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My God is…rewarding you – Proverbs 25:21-22

Proverbs 25:21-22 – If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat;i-love-my-enemies
and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink;
for you will heap coals of fire on their heads,
and the Lord will reward you.

If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat; and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink

Definition of enemy: “one that is antagonistic to another; especially: one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent”

Do you have any enemies? I pray that you don’t, but I would guess most of us could think of one or two people (maybe many) who would make our enemies list. You may have heard that someone was talking behind your back spreading lies. Someone may have given you the wrong time to be somewhere to thwart your day’s agenda. Someone may have given you the cold shoulder. It is really hard when someone is treating you poorly. You may feel mad, sad, hurt, insecure or dejected. Maybe you’re just tired of having to defend yourself at every turn. Feeling that way often leads us to say things and do things we would not usually do. We might even be embarrassed if someone saw how we treated those we consider enemies. Having enemies usually doesn’t bring out the best in us. But what does God want us to do?

Matthew 5:43-45 – Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven

When I was going through a situation where I felt like people were treating me wrongly (like an enemy), I did what many people would do. I talked with my mom. We talked about how I didn’t want to dislike them, be mean to them etc, but that I was hurt and frustrated that even though I was being (in my mind) kind and supportive, I was having unkind thoughts. My dear mom suggested even though it may be hard to feel unloved, I should pray for them. She said that praying for them would push out the negative thoughts about them and allow me to move towards loving them. It’s not exactly what I wanted to hear (she didn’t encourage me to go off on them or ok my coming to fisticuffs over it), She was right (yes, I said it – my mom was right).

For you will heap coals of fire on their heads
I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite parts of our verse for today is this section, “for you will heap coals of fire on their heads”. I am sure it’s probably not in the most Christian of ways either. I truly love the idea that being kind to those who don’t like you would be its own punishment for them. In most of the examples of enemies I listed, it was people wrongly attacking you, but truth be told we often have done something that is unkind as well (even unknowingly sometimes). They may feel they are the ones who are being attacked by you, and  being kind to them may lead to some sort of reconciliation or at least respite from the painful attacks. Truth is, besides heaping coals on their heads, I don’t want to detract from my God. I don’t want my petty differences to become something bigger that means people are watching to see how I’ll react to someone instead of growing in their faith or their relationships here on earth. I want them to not be surprised when I respond in love no matter what is being said. I would love for that to be the truth in my life.
The Lord will reward you
Now, I’m pretty sure that God is not going to reward me with winning the lottery for not being mean to my enemies, or even if I’m taking it all the way to being nice or loving my enemies. I think the reward for us is that we are able to reconcile with them. That we might be able to grow and learn about the forgiveness our Lord gives us. We might find we have more in common with our enemies than we would have ever imagined. If nothing else, we would get the joy of knowing that by reacting differently than the world expects, we have an opportunity to reflect the Glory of our Lord, and that is a great reward.
Are you loving your enemies?
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My God is…Transforming 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 – Now the Lord is the Spirit,and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And weSauls-conversion all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Now the Lord is the Spirit,and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom

This was a very interesting section of scripture, and I encourage you to read the entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 3. The way I understand it, the Spirit of the Lord gives us freedom from living under the letter of the Law. Where before Jesus Christ, living perfectly was the way to be saved. But because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, and rising again on Easter morning, we are set free from having to measure up. Living under the law, there is no freedom, and you know you don’t measure up. You seek the Lord with veiled faces, because there is no way that we can come before Him. Only those who have unveiled faces, those who believe in Jesus as their savior, the one who fulfills the law for us, have that kind of freedom.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory

As we seek to know God’s glory more, to have all of the wonderment that is God revealed to us in scripture, we are transformed. We change. Now, most people I know are a little leery of change. They like things the way they are, but when you follow Jesus and truly work on getting to know Him (like you would a new friend that you really like or that handsome man in your physics class), things will change.

How do you contemplate things? 

