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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

March 26, 2013 - An Invitation to Reason

By Jerry D. Scott

"Pastor, I just don't understand. What happened? Why has God done this to me?"

The question comes my way often. Only the context changes. Sometimes it's a failing marriage. Sometimes it involves wayward children. Sometimes it's about being in financial straits. Sometimes the person's mental or physical health is failing. In some situations there is no apparent answer, but in others there is this glaring disconnect, an amazing blindness to the consequences of choices.

A man has a heart attack and blames God for letting it happen, but fails to recognize his terribly unhealthy life full of stress and fueled by junk food. A woman whose husband walked out cries about how God has let her down, yet can't admit to her unrelenting verbal abuse. A couple faces bankruptcy and questions why God does not provide for them, blind to the spending that created crushing debt.

I am not saying everyone who suffers pain or loss is getting what they deserve. That's a terribly unfair judgment! However, we are foolish if we think we can live as we want to, ignoring the Spirit's leading, and not eventually reap the harvest that grows from those seeds of rebellion.

When our lives are falling apart, at least we ought to be willing to consider that a change may be needed. We should go to the Lord in humility and ask Him to reveal to us where a correction is called for.

I have come to love the prophecies of Isaiah. As the Spirit inspired him, he matched powerful indictments of God's people with amazing grace-filled promises. The opening chapter is so very appropriate for us.

The people of God were destroyed. The city of Jerusalem was torn apart. A foreign army robbed the national treasury. As the residents of Judah wept, God spoke to them and called for a deeply personal reevaluation.

"'Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.' For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 1:18-20, NIV)

The Almighty invites His people to sit down and get clarity. "Let's argue this out," He says. The Hebrew word translated as "reason" is a stronger verb. God is not inviting them to "have a little chat!" He is coming to them with an intervention!

As God calls on His people to examine their hearts, He reveals the spiritual disconnect in their lives that has led to their troubles. God tells them He is done with their religion, that He sees through their empty rituals and wants true repentance.

"Quit your worship charades. I can't stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings — meetings, meetings, meetings — I can't stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You've worn me out! I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I'll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I'll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you've been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don't have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless" (Isaiah 1:13-17, The Message).

Christian, will you accept God's invitation? "Come now, let's reason together!" The Spirit's invitation requires a response. Will we accept His offer of renewal, of grace, of restoration by changing our ways? Even though our sins are glaring, like a bright red bloodstain shouting our guilt, He will remove them and make us clean and whole. If only we will walk with Him in obedience.

Are you in a terrible difficulty? Has life fallen apart? Is God's presence a distant memory? Before you run off to find another spiritual experience, another retreat, a new teacher — take the Lord's offer of a conversation that leads to clarity. Ask Him if there are things that need to change, if repentance is in order.

— Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor at Faith Discovery Church (Assemblies of God) in Washington, N.J.

 

 

 

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