A love more fervent than the sun.

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This feels a bit like kissing and telling, but I don’t think my Heavenly Father will mind. I noticed while lying in bed this morning that my furnace was struggling to come on. So, I got up, put on some clothes, and started working to resolve the issue. The furnace seemed totally unresponsive to the thermostat. After I had exhausted all I knew to do, I left it alone and started to adjust my thoughts from the frustration and gloom associated with having the furnace go out this holiday season, just a few days into winter.

I thanked GOD that the next few days were forecasted to be unseasonably warm, and sunny. Since the sun was already up and peeking through the blinds, I thought I might as well let a little sun light in to start warming the home. I opened the blinds, and while standing there with my face close to the window, I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my face. I began to praise my Father in heaven for the wonder of creation, that an object millions of miles away had enough warmth to pleasantly kiss my face. As I was still in that moment, with a grateful heart, enjoying the warmth and splendor of GOD, I heard a soft whoosh over my head. It was the vent over my head blowing warm air. The furnace had come on. It had been 10 or fifteen minutes since I had abandoned my efforts to start the furnace. In that quiet moment of praising and thanking GOD, I felt Him express to me that His love for me was more fervent than the sun, and could reach much further, and penetrate much deeper. With tears trickling down my face, I basked in the awareness that my Heavenly Father was mindful of me and my heart, and He appreciated my being grateful.

This moment blessed me, and even though at times we may not be able to see GOD, and heaven seems trillions of miles away, our GOD is always close enough, and merciful enough, and tender enough, and considerate enough, and gracious enough, to hear the cry of our heart, to give us more than we deserve. I’m stirred by His love today and I pray you feel the warmth of His love. Peace and blessing!

 

Learning the lesson of Jonah

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Yahweh gave Jonah a commission to go to Nineveh and call the people there to repentance before He punished them. Jonah wasn’t willing to carry the message of reconciliation to Nineveh because he had judged them as being unworthy of mercy and grace. Without delving into the history of the people of Nineveh and all they had done, our merciful GOD Yahweh decided to reach out and offer them a path to reconciliation. Jonah was very reluctant to carry out the commission he had been given. Jonah had no concern for Nineveh and just wanted GOD to destroy them and be done with it.

Jonah called himself a prophet of the Most High GOD, and a descendant of GOD’s chosen people. He obviously felt that he and his people were the only ones worthy of the deep riches of GOD’s mercy and grace. I see Christians today with this same disregard for others and the same mindset of privilege. These Christians want as many chances as it takes to avoid the wrath of GOD, however when it comes to people of other beliefs they want swift judgment. Like Jonah, these Christians have somehow mistaken the grace they have received in this world as something they have earned. When I see the lack of empathy and compassion in many Christians today, I realize they have not learned the lesson of Jonah. Living on the welfare of GOD, some Christians have the nerve to want to hoard the grace of GOD for themselves. They want to create standards and make others earn what they have received freely. “Send in the troops, squash the uprising, unleash the police, harder sentencing, they are disturbing my peace,” is what these hypocritical Christians call for who are saved only by grace.

At the conclusion of the book of Jonah, we see our Lord asking Jonah if it is right that he wanted Him to come running to his aid when something disrupted his comfort, but when it came to saving the very lives of others who were lost,  Jonah was indifferent. I don’t expect the unbeliever to care about someone other than themselves, but those that confess to have been saved by GOD’s amazing grace, those who have asked for the innocent blood of the Lamb of GOD to cover their transgressions and have been granted redemption, I expect more.

There is a parable Yeshua taught about a servant that had been forgiven a great debt by his King but turned and would not show compassion to a fellow servant that owed him much less. Here is how the parable ended:

“Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.  Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.” (Matt 18:32-34)

We should not be like the wicked servant in this parable or Jonah, and allow our hearts to become hardened from too much focus on the debts and wrong doings of others. We have to stay sober-minded and remember the debt Christ paid for us.

It is easy to begin harboring ill feelings for a particular religious group or ethnic group if you just believe information circulating in popular media outlets or popular culture. There is a lot of propaganda in mainstream media circulated to form views that serve special interest. News is often reported without disclosing all the facts and it leaves people with misconceptions. We have to care enough to want to know the whole story and be willing to seek out the truth.

Yeshua says if you are not with Him then you are against Him, and if you aren’t gathering with Him then you are scattering abroad. If you proclaim that you are with Him, then let your conversation and witness be seasoned with compassion, understanding, empathy, humility, mercy, grace, and thanksgiving toward drawing people unto Christ. You will not be able to do this if you are feeding on the news more than the Word of GOD. You will not be able to do this if you have chosen, like so many people, to turn a blind eye to the facts of history which reveal that all people have committed wickedness. None of us are better and have greater value than the other. This is a key message in the testimony of Christ since He paid one price as a ransom for ALL people.

Through a grateful heart for the redemption that has been shared with us, we too should be eager to carry the same gospel of reconciliation to the rest of the world.

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)