Wednesday, February 15, 2017

For What It's Worth: When God Says No (1 Chronicles 17)

Note; For What It's Worth is the title of my devotional thoughts from biblical texts. It is helpful to read the text first, then this devotional thought. See 1 Chronicles 17.

What do you do when God says, "No"?

We cannot help but have a reaction. What is your reaction?




A loss of faith?

King David wanted to build God a temple. It only made sense. I mean, he lived in a palace made of cedar. Shouldn't God "live" in something at least as grand? 

You ever notice what you want always makes sense to you? You have a desire to have this thing come to pass, this path cleared, this thing realized. Then you submit your plans to God expecting that cosmic seal of approval and you get a "No." 

I'm sorry, God, DID you say, "No"?

While your disappointment, sadness or even anger make sense to you, it is helpful to know the rest of King David's story. Though God told him, "No," He gave David something better. This is where you and I often miss out. Being so blinded by our emotional letdown, you and I can fail to see that God's noes often lead to His yeses. Is that even good English?  Feel free to look it up yourself.

After God told David, "No," He told him the BETTER plans that He had for the king. It involved David's past: where God had taken David.  It involved his present: yes, that confusion he felt at God's answer. Even more importantly, it involved David's future; what God would do for him and for his offspring. 

First, David's past: where had God taken David?  The LORD stated He had taken David from tending sheep and made him ruler over God's people, Israel. When you face your disappointment at God's, "No," remember where God has taken you thus far. Don't despair, your life is filled with God's provision, direction and sustaining grace; you just need to open your eyes again to it. 

Confusion at God's "No" is a place of significance for you. It reminds you that He is God and you are not. David acknowledges this in his response in v. 20. 

There is no one like you, O LORD, and there is no God but you.

It is not my will be done but "Your will be done, O God." God's "No" is a place of humility. How refreshing and soul-refining is His "No" no matter how you or I may feel about it in the immediate. 

In the context of God's "No," David's future was in full view. "Not that way, my child, this way instead." God promised a great name for David (v. 8). 

One of the reasons we don't like God's "No" is that we want a name for ourselves. That search for significance runs the gamut from extreme pride and self-promotion to what I think God hard-wired in all of us which is a desire to make a difference. Even though God said "No" to David's chosen path of legacy, He showed David what his legacy would be and it was indeed better. 

God's "No" is not Him saying that you are not good enough. 

It is not God communicating that you have failed too often or in too spectacular a way for Him to use you. 

His love has not been removed or has He forgotten you. 

No, God's "No" is simply Him giving you HIS BEST for you. 

Please take a moment and reflect upon this devotional and the text in context of your "No" from God. I hope that it will help you see where God has taken you thus far and how His "No" can release you to experience the joy of His even better "Yes" to come. 

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

If Only More Political-Historical Books Were Written Like This

We The People by Juan Williams is an excellent read. Although I am politically conservative leaning, I have a lot of respect for Juan Williams. I find him to be a good and decent liberal voice. From the years of watching Fox News, I recall him as someone who always seemed respectful even in disagreement.

What makes this book different from other political books is that Mr. Williams does not profile just palatable leaders of the modern day. Read a book today from a conservative and you will get a book that gives positive remarks and space to fellow conservatives. The same with a liberal or progressive book’s treatment of fellow liberals. If such volumes cover someone from the other side of the aisle it is nothing more than a blistering attack ad of about 150-300 pages. Not so with Juan Williams.

He chose important characters from our modern era from both the left and the right. The reader will find those with whom they strongly agree and those with whom they strongly disagree. Often enough, Williams leaves the reader to be the judge of the personalities’ contributions to the nation.

I think you will enjoy this book for a number of reasons. It traces the history of various movements and its central characters who were leaders in each movement. As a reader, you will come away more informed. If you are a conservative, like me, you will gain some perspective on the heroes of the left. A liberal? Then you will gain perspective on some heroes on the right. In what has too often been a good vs. evil, talking over one another, poor excuse for public discourse world that we have all lived in, Juan Williams presents another, and I believe better, way.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Advent Devotional; 50 Years Later Joni Talks of On-going Struggles,Conference Responds to Radical Cultural Shift, NT Wright Provides Encouragement to Small Churches

Advent Devotional
by Erik Segalini

50 Years Later--Joni Eareckson Tada Talks of On-Going Struggles
post by Heather Sells

After almost 50 years in a wheelchair, Christian author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada says getting up in the morning is still difficult. "Every single morning when I wake up I need Jesus so badly."

Conference responds to radical cultural shift

By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream.

Is it really true that Jesus had no opinion about homosexual practice? Can we be sure that the children of same sex couples suffer no disadvantages from their parents’ lifestyles and ideologies? Is ‘transgender’ mainly about individuals who need compassion, or an altering of reality for all of us? Should Christians spend time analyzing and countering the effects of the sexual revolution, or does this detract from ‘Gospel ministry? These were some of the questions being asked at “The New Normal”, a conference organized by Christian Concern which took place at the Emmanuel Centre, London on 11/12 November.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Biblical Resource for Those Who Suffer: My Review of The Beyond Suffering Bible

The Beyond Suffering Bible is a great tool for Bible study and devotions. While light on theology, it majors on applying the Bible to life, specifically a life that is challenged by suffering, both long and short-term. What makes this Bible so unique and powerful is that it comes from those who have suffered; it is a project of Joni and Friends’ Christian Institute on Disability. A familiar friend on the road of suffering, Joni Eareckson Tada, contributed to the study Bible as well as wrote the introduction.

This resource follows familiar patterns yet is markedly different from other study Bibles. There is an introduction to each book. However, there are no outlines. Throughout are “connections” which are points of application. Profiles of various individuals are found inside, three of my favorites being the prophet Jonah, a man named Eliot with cerebral palsy and Doug Mazza. The reader will discover one page devotionals scattered throughout the text of the study Bible. In addition, there are 10 reading plans, a topical index and a list of recommended resources. As with other good study Bibles, there are several maps in the back. One will also find a section in the back for note-taking.

The text of The Beyond Suffering Bible is the New Living Translation. As a reader, if you are into the word for word translation found in versions such as the KJV, NKJV, NASB and the ESV, then this translation will not be of interest, though the material inside may make you forgive the translation choice. However, if you struggle with reading the Bible and you haven’t been exposed to the NLT, then give this translation a chance. You may very well love it.

I like this Bible. Already, I have made a decision after having read it. In response to a challenge contained therein to include those with disabilities in ministry, I am allowing an autistic teen to use his love of singing and bold calling out of song requests in our Awana program to help lead those songs on Friday nights with us.

This Bible could very well be an answer to your prayers and a faithful companion on your journey through life and suffering. If you aren’t suffering, you most definitely know someone who does and this would make a great gift or a resource to help you to help them.

In rating this Bible I would give it the following:

For uniqueness in content: 5

For normal good Study Bible content: 3

For the power to change lives: 5

For translation decision: 2

Overall, I would round that up to a 4 out of 5 stars.