Friday 25 April 2014

"KNOW THEN IN YOUR HEART THAT ..." Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings 24/4/13


            All 5 chapters today challenge us – in our hearts: reading God’s word should, indeed must, cause a valuable degree of conscience searching!   Moses final exhortation is dynamic!  BUT, only if we read it in the right frame of mind.  It includes the words Jesus quoted when he was tempted (read this as ‘tested’ in the wilderness)  “ … that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD … Know then in your heart that …”  [Deut. 8 v.3]
            Moses earnestly counsels that when they have reached and settled in the promised land to “beware lest you say in your heart, ‘my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.  You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth … if you forget the LORD your God …. I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.” [v.17-19]
            It is essential that we all reflect on our situation – and that all our trials and our blessings  have – and will – come from God, recognising that he (and now also his Son, our mediator)  oversee our lives as he did the lives of his nation as they travelled through the wilderness.
            Our final chapter in John includes Jesus’ words to Peter ”to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God” [v.19]  He now had a strong mind and was ready to “be faithful unto death.”  In ch. 20 we have Jesus’ words to Thomas who had been absent when Jesus appeared to the other disciples and is often called ‘doubting Thomas’ because he would not believe the excited testimony of his fellow disciples that “we have seen the Lord.” [v.25]
Jesus tells Thomas to “put your finger here, and see my hands; and put your hand, and place it in my side.  Do not disbelieve, but believe” [v.27].  “Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”[v.29]    .
This 20th chapter ends with some very telling verses, ”Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe … and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  This gives  us a purposeful and meaningful life and will, when Jesus returns, lead to an existence for eternity in his kingdom, which is far beyond our ability at present to comprehend..
As we read Deuteronomy ch8 we read:
"(the LORD) who FED THEE in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might HUMBLE THEE, and that he might PROVE THEE, to DO GOOD at the latter end".

The writer to the Hebrews (ch12:11) picks up on this:
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it YIELDETH the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby"

The writer continues, because this in the purpose of God, we must help our brothers and sisters as they go through these things. Picking up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees. HOW? Through prayer and practical help. BUT to be able to do this, the first thing is we need to be aware of how our brothers and sisters are, do we really give the time, thought and care, to understand how our brothers and sisters are doing, and then from this to give them help in time of need?  When we ask "how are you doing?", are we really wanting to know?

Let us stoop down and pick up and carry the burdens our brother or sister may have at the moment. And as it continues in Hebrews, let's roll up our sleeves, get the pick axes and shovels out and get levelling and making straight the path in front of them, because we know Christ will strengthen us in our work.

Sometimes we struggle to understand of see how we can help, let us pray that our Heavenly Father will open our eyes and show us, gives us the opportunity.

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