically accurate, artistically not so phenomenal, so I will not sing it for you. But if you sang it as a little kid, it’s actually a pretty good little theological instruction piece. You want your light to shine. What that means is where there are lies, you want to bring truth. Where there is sin, you want to bring conviction of sin and repentance of sin. Where people are enslaved to sin, you want to bring redemption through the gospel. Where people are hiding and sinning in secrecy and shame, you want to shine the light of God’s truth and love, and invite them to repentance in Jesus.

So the picture is as if the whole world is filled with darkness, and Jesus comes as a torch, as it were, and that each Christian is like a small candle who’s lit by the torch of Jesus. By the grace of God, we are to humbly carry our light into the world, take it to work or school or wherever it is that we happen to be as missionaries in a dark world bringing the light of the gospel and good news, and exposing and illuminating of Jesus Christ.

So my question to you is this: How’s it going? For those of you who are Christian, or claim to be Christian, how’s it going? Because what Jesus exhorts us is not to hide our light, he uses this analogy that if the Holy Spirit has set his light aflame in you, you can either illuminate and expose, or you can conceal and hide that light. And what this looks like, practically, is that with your family, you don’t really talk about Jesus. With your friends, you don’t really talk about Jesus, or at least your non-Christian family and friends. And the whole point of your job is not to annoy people and talk about God all the time while you’re not doing your job, but you want to do well at your job. As part of your light, you want to show up early, stay late, work hard, be honest, tell the truth, deliver results, love others, pray for them, serve them, be gracious and kind. And as opportunity arises through friendship, love, and service, to talk to people about Jesus. Let them know you’ll pray for them, serve them in functional and practical ways.
And Jesus says that not only are we to allow others to see open, authentic, real faith, and hear true, biblical doctrine and exposition, but we want our light to continue to grow brighter. And this is maturing or sanctifying as a Christian, this is growing in Christ-likeness. And so what he tells us to do in light of that is this: consider carefully how you listen.

Once you become a Christian, what this means is you’ve gotta be a student. You’ve gotta be a student. This includes reading your Bible, Christian books, downloading classes, sermons on the Internet, listening. We live in this amazing world where there’s so much information that’s made available. This is listening to the Bible on your way to work. This is listening to God’s Word being taught and preached. And this includes and centers around as well, reading the Bible to your children, letting your children read the Bible out loud to you in an age-appropriate version when they’re of age to be able to read. This is as well, you reading the Bible for yourself, reading the Bible aloud. This is you hearing carefully, listening carefully, considering carefully what the Bible has to say, what God would have to say to you through his Word.

So let me ask, how’s your listening? How’s your listening? Are you listening carefully as Jesus would instruct and admonish you?

I'm guessing a large part of my problem is that I have not been listening.  I have not been spending enough time in prayer, and I have not been listening.  At least not well.  I've been doing things, but where did that list of to do's come from?  Am I doing what God wants me to do, or what I think I'm supposed to do?

Happy Thursday, everybody.  Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow's scripture focus:  Luke 8:22-25
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  2 Chronicles 13-14; Psalm 119:161-168; 1 Corinthians 6

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Such great thoughts here Miriam.

It's ridiculous to light a lamp only to conceal it. It should be ridiculous to us to hide our faith, to hide the good news from those around us.

We need to Iive out our faith genuinely and faithfully, and we need to pray for opportunities to shine God's light, and we need to take them when they come!

And listen well. Oh so important!