Tag Archives: Ten Commandments

The Gospel According To Weight Watchers

Six years ago I decided it was time to finally get my health in order (read: I was entering my 40s and I recognized it was time to shed some pounds). Previously, I had tried the Atkins diet but failed miserably. While I love eating protein, the requirement that I completely eliminate carbohydrates drove me nuts (sorry for the pun!). I realized that being told NOT to eat something made me want to eat it even more. When Dr. Atkins told me I couldn’t eat any salad, well, that made me crave leafy vegetables, succulent cucumbers and juicy tomatoes–even if I wasn’t a salad eater!

Then a friend introduced me to Weight Watchers (and no, I’m not getting any royalties by talking about them). At my first meeting, they explained that if I wanted to lose weight, I needed to stay within a certain point total each day. They emphasized that Weight Watchers wasn’t a diet because I was free to eat anything—every food and drink was assigned a certain point total based on calories, fat grams, dietary fiber, and volume. If I ate something loaded with calories, I would need to compensate that same day in other areas of my diet.

Within five months I lost 40 pounds!

After my first meeting, I experienced one of those “Aha!” moments. Weight Watchers is based on the New Testament teaching of the new covenant!

Curious? Then join us in our daily Bible conversation.

TODAY’S READING

Job 28:1-33:33
2 Corinthians 2:12-3:18
Psalm 42:1-43:5
Proverbs 22:7-9

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Job 28:1-33:33. Job may appear to be droning on and on about his righteousness, but remember that his friends have accused him of evil. So in this section, he’s saying, “If I’ve done evil, then let my suffering become even worse.”

In chapter 32, Elihu enters the stage. He isn’t considered one of Job’s three “friends,” but he’s listened to the exchange and finally can’t stand it any longer. He’s angry at Job and his friends. He’s angry at Job because the man sees himself as “in the right” while God is “in the wrong.” None of us get what we deserve (Job 33:27). He’s angry at Job’s friends because they keep leveling wrongful accusations. In Elihu’s estimation, God allows suffering to prevent us from not just sinning, but making choices that bring death to our souls.
Psalm 42:1-43:5. In some manuscripts, both of these psalms constitute one psalm, which is apparent due to the recurring chorus. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” In the midst of his stress and sorrow, the psalmist speaks these hope-filled words to himself.
Proverbs 22:7. “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” This is a painful but true proverb—especially in light of our sour economy. If you need help getting out of debt, check out Dave Ramsey’s website. I can’t recommend him highly enough.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.

THE WORD MADE FRESH

In 2 Corinthians 3:7-18, Paul compares the differences between the old covenant and the new covenant. The old covenant was instituted when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments. Basically, it was a list of dos and don’ts—all of them are good and serve as the foundation of law and order in western civilization. Paul doesn’t criticize the old covenant, but he points out that we’ve been given a new and better covenant:

  • the ministry of the Spirit is superior to the ministry that brought death (verses 7–8)
  • the ministry that brings righteousness is better than the ministry that condemns (verse 9)
  • the ministry which lasts is better than that which was fading away (verse 11)

The old covenant was based on rules the govern us from outside ourselves, but the new covenant is based on freedom that guides us from the inside! The new covenant doesn’t eliminate all restraints—just like Weight Watchers gives their adherents a daily point total. But like Weight Watchers, it isn’t based on those restrictions, it’s based on freedom.

All are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God,” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:22–23 (italics added).

Contrary to popular belief, our faith isn’t based on restrictions but on freedom. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Because of Pentecost (Acts 2), the Holy Spirit now lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16), convicting us and transforming us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:18). If you have given your life to Jesus, the deepest part of you isn’t even you—it’s Jesus, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

What does this mean for us?

As we reflect the heart of the psalmist in today’s reading (Psalm 42:1-2) and live according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), we don’t need rules to guide us because the Holy Spirit is guiding us.

That is freedom!

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. What does a list of rules do to you?
  3. Describe a time when a list of rules inspired you to break them.
  4. What affect does freedom have on you?
  5. What does  walking in new covenant look like in your everyday life?

If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.

www.bibleconversation.com

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Created To Fly

Mary Poppins ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time. Call me a nerd, I don’t care!

My favorite scene occurs at the end of the movie when newly recovered workaholic George Banks invites his children to join him in flying a kite. The scene always moves me to tears.

With springtime in the air, we’re entering kite flying season. I’m not a physics whiz, but have you ever considered how kites stay in the air? Obviously, they need wind and a tail. But they also need a string. You’d think that by letting go of the string, the kite would soar even higher—but that isn’t the case. Let go of the string and your kite will fall to the ground. But hang on to the string—even tug it—and the kite will soar higher.

The thing that holds the kite up in the air is the thing that ties it down.

Believe it or not, that summarizes today’s daily conversation.

Please join me!

TODAY’S READING

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25
Luke 7:11-35
Psalm 68:19-35
Proverbs 11:29-31

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Deuteronomy 5-6:25. Horeb is another name for Mt. Sinai.

In this section, Moses recounts the heart of the covenant between God and Israel by reciting the 10 Commandments (the first time they’re mentioned is in Exodus 20:2-17). This time while reading through them, I noticed something interesting in Moses’ instructions regarding keeping the Sabbath in verse 15. He reminds Israel, “Remember that you were slaves.” What does that have to do with the Sabbath? When Israel worked for Egypt as slaves, they labored seven days a week. They never enjoyed a day off for rest, hence, work was bondage. The Sabbath, then, celebrates Israel’s freedom from slavery.

This gives me pause to consider the power that work can play on any individual. Working seven days a week is slavery. Bondage. Taking a break from work is one way we can declare to ourselves and everyone that our jobs are not our masters. This is something I need to seriously consider, because pastoring and writing gravitate toward requiring seven days a week.

Luke 7:11-17. The widow in the story was truly in a difficult place. She had no husband to support her and then her only other source of provision—her son—had died. Notice that Jesus touched the coffin, rendering him defiled the rest of the day.

Psalm 68:19-35. If you have time, meditate on verse 19 for a moment: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Every day, God bears our burdens. Imagine what your life would look like if he didn’t bear your burdens.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.

THE WORD MADE FRESH

“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always,

so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”

-Deuteronomy 5:29

This passage of Scripture expresses God’s desire for us. He wants our lives to go well.  Moses reiterates this in Deuteronomy 6:3: “Be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey.”

God wants you to thrive–believe it!

This reminds me that because God loves us, he only desires good for us. But notice that his words were spoken within the context of obeying his commands. In fact, his words immediately follow the listing of the Ten Commandments.

This tells me that the law wasn’t intended to serve as a means to restrict Israel’s joy, it was intended to enhance it. Oftentimes what we regard as “freedom” is really bondage in disguise. And some “restrictions” actually open the door to greater freedom.

Like the string on a kite, the thing that keeps you up in the air is the thing that ties you down—and obedience to God is the string.

Sometime today, I encourage you to take a moment to ask God, In what areas of my life are you calling me into greater obedience?

I could offer you different options on what obedience might mean for you, but I think that would counteract the process. God created you to fly, but in order to fly you need something to tie you down.

I’m not advocating legalism. Danger lies on either end of obedience—living an overly restrictive life or with too much license.

If you want to fly, then pay close attention to what holds you down.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. How have you experience freedom through obedience to God?
  3. How have you experienced bondage through your freedoms?
  4. How is God calling you to obey?
  5. What would your life look like if God didn’t bear your daily burdens?

If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.

www.bibleconversation.com

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized