Monday, November 4, 2013

Good morning Ollies
Our readings for today are Psalm 32 and Chapter Three in Prodigal God.
Psalm 32 begins:
 How joyful is the one
whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered!
How joyful is the man
the Lord does not charge with sin
and in whose spirit is no deceit!

A spirit that knows God is forgiven and joyful. It doesn't know deceit.
In Chapter 3 of the Prodigal God, Keller states that Jesus redefines sin. It is not the legal definition of the Pharisees, nor is it the cultural definition of the rebels.
Sin is being on outs with God, unforgiving and unforgiven, not loving God.  Instead, we barter with God. Our intent is deceit. WE don't want to walk with God. We want to turn from Him as soon as possible. Either we endure His rules and regulations for a profit or we despise His rules and regulations for our own better way. Jesus teaches us that neither way leads to God, but instead tries to make our own salvation for us.
David gives two examples, the one who did not confess his sins as in Psalm 32:3 and the one who needs a bit and bridle; Psalm 32:9.
Keller quotes Flannery O'Connor from  Wise Blood. Hazel Motes states "the way to avoid Jesus is to avoid sin." What a knock out punch! How many of us subscribe to this notion? I haven't sinned today Lord so I don't really need You out in front. I'll save You for later, just in case. As if salvation is limited or only for those that need it or maybe we could just circumvent the whole sin thing and allow our own comfortable notions of self-salvation in the mix.
By Keller's examination, Jesus' definition of sin cuts against the grain. As Christians we know that we must do certain things. We must be good. We must not sin. We must obey God. WE end up with a boat-load of could'a, would'a, should'a's; a lot of knowing about God, inside knowing very little of Him.
In Micah 6:8 the Lord tells us all that we have to do and make our own salvation is not one of those things. We are to seek justice. This doesn't mean we go on a rampage against our own definition of the oppressor, but to actually consider God in our definition of justice. Jesus said let the one without sin cast the first stone. Condemnation is not what God asks of us, but justice in our own actions that we may seek His will for us and the others around us.
Micah goes on to say that we should love mercy. Again that is not to say our own mercy for others which is not true mercy, but that we should love to forgive as we also have been forgiven. In loving mercy we love God's ways, we seek His will, not our will. It is no credit to us that we forgive, but rather the glory, magic and joy are of God. We merely reflect His mercy for us.
Finally, in the rules that Micah sets before us, we are to walk humbly with the Lord our God. Neither brother in the story of the Prodigal Son is humble, or, for that matter, walking with God. One is rebellious and only humbles himself to return. The other is haughty and proud, demanding condemnation for the younger brother. His trust in his father revolves around a conviction of self-righteousness. "I have made this deal with you now see it through, Father. I have kept my end of the bargain." He does not love mercy.
David ends Psalm 32 with these words:
Many pains come to the wicked,
but the one who trusts in the Lord
will have faithful love surrounding him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,
you righteous ones;
shout for joy,
all you upright in heart.

Micah too counsels us to trust in the Lord and walk with Him. In redefining sin, Keller teaches that we should trust in the Lord not our own ways.
Thanks for  reading, blessing and joy to you and Happy Thanksgiving.
Also posted in Just One Beggar

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7th 2013

Good morning Ollies

Happy October
Today we will review the second chapter in, The Prodigal God, by Tim Keller.
and Psalm 86

Psalm 86 speaks of deep longing , a need for holiness, for something worthy truly sacred to right and comfort us in our distress.
 Verses 4- 7 read:
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    (I)abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
(J)Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
In (K)the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    (L)for you answer me.

Then verse 8 and 9 go on to speak of God alone as holy.
If we turn this towards the acts of the Younger Son in chapter two, the astounding truth of the child demanding his claim to inheritance from his father is magnified in light of the Psalm. How can any child so completely eschew this overwhelming need for righteous devotion in favor of worldly gum, only to savor a cheap flavor them spit it out.

