What Would You Ask For?

“That night God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said: What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” 2 Chronicles 1:7 

 

(Joseph Alleine, “Alarm to the Unconverted” 1671)

If God would give you your choice, as He did to Solomon–what would you ask for? 
Go into the gardens of pleasure, and gather all the fragrant flowers there–would these satisfy you? 
Go to the treasures of mammon–suppose you may carry away as much as you desire. 
Go to the towers, to the trophies of honor–and become a man of renown. 
Would any of these, would all of these satisfy you, and make you to count yourself happy? If so, then certainly you are carnal and unconverted.
Converting grace turns the heart from its idols–to the living God. Before conversion, the man minded his farm, friends, pleasures more than Christ. He found more sweetness in his merry company, worldly amusements, earthly delights–than in Christ. Now he says, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ!” Philippians 3:7-8

My Father’s Business

November 1, 2014

My Father’s Business

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luk 2:49)

Here we have one of those moments in the life of Jesus that everybody knows about – even people who are not at all familiar with much of what the Bible says. Indeed, you would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard about the boy Jesus at twelve years old, in the Temple confounding the religious leaders with his understanding and answers concerning the things of God.

His parents, Mary and Joseph, had taken him to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. They had traveled together in a large company from Nazareth, and when the time came to return home they thought that Jesus was with one of the other families. After about a day’s travel, perhaps about dinner time, they realized he was not anywhere with the group. So they turned around and went back to Jerusalem, and there they found him in the Temple.

“Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?” Mary said to Him, “Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.”

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luk 2:49)

This was a game-changer. The Bible tells us plainly “they understood not the saying which he spoke unto them.” Not only were they doctors and lawyers and religious leaders astonished by His answers, but Joseph and Mary were astounded by His awareness of the high calling upon His life.

The incident concludes, “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

Now here is the thing that strikes me the most in all of this. Jesus was twelve when this occurred, and He is at that time fully committed to be about His Father’s business. Yet, we do not see or hear anything else about Him until He is thirty years old. That’s eighteen years unaccounted for except to say that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

Is it possible that long seasons of unseen and uncelebrated faithfulness are part of “my Father’s business?” And could it be that this stretch of seemingly endless silence and mediocrity you are slogging through may in fact be part of a bigger, deeper work God is doing in you…and eventually through you?

“Have heart,” Jesus says to you today, “you are employed in My Father’s Business!”

From the daily devotional “Rylisms”.

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Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

October 31, 2014

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

“All things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)

There is a delightful little story of two angels who stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the guestroom. Instead they were given a small space in the cold basement.

As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

The next night the two angels came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest.

When the sun came up the next morning, the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

The younger angel was perplexed and asked the older angel, “How could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you fix a hole in his wall. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.”

“Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied. “When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead.”

You see, things aren’t always what they seem. The Bible promises us that “all things work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). Surely you can trust the Lord to work things out for your good during this strange season of craziness in our topsy-turvy world!

Just remember, things are not always as they seem.

From the daily devotional Rylisms.