Tag Archives: rejection

Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; 1 Corinthians 6

Outcasts, aliens and misfits. Moses straddles two worlds. He is the adopted Hebrew son of an Egyptian queen and then a criminal on the run. He has carried the pain of the alienation on his journey; it is heard when he names his firstborn Gershom, for “I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.” Exodus 2:22

Job is drowning in sorrow, forsaken by God and man:

“He has stripped my glory from me and taken the crown from my head…He has put my family far from me, and my acquaintances are wholly estranged from me. My relatives and close friends failed me; the guests in my home have forgotten me.” Job 19:9…13

He clings to the surety of God’s love; this prevents him from being overcome by punishing waves of sorrow, loneliness and pain:

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” Luke 19:25-27

Jesus reaches out to those who are despised and rejected. You can hear the derision in the words of the Pharisees and scribes:

“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Luke 5:30

It’s for the rejected and needy that Jesus stands up:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31

At one time or another, we are all the middle schooler sitting alone in the crowded lunchroom, the refugee, the homeless, the forgotten. Christ opens his arms and invites himself into our lives and our homes. He was despised and rejected so that I would not know separation from God.

Paul invites me to abandon the crowd mentality and the futile living that threatens to wall me off from joy of knowing Christ. He tells me that I am a temple of the living God. As God said,

“I will live in them and walk among them, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separated from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean: then I will welcome you, and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 1 Corinthians 6:16-18 

 

Lord of all creation, thank you that you humble yourself and pursue me. Jesus, thank you for taking the rejection, pain and sorrow that belonged to me so I would not be separated from you. Show me the parts of my life that I hold back so that I might repent and surrender all that I am to you. For you are my Father and  I am your daughter. Show me  what it means to live for you you today. Amen.

Klueh

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Filed under 66 Books, Genesis, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

2 Kings 20-22; John 6:45 – 71

I’ve been feeling rejected lately, at work, at home, at the grocery store.  I don’t imagine that all the situations that lead me to believe that I am no longer wanted or fun to be around are based on my witness for Christ or because I have some halo above my crown blinding the antagonists in my life.  It is more likely that my words thud heavily on tender toes or my persistent dysphoria surrounds me like Pigpen’s little dirt cloud swirling up and outward when he moves. If my fleshly verbiage lands like gravel on the faces of my friends and family, what must it feel like to be struck by the sword of the Spirit of God?

This is the first time I have experienced shock at reading John 6:45-71.  The words of Jesus to His multitude of disciples in the peak of His ministry is a chilling truth to the “untaught.”  I stepped into the shoes of an unbeliever and read those words, listened as if in the crowd.

“You must eat my flesh and drink my blood,” Jesus emphasizes, once, twice, three times and once again.  I was immersed in images of all the zombie and vampire movies my teenage granddaughter dragged me to see through mostly closed eyes covered by hands allowing only slices of teeth and gore and body parts to slip through. Jaw dropping, mind numbing.

What kind of damage control was this?  Knowing that many of these followers were not true believers, Jesus could have used some motivational speech or promises of streets of gold to woo them back.  Instead He speaks with morbid, stomach wrenching, hemaphobic producing visions to illustrate the hardcore commitment of faith it will take to truly be His disciple. What else could He expect but rejection? Backing away in horror believing this Man was a demon or afflicted with some kind of mental illness, the crowd thinned.  Jesus turned to His twelve chosen, and perhaps piercing eyes meeting every frightened glance, asked “And do you also want to go away?”

So why do His disciples stay?  Peter says, (and I envision him nearly in tears) “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

When rejected, I tend to run toward or after the one who is leaving.  Rarely has this worked.  I have seen that accepting the distance salvages at least a connecting thread of grace.  In this space I pray and reflect on what has happened.  Only then do I hear the Holy Spirit point out my faults and weaknesses, only then do I change. And only then can I begin to gently tug on that thread.

