Monday, May 21, 2012

Blessed to Be a Blessing...

Psalm 67
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—
2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
3 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
6 The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
7 May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Reflections: Here we see the psalmist’s desire, and also God’s, for the universal salvation of all the nations (which included the Gentiles). Notice he uses the word “us”. The same word Jesus taught us to pray “our Father, forgive us …”. This flies in the face of an individualism, and shows how God’s desire to bless us, is so that we might be a blessing to others. This is the whole purpose of the church to receive all of God’s spiritual blessings in Christ, and then worship in such a way that God’s blessings might be poured over all both in our individual and corporate lives. If you have been blessed remember that you can be used to share that blessing with others God wants to share His love with!

Numbers 9:15-10:36
The Cloud Above the Tabernacle

15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.

Reflections: Here we see God’s deep desire to direct the Israelites as they moved toward Canaan, the Promised Land. The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night showed them that God was ahead of them as they marched forward. We see God’s insistence that no movement be made apart from God’s leading. Though the Israelites were no doubt anxious to move into God’s preferred future, He taught them obedience and observance of God’s leading them every day and night. This reminds us if God has commanded to go and do a certain thing or ministry that He will provide the guidance. Often we want to get ahead of God and it becomes our plans, and our timing, and our strength, and we will see the result of that kind of program. We all want to do good things for the Lord, but we must remember He is Lord and He directs our programs under His revelation and guidance. The great need in the Church today is leaders who will wait on the Lord and not be anxious to move without knowing for sure He with them. Where do you need to wait on the Lord and be sure of His presence before you step out to do something?

Mark 12:35-44
Whose Son Is the Messiah?

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’

37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?” The large crowd listened to him with delight.

Warning Against the Teachers of the Law
38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

The Widow’s Offering

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Reflections: Again today we see the difference between the religious leaders who had moved out in front of God’s leading, and the widow; who put all of her trust, literally and figuratively in Jesus.
The leaders were trusting that the Messiah was the son of David and used it for power rather than serving others. They took pride of position rather than realizing what type of Messiah Jesus would be. The teachers of the Law had not read the true nature of the Messiah as the suffering servant who would call Israel to repent and be like him.

Then Jesus contrasts the teachers and religious leaders with the widow. The teachers like to be noticed, sit in the seats of public attention, yet neglect the widows. Jesus points out a widow in their midst who really gets it. What a contrast? The widow the leaders should have been taking care of as result of their position and power, and the widow who gives everything she has in trust of God!

As Jesus teaches his disciples this lesson, he teaches it to us today. Where is Jesus calling you to follow him? Where is calling you to give all you have as a sign that it is him you trust?

May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God. 2 Chronicles 30:18,19 (NIV)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8

What a wonder! Creator of all things seen and unseen, you have come to us in our brother Jesus, and even now are near, leading us by your Spirit. Amen.

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