God never seems to do things that make natural logical sense. It’s been that way since the beginning…the crazy part is it all makes sense to God hence WHY He does it the way He does it.
Today’s reading of Genesis 7 proves a piece of that audacity of God. From Adam forwards to Noah (so 10 generations later…) God gave Noah children. All previous generations had children between age 65-150; Noah was 500 (!) I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad. HA! He reared his children (3 sons-Shem, Ham, and Japheth) and they married so at a minimum Noah might have been about 516 years old before he was called by God to build the ark.
In verse 11 we learned “in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the foundations of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Noah lived a long life before his “life” really began…before He saw God’s favor…before he became part of something God was doing. We too might be like that.
Noah was found to be righteous…which begs the question, “What am I doing with my time?” Am I consistently seeking friendship/mentorship/Lordship with God…with or without a Noah-sized ministry moment? Didn’t he get “lost” in the mundane like we do? There are a million physical reasons God could have or should have used someone else but that’s not how God does it. He was looking for the righteous one, regardless of what he brings to the table…WHY? Because God knew that He would be empowering & sustaining Noah to do whatever He asked Him to do. God was looking at the heart because He can equip Noah for the rest.
I John 4:9, “In this the love of God was manifested towards us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
Coming off of the verses from yesterday regarding love being our measuring stick for knowing and loving God (Canyon Hills Community Church Sermon on Fruit of the Spirit), John follows this logic up with reminding us that the SAME love that drove Jesus to leave His throne and come to the world to ultimately be separated (for the first time E V E R) from the Father, to die for people in the midst of their sin, is the SAME love that empowers us to LIVE through Himself.
I get this all backwards most days…I look at myself and lament my unloving ways…why? Because I’m trying to love in my own strength and supply. This isn’t how God lays it out!! Marianne, we live “through Him” My life of loving others well is directly connected to how I’m loving my Father. Just as He stated to love Him above all things (step 1) then love others as yourself (step 2). Step 2 can’t happen successfully without step 1 AND further to the point, what is the point of loving others if I don’t love God?! True love is TOO hard to do without God or because of God. You can be kind. You can be sacrificial. You can be faithful…but all of these attributes have a selfish counterpart. Love will cause us to go the distance when there isn’t hope of any return on investment. Why do we love like this? Because we are lavished by His love for us. That love is sinless. That love is true. That love satisfies all other needs in our feeble hearts.
I love how God is pressing us through love & forgiveness together!
I John 3:17-18, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
These two verses dig down to the depths of my bottom line theology and challenge the fundamental truth of that theology, which is SOVEREINGTY. If I hold the conviction that God is sovereign and in charge of all things (material, spiritual, and emotional) and if He has blessed me with the “world’s goods” why would I withhold them from another in need? How/why would I “shut up” my heart? That type of withholding comes from selfishness, pride, and being my own master. Many times I have felt the judge and jury over whether another was in need because they squandered, were foolish, and in essence “didn’t deserve it.” Do I deserve the lavish gifts of God? “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called the children of God.” (Also I John) This is the EXACT manner of love that should be overflowing out of my heart. Love given to the undeserving…esteem placed on the unworthy. If I can’t love in this way then I don’t fully understand God’s love for me. Love, this boundless love, is only truly shown in our actions and in the risk of truth. I have a long way to go in this department but I KNOW this is the key to so much living “as Christ” and I must allow God to have His way here in my heart in this area.
My desert is receiving rain…and just like God, it’s not in the ways I expected. It’s revival time. As He is my Shepherd I will hear His voice…it is not my prompting that will cause the Shepherd to speak, rather it is of His timing and of His desire when to speak to His sheep. As His sheep I will patiently wait. He is speaking. Our consistent pursuit of Him in the desert, our faithfulness to remain in Him always reaps reward.
