Wednesday, March 20, 2013

He Thought Of Everything!



Yes, God thought of everything...

 


Number one ~ God is infinite and His ways above our understanding. Therefore, overlooking or minimizing any scripture because in our comprehension or opinion it does not seem to fit, is unwise and will hinder our walk, not help it. However, setting it aside a while as you seek God and grow in your understanding of God's ways and how it fits, is wise!

 


 

Number two ~ God is thorough. He is complete in and of Himself, with no deficiencies. He created you in His image, and knows you better than you know yourself...therefore He knows your deficiencies and your needs very well. This is exactly why He wanted you to see for yourself how the Old Testament law worked, and the contrast between it and grace...so you would welcome God's grace with your whole heart! Now, won't you let Him teach you what His grace is truly all about?

 

 

 

Number three ~ God thought of everything when He created His plan for us ~ He left nothing undone! There are no contradictions, no left over pieces, and absolutely no pieces missing in His plan!

 

 

 

Have you ever put a large puzzle together and then stood way back to view it? Could you tell it was a puzzle? In my mind our lives seem like a large puzzle with many scattered pieces...and we finite humans can only see a small portion of it. 

 

 

 

 

However, when that day comes when we can stand with unveiled face and see the whole picture...it will be complete, smooth and clear, and there will be no lines, gaps or raw edges in it! It will look like it never started out as a puzzle at all!  THIS is how utterly thorough and amazing His plan is!

 

 



Number four ~ God is intimately acquainted with each person. He knows how many hairs are on your head! He is so near you that you have His undivided attention. In fact, this is why He has the ability to show you what exactly is going on even in the littlest hiding places inside your heart! He knows you very well! 


 


Matt. 10:30 Indeed, even the hairs on your head have been numbered!




Hebrews 4:12 "For God's Message is full of life and power, and is keener than the sharpest two-edged sword. It pierces even to the severance of soul from spirit, and penetrates between the joints and the marrow, and it can discern the secret thoughts and purposes of the heart."


 

Number five ~ God is love. He is not just a God who loves...He IS love. Love is to Him an essential part of being. This is why He commands that we love...and likewise that we emulate Him as His dear children...because He wants us to identify with Him and participate in His likeness.

 

 

 

He does not do this so as to put another law on us...He does so because He knows what will make us complete and give us joy!! This is why God says that when we give out love, we fulfill all the requirements of the law! Love completes us.

 

Love is not hard or burdensome...which is why it is more than compatable with grace. It is a joy and a blessing! The Pharisees and Experts in the Law of long ago and those of today want to have some religious control and keep you and I from the knowledge of God's love and grace that would set us free -- so, they are misrepresenting God! They lie!

 

 

Luke 11:46 "Yes," said Jesus, "what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden.


 

Luke 11:52 "How terrible it will be for you experts in the Law! You have taken away the key to knowledge. You didn't go in yourselves, and you kept out those who were trying to go in."

 

 

Command means: to give what is deserved. God deserves our obediance 100%...and will completely back up His words with us in mind.


Demand means: to give what is not deserved. Therefore the Demander is usually harsh, and will back up his words but with himself in mind.


The command to love can be likened to a loving Father who brings home several very precious and personal gifts for each of his beloved children...then commands that they not hold back, but open and use them! Now, how would this be burdensome or difficult?? This is just like God insisting that I be blessed!

 

 

Luke 12; 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Now, sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

 

Acts 20:35 “And I have shown you everything, that it is necessary to labor and to take care of those who are weak and to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, who said, 'He who gives is more blessed than he who receives.'”



 

Do you believe the things God says? Can you plant your seed of faith in His command to love and be open for God to water it?

