Morning Musing: Zechariah 1:8-9

“I looked out in the night and saw a man riding on a chestnut horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in the valley. Behind him were chestnut, brown, and white horses. I asked, ‘What are these, my lord?’ The angel who was talking to me replied, ‘I will show you what they are.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Discipline is not fun. It’s not fun and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who takes the opposite opinion. It certainly doesn’t appear in the Scriptures. The most explicit reference to discipline there comes from the writer of Hebrews who says it plainly: “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful.” This is doubly true when you are the one doing the disciplining and the object of your effort is your children. When the discipline is over, though, what is needed then? We get a glimpse of that here in Zechariah’s first vision.

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Morning Musing: Micah 7:18-20

“Who is a God like you, forgiving iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not hold on to his anger forever because he delights in faithful love. He will again have compassion on us; he will vanquish our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show loyalty to Jacob and faithful love to Abraham, as you swore to our ancestors from days long ago.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

When you are writing or speaking one of the things you want to keep in mind is that people will tend to remember the last thing you say better than all the rest. This means you need to make sure to save your best stuff for last. With that in mind, when reading through an individual document in the Scriptures, we do well to pay special attention to what the author saved for the end. That’s the thing he most wants us to keep in mind. So, what do we find at the end of Micah’s collection of prophecy? Let’s take a look and talk about it.

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You Are Loved

In this final installment in our series, Hard to Love, we land with both feet on the biggest and most consequential truth there is: God loves you. Read on and marvel with me at how great our God is that though we didn’t want Him, He loved us still. Let this love fill you to a fullness you’ve never known before and pour out of you onto the people around you…even the ones who are hard to love.

You Are Loved

Have you ever watched somebody get something they didn’t deserve?  How’d you feel about that?  Did it inspire you?  Did it sicken you?  Were you pretty well ambivalent about it?  I would guess that most of us, depending on the exact details, would tend toward feeling inspired by such a story.  This becomes especially true when the person goes on to live up to the expectations of the gift.  Perhaps the most classic example of this is from the beloved story by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, which Lisa and I actually got to see on stage back at the beginning of the month.  It was absolutely amazing.  The hero of the story, Jean Valjean, is set down the path of righteousness he walks all the way to the end of his life by the wildly unmerited gift of a Catholic priest.  The 2012 film adaptation starring Hugh Jackman captures this scene really well.  Take a look

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Morning Musing: Jonah 1:1-3

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because their evil has come up before me.’ Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever not wanted to do something God asked you to do, reluctantly did it, and then got mad when God followed through on what He said? If so, Jonah is the book for you. We are now on to book number five on our journey through the Minor Prophets, and of all the books we have or will yet look at together, Jonah is the one that stands out from all the rest. Strange as it is, though, it wrestles with some really big issues. Stay tuned for the next few days as we work through this one. There will be something for just about everyone along the way.

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Love’s Transformation

Knowing we’re supposed to love the hard to love people in our lives, even knowing the theological reasons for that, is one thing. Actually seeing it in practice is something entirely different. This past Sunday as we continued in our series, Hard to Love, we took a look at a remarkable story of the kind of transformation that can take place when we let love loose into our hard to love situations. You don’t want to miss this.

Love’s Transformation

Let me start this morning with a tough question.  In fact, I want you to close your eyes in order to answer this one.  How would you respond if your child was murdered?  That’s an emotional question, I know, so go ahead and feel that emotion for a minute.  Let me show you a picture.  This is a picture of Mary Johnson and her son.  In 1993 Mary’s son, Laramiun Byrd, was 20 years old.  One night he went to a party with some friends.  As perhaps many young men are wont to do he did a little bit of fronting at the party to the benefit of his ego and his image in front of his friends.  Now, this might not be such a big deal on a normal night, but this particular party was also attended by a 16-year-old young man named O’Shea Israel.  O’Shea took up Laramium’s challenge and did a bit of fronting of his own.  After all, he couldn’t be made to look bad in front of his own friends.  Things digressed from there and the next morning Mary got a call asking if Laramiun had come home the night before.  He hadn’t.  Not long after some officers arrived to let her know that he had been murdered at the party.  In an instant—perhaps just as you imagined—her world completely fell apart. 

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