Sunday, June 30, 2019

Reflection - Do we reflect God's heart? - How God counts

Source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 9, Question 2, Page 125.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


What can we learn from the way God counts people?
PHOTO: What can we learn from the way God counts people?
We can find all sorts of numbers in the Bible. Some are symbolic and some are literal, while some are both symbolic and literal. [39] The "seven spirits of God" mentioned in Revelation (1:4; 3:1; 5:6), for instance, are symbolic, referring to the Holy Spirit in His perfection. The 153 fish caught by the disciples is an actual figure (John 21:11). The 40 days for which Jesus fasted before commencing His ministry (Matthew 4:2) - also the same period given to Nineveh to respond to God's message - is an actual number as well, but also a symbolic representation of how God's people are tested.

Whenever we come across such numbers in the Bible, we often try to figure out what they represent and to discern whether there is significance behind the numbers, or whether they are merely factual figures. Often, however, we miss out what the numbers say about the character of God - especially when He is depicted as counting.

When God told Jonah that He was concerned about the people of Nineveh (Jonah 4:11), for instance, He gave the prophet a number 120,000. This not only tells us the city's population, but it also says something astounding about the character of God.

In biblical times, shepherds had an interesting way of counting their sheep. The sheep were made to pass under a shepherd's rod as he counted them; every tenth animal was then set aside as a tithe to the Lord (Leviticus 27:32). Although the shepherd just had to get a total tally of all his livestock, he made sure to count every one of them individually.

In a similar way, God our Shepherd sees each of us as an individual. Just as a shepherd counts each sheep that passes under his rod, God counts every one of us. In Ezekiel 20:37, He says, "I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant." This personal attention is made clear in Jeremiah 33:13, which prophesies that "flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them". It paints the picture of a Shepherd personally counting His sheep - not with a rod but with His own hand. He handles each sheep with a personal touch.


How is He personal?
When God told Jonah about the 120,000 Ninevites He was concerned about, it was not just a statistic. Rather, it showed that He had counted and knew every person in the city who repented - no one was lost, ignored, or forgotten. Each inhabitant was known by God and precious to Him, even though he or she had lived contrary to His law. To God, the salvation of each Ninevite was a deeply personal matter, as was each sailor on the ship that nearly sank with Jonah in it.

We sometimes forget the ways of God: we brandish number about when we count participants at a conference or church service as a means to boost our egos and congratulate ourselves. In God's eyes, however, numbers that have to do with people are far more personal and profound. Whether it's a large crowd in a popular church or a small gathering of 40 worshippers, He is interested in individuals.

And while we allow anonymity in our midst, letting people slip in and out of fellowship and losing them in the crowd, God wants to personally touch everyone who passes Him. Salvation is, after all, an individual experience. As the prophet Isaiah said, "In that day . . . you . . . will be gathered up one by one" (Isaiah 27:12, emphasis added).

It is one thing to believe that Jesus died for all of us, and another thing to appreciate that He died for you. Yet this realisation is needed for true conversion - just as Charles Wesley was truly converted after he read Galatians 2:20 and was struck by the phrase, "the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me". The truth became personal for him.


How can we practise God's ways in church and in our relationships?
Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) said, “We cannot live without love. We remain incomprehensible to ourselves if we do not experience and participate intimately in love." And God is love.

5 ways how we can practise God's ways in church and in our relationships
1. Pray
Ask God for the strength to love to our full potential. Keep an open dialogue with the source of all love to guide us through our trials.

2. Be generous to others
Sometimes the greatest strength we can receive comes through helping others in need. (Just ask Mother Teresa.) Love is always there for us to draw upon, and it’s easiest to see when we decide to share it freely with others.

3. Get inspired
Let inspiration help us stay connected through faith. Pick up Zig Ziglar’s new audiobook, or listen to a Tony Robbins seminar. Read about the lives of people who’ve demonstrated faith in amazing ways.

4. Surround ourselves with people we admire
We are how we spend our time. So if we want to walk the path of faith, pave it with as many faithful people as we can. Choose friends who challenge us to love like it’s our last day on earth. (Finding those types of friends is as hard as hell. It helps to start by focusing on being that kind of friend.)

5. Get the ball rolling first thing in the morning
Carve out 10 minutes in the morning to focus on faith (God). God is the decision to love when it seems impossible. Sometimes we wake up with the weight of the world on our shoulders. Rather than give in and settle for less, set a daily intention to love — no matter how hard it may be. Pray, and ask for everything you need to love like crazy
Picture posted by VladNoxArt, Digital Art / Photomanipulation / Emotional, ©2016-2019 VladNoxArt - Praying for you
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What can we learn from the way God counts people? How is He personal? How can we practise God's ways in church and in our relationships?