 

(click on image to enlarge)




1 Cor. 9:23 "I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

 

 

 

1 John 5:3 "Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome".

 

 

Matthew 11:30 Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

 

 

 

The command to love in not under the law. A law can be measured, therefore we can tell when a law hasn't been obeyed. But love is not and can not be under the law -- because love cannot be measured like a rule can! So, where ever you are in your loving efforts, is JUST fine and good!! WHY? Because when we share God's love in any measure, it spreads like leaven all on it's own, and has the same power to perfect God's love in us, as well as rid us of any fears we still have of condemnation.

 

 

 

Col. 1 10This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. 11Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other. 12No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit. 14We have seen and testify to the fact that the Father sent his Son as the Savior of the world.

 







15God lives in those who declare that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 16We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God's love live in God, and God lives in them. 17God's love has reached its goal in us. So we look ahead with confidence to the day of judgment. While we are in this world, we are exactly like him [with regard to love].

 

 

 

 

18No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn't have perfect love. 19We love because God loved us first. 20Whoever says, "I love God," but hates another believer is a liar. People who don't love other believers, whom they have seen, can't love God, whom they have not seen. 21Christ has given us this commandment: The person who loves God must also love other believers.


 

Love also creates intimacy with God.


 

John 14:21 Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father's love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them."

 

 

 

 

1 Thess. 5: 23 "May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." In the Greek 'blameless' means to be of mature stature in the things of grace - to the point where the believer has no need of or is not wanting of anymore grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Immutability Of God, By Pink




A. W. Pink Header

The Attributes of God
by A.W. Pink

The Immutability of God


"This is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (Jas. 1:17).

 
 
 
 

First, God is immutable in His essence. His nature and being are infinite, and so, subject to no mutations. There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. "I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal. 3:6) is His own unqualified affirmation.

 

 

He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything outside Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same. He only can say, "I am that I am" (Ex. 3:14). He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time. There is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.

 

 

Secondly, God is immutable in His attributes. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so forever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Semper idem (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied.

 

 

The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is "forever settled in heaven" (Ps. 119:89). His love is eternal: "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3) and "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is "everlasting" (Ps. 100:5).

Thirdly, God is immutable in His counsel. His will never varies. Perhaps some are ready to object that we ought to read the following: "And it repented the Lord that He had made man" (Gen. 6:6). Our first reply is, Then do the Scriptures contradict themselves? No, that cannot be. Numbers 23:19 is plain enough: "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent."

 

 

 

So also in 1 Samuel 15:19, "The strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent." The explanation is very simple. When speaking of Himself. God frequently accommodates His language to our limited capacities. He describes Himself as clothed with bodily members, as eyes, ears, hands, etc. He speaks of Himself as "waking" (Ps. 78:65), as "rising early" (Jer. 7:13); yet He neither slumbers nor sleeps. When He institutes a change in His dealings with men, He describes His course of conduct as "repenting."

 
 
 

Yes, God is immutable in His counsel. "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:29). It must be so, for "He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth" (Job 23:13). Change and decay in all around we see, may He who changeth not abide with thee. God’s purpose never alters.

 

 

 

One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for Him to revise His decrees. No. "The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations" (Ps. 33:11). Therefore do we read of "the immutability of His counsel" (Heb. 6:17).

 
 
 

Herein we may perceive the infinite distance which separates the highest creature from the Creator. Creaturehood and mutability are correlative terms. If the creature was not mutable by nature, it would not be a creature; it would be God. By nature we tend to nothing, as we came from nothing. Nothing stays our annihilation but the will and sustaining power of God.

 

 

 

None can sustain himself a single moment. We are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw. We gladly own with the Psalmist Thou "holdest our soul in life" (Ps. 66:9). The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him "in Whom we live and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

 
 
 

As fallen creatures we are not only mutable, but everything in us is opposed to God. As such we are "wandering stars" (Jude 13), out of our proper orbit. The wicked are "like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest" (Isa. 57:20). Fallen man is inconstant. The words of Jacob concerning Reuben apply with full force to all of Adam’s descendants: "unstable as water" (Gen. 49:4).

