Setting Aside

Mark 7:9And He said to them, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Sometimes, we are much more diligent in observing man-made traditions than we are in observing the Word of God.

My Advice – Do not set aside God’s Word for anything, whether it is religious traditions or prevailing social mores. Anything that is inconsistent with the Word, is wrong, even if it is highly regarded or widely believed.

A Rigor Mortis Faith

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Or possibly the work of a Cereal killer?

James 2:14 -24What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. (NIV 1984)

My Musings – Early in his post-reformation ministry, Martin Luther referred to the Epistle of James as Continue reading “A Rigor Mortis Faith”

Laments Over Babylon’s Fall

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LAMENT OF THE KINGS, MERCHANTS & SEA CAPTAINS – “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’ “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more—cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men. “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’ “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! (Revelation 18:9-19)

Who Mourned – The mourners are those who had been bewitched by Babylon’s spiritual fornication, who had shared in her sensual pleasures, and who had gained from her wealth and trade.

Kings of the Earth – They were the kings of the earth, whom she had seduced into idolatry and who had shared in her tyranny.

Merchants and Sea Captains – They were the merchants and sea captains who got rich by selling and transporting her goods.(1)

The imagery here is Continue reading “Laments Over Babylon’s Fall”

Sown Among Thorns

Mark 4:18, 19 – “Still others, like seed sown among the thorns, hear the Word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke out the Word, making it unfruitful.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Today’s world is so fast-paced, and the demands so burdensome, that this can easily happen. So we must be on guard, carefully choosing what is important versus what may be urgent, but not that important.

My Advice – Watch out for “thorns” in your life (career, social life, etc…), that they do not choke out God from your life. You have to be on guard. It can creep up on you so that you don’t readily realize it, then it can become a habit that is hard to break.

Calling All Sinners

Mark 2:17Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Christians carry the medicine of the Gospel to a sick and dying world.

My Advice -It is okay to associate with “sinners.” Just make sure that it is your behavior that is rubbing off on them, rather than the other way around. Associate with sinners, but do not participate in sinful activity.

But Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – This needs to a regular practice for believers. We need alone time, where there are no distractions. Distractions can come from our environment (went off), others (solitary), and our daily agenda (early).

My Advice – You need to spend time with God each day. The mornings are best, since they get you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.

Faithful in Few

Matthew 25:5 – “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We all want to do great things for God. So much so, that we have a tendency to neglect the small things. God measures by how faithful we are to the task, not by how big the task is.

My Advice – Pay attention to and do not neglect the “small” things of God. You are not ready for the big things until you’ve been faithful in the small things.