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Showing posts from August 22, 2012

Complaints

August 22: Complaints

Job 10:1–10

Complaining can be automatic. We complain about the weather, our children, our jobs. And we might do it for any number of reasons—even something as trivial as to keep a conversation going. Although we might complain lightly, we still betray something about our hearts. We assume that we are owed something—that we are entitled.
We might readily admit this. We might freely say that this should not be our posture before people or before God. But Job challenges our stereotype of the complainer. What can we learn from his complaints? In his outcries, we find someone struggling to understand his situation before God. He prays, “My inner self loathes my life; I want to give vent to my complaint; I want to speak out of the bitterness of my inner self. I will say to God, ‘You should not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me’ ” (Job 10:1–2). He repeats and recasts his elevated and prolonged complaints in surprising similes: “Did you not pour me out l…

The Bronze Serpent

August 22





The Bronze Serpent

Numbers 21:4–9

Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. [5] And the people spoke against God and Moses,“Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” [6] And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. [7] So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. [8] Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live.” [9] And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he loo…

A Pouting Prophet

August 22


A Pouting Prophet

Jonah 4:1–3

Last week we left Jonah right after the city of Nineveh repented and God relented. God used his brief message, (5 Hebrew words) to penetrate the hearts of the people of Nineveh. The people spread the message like wild fire. When the word reached the king, he didn’t allow the message to get tied up in governmental red tape. He didn’t pass the buck saying, “It is impossible to legislate morality” or defer his leadership position to others. Rather, he issued a proclamation calling the nation to repentance and prayer-he acted more like a prophet than a politician. And the people followed.

What do you expect Jonah’s reaction was? Did he join the people of Nineveh in repentance and marinate in God’s grace? Certainly, Jonah had some repenting to do. But you say, didn’t he repent in the belly of the fish? Hardly. In the belly of the fish, he reminds me more of a politician than a prophet-he said what he had to say to get delivered from his peril, but I d…

Starting Over

August 22





Starting Over
I was working at a gas station for a short time when I was a teenager. On some days I busted flats in the back room. On other days I worked at a satellite station across town running the cash register. My boss let me work on my own pickup in the grease pit when the business was slow.

My Universal joints were slipping and needed replacing. I decided to take care of it myself instead of paying a local mechanic to do the job. The mechanic showed me how to do it. He told me to take special care when I put it back together. “No problem,” I said. After all I was 17, I knew everything.

I took the drive shaft off and tried to replace the joints. I learned two things that day. #1. I’m not a mechanic! #2. It is easier to take something a part than to put it back together.

I forced the pieces together, the pins came out of alignment—I walked home from work that day. I tried to figure a way to repair the joint but decided it couldn’t be done. The next day I walked back into…

WHITER THAN SNOW

August 22




WHITER THAN SNOWJames Nicholson, c. 1828–1876
  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)

God’s people have been placed in their particular circle of influence so they can demonstrate purity and a concern for righteousness. If we do not fulfill this role, who will? It is easy, however, to become so accustomed and hardened to the lust and sin all about us that we lose that fine edge of our Christian witness. In fact, without God’s daily cleansing and renewal, we are easily infiltrated with and influenced by the very lifestyle that we reject in others.

Unconfessed sin becomes a destructive poison in our lives, not only spiritually but also emotionally and physically. Repentance and confession are always the starting points for a restored fellowship with God. Like the psalmist David did in his prayer in Psalm 51, we all need to experience God’s cleansing and forgiveness. Only then will we be effective for God in helping oth…