Keller breaks up this part of the Scripture into three scenes in Act I. The first scene has to do with the request, I'd rather you be dead father, just give me my portion and I'll leave you. The father acquiesces. It shocks us, but it shocks more fully when paired with our need for this father and what the father does to satisfy his son. He sells his land, crippling himself for a child who does not appreciate him.

In scene II the son goes off to a faraway land and squanders all he has been given, so that he is little more than the pigs he slops. He decides to return and ask to be taken on as an apprentice to a hired hand. He believes he will at least have food and shelter in this manner. He has dishonored the family and expects not to return to it, only to learn a trade and possibly to pay off some of his debt before he dies.

In the final scene of Act I the Younger Son comes within sight of the house and his father races to greet him. Keller points out that children and occasionally women will run , but men, especially heads of households do not run, but this father does. Not only that he call for a feast, a rare feast with a expensive delicacies inviting the entire village. The message, God's love and mercy extend to all sin. He is wholly holy and only He can accomplish this, as Psalm 86:9 states.

Keller goes on to state that Act I show us the freeness of God's grace, but Act II will show us the costliness of God's grace.

Keller ends this chapter by looking at the Elder Brother's response. He is furious. He refuses to enter the feast. His father begs him to join them, to celebrate the return of the one who is lost., but the Elder brother refuses, easily as defiant and as scorching as the Younger Brother's earlier request for his inheritance.

More next month. Thanks you for reading BEV

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ollie Mac Devotions

For September 9th 2013
Hello Happy September

We are using the book The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller this year.
This is a great study of Luke 15:11-32. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Here are notes for Monday the 9th:
Introduction and Chapter One plus Psalm 8

Psalm 8 is sometimes called the creation Psalm. Our glorious Creator called magnificent and covers the heavens with His glory.
After pronouncing His glory in the works of His fingers the Psalm asks a simple question, what is man that You look after him?
The picture of hands fingers working is at once tender and intimate, but the Psalm speaks of the moon and stars which You put in place. A magnificent tender hand sets this creation before us, places us in the creation and then looks after us. Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us that the Lord exults over His people He sings over them, that He is wholly sufficient for our needs, our sins and our troubles that he will quiet us with his love.

Timothy Keller makes the claim that God is the prodigal more so than the either of the lost sons. Prodigal is defined as: spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant, wasteful, extravagant, spendthrift, profligate, improvident; imprudent having or giving something on a lavish scale, generous, lavish, liberal, unstinting, unsparing.

Keller establishes the two groups of listeners to Jesus as Luke delineates in chapter 15: the tax collectors and sinners, and the Pharisees and teachers of the law. These two types correspond to the the brother that left home and the brother that stayed home in the parable of the Prodigal Son. On page eleven, Timothy Keller calls our attention to the fact that Jesus is actually speaking to the second group, the Pharisees and teachers. The message aims to inform and direct God's priesthood. He goes on to say that the original listeners were not awed to tears by this message but they were thunderstruck. As my sister says, they were "gobsmacked," socked in the face. Both groups of listeners have been wrong about how to connect with God. He states the religiously observant people were offended by Jesus and cites the following Scripture: Luke 7:36-50John 3-4Luke 19, and Matthew 21:31.

Keller ends the chapter with this: "If our churches aren't appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we'd like to think."

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Blessings BEV

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ollie MacNeil Devotions

For Monday March 4th 2013

We will be studying 1 Timothy 6 and 1 John 5.
See you tomorrow. Bev

Sunday, February 3, 2013

For February 4th, 2013

We will study 1 Timothy 5 and Psalm 41.
See you tomorrow and thank you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

 November Ollies

Please note: Our November 5th meeting was changed to November 12th, 2012
Our devotion will come from 1 Timothy 3-4 and Psalm 42
Look for notes about your observations our discussion concerning the devotion later this week. See you soon.