I Peter was my reward today…God is working. He is stirring His people. He is making it clear that being a casual Christian, a lukewarm believer, is not going to cut it in the days/months/years ahead. Our allegiance is to the One who gave His life for us. Period. I’ve been wrestling with how to respond to our current political climate and desiring to KNOW how to bring God glory by my voice & life in these times and today I was brought to I Peter2:13-17
“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to the governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men-as free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” To continue that message read further in I Peter 2:18-25…that will be unpacked tomorrow! 😊
- *I am, no matter my country, a citizen of heaven but I have a responsibility here on earth and I am “subject” or “submitting” myself to every ordinance of man-(government, institutions like police, military, education…etc)
- In the verse before, I Peter 2:12, it refers to me as a “sojourner” or one of “exile”…because this world is not my home…and in verse 16 it states that I am “free” yet I’m subject or bound.
- “They” (the foolish people) will speak or accuse me of being “evil”…but instead of fighting or waging war, I am to prove them wrong by my “good deeds”.
- *God has placed the kings and the governors in charge of us…even if they are opposed to God.
- He has placed them in authority to do two things: 1-“punish evil” and 2-“praise those who do good.”
- We should excel at doing good because it’s the will of God.
- The result of doing good will be to “silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
- *Why do we do this?
- “For the Lord’s sake”…if we are being subject to those rulers for the Lord’s sake then that would elevate the Lord above those. It is because of the Lord, we can be subject. That’s why we were sent.
- *In verse 16, we are “free” from the rule of the king and governor…we don’t fall under them because of who they are, rather, we submit to them for the Lord’s sake.
- Matthew 17:24-27 live as people who are free but pay the tax as not to offend. We can render to Cesaer what is Caesar’s because we are subject to God who owns ALL things, including what we give to Cesaer. We are not anarchists who feel that they are not subject to governing authorities! We are free in God in order to go back into submission of the establishment.
- *Fear God.
- I fear God far above my fear of institutions. Our behavior isn’t out of fear of man rather fear of God.
- He has commanded this…so we better do it.
- *Honor EVERYONE- justice and fairness honors all people even if they have committed an grievous offense! The honor they can receive is a truly fair trial…Honor doesn’t mean that we cower to demands.
- *Love the brotherhood-create special treatment/expression of love for our brothers and sisters.
- *We should be overflowing in good deeds.
- All of I Peter oozes our need for doing good deeds…there is something powerful in our witness when we are driven to do good to others…to ALL people as a way to honor and glorify God & His name.
- Don’t do the minimum required…no shoddy ethics…go above and beyond to serve.
- *Silence the ignorance
- People who are ignorant of what Christianity is and what we stand for will be revealed by our good deeds.
We “bear witness to the truth”…God will reign again and we do not need to fear man.
May this be us…may we desire to be in the world to do GOOD. Let’s not get wrapped up in the chaos…rise above it and see that God has instructed us already in how to handle where we are.
Amazing that I’ve had time today to actually WRITE something down!!
I Peter 1:18-20
“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times for you.”
We who claim the name of Christ we weren’t redeemed with anything that fades or breaks down. No! We were redeemed with the precious, sacred, holy, glorious, righteous blood of JESUS CHRIST! His blood. The infinite God. The Creator of all the world, space, and time… It’s HIS blood that has redeemed me…FOREVER. I can not step outside of His blood…it’s already been shed for me, over me, stained me. There is NOTHING I can do or say that will ever un-redeem me. Jesus Christ became my covenant. He is my perfect lamb…the only One who could have the power to save me incorruptibly.
Before the foundations of the world were made it was foreordained that He would manifest this gift for ME! Let that sink in. If that doesn’t speak indescribable VALUE into my heart then nothing will! He has chosen me not because I’m special, talented, or have “so much to offer”…simply because of His grace & mercy & love.
This is the POWER of the gospel. This has the power to melt any heart of stone. This is where I stand, firm and complete…in His incorruptible redemption. Only He can make all things new…only He redeems. We are to SHOW that to the world.
