Prayer is How We Communicate with God

This Includes Saying Thank You

Communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviors. It is the transmitting of information. It is a two-way street; it goes both ways.

Too often when we pray, we’re focused on asking God for things we want, and we should ask God for those things. But this doesn’t mean that praying for things we want means we’ll get them.

We need to make sure the things we’re asking for are in alignment with the things God wants.

The other thing that happens too often when we pray. We forget to thank God for all the prayers He does answer.

Notice how the definition of communication above isn’t just talking. It’s the exchanging of information.

When it comes to prayer, communication includes our thoughts. God knows our thoughts, the good, the bad, the positive, the negative, the ugly, and even the sinful because there is nothing that God does not know.

In Psalm 139:1-2 David says, “O LORD, you have searched me and know me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.”

The message of David tells us that our thoughts, whatever the dynamics of them may be, are important to God, and because it is so important to Him, He discerns fully and continually reminds us that these thoughts matter.

However, we should also be careful as to what we are thinking about. This is particularly mentioned in Isaiah 55:8 as stated, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” 

David had an interesting relationship with Saul. One minute David was like a son to Saul, and the next, Saul was trying to have David killed.

Through all this tumultuous relationship, even after having a couple of opportunities to put an end to it and take Saul’s life, David stayed true to God and His plan.

After Saul and his sons are killed in battle, David is made king. David went to the Lord with a prayer of thanks. (2 Samuel 7:18-29) David humbles himself and asks God why He has made a simple shepherd a king. David says,

“You know what I’m really like.”

David goes on to say, “O Lord God, I am your servant; do as you have promised concerning me and my family. Confirm it as a promise that will last forever. And may your name be honored forever…”

Prayer is often looked at as a formal thing. Something that is high and mighty. It is talking with God after all.

We need to remember that it is just communication with our Father in Heaven. Remember to thank Him for all that we are and all that we have.

Stacking Stones Is a Good Reminder

Prayer Is How We Communicate with God

Relationships where there is no communication don’t last.

A relationship is two or more people being connected. It’s hard to connect in any meaningful way without communication. Communication is how we let others know what we’re thinking and feeling.

Granted, different people communicate differently, but when there is none…there is no relationship.

Praying is how we build a relationship with God.

This week’s sermon was about Hannah. She was the mother of Samuel and one of the wives of Elkanah. She had not had any children yet, and Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife, had children.

Peninnah kept throwing this fact in Hannah’s face. (1 Samuel 1:6)

Hannah prayed long and hard for a child. She vowed to dedicate him to God’s service. God answered her prayer, and she gave birth to Samuel. She brought him to the temple as a young boy and left him with Eli the priest.

In her gratefulness, Hannah prayed a prayer of thanksgiving to God. (1 Samuel 2:1-11)

Three observations from the prayer:

  1. We need to share our hearts with the Lord. It doesn’t matter if our requests seem insignificant to us. We need to share these things more than once. Hannah shared this with God for years. (1 Samuel 1:7)
  2. Sometimes the answer to our prayer may not be what we want. Maybe what we’re asking for comes with consequences. Imagine what it would be like after waiting years for a child to give them up.
  3. We need to praise and thank God for answering our prayer. God knows better than we do. This is why we should remember that God knows more than we do. Hannah had more children (1 Samuel 2:19-21), and Samuel became a great leader. (1 Samuel 3:15-21)

Remembering to take the time to thank God is important.

This is the hard one for me. It’s not that I’m not grateful, because I am. It’s just that I have so many to-do lists, that I move on to the next thing rather than pausing and thanking God.

It’s a lot like taking pictures of construction projects. I do a great job of taking pictures before we start and in the early stages. Then, as the project moves forward, I take less and less often forgetting to take completed pictures because I’ve moved on to the next project.

Just like I need to be reminded to take pictures of completed construction projects, I need something to remind me to pause and thank God for answered prayers.

Ebenezer is a male given name in Hebrew that means “stone of help”. There are several instances of the Israelites stacking or standing up stones as reminders of answered prayers.

Ebenezer was the name of the stone that was erected by Samuel to commemorate a victory over the Philistines. (1 Samuel 7:3-12)

This was a reminder to everyone that God had answered their prayer.

As a way of reminding us of answered prayers, Pastor Lisa passed out small colored stones to everyone in the congregation. These are to represent specific prayers.

She placed a clear glass cylinder at the front of the sanctuary for us to drop our stones in when prayers are answered. We can then get another stone for another prayer.

