Over share

Genesis 37:9-10 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?”

plugged earsSome people over share. Have you ever sat and talked to someone who told you too much? I mean, I feel bad that you are sick and all, but I really don’t need to now the consistency of your vomit or how many trips to the bathroom you made. TMI. That is all highly personal information that I don’t care to know. Or what about over sharing the details of a story: I ran into this guy the other day.  He was just getting out of his truck – it was a Ford. Back when I was in high school my best friend drove a Ford pickup truck and his dog used to ride in the back. His dog had come from a shelter that rescued strays from abusive homes. So this dog used to…. and on and on and on…  What was the point of the story again? Were you telling me about a guy you met?

Over sharing can drive people crazy. But can you over share the things that God is telling you? According to Joseph’s story, the answer is yes. He was having some crazy dreams about hay and stars bowing down to him. Now keep in mind that he was spending all his time with sheep in the fields, so dreams about hay and stars don’t seem that out of the ordinary. He starts talking to his brothers and his dad about these dreams and it didn’t go over well. “So, we are going to bow down to you, huh?  We’ll see about that you little punk.” And they sold him into slavery.

Now Joseph’s story worked out and they ended up bowing down to him many years later. But I wonder if maybe he should’ve been a little more discreet with his dreamy details. Would things have gone different for Joseph if he would have kept his mouth shut? We see a young lady in the book of Luke who is told that her son is the Messiah. Her response was to treasure these words and ponder them in her heart. I think that young Joseph could have pondered some things in his heart instead of blabbing to this brothers.

God speaks to us, too. I wonder sometimes if we know how to handle what He tells us. Like Joseph, we feel like we HAVE TO tell everyone. What if God showed you something that He wanted you to treasure? What if it was something for you to ponder in your heart? We can’t automatically assume that when God speaks to us, that it is for everyone else’s ears. It may just be for ours. He may be depositing something in us that we are to hold on to.

*When God speaks, ask Him what you are supposed to do with the information. Are you really supposed to share it or should you just treasure it?

Captain Obvious

Amos 8:1-2  This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.  “A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.  Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

God is patient, isn’t He?  And polite, too.  Here in Amos 8, God shows Amos a vision of ripe fruit and asks him what he sees.  Amos, in all his wisdom and insight says “ripe fruit.”  Now it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.  God could have said something back like, “thanks Captain Obvious, of course you see ripe fruit – that’s what I showed you.”  But God is patient, kind, and understands the depth potential of the human brain.  So rather than giving Amos a big ‘ol duh, He proceeds with what He was actually trying to “show” Amos.

Has God ever showed you something that you just didn’t get?  It has certainly happened to me.  And when I look back, I can easily say, “oh that’s what God was trying to show me!”  But like Amos, we don’t always get it.  We miss the deeper meaning because our eyes are stuck on the surface.  Our eyes are stuck on the object rather than the meaning behind it.  It’s true isn’t it?  We get hung up on stuff.  We think so shallow that we miss the depth of our God.

When God speaks, we ought to be asking Him what He is really saying.  Otherwise we might miss it big time.  We see a bowl of fruit and think God wants us to buy a banana.  Instead, let’s ask Him what that means.  If He shows you something you don’t understand, press in to him a little more.  God wanted to show Amos more than fruit, He wanted to give him a word of prophecy to carry to the nation.  What kind of things is He showing you?


I don’t like it, but I’m listening

Amos 7:12-13 12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. 13 Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”

The priest didn’t care for the prophet much. He thought that Amos was speaking prophetic smack against Judah.  What he didn’t know was that Amos had been crying out to God for mercy on behalf of them.  Every time God gave him some warning to give them, he pleaded with God to spare them.  But God had finally made up his mind.  It was time to hold Judah to the standard.  No longer would He let them wiggle out of following His commands.  The bar had been set, the line drawn.  And as Amos shared this word from the Lord with Judah, the priest didn’t care for it.  His response?  Go away Amos!

We tend to avoid things we don’t want to hear don’t we?  Whether it is a criticism or some negative feedback, we’d rather not know.  If it’s bad news, let’s just skip it and get to the good news.  But there’s no sense in avoiding a message from God.  When the Holy Spirit reveals something in us that He wants to work on, we should pay attention.  Too often, we continue to live in denial and shut out the very voice who is trying to help us.  We ignore the prodding of the Lord because it might just be too  difficult to obey His commands. 

Just like Amaziah should have, we ought to be paying attention.  God will bring us warnings not for the purpose of being mean, but to refine us.  He will bring us correction when we are on the wrong path to spare us, not hinder us.  Even if it’s bad news, our response should be: “Ok Lord, I don’t like it – but I’m listening.  I am willing to hear what You have to say.  I am open to receiving Your correction.  Refine me Lord.  I’m scared, but I’m ready.”  That’s an honest prayer.  And it’s the place where true life begins.

Bad Mail

Hosea 9:1 Israel, do not rejoice jubilantly as the nations do, for you have acted promiscuously, leaving your God. You have loved the wages of a prostitute on every grain-threshing floor. 

Okay then.  This is quite the picture God is drawing for Israel.  Seriously He is ticked off in this chapter.  He’s had enough.  So through the prophet Hosea, He doesn’t hold back.  And it starts like this: “Hey Israel, what are you doing having a party?  Why are you acting all happy and excited about life?  You should be hanging your heads in shame.  You are doing disgusting things and you know it.  You have got to be kidding me!”  That’s a piece of mail I never want to get.

Have you ever received something in the mail that ruined your day, your week, your life?  It’s an unexpected bill, a letter from the IRS, a collections notice.  Or maybe it’s a letter from a former friend who wants to chew you out.  Not fun, not fun at all.  Which is why it perplexes me that kids love to get the mail.  Most adults I know do NOT want to get the mail.  I digress.  Bad mail can ruin a day.  It can bring anxiety and bring a dead halt to happiness.  You could be having a birthday party and bad mail can be game over.

That’s kind of how I see Hosea 9 going down.  Israel was partying it up, having a great old time.  While that was going on, God delivered some bad mail.  He wasn’t happy, He was sending them to collections, they were toast.  That’s bad mail.  But it was mail with a purpose.  God wanted to set them free.  He wanted them to turn away from their wickedness and turn to Him.  He wanted their hearts back so He could show them His.  You know somthing, He wants the same from us.  So if you ever get mail like that from God, turn to Him; write Him a response.  After all, that’s what He’s looking for.