Tag Archive for 'grace'

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Jonah… Not just about a fish.

Jonah. He had a clear calling from God to go and preach against the city of Nineveh… But he ran from God. Jonah headed for Tarshish, which is on the opposite side of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Jonah didn’t just hang out where he was in disobedience. He ran the opposite direction. So here Jonah is, asleep in the middle of a storm, willfully walking in disobedience. All of the other sailors are crying out to their gods in fear and desperation. The captain goes down and wakes Jonah up and says “Get up and call on your god!”
I find this situation parallels my life all too often. I turn in disobedience to the Spirit and ignore His leading or His calling. Whether big or small, helping someone, fighting against my flesh, making life changing decisions… all too often I screw it up. Then comes a storm. Something happens and I need or I am asked to call upon the power of the Lord. I have to completely rely on God. Can I do it? I usually fall into the trap of my disobedience. I disobeyed God. I’ve run from God. Who am I to call on Him? How shameful am I? That’s when I must remember the faithfulness of God. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 are my favorite verses:

“If we died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us;
if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

I have to trust the faithfulness of God. He tells me that He has no record of my sins (Heb 8:12). Scripture tells me to approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need (Heb 4:16). How great is our God! I must stop struggling with myself and my weaknesses and turn to God as my source of grace and power.
Even after Jonah’s disobedience, God still shows up. Before the men threw Jonah overboard, they cried, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life.” They knew that throwing Jonah overboard meant certain death for him. But God still had a plan for Jonah and disobedience didn’t stop that plan. God saved Jonah’s life in the midst of his disobedience and still used him as the one to speak to Nineveh. God didn’t change His mind about Jonah.
How great is it that God’s character never changes? His character and faithfulness are not dependent upon our obedience. So if you’re running from God, stop and turn around. Repent. He loves you and He still wants to boldly move in and through your life.

oh, heavenly days.

Heaven.
A place where we can sing of God’s love forever! Oh to get my wings and float in God’s presence for eternity!

This is how I thought of Heaven. An eternal choir practice. I honestly was not looking forward to or seeking Heaven. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above…” (Col 3:1) I knew that for it to be God’s presence, it couldn’t be bad, but I was not desiring or seeking it. The idea of singing forever gave me no joy. And now I am aware of how much joy I was depriving myself. Tom and Jerry need no longer define our image of Heaven! So, erase your image of Heaven (unless you have a Biblical image in your head!). (Most of the following points are from David Platt’s latest Secret Church entitled “Heaven, Hell, and the End of the World.” Take six hours and watch it!)

“One of the greatest things about Heaven is that we’ll no longer have to battle our desires. They’ll always be pure, attending to their proper objects. We’ll enjoy food without gluttony and eating disorders. We’ll express admiration and affection without lust, fornication, or betrayal. Those simply won’t exist.”
Randy Alcorn

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
C.S. Lewis

I think of Adam and Eve in Eden. God created them and their surroundings and it was perfect (Gen 1:31). Perfect harmony between God and His creation (Gen 2:15). They were without sin and were able to do whatever their heart desired (Gen 2:16-17). God created them in His image, so God knew the desires of their heart (Gen 2:18). He was gracious to fulfill Adam’s desires by giving him the entire earth and all the creatures to rule over (Gen 1:28) and a woman to be his companion. Why would we believe that a perfect God that created US to live in this same harmony with Him wouldn’t fulfill all of our desires in Heaven? My desire to build and feel accomplished, your desire for affection and companionship… all of these desires are from God and have been corrupted by sin. So in Heaven, without the presence of sin and temptation (Rev 20:10), we will be able to follow our hearts because they will be pure and not corrupted by the sin we struggle with today (Rev 22:17, John 6:35). “Love God and do as you please” (Augustine). HOW BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS A THOUGHT!

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17

We will be as priests in the temple (1 Kings 6:19-20), a bride with a husband (Rev 19:6-8), heirs of a King (Matt 25:34), and participants in a banquet (Rev 19:9)!