I am stuck. I’m reading (powerful stuff too!) but I’m not “hearing”. My heart isn’t stirred, convicted, or impressed by what ‘m reading. So I take my que from David and I “wait patiently for my God.” He is here; I am here. He loves me; I love Him. He has plans for me; I want to follow His plans. So I wait in expectant faith…meditating on His word until He calls after me. I’ve been continually brought back to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
LOVE is patient: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
synonyms: forbearing · uncomplaining · tolerant · long-suffering · resigned · composed · serene · even-tempered · tranquil · accommodating · understanding · considerate · persevering · persistent · tenacious · diligent · · resolved · resolute · single-minded · purposeful
Being patient with others, patient with myself, patient with God is love and loving. Patience requires me to serve others with endurance from a posture of humility. Patience requires me to not consider myself greater than I am, but to consider others greater than myself. Patience requires me to not consider myself God, rather to recognize that God is God and my trust/obedience/faith are in Him/His timing/His ways and He “owes” me nothing.
This is my mediation today…Love is patient, Lord show me this is deeper and more full ways today.
Wrapped up Jonah today…Chapter 4 is full of lessons for us as Christ followers! Once Jonah saw the tenderness of God towards the repentant Ninevites he was angry. He told God, “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord, I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” God answers with a simple convicting question, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?” God doesn’t tell Jonah all the reason he is wrong or pull the “I’m God” card…He gently asks is it right for you to be angry? Sometimes God is at work (perhaps in our country right now) but we are so blinded by our own experiences and expectations of “justice” that when God acts mercifully to save and to restore we are bitter and resentful yet it’s the gift He gave us to which we are deeply thankful for. Self-righteousness comes when we forget we are equal sinners to those we hate or despise. I am them. I am one of them. I am called to serve them not ask for God to wipe them off the face of the earth by quoting some scripture. God’s always for preserving life. Always. Why? Because it’s a chance at redemption! We all deserve death but we were given a chance at redemption! God sent Jesus to give “all men” a chance at redemption. Who am I not to grieve if that chance is lost for another?! I believe this is the heart I must have in order to truly “weep with those who weep” and to come bearing HOPE in order to “bind up the brokenhearted.” Jonah missed this completely. This also shows me that sometimes I miss God’s greater story in my life. I can be used by God in a miraculous way and because of my own heart miss the miracle. Jonah left to pout; God grew a plant outside his shelter to keep him shaded and to bring him relief from the blazing sun. Jonah was relieved. The next morning God sent a worm to eat through its root and the plant died. God sent a scorching sun which left Jonah so hot “death is certainly better than living like this!” God asks him again “is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” Jonah misses the point again and says, “Yes, even angry enough to die!” The final recorded word to Jonah from God was “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But in Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” This is the perspective of God…we cry over endangered forests but not endangered babies. We don’t weep or rejoice fully at the work that God is doing when we “don’t agree” with the principle of the people being saved. For example, I’m hearing amazing reports from believers who are doing baptisms inside CHOP…we should be REJOICING at this news!! Salvations!! Changed lives!! But because we don’t “agree” with the destruction, their method of occupying, and their ideology we complain to God about “not doing something” to fix this issue. He IS doing something! He’s doing something through people who are looking past the pouting and offering to serve them in love then with the truth of the gospel. Which side will we be on? Which side will I be on? Marianne you have been crucified. You are Christs…do HIS work, not your own…He has plans of redemption here.
Jonah 3:1-10…If I were to title this chapter it would be, “How we respond matters”. How Jonah responds to God’s request matters; how the people of Nineveh respond to Jonah’s message from the Lord matters. How WE respond to our world and God’s call on us matters. A LOT. Why? Our response reveals who “owns” us…who “calls the shots” in our lives. Jonah didn’t mind being a profit, until he was asked to do something he didn’t want to. In fact, it was the prophet, the one “closest to God”, who wouldn’t obey…not the violent and evil city of Nineveh. A great reminder that we make a choice daily to “take up our cross” and to lay down lordship of our lives.
When God asked Jonah to go into the city thankfully he obeyed this time. It took Jonah three days to proclaim throughout the city that in “40 days Nineveh will be destroyed” but as he did the people immediately believed; they created a fast and clothed themselves in burlap to lament for what they’d done. In fact, the king heard the message, got off his throne, took off his royal robed, dressed in burlap, and sat on a heap of ashes. He then sent out a decree to the whole city asking for every person and animal (!) to not eat or drink but instead to pray earnestly and to turn from violence and evil. God saw their response and spared the city. In His mercy He relented because of their sorrow. How we respond matters.