What can we learn from the way God counts people?
How God counts [1]
We can find all sorts of numbers in the Bible. Some are symbolic and some are literal, while some are both symbolic and literal. [39] The "seven spirits of God" mentioned in Revelation (1:4; 3:1; 5:6), for instance, are symbolic, referring to the Holy Spirit in His perfection. The 153 fish caught by the disciples is an actual figure (John 21:11). The 40 days for which Jesus fasted before commencing His ministry (Matthew 4:2) - also the same period given to Nineveh to respond to God's message - is an actual number as well, but also a symbolic representation of how God's people are tested.


We can find all sorts of numbers in the Bible.
PHOTO: We can find all sorts of numbers in the Bible. Some are symbolic and some are literal, while some are both symbolic and literal. The 40 days for which Jesus fasted before commencing His ministry (
Matthew 4:2) - also the same period given to Nineveh to respond to God's message - is an actual number as well, but also a symbolic representation of how God's people are tested.
Picture posted by LinkedIn Ads

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http://onlineresize.club/pictures-club.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/06/reflection-do-we-reflect-gods-heart.html



Whenever we come across such numbers in the Bible, we often try to figure out what they represent and to discern whether there is significance behind the numbers, or whether they are merely factual figures. Often, however, we miss out what the numbers say about the character of God - especially when He is depicted as counting.

When God told Jonah that He was concerned about the people of Nineveh (Jonah 4:11), for instance, He gave the prophet a number 120,000. This not only tells us the city's population, but it also says something astounding about the character of God.


Often we miss out what the numbers say about the character of God - especially when He is depicted as counting.
Often we miss out what the numbers say about the character of God - especially when He is depicted as counting.
PHOTO: Often we miss out what the numbers say about the character of God - especially when He is depicted as counting. We sometimes forget the ways of God: we brandish number about when we count participants at a conference or church service as a means to boost our egos and congratulate ourselves.
Picture posted by Angel Number
gif file generated by Animated Images Effects Generator at
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https://angelnumber.org/what-does-the-number-1-mean-in-the-bible/
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/06/reflection-do-we-reflect-gods-heart.html



In biblical times, shepherds had an interesting way of counting their sheep. The sheep were made to pass under a shepherd's rod as he counted them; every tenth animal was then set aside as a tithe to the Lord (Leviticus 27:32). Although the shepherd just had to get a total tally of all his livestock, he made sure to count every one of them individually.

 

In biblical times, the sheep were made to pass under a shepherd's rod as he counted them; every tenth animal was then set aside as a tithe to the Lord (Leviticus 27:32).
PHOTO: In biblical times, the sheep were made to pass under a shepherd's rod as he counted them; every tenth animal was then set aside as a tithe to the Lord (Leviticus 27:32). Although the shepherd just had to get a total tally of all his livestock, he made sure to count every one of them individually.
Picture posted by Alamy

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--H-nL90rUzs/XRg-9ZmtGMI/AAAAAAAAuaU/FIZiPlvvk-8wfDJarzE0OSUotZxvS1Z6ACLcBGAs/s1600/920-pr1k2x_1.png
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In a similar way, God our Shepherd sees each of us as an individual. Just as a shepherd counts each sheep that passes under his rod, God counts every one of us. In Ezekiel 20:37, He says, "I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant." This personal attention is made clear in Jeremiah 33:13, which prophesies that "flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them". It paints the picture of a Shepherd personally counting His sheep - not with a rod but with His own hand. He handles each sheep with a personal touch.

 

God our Shepherd sees each of us as an individual.
PHOTO: God our Shepherd sees each of us as an individual. Just as a shepherd counts each sheep that passes under his rod, God counts every one of us - not with a rod but with His own hand. He handles each sheep with a personal touch.
Picture saved from Karen Hunt-Reynolds

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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/554435404098807011/?lp=true



How is He personal?
When God told Jonah about the 120,000 Ninevites He was concerned about, it was not just a statistic. Rather, it showed that He had counted and knew every person in the city who repented - no one was lost, ignored, or forgotten. Each inhabitant was known by God and precious to Him, even though he or she had lived contrary to His law. To God, the salvation of each Ninevite was a deeply personal matter, as was each sailor on the ship that nearly sank with Jonah in it.


