Don’t Look Down

Obadiah 1:12You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – When God raises us up, we should not respond by looking down on those less fortunate. We’ve been down before and should not forget what it was like, and have compassion on others.

My Advice – As God blesses you, do not forget your friends and family who may be not as fortunate as you.

Not Consumed, Never Fails

Lamentations 3:22, 23Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Even when we are not faithful to Him, His faithfulness never ceases. He may bring discipline into our lives, but it will not consume us. It will, rather, bring correction.

My Advice – Thank God every morning for His faithfulness to you, Do your very best to repay it by being faithful to Him.

Jonah: Not Just Another Fish Story

Jonah 4:2You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. (NIV 1984)

My Musings – We are clear about the fish story, but less clear about the theme. We spend a lot of time debating about the fish (was it a whale, or just a big fish?  What would it be like to spend three days and nights in that environment? How could anyone possibly survive it?). We spend much less time focusing on the message of God’s grace.

A Grace That Pursues – If you knew, with certainty, what God wanted you to do, what would you do? Jonah not only ran away, he ran the other way. Was he uncertain? Did he fear for his life? Did he fear rejection? Was he afraid he would be wasting his time? Why didn’t he want to go? What about us? Would we run from God? Do we run from God?

Jonah ran (Jonah 1:3), but God pursued. God could have turned to someone else. After all, God’s program does not depend upon us. But God sent the storm (Jonah 1:3), God sent the fish (Jonah 1:17), God delivered Jonah (Jonah 2:10), God gave Jonah another chance (Jonah 3:1). Why would (should) God go to such trouble? Not because we deserve it, but because God is a God of grace.

A Grace That Shares – Jonah wanted the Ninevites to be judged, not to receive grace (Jonah 4:1). He was more concerned about a vine that no longer provided comfort to him than the people who  “cannot tell their right hand from their left.” But God sent the vine to teach Jonah. How about us? Would we rather see “evil” people condemned than receive grace?  What are the vines in our lives that we are so concerned about that we neglect those in need of God’s grace?

A Grace That Saves – Despite all their past wickedness, God relented on “sending calamity.”  Why were the Ninevites “worthy” of salvation (Jonah 3:10)?  Why were we “worthy” of salvation? Were the Ninevites any less “worthy” than us? Are those around us less “worthy” than us? The reality is, none of us are worthy.  That’s why it is called grace.

My Advice – Don’t run from God’s call.  If He calls us to it, in His grace He will see us through it.  Don’t be so hasty to judge and condemn others.  We were once were (and really still are) in need of God’s grace.  Finally, realize how unworthy we were to receive God’s grace and focus on how “abounding” His love is. Maybe then we will be less likely to run from His call and less likely to judge others.

Upside Down Frowns

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Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. – Mark Twain

Romans 12:18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – A song I remember from my childhood included the phrase a smile is just a frown turned upside down.  Peace with others will come much easier with smiles than frowns.  And usually, whether we smile or frown does indeed depend on us.  Even if the others are frowning, our smiles can help turn those frowns upside down.

My Advice – Is not any better than today’s comic.  Be like the little children, just try giving a smile away.  And make sure the wrinkles of growing older are where smiles have been, not frowns.  In fact, make sure the smiles are not “has been,” but still are.  Just because we grow old does not mean we have to stop smiling.

Imagination Is Not Enough

Psalms 51:1Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – The mercy that we receive from God is according to His love and compassion, not by our expectations. There is little we could expect, but what we receive is limitless.

My Advice – Do not place a limit on God’s love and compassion. They are greater than anything you can possibly imagine.

Cultivating Enthusiasm

2 Chronicles 15:15They sought God eagerly, and He was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – We must be eager to seek, serve and follow the Lord. We need to cultivate the enthusiasm we had as new Christians. It need not die out. It usually doesn’t over night. We need to be alert for signs of erosion and act early.

My Advice – When you find that your eagerness to seek God is waning, it is pretty good indication that you are drifting away from Him. Take this to heart and ask Him to restore the eagerness and remove the hindrances (and you must be willing to let go of them). If you do this, He will answer you.