Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New thru 30 / Mark 12:1 - Mark 16:20; James; Galatians

Our church is reading the New Testament together over the course of the next 30 days. This is a huge goal, but I think it will bring great results for those who read it together. I'm posting some personal observations from the daily reading...

- Jesus told the Sadducees (a group of religious leaders) in Mark 12 that they were in error because they did not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

I don't know this for sure, this is just me thinking out loud (or in print as the case may be), but I think the Sadducees fell into the trap of turning the Scripture into a text book. There is a tendency to reduce the Bible to a simple text book, rather than realizing that it is a message from God. Once we lose this sense of awe, the next step is to take away the "power."

I'm all for Bible study... but I'm also insistent that we not lose the point of the Scripture. The Word points us to Christ!!

- The women were worried in Mark 16 about how they would enter Jesus' tomb. They were worried because the stone in front of the grave was large and they could not move it on their own. Of course, when they arrive at the tomb they find that the stone has already been moved. God is in the business of removing obstacles that keep us from Jesus!!

- The book of James has so many lessons that are applicable to our lives. One of the important lessons we can learn from James is how we should respond to suffering. James helps us with this by telling us that when we go through a trial, it's not a time to rejoice less. Rather, it is a time to show the world the joy we have in Christ.

Are you suffering from sickness? James would say this is not the time to pray less!

When we go through tough times James would tell us that these are the times we step up and show the joy, love and peace we have through Christ.

The book of James is definitely one to go back to time and time again for practical insight.

- The book of Galatians is a great book that teaches us a lot about God's grace. Paul had experienced a huge amount of grace from God. He knew firsthand that his deeds made him undeserving... and so Paul tries to share that message with some Christians who were stressing good deeds to earn salvation.

Paul would say, "If we could earn our own salvation, then Christ died for nothing!"

The point of life is to accept God's grace and live in a way that pleases the Lord. We live this way, not to be saved, but because we are saved.

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