Friday, June 21, 2013

Yeah, But What Does HE think?

Yesterday, I received a devotional via email from a good friend of mine. I felt the urge to respond back. Below is what I wrote, followed by the email to which I was responding. My prayer is that you, dear reader, are encouraged by it to look into a deeper understanding of scripture, and not just stop at the 'do good / feel good' sermons so common these days.

Dear Harry,

These are exactly the verses I use to remind myself, and in discussion with others, that we need to heed the word of God.
 (All verses taken from from ESV.)
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2b).  

We need to let His word speak for itself... 
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy3:16-17)

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."  (Isaiah 55:10-11)

...and not let traditions or worldly things deter us.
And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men." And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! (Mark 7:6-9).

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 2:3-4)

Yes, His thoughts are not ours, but He has revealed to us in exquisite detail.
For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we havereceived not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from Godthat we might understand the things freely given us by God.(1 Cor 2:11-12)

"For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16)

It won't all make sense at once, and one must first be born again... 
And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:13-14)

...but that is why we must first crave the spiritual milk of the word.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2-3)

Then move onto maturity with solid food.
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God... (Hebrews 5:11-6:1).

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Cor 2:6-8)

Have a beautiful and blessed day!!

In Christ,

On Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 6:50 AM, Harry wrote:
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT
At once. Now. Immediately. Deadlines.

These are words that come to mind regarding the fast-paced lifestyle many of us find ourselves in. We expect our newspaper to be on the front porch when we wake up. We expect traffic signals to turn green the instant we approach them. We expect a bag of popcorn to explode into light, fluffy goodness in exactly three-and-a-half minutes. But what happens when our desires don't materialize in what we consider to be a timely fashion? We may experience frustration, grumpiness, possibly even anger.

As one of the fruits of the Spirit, patience is a character trait God desires to produce in us (see Galatians 5:22-23). Yet the only way to really learn what it means to be patient is to experience it firsthand. Patience is an oh-so-gradually unveiled gift.

Noah lived in a time when lawlessness and sin were the rule, not the exception. Imagine his reaction when God told him about his plan to destroy humanity! Picture Noah's reaction when God told him to build a boat, giving him specific dimensions and directions! Imagine having to wait 120years to see it happen! I wonder if Noah ever said to himself, "Okay Lord, things are getting worse instead of better. Aren't you going to execute your plan? After all, it's already been fifteen years!" Thankfully, Noah learned the lesson of patience, trusted God's timing, and was spared from the flood as a result.

Our response when something doesn't happen on schedule speaks to how well we have learned to be patient. Maybe God has something better just around the corner. He will let you know when he's ready--or perhaps when you're ready. That's something to consider the next time you throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Wonder Of It

They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?  --Jeanette Winterson