Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Profiting from the Prophets

About a month ago, I started reading the book of Daniel in the Bible for the first time. Up until now, I have read the new testament many times, and most of the old testament - but none of the major/minor prophets. So far, I have read Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micha.

It's been kinda fun reading through these books - first of all because I've been reading the snot out of them on the app for my phone, secondly, because I am discovering the roots of my Christian beliefs. Today, for example, I read this passage in Micha 7:18-20:

18 Who is a God like You, removing 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.
19 He will again have compassion on us; He will vanquish our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
20 You will show loyalty to Jacob and faithful love to Abraham, as You swore to our fathers from days long ago.

These verses are the last of a book where Micah is telling of God's coming judgement on His people and their sin. Words of hope. Our sins will be forgotten, cast into the depths of the sea. Who is like our God? So many times, I have heard phrases or thoughts like this in songs and sermons and have thought, wow, what a great word! Like the Bereans and Paul's teaching in Acts 17:11, I am spiritually profiting from going to God's word to discover the roots of the Christian faith!

Admittedly, most of the verses that I've read for the first time have not yet registered any significant meaning to me. I recognize that they are contextualized within the history books of the old testament, and will have to set aside some time to really study if I am to grasp all of the richness of each author's inspired words in these pages.

Word of encouragement for the day: read your bibles! You don't have to master every verse and chapter the first time you read it. Let it be process, and enjoy discovering the treasures of this masterfully written and divinely inspired book where God speaks, where we can find hope, and where we find meaning and purpose for our short-lived lives on this earth!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


This morning I was getting my daughter some cereal for breakfast. She is a huge cereal fan, like her daddy, and says to me: "Daddy, I want a lot." She says this, of course, because she is really hungry and thinks that she could literally devour all food in sight. Not sure where she gets this from... But me, being a "professional" parent now of two, understand that she has a small stomach and can only eat a certain amount before she becomes full. And she proves me right every time I give her too much, as we would often have to throw away the cereal that she couldn't finish.

This is not an easy thing to explain to a three-year-old, but once grasped, it will radically affect her view of life. So our dialogue goes something like this...

"Do you have a lot of Buba's or enough?" - "enough"
"Do you have a lot of Daddy's or enough? - "enough"
"Do you have a lot of Mommy's or enough?" - "enough"

So instead of giving her everything she asks for, I give her enough of what she needs - not to much, but enough. And guess what? To her surprise, she was content with enough.

Unfortunately, even as adults we have a horrible time realizing this reality. I imagine that our Heavenly Father shakes his head in amazement at our needless requests for things that we don't need, and the quantities that we ask for. God, please give me more income... God, please give me a bigger house... God, please give me the car with all the bells and whistles... The bible tells us that we have not because we ask with the wrong motives, asking for things to dispose of upon our selfish desires, and not for His purposes (James 4:3). But God not only wants to provide us with our needs, but desires to provide us with good things, for our well-being and benefit (Matt. 7:7-11, Romans 8:28).

And how insulting is it to God when we forget that His grace is sufficient for us, and continually try to earn his favor by works and good deeds, trying to appease God by doing many "righteous" things to outweigh the sin-debt that we are absolutely unable to pay (2 Cor. 12:9)? How quickly we forget that the work of Christ on the cross was MORE than enough for us.

I think Paul describe the concept of contentment in his letter to the Philippians:

"...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13

Find contentment in enough...