I would not have the Presence of the Holy Spirit to convict, correct, and guide me into the restoration of relationships, if not for Peter’s truthful testimony and my like confession, “To whom shall I go? I have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Does Christ understand our deep hurts and feelings of rejection? Can rejection draw us closer to His words of eternal life?  No doubt about it. Beyond the darkness of ugly, blood-thirsty pain waits the brilliance of faith for supernatural cleansing and healing, and  the burning beauty of the Son that turns rejection into ash.

Janet

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Filed under 2 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, New Testament, Old Testament

Exodus 9-13; Matthew 18:1-20

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.” Exodus 10:1-2

In the Exodus story, Moses repeatedly shares that God purposely hardened the heart of Pharaoh and his servants. Pharaoh would not listen to the decree of God to ‘Let My people go’. God didn’t want the liberation of the Israelites to become an event that was quickly forgotten. He wanted to demonstrate His glory and His power in a memorable way so that all would ‘know that I am Lord’. God dealt with the Egyptians harshly and without mercy; forgiveness did not enter into the picture.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

In Matthew, Jesus describes how to maneuver in situations of offense and sin. If I go to the offender and he listens, than I have gained a brother. But if his heart is hardened, Jesus said to let the wrongdoer be to me as a gentile and a tax collector.

What does that really mean in the context of New Covenant?

I have observed that a very common Christian assessment of that verse is that when someone doesn’t listen to the church, that they should be excommunicated, cut off and shunned by that group.

I’ve been in the situation where I was treated this way by a community that I had grown very close to. The situation was complicated, and though I know that my heart was right before God, I was still cast aside. I felt rejected by trusted friends, abandoned by people I had shown my vulnerabilities. Being discarded hurt then, and the wounds it left still hurt now at times; it began my search to better understand what Jesus intended.

…If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love. Matthew 18:17 (MSG)

I love the way The Message describes the way I should treat someone who isn’t ready to own up to their failings. The version doesn’t say reject, cast-off, snub. It says to start over, to confront and offer God’s forgiving love. The Bible exhorts me to forgive, nearly 500 times if necessary, and in the same way I would hope to be forgiven. God’s Word encourages me to love my enemies, to bless and pray for my persecutors. His Word reminds me of the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for me while I was still a sinner and His constant mercy when I inevitably make mistakes as a believer.

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. Matthew 18:11 (NKJV)

Though many versions omit this verse, it still holds true that Christ’s goal is to save the lost. He yearns for redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. He wants to rebuild honor, reestablish relationship, and reinstate original positioning, with Him and with others. He does that daily by offering His body and His blood. He seeks out the lost, whether they have never seen the Good Shepherd or have simply strayed away from the flock and offers forgiveness, ushering them into the fold.

While walking the earth, Jesus treated gentiles (unclean, polytheistic ‘heathens’), tax collectors, prostitutes and every other kind of sinner with mercy and grace. Though He didn’t condone their behaviors, He spent time with them. He demonstrated love and acceptance; and that witness was what opened eyes to sin and lead to change of heart, to repentance.

I can only believe that God asks me to do the same – to offer love, compassion, mercy, and forbearance – as He extends to me.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your forgiveness, Your grace, and Your mercy. Thank You for seeking me out when I am lost. Thank You for accepting me no matter what. Keep my heart soft, repentant before You at all times. Help me be a pipeline for Your love forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (written in Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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Exodus 30, John 9, Proverbs 6, Galatians 5

Jesus answered, “It is not this man’s sin or his parents’ sin that made him blind. This man was born blind so that God’s power could be shown in him. John 9:3 (NCV)

More than 25 years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The disease ravaged his body, destroying his lungs and eating his spine making walking and impossibility. The doctors eventually gave him only a few weeks to live. They told my mother-in-law to take him home so that he could die.

