Saturday, November 24, 2007

Radical Stuff, pt 1

In the Psalm 1 study, it led me to some ‘radical’ concepts:
1. Radical Amputation (Psalm 1:1)
2. Radical Appropriation (Psalm 1:2)

Radical Amputation keeps us from sin. Radical Appropriation moves us toward God.

Radical Amputation:
Matthew 5:28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.:29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Mark 9: 43 “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched––44 "where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’

45 “And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched––46 "where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’

47 “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire––48 "where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’

Pluck my eye out?
Cut my hand off?
Cut my foot off?
Are you serious?

Sin must be a pretty serious matter with Jesus if He is suggesting that we lop off body parts to keep from sinning. I don’t hear many conversations among us Christians today about the seriousness of sin…not that serious anyway. And I know that my thoughts are not on the same level as Jesus in this matter…not even close.

More often, we are talking in ways too excuse our sin…or at least hold on to those ‘gray areas’ in our life. Then, we talk about God’s Grace and Unconditional Love, but forget about verses like the ones above; and, these found in Romans 6:

1 ¶ What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

We talk so much about God’s Grace forgiving our sin (and it does) but verses 14-16 are very clear—Once we become a born again Christian, Grace is more about having the ability not to sin in the first place!

I need to view sin with the same seriousness that Jesus does. I need to view Grace as empowering me to live a pure life and avoid sin; not as an excuse for sin.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Observing the Cow

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

In my opinion, every verse in the Bible applies to everyone, everywhere.

Therefore, when we read verses like 2 Timothy 2:15, Matthew 22:29, Luke 24:45, Acts 17:11, Psalm 119:11-16, and more..., that applies to all of us…not just our parents, pastors, Bible teachers, and the various other ministers throughout the world. While it is true that some have been gifted in communicating and teaching God’s Word, we are all supposed to be studying, memorizing, meditating, and discussing God’s word daily. (Deut 6:4-9)

And when Psalm 1 states that the path to be blessed by God begins with meditating on God’s word day and night, that is true for everyone. That comes easily for some people; for others, it requires a little more effort. But for all of us, discipline is the key.

I used to meditate on a fairly regular basis. However, while writing this, I suddenly realize that personal meditation is almost non-existent in my life right now. I am not sure how or when it happened, but I’ve got to step it up.

As I understand it, meditation can be better understood by observing the cow…yes, the cow--and other animals who chew the cud. The cow has four stomach compartments. After eating, the cow will regurgitate the partially digested food and chew it again to break it down even more. There is a lot of scientific stuff to be studied there, but the main point is how this relates to meditation.

"Dairy cows spend almost 8 hrs a day chewing their cuds for a total of almost 30,000 chews daily. It can be said that a content cow is one who is seen chewing her cud.
Cud chewing often can be used as an indicator of the health of a dairy herd.
Cows who do not chew their cuds enough may have lowered milk fat tests, may become lame, or have other digestive upsets…"

Spiritually, it is just as necessary, health wise, for us to chew on God’s word as it is for the cow to chew her cud. It’s not a magic formula and one person might approach it differently than another. I think the main thing is that we must break out of the mindset that this discipline is only for the ‘professional’ Christian and/or ministers and/or those who seem to be 'gifted'. This discipline is for all Christians everywhere at all times.

We must daily ingest God’s Word, regurgitate it throughout the day, and chew on it some more. It could be a memorized verse or passage, or a familiar story…but it helps if it’s ‘fresh’. It’s not difficult to do, but it can be difficult to discipline ourselves. However, we must in order to stay on the path to Blessing.