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October 8, 2018

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Read Numbers 35

 

To read this text go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+35&version=NLT

 

Scripture- Numbers 35:11-13a- Designate cities of refuge to which people can flee if they have killed someone accidentally. These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community. Designate six cities of refuge for yourselves.

 

Observations- The Levites, the clergy of ancient Israel, were put in charge of the cities of refuge, because they would have been considered the best third party, neutral observers to all kinds of conflict. 3400 years ago revenge was written into the standard code of conduct in most cultures, but Israel had strict limits about revenge. “An eye for an eye,” for example, was originally a graceful limit; that is, the tendency would have been “make me blind in one eye and I’ll make sure you can’t see out of either eye,” or “you kill my brother and I’ll kill your entire family.” The cities of refuge served the purpose of preventing indiscriminate revenge and the opportunity for justice.

 

Application- Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-42): “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” Here Jesus is inviting all those who want to follow Him to live into an even higher standard. When we are personally offended or hurt, revenge can no longer be our default position. Frankly, I can't do this in my own strength. I need the inspiration and the fire of the Holy Spirit to come anywhere close to fulfilling Jesus' desire for me in this area. How can you choose- with God's help- to “turn the other cheek” in your life today?

 

Prayer- Dear God, it's both comforting and confronting that Jesus wants so much more for me than I want for myself. Turning the other cheek is hard. Help us be a part of what You’re up to in the world through Jesus Christ as we seek to be His hands, feet, and voice in a world that often values revenge. Help us extend grace and mercy in ways that go far beyond “an eye for an eye.” Don’t let the negativity of revenge or bitterness gain a stronghold in my heart! Give me Your wisdom and strength to live into the truths Christ has for me today. Amen.

 

"The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in Him. And those who do what is right will praise him." (Psalm 64:10),

 

Pastor Jamie

 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​To contact me:

 

To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

Posted by Jamie Westlake with
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October 7, 2018

Read Numbers 34

 

To read this text go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+34&version=NLT

 

Scripture- Numbers 34:1-2- Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give these instructions to the Israelites: When you come into the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your special possession, these will be the boundaries.”

 

Observations- Before they entered into the Promised Land, the Israelites needed a plan about how they would live there there together. There would always be external threats to their existence, but if they were careful to develop a good initial plan, they might be able to avoid some internal threats and conflicts. This required them to envision the day when they would plant their crops, nurture them to grow, and then be harvested. They needed to picture their herds grazing fairly and their families coming together for worship on each Sabbath and all the special days of celebration in order to make a plan. They had been wandering around without boundaries for 40 years, but now God was leading them to their home as one people. 

 

Application- We've said yes to some boundaries from God at New Hope. We've declared that making more and better followers of Jesus Christ is key in all of our decisions. We have said that our strategy for miss and ministry is to Reach, Connect, Grow, and Send as we seek to be rooted in God's Word and Renewed by God's Spirit as we Reach out with the love of Jesus to all people. These simple statements serve a boundary markers that help guide us to both what we should do and what we should stop doing or never start doing. If anyone at New Hope wants to start a new ministry, key questions will all revolve around these boundaries as God leads us to "take new territory" for His glory

 

Prayer- (A prayer at Holy Communion) Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.

 

Pastor Jamie

 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​To contact me:

 

To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

Posted by Jamie Westlake with

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