Everlasting joy is coming
Tue Dec 10, 2013
by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Sorry your party’s lame, Jesus
Mon Dec 09, 2013
by Cam Huxford IV
Because he first served us
Sat Dec 07, 2013
by Kimm Crandall
Resurgence Roundup, 12/6/13
Fri Dec 06, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
God the great and powerful (and warm and wonderful)
Thu Dec 05, 2013
by Marsha Michaelis
God Uses Imperfect People Like You and Me
Jonah destroys all our theories that God uses only the "totally sanctified" to fulfill his greatest purposes.
Powerful Speaker ≠ Man of God
Jonah’s heart wasn’t right, but he was powerfully instrumental in God’s hands. Church history is littered with people who had powerful ministries but didn’t live as God intended. Some preached to thousands and even saw many saved, healed, and delivered while behind the scenes they were indulging in all manner of questionable activities.
When character declines, gifting doesn’t necessarily cease immediately. Church history seems to indicate that for a while gifting outlasts character until God sighs, “Enough!” Beware of being impressed by externals. Just because someone is powerful in public doesn’t necessarily mean he lives for God in private.
God Isn't Done with Us
We might wonder why God took Jonah out of the big fish—maybe he should have been in there a bit longer. That’s the wonder of God. He knew Jonah’s repentance wasn’t complete, but still had mercy on him. He wasn’t finished with him yet.
Maybe God has recently rescued you from some great crisis and given you a great new sense of fulfillment and usefulness, but his work in you is not yet done. God has displayed his amazing grace to you and wants that grace to continue to change you.
A lady I once knew often said to me, “Every time you preach, God speaks to me about my smoking habit. I feel so condemned but I can’t give it up.” One day, I said to her, “Actually, God wants to speak to you about a lot of things. It’s just that whatever message you hear, you relate it to smoking.”
God has displayed his amazing grace to you and wants that grace to continue to change you.
Soon after this, she broke the habit, but she wasn’t through. True, she conquered smoking, but this small part of her life had assumed huge proportions in her mind. Once the clouds of smoke had lifted, she saw more clearly that God had much more to say to her. She wasn’t sanctified overnight. God wasn’t finished with her.
Some people teach that sanctification is completely there for the asking, but God didn’t say to Jonah, “Right, into the fish with you, and I won’t let you out until you’re through on everything: character, thoughts about Nineveh, attitude to the lost, trusting my wisdom, the whole lot. When you get out, you’ll be a totally sanctified man.”
As CJ Mahaney states in The Cross Centered Life, “Justification is being declared righteous. Sanctification is being made righteous—being conformed to the image of Christ. Justification is our position before God. Sanctification is our practice. You don’t practice justification! It happens once for all, upon conversion. Justification is objective—Christ’s work for us. Sanctification is subjective—Christ’s work within us. Justification is immediate and complete upon conversion. You will never be more justified than you are the first moment you trust in the person and finished work of Christ. Sanctification is a process. You will be more sanctified as you continue in grace-motivated obedience.”
When you overcome one obstacle, don’t think it’s the only issue in your life that God wants to sort out. When you’ve conquered one peak, another usually beckons.