Look at our nation, crumbling (literally) into pieces. We are violent, stubborn, evil, sinful, and have turned our backs on God in a flagrant way. As His church am I too self-righteous to run into that fire in order to save others? Is my heart too full of condemnation and pride to believe that God could be merciful? Do I want Him to? This is the burden God asks me to bear…to weep with those who weep, to “bind up the brokenhearted”…it seems that there are brokenhearted people EVERYWHERE! What am I actively doing to “bind them up”? The hope isn’t in American and their ability to turn away from sin…the hope is Jesus and His power to work WITHIN the hearts. I need this word today…I need to pray faithfully on this truth and lay my life open to the Lord to speak into it, “get up and go…” To show me how to bind up the brokenhearted.
Jonah 2:1-10 – All forms of earthly disruption (storms of life, like we are currently in) are primarily spiritual disruptions born in the spiritual realm. They are, as Dr. Tony Evans calls them, Divine Disruptions. To make sense of these disruptions without addressing the issue spiritually makes no sense…the point IS spiritual. Same for Jonah. It wasn’t until after he fled, endured a violent storm, was plummeted into the deep almost dead, and swallowed by a “giant fish”, and sat there inside of the fish for three days and nights did he finally PRAY. Jonah 2:1, “Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God…” This is our human condition. This is our pride. This is our skewed belief that we will somehow out-wit the God who commands the sea and land. This reflects how we greatly we view ourselves and how small we view God. Jonah finally relents to God’s will and authority in his prayer and he states, “But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows, for my salvation comes from the LORD alone.” IMMEDIATELY Jonah is spit onto the shore. When we finally relent God’s response is immediate. God wasn’t just desiring to redeem Nineveh, He wanted to redeem the wayward heart of Jonah. God wants this from us too. In the process of God resolving our divine disruption He’s resolving heart issues in His people. God waists NOTHING. Everything is transformative. God doesn’t yell or condemn Jonah…He simply spits him out. He is so long-suffering. Grace is always at the front end of His behavior. God is holding us, His people, right now in the belly of the fish…in our chaos until our will is tamed and His will is received by us. He will not relent. He is God. This is His plan and it will come to pass. What should we do? Easy: 1. Pray. 2. Offer praise. 3. Commit our hearts to God’s will and not our own. Everything we might run to…God commands, created, and owns…to not align ourselves under His will and care is stubbornness. Jonah is a mirror of how much our heart can hate a people group…it can make us rebel and run from God, take us out of God’s will, cause spiritual disruptions, and bring us close to death before we choose to love like God loves. Just because we are His people doesn’t mean that we love like He does…only a heart continually laid out before Him will have the ability to do that.
The more insane the world gets the more true, steady, and solid God is. I can’t help but see God’s utter divine providence in every new cast. However, if I am spending more time reading or watching or listening to the world and it’s commentary of our times then I’ve grossly missed the point…I am a CHRIST follower; not a political follower or a particular minister’s follower…a CHRIST follower. I need to saturate myself in what God’s word says about my sin, my heart, my pride, and ask Him to align my wayward heart to His so that I can stand for the things He stands for. Alone. God has cranked the turn key of my wick and that fire is growing ever brighter towards obedience, allegiance, and faith than ever before. James 4:11-12, “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Christian, yes, you in the mirror, don’t slander other believers! What is the point of that? For what gain? Typically, a personal one…a self-righteous one. I want to judge another believer for their failure or sin so that mine isn’t so apparent. As long as we are judging others the finger isn’t pointing at us. When we place ourselves in position of judge we are elevating ourselves to God’s place. He created the law; He created the judgments against it and He alone will execute a ruling. We do NOT know the heart nor the place that each brother or sister is in their sanctification. What we CAN hold one another accountable to is coming alongside one another and spurring them (us) on towards Christ. Instead of judgment we should become a coach, a cheerleader, mentor, or teacher to help each other have the deepest, closest, most holy relationship with God that we can have this side of heaven. When we confront other believers our goal should be that of a desire to bring one another closer to Jesus not diminish or devalue each other. This truth is SO applicable right now…let’s come together to grow, to increase our desire for more of Jesus…deeper, fuller, and richer than we have ever experienced before!