 

 

 

Thus it is not only a mark of piety, but also the part of wisdom to heed that injunction, "cease ye from man" (Isa. 2:22). No human being is to be depended on. "Put not your trust in princes, in the son of man, in whom is no help" (Ps. 146:3). If I disobey God, then I deserve to be deceived and disappointed by my fellows. People who like you today, may hate you tomorrow. The multitude who cried "Hosanna to the Son of David," speedily changed to "Away with Him, Crucify Him."

 
 
 

Herein is solid comfort. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will stable, His word is sure.

 

 

 

Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee" (Isa. 54:10).

 
 
 
 

Herein is encouragement to prayer: "What comfort would it be to pray to a god that, like the chameleon, changed color every moment? Who would put up a petition to an earthly prince that was so mutable as to grant a petition one day, and deny it another?" (S. Charnock, 1670). Should someone ask, But what is the use of praying to One whose will is already fixed? We answer, Because He so requires it.

 

 

 

What blessings has God promised without our seeking them? "If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us" (1 John 5:14), and He has willed everything that is for His child’s good. To ask for anything contrary to His will is not prayer, but rank rebellion. Herein is terror for the wicked. Those who defy Him, break His laws, have no concern for His glory, but live their lives as though He existed not, must not suppose that, when at the last they shall cry to Him for mercy, He will alter His will, revoke His word, and rescind His awful threatenings.

 

 

No, He has declared, "Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them" (Ezek. 8:18). God will not deny Himself to gratify their lusts. God is holy, unchangingly so. Therefore God hates sin, eternally hates it. Hence the eternality of the punishment of all who die in their sins.

 

 

The Divine immutability, like the cloud which interposed between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, has a dark as well as a light side. It insures the execution of His threatenings, as well as the performance of His promises; and destroys the hope which the guilty fondly cherish, that He will be all lenity to His frail and erring creatures, and that they will be much more lightly dealt with than the declarations of His own Word would lead us to expect. We oppose to these deceitful and presumptuous speculations the solemn truth, that God is unchanging in veracity and purpose, in faithfulness and justice. (J. Dick, 1850)."

 
 
 

*This was written by Pink himself. His writings are available for all. (copyright free)

 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Do You Wish Your Faith Was Bigger?





Which person in the picture has the most faith?

 

 

Luke 17: "Then the apostles said to the Lord, "Give us more faith." 6The Lord said, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Pull yourself up by the roots, and plant yourself in the sea!' and it would obey you."

 

 

 

Size does not matter with faith. Size matters in our world, but not in God's. The faith the size of a mustard seed is no less faith than when the seed grows into a full grown plant. It is different with each person.

 

 

 

For the little girl, she could be expressing the exact same size faith as the man up on the high wire! Why? Because to her being off the ground and walking along a pole could be just as scary to her as the man's tightrope walking is to him.

 

 

It is not size that matters, it is that it's being used...being exercised!

 

 

If I said I trusted you and never did anything to show it...would it be hard to believe I trusted you? Well, of course! Faith is a verb...an action word. Faith in something has to have some sort of action to prove it.

 

 

 

 

Like I said, if I said I trusted you but never gave you any indication that I did...like asking you to do something that is really important to me - as in watching my house when I'm gone, or watching my child, or taking care of my animals, or giving you any of my personal information or asking important favors of you or asking your advice or taking your advice...would you believe I really had faith in you? How could you?

 

 
 
 

That is why the bible says that faith with out works is dead. It is just NOT faith without some sort of action (works) to prove it...some sort.

 

 
 
 

 

Rom. 1:17 "This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "The just will live by faith."

 

 
 
 

So, faith is believing in the things God says. Faith in God is telling Him you trust Him. Yes?! For instance, when we obey the New Commandment and love others in whatever measure we can (*love has no size either)...we are showing God we believe in His ways over our own.

 

 

 

*Love has no shape or size, so it cannot be measured. Like faith, it is ok in whatever way you begin expressing it. Then as you begin expressing it....it begins to grow from there, right under your nose!

