Back in the land of pseudointernet (service is 1502 kbps down/382 kbps up, woo-hoo!) after more than a week. The ADSL modem went belly up. Windstream doesn’t have a “store” in our state. They first shipped a Wi-Fi extender by warehouse mistake. Today an actual modem appeared via FedEx and well, here we are!
I am grateful for You, Jesus!
1 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.Hosea 6
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.Matthew 16:21
Me: Good morning Jesus!
Jesus: Good morning Jon!
Me: Jesus, most of Hosea is calling Israel and Judah to task for their idol worship and wrongdoing. Yet right in the middle of all that there live these three verses that open chapter 6. Is that the way that You knew that You would be raised up on the third day? Was this a message left to Your human self to prepare Your heart for the sacrifice You would make for us?
Jesus: You have heard the question posed, “What would you say to your future (our younger) self?” You have read of My struggle with consenting to My impending death in the garden (Matthew 26). I tell you that I was strengthened by this passage in Hosea, and with it I strengthened My disciples that they would know what was coming (or at least remember that I had told them when things occurred just as I said).
Me: What about the part of the passage about You coming as the rain? The later and the former rain unto the earth?
Jesus: The farmer knows the benefit of the former rain to sprout the seed and the latter rain to complete the growth of the crop to its full yield. Even so, the one who receives Me shall sprout unto new life, and the one who endures in me shall be brought into full fruition.
Me: I have to recognize, Jesus, that had I been able to go back and speak to My former self, I would still have been full of rebellion and willfulness, serving self with as much vigor as any Israelite ever bowed down to a lifeless image. There has never been a time when I did not need You as my Savior.
Jesus: I had to accept the passage in Hosea by faith, even as you must walk by faith.
Me: I am glad to know that, Jesus! I love You!
Jesus: I am glad to show that faith to you. I love you!
I am grateful for for the transforming power of Jesus. For left to our own way, we get something else:
God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Me: Good evening Jesus!
Jesus: Good evening, Jon!
Me: I am also grateful we were able to make the trip to visit the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum with the grand kids last week. I pray they will continue to think about what they saw and let it soak in.
Jesus: It was a good investment in them.
Me: We are so very broken if we are not in communion with You. And now that we have Your saving grace and power available to us, I am saddened by how many choose their own way instead. I have had periods in my own life where I was choosing my own way – and suffering the negative consequences of those decisions – not as though I can stand in judgment from some lofty vantage point. It is as if the incredible sacrifice You made to save us is of no interest. I have friends whom I try to point to You, yet they continue to struggle with the consequences of bad choices. They may know a little about You, but they do not really know You. You remain just a character in the book, I suppose. I know myself how subtle errors in thinking (well, maybe not so subtle) can derail our ability to accept the intimacy you offer. We fail to take Romans 5:6 seriously: For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. We know we are sinful and imagine we have to clean ourselves up before we will become acceptable to You. Never mind that is You who enables any real change.
Jesus: I gave you a gift at the Ark Encounter last week, to be standing behind the Asian couple reading the display about there being no place for racism in Christianity. Did you see their delight at reading the message that all are descended from Adam, and from Noah and that the notion of race is a false construct?
Me: Yes! Thank You very much for that! The husband kept saying, “Makes sense!” They even turned to me and shared their joy at considering the truth of that fact, though I was a prefect stranger to them, in that moment they apparently felt the kinship and wanted to share their excitement! Because of their speech, I don’t think English was probably their first language. Yet the recognition of the truth was all over their faces!
Jesus: And at the Creation Museum you were standing next to the black woman who was looking at the display of brutal treatment that has accompanied slavery: shackles, pictures of awful scars from beatings, and separation of families on the auction block. Again, with the message that there is no place for such in Me. You could tell she was moved by the consideration of it. Did you know that she could tell the same about you?
