Morning Musing: Mark 8:33

“But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gotten more than you bargained for? Sometimes this feels like a very good thing. I once dropped four tokens on a Kung Fu Panda video game at an arcade where you had to punch these pads in the right sequence…and won it. The whole thing. Right in front of my kids. I was super dad. We got so many tickets all three boys went home with playground balls. If you know how arcade reward transactions go, you’ll understand we hit the jackpot. Maybe you’ve hit an actual jackpot. You put that one last nickel in the slot, pulled the handle, and filled up your bucket. (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually been to a casino, but that’s how it looks like it works on TV.) Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel so nice. You playfully tease someone after a day that’s been much harder than you realize and instead of playfully teasing back, they bite your head off. What Peter experienced here was a bit more in line with this second situation. His getting burned, though, offers a lesson we do well to learn (spoiler alert: it’s not that we shouldn’t argue with Jesus).

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Digging in Deeper: Genesis 3:4-6

“‘No! You will certainly not die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Okay, I give. What on earth does this have to do with joy? Were you asking that as I started reading? I mean, on its face, this passage is about the entrance of sin into the world. There’s nothing particularly joyful about that. So, why are we reading this passage this morning on the second day of our weeklong reflection on this third virtue of Advent? Because it tells us a whole lot about joy. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 6:1

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure on the hill of Samaria — the notable people in this first of the nations, those the house of Israel comes to.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things Jesus talked about more than just about anything else was money. He spoke frequently about our attitude toward our money and condemned our tendency to trust in it more than we ought. He warned against trying to serve two masters—God and money. On one occasion, He commanded a rich young man to actively sell all of his possessions before he could come follow Him. It’s almost like He was trying to say something. It wasn’t something new though. He was right in line with what the prophets of old had been saying for a long time. Amos gives us a great example here.

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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 had one of those moments when you did something and then immediately thought, “Where did that come from?” I suspect we all experience that from time to time. We get caught in a raw moment and react in a way that catches us and everyone around us entirely off guard. The same kind of thing can happen with temptation. James here, though, tells us we shouldn’t be quite as surprised as we are.

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Morning Musing: Romans 6:1-2

“What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

What should be the relationship of the follower of Jesus to sin? Obviously we shouldn’t do it, but let’s be honest: a simple “ought not” isn’t usually sufficient to keep us from it. We need to understand the why behind the should not before we’re going to wrap our heart and mind around it to a sufficient degree that it begins to have the kind of power in our lives it needs to have. Here in Romans 6, Paul explores this very idea. His treatment may not be exhaustive, but it is powerful. Let’s spend some time unpacking this together. 

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