Morning Musing: Mark 14:61-64

“But he kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest questioned him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus, ‘and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What is your decision?’ They all condemned him as deserving death.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In the world of courtroom dramas, the money moment is when the prosecutor finally gets the defendant to somehow admit his guilt under oath while on the witness stand. These moments are a dime a dozen on television, but perhaps the best such scene ever put on film is the climax of the movie, A Few Good Men, where Jack Nicholson screams at Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth.” Just for your viewing pleasure, here’s a link to the scene (with a language morning). If that one critical moment doesn’t make you want to stand up and cheer for Cruise’s Lt. Kaffee’s incredible victory for justice you may want to check and see if you have a pulse. There’s just something satisfying about seeing someone guilty own that guilt and face the consequences of it. What we see unfolding here in Mark’s Gospel is a scene kind of like that except the charge to which Jesus finally confessed wasn’t a crime at all. It was simply the truth. Let’s talk about the moment Jesus finally admitted to the “crime” that led Him to the cross.

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Morning Musing: Malachi 4:1-2

“‘For look, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,’ says the Lord of Armies, ‘not leaving them root or branches. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall.’”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

For the last couple of days we have been talking about this tension around the worthwhileness of serving the Lord and striving to do life His way. Yet even as we have been trying to resolve tension, we have left some hanging there each day. With what we see here at the beginning of chapter 4, we are going to repeat this pattern yet one more time, but hopefully with more weight on the resolution than remaining tension. Let’s dig in.

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Digging in Deeper: Malachi 3:18

“So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

We left things yesterday in an uncomfortable place. Israel in the days of Malachi was in an uncomfortable place. When the people of God are asking whether or not it is really worthwhile to be the people of God, things aren’t good. And for us who seek to follow Jesus today, even knowing what we know from the Scriptures, we sometimes wonder the same thing. Today we get a resolution of sorts. It may not be all we think we want, but it is what God gives and so let’s talk about why it should be enough.

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Morning Musing: Malachi 3:2b-4

“For he will be like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s bleach. He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord as in days of old and years gone by.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you want your children to be happy or good? Of course, as parents we want both. But the reality is that we very often have to choose one or the other. The reason is fairly simple. Happy is a feeling and good is a character. What makes them happy in the moment may very well come into direct conflict with what will train them to be good in the long term. That is, the two are often mutually exclusive of one another in any given moment because of the tension between what they want and what they should have. God understands this too, and His preference is always for good. The result is just what Malachi describes here.

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Digging in Deeper: James 1:19-20

“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

We could all use just a little bit more listening lately, couldn’t we? And yet, here I am speaking…well, writing anyway. But I tend to write like I talk (as perhaps the audio gives away), so I guess I’m speaking. I’ve actually had the opportunity lately to be a part of a few different conversations on recent events. I’m grateful for that. I’ve learned much and also had reaffirmed some things I thought to be true beforehand. May I share some of that with you?

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