Real Issues….No thank you.

If I see one more thing on this lion that was killed I am going to tweak! On the average day there are 3,287 people sold or kidnaped and forced into slavery. There are also 21,000 people that die of hunger and hunger related issues. And not to mention the 900 daily abortions from PP. That means that since this lion was killed we have lost 98,610 people to slavery. Lives that are forever changed if not dead in a few years. 630,000 have died because of hunger. And 2,700 babies are gone due to abortion. This does not include the thousands that die due to drug related causes. But please go on and continue to lament over a dead lion. Lets make sure that the whole world knows his name. Let’s be sure to cause an uproar over it and let us make sure that the world knows that we will not stand for a dead lion. Lets get together and cry hold hands and talk about it because that is better than doing something about real issues, issues that affect our brothers and sisters. Issues that affect real human beings. Let’s not do anything about because that would require actually paying attention and we can’t do that because if I notice those issues if I really pay attention to them then I would also have to take a look at myself and see that there is really one thing I care about and that is me and mine.

We can cause a freakout fest over the lion because it does not really matter or affect me at all. I can complain and yell but at the end of the day it is still just a dead lion. If however I look around and see the real pain that is happening every day I have to admit that something real needs to be done and then I have to do something about it. I have to take real action and that would require something of me, something I am not willing to give. It would require me to give the one thing I care most about. I would have to give me.

Just a thought,

Mike

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What a compliment

I was thinking about Daniel chapter 6 the other day and it stuck out to me that the plot against Daniel is a compliment. Theses other guys were out to get him because he was doing well. Some people just can’t stand when you do well. The better you are doing and the less attention you pay to them the more they hate you and I would say these guys hated Daniel because they ended up trying to get him fed to the lions. But that is not the compliment I want to talk about. No I want to be just a bit more specific. I would rather just point out verse 5 in that chapter because more than anything this is what I would want people to say of me.

     Then these men said “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”   Daniel 6:5 NKJV

To break this down a little it means this; if we are going to find fault with Daniel it is going to have to be that following his God is against the rules. Basically they needed to outlaw something that he does in service to his God so there will be fault against him. They needed to change the rules so there would be blame. Daniel was so devoted to God so blessed by him that in order for something to be wrong it had to be said that bad was good and good was bad. That is a messed up system.

Now I could go a few different ways with this, but I am not (at least for now) I just want to say that their hatred for Daniel is a compliment and more so their proclamation that he is loyal to his God is a big compliment one I would say I want made against me. I know I have faults and failures but if there was one I could choose it would be that I am a light shining so brightly the love, grace, mercy, and compassion of Christ that the world is mad at me for turning on the lights.

Just a thought,

Mike

Hallowed be thy name

I want to give you a nice three point message on the phrase “Hallowed be thy name.” Three simple points that we probably all know but that can easily be forgetten. One reason they are easily forgotten is because we live under the new covenant, and while I am very grateful for this it also like all things has a flip side. All coins have a head and a tail side and if you look at one you are not seeing the other, and that is what sometimes happens with this topic. Living under the new covenant and blood of Jesus we do not have to deal with the sacrificial system and we enjoy constant grace and mercy, but because of this we can quite easily forget the holiness of God because that is something you are reminded of when you have to constantly be on guard not to trespass the Mosaic Law. Living in the goodness and mercy of God can lead to us forgetting who He is and who He is not. That is precisely why we need to talk about the simple phrase “Hallowed be thy name”

Point number one – What does it mean to Hallow His name?

To hallow His name means to not make it or Him common. It is to understand that God is holy. More than just holy He is Holy, Holy, Holy. Isaiah 6:3 says:

And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

God Himself declares in Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7 & 26 “I am holy” and He repeats Himself through Peter in the New Testament in 1 Peter 1:15-16. God wants us to know He is holy. He desires for people to know that He is a Holy God. He has names for Himself to let us know He is holy. Elohim Kedoshim (Holy God) in Lev 19:2, El HaKadosh (The Holy God) in Isaiah 5:16 and YHVH M’kadesh (The LORD who makes holy) in Ez 37:28. If you want God to teach you things about Himself then using the Holy Scriptures as a guide you will see that letting you know He is holy is on the list of things you will learn if you earnestly desire to learn who He is. But what does it mean for God to be holy?

In simplest terms it means He is not like you. It means He is separate or completely different. God is not common but is beyond the common in a way so drastic we cannot easily define it. We don’t fully understand what it is to be infinitely beyond us so our words fail often. So the first thing to understand is that to hallow (or make it holy or separate) is to understand that is the place His name belongs it belongs in its own category. It should not be linked with any other name. It is not God and. It is just God.

Point number two – Hallow His name because He said so!

I want jump back to Leviticus. Now as we mentioned we could go to Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7 & 26, or 1 Peter 1:15-16 which all say basically the same thing “Be holy for I am holy.” Leviticus in general is a great place to look for what it means to be holy because holiness is mentioned more in Leviticus than any other book in the Bible although Isaiah is a very close second. While we could look at these verses and I think that could be sufficient I think there is a point made in Lev 10:1-3 that I really think drives home the point and God is the one who made it.

