Sunday, August 30, 2015

Daily Walk: Lowliness of spirit and the Beatitudes

It was a cool and cloudy morning at Standing Bear Lake for my walk yesterday.  My meditation came from Proverbs 16:19:

It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
    than to divide the spoil with the proud.

How do we obtain "a lowly spirit?"  It is only possible if we consider the Lord who is high and lifted up.  It is only in relationship with the triune God that we rightly see ourselves.  When we see Jesus, the exact representation of God, then we will see who we truly are.

I pondered the relation of a lowly spirit in comparison with the Beatitudes.  In some ways each beatitude teaches what it means to  be "of a lowly spirit" or poor in spirit in relation to particular subjects:

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted," teaches what it means to be lowly in spirit with regard to sin.  

"Blessed are the meek," teaches what it means to be lowly in spirit with regard to God's authoritative words, which are found in the Old and New Testament of the Bible.  

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness," teaches what it means to be dependent on the power and resurrection of Christ to live a new life in faith and love.  

"Blessed are the merciful" teaches what it means to be lowly in our relationship with others, forgiving as we have been forgiven.  

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," shows the high privilege and treasure of knowing Jesus, those who choose the low place with Christ and his people ("the poor") and endure as seeing him who is not yet visible to their eyes.  

"Blessed are the peacemakers" teaches the love the lowly of spirit have for the lost and their willingness to speak the law and the gospel to others for their salvation.  

Finally, blessed are those who are reviled for Christ's sake, shows the love of the lowly of spirit for the Father and the Son, by the Spirit---a love that is willing to suffer for the sake of the One who is beloved.  A love that desires the approval of the Father and his Son more than the approval of a lost and rebellious world.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Reading the Bible to Become a Lover of God

I saw two deer on edge of sidewalk on my walk around Standing Bear Lake today.  A bicyclist came by and one of them left.  But this one let me walk right by it.  I took the picture from about 10 yards away, but when I walked by I was only about six feet away.

Part of my meditation came from Acts 1:1:

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach . . . .

The name Theophilus means God-lover.  How appropriate this name for the reader of God's Word, for the Scriptures enable us to get to know who God is, so that we might love him.  And, the Father's preeminent revelation of himself is in his Son, whom he sent to save the world.  As we learn about what Jesus did and taught, we learn about the triune God, and as in all relationships, it is only in getting to know someone that we can come to love him or her.  So when you read the Bible, remember it was written so that we might become Theophiluses, i.e., lovers of God!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Value of Wisdom and the Lord

Part of the scenery of the path of my walk.  I have walked 18 miles the last three days as I try to lose some weight.  On my walks I try to pray for people and meditate on God's Word, the Bible.  Today, my meditation was on Proverbs 16:16:  
How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
No great thoughts, but I wonder if even one person in a hundred would choose wisdom above Warren Buffett's wealth!  But wisdom is way more valuable than wealth according to Proverbs 16:16!  And if wisdom is that valuable, then how amazingly valuable must the source of all wisdom be, the Lord himself?!

How foolish people are to pursue wealth so fervently, even as they fail to seek the supremely valuable Lord.  If only our blind eyes could see the exceedingly great value of knowing the triune God through his Word, our priorities would change and we would choose understanding and wisdom.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Starck's Prayer Book p. 15-16

"I put on my clothes; Lord Jesus, clothe me with the robe of Your righteousness.  I wash my hands; Lord Jesus, wash me with Your holy blood from all my sins.  Guard me, that I may never walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor sin in the seat of the scornful.  For to be their friend means to be Your enemy.  If I would have the friendship of the world and would engage with the children of this age in their sinful and unholy ways, You would become my enemy.  O my God, impress on my heart the words: 'Walk before Me, and be blameless" (Genesis 17:1).  Oh, how many begin a new week, but do not live to see the end of it!  When the week is ended, they are sick or even in their graves!  Therefore, grant that I may always pursue holiness, without which no one will see You.  Make me zealous to be godly in my speech, blameless in my walk, and holy in my thoughts.  May I always be found in a state of grace and shelter in Your wounds, O Jesus.  May the grace of the Father keep me!  May the love of the Son sanctify me!  May the communion of the Holy Spirit make me fruitful in all good works!"  --from Starck's Prayer Book, Johann Starck (1680-1756)

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