Thursday, February 23, 2012
Welcome to Day 54 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Numbers 12:1, “Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this.
3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)”
Numbers 13, Moses sent some men ahead into Canaan to see what was there… They were to report back about the people, towns, how is the soil, bring back samples of the fruit, etc…
v 30 “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Psalm 90:1, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. v 17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.”
Mark 2, Jesus heals, eats with sinners, calls Levi (Matthew) a tax collector, addresses fasting and the Sabbath.
v 27 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
v 13-17, “Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Amazing story of the men Moses sent into Canaan… Most were fearful upon return, but not Caleb.
Caleb knew, as did David, that the battle belongs to the Lord… 1 Samuel 17:47, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (David facing battle with Goliath).
Once again, instead of trusting God, they were trusting in their own ability, strength, numbers… How about this for a fear-filled statement, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes… and we looked the same to them.”
Not only did they see themselves as grasshoppers… they imagined or projected that’s how those in that land saw them. How did they know this? Did someone say this to them while they were there? Even if that were the case, Caleb still said, “We should go up and take possession of the land… for WE CERTAINLY CAN DO IT.”
Every time I read about Jesus spending time with tax collectors and “sinners” my heart is stirred.
How can we be “salt” and “light” if we only spend time with other Christians?
I want to be the one that my friends who don’t know the Lord, call, when they are struggling, or have a question, or are in need of support.
The problem is we, as Christians have the best product with the worst packaging… Granted, some use the “All Christians are hypocrites” excuse to not go to church… but Christians are so fearful of being around “sinners” instead of saying, “These folks will be blessed by my friendship. At some point, they will ask for my opinion on a problem, or ask me to pray for them!”
Today, my Application is more of a rant…
Instead of being fearful, instead of seeing ourselves as “grasshoppers” and thinking that everyone around us also sees us the same way… (hopefully we haven’t given them that impression…) or being fearful of “falling into sin” because of hanging out with “sinners,” how about if we intentionally spend time with folks who don’t know Christ? The tax collectors and sinners LIKED being around Jesus… because he wasn’t judgmental… he didn’t look down on them. He viewed them as people in need. “It’s not the well that need a doctor (believers) but the sick (not-yet believers).” The only people who had a problem with him spending time with sinners was the religious crowd… the pious, holier-than-thou who thought it incredible and detestable that Jesus would lower himself, or worse, DEFILE himself by eating with tax collectors and sinners…
Say that with me… “Tax collectors… and SINNERS…” Do you feel the disdain in that statement? He eats with “Tax collectors… and SINNERS…”
Don’t get me wrong… I think it’s wise to not put ourselves in situations that may compromise our character… If you struggle with alcoholism, you don’t meet old friends at Bar Louie or the Wine Loft. You meet them at a place that has less focus on alcohol… Maybe for breakfast or for dinner elsewhere.
But the point is to not isolate ourselves from people who may need us most… More importantly, the need the Lord… and they may meet him through us.
I get invites all the time for events that are at places in which I may feel uncomfortable. But when I get an invite to an event by my friends who aren’t church-goers, I try to attend. With caution…
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 speaks to being wise and careful… ““I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”
I love developing friendships with people who aren’t Christians. We are called to BE “ambassadors of Christ.”
How good of an ambassador are you? Who are you reaching out to?
Ambassadors represent their country (in our case, the Kingdom) in a foreign country… I bring light to any situation. I carry the Kingdom of God into every situation. I LOVE that! When someone asks for my opinion (and they do or will) I am giving them KINGDOM perspective. I often quote scripture without anyone knowing it. I was once interviewed by the Dayton Daily News. They printed three verses without even knowing it, because I didn’t point out chapter and verse… By the way, it’s still scripture, even without chapter and verse… justsayin’…
What I’m saying is, let’s take the land… let’s BE salt and light. But not TOO salty… or blind people with our light.
One of my favorite verses, Colossians 4:5, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Lord, help me to never see myself as a grasshopper… to never think less of myself than you think of me. I want to see myself the way YOU see me. As a son… not a slave. That it’s your good pleasure to give me the Kingdom! That when I ask you for bread you won’t give me a stone. Help me to live that out… to walk in your blessing!