The Ordered Life

This ‘King Melchizedek of Salem, priest of the Most High God, …is, ‘king of peace’. Hebrews 7:1-17  Monotheism was rather unique in the Ancient Near East and yet Abraham found himself blessed by this high priest of non Jewish descent. Now if perfection had been attainable through the levitical priesthood …what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek. Not much is known about Melchizedek but we know just enough to understand that it’s about the life we live not according to the law, but in honor of the law given by the one living God – Love. According to the order of Melchizedek life through Christ (the prince of peace) has already been ordained for us. We have the authority to bless and blessed by one another. Like Melchizedek, we are the priesthood of believers.

It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek, one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of him,

‘You are a priest for ever,
   according to the order of Melchizedek.’   Hebrews 7:1-17

Shaking It Off

But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Luke 10:1-17 No need to scream louder. Jesus makes it very clear that even in his name, the work we do spreading the gospel won’t effect some people. They won’t listen. They won’t hear. They won’t respond. I remember it like it was yesterday. It isn’t an experience I will ever forget. I also remember leaving some really good people but when I left I was reminded of this scripture and I literally wiped my feet. It actually helped a lot. I decided that at the very least a seed was planted in some and not in others. It didn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t come along after me and be successful. I was okay with that. Nonetheless, it’s very difficult to be rejected. Both figuratively and literally speaking, sometimes wiping the dust that clings is exactly what we need to do in order to leave some experiences behind us so that we can seize the hope that is set before us. While others may prefer to follow other “gods”, let the remnants of disobedience remain where it is. Our soul, like the high priest Melchizedek, is anchored in the one God who promises to bless and multiply the work that we have done through the grace of his son Jesus Christ. We move on because the harvest is plentiful.

Shoulda. Coulda, Woulda,

“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:51-62  If we spend too much time looking back at what you should have done, could have done, would have done – you are not ready to move forward. In the emotional sense we’re not fit. One day I realized that every moment I spend thinking about what I could have or should have done is a lost opportunity. I can’t change what’s already happened. Today is always a new opportunity. The strength of our faith is enhanced by our willingness to put our hand to the plow and move forward as we prepare for the seeds of God’s blessings everyday.

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.  Luke 9:51-62

Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness. For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens. Psalm 89

God’s Kitchen

…because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. Luke 11:1-13  I find it interesting that Jesus points out the nuances in the art of friendship. I remember the times when well after dinnertime and my kitchen had been cleaned and “closed”, my mother after traveling on the road, would sometimes drop by my house unannounced with a friend  and ask what I had to eat. I was always happy to see my mother and her friends but not so happy that I usually ended up having to clean my kitchen again. It never stopped her from showing up unannounced and I feel blessed that as I became an adult my mother became my friend. I am blessed that she felt comfortable enough to bring her friends to my house and “raid” my kitchen after hours. I suppose only a mother friend could get away with something like that. It’s like that with God as well. We have a tendency to show up before God after having traveled through a tremendous experience asking for sustenance, seeking refuge and knocking with the expectation that the door will be opened. Christ assures us that God is a much better friend than any one of us could ever be. And its a good thing because some interesting conversations and shared wisdom always came out of those late night kitchen raids. The good news for us is that God’s kitchen is always open.

“For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:1-13

Spiritual Endurance

“Who do the crowds say that I am?” Luke 9:18-27  Ever wonder what other people are thinking about you? It’s not unusual. We do it all the time, for example when we have applied for a job or when we are meeting someone new or perhaps when we are trying to create change. Most times we don’t think about it until we’ve said or done something that causes adverse effects in our relationships. Jesus thought about it just long enough to ask the question and get the response he needed to hear from his disciples. We are Christ’s disciples and to forget who we are in Christ weakens the spirit of Christ within us. Other people will think we are many things but our lives are not defined by what other people say about who we are, but by our steadfast willingness to follow the way of the cross. Fortified by the promises of God’s word, when all else passes away, the strength to continue our journey despite the hardships in the situations we experience is how we know who we are; spiritually enduring for the sake of the gospel.

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?”  Luke 9:18-27

James 1:1-15; Deuteronomy 8:1-10; Psalm 80