I’ve decided to carry my stone with me and place it on my desk during the day, set it by my phone in the evening and put it by the bed at night. This is to be a constant reminder of my prayer. Then, when this prayer is answered, I’ll put it in the cylinder and get another stone.

Stacking up stones in this cylinder is a great reminder of God answering our prayers.

The Old, Old Story Becomes New

Making a Case for Christ

Some of my earliest memories are going to my Grandparents (my mom’s parents) on Sunday evenings. This was a great time with cousins and aunts and uncles. Sometimes we would all go with them to their small country church.

One of the songs I remember singing at their church is Tell Me the Old, Old Story. This song started out as a poem that was written in 1866 by Katherine Hankey, then later put to music by William Howard Doane.

My memories of singing this song go back a long way, and this song was written further back than that. The Bible stories that this song speaks of go back even longer!

For a lot of people, the Bible and the stories in it are old, old stories that have no relevance in today’s world.

The story of the resurrection that we celebrate on Easter is one of those stories.

Lee Strobel was a journalist for the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers for 14 years. He was an atheist, but when his wife became a Christian, he began investigating the biblical claims about Jesus Christ and the resurrection.

What he discovered was not what he expected.

He took an investigative look at the evidence from the fields of science, philosophy, and history. He cross-examined a dozen experts with doctorates from schools such as Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis, asking hard-hitting questions, and built a captivating case for Christ’s divinity.

Strobel asked challenging questions like:

  • How reliable is the New Testament?
  • Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible?
  • Is Jesus who He said He was?
  • Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?

The results of his investigation were so different than what he expected that he wrote a book about what he discovered and became a Christian. The title of the book is The Case for Christ and has since been made into a movie.

In this book he breaks down the evidence for one of the most important events in history. He summarizes this with the four proofs of the resurrection otherwise known as the four Es.

EXECUTION – WAS JESUS DEAD

Did Jesus die on the cross? Was he dead? Virtually every scholar on planet Earth concedes that Jesus was dead after crucifixion. We have no record of anyone, anywhere, ever surviving a full Roman crucifixion. Even the Journal of the American Medical Association publish a peer reviewed scientific medical study of the evidence for the death of Jesus and said, “Clearly the weight of the evidence indicates that Jesus was dead even before the wound was inflicted.” Even the atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdeman says, “Historically it’s indisputable that Jesus was dead.” So, Jesus was dead.

EARLY ACCOUNTS FOR THE RESURRECTION

The second category of evidence is the early accounts we have for the resurrection. In other words, I used to think as an atheist that the resurrection was a legend and that took a long time to develop in the ancient world. What I learned is that we have preserved for us a creed of the earliest Christian Church. A creed that is an eyewitness-based report of the resurrection of Jesus. Now this creed has been dated back by scholars to within months of the death of Jesus — within months. That is historical gold. So, we’ve got a news flash from ancient history on the resurrection.

EMPTY TOMB

The best evidence for the empty tomb is even the opponents of Jesus implicitly admitted the tomb was empty. When the disciples began proclaiming that Jesus had risen what the opponent said was, “The disciples stole the body.” They’re conceding that the tomb was empty, they’re just trying to explain how it got empty. So, everybody’s conceding that the tomb was empty. How it got empty is the real issue, and that goes to the fourth category of evidence, which is eyewitnesses.

EYEWITNESSES

For most of what we know about ancient history, it comes from one or maybe two sources of information and yet for the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus, we have no fewer than 9 ancient sources inside and outside the New Testament confirming and corroborating the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the risen Christ.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ means that He is who He said He was. If this is the case…He is God as human. If this is true…He is still alive today. If this is true…this old, old story is a new story every day. It’s pretty hard to deny this case for Christ.

The Final Step of Peter’s Journey

What Does it Mean to Let Jesus IN?

Over the past several weeks we’ve been going through the journey of Peter getting to know Jesus and the development of their relationship. This week we’ll discuss the final step of that process.

Have you noticed how all the previous messages have included words starting with the letters IN.

  • INtroduction
  • INvitation
  • INstruction
  • INterruption
  • Re-INstallation

This week we’ll look at INdwelling.

This journey began with Peter’s INtroduction to Jesus. All relationships begin here. Introduction is the act of introducing two people. We need to be introduced to Jesus as well as introduce others to Him.

The next step on the journey was Jesus INvitation to Peter to join Him in His journey. Invitation is what happens after being introduced. Peter needed an invitation from Jesus. One we’re introduced, Jesus invites us all to join Him.

