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Archive for the ‘God’s Wisdom’ Category

 

 

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you,

or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,

or let the fish of the sea inform you.

Which of all these does not know that

the hand of the Lord has done this?”

–Job 12:7-9

 

It’s true. Just a bit of knowledge in the fields of zoology, botany, or geology does inform us of the precision with which our God created all things:

  • Every living thing is provided just the right kind of nourishment it needs.
  • The Amazon rain forest supplies the entire planet with half its oxygen.
  • Rivers respond to God’s laws of physics, causing them to meander instead of run straight. As a result, calm estuaries form so young aquatic animals are protected while they grow.

 

 

Countless facts such as these make it difficult to disregard the evidence: A Supreme Being had to mastermind all this.

Even mathematical explorations lead us to the same conclusion.

Take for example Fibonacci* numbers—a sequence where each succeeding number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. 0+1=1; 1+1=2; 1+2=3, 2+3=5, and so on, produces this sequence: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc.

So what’s the big deal? someone may ask. There are more than a few big deals.

First, the number of petals on a flower very often comes from the Fibonacci sequence. The calla lily has one petal; Euphorbia, two; trillium, three; violets, five; bloodroot, eight; and black-eyed Susan, thirteen. The list could continue.

 

 

Or, imagine each Fibonacci number as the sides of a square arranged like this:

 

 

Now add an arc from opposite corners in each square, to form a spiral. Someone designated it the Golden Spiral.

 

 

Look familiar?  You’ve seen it in the interior view of a nautilus shell,

 

 

the pattern of sunflowers seeds,

 

 

the tail of a seahorse,

 

 

the rotation of a hurricane,

 

 

and the expansive reach of some galaxies.

 

 

Other spirals are also in evidence:

Imagine holding a stem of leaves. Look carefully at how each leaf is attached to the stem and you’ll see a spiral pattern. Now put your (imaginary) finger on one leaf and turn the stem to find another leaf in the same position on the stem. The number of turns will be a Fibonacci number.

Count the leaves in between those two leaves you’ve just identified, and again, the total will be a Fibonacci number. For example, the ratio of turns to leaves is 1:2 for elms, 1:3 for beech, 2:5 for oak.

 

 

Trees are not the only vegetation to display spirals in a consistent ratio of side-by-side Fibonacci numbers. The scales of pinecones grow in opposing spirals in a 5:8 ratio, the bumps on a pineapple are 8:13.

Even the DNA molecule measures 34 angstroms long by 21 angstroms wide for each full turn of its double helix spiral—again, neighboring numbers in the Fibonacci sequence.

 

 

Similar ratios are found on sunflowers. The number of seed-spirals going in one direction will add up to a Fibonacci number; those going in the other direction will be a neighboring Fibonacci number.

 

 

Evidence of these number sequences is so vast in creation, The Fibonacci Quarterly was established in 1963, published by The Fibonacci Association. Their purpose is to document the occurrence of the phenomenon in nature.

I wonder if they would agree with Galileo (1564-1642) who proclaimed:

 

(“Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe.”)

 

Just the Fibonacci sequence alone gives much proof.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Glorious God, you are the Artist who fashioned mountains and sunsets of breath-taking beauty. You are the Scientist who designed flora and fauna to thrive and regenerate. You are the Mathematician who shaped the world with symmetry, organization, and pattern.   The whole earth is filled with your glory (Isaiah 6:3)—down to the last molecule! How can we express the overwhelming wonder that fills our hearts?        

 

* Leonard da Pisano, also known as Fibonacci (son of Bonaccio), discovered the sequence pattern around 1200 A.D.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.pixabay.com; http://www.wikimedia.org; http://www.pixabay.com; http://www.wikimedia.org (5); http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.wikimedia.org (2); http://www.flickr.com; http://www.wikimedia.org; http://www.azquotes.com.)

 

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“But when the appropriate time had come,

God sent his Son.”

