Not an Island

I am not a fan of getting up in front of people and sharing my thoughts or teaching from Scripture.  It’s not a favorite of mine.  I don’t mind sharing one on one, or writing out my thoughts and letting others read them (but I don’t want to be sit there and see their reaction).

Lately God has been teaching me some interesting truths from Scripture that are challenging me to look at my life slightly differently and be willing to share more.  Ephesians 1:16-23 (well, the entire chapter really) are amazing.  They build me up, but at the same time feel like this huge charge to live up to.  God has given His children the privilege of knowing Him and enlightened my heart to see Truth from Him.  It’s humbling and overwhelmingly wonderful all at the same time.  He gave His church a great, “inheritance in the saints.”  So the enlightening that He has given to each person ought to be shared.  I am not sure if all of this is the author’s intent or not.  I was just convicted and struck with the fact that God wants us to share with others what we know of Him. 

I need others to walk alongside me in life and tell me what God is revealing to them and I need to do the same for others.  Even when I don’t feel as though I have anything profound to share, God is at work.  The same power that raised Christ from the dead is accessible to me.  I have an intimate relationship with the greatest source of wisdom, power, and love in the universe.  How am I handling that privilege/responsibility?  Do I keep it to myself?  Do I allow others to speak truth into my life?  Do I ask them to?  Do I receive it with humility?  Do I share it with gentleness? 

I desperately need others to walk in the steps of Truth with me.  I am blessed to have that.  It’s not because it’s what I need.  It’s the way that God designed people, and how He designed His Church.

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The Fullness of the Old Testament

I was slightly caught off guard this week when I was planning on teaching a Bible passage and due to some confusion a guest speaker taught on it the day before.  I surprisingly (more to myself than anyone else), was not too worried about going back and teaching the passages that we missed.  I studied a chunk of Luke and was really struck by one of the sections.

Luke 16:19-31 were not verses that ever meant much to me.  To be completely honest I thought they were rather creepy and I didn’t really like it.  However, God gave me new insight and love for this passage and in turn for the Old Testament.

Admittedly, I always preferred the new Testament to the Old.  I liked the gracious and merciful picture of God better.  But that had nothing to do with God changing and being any different between the testaments.  It had to do with the fact that I read Scripture with a bit of a bias and missed significant truth.  I was hit as I read the passage in Luke that the Old Testament sets up everything for who the Christ is.  God was always the same in the Old Testament.  He was gracious, compassionate, merciful, and was preparing people for the coming Messiah.  He also displayed His justice, holiness, and righteousness.

A man who dies and goes to hell is talking to Abraham in heaven and says, “‘Then I beg you, father, to send him [Lazarus, a dead man who is in heaven] to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’”  This man sees that there is a need for salvation.  The response was always curious to me, but I finally think I got something powerful from it.

“But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”  The man’s family knew the Law and the Prophets – the Old Testament.  It points to Jesus.  If we can’t take what the Old Testament says about who Jesus is, then why will the resurrection change our view?

I am challenged not to miss the beauty, the Truth, the depth of the Old Testament.  I have a deeper love and view of who God is based on this year’s study.  I am so grateful for what God is teaching me about who He is.