September 25, 2015

Psalms 105-106 -  
Thank God!  Pray to him by name!  Tell everyone you meet what he has done!  Sing him songs, belt out hymns...

Live a happy life!  Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence...

And he remembers, remembers his Covenant---for a thousand generations he’s been as good as his word... Hallelujah!  Thank God!  And why?  Because he’s good, because his love lasts...  

After our parents left Egypt, they took your wonders for granted, forgot your great and wonderful love...But it wasn’t long before they forgot the whole thing, wouldn’t wait to be told what to do.  They only cared about pleasing themselves in the desert, provoked God with their insistent demands... 

They traded the Glory for a cheap piece of sculpture--a grass chewing bull!  They forgot God, their very own Savior.  Fed up, God decided to get rid of them--and except for Moses, his chosen, he would have.  But Moses stood in the gap and deflected God’s anger...

They went on to reject the Blessed Land, didn’t believe a word of what God promised.  They found fault with the life they had and turned a deaf ear to God’s voice.  Exasperated, God swore that he’d lay them down low in the desert.  

Over and over God rescued them, but they never learned---

Still when God saw the trouble they were in and heard their cries for help, He remembered his covenant with them and, immense with love, took them by the hand.  He poured out his mercy on them...So we can give thanks to your holy name and join in the glory when you are praised. 
                
Matthew 4 -  
Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test.  Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights.
 
Jesus answered the first test by quoting Deuteronomy - “It takes more than bread to stay alive.  It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”  The second test, the Devil goaded Jesus by quoting Psalm 91 to which Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.” For the third test, Jesus refused to curt: “Beat it Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy; “Worship the Lord your God and only him.  Serve him with absolute single heartedness.”  The test was over...Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.

Jesus moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum when he heard that John had been arrested.  This move completed Isaiah’s sermon ....This Isaiah-prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching.  He picked up where John left off: Change your life.  God’s kingdom is here.”

Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew.  They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake...They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed. 

A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons.  Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.  

From there he went all over Galilee.  He used synagogues for meeting  places and taught people the truth of God.  God’s kingdom was his theme...He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives.  Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria...More and more people came, the momentum gathering.