–Galatians 4:4, ISV

 

Let’s see…Jesus arrived on Planet Earth during the height of the Roman Empire, some 2000+ years ago – long before television or radio, even before the telegraph.

Why didn’t God wait, at least until the 1800s, so news of Jesus’ birth could be transmitted quickly?

Then there’s the argument from the other end of the spectrum. Why did God wait so long to send Jesus? Century upon dark and gloomy century had passed since Adam and Eve first sinned and a Savior was promised (Genesis 3).

 

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There must have been something just right about that era when the Romans ruled the world. In fact, Bible scholars have identified a number of factors to explain the appropriateness of this time for God to send his Son.  Such information contributes proof of God’s wisdom and his ability to engineer circumstances perfectly:

  • The Romans had built roads all across southern Europe and into the Middle East, making travel much easier. During the first century after Jesus’ birth, early Christians were able to spread the good news about Jesus from one end of the empire to the other.
  • Pax Romana, a period of relative peace and stability that lasted approximately 200 years, began with the reign of Caesar Augustus. You’ll remember his name. He was in power when Jesus was born (Luke 2:1). Travel during this era was much safer.

 

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  • Years before the Romans rose to supremacy, Alexander the Great of Greece had instituted common culture and a common language (Koine Greek). More people were being educated than ever before, and learning Greek or Latin in school. Language was not a barrier in proclaiming the news that the Savior had been born.
  • However, in spite of these positive effects of the Roman Empire, few people appreciated their cruel tactics to maintain control and outward peace. The Jews certainly chafed under their domination. But that increased the desire of God’s people for their Messiah to come.
  • Other nationalities had to face the fact their false gods had failed to save them from Roman conquest. Many people were ready to abandon the worship of idols and discover the different kind of peace Jesus offered (John 14:27).

 

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  • By this time, many of those who had embraced Greek philosophy were realizing the spiritual emptiness of such thinking and were also ready to consider Jesus. The success of Paul’s ministry in such cities as Corinth, Ephesus, Antioch of Pisidia, and Colossae are in part due to this readiness.
  • The Roman army recruited men from every province they conquered, then dispersed them as needed throughout the region. Imagine Christian soldiers stationed among those of other beliefs, living Jesus’ way and sharing their faith—all across the empire. Historians credit this kind of interaction among Roman soldiers as the means for the people of Britain learning about Christianity.

 

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Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but it is significant that I found seven reasons why the Roman era, particularly under Caesar Augustus, was the appropriate time for the birth of Jesus.  The number seven is mentioned over 700 times in scripture. Often it expresses completeness and perfection, beginning with the seven days of creation—six to complete the universe in absolute perfection and one day of rest.

The bulleted list above provides evidence of complete preparation for the coming of the Messiah: politically, culturally, and spiritually. But none of these factors would have mattered if Jesus’ message hadn’t been perfect truth:

 

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(“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

— John 3:16)

 

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(“I have come that they may have life,

and have it to the full.” — John 10:10)

 

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(“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.”

— John 14:6)

 

Today, well over two billion people embrace the complete and perfect truth of Christianity.

I am so very thankful to be among them.  Aren’t you?

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.youtube.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.slideshare.net; http://www.pinterest (5).

 

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Say the word, blessings, and our minds turn to the many ways God continually bestows good things. The more attentive we are, the more blessings we notice.

But in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described eight blessings that sound quite bizarre at first hearing. For example:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.” (Matthew 5:3a, MSG).

 

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Surely his listeners blinked in astonishment and thought, There’s no happiness at the end of that rope!

Jesus continued. “With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (v. 3b, MSG). Some may have nodded in agreement at this statement, having experienced profoundly God’s help in time of trouble.

Others may have wondered, More of God sounds good, but if I’m still at the end of my rope, where’s the blessing?

At least a few probably misunderstood the word, blessed. It’s more than happiness; it’s deep down, untouchable contentment. No matter what might happen, the blessed person remains confident in his God, hopeful in his outlook, and peaceful in his spirit—despite the turmoil of circumstances.

