Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hebrews 13:17-19 {Lesson 13/Day 8}

I’ll be honest, the words “obey” and “submit” from today’s passage make me bristle a bit...ok, a lot. I hear those words, and I honestly think two things: “Nope.” I’m a grown-up, so the only person I’ll obey or submit to is Jesus. Then I read a verse like this and I re-read it, and I look it up in the Greek and in several translations, I keep coming back to the basic, clear, teaching: You’re in the body of Christ? You obey your leaders and submit to them. Period. The second thing I think is, “Yikes! I’m a leader!” I’m immediately wide-eyed with the reality that in the role the Lord has me, I lead. I teach. I am called to point people faithfully to Jesus. The thought that the church is called to “obey and submit” is an uneasy one for me on these two counts. Proverbs 23:26 comes right to my mind: “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe my ways.” As a mom, a teacher, and now a pastor, this verse has been at the heart of my ministries at home and at work. I desire to reach the heart of my son, my students, and those I lead in ministry but more than that, that I would have ways worthy of observing. That nothing I would do would distract someone from the gospel – that nothing I would do would stumble someone looking to me. I take seriously, and with great fear, the admonition in James that “not many of you should become teachers...for those who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” Wow and again, Yikes! In this closing exhortation, the author makes an important call not only to his church but to the church today. There are two qualifiers – First, these are leaders who are teaching a Jesus-centered Word of God. Secondly, those who obey and submit need make it a joyful experience for their leaders. I think we’ve lost this in the church today – especially in the non-denominational, So-Cal, chill-church mindset. We have no room in our theology for anyone else to be in charge except ourselves...well, Jesus sure, but mostly me-myself-and I call the shots. Think about your approach to church life and how you respond to your leaders...do you respect your leaders and submit to their decisions or are you resisting decisions and pouty about changes? Are your personal preferences taking priority over the gospel mission led by the leaders? If you are at a church with leaders who are faithful to the gospel, are you obeying and submitting or dishonoring and resisting? Are you facilitating an environment where your leaders can lead joyfully? Or are your attitudes causing them to grumble and groan under that burden? Wherever your heart is in this, at the very least, you can be praying for your leaders today. Take a page from this letter to the Hebrews of the early church and add it to your notebook today. Pray for me as I continue to teach and lead, and pray for one another, that our churches would be ones of biblical obedience and submission.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hebrews 13:7-9 {Lesson 13/Day 6}

What was the central, visual, focus of the very first temptation and sin? Essentially – food. Satan didn’t hold up a twig and tempt Eve with that. He didn’t wave a leaf in front of her, “Oooooh...don’t you want to try this green waxy leaf?” Nope. Satan pointed to a tantalizing fruit and used that as a way to distract, twist, and cast doubt on God’s perfect word, and like Solomon wisely said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” The author of Hebrews is all over this temptation by warning us not to be swayed by leaders who teach that we can find strength in ceremonies and their foods. Instead, we must remain faithful and remember what God has already said, “Taste and see that the LORD is good!” Our strength is found in Him, in His grace, in His provision....be satisfied in Him. Anything that distracts us from the never-changing gospel of Jesus Christ is a problem. The author isn’t giving us a list of all the various “diverse and strange teachings” but he’s using the issue of “foods” that apparently had come up to remind us of the priority of grace over the law. While you may not be tempted today to go live under the Old Covenant Laws, are you tempted in other ways to find strength outside the grace of God? Don’t! No matter what you’re dealing with, always be assured of the truth that the grace of God is sufficient. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hebrews 13:1-6 {Lesson 13/Day 5}

Love, sex, money...even if you were living in total isolation, you couldn’t escape the draw of one of these three basic drives. We were created to glorify God in these areas and we are most tempted to glorify ourselves in these three as well. After laying the encouraging and hopeful foundation for our purpose in life – drawing near to God through Jesus – the author of Hebrews gives us the practical outgrowth of that right understanding. We are heirs of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are sons and daughters of the King of kings...let’s act like it! Love God. Love others – like really love them, all of them! Love and remember those in need whether they’re locked away in prison or are knocking on your door. Love and respect your marriage – don’t mess it up with sexual immorality and don’t allow anyone else to do that either. Love God, not money - Don’t be so focused on what you can buy – you’ll be consumed by love of things and not for people – the strangers and imprisoned he’s just talked about especially. Yes! I can do this! It’s so simple, right? And yet... What is it that gets in the way? I’m going to suggest that it’s something that is as basic to our nature as love, sex, and money... Fear. Every need we live to fulfill outside of God’s perfection is rooted in some kind of fear. Fear of not being safe – so we don’t risk going to a prison or reaching out to strangers. Fear of not being loved in return – so we don’t risk truly loving others. Fear of missing out – so we covet and lust and dishonor sexuality within marriage. Fear of losing, not having enough – so we spin and spend our time and life collecting things. The same thing that will prevent us from living a godly life – fear – is actually the same thing that will bring us ultimate satisfaction – fear, a healthy, reverential, fear of God who is a “consuming fire.” Be satisfied in Jesus. Love God in how you love others, in your sex life, and with the way you spend your money. If what you’re doing in those three areas doesn’t shout to the world that you love God and live in awe of Him, stop! Remember, “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” You’re not alone in this, “The Lord is your helper.” Love this study? Great! Find La Mirada Church on Google and leave us a happy 5-star review! Thank you so much!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Two Shakes of a Lamb's Tail - Waiting on God


Growing up, when my mom wanted us to know she’d be back soon, she’d say, “I’ll be back in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.” Waiting for her to get back my sisters and I would get as many shenanigans in as possible, I mean, because really, what does that even mean? Lamb’s tails? Shaking? We had no idea. I suppose she wanted us to be ready for her to come back at any moment and to not get too worried or too rowdy.