We need to be faithful to a life of sacrificial love and service, regardless of the 'results.'
PHOTO: How is He personal?
When God told Jonah about the 120,000 Ninevites He was concerned about, it was not just a statistic. Rather, it showed that He had counted and knew every person in the city who repented - no one was lost, ignored, or forgotten. To God, the salvation of each Ninevite was a deeply personal matter, as was each sailor on the ship that nearly sank with Jonah in it.
Artwork by Moby Dick
Picture posted by Mike Deodato Jr on 09 June 2019

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https://www.reddup.co/r/ImaginaryLeviathans
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/06/reflection-do-we-reflect-gods-heart.html



We sometimes forget the ways of God: we brandish number about when we count participants at a conference or church service as a means to boost our egos and congratulate ourselves. In God's eyes, however, numbers that have to do with people are far more personal and profound. Whether it's a large crowd in a popular church or a small gathering of 40 worshippers, He is interested in individuals.

And while we allow anonymity in our midst, letting people slip in and out of fellowship and losing them in the crowd, God wants to personally touch everyone who passes Him. Salvation is, after all, an individual experience. As the prophet Isaiah said, "In that day . . . you . . . will be gathered up one by one" (Isaiah 27:12, emphasis added).



In God's eyes numbers that have to do with people are far more personal and profound.
PHOTO: In God's eyes numbers that have to do with people are far more personal and profound. Whether it's a large crowd in a popular church or a small gathering of 40 worshippers, He is interested in individuals. As the prophet Isaiah said, "In that day . . . you . . . will be gathered up one by one" (Isaiah 27:12).
Artwork by Gustave Dore
Picture saved from Matt Wallace

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gkKu_DDLaJk/XRg-_rgb3mI/AAAAAAAAua4/sTDwRlfWvs4g3tqi9o_QsJisjPsD-8dMwCLcBGAs/s1600/fa37d50e304d267958c8e89cd6b638b9_1.png
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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/499266308660481495/?lp=true


It is one thing to believe that Jesus died for all of us, and another thing to appreciate that He died for you. Yet this realisation is needed for true conversion - just as Charles Wesley was truly converted after he read Galatians 2:20 and was struck by the phrase, "the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me". The truth became personal for him.



It is one thing to believe that Jesus died for all of us, and another thing to appreciate that He died for you.
PHOTO: It is one thing to believe that Jesus died for all of us, and another thing to appreciate that He died for you. The truth became personal for us, "the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me".
Picture saved by Boghici Vily to jesus - Pencil Drawings Of Jesus

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How can we practise God's ways in church and in our relationships?
Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) said, “We cannot live without love. We remain incomprehensible to ourselves if we do not experience and participate intimately in love." And God is love. [2]

We need love more than we need the air we breathe. Without it, our lives cease to make sense. We lose touch with our purpose. But sometimes love seems impossible. That's where faith comes in. Faith is the decision to love even when we don’t feel God’s presence. Faith is built through the decision to love, no matter the circumstances. The more we choose love, the greater our faith will grow. Faith is the momentum of love that brings us into a peaceful future. The more faith we have, the easier it becomes to believe we can survive.



We need love more than we need the air we breathe.
PHOTO: We need love more than we need the air we breathe. Without it, our lives cease to make sense. We lose touch with our purpose. But sometimes love seems impossible. Faith is the momentum of love that brings us into a peaceful future. The more faith we have, the easier it becomes to believe we can survive.
Picture saved by Alex Meyer to Christian art

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Love can be difficult. But without it, life is impossible. And in fact, it's a waste of time.

5 ways how we can practise God's ways in church and in our relationships
1. Pray
Ask God for the strength to love to our full potential. Keep an open dialogue with the source of all love to guide us through our trials.


Pray
PHOTO: Pray
Ask God for the strength to love to our full potential. Keep an open dialogue with the source of all love to guide us through our trials.
Picture posted by JW.org - Hannah praying when deeply troubled by her barrenness

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https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/true-faith/hannah-prayer/
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/01/reflection-jonah-prays-god-delivers.html



2. Be generous to others
Sometimes the greatest strength we can receive comes through helping others in need. (Just ask Mother Teresa.) Love is always there for us to draw upon, and it’s easiest to see when we decide to share it freely with others.



Be generous to others
PHOTO: Be generous to others
Sometimes the greatest strength we can receive comes through helping others in need. (Just ask Mother Teresa.) Love is always there for us to draw upon, and it’s easiest to see when we decide to share it freely with others.
Picture posted by Xīn xīn parent training camp

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https://cdn.xxjz.org/uploads/452dc8028ad69878fdc51c1e92666809.jpeg
https://www.xxjz.org/article/98985



3. Get inspired
Let inspiration help us stay connected through faith. Pick up Zig Ziglar’s new audiobook, or listen to a Tony Robbins seminar. Read about the lives of people who’ve demonstrated faith in amazing ways.



