In his song “Resurrect Me,” Jon Foreman is writing from a place much like the valley of dry bones asking God to resurrect him. The chorus is as follows: Father Time steals our days like a thief There's no price that I wouldn't pay to get some relief I've become the empty shell Of a man I don't like so well I am a living, breathing hell Come on and resurrect me
I never ran away from home. I don’t know what that is like. Home was never a place I wanted to run from. It still isn’t. I never ran away from God either. The closest to running away was the time in between the last church I served and First Mansfield as I was working in the corporate business world. Again, I wouldn’t describe that time as running away but it was a time of wandering.
On the surface of things, without faith, the ways in which we’re called to win seem impossible. God’s plans for our lives even with faith are hard to comprehend. Without faith, Jesus must be seen as a crazy lunatic with an extraordinary ego who poked the powers that be one too many times until they couldn’t afford to let him live because of the way in which he was disrupting their rule.
Gideon is a good example that God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. There are not many positive attributes we can associate with Gideon nor, as we see in our passage today, is his army particularly formidable. God makes sure there is no other source the Israelites can attribute for victory.
Elijah faithfully delivers God’s word in the midst of a culture and kingdom who vehemently oppose him. Later on in 1 Kings, Elijah cries out to God as he is the only one left who is faithful, meanwhile Israel is worshipping Baal and Asherah and erecting images of them. Baal and Asherah were gods the ancient Canaanites worshipped.
Pastor David recently shared with us about what it means for us to win. As a church called to reach new people, it’s healthy to define what winning is for us in our various ministries so we can hold one another accountable. This week, we will look at times in our biblical history when we won and examine the cost of obedience in order to gain victory.
Yesterday we read about Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. We considered the cultural tension that existed between Jews and Samaritans in the time of Jesus. This hatred between these two groups plays a significant role in today’s passage as well.
Sometimes, being a follower of Christ means challenging your circumstances and culture. It means acting differently than those around you. Just as the person who stands up for someone being bullied, or someone who takes a stand against injustices, it takes courage.
We are all broken, imperfect sinners. This reality is rather easy to accept in light of the grace provided to me through Christ. I can admit I am a mess, knowing that God can use even my messiness to reach others. But, before and during Jesus’ time on earth, faith was not viewed in this manner. The Jewish people had spent their lives following specific rules to be in right relationship with God.
Jesus taught and lived amongst Jews living under Roman occupation. For most of them, their primary concern was not some future heaven, but the immediate restoration of Israel as a sovereign nation. The Pharisees and Sadducees, both elite Jewish sects, believed the path to the fulfillment of that dream was in strict adherence to the law
These words were originally part of a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the first men and women who were trying to live out a life of following Jesus in the large Roman city of Ephesus. Paul continually highlights that because of what Christ has done for us, we have not only been set right with God, we have been set right with one another.
In our divided and abrasive world, Christians are called to be different. We aren’t to be different just for different’s sake, but rather because of who we love and whose love we have to share. In verse 4, we see we are called to be a blessing.
William Barclay once said, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. It is easy to laugh at man’s ideals. It is easy to pour cold water on the enthusiasm. It is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers.
When I read this short passage of scripture, it always makes me quiver a bit. It humbles me. It reminds me of the awe, and the extraordinary sacrifice Jesus made for us. Jesus was in his very nature, God, but also human. And as a human, I know how selfish I can be.
“Misery loves company.” It’s an old saying with a lot of truth. I know that when I am down, frustrated, or worked up about something, I want others to commiserate with me. It is human nature. I’m not sure why, because it is counter-productive to have others agree with your misery.