2 Chronicles 29:1-11, 16-17, By a New Consecration (11/13/17)
A Call to Christian Living
Get Ready for Work – Part 1
2 Chronicles 29:1-11, 16-17, By a New Consecration
Philippians 2:14-18, By leaving Grumbler Alley
Mark 2:1-4; Matthew 9:2-8, By looking on the bright side
Judges 6:11-27, By rebuilding the family altar
Genesis 33:1-11, By burying all old grudges
1 Samuel 3:10, 19-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18, By speaking well of your pastor
John 1:40-46, By “talking up” our church
Jude 1:20-25, By loyalty to the prayer meeting
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12, By bearing one another’s burdens
Mark 4:33-34, By lending a hand to young converts
Acts 2:1, 4-8, 14, 37-38, 41, By planning large revival results
Luke 4:14-16, 31, 6:6, By attending class meeting regularly
Proverbs 2:6-15, By avoiding “crooked paths”
Luke 17:11-19, By moving onto Thanksgiving Street
Philippians 4:1-4, By harmonizing church differences
Matthew 5:43-48, By taking an allopathic dose of sunshine
Mark 3:1-6, By getting cured of irreligious dyspepsia
Hebrews 13:2; Luke 14:7-14, By warmly greeting the stranger at church
Luke 5:27-32, By being charitable toward the “crooked sticks”
John 8:2-11, By meekness in restoring those taken in fault
2 Thessalonians 3:6-12, By taking a short-cut to every field of usefulness
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As Christians, we have a job to do: being the body of Christ in the world. On May 1, 1886, Charles L. Burns received a Bible from his grandmother. In this Bible there is a slip of paper called “Get Ready for Work.” The pastor, Ira G. Ross, suggested that his parishioners “use this slip for a book mark in your Bible and mentally stick a pin in the hints you need most to remember.” It is a great list of Christian habits, and we are going to consider them one by one.
The very first step is to consecrate ourselves again to the LORD. Consecrate
means sanctify, make holy, purify,
, and in fact just in general make a person, place, or thing suitable for coming into the presence of God. Prior to the reign of King Hezekiah, things had gotten in a very bad way in Judah. The gates of the Temple (vs. 3), the priests and Levites (vss. 4-5), and the sacrifices (vss. 6-7) had all fallen into disuse. Hezekiah said, “We have to make a new consecration.” Is it time for us to make a new consecration, too?
Philippians 2:14-18, By leaving Grumbler Alley (11/14/17)
I got up this morning at 5 a.m. to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus ... and it was cloudy! How often does my complaining and arguing put a cloud between the light of Christ and someone who wants to see it? I need to leave Grumbler Alley.
Mark 2:1-4; Matthew 9:2-8, By looking on the bright side (11/15/17)
No doubt the friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus expected him to be healed. What Jesus said, however, was, “Cheer up! Your sins are forgiven.” A minute later, Jesus did heal him, as a sign to the teachers of the Law. But the bright side of the story is forgiveness of sins, don’t you think, and not just physical healing? Too often I lose sight of the bright blessing I have gotten, because I expected something else.
Judges 6:11-27, By rebuilding the family altar (11/16/17)
There are three altars in this story of Gideon’s call to be a judge. The first one is a personal or family altar that Gideon builds on his family’s property after he talks to the LORD (vs. 24). The second one is an altar to Baal, a foreign god that the Israelites had been worshipping for a while, which the LORD directs Gideon to destroy (vs. 25). The third one is a public altar to the LORD, which Gideon is instructed to build (vs. 26).
Before we can be fully equipped to do God’s work, we need a personal or family altar; that is, we need personal renewal. We need to destroy Baal’s altar; i.e., we must get rid of the deadly influences that pull us away from God. Finally, we need a well-constructed altar to the LORD our God; that is, we need to work toward the renewal of our larger community of faith.
Genesis 33:1-11, By burying all old grudges (11/17/17)
If you read Dear Abby, or any other advice column, you will see many stories of old family grudges. The advice is almost always the same: kiss and make up before one of you dies! The last Jacob heard, Esau was angry enough to kill him, and Jacob knows that Esau certainly had reason to hold a grudge. But in a beautiful example to us all, they kiss and make up. Bury an old grudge today to free yourself for God’s work.
1 Samuel 3:10, 19-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18, By speaking well of your pastor (11/20/17)
Your pastor (or at least nearly all pastors) has been called by God into service. No pastor is perfect, and no pastor is good at everything, because they are human, just like you and me. Nevertheless, they are responsible for us to God – what an awesome and frightening burden! So be nice to them. Pray for your pastor regularly. If you have to complain, do it privately, in person, with the pastor only. In public, speak well of your pastor.
John 1:40-46, By “talking up” our church (11/21/17)
Personally, I could be happy living in a cave, providing food was delivered and there was an internet connection. But I have friends who go out and meet people, and they always end up inviting new people to come to church, and often the people do come! My friends are like Andrew and Philip. If you have found the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, invite someone to come and see. Talk up your church.
Jude 1:20-25, By loyalty to the prayer meeting (11/22/17)
Prepare yourself for God’s work by being loyal to the prayer meeting. Pray earnestly and often, in groups and alone, for yourself, your family and friends, your community, your world, and especially for those who have doubts.
