The God Who Restores

A few verses from reading this morning:

Thus says the Lord, “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness–Israel, when it went to find its rest.” The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.  Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!  Again you will take up your tambourines, and go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.”
-Jeremiah 31:2-4

God sees us in the wilderness, and there He meets us with grace.  Very often, we find ourselves in the wilderness through our own disobedience or our own lack of discipline.  But God is in the wilderness as much as He is in the land of plenty.  An “everlasting love” set on frail people mandates it.  We serve the God who pursues, meets, draws, and rebuilds.  I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to fathom anyone like this.  The closest equivalent I think of is the very best of parents: Watching over their children at every turn in life, knowing their children’s hearts intimately, meeting them at their point of need, picking them up and dusting them off, and sending them along to better ground.  God is something like that.  He leads us out of the desert place into the place of abundance, where there is dancing and fullness of joy.  That’s my God, the God of all grace.  My hope is that He would be yours as well.

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Grandma Powell

My Grandma Powell (Dad’s mom) passed away today at 89, a day before her and Grandpa’s 66th wedding anniversary.

One of my absolute favorite short verses in Scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” My Grandma was absolutely a woman of faith.  Today, her faith became sight.

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Take heed, Behold, and Cling

…For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.  But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.
– Mark 13:22-23

Mark 13, like its parallel account in Matthew 24, is a tough chapter to grapple with.  Jesus says that in the time leading up to His Return there will be whispers of wars, actual wars, earthquakes, famines, persecution of Christians (imprisonment, flogging, trial, universal hatred, etc.), the Abomination of Desolation, and deception writ large.  In sum, things will not be good.

And then things become truly crazy.  False “Christs” and false prophets will rise up.  They will even produce demonstrations of power for attestation of their ministries.  The power and the deception will be so great that even the elect (“if possible”) may succumb to their deceptions.  But here is the thing: We have the Bible.  And as evangelical Christians, we actually use this thing.  We ascribe to it terms like inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency.  Why do we think and speak of Scripture the way we do?  Because Jesus tells us to:

But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.

How do we know what to look for as the days grow evil?  Jesus has told us in the Bible.  How can we possibly be prepared in the event of great persecution?  We listen to His words and we cling to them with a death grip as though our lives depended on our holding on.  How can we overcome?  The difficulty of the age to come surely surpasses our own capability, but this we know: God is working on our behalf, and His strength is more than sufficient for every trial.  As Jesus tells us, “Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days (Mark 13:20).” Do you know what I really love about that verse?  Jesus is speaking of future events, and yet He speaks of the acts of God in the past tense.  He has already shortened those days.  God is not bound by time, and He is certainly not bound by what powers of darkness there may be.  The days when darkness are sure to come, but they will be short because God is working on behalf of we who belong to Him.  And He has told us “everything in advance.” Let us work all the more diligently to take heed of what has been spoken, to behold the One who spoke it, and to cling to Him as though all of eternity hinged on Him.

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Good Quote: Passion

I’m not really sure where this one originated, but it’s worth reflecting on, particularly for a Christian:

“If people don’t know what your passion is, you don’t have one.”

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Good Quote: Packer on God’s Greatness

“The Christian’s instincts of trust and worship are stimulated very powerfully by knowledge of the greatness of God.  But this is knowledge which Christians today largely lack: and that is one reason why our faith is so feeble and our worship so flabby. We are modern people, and modern people, though they cherish great thoughts of themselves, have as a rule small thoughts of God.” – J.I. Packer, Knowing God (83)


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