 

 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What is Grace?

 

This will probably be my last post till next week or so, and then most likely not as often after that. But Maria is going to be posting too, and possibly some others. Grow in grace and love...blessings to you!!

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Creating Memories and Joy!

 

I think it gets hard for Christians because we are living in two worlds - two Kingdoms. We are used to living in one of the worlds...namely this one...so we are pretty sure about how things work here for most people.  For instance...what kinds of things do human beings like to do and what gives us joy and creates memories?

 

 

OK, better yet, what in your life have given you great memories and real joy in this world? While you are thinking about it, here are some of mine --

 

 

*Teaching and helping children

*Creating various kinds of fine art

*When my book was published

*Making a difference

   somewhere, anywhere

*Going to the mountains

*When I know I've helped

    someone grow in Christ

*Going to an Emmaus weekend

*Having and caring for animals

*When I've had very close friends

*Antiquing in a little town unhurriedly

*When I recieve good news

   and surprises

*When someone gives me

     something from their heart

 

 

 

I am confident that God also wants us to begin having many joyful experiences in God's world too. But, how does this happen? We can see and touch this human kingdom,  but God's kingdom is not so easily seen or touched. Yes, there is a way!  But how?

 

 

 

Well, as you know, there were obstacles that kept us out of the Kingdom of God before Christ. The law made it about impossible to experience the joys of living in God's kingdom, because of our own inabilities to meet the requirements of the law.

 

 

But now, because of Christ we have a clear path to God and full access to His kingdom...even tho we have not experienced the physical heaven yet, the kingdom of God is within us.

 

 

 

So, now isn't it time to begin thinking about what memorable and joyful things there are to do here in God's kingdom? It IS as real as this world, yes!? God wants to help us add many experiences to our list!

 

 

 

Ok, then....how does this happen?

 

 

Romans 1 :17 "This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "The righteous shall live by faith"

 
 

 

 

In God's kingdom anything and everything is done by faith...

 

 Here in the USA at least, it is quite normal to say excuse me when we bump into someone, as we have come to expect it will makes things ok. However, I know for me anyway, I do it by faith as well, especially if I don't know the person and how they would react to being bumped!

 

 
 

There are many things we automatically do at home or in our society because they are just things one does! My sister-in-law came from a country that hugging was not done very often...it is something she said that she had to get used to doing and it being done to her...and at the beginning she merely did it by faith after learning it was a typical thing to do here. Then in time it became much more natural to her...

 

 
 

To us, doing the things in God's Kingdom is like this...we are in a Kingdom that does things differently...so we start out at least doing things that God wants us to do merely out of faith. Out of believing that God knows what He is doing and knows how things work in His invisable Kingdom.

 

 
 

For instance, the primary thing God wants us to do is love. To believe what God has said about his love, and then be a part of expressing it. In whatever measure...in whatever way...where ever we are...to imitate God in this world that needs Him...and in so doing be blessed ourselves! Like a sweet perfume...when sharing it with others, one can't help but getting it on yourselves!

 

 
 

 

Galatians 5:6 "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

 

 

1 Corinthians 9:23 "I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings."

 


 

 

God is love. He is not just a God who loves...He IS love. Love is to Him an essential part of being. This is why He commands that we love...and likewise that we emulate Him as His dear children...because He wants us to identify with Him and participate in His likeness.

 

 

 

He does not do this so as to put another law on us...He does so because He knows what will make us complete and give us joy!! We already know what gives us joy in this earthly world...now God wants to teach us what will bring us joy in His world. Can you trust Him?

 


 

Love is not hard or burdensome...which is why it is more than compatable with grace. It is a joy and a blessing! The Pharisees and Experts in the Law of long ago and those of today want to have some religious control and in so doing are keeping many from the knowledge of God's love and grace that would set us free -- therefore, they are misrepresenting God!