As Peter is following Jesus, he gets INstruction from Him. This is when someone is showing and telling you how to do something. Instruction is the next level of learning. The Bible is full of God’s instructions for how we should live our lives.

Then what happens too often in everything we do is INterruption. This is where Peter let the things of the world interrupt his relationship with Jesus and he denied Him three times. Don’t let the world interrupt your relationship with Jesus. But if it does…

Jesus will forgive you and allow reINstallion.

This part of the journey is one of the hardest. After we mess up, why would anyone want anything to do with us, especially Jesus? This is probably the most important thing in this journey. This forgiveness we receive from Jesus is the reason He gave Himself up to be hung on a cross.

Don’t let this act of love go to waste.

This brings us to the final step of Peter’s discipleship journey – the INdwelling of Jesus. Indwelling is to inhabit or possess a person. This is what Jesus wants. He wants to inhabit and possess us fully. When this happens, we’ve come to a level in our relationship with Him that involves Him in everything we do.

The act of letting Jesus IN isn’t the same for everyone. But it’s up to us to take the journey.

To Whom Would We Go?

Peter Has Foot-in-Mouth Disease

We all have experienced cases of foot-in-mouth disease, but it seems that Peter has a severe case.

There are several instances of Peter talking (or acting) before thinking.

There was the time when Peter, James and John are with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration.

While Jesus was praying, “the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor… Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)” (Luke 9:28-33)

Then there was the time when the disciples went ahead in the boat and saw Jesus walking on the water.

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:22-31)

And don’t forget the time when the disciples are eating their last meal with Jesus, and He tells them that they will all deny him before the night is over.

 “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matthew 26:31-35) And we talked about Peter’s denial last week.

Peter was Peter and even with his mistakes he would continually come back and ask for forgiveness.

And then Jesus was crucified before he had a chance. This left Peter broken and lost so he went back to what he knew…fishing.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and appearances His followers were left not knowing what to do. Then while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee this happened.

Several of the disciple were fishing and not having any luck when a man on the beach asks if they’ve caught any fish. They replied that they hadn’t.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then one of the disciples said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he jumped into the water, and headed to shore. When the others got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.

“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. (John21:1-14)

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these.”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. (John21:15-17)

I find it interesting that Jesus asked this question of Peter three times. This is the same number of times Peter denied knowing Him.

In John 6:22-70, Jesus is telling the people the commitment it was going to take to be one of His followers and people began to leave. Then His disciples were complaining, and Jesus ask the Twelve, “Are you going to leave?”

And Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go?

You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”

This is really what it all comes down to. No matter how many times we mess up or what we do, Jesus will forgive us because…

To whom else could we go?

Peter’s Up and Down Journey with Christ

He Was Human Just Like Us, After All

As we continue the journey to Easter, this week we’ll look at the interruption in Peter’s faith.

In John 1:35-42 Peter’s journey with Christ started with his brother Andrew introducing them. Introduction is where relationships start. Like Andrew, we need to introduce others to Christ.

The next step on the journey was Jesus inviting Peter to follow Him. We see this invitation both in Matthew 4:18-20 and Luke 5:1-11. In both Scriptures, Jesus extends an invitation for Peter to follow Him. He extends this invitation to us also.

Last week Jesus was instructing Peter and the other disciples how rough the journey was going to be. (Mark 8:31-9:1) Peter didn’t want to hear this and pushed back. This caused Jesus to reprimand Peter. We need to be open to Jesus’ instructions and not let our own ideas disrupt our journey.

This week we talked about Peter’s interruption.

As Jesus and His disciples shared their last meal together, (Matthew 26:17-30) He told them of the things that they could expect on their journey. He told them that one of them would betray Him. We know now that this person was Judas.

After the meal they were on their way to the Mt. of Olives, and Jesus told them how things were going to go on this journey. He told them that all of them would desert Him.

Once again Peter spoke up and said, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

As Paul Harvey would say…we know “the rest of the story”. We know that Peter does in fact deny Jesus three times.

While they were on the Mount of Olives, Jesus is approached by a crowd of priests, elders, and temple guards led by Judas, and he betrays Jesus with a kiss. (Luke 22:47-52) As Jesus is being arrested and taken away, His followers all run away.

They take Jesus to the home of the high priest to interrogate Him while Peter followed at a distance.

The guards then lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it. Peter joined them. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. She said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”

Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”

After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”

“No, man, I’m not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”

Once again Peter said,

“Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.

Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

This denial of Jesus was certainly an INTERRUPTION in Peter’s journey.

