The Bible passage for mediation, prayer, and reflection, for the week of February 12-18, 2017, is Romans 14:1-4. The merging of Jewish Christians with Gentile Christians was not an easy process. Jews were accustomed to following a strict set of laws and continued to follow many of these laws after becoming Christians. They assumed that all Christians would embrace the laws. Gentile Christians came from an environment of relative few religious rules. They were accustomed to great freedoms and were astounded and resentful at being asked to follow the strict rules. Paul was aware of these differing opinions and did his best to address the problem.
As for the man who is a weak believer, welcome him [into your fellowship], but not to criticize his opinions or pass judgment on his scruples or perplex him with discussions. One [man’s faith permits him to] believe he may eat anything, while a weaker one [limits his] eating to vegetables. Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed him. ho are you to pass judgment on and censure another’s household servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to support him and make him stand. (Romans 14:1-4, AMP)
Judgement is the theme of this passage. We should not judge how others choose to worship, for each will be held accountable before the Lord. Jewish Christians were judging the worship habits of Gentile Christians, who were unfamiliar with worship of the Lord. Paul is stressing in this passage that one who truly loves the Lord and has their relationship right with Him, would not do anything to drive away those who want to worship the Lord. They would be willing to help teach and encourage, without passing judgement. As you meditation on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s passage, consider if your relationship is right before the Lord. Do you pass judgement on others?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection, for the week of February 5-11, 2017, is Genesis 22:1-14. This passage shows the tremendous faith of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice anything for the Lord.
Now after these things, God tested [the faith and commitment of] Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he answered, “Here I am.” God said, “Take now your son, your only son [of promise], whom you love, Isaac, and go to the region of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and then he got up and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day [of travel] Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Abraham said to his servants, “Settle down and stay here with the donkey; the young man and I will go over there and worship [God], and we will come back to you.” Then Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on [the shoulders of] Isaac his son, and he took the fire (firepot) in his own hand and the [sacrificial] knife; and the two of them walked on together. And Isaac said to Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Isaac said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself a lamb for the burnt offering.” So the two walked on together.
When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood, and bound Isaac his son and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He answered, “Here I am.” The Lord said, “Do not reach out [with the knife in] your hand against the boy, and do nothing to [harm] him; for now I know that you fear God [with reverence and profound respect], since you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son [of promise].” Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering (ascending sacrifice) instead of his son. So Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide. And it is said to this day, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be seen and provided.” (Genesis 22:1-14, AMP)
Isaac was the son for which Abraham had waited 100 years! And now he was being asked to sacrifice him! Abraham trusted the Lord. He trusted the Lord’s promise that he would father a nation, but how was that to happen if he had to sacrifice his son?! Abraham loved his son, however he also wanted to honor the Lord. Can you imagine what Abraham must have been thinking during his three-day trek to where the alter was to be built? Can you imagine his heartbreak and anxiety? Can you imagine Isaac’s horror and terror when he realized he was to be the sacrifice?
Isaac, the son of Abraham, was not sacrificed that day. Thousands of years later, Jesus, the Son of God would be sacrificed for the sins of the world. It is believed that Jerusalem was built on the same mountain as Isaac was almost sacrificed! Here, at the beginning of the Israeli nation, God was foretelling the salvation that was to come. God was also testing Abraham’s faith. Abraham would go on to not only father a nation, but to become an example as a pillar of faith for all. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s passage, consider what is the Lord is asking you to sacrifice for him? Look to this passage for encouragement and motivation to stay strong, for the Lord has a plan.
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of January 29-February 4, 2017, is Psalm 12:3-6. In this psalm, David provides a warning against lies and deceitfulness.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times. (Psalm 12: 3-6, ESV)
We must always be alert for lies and deceitfulness. Satan uses lies. He twists the truth to suit his purpose. Only the Lord always speaks truthfully. We must be aware of our words too. We must strive to always speak the truth. This week, consider your words. Are they truthful? Do they honor the Lord?
Breaking with custom, this weeks scripture reading for meditation, prayer, and reflection does not come from our weekly scripture readings; it is a topical lesson on government and Christian responsibility. Our scripture reading for meditation, prayer, and reflection is Romans 13:1-7, and is taken from the Amplified Bible’s rendition of the Holy Scripture.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. Therefore whoever resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves. For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good and you will receive approval and commendation. For he is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, [you should] be afraid; for he does not carry the [executioner’s] sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an avenger who brings punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject [to civil authorities], not only to escape the punishment [that comes with wrongdoing], but also as a matter of principle [knowing what is right before God]. For this same reason you pay taxes, for civil authorities are God’s servants, devoting themselves to governance. Pay to all what is due: tax to whom tax is due, customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect, honor to whom honor. (Romand 13:1-7, AMP)
The breaking of custom is the direct result of the pointless rhetoric and criminal actions which transpired prior to and on inauguration day in Washington, D.C. by some claiming to be protesters. Violence against innocent people and destruction of private property is not a protest - it is criminal action. The Bible makes it clear that the only people who need fear the government are those who engage in bad behavior. Unlike many countries in the world, citizens of the United States of America, have the right to protest against the government: provided it is done in a lawful manner. It is apparent that the criminal actions taken by those claiming to be protestors is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate and silence those who spoke clearly on November 8, 2016, by attempting to suppress their right to lawfully express their views in a form of protest that has serviced this country well for over 200 years: the ballot. The ballot allows all citizens of the United States the right to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with government by casting a vote to continue on the same course or, as in 2016 Presidential election, seek a new direction. This, my Christian friends, is government sponsored protest.
A new President and Congress has taken charge. We at The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries, Inc. encourage you to take some time this week to carefully study Romans 13:1-7, pray over it, seek a pure understanding of it from God, and reflect over your relationship with your Government in light of God’s instruction to all Christians.
Final thought is to pray daily for God’s direction and guidance for all elected officials throughout our nation and the world. Special prayer for our 45th President, Donald J. Trump, that he will be wise enough to seek God’s guidance to lead our county, The United States of America.
The Bible passage for prayer, reflection, and meditation for the week of January 15-21, 2017 is Genesis 6:5-8:
The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy (annihilate) mankind whom I have created from the surface of the earth—not only man, but the animals and the crawling things and the birds of the air—because it [deeply] grieves Me [to see mankind’s sin] and I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor and grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:5-8, AMP)
This scripture passage shares how much sin grieves the Lord. It grieved Him so much that He chose to destroy His sin corrupted creation. It requires us to consider the depth of spiritual warfare that we are to guard ourselves against. Additionally, it requires us to contemplate sin more than superficially. Most think of sin as doing what God deems wrong. However, have you considered that our mere mortal minds cannot comprehend the depth of depravity to which sin leads that mankind has not experienced, and which God continues to protect us from?
Please take some time this week to meditate over, pray over and reflect on sin - not just sin that may challenge your life - but the idea of sin and God’s refusal to tolerate it.