Morning Musing: Amos 9:13-15

“Look, the days are coming – this is the Lord’s declaration – when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the one who treads grapes, the sower of seed. The mountains will drip with sweet wine, and all the hills will flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel. They will rebuild and occupy ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink their wine, make gardens and eat their produce. I will plant them on their land, and they will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them. The Lord your God has spoken.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have someone break something of yours and then try to make up for it with something else that wasn’t as good as the original? When someone has broken something of ours, we don’t just want it replaced, we want it replaced with something of the exact quality or better. There are many descriptions of how God plans to restore His creation. Some of them are more helpful than others. None of them really gives us anything like the details we’d really like to have. Where Amos ends his prophecy, though, gives us a couple of big picture clues that are worth noting. This morning, we are going to finish up this particular journey and talk about God’s big plans for making things better.

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Morning Musing: Genesis 3:14-15

“So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike you head, and you will strike his heel.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gotten a stain on a new shirt? If you have, you know what an enormously frustrating experience that is. This new thing for which you had such great plans and high hopes is now ruined. Sure, it’s one small stain on a big shirt, but once it’s there, the whole thing is polluted by it. It affects how you see all of it. It won’t ever be the same again. And for the person who caused the stain, you have nothing but fury (especially if it was you). Yet what if it could be restored again? When the dust of Adam and Eve’s first sin exploding the previous perfection of creation into bits was still settling, God spoke words of judgment. But He also spoke words of hope and restoration. When He did, the seeds of Christmas were laid, and the world entered the first season of Advent.

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Restored by the Resurrection

The day has finally arrived. For the first time in three years, yesterday we gathered together in person to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. It was quite a day. We also wrapped up our series, Plugged In. Getting and living plugged in to Jesus is a great thing. But it’s not a thing we can do on our own. The resurrection is what makes it possible. Let’s talk about it. Happy Easter! (P.S. It’s Spring Break week for us. I’ll be back with you next Monday. Have a great week!)

Restored by the Resurrection

When was the last time you failed? It could be a small failure. It could be a big failure. It could be an actual failure. It could be merely a perceived failure. Whatever form it happened to take, though, failing isn’t any fun. In fact, it’s a terrible feeling to have. And if there were just one feeling associated with it, that wouldn’t be good, but failure comes with a whole mixed bag of feelings and emotions. We feel like we’ve let down someone; maybe a number of someones. We feel like we’ve lost a bit of our purpose as people. We’re angry. We’re embarrassed. We’re ashamed. We want to hide—especially if the failure is the result of sin of some kind. Failure is just kind of a mess. Nobody wants to feel that. And yet, the truth about living in a world broken by sin is that sometimes…we do. 

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Morning Musing: Isaiah 30:18-21

“Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The most common characterization of God people have from the prophets is that He is angry. He is filled with wrath and is waiting up in heaven to catch us in some wrongdoing so He can smite us. He’s like a kid with a magnifying glass on a sunny day perched over an ant hill. The first time we show our head out of the pile, He’s going to smoke it off with a blast of lightning. And, there are some passages scattered throughout the prophets that would seem to justify such an image. But what you perhaps don’t realize is those are the exceptions, not the rule. The rule throughout the prophets is something very different and entirely more New Testament-y in their flavor than you might expect. This morning as we finish up our short look at Isaiah 30, I want to set before a passage that is much more in line with the major picture of God we get from the prophets. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Luke 15:14-16

“After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever considered someone to be irredeemable? It’s easy for us to do. When someone does something terrible enough, our first instinct is to write them off. Or, when someone falls into a pattern of troubling behavior long enough, the ones who have tried to help them out of it for a long time finally throw up their hands and give up on them. Sometimes, when another person just irritates us enough, we pass a final judgment on their character as terrible, and that’s the end of their story as far as we are concerned. How many marriages have ended with the stated reason given being “irreconcilable differences”? In all of this, we begin to believe a lie: That person or situation will never change. This is certainly a tempting lie to believe, but a convincing lie is still a lie. Let’s talk about the truth this morning.

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