Get inspired
PHOTO: Get inspired
Let inspiration help us stay connected through faith. Read about the lives of people who’ve demonstrated faith in amazing ways.
Picture posted by wikiHow Staff on 06 June 2019

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https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Inspired



4. Surround ourselves with people we admire
We are how we spend our time. So if we want to walk the path of faith, pave it with as many faithful people as we can. Choose friends who challenge us to love like it’s our last day on earth. (Finding those types of friends is as hard as hell. It helps to start by focusing on being that kind of friend.)



Surround ourselves with people we admire
PHOTO: Surround ourselves with people we admire
Choose friends who challenge us to love like it’s our last day on earth. (Finding those types of friends is as hard as hell. It helps to start by focusing on being that kind of friend.)
Picture posted by CinemaSearch - 4:44, Last day on earth

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5. Get the ball rolling first thing in the morning
Carve out 10 minutes in the morning to focus on faith (God). God is the decision to love when it seems impossible. Sometimes we wake up with the weight of the world on our shoulders. Rather than give in and settle for less, set a daily intention to love — no matter how hard it may be. Pray, and ask for everything you need to love like crazy — first thing in the morning. That'll start our day with the momentum we need to make even the hardest decisions.



Get the ball rolling first thing in the morning
PHOTO: Get the ball rolling first thing in the morning
Carve out 10 minutes in the morning to focus on faith (God). God is the decision to love when it seems impossible. Sometimes we wake up with the weight of the world on our shoulders. Pray, and ask for everything you need to love like crazy — first thing in the morning. That'll start our day with the momentum we need to make even the hardest decisions.
Picture posted by Rob@RobertJBarnes.com

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http://www.robertjbarnes.com/eight-week-mindfulness-course/

 

Dear Lord, we often miss out what the numbers say about the character of God - especially when He is depicted as counting.
Dear Lord, we often miss out what the numbers say about the character of God - especially when He is depicted as counting.
PHOTO:Dear Lord, we often miss out what the numbers say about the character of God - especially when He is depicted as counting. We learn that God our Shepherd sees each of us as an individual. Just as a shepherd counts each sheep that passes under his rod, God counts every one of us. This personal attention is made not with a rod but with His own hand. He handles each sheep with a personal touch.

We also learn that when God told Jonah about the 120,000 Ninevites He was concerned about, it was not just a statistic. Rather, it showed that He had counted and knew every person in the city who repented - no one was lost, ignored, or forgotten. Each inhabitant was known by God and precious to Him, even though he or she had lived contrary to His law. To God, the salvation of each one of us is a deeply personal matter.

Please help us not to forget the ways of God by brandishing number about when we count participants at a conference or church service as a means to boost our egos and congratulate ourselves. Because in God's eyes numbers that have to do with people are far more personal and profound. He is interested in individuals.

We believe that Jesus died for all of us, but it is another thing to appreciate that He died for me - the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. This truth became personal for us.

We need your help to practise God's ways in church and in our relationships. We pray to you asking for the strength to love to our full potential. Help us to be generous to others because the greatest strength we can receive comes through helping others in need. Keep us inspired by staying connected to you, and by the people who surround us. Sometimes we wake up in the morning with the weight of the world on our shoulders. No matter how hard it may be, we pray for the daily intention to love.

Every morning we wait for you, more than the watchmen who wait for the morning. Just as in Psalm 130:7, we put our hope in you, for with you is unfailing love, and with you is full redemption.

Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

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Reflection - Do we reflect God's heart? - How God counts
Source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 9, Question 2, Page 125.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012





Also from the same author, Robert M. Solomon

"Faithful to the end", A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon

'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon<br>
Reflection - Faithful to the end (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/06/reflection-faithful-to-end-links.html


"Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon
Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-finding-rest-for-soul-links.html



Reference
[1] From "God in Pursuit" Lessons from the Book of Jonah, Copyright © 2017 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-801-6, Part IV: Jonah 4:1-11, Chapter 9 "Do we reflect God's heart?", Page 121-123.

[2] Daniel Dowling, mindbodygreen.com, How To Keep Faith When Life Seems impossible, https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24572/how-to-keep-faith-when-life-seems-impossible.html

[39]
Robert M. Solomon, The following paragraphs are excerpted from my article "When God Counts", Methodist Message, May 2016.


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Ezekiel 20:37 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+20%3A37&version=NIV

Galatians 2:20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+2%3A20&version=NIV

Isaiah 27:12 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+27%3A12&version=NIV

Jeremiah 33:13 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+33%3A13&version=NIV

John 21:11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+21%3A11&version=NIV

Jonah 4:1-11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+4%3A1-11&version=NIV

Jonah 4:11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+4%3A11&version=NIV

Leviticus 27:32 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+27%3A32&version=NIV

Matthew 4:2 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+4%3A2&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Psalm 130:7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+130%3A7&version=NIV

Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 5:6 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+1%3A4%3B+3%3A1%3B+5%3A6&version=NIV