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Jonah and Repentance

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Jonah repented – and then

Nineveh repented – and then

God repented

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Hebrews 12:5-17

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons;
For what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers,
Then you are illegitimate and not sons.

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect.
Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them,
But He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful;
Nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness
To those who have been trained by it.

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
And make straight paths for your feet,
So that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;
Lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau,
Who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

 

Words of Wisdom from Bruderhof

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Words of Wisdom from Bruderhof
For Eberhard Arnold (father of five children and founder of the Bruderhof) the primary goal of education was to awaken in children a reverence for God. The following words, which apply to educators and parents alike, are excerpted from an article published in 1928.
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We enjoy the children’s delight in nature, in the flowers and woods, in horses, dogs, cows, goats and rabbits, in deer and birds and all living things. We enjoy seeing them digging tunnels and caves, as intent as if they were building an elegant palace. We enjoy seeing them play at their work and work at their play. In playing, children learn how things are made, how values are formed, how culture is created.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God belongs to children.” Just for this reason, it is terrible when the will to do evil arises in a child and urges her on to action. Children must be occupied with good things, take interest in the things of God, and be filled with the powers of the divine. Their free will must not be left unprotected to fall prey to evil. It must be won over to the good.
Educating children does not mean scolding and criticizing. It means trusting them, inspiring them, and lending them a helping hand. It means recognizing and encouraging the childlike nature in every child. It is this childlike nature that stimulates the educator and fills her with new strength.
The true educator tries to strengthen the child’s energies for good. These values apply to instructing and educating older children as well. We will enjoy mental and practical work with the children when we realize that it is possible to have unspoiled joy in every kind of work. It’s possible to have joy in any sphere of interest. There is no object in heaven or on earth in which God has no interest; therefore any object is of interest to a genuine child.
We have touched upon the mystery of the child only when we ourselves are touched by that mystery. We want to educate children to be orderly, clean, truthful, loving, interested in learning and thinking, and disciplined in body. We can do this only if we, the educators, are so captivated by the divine mystery of the child that we are inwardly stirred by the marvel of love and joy that lies within her, waiting to be awakened. This holy vital spark must be fanned into flame in us and in the child through whatever activity we do together.
Education is a service of adoration. Not adoration of the child, but reverence for the divine mystery, the resemblance to God, which in the child is not yet completely buried. Our calling as humans is to portray and represent God’s character. It seems hopeless for us adults to fulfill this destiny. But in children it has not yet been betrayed and lost by a definite act of will. Anyone who has a sensitivity to God’s image is overwhelmed by this whenever she is with a child.
All those who are responsible for the child’s education need an alert heart and an active love. How difficult and weighted with responsibility educating children is for us who are unfree in all this. Only wise men and saints are fit to be educators. Our lips are unclean. Our dedication is not unreserved. Our truthfulness is broken. Our love is partial. Our kindness is not without motives. We are marked by lovelessness, possessiveness, and selfishness. We are unjust.
So it is the children who lead us to the gospel. The task which the gospel lays on us shows us that we are not worthy to educate even one single child. If we realize this, we are led to grace. Without the atmosphere of grace, no one can work with children. We can educate and be with children only if we stand like children before God.

Rebellion – Part II

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Rebellion – Part II

The word, rebellion in the Old Testament almost always refers to resistance to and rejection of Jehovah God. This is a serious affront to God and will not be tolerated.

Some ‘rebellion’ however, while not using the word rebel, contains the concept of not honoring authority that is not wise. When Saul commanded his men to kill innocents, the soldiers refused. Is that rebellion? It is certainly the concept of rebellion even if the word is not used. It is refusal to accept and honor unwise authority by obedience to that authority. It could be called, principled disobedience.

Some illustrations
In Saul’s anger, he called his wife a rebellious woman. Was she a rebel? If she did not approve of the way Saul was raising their son, Saul apparently thought of her as a rebel. Was she, in fact, a rebel? Was it acceptable for her to influence their son in a way different from the way her husband was influencing him?

When Saul planned to kill David and Jonathan intervened, was that rebellion? Rebellion is rejection of and resistance to authority. Saul was angry at Jonathan. Jonathan was angry at his father’s sin.

David, when confronting Goliath, rebelled against those who were rebelling against Jehovah. “Who would have the audacity to defy the God of Israel? David had to side-step his elder brother’s advice and continue to seek to find a way to fight the enemy of his people (I Samuel 17).

