Vase or Garbage Can?

Devotional PicturesIn my daily Bible reading I came across this rather difficult verse – difficult because it seems harsh. It is preceded by the hypothetical question posed by Paul in Romans 9:19-20 [as a possible rebuttal to his line of reasoning regarding God choosing some to be His and others who won’t listen in the previous verses],

Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not listening? Haven’t they simply done what he made them to do?” No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to criticize God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who made it, “Why have you made me like this?” (NLT)

Paul is making the argument in this verse (and as one of the themes of this letter) that although the Jews are God’s chosen people and that has not changed – that doesn’t mean that they will be the only recipients of His promise and His mercy. In verse 16, Paul had said,

So receiving God’s promise is not up to us. We can’t get it by choosing it or working hard for it. God will sho mercy to anyone he chooses. (NLT)

“When it’s more convenient…”

Devotional PicturesText: Acts 24:25 (NLT)

…Felix was terrified. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient. I’ll call for you again.”

Paul was on trial before Felix, the governor of Caesarea, because of a supposed riot he had been accused of starting by some Jews from Jerusalem who wanted to see Paul dead. The background of this story is found in Acts 22-24.

What’s interesting for me in this passage is that we are told that Felix is familiar with the “Way” which Paul belonged to (the Christian church, Acts 24:22) and a few days after the trial (before a decision had been made) he invited Paul to come and visit with him and his wife Drusilla. The text says that they listened as Paul told them about faith in Christ Jesus. Paul told them about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come. We are then told that Felix became terrified and sent Paul away until a more “convenient” time.

Even Great Leaders make Bad choices…

Devotional PicturesText: Deuteronomy 1:21 (NLT)

“This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from each of your tribes.

Moses is without a doubt one of the greatest leaders in History. Handpicked by God to lead the Israelites out of their captivity in Egypt through the desert to the promised land, Moses had a big responsibility. There are also many miracles that God performed through his servant Moses. He definitely ranks as one of the first people I’d like to meet when I get to heaven :).

Yet, even Moses was prone to mistakes as a leader. In this particular passages, Moses shares that, “I chose” those who would be sent into the land to scout it out. Now I dont’ know what went into Moses’ choices but scriptures record that when the scouts returned only two gave encouragment to the Israelites to go into the land and conquer it. 10 of the scouts embarked on a tale of demoralization because of their fear and faithlessness.

Turn the world upside down

Upside-down worldScripture read (read entire of Acts 17):

…”Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city.” (Acts 17:6 – NLT)

Turn the world upside down…wow! Now that’s the kind of reputation that accomplishes things. How many Christians today have that reputation? Here Paul and Silas had been preaching in Thessalonica about Jesus. The passage records that large numbers of people (godly Greek men and many important women in the city) were becoming Christians and that the Jewish religious leaders started stirring up mobs against Paul and Silas out of jealousy. They went to the house of Jason, a believer, suspecting that he was harboring Paul – when they couldn’t find Paul or Silas they dragged Jason and others of his household out before the city council and then yelled out the above statement. They also made accusations charging Jason and the believers with treason among other things.

Where does worrying get ya?

Worry - Ugly ain't it?Today I went with my mother to her lawyer’s appointment. My Dad died about a year and a half ago and his life insurance company denied my mom’s claim for the insurance. To make a long story short she (with the support of us!) has decided to sue the insurance company as the advice we received suggested we have a case. Anyway, with the court systems the way they are it’ll be a while until we get to trial. I said all this to say this… My mom has had a lot on her mind in the last while (no wonder!) and she’s really finding it difficult to just let go and leave things in the lawyers hands. But this post isn’t really about my mom – it’s about the the observation going through my head that worrying really puts a damper on life. While this may be an obvious one for most people it’s surprising how many of us “non-worryers” still get caught in the trap of nail-biting, ulcer creating hyper-anxiety syndrome once and a while. The funny thing is – all our worrying really doesn’t accomplish anything. There’s a favorite scripture of mine in Matthew 6 where Jesus basically tells people ‘Don’t worry!’ The conclusion of Jesus’ thought as he goes through some of the things we humans worry about is that there’s really only one thing that matters

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

After all, there are things that make an eternal difference (going beyond this life) and things that are just temporary.

And then Jesus, goes on to say these nifty words, “Don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (v. 34). How true is that! Is there anyone that can really say worrying about something made it better? If there’s something in your control – do something about it but if it’s out of your control…leave it – don’t worry because all the worrying won’t do one thing for you.

Case in point: have you ever communicated with someone (a friend maybe, or aquaintance) and later on remembered something you said (or wrote) that you get thinking, hmm…I wonder if they were offended by that — some people will let that thought run away on them and create a gigantic worry “snowball” that consumes there thoughts until eventually they do everything they can to avoid that person because they may have offended them. Instead, they could’ve nipped that worry in the bud and gave that person a quick call and cleared it up…just one example.

whoah..just realized I’m starting to write a chapter rather than a post – signing off!