Sunday, May 15, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Acts 1:23-26

So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 
Then they prayed and said,
"Lord, you know everyone's heart.
Show us which one of these two you have chosen 
to take the place in this ministry and apostleship
from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." 
And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias;
and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Acts 1:23-26 
Several years ago, a Sunday School leader was planning to divide a large group of middle schoolers into three permanent small groups. And so the pressure started. Parents started saying, "Well, Jenny wants to be with Mary" and "Tommy wants to be with John."
It felt like a no-win situtation. No matter which way he crafted the groups, someone's wishes wouldn't be honored and someone else's feelings would be hurt. So he looked for a Biblical method and came up with casting lots.    
The point of this isn't how amazingly fair and equitable these lot-chosen groups wound up being. We could certainly throw dice, flip coins, and cast lots with plenty of superstition and call some pretty absurd things "God's will." The point is to remind us of a kind of faith that removes our personal preferences and trusts in God's desires instead.
In Acts 1, the disciples cast lots to determine their twelfth Apostle. In 1 Chronicles 24, the jobs of priests were assigned by lots -- "so that no preference would be shown, for there were many qualified officials serving God."
The point is this ... I generally don't recommend chance as a method of making major decisions! But I do recommend the kind of faith that will submit its own preferences to God's desires.
And simply reading scripture in a disciplined way tends to do this for most of us. If we let it, scripture will challenge us in virtually every paragraph to submit our preferences to God's desires.
And here's the ironic wonder in this: Submission to God is the path to freedom! It seems just the opposite. But the alternative is bondage to sin and selfishness. God wants to set us free from that, and be submitting to his higher call, that's when we become truly free.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who tends to lose
at games of chance
(I'll stick with God's direction)
What is a disciplined way of reading scripture?
How do we really know what is God's specific desire for us really is?

I have been trying to study and learn how to gain freedom from bondage of my past and all the strongholds it still has on me.  But many times I wonder if I am truly gaining freedom. Will I ever really be free while on earth? Is all the study, learning, choosing to believe and trust working? Or is it all a waste of time?

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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