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Bulletin Blurbs

TEN COOKIES

Have you ever found yourself negotiating with your child about how many cookies they could have or when they needed to go to bed?

God negotiated with one of His children. The story is found in Genesis 18. God was planning to destroy the city of Sodom. But, He decided to talk with Abraham about it. Abraham then began negotiating with God. Abraham negotiated God down to “ten” righteous souls.

In chapter 19, God destroys the city of Sodom, saving only Lot and his two daughters. Lot’s wife longed for the old city and its ways and, violating the command of God, looked back and turned into a pile of salt. God saved three. He took them out and destroyed the rest.

The reason God was willing to negotiate with Abraham is found in Genesis 18:25: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” God was willing to forgo the punishment on the city of Sodom for the sake of ten people, because He is just.

I do not understand how God operates. I do not understand all the in’s and out’s of the moral dilemmas in this world of ours. But, one thing I do know is that God is just. God is, by nature, just. He will always do the right thing. He cannot not do the right thing.

The question Paul answers, especially in the book of Romans, is not how could a loving God send people to hell? The question Paul answers, pointing to the cross, is: How could a holy God allow sinful people to heaven?

God is just. He will treat you right. Always.

-    Paul

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Good morning!

Once again, I’m happy that all of you are here this morning! As you read this, I am likely in Henderson, Tennessee for the annual FHU Lectureship. I look forward to seeing you in person again this time next week! It’s always an encouraging thought to know that, though I’m 716 miles away, we’re both worshipping the same God on the same day. Though we’re apart, we’re all part of the same family.

It’s hard to believe we are already a month into this New Year. It seems like every February, I have that overwhelming feeling that time really goes by too quickly. I want to express what we discussed last Sunday at our youth devotional. Often in our New Year, we discuss new beginnings and how, if the last year was not our best, we can “turn over a new leaf” this New Year. Well, now we’re 1/12 into the year 2014, and my guess is we’ve all fallen to a sin or temptation at some point. We’ve all proved that we aren’t perfect. Luckily, God does not measure time in years, months, weeks, etc. like we do. We always have the opportunity to change for the better.

David, after being confronted by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba, wrote the 51st Psalm. In verses 10-12, he prays this: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

We, like David, can and should pray this prayer. Unfortunately, we are imperfect. We have a Heavenly Father who understands that, and sent his perfect Son to die for us, so that we have a chance to come back to him, have our hearts made clean, and have our spirits renewed, not at the start of each new year, but whenever it is needed. Isn’t it a blessing to be a child of God?!