Who would have thought that God would include a story like Jonah’s in His Word? But as so often happens, God surprises us with His infinite wisdom and marvelous creativity. And so, though this book may be a tiny one within the Holy Scriptures, it nonetheless adds a wealth of spiritual teaching to the Bible. We find in it unflattering realities about the human heart, illustrations of the sovereignty of God, and even some insight into the deep and mysterious nature of divine prophecy. (WT33)
Ten lepers had enough faith to be healed at the word of Jesus, but only one had a heart that sought for God. How do we know that? We can tell by the reaction the Samaritan leper had when he realized that indeed, his serious skin disease had disappeared and we was completely clean. The first thing that came out from his heart was gratitude and he immediately returned to the Lord to give thanks. His example was so important and so appreciated by God that He immortalized it through the hand of Luke in his Gospel. (WT32)
It is the 12th day of our lockdown and we are waiting, so many of us, to see when, if, or how the virus will come right up and maybe into us. Until recently, everything was sort of far away, in the news, first on the other side of the planet, then on the other side of the country, but always affecting faraway people. But inevitably word starting getting around that there were people infected in our province, then in our little town, and recently some in our very own building. In fact, today another good friend was confirmed as having the Coronavirus, and it seems to be swirling around all over. At the same time, much of the world also waits, entire countries in fact, wondering not so much if, but when, the virus will reach them… and how hard it will hit. And though some kinds of waiting we may find simply annoying, others, like this one, are definitely more scary.
How good to know that there is Someone out there — no, Someone right here with us—who does not have to wait. He lives in eternity. He sees the past, and present, and future just as easily as if they were one. No, we can’t understand that, nor were we meant to, any more than our two year old granddaughter should be expected to understand the difference between today and the first day of next month. If we ask her to wait, we hope she will do simply that, without working herself into a frenzy trying to understand it. For one thing, it won’t help her at all, and will probably make things somewhat worse.
Jesus explains our faith for salvation in terms of childlike faith. He also tells us to wait on Him on a day by day basis, and that if we do, it will strengthen our heart. Any of us who have walked for many years with the Lord, have seen that proven to be true. When we have waited on God, and let Him do things in His own way and time, the final result was usually quite awesome. And we came out on the other side with a much stronger heart.
This is exactly the kind of attitude we need right now for these very special and threatening days of medical and economic crisis.
Here is the command, not the suggestion:
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
This Biblical quarantine has to take the prize, at least in the category of peculiarity! It is simply amazing to see what God did in the life of this powerful, pagan king, leader of the Babylonian world empire. But just as interesting as the details of his very unique experience is the personal response he had to what God brought his way. Again, as in the rest of the devotionals on these Biblical characters, there are very good lessons to learn. (WT29)
One of the few true quarantines in the Bible happened to this brilliant king and it was directly as a result of his very bad choice. He had so much going for him, and was an exemplary king in a number of ways. But his success got to his head and he came to think he had permission to do whatever he wanted. Uzziah ended his life in isolation, as a leper. We are encouraged to learn from his mistake. (WT28
El personaje que veremos hoy es un ejemplo, desde luego, pero negativo. En su infancia Joás experimentó un versión de cuarentena que pocas veces se habrá repetido en toda la historia. En esta experiencia disfrutó de muchos privilegios de Dios, diseñados y personalizados para ponerle en bandeja el llegar a ser un gran rey y siervo de Jehová. Pero tristemente, las desaprovechó por completo y terminó su vida en infamia. Sí que podemos aprender él, pero de cómo no debemos de responder a las bendiciones de Dios. (EH18)
Solo audio: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/24252288
My, how things change. We are nine days into our lockdown here in northern Spain and so many things are different than they were at the first of the month. Two Saturdays ago we were supposed to have had our 50th Intensive institute at Aierdi; In the last ten days I have only been out of town twice; Two young men from Mexico were supposed to be here helping with some evangelism in cities of the area; This weekend we were scheduled to have a Ladies conference; In three weeks we were to have an Apologetics Retreat; When I went yesterday to the grocery store, the hushed atmosphere, the social distancing, and the pile of sanitary measures on display, made that normally mundane chore feel more like the prelude at a funeral; I had hoped by now to do some work in my garden. The entrance way to our building has been thoroughly sanitized because a neighbor has been diagnosed. Oh yes, an ice skating rink in Madrid is now being turned into a temporary morgue because there is no more room for the Coronavirus victims. And the list goes on…
And nobody knows when this hurricane of change will blow over or what things will look like when it does.
For the most part, we do not like change, especially the kinds of changes taking place these days. And by nature, the longer we go without major changes to our lifestyle, the more rooted we get in it, and the more offended we are when a jolt hits. In the back of our minds we know, in theory at least, that the future is a bit uncertain. But the long chain of relatively comfortable and smooth days lulls us into thinking all will be well, at least for us. So we plan… and plan… and plan, and forget.
We forget that every day of our lives God has been telling us, “For you are a vapor”, and “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth”, and to not say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city” without adding, “Lord willing”. That is because He knows that in a really literal sense, our earthly life is pretty much defined by change. Nothing visible to us stays the same. Ever.
We who are in Christ should know this, and live by it. It should affect every part of our attitude these days. It is what a hopeless world needs to see, a people who are not afraid of change, or really much disturbed by it, because our lives are anchored to a rock, an invisible Rock, the unchanging Rock.
What message does my life speak to those around me? Is it the quiet peace of one who is safe in He who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever”? It should be.
“FOR I AM THE LORD, I CHANGE NOT” (Malachi 3:6
Those of you who have been here on our balcony know there is a huge hill right in front of us. Every day I can see goats, horses, and cows on it. But not this morning!
4 days into the lockdown here in Spain we can't see anything of the future. Nope, I have no idea where this is going. But as we wake up and walk into the new day we know God is right here. Why? Because we've seen plenty of evidence of Him in the past on clear days. This picture from our balcony is a clear example of that.
Like in other languages, in Spanish they also say, "There is no blinder person than he who does not want to see."
So our prayers are that God would change the hearts of those who do not want to see.
Most of us would not normally compare ourselves to Moses, the great leader of God’s people and the man who took millions of people on an adventure that stretched a real life experienced beyond what we could expect even in science fiction. But due to his own personality and choices, this tremendous example of faith had a pretty rough beginning. And for that reason, and in order to work on his character, the Lord sent him into a kind of really long quarantine from the ministry, in which He would prepare Him for service. (WT26)