During the months before, while the disease was growing more and more out of control, friends and relatives rejected my husband’s family, leaving them alone to fend for themselves during this trying time. My father-in-law had been a hardworking teacher, starting a school in his village. He was also well known in the community as the presenter of the Hindu dramas during celebration festivals. As he got sicker, my mother-in-law, choosing not to abandon him, had to support her family of seven on her meager teacher’s salary all the while seeking the gods for answers and yearning for her husband to be healed.

In India, when a man (or woman or child) is afflicted by an infirmity, either from birth or as the result of an accident or illness, it is believed that the infirmity is the manifestation of sin in that person’s life. The sin may have been committed during his current life, in his childhood or young adult years; or that person may have committed a great sin in a past life.

Whatever the case, he is judged by others in and around his life and is no longer deemed unworthy to live in the community. The afflicted is often rejected from his home and turned out into the street, forced into exile in order to pay for his sin. He would most likely lose his job, forcing him to beg from people who would rather see him dead than help him regain his life. He is required to suffer the day to day torments of his infirmity in order to redeem and purify himself of the offensive sin.

It is believed that only through this process of suffering and eventual death sufficient atonement will take place and allow that person to be set free to enter into a more peaceful existence in the next life.

Fortunately, Christ has a different plan for redemption. He gives life. He gives hope. And, He gives healing…

One evening, a friend invited my mother-in-law to a prayer meeting at her church. The pastor gave a word of knowledge during the service about a woman who had a dying husband. The word encouraged her to come to the altar to lay her life down at the foot of the Cross and offered her the hope of Jesus the Healer. In time, she led her husband and children to the Lord.

Every day, the family began praying for healing in Jesus’ name, believing in the Living God who heals. And sure enough, my father-in-law became healthier and healthier.

In two months’ time, rather than succumbing to the death sentence given by the doctors, he grew stronger and stronger. By six months, he regained feeling in his legs. And a year later, he walked to visit the doctors who had doomed him to death.

As he regained his health, the people who had abandoned him were amazed. They couldn’t understand how he could come back from the grave. They knew it was miraculous and thought they might be able to benefit from what they thought was the favor of the gods.

My father-in-law spoke out: These many months that I lay dying I sought the help of your gods. Not one of your gods helped me. But then I met the True Living God. Not only did He help me, He healed me and brought me back to life. From now on, I will only worship Him; I will live only for Him.

My husband’s family began going into the surrounding villages, preaching the Gospel to the people, sharing God’s love, grace, and mercy to the men, women, and children who were willing to listen. Thousands of people, who had never heard the name of Jesus, have been introduced to Christ and nurtured by their Creator as a result of this healing miracle. His glory and power is still being shown through my father-in-law’s testimony and his life even today.

Jesus has paid the price for healing and He wants the health of heaven here on earth. He wants to demonstrate His glory and power to everyone. Healing may be immediate, like the blind man, healing may take place over time, like my father-in-law, or healing may be made perfect in eternity. Regardless of the way healing takes place, the witnessing of miracles brings hope and opens hearts to the Kingdom of God.  All we have to do it put our trust in Him and He will walk with us, support us, provide for our needs, and love us to life.

Yesappa, I ask for healing miracles in lives as people read this testimony of Your goodness and of Your healing power in Jesus’ name. I ask for infirmities to be lifted off of hearts, minds, and bodies in Jesus’ names. I ask for You to remove aches and pains in Jesus’ name.  I ask for You to cure incurable disease in Jesus’ name. I ask for You to repair damage from accidents in Jesus’ name. I ask for You to make well all those suffering from winter illness in Jesus’ name. Thank you in advance for Your healing touch today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Galatians, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs

Ex. 25; John 4; Prov. 1; 2 Cor. 13

The Samaritan woman at the well. I had heard of her, and her midday walk to get water was one of rejection and loneliness. It was suggested that the other women would get their water early in the morning, not in the middle of the day’s heat. But this woman shows up after everyone had left, to avoid her peers. It’s in the exclusion and loneliness that Jesus shows up. Her life hints at wandering and indulgence–I love that Jesus crosses lines (political and social) and looks her in the eyes. I would have expected she’d feel shame, but he talks to her and she feels free–free enough to spread the words “He knows all about me.” Shame drops to the ground, replaced by joy. Actions that may have bound her reputation are freed through Christ, and she can share her story with joy.

