Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Daily Readings for August 6, 2016 - The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Exodus 34:29-35
Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Psalm 99 Dominus regnavit
1   The LORD is King; let the people tremble; he is enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth shake.
2   The LORD is great in Zion; he is high above all peoples.
3   Let them confess his Name, which is great and awesome; he is the Holy One.
4   O mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
5   Proclaim the greatness of the LORD our God and fall down before his footstool; he is the Holy One.
6   Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among those who call upon his Name, they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
7   He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; they kept his testimonies and the decree that he gave them.
8   O LORD our God, you answered them indeed; you were a God who forgave them, yet punished them for their evil deeds.
9   Proclaim the greatness of the LORD our God and worship him upon his holy hill; for the LORD our God is the Holy One.

2 Peter 1:13-21
I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Luke 9:28-36
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"-- not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for August 6, 2016 - The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

From Forward Day By Day

Exodus 34:29 (NRSV) Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

Several years ago I participated in a weeklong outdoor adventure team-building event. At the end of the week, I walked into the instructors’ lunchroom to talk with the head instructor. As he addressed his companions, his face was shining—an actual glow surrounded him. He seemed to be so deeply connected to his friends, so urgent in his desire to communicate the importance of this last meeting. Love seemed to light his countenance.

Today, we commemorate the Transfiguration of Jesus, knowing him to be the light of the world, not just the light on that long-ago mountaintop. We know that his light surrounds us, even in the midst of our darkest moments. And we know that one day, like Moses and Jesus, coming into the presence of absolute mercy and grace will change our countenances. Perhaps our clothes will not become dazzling white as Luke describes in the gospel reading for today, but our hearts can reflect the glow of the love of God.

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NIV Devotions for Couples - Giving Off the Scale

Philippians 2:1–11

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3–4

John Powell describes different kinds of relationships, including one he calls “pan-scale love.” A pan scale is what Lady Justice carries. She stands blindfolded atop a courthouse with pans held by chains at both ends of a balance beam.

Powell says that many of us enter courtship or marriage with a pan-scale commitment. In the exhilaration of first falling in love, we give 100 percent of ourselves to our mate, and our end of the pan scale hangs heavy with love’s offerings. For a week or a month or even a year, we don’t check to see whether the pan scale is balanced because we assume our partner is also devoting 100 percent to the relationship.

But, says Powell, there comes a time when we begin to analyze which way the pan-scale balance beam is tipping. Invariably, as much as we love our spouse, we begin to recognize that he or she isn’t investing quite as much as we are.

So we pull back a little. Maybe she doesn’t pick up the clothes that he carelessly leaves in corners of the bedroom. Perhaps he doesn’t offer a cheery “hello” and warm kiss when she walks in the door. Maybe she doesn’t stop to pick up the dry cleaning or he forgets to gas up the car. This gradual lessening of giving doesn’t usually mean coming up short on the scale of big things; rather, it’s little cuts that over time begin adding up to the message: “I’ve been giving 100 percent to this relationship, and you’re only offering 87 percent. If you won’t put your full load of love on your end of the pan scale, I’m going to pull some of mine back to even things up.”

The trouble is, such efforts at balancing the pan scale of love only backfire. Typically, when partners begin to notice that the scales aren’t even, they each begin to think they are giving more than the other. The response is a subtle but progressive retaliatory cutback on a full deposit.

It may take a while, but if left unchecked, pan-scale love will eventually bankrupt a relationship. As I view my investments as overmatching my partner’s, my mate, from another vantage point, feels similarly cheated. If we check the nuptial agreements and try to reclaim what we believe is rightfully ours, Lady Justice is left with empty scales.

How much better to be known, as the Philippians were, for their generosity. People in that church sensed Paul’s needs and, without being asked, sent him gifts time after time. Paul regarded those surprises, their over-the-top giving, as “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18). God asks each of us to bring him an offering according to what our heart prompts us to give, not one that matches what God gives us—that’s impossible and we know it.

Likewise, we are to give to our partner in marriage—without weighing it against what’s being offered on the other side, with humble thanks for each other, with sincere appreciation for each other, with gratitude for the opportunity to meet each other’s needs without being asked. Then our giving will be an off-the-scale fragrant offering to each other, an acceptable sacrifice that is pleasing to God.

Wayne Brouwer

Let’s Talk
  • In what ways do we treat our giving in marriage as pan-scale love? When have we felt cheated?
  • How can we increase the level of generosity in our relationship? What gifts do each of us bring? How might they be used to strengthen our marriage?
  • How can each of us invest more in our marriage without worrying about whether we’re getting a good deal?

Standing Strong Through the Storm - THE PROCESS OF PERSECUTION-1: OPPOSITION

Consider [Jesus] who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3

Whenever we ask audiences in free societies to word-associate “persecution,” most responses are what we refer to as the “big three”: torture, imprisonment and martyrdom. Many would agree that persecution is much more than the “big three” which are often only experienced in the final stage of the process of persecution.

Jesus repeatedly warned his followers that if the world hated Him, it would hate them also (John 15:18). In Luke 6:22, Jesus reminds his disciples that this opposition is a blessing. Not a blessing I ever hear many Christians praying for.

So the very basic and first step in this process is awareness that as a follower of Jesus, you can expect opposition, just as Jesus Himself experienced (Hebrews 12:3). He indicated that it will come from the world and possibly even from your own family and friends.

So do we walk around with a persecution complex, chip on our shoulder attitude, because of this? Absolutely not. The good news is that Jesus says we can live a life of joy in the midst of these troubles because He has overcome the world and so can we (John 16:33).

And this opposition is in every country and culture, not just those where severe persecution is being experienced. A few years ago Jim Cunningham and I wrote a little booklet about experiencing mild persecution right here in North America entitled Red Skies @ Dawn available at Open Doors offices. It is a dialogue between two young couples. Here’s a relevant excerpt:

Sam responded. “Ultimately Satan, our real enemy, wants to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ, wherever it’s located. And Jesus Himself is the stumbling block to those who don’t believe. When we say He is the only way, we are labeled as exclusivists and on this basis we are then considered intolerant.”

Yvonne added, “I heard a program host on the radio the other day and he was obviously upset by this. When someone told him that Jesus is the only way to God, he shouted that we evangelicals are the scum of the earth!”

“Whoa,” Sanjit reacted. “That’s a little heavy, isn’t it?”

Yvonne continued, “Well, he went on to say that it wasn’t the belief to which he objected so much but he objected to the arrogance of any person claiming ‘my way or the highway’ and writing off the rest of the human race to eternal damnation.”

All of this discussion clearly points out, “Sam concluded, “we are facing—and will face even more—attacks because of Jesus in us. Persecution may not be just for those brothers and sisters across the seas in places like East Africa and China, but perhaps even for us.” 

RESPONSE: Today I will rejoice that in the face of general opposition to Jesus in me, I can be an overcomer like Jesus.

PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to be aware of any opposition without it negatively affecting my witness.

Verse of the Day - August 06, 2016

Psalm 119:160 (NIV) All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.

Read all of Psalm 119