Live it! Blog

Wednesday, 01 December 2021 00:00

humility and honor

Humility and Honor

2 Samuel 7:1-17: Luke 1:26-38 

Wednesday, 1 December, 2021

David was of humble beginnings being a shepherd. God exalted him to be king and then promised David’s son would also be king.

Mary also was of humble beginnings. She was highly exalted by God to be the mother of the Messiah, by God’s favor and her humble obedience.

Both David and Mary demonstrated a humble acceptance of God’s promises to them.

Jesus was born in the lineage of these humble people. Jesus was gentle and lowly. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29). He was given the throne of his father David. Someday, Jesus will reign as king forever.

 

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,

Look upon a little child;

Pity my simplicity,

Suffer me to come to Thee.

 

Lamb of God I look to Thee;

Thou shalt my example be:

Thou art gentle, meek, and mild,

Thou wast once a little child.

 

Loving Jesus, gentle Lamb,

In Thy gracious hands I am.

Make me, Savior, what thou art,

Live thyself within my heart.

(Select verses from “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild” Charles Wesley).

 

Life Application Questions

  • What can we learn about humility from these passages? Does aspiring to greatness have a place in the life of a Christian?
  • If humility is what God desires, what then can we teach our children about pride?
  • Jesus was gentle and lowly. His honored ancestors were of lowly beginnings. Might we view others of humble means differently based on these truths?

~jlh

Tuesday, 30 November 2021 00:00

the call

The Call

Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-6, 22:1-12

November 30, 2021

It’s hard to imagine a world without cell phones. Just a few years ago, phones with cords, rotary dials, and party lines were part of how calls were received. Long distance was expensive, so on Christmas, precious calls from our family were a gift. To this day, if the phone rings on Christmas, our family answers it, hollering, “Christmas Gift”, as they try to be the first one to say the family’s traditional phrase. What is the most significant phone call you have received? God’s call to Abram didn’t come on a landline or through a text. God’s call to Abram did continue God’s perfect plan, designed by Him at the beginning of time. God always has a plan; God always keeps His promises, and God always provides.

God called Abram out of his home in Ur. Read Genesis 12:1-3, how did Abram respond to God’s call to him? Why do you think that Abram responded the way that he did to God’s call? God promises, “…and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3)  God’s plan for His people continues to be rolled out using Abram as an integral part of it. We are all part of God’s Big Story. “You did not choose me, but I chose you so that you might go and bear fruit…” (John 15:16) How have you seen God’s plan and purposes unfold in your life? Abram’s response to God’s call was, “So Abram went, as the Lord told him…” (Genesis 12:4) 

God’s promises to Abram came without a full disclosure clause. God simply gave him promises; “I will show you…I will make you…I will bless you…I will bless those who bless you.” (Genesis 12:1-2) What promises from God have you claimed? How have His promises stirred you to action? How we respond to God’s promises determines what God will do in our lives. The God who names and numbers the stars, also knows our names, and He personally calls us; He is concerned about our needs. (Psalm 147:3-4) Abram had his doubts about God’s call and the improbability of God’s promises being fulfilled through him. God of the improbable keeps his promises and always has a plan. What call on your life from God seemed improbable? God’s remedy for Abram’s fear was to remind him of who God is. Read Genesis 15:1; who does God say He is? God’s I AM is the perfect antidote for “I am not”.

God’s I AM is true for us too. God’s plan is always perfectly timed. God’s promises are always kept and God always provides. In Genesis 22, we find Abraham being called and sent out to perform a difficult task. God’s promise of Isaac has been fulfilled, only to have his life required by God as a sacrifice. Have you ever been confused by the sacrifices that God has asked you to lay on the altar? Abraham heard God’s call and immediately obeyed by faith. Read Genesis 22:1-18; how does God provide for Abraham and Isaac? How has God provided for you? Jehovah-Jireh provided for Abraham, and in doing this, God’s rescue plan for mankind, through the Lamb’s sacrifice, was continued. What mountain have you been called to climb that has you clinging to God’s promises? “The one who calls you is faithful, and will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24) God’s plan, promises, and provision are always on time. Our lives are only as big as our faith, and our faith is only as big as our God.

lkb

Monday, 29 November 2021 00:00

whats in a name 2

What's in a Name?

Matthew 1:1-21

November 29, 2021

Someday, when the work is all done 😊, I want to explore the origins of names. I'm sure it's been done by many others and all I'd have to do is Google it, but I have lots of questions: Why didn't God give Adam a last name? Did my ancestors originate the crazy spelling of my last name purposefully (Mighells rather than Miles? Figure that one out!). And then there's the whole subject of the meaning of names. Fascinating!

Do you know what your name means? What’s its origin?

Some names have been used for both boys and girls but with different spellings. Jesse and Jessie, Francis and Frances, for example. In today’s confusing society, when some would like to change everything God began, people are giving their children "non-gender-specific" names like Willow, River, or Flash. Others are using cartoon or Disney names.

Why do you think these trends are happening?

Many people are deeply involved in etymology (the study of words) and similarly, many others are pursuing their genealogy. Some are obsessed with filling in every branch of their family tree; others don't even know (or care, perhaps) who their great, great grandparents were. But lineage is very important to God as is evident in today's text, where the Holy Spirit, through Matthew, records Mary’s ancestry.

