Worshipful Wednesday: Lessons from the Past

Photo Credit: cover of book edited by Jon Quinn & Warren Berkley

Photo Credit: cover of book edited by Jon Quinn & Warren Berkley

Psalm 78:2-7

2 I will sing a song that imparts wisdom; I will make insightful observations about the past.  3 What we have heard and learned–that which our ancestors have told us– 4 we will not hide from their descendants. We will tell the next generation about the LORD’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done. 5 He established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, 6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.  7 Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands.  8 They would not be like their ancestors– a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Romans 1:25-27, 32

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.  32 Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

We are living in a historical time – the “un-Christianizing” of our country.  Well, truly this has been ongoing since the beginning of time in every culture; the fight by mankind to suppress the presence of God from our midst.

Leaders of our culture can make laws to justify the demands of their flesh, remove memorials that testify to God’s commandments, but they cannot remove them from our hearts.  His laws are written in our consciences, convincing our souls of what is wrong and right.

All of time testifies to those in the present – beckoning us to not allow the lessons learned by those who have gone before us to be lost.

If today we wonder if it is permissible to practice homosexuality, we have Sodom and Gomorrah to look to as a reminder from God.  If we wonder whether it is alright to pursue racial superiority and denounce another race, we have Hitler’s example of evil extermination and Jesus’ example of righteousness in the New Testament – talking with a Samaritan woman – shameful in that day to those who demeaned that people group and gender.  If we think we have the right to slaughter innocent children, we need only to look at the examples of wicked rulers who did the same to innocent infants and ask ourselves if this is right in the eyes of God.

The Word of God is our mirror and all of history testifies to His sovereignty and wisdom in the precepts and laws He gave to free us.  Boundaries and limits were set to bless us, but man, tempted by the enemy to pridefully think he knew better, supplanted God’s truth and replaced it with lies.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.

Worship God today that He uses the past, adorned with mistakes and triumphs – to instruct us.  We can look to cultures in the past and see what transpired when they denied God’s existence and worshiped the creation instead of the Creator.  We can also see the blessing of God upon those who chose to walk uprightly and established righteous laws for their people.

Whether we were left a legacy of faith or of wickedness in our personal lives to emulate, each day His mercies are new for us to consider how we might spur one another on toward godliness.  We must prove faithful to pass the torch of righteousness to those who come behind us.

God’s purposes are interwoven throughout man’s sins and obedience.  Praise God that we can look to the past not just for our sins and failures, but to be inspired to walk uprightly by the many examples of the faithful who did not bow their knee to the false gods of this world.

Lord, You are so awesome – outside of time and yet you care and are watchful over each of our moments.  Help our nation to fear You and to establish once again a righteous foundation for Your glory.

Worshipful Wednesday: Lessons from the Past

Photo Credit: cover of book edited by Jon Quinn & Warren Berkley

Photo Credit: cover of book edited by Jon Quinn & Warren Berkley

Psalm 78:2-7

2 I will sing a song that imparts wisdom; I will make insightful observations about the past.  3 What we have heard and learned–that which our ancestors have told us– 4 we will not hide from their descendants. We will tell the next generation about the LORD’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done. 5 He established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, 6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.  7 Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands.  8 They would not be like their ancestors– a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Romans 1:25-27, 32

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.  32 Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

We are living in a historical time – the “un-Christianizing” of our country.  Well, truly this has been ongoing since the beginning of time in every culture; the fight by mankind to suppress the presence of God from our midst.

Leaders of our culture can make laws to justify the demands of their flesh, remove memorials that testify to God’s commandments, but they cannot remove them from our hearts.  His laws are written in our consciences, convincing our souls of what is wrong and right.

All of time testifies to those in the present – beckoning us to not allow the lessons learned by those who have gone before us be lost.

If today we wonder if it is permissible to practice homosexuality, we have Sodom and Gomorrah to look to as a reminder from God.  If we wonder whether it is alright to pursue racial superiority and denounce another race, we have Hitler’s example of evil extermination and Jesus’ example of righteousness in the New Testament – talking with a Samaritan woman – shameful in that day to those who demeaned that people group and gender.  If we think we have the right to slaughter innocent children, we need only to look at the examples of wicked rulers who did the same to innocent infants and ask ourselves if this is right in the eyes of God.

The Word of God is our mirror and all of history testifies to His sovereignty and wisdom in the precepts and laws He gave to free us.  Boundaries and limits were set to bless us, but man, tempted by the enemy to pridefully think he knew better, supplanted God’s truth and replaced it with lies.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.

Worship God today that He uses the past, adorned with mistakes and triumphs – to instruct us.  We can look to cultures in the past and see what transpired when they denied God’s existence and worshiped the creation instead of the Creator.  We can also see the blessing of God upon those who chose to walk uprightly and established righteous laws for their people.

Whether we were left a legacy of faith or of wickedness in our personal lives to emulate, each day His mercies are new for us to consider how we might spur one another on toward godliness.  We must prove faithful to pass the torch of righteousness to those who come behind us.

God’s purposes are interwoven throughout man’s sins and obedience.  Praise God that we can look to the past not just for our sins and failures, but to be inspired to walk uprightly by the many examples of the faithful who did not bow their knee to the false gods of this world.

Lord, You are so awesome – outside of time and yet you care and are watchful over each of our moments.  Help our nation to fear You and to establish once again a righteous foundation for Your glory.

Thoughtful Thursday: Job’s Lessons – Trusting God in Affliction

Job 8:5-7

“But if you will look to God and make your supplication to the Almighty, 6 if you become pure and upright, even now He will rouse himself for you and will restore your righteous abode.  7 Your beginning will seem so small, since your future will flourish.”

Sitting in handcuffs, dazed and shocked, I wondered how this could happen to me.  I was innocent.  But in that moment the LORD spoke to me clearly.  “Guilty by association”.  Associating with one who had lied to me and placed me in a mess. You’re a modern day Job, lady”, the police officer told me sarcastically, yet laced with compassion.  Me?  Job?  No, I could not compare my sufferings with his.  Or could I?

Life has some crazy turns in it – many we would rather avoid, but traveling down those roads leads us to unexpected places with cherished lessons learned.  Job’s counselors all speculated that some hidden sin caused his demise.  Why would a good God allow such suffering in, after all?  I am sure Joseph felt similarly.  He was only prophesying what God placed in his heart, only to find himself at the bottom of a well and then a betrayed slave.  What was God thinking?

Staring at the spot on the ceiling of my hospital room, I wondered how I got there, too.  Worried faces of doctors unsure of what to say, I laid there and trusted.  Patiently.  In the midst of that hard place, a resolve began to form that was not from me.  Even in that horrid place, God spoke to me.  Would I be willing to let Him use me in this way?  Yes, God.

Back to Job.  He questioned himself, examined what could be the cause of such difficulty in his life.  He did not know that Satan had asked if he could mess around with his life.  Job’s chief sin was in doubting God and in justifying himself rather than God.  When we cannot figure out what God is doing, we can cry out to God to trust Him and place our faith in Him. Lack of understanding is not wrong, but doubting God’s goodness and purposes are.  Introspection at times of confusion is a great gift – an opportunity to pause and clarify our lives before God.

In the end, God blessed Job more than he was before.  Sometimes we cling to what we knew as the past, wondering if we will ever see God’s goodness again.  Our view of the past just might not be all that we thought it was, either.  God has new heights, new blessings for us.  His idea of a blessing might be different than ours, but He and His ways are always good.

Lord, when we don’t understand, help us to draw near to You and to trust You fully.  Be glorified in our mess – You Who makes sense of everything, almighty, sovereign LORD!