Two weeks ago, we were celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. After his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and “to wait for the promise of the Father.” He reminded them that “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” How many days? Well, it had been about 40 days since Jesus had risen. He’d appeared to over 500 witnesses, performed miracles and confirmed the greatest miracle of all – his resurrection. Now he’s getting ready to say goodbye and he has this important mission awaiting them...but before the holy spirit would come there would be ten days of waiting.

I wonder if some of them got antsy. I wonder if doubt set in? And I wonder if you have doubts of your own. On the one hand, you know that Christ has risen – he’s risen indeed we announced just two weeks ago – but you’re antsy and wondering what is next. You’re waiting. Good. Wait. Trust. God does have a promise to fulfill for you but wait and hope.

Christ asks us to wait so that he can use us, heal us, change us and change the world just like the disciples were only days away from experiencing. When we wait in hope he brings us to a fulfillment much greater than we have experienced before. Psalm 33 reminds us, “We wait in hope for the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name.”

For my sisters and I, it was two shakes of a lamb’s tail to wait for mom to come back, for the disciples, it would be ten days until they received the Holy Spirit, for you right now – you have it all – Jesus has risen. The Holy Spirit has come - wait and trust God...around the corner are tongues of fire.

Thanks for reading, and thank you also for subscribing to my blog. I read every comment and enjoy the connections with you! You can follow my podcast at www.dwellingrichly.podbean.com or any podcast app on your SmartPhone search "Dwelling Richly."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Hebrews 13:1-6 {Lesson 13/Day 4}

Love, sex, money...even if you were living in total isolation, you couldn’t escape the draw of one of these three basic drives. We were created to glorify God in these areas and we are most tempted to glorify ourselves in these three as well. After laying the encouraging and hopeful foundation for our purpose in life – drawing near to God through Jesus – the author of Hebrews gives us the practical outgrowth of that right understanding. We are heirs of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are sons and daughters of the King of kings...let’s act like it! Love God. Love others – like really love them, all of them! Love and remember those in need whether they’re locked away in prison or are knocking on your door. Love and respect your marriage – don’t mess it up with sexual immorality and don’t allow anyone else to do that either. Love God, not money - Don’t be so focused on what you can buy – you’ll be consumed by love of things and not for people – the strangers and imprisoned he’s just talked about especially. Yes! I can do this! It’s so simple, right? And yet... What is it that gets in the way? I’m going to suggest that it’s something that is as basic to our nature as love, sex, and money... Fear. Every need we live to fulfill outside of God’s perfection is rooted in some kind of fear. Fear of not being safe – so we don’t risk going to a prison or reaching out to strangers. Fear of not being loved in return – so we don’t risk truly loving others. Fear of missing out – so we covet and lust and dishonor sexuality within marriage. Fear of losing, not having enough – so we spin and spend our time and life collecting things. The same thing that will prevent us from living a godly life – fear – is actually the same thing that will bring us ultimate satisfaction – fear, a healthy, reverential, fear of God who is a “consuming fire.” Be satisfied in Jesus. Love God in how you love others, in your sex life, and with the way you spend your money. If what you’re doing in those three areas doesn’t shout to the world that you love God and live in awe of Him, stop! Remember, “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” You’re not alone in this, “The Lord is your helper.”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hebrews 13 Overview {Lesson 13/Day 3}

I used to think there were basically two kinds of people, the ones who say: “Give me the rules so I can live by them” and the others who say: “I don’t care about the rules, I’ll make my own up as I go, thank you very much.” By that reckoning, I used to divide people up by the followers and the trailblazers. But I don’t think that way any more. While it might seem exciting and daring to live with no rules, when it comes down to it, we all want rules. We might live like a free bird, but if some other person shoots our bird out of the sky, we’re not going to like that one bit. No matter how much we want the freedom to live our own way, we also want others to behave themselves – and guess what, that means rules. Here’s the thing, if we start with the “how to live your life” list of behaviors then it’s all quite empty and ultimately up for grabs, in other words, who’s to say what rules? Whose rules? Where’s the rationale for any way of living. Now think about what the author of Hebrews has taught, encouraged, warned about leading up to this final chapter...what – or rather, who – has been the emphasis and focus all along – Jesus! Without the reason, all we have is another moral code. Why not Hammurabi’s Code? Why not Confucius’ Code? Or Muhammed’s? Why not every man for himself? One word: Jesus. Jesus not only exemplified the perfection we are to attain, but he made a way for us to attain it. The life of a follower of Jesus is not about the code of conduct we are to live by, it’s not about moral perfection, it’s about Jesus – seeing, considering, remembering, and aiming for Him. Never lose sight of that. Start with Him and let the rest follow as you keep your head up and your eyes fixed on Him.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Hebrews 13 Read-Through

Download the current Bible study at www.lamiradachurch.com on the Women's ministry Bible study page. Subscribe to the "Dwelling Richly" podcast. Join this study live weekdays at 7am on Facebook LMCC Women or www.zoom.us/j/848825120

Hebrews 13:17-19 {Lesson 13/Day 8}

I’ll be honest, the words “obey” and “submit” from today’s passage make me bristle a bit...ok, a lot. I hear those words, and I honestly th...