August 10, 2015

Micah 4-7 - But when all is said and done, God’s Temple on the mountain, firmly fixed, will dominate all mountains.  People will stream to it and many nations set out for it, saying “Come, let’s climb God’s mountain.  Let’s go to the Temple of Jacob’s God.  He will teach us how to live.... So why the doomsday hysterics....what you lost in Jerusalem will be found in Babylon.  God will give you new life again.  He’ll redeem you from your enemies...

From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule Israel.  He’ll be no upstart, no pretender.  His family tree is ancient and distinguished...He will stand tall in his shepherd-rule by God’s strength, centered in the majesty of God-Revealed...Peacemaker of the world.  The purged and select company of Jacob will be like an island in the sea of peoples.  They’ll be like dew from God, like summer showers not mentioned in the weather forecast not subject to calculation or control....
                                    
Dear people, how have I done you wrong?  Have I burdened you, worn you out?  Answer!  I delivered you from a bad life in Egypt, I paid a good price to get you out of slavery...                

God has already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.  It’s quite simple:  Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal to your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously---take God seriously.

Do you expect me to overlook obscene wealth you’ve piled up by cheating and fraud?...No matter how much you get, it will never be enough--hollow stomachs, empty hearts.  No matter how hard you work, you’ll have nothing to show for it...    

Don’t, enemy, crow over me.  I’m down, but I’m not out.  I’m sitting in the dark right now, but God is my light.  I can take God’s punishing rage.  I deserve it---I sinned.  But it’s not forever.  He’s on my side and is going to get me out of this.  He’ll turn on the lights and show me his ways.  I’ll see the whole picture and how right he is....

Shepherd, O God, your people with your staff...you don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty.  That is what you love most and compassion is on its way to us.                    

Ephesians
What we know about God and what we do for God have a way of getting broken apart in our lives...Paul’s letter to the Ephesians joins together what has been torn apart in our sins in our sin-wrecked world.  He begins with an exuberant exploration of what Christians believe about God and then sets this belief in God into our behavior before God so that our belief and behavior knit together and heal....

Paul shows how Jesus, the Messiah, is eternally and tirelessly bringing everything and everyone together...the energy of reconciliation is the dynamo at the heart of the universe, it is imperative that we join in vigorously & perseveringly, convinced that every detail in our lives contributes to what Paul describes as God’s plan worked out by Christ, “a long range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him...

Ephesians 1
I, Paul...writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus.  I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.  How blessed is God.  And what a blessing he is!...Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole & holy by his love.  Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ...Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we are a free people.

It is in Christ that we find out who we are & what we are living for.  Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us    It’s in Christ that you...found yourselves home free--- signed, sealed and delivered by the Holy Spirit...

But I do more than thank God for you, I ask  God to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of the glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him--endless energy, boundless strength!  All this energy issues from Christ...The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.