We will behold Him (Rev 22:4), worship Him (Rev 19:1-8), serve Him (Rev 7:15), be served by Him (Luke 12:37), reign with Him (Dan 7:27), and rest in Him (Rev 14:13)!

Soggy turtle sandwiches

So one day, God created marriage. And it was a sandwich. It was a wonderful sandwich and God made it how He wanted to because He’s wise and He’s God and all that. So man comes along and wants God’s sandwich to be a turtle. Man really, really wants a turtle. So man looks at God’s sandwich and fights back and forth over whether it’s a sandwich or turtle. Man even goes so far as legislating that God’s sandwich is a turtle. Well clearly it’s still a sandwich, right? Well, no. Man said it’s a turtle now.  So God sees man take His sandwich and put it in a pond. And I believe God’s heart breaks. Not because His sandwich is soggy, but because God gave His sandwich to us and we decided it wasn’t good enough. And man WILL decide that they don’t want God’s soggy turtle sandwich anymore.  And man WILL move on to take another of God’s gifts and turn it into something they want and that He didn’t intend. History repeats itself.

despair

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” -2 Corinthians 4:7-12

In my life, I have either been quick to praise God in the good times or quick to call on Him in the bad times, but never at the same time. I need to realize tough times will come and that they are times that should be celebrated and that God should be praised for those times. I’m able to look back on many tough times in my life and now realize that I wouldn’t be at the place I am if those tough times had not come. God has a purpose in all tough times and that purpose is that His life may be revealed in my mortal body. When I can’t see the end, resolution, or the victory to come, I need to realize that is when Christ is carrying me through. I should praise Him in those times because His sovereignty is not for me to question and my feeble, mortal mind would not even be able to comprehend His purpose for my troubles even if it was revealed to me.

When you can’t see the end, resolution, or the victory to come, celebrate. Celebrate Christ’s faithfulness and your weakness. And when you do come out victorious, do not forget that it was not by your power.

fears of the everyday.

I’ll speak for myself.

Fear is always in me, in some form or fashion.

Where am I going? Who will I meet? What will I do? How will I do it?

And these are not deep fears of a vast, unknown future.

Webster says:

turn – to cause to move around an axis or a center; make rotate or revolve

Fears of the everyday.
I’ve got a meeting…

Oh my gosh I’m so late. I’ve never met this person before. Will they understand what I say. What if I can’t do it.

The fears of the everyday.
These might be the times I turn to God the most.

I turn to God in the fears of the everyday.

Oh please don’t let me be late. Please let them be nice. Please let me speak clearly. Please help me through this.

Webster says:

rely – to be dependent; to have confidence based on experience

Hardly do I rely on God… “post” fears of the everyday.

Thank you for them being late, too. Thanks for getting me there safely. Thank you for their joyful heart and their good mood. Thank you for the conversation. Thank you for helping me get my point across. Thank you for handling it all when I can’t.

Turning isn’t a change in location.
Reliance is a leap.

Hours after this meeting, the part God played was brought to my attention.

I quickly recalled every worry I had before it. I realized everything went perfectly.

I would have passed through my day without any thought to how well the meeting went, but beforehand I was extremely concerned with my fear. If things went sour, I might’ve even prayed about it.

Realizing God’s role and acknowledging Him after the fact is what pushes ‘turning’ to reliance. I acknowledge how He acknowledged me.

I prayed in my fear, out of fear. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious prayer to God. But thankfully,

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

For some reason, God doesn’t base His response to me on my response to Him. God has no reliance on me.

If I face the fears of the everyday relying on God, I have confidence based on experience. There’s no need to fear. His faithfulness to me has nothing to do with me. It’s not about me. At all. He hasn’t let me down… He hasn’t ignored me. I have let Him down… I have ignored Him.
Reliance on Him will take the fears of the everyday and turn them into thanksgiving.

Turning is stationary.
Reliance is a leap.




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