God Remembers You

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But God remembered Noah… {Gen. 8:1}. In your barrenness, God remembers; in your brokenness, God remembers. He remembered Hannah, He remembered Rachel, He remembered Abraham, and God remembers you! If you feel forgotten by God, know that as with Hagar, He is still the God who sees you and remembers His promises to you, even after the wildest storms in your wilderness places. {1 Sam. 1:19; Gen. 30:22; 19:29; 16:7}

GOD REMEMBERED…some of my favorite words in the Word! A God who knows all, yet we’re told several times that He remembers…remembers your pain, remembers your purpose, remembers His promises. God has not forgotten about you; He remembers.

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Christ Died for Your Sins and Your Shame

 

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Christ didn’t just die for your sins. He died for your shame, for the ugliest things you’ve experienced and the ugliest things you’ve done. His punishment paid for your peace and proves your immeasurable worth. Resist the voices that tell you otherwise. {Heb.12:2; Isa. 53:5}

You’re no less loved by the Healer if your wounds are self-inflicted. ~Beth Moore

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Christ Didn’t JUST Come Down; He Moved In

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood…” ~John 1:14 (MSG). Think of a neighborhood you’ve wanted to move out of or wouldn’t want to move into. He didn’t just come to clean us up; He desires to dwell with us, long-term. The God of the universe moved into the middle of the mess we made for ourselves. That’s commitment. That’s love. {Lev. 26:11-12; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 21:3}

Dealing with a Divergent God

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I finally watched the 2014 film, Divergent, which was based on a science-fiction book of the same name. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society where everyone is expected to choose one of five subcultures to live and work with. Each subculture, or faction, requires strength in and conformity to specific attributes, such as bravery, selflessness, intelligence, etc. The faction system is designed for control and predictability. However, as with all systems, there are flaws, one being when a person doesn’t neatly fit into any one category because they have strengths in all five areas. A person who doesn’t fit just one faction, but instead could fit many, is called “divergent.” Divergents, like the main characters, are a threat to the system because they can’t be pigeonholed into others’ preconceived notions, and they can’t be controlled. They are freethinkers who approach problems and solutions in ways others don’t, and quite frankly, can’t. Their thoughts and abilities far exceed the parameters of the five factions.

If you’re human, like me, you rather enjoy some measure of control and predictability in your environment; you rather enjoy your compartmentalized systems. The flaw in your system, though, is that God is divergent. He doesn’t think or act like you do. He doesn’t conform to your system. Deep within us, we want a God who isn’t sovereign over us, but is subject to us, a God who is predictable or at least fully understandable by some stretch of our imaginations. Instead, we have a God who is wild, uncontrollable, incomprehensible, paradoxical — in short, He’s divergent. In fact, His ways diverge so much from ours that He’s said higher than the heavens are above the earth are His thoughts than our thoughts and His ways than our ways {Is. 55:9; Ps. 103:11}. The farthest object observed from planet earth is more than 13 billion light years away. God is saying His thoughts and ways are more than 13 billion light years above ours.

While we can only see a few options for solving our most difficult problems, our Divergent God, who towers more than 13 billion light years above our circumstances, sees our end from our beginning, and God foresaw our darkest days before we ever took a breath is the same God who orchestrates our brightest moments, loved us from before time began, and has promised to work all things together for our good. If we have committed to being submitted to such a God whose thoughts and ways are so above, then we’re choosing to give up any semblance of control. We’re choosing to give up what we thought our stories would be so we can fully embrace what He’s still writing out in our lives. When we follow the calling of a Divergent God with complete obedience, we relinquish the option for things to make complete sense. We have a God who is both full of wrath and full of mercy, a Man of War and Prince of Peace, a Lion, a Lamb, and a Shepherd. He’s above. HEART CHECK: Will you trust God is divergent when He seems silent? Will you obey His commands, even if they seem to counter human logic? Does a Divergent God have to make sense to your five senses, the five factions you believe His thoughts and ways should fit into?

God’s thoughts and ways are paradoxical to human logic and expected experiences. When a Divergent God wants to set us free, He makes us His bondservants. When He wants us to see Him, He causes blindness. Ask Paul. When a Divergent God wants us to follow Him, He chases after us. Ask Jonah. When a Divergent God wants someone to speak for Him, He chooses a stutterer, and to showcase His power, He’ll send you with a dried up stick! Ask Moses. When a Divergent God sets out to exalt your position, He takes the pathway through a pit and wrongful imprisonment. Ask Joseph. When a Divergent God wants to save His children, He does so by sending His Only Son to die!

As long as we are in control, God can’t be. In the film, the divergents make others uncomfortable, so they try to purge their society of divergents altogether. The divergents threaten the system of control, but in so doing, they save countless lives. Living in submission to a Divergent God is uncomfortable, and sometimes we want to get rid of HIS way, altogether. He threatens our systems of control, but but in so doing, He saves countless lives.

Big Flavor, Served Plain

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Nothing can add to the cross.

Policing and modifying others’ behaviors won’t teach them of a crucified Christ and won’t coax them into relationship with Him. Adding anything else to the work Christ does in each person just messes up the flavor. As E.G. White noted, the shortness of time ought not be urged as an incentive to seek Christ. It savors of selfishness. Is it necessary that the terrors of the day of God be held before us to compel us through fear to right action? This ought not to be. Jesus [alone] is attractive [TMK, p. 320]. Heart Check: Why do we insist on telling Christ He’s not enough? [CLICK HERE TO READ MORE]

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For the Love of God

5. For the Love of GodDo you desire to meet those who’ve pierced you deepest with an embrace that yearns for their restoration? We can’t love the best in people until we can forgive the worst in them. Love covers a multitude of sins. HEART CHECK: Who’s sinned against you, and how are you covering them? If we’ll ever love the way God loves, we’ll have to forgive the way God forgives.  God loves the people you can’t stand… ((READ THE REST HERE)). See the video below for the demonstration of a 30-second forgiveness exercise.

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He Chose The Mess

blood splatter crossToday, I went through a fire safety training where the demonstrator talked about how much of a mess it can cause to discharge a fire extinguisher. Of course, nobody wants to have to clean up a huge mess, but an even less desirable outcome is having nothing salvageable to clean up because everything was completely consumed in a fire. In conclusion, he said, “When you have to choose between a fire and a mess, choose the mess!” That simple phrase struck a chord deep within me.

I’ve previously discussed how messy the cross (Calvary) must have been and how messy God’s grace still is (CLICK HERE). To spare us from the wages of sin, which is death, to spare us from hell’s fire, we serve a God who chose the mess. He chose the bloody, messy cross, and although it’s been a mess, although I was a mess, He took the nails. He conquered death. He chose the mess! I hope you enjoy this song by CeCe Winans about how the cross wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. >>>>

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