Archive for February, 2015
“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.” (Nahum 1:3)
Sometimes it seems like the bad guys are winning. Like God isn’t paying attention to what goes on in this world. Like it really doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad.
The Bible says that what seems like slowness to us is really patience on the part of God. He’s willing to give people time to repent. Yet in the end, those who deserve punishment will receive it. God guarantees it.
So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. (Exodus 1:20)
God honors faith decisions. He always does what is best for those who follow him.
It’s worth some self-examination: whose interests are you looking out for? Yours? Or God’s?
As Christians, we need to be willing to put the interests of God and His Kingdom above ours. Every day.
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. (Acts 16:6)
Our plans are not always the same as God’s plans. Even things that seem right and good — like preaching. God had a plan for Paul and his companions. He wanted them in Phrygia and Galatia. And of course he had a plan for Asia to hear the good news. Do not confuse your will with God’s.
“Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.” (Isaiah 1:13–14)
Don’t worship me anymore! That’s what God was saying. Are you surprised? Why would God tell people not to worship him?
Because they were offering religious rituals while living wicked lives. They wanted to serve themselves and their desires, then offer a sacrifice or attend a worship service in order to receive God’s blessing. And God says, “Stop it!”
God doesn’t just want Sunday mornings. He’s looking for more than checks in the offering plate and attendance at Bible studies. He wants his people to try and live like Jesus, day in and day out. Only then will he be pleased with the worship we offer.
They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening… (I Chronicles 23:30)
This was one of the jobs for the Levite priests. It is a great example for us. Begin every day by praising God. End every day the same way.
While on vacation in New York, a French tourist named Karine Valnais Gombeau was deeply moved by the number of homeless people she saw. When she noticed a disheveled-looking man searching through the trash near Grand Central Station, she quickly offered him a bag of leftover pizza she was carrying.
When the surprised man asked what was in the bag, Gombeau replied, “Je suis désolée [I am sorry], but the pizza is cold.” The man thanked her, and she went on her way.
It was two days later that Gombeau learned she had given pizza to actor Richard Gere, who was filming a movie on location in New York City.
The story reminds me of a story that Jesus told in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus described what it will be like when people stand before the throne to answer for what they have done. To the righteous, he will say,
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35–36)
When they protest that they have never seen him in those conditions, Jesus will tell them,
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
In the same way, he will speak of being neglected by others and will tell them:
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45)
You will probably never get the chance to give pizza to a famous actor. But you can reach out and help Jesus today. You can serve the hungry, the thirsty, the lonely, the naked, or the prisoner. You can help “the least of these” and really be doing it for Jesus.
To those who show compassion to the people around them, Jesus will one day say:
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)
Those are words I want to hear. I want you to hear them too.
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17–18)
The true tests of faith come in the hard times. Can we praise God when things are bad? Can we be thankful when life is hard? Can we accept both good and bad from the hand of the Lord?
Even though… yet I will rejoice in the Lord! May those be our words too.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (2/20/15)
Jesus is the way to God. The only way. His words. You don’t get to God unless you come through Jesus.
“But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.” (Job 32:8–9)
Wisdom comes from God. The Bible tells us that over and over. It’s not about how much we’ve studied or what experiences we’ve had. Without the spiritual insights that God gives, no man can be truly wise.