Morning Musing: Acts 1:14

“They were all continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do we do when we don’t know what do to? There are seasons in life when the path forward from where we are to where we want to be isn’t at all clear. The reasons for this are many, but the result is the same: we feel lost and alone and confused and anxious and we don’t know what to do about it. What we see here in the beginning of Acts offers us a good way forward for moments just like this. Let’s take a look at what these folks did when they didn’t know the way forward.

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Morning Musing: Philippians 1:12-14

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do you do when things aren’t going like you planned? Maybe you’re the kind of person who is able to fairly well roll with it. But I suspect you are at least a little disappointed in that moment. Perhaps, though, “a little disappointed” doesn’t really cover it for you. Rolling with it isn’t a resource in your repertoire. This may be especially true when your plans were to help someone else or do something good. In that moment, you’re ready to simply throw up your hands and give up. Paul, here, though, offers us another approach to consider.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 1:21

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The first Christmas involved faith. A lot of faith. It involved a great deal of individuals no different from you and me being willing to trust God on a series of adventures they didn’t plan on, and which – if they were being honest – they didn’t even want at first. But in the end, they were all willing to take their plans, hopes, dreams, desires, and set them aside in favor of His. The result was nothing less than the world being irrevocably changed. We talked about one of these stories yesterday in Mary. Today, let’s take a look at Joseph’s story.

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Digging in Deeper: Isaiah 30:1-5

“Woe to the rebellious children! This is the Lord’s declaration. They carry out a plan, but not mine; they make an alliance, but against my will, piling sin on top of sin. Without asking my advice they set out to go down to Egypt in order to seek shelter under Pharaoh’s protection and take refuge in Egypt’s shadow. But Pharaoh’s protection will become your shame, and refuge in Egypt’s shadow your humiliation. For though his princes are at Zoan and his messengers reach as far as Hanes, everyone will be ashamed because of a people who can’t help. They are are of no benefit, they are no help; they are goo for nothing but shame and disgrace.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Think for a minute about who you turn to when you need advice before anyone else. Call to mind this person’s face. Think about the conversations you’ve had with him and the counsel he’s given you. What is it about this person that makes you so inclined to seek him out before anyone else? Is he particularly wise? If so, what garnered him this distinction in your mind? Have the two of you shared particularly significant experiences together and so you feel like he knows you better than anyone else? Do you seek him out because of his position? Let me ask one more question: Did you even fleetingly think about God as the person you turn to first for advice? The places we go when we need help say a lot about us. They said a lot about Israel too. Today and tomorrow, I want to look with you at an example from Isaiah that has much to teach us about where to seek help first and the character of God.

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Morning Musing: Mark 13:19-20

“For those will be days of tribulation, the kind that hasn’t been from the beginning of creation until now and never will be again. If the Lord had not cut those days short, no one would be saved. But he cu those days short for the sake of the elect, whom he chose.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The one thing that is consistent about our understanding of the apocalypse is that we don’t understand it very well. Oh, we have lots of creative guesses, some offered with all the confident assurance of knowledge, but we really don’t know very much. Because of this, we greedily grab up anything that seems like it might tell us something. For instance, in 2012, the big news of the year was that an ancient Mayan calendar ended in that year because they believed that’s when the world would end. They even made a fun, global disaster movie about it called…wait for it…2012. Happily, we sailed right on past the December calendar date of the end and are still chugging along nine years later. Let’s look some more this morning at another thing Jesus had to say about it. This bit of teaching really doesn’t add a whole lot of clarity, but it does give us something else worth keeping in mind.

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