God’s Prophets--But in these words of Moses a tradition of God speaking through prophets is established, a tradition which continues through to this day.
6 November 2010
It would be a mistake, I think, to understand "astonished" in Matthew 7.28, 29 as meaning "delighted." Probably something like "shocked" or "astounded" is what the apostle intended.
Jesus did not teach like the scribes, who sought only to keep order and maintain the traditions of the community. He taught with authority. He held out bold promises, elevated people's view of themselves, made big demands, exposed shallow religion and false teaching, put their lives in an eternal context, and made the Law and Word of God deeply personal, spiritual, and relevant. The people were astonished because no one had ever spoken to them like that. Some rejoiced to hear His teaching; others plotted His destruction.
When we remember that the Word of God, in the hands of God's Spirit, is alive, powerful, penetrating, convicting, and transforming, it should bring us to repentance and more earnest longing for the anointing of God if our teaching does not, from time to time, astonish the people we serve. We will be teaching with authority when our teaching is more like that of our Lord Jesus.
T. M. Moore
Like him or not, we need to pray for President Obama.
4 November 2010
Paul warns against allowing our earthly relationships and activities to distract us from the thing that matters most. We all have marriages, families, jobs, homes, and more that have to be attended to each day. But if we treat these things as ends in themselves, rather than opportunities to express our undivided devotion to the Lord, we'll do disservice to both (1 Cor. 7.29-35).
We don't live "under the sun" but "under the heavens." Jesus Christ, exalted in glory, is the North Star of our journey in this world. If we try to look up to Him through the lens of worldly roles, relationships, and responsibilities, He will appear clouded and inadequate for our needs. But if we can learn to engage our daily activities and obligations through the lens of Jesus, from the prospect of His eternal throne and glory, we will discover power, patience, and peace to live for His Kingdom and advance His rule through even the most ordinary tasks or conversations.
Gaining and keeping undivided devotion to our exalted Lord is thus the first order of business at all times for those who have accepted the challenge of seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Set your mind on the things that are above, and you'll bring glory to the things of this life.
T. M. Moore
We are called to be the agents of God's rule on earth...
11 November 2010
Paul advised the Corinthians that, when he came to see them, he did not expect simply to hear them talk about their faith; he expected to see the power of that faith alive within them. For the Kingdom of God, he explained, does not consist in words, but in power (1 Cor. 4.19, 20).
Power for what? For righteousness, for one: pursuing holiness in the fear of God (Rom. 14.17, 18; 2 Cor. 7.1). For another - the power of peace. The Corinthians were not living in peace, but in division. If they truly lived under the Prince of Peace, they would study peace and share it with one another. And joy, for the Kingdom of God is joy in the Holy Spirit. Further, power for witness (Acts 1.8). Where the Kingdom is flourishing its citizens bear witness to it by their lives and works.
The power Paul expected of the Corinthians, and which we should expect of ourselves, is the inward power of God's Spirit, working within us to make us willing and able to do God's good and perfect will (Phil. 2.12, 13; Ezek. 36.26, 27). It is a power to take us beyond ourselves, beyond anything in our previous experience with the Lord, beyond all that we could ever dare to ask or think (Eph. 3.20).
Is this what we expect of ourselves? Or do we harbor such low expectations that we have allowed the glorious deposit of the faith of Christ, implanted in our souls, to become a humdrum, status quo, "good as it gets" daily experience of sameness?
If so, no wonder the people in our Personal Mission Fields seem so little interested in what we believe.
What do we expect of ourselves today? And every day?
T. M. Moore