Natural disasters

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

July/August 2016 Issue –  Seek Me and Live‘let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream’ Amos 5:24

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Amos 4:6-7 (NIVUK): “‘I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,’ declares the Lord.

‘I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up.‘”

Selwyn writes: “In this section Amos conveys to Israel that God has applied the covenant sanctions as spelled out in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. Covenant unfaithfulness has led to famine, drought and crop failure.”

He then looks at God’s role in regard to all natural disasters. He makes these good points: “As we well know, many tragedies are caused by human incompetence, callousness or greed. … What we can perhaps say is this: not every natural disaster is attributable directly to God, yet within God’s providential oversight such events can serve His sovereign purposes.”

Any comments?

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[I’m very ill at the moment. I’ll write these posts when I can – God willing.]

A surprise at Bethel

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

July/August 2016 Issue –  Seek Me and Live‘let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream’ Amos 5:24

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Amos 3:13-15 (NIVUK): “‘Hear this and testify against the descendants of Jacob,’ declares the Lord, the Lord God Almighty.

‘On the day I punish Israel for her sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.

I will tear down the winter house along with the summer house; the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed and the mansions will be demolished,’ declares the Lord.”

I liked today’s study, especially Selwyn’s conclusion, as follows:

“Jacob was awed when he sensed the presence of God at Bethel – the God who was there to bless and guide. But it no less awesome when God comes down in judgment.

Let this thought grip you and hold you: we cannot sin with impunity. God is holy and cannot overlook sin. But He is willing to look over to Calvary, where confession of sin brings full and free forgiveness.”

The main issue for us is to admit that we are sinners and that we need to bend our knees in front of God’s throne of grace and confess our sins.

God’s remnant

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

July/August 2016 Issue –  Seek Me and Live‘let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream’ Amos 5:24

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Amos 3:12 (NIVUK): “This is what the Lord says: ‘As a shepherd rescues from the lion’s mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued, with only the head of a bed and a piece of fabric from a couch.”

In today’s study we are told that God can make something useful out of a useless remnant.

Selwyn goes on to write: “For the prophets, the idea of God’s remnant was above all a sign of God’s incredible patience and amazing grace  in not totally destroying His people. It shows us that God is willing to start all over again with the most unlikely ragbag of survivors.”

And are we not all thankful for God’s never-ending patience?

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[Totally distracted from the task set before me; because pain in my spine from the cancer is denominating my attention at the moment. My doctor has review my pain management plan this afternoon, hopefully tomorrow is a better day.]

 

 

God’s Privy Council

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

July/August 2016 Issue –  Seek Me and Live‘let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream’ Amos 5:24

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Amos 3:7 (NIVUK): “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”

Selwyn says: “This verse sums up the wonderful truth that our faith is based not on our ideas about God but on what God has revealed about Himself. …

The prophets, we must understand, were not fortune tellers – they were given insights into God’s future. They discerned the signs of the times to see where history was going under God’s direction, but they were more concerned to open the eyes of the people to the significance of the present, exposing its perils and possibilities. Prophecy is thus a sign of God’s grace.” 

Would you agree that even today, the Sovereign Lord continues to  reveal His salvation plan, to His children?

There is still a role for prophets in today’s Church, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:27-29; “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?”

Any comments?

Constant vigilance

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

July/August 2016 Issue –  Seek Me and Live‘let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream’ Amos 5:24

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Amos 3:3-6 (NIVUK): “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey? Does it growl in its den when it has caught nothing?

Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground when no bait is there? Does a trap spring up from the ground if it has not caught anything?

When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?”

Selwyn starts by saying: “As we were reminded yesterday, great gifts demand great accountability. With special revelation comes more searching scrutiny.”  … As Amos tells his people: “The disaster that will befall Israel is as certain as the purposes of the God behind it. Don’t you see, says Amos, it all adds up. Sin plus God equals judgment – even for God’s people.”

Today’s conclusion is worth thinking about: There are no coincidences for God’s people. Even the calamites that befall them, fall within the bounds of God of God’s permitted purpose for them. We may even find here the buried treasure of God’s strange mercy for us, as David concluded, it is better to fall into the hands of a merciful God in judgment than into the hands of merciless men (2 Samuel 24:14).”

I have come to the same conclusion – even though I have terminal cancer – what has happened to me is within the bounds of God’s permitted purposes. The main purpose – that relates to me (as far as I can discern) is that my refinement – the transformation of my likeness into the likeness of Jesus – has been greatly accelerated through the power of His Holy Spirit. So, I praise God for such a special blessing!

Any comments?

 

What a story!

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

July/August 2016 Issue –  Seek Me and Live‘let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream’ Amos 5:24

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Amos 3:2 (NIVUK): “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”

This is an important study because it covers a biblical truth, which may not be that well understood – basically: “Living in and within God’s plans and purposes brings His benefits; living outside them brings us consequences.”

Selwyn, expands on this truth, in his conclusion: “The lesson is clear, now, as it was then. Great privilege involves great responsibility. Don’t mistake God’s special choice for special immunity. Please don’t presume on His grace and live carelessly.

Jesus summed up the matter in an equally sharp prophetic challenge to the Israel of His day: ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’ (Luke 12:48).”

God’s love and justice works together – we, His children, have been given much – and He demands ‘much’ from us. This is a reasonable position for God to take, don’t you agree?

We are told – ‘to go and sin no more’; that is to live holy lives which reflect our gradual transformation into the likeness of Jesus. No one who loves God keeps on sinning – that’s the truth!

Taken to court

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

July/August 2016 Issue –  Seek Me and Live‘let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream’ Amos 5:24

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Amos 3:1 (NIVUK): “Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you– against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: “

How must it break God’s heart to bring charges against His own people?

As Selwyn says: “Amos is acting as God’s ‘covenant prosecutor’  – instructed by God to bring charges against His people for failing to live up to His laws.”

I find today’s study to be very sad, considering that we have appear to have learnt nothing from the Old Testament about God’s relationship with His people and His demand for justice – expressed as love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness. We often fail in the exactly the same way as the Israelites of two thousand years ago – why is this so?

Selwyn concludes: “How surprising that a God who is for His people can act against them. … Judgment may indeed turn out to be ‘strange grace’, as all God wants to do is draw His people back to Himself.”

Jesus loves us so much that He will never leave us to wander aimlessly in a sinful world; if ‘just‘ correction is required to set us in the right direction on the narrow road to eternal life – then, His love will respond to the situation in a perfect way, according to His perfect will.

Your view?