Hebrew to Greek
When the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew to Greek, the word, rebel was replaced by a word that could mean to provoke, etc. According to W. E. Vine, “The primary meaning of marah is to disobey” “The intent of the Hebrew is to signify the act of defying the command of God…”

“The Septuagint translates marah by (a word that means) to make bitter; make angry; provoke; be rebellious; …to reject; to not recognize. The English versions give the meanings: ‘rebel; provoke.’” Provoke in the English Bible can be used as a positive or a negative.

(Personal note: I am beyond my training on this subject. My sense from a brief study is that the concept of rebellion can be used as a negative or a positive.)

In the Scripture
God has intervened in human history in dramatic ways. Numbers 25 is a graphic account of how a plague was stopped. It was a violent end to an immoral plague. Jesus’ dramatic interruption of religion in His day, and the apostle Paul teaching the truth in the face of “super apostles” are Biblical examples of rebellion against passivity and sin and false teaching and hypocrisy.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. No wonder we cannot defeat the devil, we are too weak to resist and why would he flee?

In the Worship of Jehovah and in Christianity, passivity is not a virtue. II Corinthians 7:11 contains dramatic language. There are two kinds of sorrow: worldly and Godly. Godly sorrow has eagerness and vehement desire:
• Such Earnestness to do right
• Such Eagerness for a clean heart, to put away evil from you
• Such indignation against those who defile the Church
• Such vehement desire to correct what is wrong

In contrast, current Christendom in the Western world is a shamefully passive system of negligence and irresponsibility. That is not Christianity. Christianity rebels against evil and sin in the individual and in the abuse of children. We are rebelling against Satan’s kingdom.

We are here to make a difference. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ. We are rebelling against pornography. We are rebelling against wicked leaders in high places. We are rebelling against broken relationships fueled by Satanic attitudes and we rebel against pride which is the sin of the devil.

Until we are willing to cleanse the temple and call out the Pharisees, nothing will change. Like our Master, we must rebel against the status quo and teach like one who has authority and not like one of the scribes and we must live that way also.

Romans 6 says that we are slaves:
If you are a slave to righteous, you are delivered and free from sin.
If you are a slave to sin, you are delivered and free from righteousness.
That is not complicated. That is God’s answer.

Anabaptist History
In our own history, at our beginnings, when Zwingli reverted to duly constituted authority, his students (us) responded, ‘The Spirit of God has decided.’ We refused to obey the state preferring instead the Scripture and the Holy Spirit of God.

One of our understandings of Jesus’ teaching was defenselessness. In keeping with that understanding we refused to: serve in the military, serve as a magistrate, and serve on jury duty. We did not follow the expectations of the age. We were defenseless in our defense. We died instead of fight.

We charted a ‘new’ course following the Bible and the earliest Church experiences. That is still the call on our lives today. We support that position by not accepting the rule of the world’s kingdom.

Too many of us capitulated to the persecution of German Jews in the 1940’s. Why did we do that? Why did not more of us support rebellion against Hitler’s machine by saving lives he was trying to exterminate?

Passivity
Will destroy us. Principled disobedience is sanctioned by God through the Scripture. Respect in the process is expected but passivity must be rejected. We must rebel against passivity. Faith in the Old Testament and Christianity in the New Testament were/are not passive. They are active, aggressive and intentional faith living.

We should be angry and not sin. We should be angry at the inroads Satan is allowed to make into our lives and churches. Only anger and rebellion will give us enough drive to overcome the sins that so easily be set us.

The church is in a peace-at-all-costs, no accountability mode. It is not working. It will not work. It places the few who will not cooperate in a very difficult place. It has always been that way. It allows sin to prosper and gives wrong a place to hide. It uses grace and mercy to trump truth.

Scripture keeps mercy and truth together to blend the heart and mind of God and our own lives. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth whose first agenda in the gifting is love which brings joy and peace….

That Spirit is a river of life springing out of you…. That river is not containable. That river will overcome all obstacles. That River is where the tree of life grows. With fruit for food and leaves for medicine, it is the tree of life that towers over all the rebellion against the Creator and His creation.

Our lives are examples and illustrations of resistance and rejection of Satan’s kingdom and the offer and building of the eternal Kingdom. Whatever you call it, our lives are illustrations of the Kingdom that rebels against everything that rebels against God.

