Dividing God

Scissors cutting heartI have been blessed with the opportunity to lead the tween/teen class for church, and the material I’ve been provided is very good. However, in today’s lesson (based parts of Amos) it appeared to separate God’s judgment and discipline from God’s love.

I think this is a mistake. I love my 7 year-old more than life itself, and might, out of that love, be “long-suffering”…but if I never never called him to the carpet when he needed it…how loving would that be?

Not very.

Ditto when it comes to the larger world. For instance, in a classroom it would not be loving for a teacher to never correct a student…not loving to that student nor the rest of the class that suffers because of that child’s misbehavior. I’m sure you could start thinking up a bunch more examples (e.g. enabling a drug-addicted son or daughter).

So, I don’t think that our Lord’s justice and discipline are separate from His love. Instead, I believe it is a vital…loving…aspect of it.

And I would suggest Hebrews 12:5-7 confirms this (emphasis mine):

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

Praise God He loves us so much He will do whatever it takes to set us straight!

The Hand of God

A Father’s Hand

In this week’s bulletin article, "A Father’s Hand," I compared my holding Augie’s hand to how our heavenly Father holds ours. I won’t regurgitate all of it now…but before I wrote that I used my Logos Bible Software 4 to look up every occurrence of the word "hand" in the English Standard Version. There were enough that it had to split the results into two pages…and a huge hunk of the results spoke of the hand of God.

Enough that all this sermon is going to be able to do is lightly touch on the subject…but hopefully in a way that by the end you’ll not only want to have that hand touch you, but that you’ll realize just whose hand is reaching down from above.

Whose had?

And let’s start with the question of whose hand…

Looking through all the uses of "hand" in the Old Testament, my favorite book was Isaiah. In his poetry and prose I couldn’t help but connect our Lord’s hand with our Lord’s majesty. For instance, let’s turn to Isaiah 45:11-12:

11 Thus says the LORD,

the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:

"Ask me of things to come;

will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?

12 I made the earth

and created man on it;

it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,

and I commanded all their host.

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“Mighty Mouse come down and save the day…”

Mighty Mouse

(October 19, 2010 for October 24, 2010)

Today was day two of week two of my “Couch Potato to 5K” running program…and I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that twenty minutes filled with repeating periods of jogging ninety seconds and walking two minutes is so exhausting for me–by the time I reach the final jogging cycle I’m pretty much spent. I was pleasantly surprised this morning, just as the last interval began, to have Tesla’s “Mighty Mouse” start playing through my headset. It’s a favorite song for both Michael and me, and was a perfect tune to provide motivation through that last painful minute and a half.

Was it luck? Coincidental timing?

God causing my iPhone’s shuffle mode to play the song I needed just as I needed it?

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