Monday, October 19, 2015

Wholesome Words In The Ark Of God

"By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." - Hebrews 11:7 ESV

"For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed - God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers." - 1 Thessalonians 2:3-10 ESV

God's Love becomes a refuge from events as yet unseen.

There are men who use the truth to take. But then there are those who labor to give. They labor to give gently.

"The word of the LORD came to me: 'Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.' " - Ezekiel 34:1-5 ESV

God has given us an ark. He has sent His Son. His Son Is our ark. We labor against the idea that God wants to take something away. Sometimes the labor is to undo the work that shepherds who feed their belly have done.

God wants people to be in the ark He has prepared because they will be safe there. The storm can still be a bruising affair. Even in the ark we get tossed around but it is nothing like what it's like to be outside.

We can have great physical needs and yet we go to God and He becomes our strong tower. He becomes a place of safety and perspective.

We often go through needy times where if we don't get help from people and from God we might not make it. There is no shame in that. Those times create humility. Those times remove sentimentality. We either become people who use others as a lifestyle or we find the ark and become people who labor to be gentle create an atmosphere where people are safe so that they will choose to enter the ark that has been revealed to us.

"Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:28-32 ESV

Yes. I was a thief. But grace transforms thieves into people who give grace.


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