Monday, 6 October 2014

Ever had a wart?

Today's REAP Readings: Job 20, Luke 19

 "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes" {Luke 19:41-42}

On a recent bushwalk with my kids, my eldest one piped up and said

 "Mum I think I'm being afflicted by Satan"

Well I didn't expect to hear that keeping a straight face I said, "why do you feel as though you're being afflicted?

"Well, I have a splinter, an ulcer in my mouth, and two warts on my foot"

With a smile growing on my face, I couldn't help but be reminded of the REAP readings in Job

"So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head" {Job 2:7}

Sure enough my son had been reading about Job in his Action Bible (awesome Bible for boys!) that morning and felt at one with him.

It's the same for us though, the moment we encounter a little suffering we start thinking we're Job.

There can be this perception that the moment you become a Christian, life starts getting a little easier, we start living a "Blessed" life, a life of peace & prosperity because God is on our side. And certainly it is a changed life and it truly is a "Blessed" life, but not in the way we think.

If you've been reading the gospel of Luke with us, then you'll know that Jesus never promised the type of "Blessed" life that we're hoping for. In fact the Pharisees were pretty disappointed that their hopes for the Messiah were not encapsulated by Jesus or his teachings.

Lets take a look so far in Luke;

The opening chapters set the scene, actually it's the Christmas story. The King of Kings and Lord of Lord comes into the world, not on a chariot, not with an army ready to take on Jerusalem. No, instead he comes as a vulnerable baby, unable to feed himself.

But then he grows up and 'became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him'{Luke 2:40}

The Pharisees never liked him because he challenged everything they ever knew. And the thing that Jesus keeps bringing up in front of them is their "pride", they were trusting in themselves. They had made the Law more important than loving God and others.

And now as Jesus approaches Jerusalem, a lost people. He weeps, because he knows what's coming, he weeps for a broken people that don't even realise how broken they are.

Their Messiah had come, the "Day" had finally arrived and yet soon they would crucify their own King.

He had come to suffer, and like Job this type of suffering was not a consequence of his own sin. He was being tested and he would prove perfectly faithful.

Our sin caused our Saviour's suffering.

So did I just laugh at my son's anguish about his "afflictions"? No way!! I was quietly excited that he was reading his Bible and identifying with Job. That moment was a golden opportunity to pray with him. Maybe God would take away his suffering, maybe not, but we did pray that through it he would come to trust in Jesus deeper, and isn't that God's goal for us when he allows us to suffer?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Tomorrow is a new day!

Today's REAP Readings: Lam 3-5, Rev 15

"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say "We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven"
{Lam 3:40-42}
Have you ever read the Bible and felt, this is about me, this is exactly what I'm feeling right at this moment. That's me tonight....what started out as a perfectly good day ended in frustration, tears and anger. You see no matter how many times I read the Bible, it doesn't make me sinless, it wont make me perfect and yet I long to be and it seems the more I strive for "holiness" the more I'm reminded how much work the Holy Spirit still needs to do in me.
Image Credit
Sometimes I feel so broken...
And as I read Lamentations tonight, I cannot shake the feeling that I just want to grieve alongside the author. They're feeling the weight of sin, a life separated from their God, separated from his love. His
words are mine;
"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me" {Lam 3:19-20}.

I hate the sin in my life...
But I can't stay in this place, if I do I might just sink into depression, if I lament too long over my sin,  I start feeling that life is hopeless.
Even the author here, knowing the depth of sin, also remembers he has hope;
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him" {Lam 3:21-24}
And so I will call on His name tonight, from the depths of my sin, I will cry out to Him for forgiveness because he has redeemed me through the blood of Jesus and though I keep being reminded that I am so unfaithful and unworthy. He is faithful and promises to forgive me, again and again and again. 
Tomorrow is a new day!