Will you frolic?

Indeed, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says the Lord of Hosts, “not leaving them root or branches. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:1-2).

When I think about what it means to “playfully jump,” I cannot help but think about our yellow labrador puppy, Lottie. She is really good at frolicking.

Will you frolic (“playfully jump“) like those described in Malachi 4:2, or will you face eternal judgment in horror like those described in verse 1?

The answer to that question is determined by your standing before our almighty God. The reality is that we all deserve eternal judgment because of our sin. If you have a right relationship with God, though, then you can frolic now and more importantly for eternity because of the hope, peace, and joy only He gives.

To understand how to have a right relationship with God, would you consider watching a video and/or reading more HERE?

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be finishing our Greatness of God sermon series through Malachi, preaching through the last six verses and discussing “Our Great God of Promise.” Do you believe God’s promises? What is your response?

Please remember that every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Jesus. Therefore, the “Amen” is also spoken through Him by us for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 1:20).

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Why won’t God answer?

Have you prayed for God’s help in making a decision or experiencing a certain result, only to get no answer? This has surely happened to all of us, has it not?

What was or is your response, then? Anger? Frustration? Confusion? Disappointment?

What should be your response? Patience? Faith? Obedience?

Every situation, at least to some degree, is different, so I will not pretend to be able to relate to the ups and downs you face in your life. What if the necessary response to God’s silence, though, is repentance?

Could it be that God is calling you to repentance – a turning away from your sins and turning to Him – before He answers your prayers, makes you aware of His presence, and gives you the hope, peace and joy only He can give?

I must certainly admit, from my own experiences, that when I am failing to walk in faith and dependence on God, and then I seek His direction, I am much less likely to experience His wisdom.

Clearly, His Word tells me who I am to be and how I am to live. In Jeremiah 29:13, for example, God says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” When? When you search for God with “all your heart.”

Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “You will search for the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

If we are living in sin, can we possibly seek God with all our heart and all our soul? If we are failing to trust and obey His Word, are we truly seeking Him at all?

No, for a partial act of obedience is absolutely an act of disobedience. Wholehearted seeking of God certainly cannot take place when wholehearted obedience to God’s Word is not taking place, and this is why repentance is so important.

Why will God not answer?

Well, how is your daily walk with God? Do you have a genuine relationship with Him? Are you daily seeking to turn away from your sins and walk in close communion with Him and with His church?

If not, then you cannot expect to be aware of His presence, experience His power, and trust His promises. Rather, you will likely experience His silence, just like King Saul did multiple times during his downfall.

Lord willing, I plan on finishing my sermon series – Becoming the Villain – Sunday morning. “Villains Follow Fear” (1 Samuel 28:3-19), and if we expect to hear from God without seeking Him through His Word and obeying Him according to His Word, then we prove to be fools and eventual villains (enemies of God).

Too often, people want to claim Jesus’ promise in Matthew 7:7 (“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”), but they want that promise apart from repentance and obedience. As a result, they are blind to the truth of God’s Word – the truth that Jesus’ promise there is in accordance with God’s will. And, we cannot know God’s will apart from God’s Word.

God’s Word tells us God’s will – that we be obedient followers of Jesus Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit. Maybe God’s silence in your life is due to His calling you to repentance.

If you only seek God in a crisis, then you will be blind to His Word in the midst of that crisis because you haven’t been walking with Him all along.

Does God sometimes choose to make His followers wait and/or to make His followers suffer? Of course He does, and His Word is full of examples and direction in how to respond. Even in the midst of suffering and difficulty, though, you can be assured of God’s presence and faithfulness, but only if you are living a life of repentance.

Why will God not answer?

Examine your heart to make sure you have sincerely repented of your sins and are sincerely seeking Him. Cry out to God in faith and repentance before expecting His response.

Photo by Rodolfo Quirós on Pexels.com

Sad but Hopeful

Dad at the driving range outside Istanbul - June 2012
Dad at driving range outside Istanbul – June 2012

Tomorrow would have been my dad’s 58th birthday. It has been just over seven months now since he passed away, and I sure do miss him dearly. My heart aches to watch him play with my kids, to sit down and watch March Madness with him, to go on a bike ride together, to hit some golf balls (not play a round of golf because he’d WHOOP me), to play some one-on-one hoops (because I’d WHOOP him), or just to talk with him.

If I could choose anyone in the world to teach my kids the fundamentals of basketball, it would be my dad. If I could choose anyone in the world to take to a Minnesota Twins game this summer, it would be my dad. If I could choose anyone in the world with whom I could do a March Madness bracket, it would be my dad. I could go on and on. My dad, though, isn’t here anymore. This is sad for me, but I’m hopeful because this is good for him.

My dad with his three grandsons at the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul - May 2012
My dad with his three grandsons at the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul – May 2012

You see, a few years ago my dad gave his life to Jesus Christ, so He is now in paradise with the Lord and no longer facing the suffering, tragedy and loss that this life offers. Sin and death are no more for my dad.

I can’t help but think how fitting it is that my dad’s birthday is the same time of year that we celebrate Easter. Resurrection life is why we, as born-again Christians, have hope. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection from the dead are why we can endure the heartache that comes on this side of eternity.

When we remember my dad during times like these, we are sad. We loved him. We miss him. But, we are hopeful. We look forward to the day when sadness is no more, when heartache does not exist, when “I miss him!” isn’t ever heard, and when resurrection life is realized.

Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look – I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18).

If you want to know more about resurrection life and how to have eternal hope and peace, please read The Story.

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