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In All Things Driving home one evening, I noticed I was low on fuel. Icy rain began striking the windshield, and I groaned at the thought of getting out of my warm car to fill up the gas tank on such a miserable night. But I reluctantly pulled into the next gas station I came to—and promptly did a double take! Through the pouring rain, I saw a woman dancing in the gas station. I sat for a moment and stared in wonder. Why would anyone dance with such joyful abandon on an awful night like this? A rather sad, cold, and lonely moment was instantly transformed by a woman who refused to be defined by her circumstances.
Sighted numerous times off the coast of Australia’s South Queensland, Migaloo is the first albino humpback whale ever documented. The splendid creature, estimated at over forty feet long, is so rare that Australia passed a law specifically to protect him.
The Bible tells us about a “huge fish” so rare that God had provided it especially to swallow a runaway prophet (Jonah 1:17). Most know the story. The Lord told Jonah to take a message of judgment to Nineveh. But Jonah wanted nothing to do with the Ninevites, who had a reputation for cruelty to just about everyone—including the Hebrews. So he fled. Things went badly. From inside the fish, Jonah repented. Eventually he preached to the Ninevites, and they repented too (3:5–10).
Great story, right? Except it doesn’t end there. While Nineveh repented, Jonah pouted. “Isn’t this what I said, Lord?” he prayed. “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love” (4:2). Having been rescued from certain death, Jonah’s sinful anger grew until even as his prayer became suicidal (v. 3).
The story of Jonah isn’t about the fish. It’s about our human nature and the nature of the God who pursues us. “The Lord is patient with you,” wrote the apostle Peter, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God offers His love to brutal Ninevites, pouting prophets, and you and me.
Wed, 26 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 A Fence in Finchley “I never thought a fence in Finchley could be a place where I encountered God as much as at the Western Wall,” said a man at a retreat I was leading. He was referring to a prayer exercise we did based on the book of Lamentations and some of the Psalms. Using the Western Wall in Jerusalem—the surviving remnant of God’s temple, where pilgrims often slip prayer notes in the cracks—as inspiration, we wrote prayers of lament on slips of paper that we slipped into the cracks and crevices of the church fence as a symbol of releasing them to God. The gentleman who spoke up had recently been to Jerusalem and prayed at the Western Wall, but he also sensed God’s presence at a humble fence in north London.
Just before her death, artist and missionary Lilias Trotter looked out of the window and saw a vision of a heavenly chariot. According to her biographer, a friend asked, “Are you seeing many beautiful things?” She answered, “Yes, many, many beautiful things.”
Trotter’s final words reflect God’s work in her life. Not only in death, but throughout her life, God revealed much beauty to her and through her. Although she was a talented artist, she chose to serve Jesus as a missionary in Algeria. Ruskin, a famous painter who tutored her, is said to have commented, “What a waste,” when she chose the mission field over a career in art.
Similarly, in the New Testament, when a woman came to Simon the Leper’s house with an alabaster jar and poured perfume on Jesus’s feet, those with them saw it as a waste. This expensive perfume was worth a year’s common wages, so some of the people present thought it could have been used to help the poor. However, commending this woman’s deep devotion to Him, Jesus said, “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).
Every day we can choose to let Christ’s life shine in our lives and display His beauty to the world. To some, it may seem a waste, but let us have willing hearts to serve Him. May Jesus say we have done many beautiful things for Him.
Tue, 25 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Hurricane Prayers As powerful Hurricane Irma approached the state of Florida in the US in 2017, nearly seventy-five children gathered in Munyonyo, Uganda, to pray for those in the storm’s projected path. Many of those trapped in Florida were greatly encouraged to see by video the boys and girls praying and asking God to calm the storm.
Mon, 24 Sep 2018 04:01:00 +0000
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