Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 23

What Were You Taught As a Child?

January 23 – Today’s Readings – Matthew 14-16 and Psalms 23

How many enjoyed the incredible poetry of Psalms 23 today? This is one of the most beautiful passages in Scripture because we see Jesus revealed in an amazingly accurate way – as our shepherd – provider – peace giver – restorer of mind and emotions – remover of fears – the One who leads us to righteousness – the One who corrects and comforts – the One who anoints – the One who blesses and gives eternal security. It is difficult to find a better description of our Lord in the Old or New Testament. Just imagine the shepherd boy, David, receiving such a revelation of our Lord.

On a different and somewhat unrelated note, I would like to take you to a short phrase found in Matthew 15:3 – “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”

Let’s pretend for a moment that Jesus is not speaking with critical religious leaders, but to us (you and me). What kinds of “traditions” do we have in our lives – things that were taught us by our parents, peer groups, society, etc. – things that would make us act in such a way as to disregard the true heart of God?

Perhaps we were taught that we had to be “tough” or judgmental or money-focused or rude or haters of government or lovers of a rebel cause or lovers of the impure. There are many ungodly “traditions” that need to be relearned when we come to Jesus. He is faithful to patiently renew our minds and cleanse us from all unrighteous thought or behaviour patterns.

On the other hand, we may have been taught some very Godly traditions – how to keep the Lord’s day – how to give thanks in all situations – how to honour parents and elders – how to treat spouses with loving-kindness – how to raise children in the nurture of the Lord – how to get up every morning and put in a good day’s work with a good attitude – how to live for others and not just self. Not all traditions are bad. Many things passed down through generations are wonderful, Godly traditions that should be cherished, not done away with.

One of the many problems we face in our society is that we have replaced Godly traditions with a worldly mindset and we have passed these “new” values on to our children. Not everything Mom and Dad or Grandpa and Grandma did was good. We need to use Scripture to determine which things are “Godly” traditions passed down to us and replace the ungodly traditions with new, Biblical ones.

Questions:

1. Please comment on some of the good and not-so-good traditions you learned as you grew up.

2. Describe how the Lord Jesus has been your personal shepherd in the last year.

Not Mere Men

July 23 – Today’s Readings – 1Corinthians 3-4 and Psalms 23

Look out! The Corinthian Church is getting a disciplinary lecture from Paul! Why? – Because of immaturity – they should have known better by now, and they were not doing it right. How could Paul tell they were acting immaturely? Simple – “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” (1Corinthians 3:3)

Do you want a real lesson in Christian maturity? Go to 1Corinthians 4:5 where Paul instructs, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

It’s the “motives” of my heart that God takes interest in. Think of what Jesus taught:

– Matthew 5:22 “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”

– Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

– Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

– Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

– Matthew 6:3 “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”

– Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”

– Matthew 6:17 “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,”

– Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life”

– Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

– Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

All the important moral teachings of Jesus focus on heart issues – motive issues. God wants our hearts – He wants to write His Law of Love on them – He wants to squeeze our hearts – He wants to put His very nature there – He wants us to become like Christ in our hearts and in our motives. What room is there for petty things like jealousy and quarrelling and gossip? None! – for we have been made new. As Children of God, and not “mere men”, we have to get past our petty, worldly mindset. Yet, Church after Church suffers serious hurt because of worldly attitudes. If we have been purchased of God – if we have been washed – if we have received the Holy Spirit – if we understand the nature of Christ and His Holy Gospel, our faith WILL grow enough so that we start doing what Paul taught in this passage.

Questions:

1. Examine yourself and see if there is any jealousy, quarrelling or gossip in your relationships.
2. How have quarrels in the Church affected you in times past?

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