 

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In the ancient Greek of New Testament times, blessed was not a word spoken in sedate, pious tones. It was a shout of overflowing joy. And in the Be-Attitudes of Matthew 5:3-12, Jesus announced shout-worthy blessings—satisfying consequences of embracing God’s way of thinking and living.

“You ARE blessed,” Jesus taught (emphasis added). Notice he used present tense verbs. These statements were not hope-filled platitudes for the future; they expressed conditions for the present, available immediately.

Notice, too, that such overflowing joy is not procured through the acquisition of material goods or the experience of pleasure. King Solomon found that out long ago. He had it all, only to discover that everything was meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Countless others have tried the same route; each one has failed.

In the face of so much evidence, why do we expect self-indulgence to provide deep satisfaction?

On the other hand, Matthew 5:3-12 is just the beginning of blessing-instruction, presenting God’s guarantees for soul-happiness. If Jesus had preached another sermon of Be-Attitudes (Maybe he did!), our wise Savior/Teacher might have included these:

 

Blessed are the stretched and overwhelmed,

for they shall discover strength (Isaiah 41:10).

 

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You probably know heroes of the faith who have proven: “God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come” (Charles Spurgeon). That strength isn’t just for heroes; it’s available to us all.

 

Blessed are the disappointed,

for they shall be transformed (Romans 12:2, NLT).

 

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As God leads us toward a new focus, a new perspective, we find our minds renewed and our spirits uplifted.

 

Blessed are the shaken,

for they shall experience the security

of the Lord, the Rock (Psalm 27:5).

 

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Praise God he is reliable, immoveable, and firm! We can confidently depend upon him now and forever.

 

Blessed are the confused,

for they shall receive wisdom (James 1:5).

 

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God never turns away from a sincere heart seeking his guidance.

 

Blessed are those who celebrate God’s blessings–

even in the midst of difficulty–

for they shall find contentment in gratitude (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

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We can follow the example of Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) who said, “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

Know this, too: We can humbly and resolutely expect such blessings as these. God doesn’t make such promises lightly; He fulfills what he says:

 

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“God is not a man, that he should lie,

nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.

Does he speak and then not act?

Does he promises and not fulfill?”

–Numbers 23:19 NIV

 

No indeed.

‘Care to give God a shout-out for joy (Psalm 95:1-3)?

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.askideas.com; http://www.lifemoreabundant.me; http://www.pinterest.com (5); http://www.flickr.com; http://www.pinterest.com.)

 

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Imagine eighty-year old Moses, tending sheep on a mountainside, just as he had for the previous 14,600 days (forty years)—give or take a few.   He had absolutely no reason to think this day would be different from the thousands before.

But it was.

 

Moses at the burning bush

 

This was the day he spotted the burning bush and God spoke to him:

“I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt, and I have heard them crying out because of the slave drivers. I know how much they’re suffering. I have come to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good land with plenty of room [for everyone]. It is a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8, GWT).

According to Acts 7:6, God’s people had endured slavery for four hundred years. That’s 146,000 days—give or take a few. God saw their misery, heard them crying out, and was concerned about their suffering.

So why would God wait so long? Think of the generations who prayed for deliverance and the answer did not come.

Why?

They never knew. Even now, although Bible scholars have speculated, we have no definitive answer. God chose not to tell them/us.

But the experience of the ancient Israelites, as well as those of countless others through the centuries, prove:  even in the Christian life, questions go unanswered, uncertainty can become a constant companion, and doubts linger in the shadows.

 

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What’s to be done when the answers don’t come?

Actually, there are at least four categories of action to pursue:

1. Reaffirm what we know to be true. 

  • God has good reason to be silent or he wouldn’t do it. Whether he ever reveals the reason(s) is up to his discretion. But one reason is certain: If he answered every request immediately, we’d become very spoiled and never develop our faith. And faith is very important to him (Hebrews 11:6). Our trust in his always-perfect capabilities is to our benefit.