Can you imagine how Peter would have felt in that instant when Jesus looked at him and knew what he had done?

Like us, Peter and Judas both had interruptions in their journeys. They both handled these interruptions completely differently.

Judas gave up and killed himself.

Peter asked for forgiveness and was forgiven.

Interruption is a normal part of our life journey. Like Peter and Judas, how we deal with these interruptions is up to us.

Remember that no matter what our interruption is, we can ask for forgiveness and move forward on our journey.

Living a Good Life is Not as Hard as We Make it

Learning to Live Life from the Bible

Over the past couple of weeks, we been looking forward to Easter through a series of messages about Peter’s relationship with Jesus.

The first week was about Peter’s introduction to Jesus (John 1:35-42) by his brother Andrew. This simple act of introduction changed not only Peter’s life but the lives of those he met, as well as people throughout history and even still today.

Being introduced to Jesus can have this same kind of impact on us today and others that are introduced to Him.

Last week was about Peter’s invitation from Jesus (Matthew 4:18-20, Luke 5:1-11). Jesus invited Peter to follow Him and fish for people rather than fish.

Jesus invites every one of us to join Him. He gives us the direction of where to go and how to do it…whatever our “it” is.

This week we learned about Peter’s instructions from Jesus. A big part of learning is instruction. We all need it, but too often think we have it all figured out. Peter was no different.

In Mark 8:31-9:1 Jesus tells His followers that He is going to suffer terrible things, ultimately going to be killed and then be raised from the dead. This is not the kind of king the people were expecting, and Peter reprimanded Jesus for saying it.

Jesus then told Peter, “Get behind me Satan. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Jesus went on to tell the crowd that if they wanted to be His followers that they needed to quit focusing on their worldly thoughts and focus first and foremost on what He was telling them.

Just like the people listening to Jesus then, we need to be open to His instruction in our lives today.

We can get His instruction today through daily reading of the Bible, being a part of a Bible-believing church, and communicating with Him regularly through prayer.

Invitation, introduction, and instruction…a good way to live life.

It’s Important to Have a Good Guide When Fishing

This is Especially Important When Fishing for People

When some of my family was on vacation staying in a house on a lake, they hired a guide to take them fishing. They met the guide at the dock at 4:30 in the morning and went fishing. They were back before lunch with a nice catch of fish. Needless to say, they had a fish fry.

This guide knew what time to go so that they would have the best opportunity to catch fish. The guide knew where on the lake to go to find the fish. The guide also knew what to do and how to catch the fish.

As Christians we’re called to fish for people

When fishing for people we need a guide. Someone who knows when to fish, where to fish, and how to fish.

Jesus is our guide when fishing for people.

Last week’s message was about Peter being introduced to Jesus. This week Peter is invited to follow Jesus.

In Matthew 4:18-20 Jesus is walking along the shore and sees Peter and Andrew fishing. He calls to them to follow Him and He will show them how to fish for people.

In Luke 5:1-11 Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The crowds were pressing in on Him. He stepped into a boat and asked Peter to push Him offshore a little.

“When Jesus had finished speaking, He told Peter to go out to deeper water and let down his net. Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”  And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!  A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.

Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they got to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.”

Like Peter, we are invited to follow Jesus and fish for people.

Just like my family met the guide where and when he said, went with him to the right place, fished like he told them, and brought home a catch of fish. Jesus will do the same if we show up when and where He tells us, go where He tells us, and do what He tells us. We too can bring home a catch.

Now go do some fishing!

How Would You Feel if You Met Someone Famous?

Maybe It’s Easier Than You Think

Meeting famous people can be exciting. We’ve all seen people fawn over some famous person. If we meet or know someone famous, we tend to drop names like we’re old friends. I know I’ve done this on occasion.

Why is this?

I think often it’s because we have a low perception of ourselves, and it makes us feel more important and valuable.

This low self-perception is a lie. We’re all just as important as anyone else.

If you’ve ever had a chance to get to know someone famous, more often than not, you find that they aren’t that different than anyone else.

After all, God made us all in His image. (Genesis 1:27) That sounds to me like we’re all pretty important!

When Jesus was just starting His ministry, John the Baptist introduced Andrew, one of his disciples, to Jesus as “the Lamb of God”. Andrew then went and found his brother Simon and invited him to come meet Jesus, whom he called the Messiah.

Jesus was someone pretty famous.

Andrew invited Simon to come meet Jesus…he didn’t just tell him about Him.

