Matthew 1:1-5:26 (January 6, 2013) The first of 52 posts for 2013
This New Years’ Eve, some of my family spent time with me in Rexburg, Idaho as we brought in the New Year 2013. I noticed a book that one of my sisters read and had recommended to my other sister. So I picked it up and browsed through the pages. Apparently, the volume is loaded with pithy quotes. The author, Ann Voskamp, published One Thousand Gifts in 2010. As I think of our 2013 Berean Challenge in Idaho Falls concerning reading through the New Testament, I appreciate how Ann integrates the written Word with the living Word and encourages us to use this lens as we interpret our world filled with suffering. She writes,
“To read His message in the moments, I’ll need to read His passion on the page: wear the lens of the Word, to read His writing in the world. Only the Word is the answer to rightly reading the world, because the Word has nail-scarred hands that cup our face close, wipe away the tears running down, has eyes to look deep into our brimming ache, and whisper, ‘I know. I know.’ The passion on the page is a Person, and the lens I wear of the Word is not abstract idea but the eyes of the God-Man who came and knows the pain.
“How does the Word read the world? (p. 87). . .
“Without God’s Word as a lens, the world warps (p. 91).
Brothers and sisters, as we go into 2013 with all its uncertainties, victories, trials, celebrations, heartaches, and laughter let us be anchored in the fact that there is a reigning King and an eternal Kingdom with which we are a part of. The opening of our New Testaments announces that there is a Savior and that God is with us! Presently, I am sitting here on a Saturday afternoon at ijump off of Hitt Road in Ammon, Idaho. Kids are bouncing, flipping, and laughing. Life is good. It brings big smiles to me when I see pure joy on the countenances of these young people. But we all know life has twists and turns that are very bad. Thank God for the coming of the King who makes all things new.
In the midst of corrupt earthly kings, skewed religious traditions, community apathy, and even horrific acts of violence (Matthew 2), there is Jesus. Our responsibility is to repent before our Creator. And as He calls us to be His disciples, we are to forsake all and follow Him.
These kids at ijump have abandoned themselves completely to the fun of the moment. They are caught up in the excitement. Other desires diminish. It makes me think of John and James standing before Jesus in Matthew 4. Their careers and earthly family became secondary in the presence of the King.
This King will demand everything of you. You will discover this in the book of Matthew. Join me in this adventure. And remember “He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Coming up this week, read Matthew 5:27-9:17 . . .
- How do you act out the beatitudes of the Kingdom of Heaven in the kingdom of America?
- In the Sermon on the Mount, where do you find that you fall short of Kingdom character?
- Take some time this week to worship God with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
- How do you carry out the battle against sinful worry and fear?
- Jesus says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). How do you apply that to your ministry in Idaho Falls?