 

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  • Consider that at this very moment you are traveling 67,000 miles per hour. (And you thought you were sitting still!) The whole planet is orbiting the sun at that mind-boggling speed. Just as we forget we’re flying through space, so we sometimes forget that God is moving, always working on our behalf (Romans 8:28)—even when there’s no evidence of the fact. 
  • “His silence is the sign that he is bringing us into an even more wonderful understanding of himself” – Oswald Chambers.*  In the silence we seek him with more diligence.

2. Prayerfully analyze the possibilities why God may be silent: 

  • I have unconfessed sin in my life. 
  • He’s given me direction but I have yet to follow. He’s waiting for me to cooperate. 
  • I’m trying to work things out on my own, creating such a racket of busy-ness I can’t hear his gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12).

 

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  • He’s growing my faith (Isaiah 50:10) and building my character (James 1:2-4) to make me more useful for his purpose. Fulfilling his purpose will satisfy my soul also, on a level unknown to me now (Luke 6:38). 
  • He’s accomplishing a purpose only he knows about at present.

3. Implement these behaviors: 

  • Rely on scriptural fact, not emotions. God is loving, faithful, and present with us. He never overlooks a child, and will see us through whatever he deems best (Psalm 145:8, 13, 18, 20 and Psalm 23:4).
  • Take encouragement from Bible promises, even pray them back to God. But hold onto them with a light grasp because we are subject to God’s plan for fulfillment and his timetable. Good thing, too.  He is the all-wise One in total, proficient control of everything.

 

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  • Take time to be quiet and receptive. Praise God for what’s right in your life. Chances are, current blessings far outweigh pending requests. Our praise can begin with another encouragement from Oswald Chambers*: “If God has given us a silence,…he is bringing us into the great run of his purpose.”

_________________________

 

Even as I wait in the silence for your intervention, Lord God, I praise you for your sovereignty and affirm: you know the best way and the best time to fulfill your plan. I thank you for your strength that empowers me to persevere, and the assurance of ultimate victory in the end as I rely upon you.  

 

Isaiah 55:9, Philippians 4:11-13, Romans 8:35-36

 

Is there a scripture, quote, or thought you find helpful when the answers don’t come?  Please share in the comment section below!

 

*My Utmost for His Highest, Dodd, Mead, & Co., 1966, p. 285.

 

(Photo & art credits:  www.cgtruth.org; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.thekingjamesbible.us; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.pilgrimsrock.com.)

 

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The bright red ad demanded attention, its bold lettering enticing buyers with:

 

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40% off entire store!

 

But then the small print at the bottom of the ad listed three top brands that were not included in the sale. (How do businesses get away with such blatant dishonesty?)

I can only imagine the frustration of an unsuspecting shopper, combing the racks of those “forbidden” brands, trying them all on to select those that fit best, only to take them to a counter (where she must wait in line with other bargain-hunters) and finally be told, “Oh, I’m sorry. Those brands are not included in the sale.”

 

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We have to read the fine print—of advertising, offers, and contracts.

And buyer beware:

 

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(“Nothing in fine print is ever good news.”

–Andy Rooney, radio and TV writer)

 

There is one exception however where the fine print does provide very good news. That’s because the word, fine, has many more definitions than small.

Among the eleven definitions in Webster’s Dictionary, fine can mean:

 

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  1. Free from impurities, as in fine gold
  2. Very sharp, as in the fine edge of a knife or a fine intellect
  3. Exemplary of great skill, as in fine lace
  4. Capable of superior quality and craftsmanship, as in a fine carpenter
  5. Manifesting precision, as in a fine timepiece

 

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With these definitions in mind, the finest print in the world is God’s Word, the Bible. It is:

 

  1. Free from the impurities of lies or even a stretching of the truth (Psalm 19:7a).

 

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2. Very sharp, able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12, NLT).

 

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  1. Exemplary of great skill—God’s skill.

