Digging in Deeper: Matthew 22:37-40

“He said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Confession time: I’m not much for trying new things. New things bring the possibility of failure, and I’m not much for failure. I’m more of a habit and routine guy. Once I find something that works – which, admittedly requires trying new things at least occasionally – you’re going to find me generally pretty difficult to break from it to try something else. Of course, new things also bring the possibility of experiencing success you wouldn’t otherwise experience. On the whole, it can pay big to step out and try something new. Let’s talk this morning about the latest new thing from Marvel Studios: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 11:27-29

“By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees him who is invisible. By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites. By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We’ve been in deep lately as we have been talking about living by faith and what that looks like practically in our lives. This morning, let’s lighten things up a bit. Instead of focusing on a single example, we are going to let the author lead us through a potpourri of examples from Moses’ life. These three examples don’t have a whole lot to do with one another except that they are all from Moses’ life. But I think there’s a lesson in each for us if we’ll listen for it. So, lean in with me this morning as we talk some more about faith.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 11:23-26

By faith Moses, after he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin. For he considered reproach for the sake of Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking ahead to the reward.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We have been talking about living by faith for a few weeks now. The author of Hebrews, after defining faith for us (living out a belief in something we can’t see on the word of someone we trust), shifted gears to offering one example after another of what it looks like to live by faith. Essentially, it looks like doing what God says instead of what we or the world around us wants. In most circumstances, even in hostile-to-Christianity locations, this doesn’t involve anything terribly controversial. It is just denying ourselves in favor of the righteousness of Christ and loving our neighbors like Jesus loved us. But sometimes, living by faith can take us into more challenging territory. Instead of positively doing something, it involves actively not doing something or else rejecting opportunities we are expected to take. With some examples from the story of Moses, let’s talk today about a couple of the challenges of living by faith.

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Digging in Deeper: Revelation 7:9-10

“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are some stories that were told so well, the first time, the only people who try to tell them again, are either very brave, or very foolish. We generally call these kinds of stories. “the Classics.“ The thing about working with a classic is that nearly everyone has heard it presented in one way. What’s more, everyone expects it to be presented in one way. If you decide to work with a classic, you had better get it right or else you risk incurring the wrath of the fans. Recently, Amazon Studios has taken on a classic story universe, and incurred no small amount of fan wrath along the way. Let’s talk today about The Rings of Power.

Continue reading “Digging in Deeper: Revelation 7:9-10”

Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 11:4-6

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith. By faith Enoch was taken away, and so he did not experience death. He was not to be found because God took him away. For before he was taken away, he was approved as one who pleased God. Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What does it take to please God? While you may not ever ask that question directly or out loud, I suspect your inherent need for an answer to it animates a fair sight more of your life than you’re comfortable admitting. Even if you aren’t giving any thought to the Christian God, the higher power you happen to have embraced leaves you wondering at least occasionally how to make it happy. With the God of the Bible, pleasing Him is a whole lot simpler an affair than you might expect. Through the lens of a couple of examples out of the very beginning of God’s story, let’s talk about what it takes to make Him happy.

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