Have you ever thought about whether or not your concept of God was even close to who He actually is? I honestly believe that most of us place Him in a hypothetical box that we can control the size, scope and understanding of because it makes us more comfortable. After all, a God that is too Majestic, too Omnipotent, too Inspiring, too Convicting, too (here you can place whatever descriptive words you would like) makes us extremely uncomfortable! But a God that we can fit into our box and consider only when we need Him allows us a certain attitude of His being there when I need Him to do something for me, but when we don’t need Him to function for us we place Him back in the box. J.B. Phillips in his book “Your God Is Too Small” addresses this issue better than I!

In today’s reading we have been assigned Psalm 97 and 98. After reading these two chapters, it should be readily apparent to all of us that our God is too Magnificent to fit into a box of our construct. The first six verses in Psalm 97 alone attest to His Glory! Verses 7-9 proclaim that His rightful place is above all the earth! And then in verses 10-12 the author declares whom God is in relationship to us! Please reread this chapter and then, if you can, explain to me how we can shrink this God down to a size we can fit into any box!

In Psalm 98, we get a vision of what it means to truly worship Him! He has made known His salvation, revealed His righteousness, remembered His lovingkindness, and His faithfulness. “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God”

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre; With the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord. Let the sea roar and all it contains, The world and those that dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord; for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with equity.”

Box, what box? Enough said!

Posted by Paul Kightlinger with


2 Timothy 2:3-7 New International Version (NIV)

3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

This text is the essence of parenting.  It’s taking a child and modeling the path that they should take, through actions and words.  Paul encourages his son in the Gospel to, “join with me in suffering.”  Follow my example.  Do as I do!

He then goes on to paint a picture of what suffering looks like. Suffer like the soldier who doesn’t get the luxury of pursuing the affairs of this life.  Suffer like the athlete who has boundaries and rules constraining him that others don’t have, and what about the farmer who must work hard to partake of his harvest.  Paul goes from the example of war…to leisure…to normal everyday life.  It’s as if he wants to describe the wide variety of suffering that Timothy will have to endure as a minister of the Gospel.  Suffering is a necessary and normal part of doing the will of God.  Most will avoid it and pray against it, but Paul wants Timothy to embrace it!

Paul is persuading his son to join him in suffering, because that suffering, to the faithful, leads to so much more.  For the soldier, it’s pleasing his commanding officer.  For the athlete, it’s receiving the crown, and for the hardworking farmer, it’s being the first to enjoy the harvest.  No one enjoys suffering, but we all love reward. The secret is, the two are partners. So, when you take your fair share of suffering, you are grasping the beginning stages of so much more! 



Posted by Marc Stern with

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