And by the way, if I had arranged the books of the Bible, Jude would come last, because it ends with one of the most beautiful of all the doxologies.
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12, By bearing one another’s burdens (11/23/17)
The writer of Ecclesiastes was depressed and thought everything was useless (that is, a “vanity”), but even he recognized the blessing of having someone to help you bear your burdens. Sometimes you are the one with the burden, and sometimes you are the one who shares it. Bear one another’s burdens.
Mark 4:33-34, By lending a hand to young converts (11/24/17)
We do God’s work in this generation by helping those in the next generation – the young converts – to grow in their faith. Jesus had nothing but
“young converts”! He taught those who couldn’t be close to him in parables that they could remember and think about later. To his disciples, he gave deeper explanations.
Acts 2:1, 4-8, 14, 37-38, 41, By planning large revival results (11/27/17)
There are 7.6 billion people in the world, of whom 2.2 billion are Christians. If each of us makes, on average, two and a half converts, we will win the world for Christ. (Note to math majors: yes, I know the population is growing. Some of the converts will also have to make converts.) Plan for large revival results.
Luke 4:14-16, 31, 6:6, By attending class meeting regularly (11/28/17)
Jesus traveled all over Galilee and Judea, but he always made a point of attending the synagogue wherever he happened to be that week. We should make a point of weekly worship attendance wherever we might be, too, especially when are traveling.
Proverbs 2:6-15, By avoiding “crooked paths” (11/29/17)
“Walking in the paths or ways of X” is a Hebrew idiom for “behaving in X manner.” “Walking in integrity” means to have integrity in all that you do. “Guarding the path of justice” means making sure that your society provides justice to the poor, widows, and orphans. The “paths of uprightness” are good behavior, and the “ways of evil” and “ways of darkness” are bad behavior. We get ready for God’s work by avoiding all the “crooked paths.”
Luke 17:11-19, By moving onto Thanksgiving Street (11/30/17)
The nine Jewish lepers had enough confidence in Jesus’ powers to follow his instructions about going to the priests to be pronounced clean. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough gratitude to give him thanks. Only the foreigner thought to thank Jesus and praise God. As God’s people, we should live in a permanent state of confidence that God will give us gifts, but we should also remember to say “thank you.”
Philippians 4:1-4, By harmonizing church differences (12/1/17)
I’m sure that no one in your church is at odds with anyone else. HAHAhahaha! For better or worse, the Church is made up of ordinary people, and we don’t always get along. Paul urges us to take two steps. First, when we have differences with our brothers and sisters, find something we can agree on. Second, if we see disagreement between our other brothers and sisters, do what we can to make peace between them. Harmonizing church differences is essential to doing God’s work.
Matthew 5:43-48, By taking an allopathic dose of sunshine (12/4/17)
“Allopathic medicine” is just ordinary medical treatment as practiced by doctors with MDs. God provides an “allopathic dose of sunshine” to cure us of our ills and make us healthy for his work. He provides it to everybody else, too. In the same way, when we do God’s work, we should do it for everyone.
Mark 3:1-6, By getting cured of irreligious dyspepsia (12/5/17)
Several people in the synagogue that Jesus visited one Sabbath had heartburn – not so much physical heartburn as religious heartburn. God’s work requires us to have hearts that are full of love for God and for our neighbor, but all their hearts were full of were suspicion and hate. Be cured of your irreligious dyspepsia.
Hebrews 13:2; Luke 14:7-14, By warmly greeting the stranger at church (12/6/17)
I gave a dollar to a man at a stop sign a few days ago. He didn’t thank me. Instead, he gave a big smile, looked up, and said, “Thank you, Lord!” He knew where the money was coming from, and I was well repaid by his joy. Not all angels have wings, so be sure to greet strangers, especially at church.
Luke 5:27-32, By being charitable toward the “crooked sticks” (12/7/17)
Levi is also called “Matthew,” as in the Gospel of Matthew. He started out, however, as a tax collector for the Roman occupation. He was definitely a “crooked stick.” Jesus chose him for his own disciple and evangelist, and when Levi invited his friends – more “crooked sticks” – to meet Jesus, Jesus loved them, too. To do Jesus’ work, we need to be charitable even toward people we don’t approve of.
John 8:2-11, By meekness in restoring those taken in fault (12/8/17)
The woman taken in adultery was certainly at fault. So was the man, not mentioned or brought to Jesus; he, according to the Law, was also subject to stoning (Deuteronomy 22:22). Jesus, knowing that all
of us are at fault, chose to treat the situation not with the authority that was his, nor indignation at her or the men who did not bring both guilty parties, but with meekness. We should do the same.
Note: Today’s reading is the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery. Some translations put it at the end of John, and some put it in a footnote. If it isn’t John 8:2-11 in your Bible, look around for it.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-12, By taking a short-cut to every field of usefulness (12/11/17)
New Christians in the new church at Thessalonica had really tuned in to Paul’s teaching about the second coming of Christ, so much so that some of them figured they had no reason to work for their living here in this world. Paul says that they need to get back to work, and the others need to stop supporting them. (Some people can’t work; this doesn’t apply to them.) We can only do God’s work when we know how to work.
More of Get Ready for Work
Get Ready for Work – Part 1
Get Ready for Work – Part 2
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