Is that what harvest looks like? Lives lived in truth, worship, joy.

34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” 2 Corinthians 13:34-42 NLT.

I know I’m not alone. I know other people have stuff they want to tuck away from public knowledge. But I know freedom in Christ, that I can proclaim: He knows all about me.

My God accepted me, looked me in the eye, stood by my side when no one else would. On days when I would have walked in exclusion because of another’s judgment, he walked beside me.

Thank you, God.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

Jeremiah 25,45-46; Hebrews 1

And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.”

“But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” Jeremiah 25:4-7

I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”

Jeremiah 46:28

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:1,3b  

Jesus told the parable of the talents to illustrate how the Jews repeatedly rejected the prophets. (Matthew 21:33-45)

God could not leave sins unpunished. The owner of the vineyard- God used the death of his heir – Jesus, as part of the plan to save even the tenants. God’s only Son took the penalty for the sins of the world.

I praise and thank you Lord that your Son may a way for us wayward people. I am no different in my behavior than Israel. Like the song says “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.” (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

yicareggie

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1 Samuel 29, 30; 1 Corinthians 10; Ezekiel 8; Psalm 46, 47

Have you ever had one of those days where not much seems to go your way?  I’m not necessarily talking about a “bad” day, but more of a day when you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.  Today was one of those days for me.  I had these great aspirations of things I needed to do and deadlines that needed to be met…but for some reason, my efforts were cut short in odd and unconventional ways at every turn.  Before I knew it, I was looking back on a day that went nothing like it had been planned and frankly didn’t have even close to the results I was expecting.

In times like this, I find myself asking, what I might have done wrong to deserve this kind of outcome?  I start doubting my ability to plan anything and then doubting if I’m even able to follow through on plans I do come up with.  I start wondering if what I’m expecting is not what I should be pursuing.

Reading 1 Samuel 29, I can’t help but think that maybe David had once felt this same way.  Here he is ready to go into battle and do the thing that he knew he was good at.  It was something he enjoyed and it was something that God had gifted him to do.  There was a problem though…the Philistines didn’t want David to be part of the fight!  He’s being told that he’s a great warrior but that he’s not allowed to come with them.  I bet he felt like he just got picked last in a game of middle-school kickball; except it wasn’t that he was picked last…he wasn’t picked at all!

Then we see what happens in the very next chapter.  He becomes victorious against a formidable foe that has just rampaged his home town.  This time though, David goes to the Lord for his marching orders.  He doesn’t rely on human acceptance to get into the fight…he goes straight to the top and is completely affirmed in his strength and ability.

He has gone from being completely rejected by the Philistines to being completely victorious over his adversaries.  I can’t help but think that these two experiences formed the context for him to insist that the spoils be divided evenly after the victory.

But David said, “My brethren, you shall not do so with what the LORD has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.”  (1 Samuel 30:23,24)

Because he had gone through the rejection and then through the victory, he had the context to understand and know that both were under God’s command and not his.  The rejection was not of his own doing, nor was his victory.  The scope of his charge is simply to serve God in whatever way God Himself deems good…and that was enough.

God is our refuge and strength,
         A very present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear,
         Even though the earth be removed,
         And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
         Though the mountains shake with its swelling. 
         

 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
         Who has made desolations in the earth.
 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
         He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
         He burns the chariot in the fire.
         
 Be still, and know that I am God;
         I will be exalted among the nations,
         I will be exalted in the earth!
         
 The LORD of hosts is with us;
         The God of Jacob is our refuge.

                                                              (excerpts from Psalm 46)

~chefdave11

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