Why is Mary’s lineage so important?

Matthew writes: "All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to King David, and fourteen from David's time to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah" (vs. 17). This is Mary's lineage, and it’s significant because it shows that she was from the royal line of King David from which the Messiah is to come.

What’s important about some of the names in this list?

It would be a worthy study to check out the names in this genealogical list. It includes both men and women (often overlooked in ancient society) and some whose inclusion illustrates God’s grace in bringing them to this list. Mary and Joseph didn't choose their firstborn's name. He was named by God, the Holy Spirit, who sent an angel to tell them, "...you are to name him Jesus." (vs. 21). His name is like no other because it means the LORD saves. He is the promised and long-awaited Messiah, the Deliverer Israel was looking for. They wanted freedom from foreign bondage and a king to restore their kingdom. They weren't looking for someone to "save them from their sins."

Which is more important to you: a savior from sin or one who will bring health, wealth, and happiness now?

The Scriptures refer to Jesus by many names. Volumes have been written about his names and their meanings. The list is almost inexhaustible. Later in his Gospel, Matthew inserts Isaiah's prophecy which is a capstone, when he writes, “And his name will be the hope of all the world” (12:21). We won't find our hope in anyone else. Why? Because “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10).

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name (Hebrews 13:15). jbd & gmd

Friday, 26 November 2021 00:00

this little light

This Little Light

2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Friday, 26 November, 2021

Hard pressed on every side, but not crushed (2 Cor 4:8)

. . . this little light of mine

Perplexed, but not in despair (2 Cor 4:8)

. . . this little light of mine—I need to align

Persecuted, but not abandoned (2 Cor 4:9)

. . . this little light of mine—am I next in line?

Struck down, but not destroyed (2 Cor 4:9)

. . . this little light of mine—maybe it’s a sign

Carrying around in our body the death of Jesus (2 Cor 4:10)

. . . this little light of mine—to that I resign

Death is at work in us (2 Cor 4:12)

. . . this little light of mine—this is not benign

Outwardly wasting away (2 Cor 4:16)

. . . this little light of mine—my life to refine

Against all odds . . .

The life of Jesus will be revealed in my mortal body (2 Cor 4:10)

. . . at the right time; let it shine

We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead

will also raise us with Jesus (2 Cor 4:14)

. . . like the Vine; let it shine

We do not lose heart, inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16)

. . . no decline; let it shine

Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory

that far outweighs them all (2 Cor 4:17)

. . . don’t let Satan blow it out; let it shine

We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen

since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:18)

. . . under a bushel; no, I’m going to let it shine!

Life Application Questions

  • Do you ever feel that all odds are against you? The Apostle Paul felt like that, except that he provided an example of how to respond. What would it take for us to reorient our thinking in line with his, to focus on spiritual hope rather than physical despair?

  • In the four hundred years before Jesus’ advent, the Jews felt much like Paul did. Life seemed to only go from bad to worse: hard pressed, struck down, given over to death. Why was God silent across all those years, from Malachi to Matthew? (It happened before—between Genesis and Exodus—while the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt.)

  • What are some examples of what the prophets announced that should have given hope to the Jews, even if they had to wait a long time? What are verses that should help us to let it shine while we wait?

~ dbs

Thursday, 25 November 2021 00:00

consider the source

November 25, 2021

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 

Consider the Source

Writing of Christ’s return and prompted by false rumors an apostle encourages, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us…” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2a).

Wisps of foul noise blow across our world. Silence seldom sounds. Raucous voices demand to be heard. Abundant confusion spreads misinformation across many platforms.

Since humanity was barred from Eden, life forms a chaotic profile. Turmoil continues to fill news casts from YouTube to the Nightly News. “Breaking News Now reports,” are typically not different in kind, but in degree. Occasionally there is a good-feeling story, apparently delivered with the intention of softening bad news.

Explaining our challenge an apostle provides this insight: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way…” (2 Thessalonians 2:3a). Seemingly, deception’s strength remains strong and effective.

Over the centuries disciples of Jesus have sought solid spiritual support. We do so, as have many in earlier generations, believing Scripture’s direct encouragement which was delivered in the days of a dictatorship and persecution. “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (1 Thessalonians 2:15).

Life Applications

Today, what resources help you to stand firm in the Faith?

As Christmas season approaches are there songs of faith you look forward to hearing and singing?

Do songs help you stand firm in the Faith? Two recent articles call disciples to appreciate music’s value. Jen Wilkin’s, “Sing to the Lord a True Song,” p. 30, and Sandra McCrakken’s, “The Songs That Get Stuck in My Head,” p.60 are published in Christianity Today, November, 2021. Article previews are available using the author’s name and the article’s title.

Preview of Wilkin’s article: “Before you read this article, start by reciting the alphabet in your head. There is a reason you just fought a strong temptation to hum. It’s the same reason you can remember jingles from childhood and lyrics to your favorite rock anthem, but not the security password you set up last week. If you can name all 50 states or all 66 books of the Bible, my guess is it’s because of a song. Sunday school teachers, marketers, hymn writers, rock stars, and kindergarten teachers are all well aware that ‘what is learned in song is remembered long.’”

~ajs

Page 9 of 48