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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28-29
and we know.
and we have this awareness and revelation.
we know that God is good and that He is faithful and that He is our Heavenly Father.
we know that He is the same today as yesterday and will be tomorrow.
we know that He has done all that needs to be done to make us His children and that it is by grace and grace alone that we are saved.
we know that God is at work in our lives and His intentions are good.
He is at work in our lives turning what was meant for evil around for good and for His glory.
He is at work for the good.
but i am aware that sometimes OUR perception of good is very different from GOD’S perception of good.
God is at work in our lives to conform us to the likeness of His Son, Jesus.
He is at work in us forming godly character, at work creating a family resemblance.
sometimes character formation isnt a happy task.
but God isnt at work for the happiness of us. He is at work for the good.
like a Father.
because of that reality, that WE KNOWNESS, i choose to trust God and His handiwork in my life.
i can trust that He is at work for good and for His glory
there is a reward
there is a triumph
and in the process His heart cry is that we come to Him.
So first week back at school… everyone survive?
We had a really nice holiday in Turangi, went rockclimbing, fishing, through a huge maze in taupo, played a lot of board games, got addicted to icarly and did touristy things. Good times. But when we pulled out of the house we realized we had forgotten to plan for one very important thing. low techness. No usb plug in the car. Which meant that lifefm ran out once we hit the bombays and then it was either white noise, bad radio, or cds. Now I’m a mother. Which means my car has two kinds of cds in one particular ratio. 90% kid cds. 10% my cds. Which means when there are 10 cds that can fit down the pockets of the side doors… only one is mine. I ignored the other 9 and put on karnaga by cindy ruakere. For those that haven’t heard cindy – she is a fierce maori worshipper and she rocks it. Her cd became our holiday anthem.
And it stirred my heart.
How many of you know that as much as we know Gods love is unconditional and He is amazing and His grace is everlasting and He has saved us, how we can look out the window and the heavens declare the majesty of God, how we can drift into our own space of life and let the embers die? Now I’m not saying I was cold… but I was not white hot.
The holiday was like a turbo fan on my heart heat I am more passionate now about jesus. I am more passionate about other people being passionate about jesus. I am more passionate now about revival.
He said to me, Prophesy to these bones and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath and spirit to enter you, and you shall live;
I will wrap you with muscles and skin, and I will put breath and spirit in you, and you dry bones shall live; and you shall know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a thundering noise and behold, a shaking and trembling and a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.
I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath or spirit in them.
Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
So Paul warned them,"Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also." But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Acts 27: 9-11
How many times do we discount the voice of God and listen to the voice of “an expert”?
How many times do we allow ourselves to be influenced by others instead of the One who holds the universe in His hands?
Lets be people who listen to God’s voice and guidance?
Even though it may run contrary to the expert opinion or the buzz of the crowd HE IS THE ONE WHO KNOWS
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Commit your way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Instead of running FROM God we need to RUN to God.
For Jonah it was in the whale. It was in the Darkness where Jonah turns and finds God, where Jonah runs TO God.
Jonah prays: Jonah could of prayed on the dock, on the shore, even on the boat. But it took the whale experience to bring repentance and surrender.
Jonah encounters God. Jonah’s heart has turned. He was running form God and is now running to God. He acknowledges how bad the situation is. He cries out to God his only hope. He sees his salvation in suffering. He offers his voice and praises to God because that is all he has to give. “Salvation Belongs to the Lord!” It is in this dark place that Jonah finds the saving Grace of God.
This is an open invitation. You might be 3 steps out the door, 3 miles down the road, 3 days in the belly of a whale. But the invitation is there. Our God is compassionate and merciful.
What is your turning point? What is the turning point where you STOP running FROM God and start running TO God?
For some of us it is the storm and the whale that stops us in our tracks.
For some of us its one day we wake up and realize that our hearts are cold and we can’t remember the last time we had peace with God.
For some of us it’s when the wheels fall off our marriage, our finances, our health. When the anger overtakes us and we fall apart emotionally. When we feel like we’re drowning and that we’re at the end of our rope.
Let me tell you, you are never too far away from God. Jonah was in the belly of a whale. He had run as far as you could away from the will of God. He was a prophet – his job was to hear from God and he stuck his fingers in his ears and rebelled.
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you.” Jonah 2
BUT let’s look at it this way. Does your turning point need to be at the lowest when you’ve hit the wall?
Every day we have the opportunity to say YES to God.
Yes I will choose to forgive. Yes I will choose grace. Yes I will choose to hold that gossip in. Yes I will choose to be grateful. Yes I will choose to be salt and light.
You don’t need to run to turn.
And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:16-18
Immediately the disciples followed Jesus. They turned from their old life to their new life.
all week i’ve been reading things that encourage me to run WITH God. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 jumped out at me as i read my bible last night.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. I don’t run without a goal. And I don’t box by beating my fists in the air. I keep my body under control and make it my slave, CEV
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, NKJV
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever.Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave NIV
you’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. MSG
You know that only one person gets a crown for being in a race even if many people run. You must run so you will win the crown. Everyone who runs in a race does many things so his body will be strong. He does it to get a crown that will soon be worth nothing, but we work for a crown that will last forever. In the same way, I run straight for the place at the end of the race. I fight to win. I do not beat the air.I keep working over my body. I make it obey me. NLT
we are in a race : life and following can be described as a race – it has a set course and a set finish line
we run for a prize : though we are saved by grace and cannot repay our salvation or earn anything, God does promise rewards for those who serve well and obey
run to win : we must make a choice to run the right race the right way, fixing our eyes on the finish line and running with purpose
our prize is priceless : we don’t run for a trophy but for eternal rewards
run with direction : direction determines destination – we must run to the finish line that GOD has set, not an imaginary finish line
disciplined to win : runners make choices that increase their opportunity to win, they exercise and eat right, likewise we need to make choices that set us up for success
purposed to win : we don’t run aimlessly but we run with purpose and passion, knowing that winning and finishing is really the only thing that matters. we are not distracted by by other things around us but have purpose.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, AMP
Psalm 18:28 For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
Jesus continued: ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them.
‘Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
‘When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.” So he got up and went to his father.
‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him.
‘The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
‘But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:11-24
This story is about a runaway son…
and his father that waits, watches and then RUNS to him.
likewise it is the story of our own lives
and how God RUNS to us, to embrace us and love us.
jonah ran from God. yes we know that.
but the main thing is he turned back towards God.
the message of jonah is that God is full of grace, full of mercy.
there is always an infinity + one chance with God.
no matter how far we run, God pursues us.
there were steps that jonah took to return to God including making a choice what voices to listen to.
jonah had to make a choice to listen to what he knew to be right vs listening to the sailors.
who are the sailors in your life?
telling you to stay put? to not be so radical? that God cant help you? that there are other ways to solve the problem? that we’ll work it out together?
who are steering you in the wrong direction?
who are you giving a voice to?
who is influencing your life?
even though there was no boat to take him back to land jonah knew what direction he should have been going… back towards ninevah. he stepped out of the boat and into the water – just as peter did. and God provided a whale.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
the most powerful thing i’ve read
and you know
what strikes me
is i have no problem believing and accepting and receiving the first 7 lines
help me to have faith in line 8, jesus
By His stripes we are healed.