there she stood in the doorway…

In Proverbs 9, two ladies call out from high places in the city. They invite those lacking understanding to dine with them. One of the ladies has prepared the meal she offers; the other has stolen hers. One lady does not seem to mind if people know about your visit; the other wants to keep it a secret. One offers wisdom; one offers pleasure. You must dine with one of these women. Choose wisely. They may both mean well, but one of them will kill you.

For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you. (9:11)

‘Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is sweet to a man.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. (9:17-18)

Lord, deliver us a daily dose of discernment and decision-making power: the discernment to distinguish between these two ladies; the decision-making power to accept the right invitation.

#choices, #death, #dinner, #invitation, #life, #pleasure, #proverbs, #solomon, #wisdom

That easy yoke

You remember what Jesus said:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry. Matthew 10:28-30 NET

Some seem to think that after becoming a Christian things get cushy and comfy. Think again. It’s probably no coincidence that the Lord says this after those hard-to-swallow instructions for the limited commission in chapter 10, — many of which carry over into the Great Commission — like getting thrown out into the world like sheep in the midst of wolves, like his coming to bring a sword not peace, and brother delivering up brother.

Then right after Jesus’ invitation to his yoke, we get the big controversy about the Sabbath. Sounds like a tempest in an teapot to us, but the tightened regulations of the rabbis lay at the center of Jesus’ differences with them.

Before the yoke invitation, Jesus mentions in chapter 10 that he will be called Beelzebul; then, right afterwards, it happens that they accuse him of casting out demons by Beelzebul’s name. Coincidence?

All that to say, we ought to beware making that yoke invitation into something it’s not.

Part of this “easiness” is the gospel versus the law-keeping, the burden of the Sabbath soothed by the freedom of the Spirit. But part, also, may just be in the swap of the world’s burdens and conflicts for the suffering for Jesus in his train, the yoking of our lives to his, of our interests to the Kingdom, of our hopes to his plan.

Compared to the pagan pursuit of stability, security, and happiness, the seeking after God’s kingdom and justice are a piece of cake, notwithstanding the persecutions, rejections, and slanders for his name. Add to that truth that those afflictions are light and fleeting next to eternal possessions.

That’s why his yoke is easy.

#gospel-of-matthew, #invitation, #yoke-of-christ

Something I Heard That Made Me Stop

After our Bible class last evening, I heard one of our elders state during the invitation, “There are no Sunday only Christians – we must be Christians every day of the week.” It’s very true. Some members come to church on Sunday morning, offer their worship to God, live like the devil the rest of the week, and then come to worship the next Sunday to appease their conscience. True Christianity doesn’t work that way. It’s either all or nothing (Matthew 6:24).

#bible, #christian, #conscience, #devil, #elder, #invitation, #worship

A unique practice in our congregation, i…

A unique practice in our congregation, is that for Sunday evening worship, we sing two songs, have a reading from God’s word, and then a prayer. We go through this same cycle until it is time to offer the invitation, then a concluding Scripture is read, a closing song is offered, then we offer the Lord’s Supper. After that, announcements and a concluding song is sung.

#announcement, #invitation, #lords-supper, #prayer, #reading, #song, #worship