Aaron had two sons that were priest with him and they brought in strange or profane fire into the tabernacle and God killed them. It was and is still is a very powerful statement. God refused to allow the strange fire to be brought before Him. His direction to Moses and Aaron after this was “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.” – Leviticus 10:3. God needed to make a very strong point to His fledgling created nation. He was in essence saying “If you are going to come to me then come on my terms.” It was a hard statement but one that needed to be made. Look at Acts 5 and see the story of Ananias and Sapphira and see that God made it after Christ’s resurrection as well. God is holy and tells us over and over that we must revere Him as holy. God’s holiness is not just a part of Him but it is one of the defining things about Him. He is Holy!

Lets make another OT and NT tie in. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says “Do not quench the Holy Spirit” and the Holy Spirit is symbolized with fire. So we can see a connection where God says do not bring your ideas of worship and right living to me and tell me that this is what it means to live holy. We are not to mix the common with the uncommon or holy. We do not combine our ideas with His clear commands but instead we set Him in the place He belongs and then find out what we must do to serve Him.

Point number 3 – Because it is good for us!

God wants us to know that He is holy if we do then we will live differently. When we understand that He is not common we will not be common. When we understand we serve an uncommon God we will live as uncommon people. If we read the Proverbs we can start to see that a right understanding of who God is changes our perception on what right living is.

We can take that a step further and do as Jesus said to do and pray that way. When we live with an understanding that God is holy and separate it changes our actions because we want to be like our Daddy. When we pray with that same mindset we see a change in our prayer focus because we are being made different. God is in the process of conforming us into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29) and in that process we start to become more God minded. We start to live as Christ lived and that is living in total obedience and dependence. As God Jesus could have done as He pleased and what He decided to do was live as a servant in part so we could see how to live.

But this starts with hallowing His name. It starts with placing God where He belongs in our lives and that is above everything else. We have to get to a place where Jesus Christ and serving Him is more important than anything else. It is more important than your job, or your comfort, or your preferences, or ideas, or likes and dislikes.

Praying “Hallowed be thy name” is not so much words to say but is a way to live. It is saying in my thoughts, actions, words, and prayers I want you to be above it all God and I want to be uncommon like you.

Just a thought,

Mike

Reading the Old Testament

I have been thinking about the Bible and before you say well of course you have Mike let me clarify. I have been thinking about the Old Testament and what is included. You see the OT is the historical narrative of Israel from the calling and covenant made with Abraham to the end of the exile. That is somewhere around 2000-2500 years of history give or take but the exact time is not really all that important to this discussion. The focus is that we are talking about a long time with a relatively short record. The thing I find fascinating is that in the record (the Bible) there is not as much detail as you would expect to find but that is by design. History was not recorded for the same reasons we record history. Stories were excluded or included all for a single purpose. That purpose is to reveal God.

The stories of David and Goliath, Abraham and Isaac, Sampson, Haggar, and even Creation are not there to teach you about these people with their strengths/failures or event details although they can. No instead their purpose of being placed in Scripture is to teach us about God. The Bible is the story of God telling us something of Himself. 1 John 4:19 says we love because He first loved us and that is the point. We know something about God because He revealed it to us because if God does not teach us about Himself we get false ideas about who He is and what He wants (see the tower of Babel) and if we have a false view of God we serve a false god. Seeing as God Himself commands us not to serve false gods He has to take the initiative and teach us about Himself.

So we should look at the OT and see what is God trying to teach us about Himself and not what did David do. Yes we can and should learn things from David but David is not the main character. When he dies the story goes on because the main character is God with David playing a supporting role. This applies to everything in the OT including the Law. When God gives the Law He is trying to communicate something of Himself so instead of reading it and saying “I am glad I am under grace and not Law” we should read it and say “God what are you saying about yourself in this?” This does two things that are very important.

First is puts the focus back on God. It says God you are the main character not me. Not my place my position or my desires. What are you saying about you (yes in light of Christ coming)? I am not suggesting we read it in a vacuum but He was saying something about Himself and He says he does not change. So if God was something then He is still that thing remember He exists outside space and time after all the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. So what was meant for learning is still good for learning. 2+2 = 4 that does not change when you learn that √(4)=2 you just have more information now. We have this idea that we are the center of the universe and I regret to inform you that you are not the center of the universe. You are of great importance to God shown in the fact that Jesus died on a cross for you but the story will continue when you die and there is a good chance that if we are all still here (people that is) no one will remember your name. So lets focus on what will remain and that is God and His Word.

The second thing it does is it starts to teach you. You might just be surprised what you find when you read with the expectation of learning something about God and doing things God’s way. I am constantly amazed what I find when I read with the desire to see Him. I go from one understanding to another one because the veil is removed and I can see things in a whole new light. I start to see certain things that I was sure meant one thing take on a whole new meaning because I understand God is trying to teach me something about Him.

I’ll end with this. God loves you. He loves you so much He gave everything to be with you. He is a caring, devoted, and compassionate Father. That has always been true and I enjoy reading things about my Dad before I knew Him.

Just a thought,

Mike