When you really need to contemplate something, really need to know more about it, what do you do? Maybe you research it. You might find experts about the subject. You may even read books on the subject. So many people talk like they know the Lord. They speculate, they postulate and act like they have some innate knowledge of the Lord, but truly (as stated in the verse above), we need to contemplate the Lord’s glory. It’s not something that someone smacks us with and then we know it (like the I could have had a V8 commercials). We need to contemplate God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. How do we begin to contemplate the Lord’s glory? We get to see God revealed through scripture, Bible study, worship, prayer, communion, baptism and relationships. We always refer back to scripture for clarification and guidance. Things start to happen when you contemplate God’s glory. The verses above promise it. It says that those who have unveiled faces (believe in Jesus as their Savior), will be transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

As we have a deeper, closer relationship with our Lord. As we continue to contemplate His Glory, we will be transformed and become more like Him. That doesn’t really mean that we will become God-like exactly. Think of it this way. When you see a little boy, and he behaves like his dad, you might say, “He is his father’s son.” In the same way as we get to know God more fully, we will truly be Christians. We will be more like our Savior Jesus. We will be more like our father. We aren’t our Father, but our actions reflect our Father. Our behaviors match our Father’s beliefs more and more. We’re a chip of the old block, an apple that doesn’t fall far from the tree, or we may follow in our Father’s footsteps. At any rate, we are transformed. People will begin to associate us with our Father, with our God. We will be a reflection of Him, with ever-increasing glory. But it will not be our glory, it will be His. We will be like the moon. People will see our light, but that light would not be there with out the Son.

Change can be good!

We will be transformed when we contemplate the glory of the Lord. We will be changed. Our behaviors will change, our thoughts will change, and even our friends might change, because we will crave and desire to be closer with the Lord. Being in that relationship will shape all of our other relationships. It will be life changing, but it will be such a blessing!

Are you contemplating something? 

Whatever we are contemplating, that is where our focus is. What do you think about? Do you spend your time obsessing about food? Where to get your next drink? That new outfit you wanted to get before the party on Friday? None of us have perfect God centered thoughts all the time, but whatever we contemplate the most shapes who we become. My boys? I am constantly concerned about the amount of time they spend on video games, because spending so much time on one thing can change a person’s mind. How about my time on Facebook? There are so many things in our world that vie for our attention. So many things that can distract us from God. It takes discipline to begin contemplating and setting your mind on God. Once you do, you are transformed, it becomes a positive habit that is not as easily broken.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in My God is transforming

 

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My God is…Great Psalm 96:3-5

Psalm 96:3-5 Declare his glory among the nations,young-people-clapping
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.

Declare his glory among the nations

The other day during my Bible study (I think I mentioned it in another blog post), I learned more about God’s glory. Glory is God being revealed. That is why Jesus is the fullness of God’s glory while at the same time, I can reflect God’s glory. I can, through my actions, help people to know God more fully. This was a revelation to me. Previously I had thought that giving God glory was the same as praising Him. Saying God is good, or thanking Him for what He has done, and while it does include those things, it includes them as a way to show and reveal more of God. Every song with glory in it now has a deeper, fuller meaning for me. I want to declare His glory among all the nations.

His marvelous works among all the peoples

I remember a few years back when I was reading the book Pivot, by Dr. Alan Zimmerman, there was an exercise at the end of one of the chapters that had you write down all the blessings you could think of in your life. I, who can be a relatively negative person (my husband doesn’t call me the cheerful pessimist for nothing), found too many to fill a page. It was astonishing to me all the things I had begun to take for granted. All of the things the Lord had provided me with, blessed me with and the things for which I was now responsible were written on the page. No, that’s probably not true. I probably forgot some. There were more than what I had written down. The good things the Lord had provided me with were too many for me to recount. If you have never done an exercise like this, I suggest you do. Do it now. I won’t be offended if you stop reading here. I think it’s too important to recognize all we’ve been given.

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods

great  /grāt/

Adjective – Of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average.

Noun – A great or distinguished person.

Adverb –  Excellently; very well.

Considerably above the normal or average

Our God isn’t some made up God. He is Great. He is above all gods. By the definition of great, God is considerably above the normal or average. He’s not just a little bit above, considerably above. God is God. He is great, and He deserves our praise.

For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.

Sadly we often choose to make things other than God great. We make people, relationships, addictions, greed and so much more increasingly important until they actually replace God at the top of our list. Today in my Bible Study I read in Isaiah how God felt about the false gods, and how crazy it made those that worshiped them seem. Bear with me as I share with you these verses, Isaiah 44: 6-23. Especially take not of verses 9 and 19. Those are the verses that really stuck out to me.

The Lord, Not Idols

“This is what the Lord says—
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come—
yes, let them foretell what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame;
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.

12 The blacksmith takes a tool
and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
I even baked bread over its coals,
I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”

21 “Remember these things, Jacob,
for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.”

23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,
for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
he displays his glory in Israel.

What’s so great?

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in My God is Great, Psalm

 

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