Thoughts for the Week

Archive for October, 2016

Pleased

How do you know God is pleased with you?

Maybe it’s when you’re ministering to others, or when you’re serving, or just working toward the kingdom of heaven.

However, there’s one example that God was pleased with someone who had, as far as we know, not done any ministry at all up to that point.

In Matthew chapter 3, it talks about when Jesus was being baptized by his cousin, John. At this point, Jesus had not started his preaching ministry because just seventeen verses after this story does it say “From that time on, Jesus began to preach” (4:17, NIV).

But when Jesus was baptized, God spoke to everyone there and said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased” (3:17, NIV).

It wasn’t because Jesus had started a very powerful ministry, or was healing people, or spreading the Word that made God pleased with his Son.

It was just because He was His Son.

This being said, don’t think you must earn God’s favor by working hard. You are His child, and He loves you.

Copyright 2016 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.

Couldn’t Have Left You Behind

This week’s devotional is an encouraging moment God gave to me (in all places) in the middle of the deli aisle at Jewel Osco.

I decided to listen to the news recently, and it was downright depressing hearing about the dark and confusing tragedies happening all around us. With the stories of our broken world still spinning in my head, I attempted to get my weekly grocery shopping done.

As I walked through the deli aisle, I absentmindedly mused with God how completely and utterly hopeless life would have been if he had given up his rescue plan to save us from our sins through Jesus Christ and had left us all here to rot.

This is when God interrupted my train of thought. While I didn’t hear an audible voice, I got an impression that was very insistent that went something along the lines of:

“Now wait just a minute. Say you had a pet, child, best friend, or someone that meant the world to you, and they were in a position where they could get hurt or killed, wouldn’t you drop everything to go and get them back?”

I had to sheepishly admit, “Well, yeah, of course!”

And that’s when this deep, enveloping sense of affection washed over me and he said, “Well, that’s how I feel about you, one hundred times over. I never, ever could have left you all behind.”

The rest of my shopping trip was certainly more fun after that and I’ve pulled courage and peace from his assurance ever since.

“So I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5b, NIV)

Copyright 2016 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.

Is it “Christian”?

What qualifies something as being “Christian”?

I’m not talking about the salvation of a person, but rather the description of something in the media. In current American culture, there are several genres that are marketed as being “Christian.” There are Christian movies, bands, TV shows, books, and the list goes on.

However, what are the qualifications? Does the main character/singer/producer need to be a Christian? Does there need to be a mention of God or Jesus in a positive way? There’s no definitive answer.

But would you believe there’s a book of the Bible that does not mention God at all? That would be the book of Esther. It’s a powerful, moving story about a woman who becomes queen and defends her people against complete destruction. But not once is God brought up in this story.

I’ve always taken this to show how something can bring glory to God even when the thing is not evidently about him.

The story of Esther shows how being brave and doing the right thing in the face of certain death is honorable and should be held up as an example for all generations. (Esther 4:14b). God had said in his word to “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

The book of Esther shows this commandment bring applied in a real story which brings glory to the God. Also, God is ultimately the one who allowed this story which does not mention him to be part of the Biblical collection of stories.

So instead of asking if something is “Christian,” a better question to ask is if something honors God, even if it doesn’t explicitly mention him. If so, I believe it can have a lot of value, even if not “Christian.”

Copyright 2016 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.

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