Digging in Deeper: 2 Timothy 1:8

“So don’t be afraid of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What brings you shame? One time in second grade, I wet my pants right in the middle of class. I had skipped out on a bathroom break for some reason and was too embarrassed to raise my hand and say I had to go. I held it as long as I could, but eventually I couldn’t anymore. Then I was really embarrassed. I’m honestly not sure how I managed to avoid getting made fun of for it. I must have had some really good kids in class with me. Sometimes our shame is obvious like that. Other times, though, what causes us shame is more abstract. We are ashamed of ideas and of being associated with them. One of the ideas that is increasingly bringing people shame today is the Gospel. There is nothing new under the sun. Paul here wrote to Timothy about this very thing.

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Morning Musing: Mark 8:38

“For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been really ashamed of something? When I was in seventh grade math class one time I passed gas. Loudly. There was really no denying where the sound came from. It was like something out of a middle school coming of age movie. I could have been Greg Heffley from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I wanted to crawl inside my backpack and hide. Fortunately, I had befriended one of the kids in the class who everybody else thought was kind of weird. He spoke up loudly and said, “Man, I’ve done that before,” and somehow that held back the wave of ridicule that was building and nothing ever came of it. I’m still not sure how I managed to escape a month’s worth of ribbing over it. Let’s change the question a bit: Have you ever been ashamed of someone? That’s a different animal, but one to which Jesus draws our attention here. Let’s listen in because what He says here matters.

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Digging in Deeper: James 1:13-14

“No one undergoing a trial should say, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gotten caught doing something wrong? I remember disobeying my parents and throwing dirt clods from our garden at the side wall of our shed when I was growing up. I had invited my cousin to do it with me. The reason I had been told not to do this was because there was a window in the wall and they didn’t want me to break it with an errantly thrown clod. But the dirt clods splattered so satisfyingly against the wall. So I threw them anyway…and you can guess what happened next. I broke the window. Because, of course I did. When my dad asked me about it later, do you know what I told him? You can probably guess that too: My cousin did it!

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 11:6

“Indeed, I will no longer have compassion on the inhabitants of the land” — this is the Lord’s declaration. “Instead, I will turn everyone over to his neighbor and his king. They will devastate the land, and I will not rescue it from their hand.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

We tend to think about God’s judgment in very active terms. It is something that He does to those who are deserving. When He is going to punish sins, He does it. And, this is a hard thing to think about God. No one wants to imagine a God who is good actively doing things to hurt people. But what if there was another way to think about it? Would you be interested?

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Digging in Deeper: Zephaniah 3:5

“The righteous Lord is in her; he does no wrong. He applies his justice morning by morning; he does not fail at dawn, yet the one who does wrong knows no shame.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

“Shame on you!” Have you ever heard that before? Have you ever said that before? The answer is probably yes on both counts. It is for me. Why? What is shame that it would be projected onto us by other people or by us onto them? And besides, isn’t shame a bad thing? We’re sure told as much by our culture. We should live lives that are free from shame, shouldn’t we? Well, yes, but maybe not for the reason you think. Let’s talk about it.

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