Isn’t That Just Like God?

Who would have thought?

Israel had been eagerly anticipating the long-awaited Messiah. But who could have imagined that His first bed would be an animal’s feeding trough! Or that He would grow up in a poor home in a small town with little to recommend it.

After Jesus began His ministry, Philip excitedly announced to his friend Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth . . . .” Nathanael exclaimed, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” “Come and see,” Philip replied (John 1:45-46).

Respectable folks could not understand why Jesus would spend so much of His time with society’s rejects.

And the very idea that the Messiah, of all people, would be executed as a common criminal on a despised Roman cross! No, that was absolutely too much (1 Corinthians 1:23; Deuteronomy 21:23).

Why would God do it this way?

God was making a statement.

In explaining why God chooses that which is lowly and unimpressive to accomplish His purposes, Paul observed that in the Corinthian church “there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Pride has no place in God’s kingdom.

Only the humble may apply.

humility-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Onward and Upward?

If you were a CEO, would you hire those who are goal-oriented, ambitious, hard-working, and who make definite progress toward their goals? The people described in Genesis 11:1-9 were like that. They had big plans, they were dreamers and doers, they were movers and shakers, highly-motivated, industrious. They knew how to make things happen.

Only one problem: God was not pleased.

Opposed by God

They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city . . .” (v. 4). God said, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language . . .” (v. 7).

They said, “. . . let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (v. 4). “So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth . . .” (v. 8).

Verse 4 says, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city . . . .” Verse 8 says, “. . . and they stopped building the city.”

“Man proposes, but God disposes” (Thomas à Kempis)

Why did God bring their building project to a grinding halt? They had said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (v. 4).

“. . . for ourselves . . . for ourselves . . . .”

Today we know far more than the Babelites about how to get things done. If we have their attitude, can we expect God’s blessing?

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled . . .” (Matthew 23:12).

Ultimately, all human efforts apart from God will fail (Psalm 127:1; James 4:13-17).

Who always has the last word?

wall-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Facing the Future: How?

As I approached the tracks on Park Street I heard a train. My first thought was, if only I had left the post office a little sooner I would have made it across before the train arrived. Shutting off the engine to save gas, I prepared for the wait.

I watched as the locomotive rolled by, followed by a tank car, followed by another tank car, followed by . . . . But that was it! The entire train consisted of only one engine and two cars. I was delayed less than a minute.

Outcome unknown

Sometimes things do turn out better than we had expected, don’t they? Murphy’s Law doesn’t always operate. Hooray!

Life is an adventure. We never know what’s around the next bend. Since we don’t know, can we afford to make big plans without taking the Lord into account? James tells us that people who plan big while assuming they can definitely do what they intended are actually arrogant (James 4:13-17).

On the other extreme, do we tend to worry about how we’re going to have enough to meet tomorrow’s needs? This indicates a lack of faith (Matthew 6:25-34).

If we belong to Christ and if we keep our priorities straight, He promises we will have our basic needs met (Matthew 6:33). What an anxiety reducer!

Avoidable pitfalls

Looking to God as we face the future saves us from two errors. On one hand we’ll avoid pride in our planning—failing to remember that we can accomplish what we’ve planned only if it is the Lord’s will.

On the other hand, we’ll not forget we have a loving Father who takes good care of His children—as we seek His kingdom first.

These two errors have one thing in common: they both fail to take God into account. When we remember Him we’ll be neither arrogant nor anxious.

With Him beside us we can face the future with both humility and confidence—whatever may come down the track.

RR crossing-tagged

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“I don’t need your help!”

I can!

Before learning to swim, I was struggling in water over my head. There was a boy on the edge of the pool, but I did not want him to save me.

Managing to get to where I could touch bottom, I didn’t need saving after all!

Reminds me of the little girl who’d say, “Self do it!” Children must learn to stand on their own feet, and yet . . . .

I can’t!

Wisdom comes in realizing there are times when we are in way over our heads and self can’t do it.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 6:6).

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“God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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