Posts by Category : Matthew

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Childlike faith 2

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:1-4

This reading from Monday, January 27, really hit home for me.  Jesus is communicating a core element of what it means to be a follower of God and that is our dependence on Him.  As babies enter the world they are dependent upon Mom and Dad for literally everything.  Even as the babies grow and mature into children they continue to rely on Mom and Dad for most everything including food, shelter, and clothing.  I recognize that children eventually begin to complain about the food and want specific clothing but I like to focus on the more innocent days of youth.  Most parents strive to provide for their children so that the children do not have to worry about basic necessities including what clothes they are going to wear or what food they are going to eat.  Most children I encounter do not contribute financially to the the family and simply are provided for by the work of their parents.  They also freely accept the provision that Mom and Dad offer without complaint.  (Again I am thinking of pre-teens).

When it comes to my relationship with God do I maintain a childlike faith that recognizes my dependence upon God or do I act as if I can contribute something such as my own acts of righteousness in order to gain God’s favor?  This passage reminds us that we need to maintain an attitude of utter dependence upon God, who has made a way for us to be in a relationship with Him.  We often try to earn the favor and praise of others through our actions and accomplishments and yet God wants us to come to Him in utter dependence contributing nothing but our pure and sincere faith that God loves us and accepts us and has made a way for us.

Salvation at its core is the recognition that as human beings we need God.  Because of our sin we are unable to take steps toward God and yet, graciously God has taken a giant step toward us.  God, the creator of the universe (including humanity), has made a way for us to be in an eternal relationship with Him through Jesus.  What a gift for us.  Let us all remember to approach God as innocent faith-filled children who simply accept what is offered.

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Off to a great start 1

Thank you again for participating in ETBU’s Bible 2014 initiative.  Over 200 students, faculty, and staff have committed themselves to reading the Bible from beginning to end in 2014.  It is such an encouragement to know that so many are participating.  Remember that this exercise is a marathon and not a sprint.  Try to establish a pattern for your reading time so that it becomes a regular part of your daily routine.  The hope is that reading the Bible becomes as normal as brushing your teeth.  As with brushing your teeth, you and those close to you know when you do it and I would say the same is true for reading the scriptures as those we come in contact with can probably determine whether or not we have been reading the Bible by our behavior and attitude.

This blog is a way for us to stay connected to one another throughout the year.  We will have different people writing blog entries throughout the year.  Participants are able to add their comments to the discussion as well.  Our hope is that this tool will be a source of encouragement and inspiration for you.

In the Matthew 9 reading from January 12 I was reminded of why Jesus came to this earth as he was called out by the Pharisees for spending time with and associating with tax collectors and sinners.  When the Pharisees asked the disciples why Jesus associated with such characters of low or no moral credibility Jesus made it a point to answer their question.  He responded: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners.”

This is such a great reminder for me that Jesus loves people exactly where they are.  I’m so thankful that Jesus came to earth for sinners like us.  It is easy to read this passage and think like the Pharisees and be grateful that we are not like the sinners that Jesus was hanging out with.  And yet, if we are honest with ourselves we realize that we are included in the word “sinners” and we need to be thankful and rejoice that Jesus was willing to come to earth to show us sinners how to live.  Our compassion for others begins with the recognition that all of us sin and fall short of the glory of God.  All of us are in need of God’s grace and I am thankful that our efforts of righteousness are considered worthless compared to the righteousness of Christ. I’m also thankful that, because of the blood of Jesus, God sees the righteousness of Christ and not my sinfulness.  Thank God that in Christ we can indeed be a new creation.  May we continue to spread the news that all people can be made new in Christ.