We know Simon as Peter, the Rock on which the Church was built. (John 1:35-42) Peter also became pretty famous.

So, if Jesus is famous and we know Him and He knows us, (John 10:14) doesn’t that mean that we are important and worthy?

People are interested in famous people. It’s no different with Jesus. People are curious and want to know more about Him. If people are invited into a community of authentic Christian believers…they can get to know Jesus, rather than just being told about him.

People need to be invited to meet Jesus.

This invitation can come from Christians in a church. There’s also an invitation that comes from within each of us.

Preceding or prevenient grace is a way to understand how God’s grace works in our lives even before we become saved. 

Prevenient grace is the idea that God’s grace enables people to respond to him. It goes out to everyone, enabling them to respond in faith to what Jesus has done for us.

The theory of prevenient grace was developed to reconcile the tension between God’s sovereignty and human free will. It allows believers to exercise the free will God has given us.

Prevenient grace is a form of grace that only acts on a person before they are saved. It is distinct from sanctifying grace in that way. There is a change in the type of grace a person receives once they enter a relationship with God. The process of sanctification is still similar; it is still a yielding to God’s perfect will at our own expense. In sanctifying grace, however, the Spirit helps us as we become more and more like Jesus.

Prevenient Grace is at the very beginning of that process.

The idea of prevenient grace developed in response to Calvinism by Jacob Arminius. At the time, it emphasized the Calvinist idea that God had unconditionally chosen who would believe, and he also condemned those who were not chosen.

Prevenient grace became prevalent because Arminius opposed the idea that God has already unconditionally chosen who would believe and who would be condemned. He saw predestination as an affront to God’s justice.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, further popularized it. He saw prevenient grace as the first of three stages in the believer’s life. These were gestation (prevenient grace), birth (justifying grace), and death (sanctifying grace). So, prevenient grace is how God prepares the believer to respond to Him. It is the links in the chain pulling someone closer and closer to God.

Prevenient grace is a way to reconcile how God’s grace is extended to all people, even though not everyone responds. It differs from Calvinism, which says God has already predestined and elected the people he has chosen to save.

Before a believer comes to Christ, he is dead in sin. Therefore, we need God to intervene before we respond to him. Those who believe in prevenient grace also believe that man cannot respond to God unless God acts first. Genesis 6:5 supports this because it says fallen humanity will only seek and do evil without God’s intervention.

Prevenient grace means that Jesus died for everyone, but his atonement only affects those who believe in him.

Knowing the famous Jesus starts with being aware of the pulling of this grace. The next step is understanding that there is a pulling. Third is information and instruction on what it is. Fouth is learning more about it and accepting Jesus as the only way to Heaven.

If you already know that famous person Jesus, feel free to drop His name.

Don’t just tell people about Him, invite them to meet Him and get to know Him through an authentic community of Bible-following believers!

We All Do Dumb and God Knows It

Yet He Still Loves and Uses Us

People doing dumb has been a common theme as we’ve been going through the Old Testament of the Bible.

We started out the New Year’s message discussing our plan to read through the Old Testament. Reading the Old Testament can be a little scary, but it’s not as scary doing it as a group.

The first Sunday we got a word for the year. This was done by drawing a random word from a basket. My word for the year is deserve. We are all more blessed than we deserve.

This is evident as we look back at the people in the Bible that we’ve discussed.

These people were

  • Adulterers – Sarah had Abraham sleep with another women, Abraham slept with other women, Jacob slept with other women
  • Cheaters – Jacob cheated Esau out of his inheritance, Labon cheated Jacob and gave him Leah for his wife
  • Thieves – Rachel stole idols from her father
  • Murderers – Moses killed a man
  • Idolators – Aaron made the golden calf for the Israelites

This is a pretty sketchy bunch of people, yet God used all of them in His plan and as part of Jesus’ linage.

And He will use us in His plan too.

It’s hard for me to understand how these people would one minute be talking with angles or be freeing people using miracles from God and then turn right around and do stupid things.

This week’s focus was on Aaron. How is it that he could be so dumb as to build an idol after have having just been involved in freeing the Israelites from Egypt? (Exodus 32:1-6)

It’s because like us…he’s human.

Who knows exactly why he did it? But who knows why we do some of the stupid things we do?

The important thing to remember is…there is no amount of stupid we can do to stop God from loving and using us.

It all comes down to us accepting our mistakes and working to do what God wants going forward. This doesn’t mean that our dumb mistakes don’t come at a price. It just means that as long as we’re still alive…we can do better going forward if we choose to.