 


 

 

Luke 11:46 "Yes," said Jesus, "what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden."

 

Luke 11:52 "How terrible it will be for you experts in the Law! You have taken away the key to knowledge. You didn't go in yourselves, and you kept out those who were trying to go in."

 

 

The command to love can be likened to a loving Father who brings home some very precious and personal gifts for each of his beloved children...then commands that they not just hold onto them....but open and experience them! Live them, share them and enjoy them. Now, how would this be burdensome or difficult?? This is just like God insisting that I be blessed!

 

Luke 12; 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Now, sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


 
 

 

Acts 20:35 “And I have shown you everything, that it is necessary to labor and to take care of those who are weak and to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, who said, 'He who gives is more blessed than he who receives.'”

 

 

1 Cor. 9:23 "I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

 

 

 

1 John 5:3 "Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome".

 

Matthew 11:30 'Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

 

 

The command to love in not under the law. A law can be measured, therefore we can tell when a law hasn't been obeyed. But love is not and cannot be under the law -- since love cannot be measured like a rule can!

 

 

So, where ever you are in your loving efforts, is wonderful and acceptable to God!! Because when we share God's love in any measure, it has the same power to perfect God's love in us, as well as rid us of any fears we still have of condemnation. A little leaven (or love), leavens the whole lump!

 

 
 

Col. 1 "10This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. 11Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other. 12No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit.

 

 

 

14We have seen and testify to the fact that the Father sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God lives in those who declare that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 16We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God's love live in God, and God lives in them.

 

 

 

17God's love has reached its goal in us. So we look ahead with confidence to the day of judgment. While we are in this world, we are exactly like him [with regard to love]. 18No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn't have perfect love. 19We love because God loved us first.

 

 

 

 

20Whoever says, "I love God," but hates another believer is a liar. People who don't love other believers, whom they have seen, can't love God, whom they have not seen. 21Christ has given us this commandment: The person who loves God must also love other believers."

 


 

Living in love does so much...and most of all creates intimacy with God.

 


 

John 14:21 "Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father's love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them."

 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Awesome Testimony!


 
 
 

Only When God Becomes All That We Want…Do We Truly See That He Is All We Need

 Posted on:

December 12, 2012by Kevin Adams

It is impossible to please God without some measure of faith. But the prospect of living life entirely by it, is viewed as impractical, unnecessary, and foolish by many. After several years of learning to be a bit more foolish, I remain unconvinced as to which is more difficult: being willing to do anything for the Lord or willing to believe He would do anything for me.


Willingness to be foolish


Sunday morning at ten fifteen the words “Stand up and sing” formed in the air and lingered there like those of an unforgettable friend. And ten minutes before the sermon would end I heard them again and again. “Stand up and sing… sing Jesus loves me!” I looked around at a thousand quiet souls and wondered who it might have been. Some craning toward the pulpit to catch every corporate word, others with arms outstretched and nodding agreeably at what they’d already heard. But not one, including the speaker, had requested a song or singer to interrupt what is decent with something completely absurd…like “Stand up Kevin and sing Jesus loves me”.


I looked at my watch then down at my feet until clarity wrapped around my dignity and began to sink its teeth. Either God has a plan and had taken time to speak or I was about to be crowned church idiot and king of all freaks. If God indeed has a plan then He surely has a voice but sometimes He just hauls off and forces us to make a choice…knowing full well that a quick fork in the eye is always better than a lifetime of staring at one in the road.


Faith comes by the hearing of God’s word but only with rigorous testing will its measure increase. To that end, any David willing to dance before God with all his might must first count the cost of being despised by others in exchange for his Father’s delight. If you consider yourself a sheep in the fold of Jesus, one that hears His voice and follows, then I have a question: What would you do if He asked you to raise your hands and worship Him on the front porch or in the supermarket? Or maybe while in the mall or jogging with your iPod? The question is not whether we think it’s unnecessary or even senseless but instead whether we know the sound of His voice and are consumed by obedience to it.


