“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30 NLT
God does not need anything from humans. He doesn’t need help with things, He doesn’t need praise from us; He doesn’t need our money in the offering plate.
He allows us to join Him as He brings about His plan.
When we listen to a lecture … listening and language is engaged … [which] …doesn’t seem to be very discriminating in how [we prioritize memorizing information]. So crucial information is treated exactly the same way that trivia is treated
I use a journal to keep track of people and prayer requests although I don’t go to it every week. This isn’t a “do it or else you’ve not done enough” exercise; it’s more rooted in:
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26 – 27 ESV
Our church is studying what it means to be members of the church. Recent lessons are on unity within the church and building one another up. As I read the passage above I was struck by Paul’s command five verses later:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31 ESV
[O]ften those of us that follow Jesus can find it emotionally challenging to let go of the shame of our sins.
It is valid to experience shame that accompanies our guilt before the only holy God when we are in our sinfulness for He is perfect and we aren’t. The sense of shame that accompanies our recognition of how we’re sinful, however, isn’t God’s ultimate goal. Our recognizing Him, coming into a right relationship with Him on His terms then worshiping, glorifying and enjoying Him is. Once we’re forgiven based on the blood sacrifice of Jesus, He sees us through His grace as perfectly sinless; the shame should lead to repentance and then freedom and a deep sense of value as we realize the living God loves us but often we get hung up on what demons, our messed up human brains and our fellow humans tell us.
Written to Jewish Christians, the book of Hebrews contains some deep theology and passages that are personally challenging. One passage that is a beautiful highlighting of history from the Jewish testament that leads into Christian responsibility is chapter 3, verses 7-13.
My mind understands manhood backwards. I’ve grown older thinking much of what I saw around me as “manly” was the definition of “being a man.” It isn’t necessarily.
Jehovah, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, defines the characteristics and behaviors of men and His definition is unchanged in the face of my predecessors’ or my contemporaries’ thoughts, feelings on the matter or choices.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
and virtue with knowledge,
and knowledge with self-control,
and self-control with steadfastness,
and steadfastness with godliness,
and godliness with brotherly affection,
and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV
If you wonder “For what very reason?” join the club.
In verse 3 Peter tells us
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness …. 2 Peter 1:3 ESV
I’ve made the mistake of thinking my salvation is primarily about me. To be sure, God’s love is for me but a deeper reason He saves is for His purposes and to bring glory to Himself.
In my myopic existence I don’t focus my attention on Jesus. I often consider my benefits and blessings, which are truly benefits and blessings and I should recognize them as such and thank God for them but His purpose goes beyond just saving me; He saves me as a testimony to His faithfulness, His grace, His love, His patience and His sovereignty. His desire is to see all people choose Him and enter into an eternal relationship with Him but in Paul’s case, specifically:
It appears that when God ordained Obadiah to pronounce His judgement against Edom He had endured all of Edom’s choices and His judgement against Edom would be complete with no mercy given them.
God starts the prophecy of Obadiah by telling us that a human coalition was formed to destroy Edom. From there, the rest of the prophecy is focused on God and His promises to actively destroy Edom until there is nothing left of the nation. He promises to destroy them five times, He tells them why and He finishes by promising that He will restore His people.