He brought together more than forty men from diverse cultures and all classes of citizens – from kings to fishermen – to record His Word. God extended his work over 1500 years and three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe), three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), and nine different genres. Yet the diverse pieces fit together in one unified whole. What other book can compare?

 

  1. Superior in quality and craftsmanship.

 

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(“As for God, his way is perfect;

the word of the Lord is flawless.”

 –2 Samuel 22:31, NIV)

 

  1. A masterpiece of precision. Those who doubt the accuracy of the Bible would do well to learn about the:

a) hundreds of fulfilled prophecies contained within its pages,

b) scores of archaeological discoveries which verify people, places, and events mentioned in scripture,

c) thousands of manuscripts and fragments which validate the accuracy of the Bible, and

d) scientific and medical research affirming the truth of various passages – long before that truth could be verified.

 

Indeed, the fine print of scripture is of rare quality, demonstrating absolute purity and perfection. That’s because the Author is himself the epitome of purity, precision, and perfection.

So read the fine print of scripture . Marvel in its superior quality compared to others books.  Get to know the faithful and trustworthy Author through his Word.  And embrace its life-changing truth.

Also be mindful that:

 

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(“A Bible that’s falling apart

usually belongs to someone who isn’t.

― Charles H. Spurgeon)

 

No other fine print can offer such stability.

 

Art & photo credits:  www.twitter.com; http://www.thedailysheeple.com; http://www.izquotes.com; http://www.all-free-download.com; http://www.pinterest.com (2), http://www.verseoftheday.com; http://www.pinterest.com (2).

 

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Sometime in the 1940s the New York Museum of Natural History created a living room space–from the perspective of a dog. Table legs rose like tall pillars, chair seats hovered overhead, and the mantel of the fireplace loomed higher still.

Now any human museum-goer would instantly know this was an unrealistic representation. But if we were all terriers, we’d bark to one another how accurately the decorator had appointed the room.

Which view of the museum display is correct—that of humans or dogs? Our instinctive response is: the way a room appears to us as humans is the accurate view.

And we think, The poor dogs—living their whole lives with an illusion they accept as reality.

 No doubt that museum space provided plenty of entertainment. But perhaps an important lesson was hiding among the over-sized furniture and features. What if we compared Planet Earth to that room? Then we are the small creatures gazing upwards—at towering mountains, high plateaus, and tall waterfalls.

 

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(El Pailon del Diablo–Ecuador.  Can you spot the people?)

 

Oh, but our view must be expanded further—far beyond Mount Everest even. We must consider what Planet Earth looks like to God, who made the numerous planets, spinning in billions of galaxies. On a map of the stars, our tiny planet isn’t even represented.

Yet it’s so easy to lose sight of this reality.  Our sphere of contacts–family, friends, and coworkers –becomes our whole world.  The pursuit of happiness within this microcosm becomes our whole focus.  And we think living life “my way” is the ticket to happiness and satisfaction.  Like our poor canine friends, we can easily spend our whole lives accepting an illusion as reality.

Then there’s God’s point of view, as taught by Jesus:

 

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“How blessed are those

who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness,

because it is they who will be satisfied!”

–Matthew 5:6 (ISV)

 

Which view of reality is accurate–our view or that of our sovereign Maker (who sees, understands and controls everything)?

Logic supports the latter. The real world-view is God’s view.

And if we’re ready to accept that reality, then we must also agree it makes sense to follow his instruction manual, the Bible, for living in the world he created.

My self-serving, egocentric side says, Wait a minute. I have my own ideas of what’s best for me. I ought to know what will make me happy. Doesn’t my viewpoint count for anything?

Such thinking exposes my lack of understanding, putting me on the level of a dog in that museum living room! My world view is flawed.

No, I’d be much wiser to embrace God’s point of view as revealed in his Word, and learn about true reality—the reality of his invisible, spiritual kingdom and its benefits:

  • His foundation of security

 

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“Those who know your name will trust in you,

for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

–Psalm 9:10 (NIV)

 

  • His way to happiness

 

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“The one who trusts in the LORD will be happy.”

