Can I Find Hope, Healing, Restoration??? – ZEPHANIAH – 3h – [16]

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction and confusion, out of the muddy clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my steps secure. – Psalm 40:2

           psalms40_2               feet_on_rock_thumb

 

As we begin to wrap up the Book of Zephaniah, let’s look at a common pattern seen throughout the Bible, as well as, our own lives.

  • People follow their own way, believing they are able to navigate life on their own, without God, His principles and guidance.
  • Life becomes messy.  In relationships, at work, at school, in finances, families, morals and values are compromised, addictive behaviors surface, and destruction/unhealthy choices dominate.  We’re LOST!!  We’re not sure where to turn, or even what we’re hoping to find.  All we know for sure is that something is missing from our lives. But WHAT is it?
  • People hear about God.  In the Bible it was through prophets, and through miracles. In present day, people hear about God through preachers on the radio or TV, through various churches offering an array of worship experiences from quite/reflective to foot stomping/interactive, and everything in between.  Miracles may sadly go unnoticed. Thought of as “coincidence”, rather than “providence”.
  • People choose to make a change in their lives.  To repent, acknowledging that the path they have been on is not leading them where they hoped to go. Instead of continuing on their current path, they choose to do a 180 and follow God’s way.                                                                                        my way gods way
  • People experience restoration and healing. – It is like the restoration of this painting –   paintingrestoration                                                                                          The beauty we see in the restoration (right side of the image) was not added or changed, but was cleaned up (refreshed and restored) after years of neglect, sin (an analogy), hurt and pain experienced (an analogy) – (image on the left side).

NOTE:  Complete restoration and healing doesn’t often happen in an instant, a week, a month or even a year.  But, by making a choice today to say, YES, I want restoration and healing in my life, in my relationships, at my job, with my classmates, teachers, etc. the process can begin.  And you will be able to see God’s image restored everyday, while the distorted, marred image that was once so painful to look upon, begins to disappear.

 

 

Warning!!! – The Stove is HOT!!!! – PROVERBS – Chapter 1g – 1:29-33 [10 of out 10]

LORD Almighty, blessed are those who trust in you. – Psalm 84:12

 

29))  Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose to fear the Lord,
30))  and they would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31))  THEREFORE, they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
32))  For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33))  BUT whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

 

We learned from verse 25, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-5E, that – People turn away from all my advice. They wouldn’t accept my warning.  And here again in verse 30 we read, they despised all my counsel.
All people are in search of a road that leads to “happiness”.      Good Mood Ahead                                         Yet, in verses 29-33, we read that people often end up making choices that take them on a curvy path.  winding-twisted-road-sign1 Their path ends up being curvy because the choose their own way vs. the Creator’s counsel and guidance – v.30.

The result of following our own way:  They’ll GET their own way, for better or worse.  Sadly, as verse 32 says, the simple are killed by turning away, by doing their own thing.  Instead of heeding the warnings, like the stove is hot – don’t touch it,   dont_touch      they proceed to touch,  and…     clipart hand_burn     Again, it’s not that the person in this illustration was not warned, he was, yet he chose his own way.  In this case, and often in our everyday choices, the result was/can be painful.

The result of following wisdom?                                                                                                               v.33 – Whoever listens to me                                                 

  • will dwell secure
  • will be at ease
  • (will be) without dread of disaster

Ummm, which path would you take, wisdom’s or the simple’s/fool’s?    decision scale

 

Does God Laugh and Make Fun of Me When I Goof Up??? – PROVERBS – Chapter 1f – 1:23-28 [9]

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

 

23)) Suppose (IF) you had paid attention to (my) warning.
    THEN I would have poured out (my) heart to you.
    (I) would have told you what (I) was thinking.
24)) But you turned away from me when (I) called out to you.
    None of you paid attention when (I) reached out (my) hand.
25)) You turned away from ALL my advice.
    You wouldn’t accept (my) warning.

26)) So I will laugh at you when you are in danger.
    I will make fun of you when hard times come.
27)) I will laugh when hard times hit you like a storm.
    I will laugh when danger comes your way like a windstorm.
    I will make fun of you when suffering and trouble come.
28))THEN you will call to me. But I won’t answer.
    You will look for me. But you won’t find me.

Wow!!  I don’t know about you, but when I read these verses, they kinda scare me. Does this mean when I goof up and don’t follow God that He will laugh at me and make fun of me? And when I call Him and ask Him for help, He won’t answer me and I won’t find Him?

It is easy to replace the words in (  ) with God because when you read these verses it seems that it is a person who is talking.  However, recalling from verse 20, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-5e, Wisdom is the (my) and the (I).  Remember that Solomon uses personification, and that can sometimes confuse the reader.

God has given us, in fact all people, truth through His Word.  It is a guide-book to help people navigate their earthly life.  It is when the nasty sin of pride infiltrates our mind, our choices, etc., that we have the attitude, “Yeah, right – God stuff, I don’t think so, my way is better…”

In verses 26-27, it is Wisdom, not God that is laughing and making fun, so-to-speak.  Basically, these are the consequences of our choices. It seems harsh, but it is as though you can hear Wisdom saying, “I told you so…”

Verse 28, you call, but don’t get an answer. Meaning the consequences of our choices have been exacted (accurate to circumstance), they can not be changed.  If someone gets pregnant, out-of-wedlock, they can “call” all they want, but the consequence of their choice will not change.

You may have asked yourself these questions at some point in your life,

  • How did I get into this mess?
  • Why does everything seem to go bad for me?
  • Did I do something wrong?

The answerYou turned away from my advice, You wouldn’t accept my warning. –  Proverbs 1:25