August 24, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 267: Captain


Captain

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (
Hebrews 2:9,10 NKJV)

**JOB POSTING**

POSITION AVAILABLE: Captain of the SS Storms of Life

JOB REQUIREMENTS: Candidate must possess limitless and infallible wisdom, strength, compassion, power, patience, knowledge, and authority. Must also demonstrate total mastery of the wind and waves.

JOB OBJECTIVE: To successfully guide passengers to the safe harbor they long for.

POSITION START DATE: Immediately.

POSITION END DATE: TBA (listen for the trumpet).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Please see Mark 4:35-4, Psalm 107:24-30, and Revelation 11:15.

"They saw the Lord's works, His wonderful works in the deep. He spoke and raised a tempest that stirred up the waves of the sea. Rising up to the sky, sinking down to the depths, their courage melting away in anguish, they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and all their skill was useless. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for" (Psalm 107:24-30 CSB).

August 23, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 266: Forgiving God (El Nahsah)


Forgiving God (El Nahsah)

"O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. Extol the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy." (Psalm 99:8 NRS)

Forgiveness is one of those tricky turns on the road of faith.

In the context of God forgiving us, forgiveness is a wide-open superhighway, expensively maintained and easily accessed. I am glad to travel down the road of God's forgiveness of me.

Forgiveness in the context of me forgiving others, though, is a narrow, uneven, rocky, twisting path. I'd rather not walk down this road. But walk it I must, because God minces no words in His Word about my forgiveness of others as it relates to His forgiveness of me: "If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:14,15).

"But God, they hurt me," I protest. He answers, "I forgave someone who hurt me."

"But God, they betrayed me," I protest. He answers, "I forgave someone who betrayed me."

"But God, they aren't even sorry," I protest. He answers, "I forgave someone who wasn't sorry."

"But God, they haven't paid for what they did," I protest. He answers, "I forgave someone who didn't pay for what they did."

"But God, they don't deserve to be forgiven," I protest. He answers, "I forgave someone who didn't deserve to be forgiven. Now do what I have done for you, my someone."

I get tripped up when I start to think that forgiving someone means excusing what they did...saying it's okay...releasing them from any consequences. Yet God forgives me all the time without condoning what I've done or excusing me from all the ripple effects of my sins. Forgiveness is not about letting someone off the hook; it's about letting go of my "right" to reel them in. Forgiveness is not actually between me and the person I need to forgive; it's between me and God. If I make it about the person I need to forgive, that person has come between me and God.

Oh friends, I know this is so hard. But there is no path of forgiveness God asks us to walk that He has not already walked Himself. We are not breaking the path; we are following the Forgiving God's lead. When we do, we find that the route of forgiveness is not a one-way street but rather a round-about, with God's forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others passing one another and continuing to circle around again and again, until the day we exit at last onto God's mountain. There, we'll cry "holy" alongside people we've forgiven and people who've forgiven us as together, we worship at the feet of the One who has forgiven all.

August 22, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 265: Promise Maker

Promise Maker

"He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations." (Psalm 105:8 NIV)

"I promise."

How many times have I said these words but not followed through on them?

The answer lies in the question: many times.

But not God. The Maker of hundreds of promises is also the Keeper of every promise.

He promises—and provides—His presence: "In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them.In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old" (Isaiah 63:9).

He promises—and provides—His protection: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:2).

He promises—and provides—His peace: "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).

His promises are particular, too.

He promises what: peace, protection, and presence.

He promises where: wherever we are, wherever we go.

He promises when: always, forever.

And sometimes, He promises when not: "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you' " (Hebrews 13:5b).

" 'I will never, never, never, never, never [the Greek has five negatives] leave you or forsake you,' is his promise. At times we may be overcome with a feeling of helpless forsakeness. This is surely not from the loving Father, but from the father of lies. Take God's own promise with its five negatives and hold on" (Elisabeth Elliot, "A Lamp for My Feet").

We ask, "You'll never leave me, God?" 

He answers, "Never, never, never, never, never. I promise."