David and Goliath

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David and Goliath – I Samuel 17

All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel.

And David said to the men who stood by him, …who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God
Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”
And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him.

And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.”
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”
And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.”

So David put them off. Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog,that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him.

Rebellion

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Rebellion

The world is squeezing you into its mold. It is an unhealthy mold. Resisting it requires boldness and courage. Resisting it requires awareness of the evil nature of the enemy. Only anger and rebellion will empower you to fight the insidious inroads of this world’s system. Where are the men and women who will resist and rebel and chart a Godly course?

From marriage and family to church to nation, people are living far below the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The fear and pain of many lives is not necessary. It is way past time for a Godly rebellion. Cast out the bondwoman and her children. Look to Sarah and her heritage of freedom and life and love for your life. It is time for a rebellion. Where and who are the rebels God is calling and sending?

Father God is raising up an body of people who are grieved with the fearful, stilted, sad, controlling systems that are destroying people. NIMBY is not the answer. “Nice” is not a fruit of the Spirit. All the comfortable people living in luxury are ignoring the hurting and pained. Gods Spirit is moving God’s people. It is time. Now!

Rebellion

God chooses those who will rebel against the status quo and will chart a course to and for God. He chooses them to change His world.

He was/is looking for, His eyes run to and fro to find, those who would rebel against: Injustice, Sloth, Irresponsibility, Passivity, Mediocrity and other similar and destructive ills.

Injustice ignores or maybe even causes injury to the innocent. Sloth is the laziness of complacency in the face of wrong and need. Irresponsibility resists the needs of the moment or the future and does not get involved. Passivity does not get in the way of evil. Mediocrity tolerates less than excellent thinking and behavior. More illustrations could be used.

God chose Mary. How many options were there? How many Godly girls did He have from which to choose?

God chose Joseph. How many options were there? How many Godly men did He have from which to choose?

What about Daniel, or Joseph or, Esther, or Deborah, or, or….. or what about you? Are you a rebel? Are you willing to be a rebel? Do you hate evil? Do you hate evil in your life? Do you hate injustice? Do you rebel at mediocrity? Do you reject passive living? Does sloth make you angry?

God chose the Apostle Paul. All that dynamic encapsulated in one individual – could be used to change the world and it was.

Has God chosen you? From whom does He have to choose? How many options are there? Are you willing to suffer? Because suffer you will.

There is evil rebellion and there is good rebellion. Good rebellion is rebellion against Satan’s rebellion against God and His Kingdom. Good rebellion is anger and action against the destructions of sin. Good rebellion is the victory of virtue. It is war – good rebel vs. bad rebel – may the good rebels win. How can that happen?

Rebellion
Drives the researcher to defeat cancer.
Drives the counselor to combat the depression.
Drives the pastor to speak truth and love to the hurting pew.
Drives the prophet to pray:
“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!”
Drives the loving spouse to fight for the marriage.
Drives the judge to confront the crime and the criminal.
Drives the Godly person to face and eliminate sin.
Drives the friend to bring healing to broken relationships.
Drives the father to not tolerate rebellion in his young son.
Refuses to accept the status quo of lives gone wrong.
Refuses to rest as long as there are innocents being abused.
Drives Godly people to give heart and soul and to die in the rebellion.
Drives just persons to resist the levity and nonsense of foolish living.
Drives Christ-followers to take joyfully the spoiling of their goods and reputation.
Drives Godly persons to rebel against the sins of their own hearts and lives.
Drove Jesus to drive out the illicit transactions at the temple.

God’s Word, expressed in the life of Jesus in you, is His Word that, ‘this is how life is meant to be.’ There is no room for selfishness in that Word or in that world. The Gospel of God through the Holy Spirit is designed to change the world as it first changes you.

Jesus died. He was hated without a cause. If He has called you to live with Him, they will hate you too – without a cause. He said so. It will take all your faith to continue with Him while they are killing you like they did Him.

If you are a rebel rebelling against the mediocrity of the state of Spiritual life,
God bless you. Do not passively accept and resign yourself to the status quo of what ever is will be. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers, for the harvest is great and the laborers are few.

If you stand with Him, He will stand with you. Live and die for Him. He lived and died and lives for you.

The Eyes of The LORD

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The Eyes of The LORD

The life of a Prophet

At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, he gave them into your hand.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.

You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this.

II Chronicles 16:7-10