Many things in this world seem right. If I think back to days that have long since passed, there were many things that seemed right to me. Our definition of “right” evolves (hopefully improving as time goes on). I remember going from one extreme to the next. It’s easy to understand that the “seems” of this world don’t mean much. We are not living for the “seems” right but rather the “is” right.
When it comes to God and what He says is right, there is not a gray area. We like to talk a lot about the gray area. Things then aren’t right or wrong, or black and white. That’s what we tell ourselves. There’s this gray area. When we claim the gray area, we are able to bend the truth. We are able to accept the lies.
The Bible is clear. “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Today, ask that the Lord reveal the path you are on right now. Ask that the Spirit opens your eyes to the truth, and remove any lies you may have accepted. Do away with the gray areas. Let go of what seems right. Cling to what God says is right and true and just.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” – Proverbs 14:12 [NLT]
We live in a world full of choices. Sometimes I stand before a menu or I look to make a purchase of coffee or gum, and I wonder what to decide. We have so many choices, so many options. But when we look at life, there is no gray area. We have life and death. We have a blessing and a curse. God’s Word is very clear. You have the choice. He paved the way.
Don’t complicate God’s Word. The options are clear. You can choose life or death, heaven or hell, a blessing or curse. The world tells you that God sends people to hell; that is a lie. People choose hell. God’s Word is very clear. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is saved (Romans 10:13). Anyone who chooses not to believe in Jesus Christ will be condemned.
Today, look at the big choice you have made. Have you made the choice of life or death, prosperity or disaster? Have you made the choice between a blessing and a curse? Do not think because you are good, that you are going to heaven. Only those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will find everlasting life. Know this truth. Share this truth. Don’t love your family and friends to hell. Tell them that there is only one way to the Father, and His Name is JESUS (John 14:6).
“Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!” – Deuteronomy 11:26 [NLT]
“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” – Deuteronomy 30:15-19 [NLT]
Parents understand the word sacrifice. Most parents do for their children before they do for themselves. Parents sacrifice time, money, and energy. If you and your child both need to get an eye exam, chances are the kid will get taken to the eye doctor first. When it is time for a new pair of shoes, you realize your kid needs a new pair so you put your shoes on the “wish list.”
This week, I noticed my daughter Jess struggling with her headphones. She saved up money for new headphones that were not an improvement to her half broken old headphones. She returned to using the old headphones for half the time. I had the same headphones that I used for work. I decided to switch my good headphones for her broken ones. She was so grateful and she didn’t understand why I would take her broken headphones in exchange for good headphones.
I am not mentioning this to make you think highly of such sacrificial parenting. The truth is, when she noticed the sacrifice and I had to explain to her what it meant to sacrifice as a parent, I was reminded of the greatest sacrifice, the Lamb of God. I was reminded of the sacrifice our Heavenly Father made by sending His Son to die for my sins, for your sins, so that we could no longer suffer the wages of sin, but instead have Eternal Life. I only gave headphones. His sacrifice we should remember each day. Thank you Jesus!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [ESV]
When Elisha gathered around with the sons of the prophets, there was a famine. Barrenness, sickness, affliction and famine were seen as judgment from God for sin. As we read again and again, the curse of sin is judgment and death.
These people were in search for food. When they went around to gather something to eat, they gathered wild gourds. From the text, it did not seem that they knew what the food would bring. They simply wanted to fill their need for food. But when they added this unknown item into the stew, it became deadly. They cried out, “There is DEATH IN THE POT.” Elisha had to add flour to the stew for it to become safe to eat.
We often try to add things into our daily lives to fill voids. We are facing a famine – the curse of sin. Through Christ alone the curse is no longer. We grab anything we can to fill our needs; however, we do not always understand what we truly need. Elisha poured flour into the deadly stew. In the same way, we can seek to eat from the Word of God, and become blessed by the “meal” of Christ. Through prayer and God’s Word we are sanctified. In 1 Timothy 4:4-5 we read: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer” (NASB). It doesn’t matter how deadly the stew of your life has become; nothing is too dead for God to raise back to life. He will repair. He will revive. He will restore. He will redeem.
“One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, ‘O man of God, there is death in the pot!’ And they could not eat it.” – 2 Kings 4:39-40 [ESV]
Many people can remember Lot’s wife getting turned into a pillar of salt in Genesis 19, as God was destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. We cannot only consider Lot’s wife looking back, showing that she could not leave her sin behind. We also need to note the hesitation of Lot. He was commanded to leave with his daughters, but verse 16 notes that he hesitated, causing the angels to grab him.
Lot was not jumping for joy to leave Sodom—the angels grabbed him and took him from Sodom. He hesitated. He considered what he would be losing by leaving Sodom. He considered if he should go or stay. We do the same thing at times when we are living in sin. We consider if we really need to give up certain sin. We hesitate.
Today if there is something that God is trying to weed out of your life, don’t turn around, don’t hesitate. God knows what is best for you. Trust Him and walk forward with confidence.
“Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” – Romans 6:16 [NLT]
We all have moments when we are angry. Jonah got angry. He wasn’t angry because the boat ride was shaky. He wasn’t upset that he was swallowed by a fish. He was irritated by the fact that God showed compassion on Nineveh. Jonah was sent to tell the people of Nineveh to change their ways, and he ran at first, because he did not think they deserved the grace and mercy of God. It upset him that people who were so evil would be given the opportunity to repent and be forgiven.
We all are undeserving of the love, the grace, the mercy, the compassion that God shows for us. Jonah recognized that God was “a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity” (4:2 NASB). Jonah saw all this good in God, and yet he did not immediately follow God’s instructions. Why?
There are often moments in life when we are not so easily supportive of God showing His grace and mercy on others. It is difficult for us to see people who have destroyed the lives of so many, and know that God has forgiven them. We believe our wrongs, our sins aren’t as bad as the sins of others. Why should someone who abused his wife and threw away his marriage and his children receive the same love from God as a “good Christian” who only lied a bit and missed a few church services? Why should someone who committed murder be shown the same love as someone who only took a tank full of gasoline from the local station?
These are tough questions that are sometimes difficult for us to accept and to keep ourselves from asking. We know the answer. Jonah knew the answer. God is gracious. He is compassionate. He is “abundant in lovingkindness.” But it made Jonah angry. Nineveh was filled with bad people. Why should they be forgiven for all they did simply by changing their ways and following God?
There should not be any question for us to ask except one. Why has God sent His one and only Son to be our Substitute and pay for our sins for we are unworthy? The answer, again, is that He is a compassionate, gracious God. He shows us grace– which is a gift– and we have no say on who He does and does not show His grace. Remember the parable of vineyard workers, where the workers who were there all day were paid the same as those who came to work late? “Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:14-15 NASB).
Jonah did not appreciate the generosity of God. God asked Jonah if he had a good reason to be angry. He didn’t. He actually told God that death was better than life. Jonah thought rather than see God show compassion on those he thought were undeserving, it would be better to be dead. That is a lot of anger to have simply because God was gracious to people. I wonder if there are times when we also get a bit upset at His graciousness, at His mercy.
I pray that if you are angry today, that you may take the time and steps needed to give it to God and let it go. I pray that you are able to “take what is yours” and move onward. God gives us the greatest gift of all. I pray that we never lose sight of that great gift, and that we continue to offer a heart of gratitude toward our loving, compassionate, gracious Father.
“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You… You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.”
– Psalm 86:5, 15 [NASB]
I recommend reading this wonderful article “What Do I Do If I’m Angry With God?” written by Alexandrea J. Wilson, founder and director of the Mt. Ephraim Center, for some great insight.