–Proverbs 16:20b (HCSB)

 

  • His gift of peace

 

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“Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”

–Colossians 3:15a (NLT)

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Thank you, Father, for these benefits and more, lovingly bestowed as we seek to live within the spiritual reality of your kingdom. Yes, it’s invisible to our human eyes, but no less real than the wind. And as we follow you and obey your Word, the more real your world becomes, the more wonders we experience. Help me to outgrow the immaturity of illusions and embrace your reality!

 

(Information about the New York Museum of Natural History room display came from Ralph Sockman’s book, The Higher Happiness, Abingdon Press, 1950.)

 

Photo and art credits:  www.wikipedia.org; http://www.trafficamerican.com; http://www.dailyblossom.com; http://www.pinterest.com (3).

 

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We’ve all heard the story of Joseph (or seen the musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat). You’ll remember he’s the one who endured years of slavery and prison before his dreams (of bowing wheat sheaves and stars paying homage) came true.

We also know about Moses, an adopted prince in Pharaoh’s household who ended up in the wilderness herding sheep.  Forty years later God called him to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt.

And we’re familiar with Paul who spent years traveling from place to place and, yes, suffering all kinds of trials—beatings, imprisonment, dangers, shipwrecks—all for the privilege of serving God, introducing people to Jesus and establishing churches.

These Biblical stories and others teach us to never give up, because we never know when God will show up to turn a prisoner into a prime minister, a shepherd into a great leader, or a Pharisee tentmaker into a world evangelist.

Then there’s Jeremiah. His is a different kind of story altogether. He was called by God to warn the inhabitants of Judah that destruction would come if they did not return to God and follow his ways. It was not a one-time message. Over a period of forty years Jeremiah spoke many times of coming doom.

 

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Almost no one listened. (A brief revival took place under King Josiah, but when he died, the people returned to their complacency and evil ways.)

We love the stories of Joseph, Moses, Paul, and others, whose perseverance was rewarded with success. But what about Jeremiah?

He, too, persevered through trials–poverty and deprivation, imprisonment and ill-treatment, rejection and ridicule. For what? According to the evidence (minimal results for his efforts), Jeremiah was a wretched failure. Yet he had obeyed God faithfully, endured patiently, and preached courageously.

Perhaps visible evidence is not the best way to quantify success.

Instead, the true measure of success involves our characters, not our acquisitions (Joshua 1:8).

 

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The true measure of success may include the tenacity to get up every day and face the same tasks as yesterday, to persistently make choices that further God’s objectives for each of us, and to remain steadfast even when discouraged (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Last, a true measure of success is how our choices honor God (1 Kings 2:3). Jeremiah may not have turned thousands back to Yahweh, but that was not due to his lack of effort or disobedience to God. Jeremiah doggedly preached to the people of Judah—month after month, year after year.

So the true measure of success includes: 1) pursuing godly character, 2) persevering toward God-given purpose, and 3) making choices that honor him.

 

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Today, such successful people might look like:

  • The parent who has put his career on hold to invest time in his young children.
  • the business owner who drives a twelve-year old car so he can give generously to ministries.
  • The college student slowly working her way through school, anxious to return to her inner city neighborhood and teach school

For those of us looking for that kind of success, Jeremiah is our hero.

He lived out these precepts :

  • Do our prayerful best and leave the results with God.
  • Press on–day by day, month by month, year by year if necessary. Allow such perseverance to build our trust in God and strengthen our character.
  • Persist until God tells us to stop. (How do we know we’ve reached that moment? Peace, not uncertainty, will fill our spirits.)

We may not understand what God is doing, but we know him. And he is holy love and perfect wisdom.*

 

Pilgrims-Rock-gods-wisdom-is-faultless-application-of-his-perfect-knowledge-300w

 

*Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, p. 129.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.commons.wikimedia.org; http://www.pinterest.com (2); http://www.christianquotes.info; http://www.pilgrimsrock.com.)

 

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