Me: I wasn’t aware. I did say to her that it was clear why You called us to be one in You. How could it be that slavery has been excused? That mistreatment of others for any reason has been excused?
Jesus: I know you know this passage. It applies here.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.Proverbs 14:12, 16:25
Some justified slavery because the Bible speaks of slavery and because it has been prevalent down though history, they reasoned, being sovereign, I must have condoned it. They did not know Me, as you say. Nor did they believe me when I put the world into their power. Instead, men promptly began handing over their authority to the devil.
Me: Thank You for talking with Me Jesus! I love You! Thank You again for all the gifts!
Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!
I am grateful for the day!
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?Matthew 27:46
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.Psalm 22:1-2
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.Hebrews 13:5-6, 8
Me: Good morning, Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit: Good morning, Jon!
Me: I have read, Holy Spirit, that Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 from the cross, to make it plain to his followers and the others around that they were seeing the prophecy detailed in that Psalm fulfilled. That seems to make some sense. I am unclear whether Jesus was truly wrestling with feeling forsaken, in the throes of unimaginable suffering and on the heels of his struggle to submit His 100% human will in the garden of Gethsemane not that long before.
Holy Spirit: He was tempted in like manner as all men. (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15)
Me: I recall from my reading of the prophet Habakkuk (chapter 1), a similar sense of dismay as to whether God would hear or look away because of sin:
The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
Then the charge comes from God for the prophet to consider the Chaldeans through He would send judgment on Israel for their sin. He speaks of the terribleness of the judgment in great detailHabakkuk 1:5-11
Finally, Habakkuk gets back to considering You; that You are pure and holy and the instrument of Your judgment is not:
Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?
And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.
Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?Habakkuk 1:12-17
Holy Spirit: And the object of judgment was not righteous either. Hence My judgment. Do not neglect that Jesus has borne all the judgment due you. You are under a new covenant. Jesus is your redeemer. Your part is to give your heart to Him and to allow Him to make it new. The choice is still yours. The power is God’s
Me: I am grateful for Your grace! I am grateful for Your provision! Thank You! I love You!
Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!
I am grateful for Your self-sacrifice Jesus!
Me: Good evening, Jesus!
Jesus: Good evening, Jon!
Me: I have long had a sense, Jesus, that You are “outside” of time. But that does not seem quite the right perspective.
Jesus: I Am the Sovereign of time. I Am the Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and the End. I Am the Life. I Am the Author. I Am the Finisher. (Genesis 1:1-3; Exodus 3:14; John 11:25, 14:6; Revelation 21:6)
For by [Me] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by [Me], and for [Me]. Colossians 1:16
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Isaiah 46:10
And sware by [Me] that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as [I] hath declared to [My] servants the prophets. Revelation 10:6-7
Me: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
… Holy, holy, holy, [are You, O] Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of [Your] glory! Isaiah 6:3
I am grateful for my life, Jesus! I am full of joy at being able to talk to You!
Thank You Jesus for the wildlife on the way this morning! Turkey, pheasant, baby bunny, killdeer, an awesome display of Your creativity!
Thank You for the victory You purchased at great cost over the enemy by Your faithful and loving sacrifice on the cross!
Thank You Jesus, for overcoming on our behalf!
Thank You for purchasing my freedom! I love You!
Thank You Jesus for deliverance from the darkness and the invitation to walk in the light with You!
I know our relationship is gratifying to me and I feel blessed by Your love. I don’t suppose I have thought much about You being grateful for it. Thank You for showing that to me!
I am grateful for the beauty of the tall pines in my view this morning! Your creation is marvelous, a testimony to Your magnificence!
I am grateful that the muscle I pulled in my back is getting better, that by Your stripes I am healed!
I am grateful that we are justified as a gift by Your grace; that redemption is in You!
I am grateful for the Winter solstice; that the physical processes of the seasons were established by Your limitless wisdom and that with You there are never unintended consequences to take You by surprise.
Thank You for Your wise provision! I Love You!