So my moment of truth came down to this: Avoid the entire charade and risk offending God’s Spirit or move forward obediently and risk offending the minds of men. With legs a prickling and every ounce of blood attempting escape through my face, I two handed the back of the chair in front of me and began pulling myself into place – a standing position. And inching into my periphery was the nauseating blur of faces who were about to be embarrassed…for me.


Willingness to believe foolishly


By late summer we’d been awarded a substantial work contract which held the promise of meeting our financial needs for another year. But as the project began with great hope, so it began with a series of hopelessly unexpected interruptions. Three months and twice as many postponements later our summer of great expectation had given way to another November of desperation. After all, without the benefit of this income we’d literally lose every inch of ground that was gained the entire previous year, and more.


Yet throughout this journey the Lord without fail has sustained our every need by His abundant provision. And all the more generous at times, He has grown our faith by withholding that provision until all seemed lost. So with Christmas only weeks away, a delinquent mortgage and every resource exhausted, we waited patiently for the good news to come, until finally…with no time to spare…it came. We rejoiced that the project delays were over – hallelujah! On the other hand, the project was also over, cut from the budget at the eleventh hour without warning.


I’m not a pastor, theologian or teacher. I don’t have a church, a fan club or a flock. I’m just a regular guy with a testimony who would rather tear away empty pockets than fill them with empty promises. Before any of us can stand on the banks of the Red Sea and believe that it will open, we’ve got to learn the sound of God’s voice, like Moses at the burning bush. And then be consumed by obedience to it in spite of the doubting opinions of others, like Israel, who would rather remain safely in bondage.


Finally, we must become unshakable before the Godless kingdoms of this world, like Egypt, who will stop at nothing to keep us enslaved. Or mammon, the spirit that makes us cringe when we ask if the Good Samaritan would help the same man twice, three times, as long as needed, or stop when it begins to reduce his own storehouse.


It was no accident that every time Moses stepped out in faith God turned up the heat. From the unwinnable assignment, to Pharaoh’s hardened heart, to making bricks without straw, to being ridiculed by his own people, Moses was well prepared to face the impossible when it arrived. And right on time, after years of preparation, our very own Red Sea moment has arrived to daunt the natural eyes and remind us that God, not man, is our deliverer and God, not mammon, is our place of rest.


Willing to stand up and sing…or not.


By now, halfheartedly standing in church, like the lone awkward applauder at a social event or the guy who tried and failed to start the wave in a stadium, I would become the gladiatorial fool who disrupted the entire service to stand up and sing Jesus loves me…loudly. With a brief glance at the auditorium door to weigh my last options for avoiding embarrassment, having easily stood to make a simple dash for the bathroom, the other half of my heart with great unction joined rank against my flesh and laid itself on the altar.


Just as the hymn whispered up from my spirit, these words…“do not offend the speaker” settled on my shoulders like the insisting hands of a remarkably strong grandfather. My posture recognized the escape long before my understanding and slumped without hesitation into a deep sigh of thanksgiving – praise the Lord! Then…with only a minute left, the speaker led the congregation in prayer before making a strange request:


“You know what folks? This is going to seem cheesy but before we dismiss…let’s all stand up and sing Jesus loves me”


And without hesitation I knew…I knew that the Lord had just restored what the thief of my struggle had stolen. Jesus loves me…He really, really does. Three days later I shared my experience with the pastor. After a momentary pause, he looked at me with conviction and said:


“Wow Kevin… it wasn’t until the closing prayer that God gave me that song for the congregation. It wasn’t planned or even thought of until I prayed.”


We both smiled and pondered the love of a God who reminds us He’s there by testing the limits of our willingness. And I knew for sure that a God who would captivate me audibly and confirm it, is a God who would never allow the needs of my family to go unmet…ever.


Willing to believe in the foolish things


In an upside down kingdom it’s the foolish things, not the practical, that glorify the King. When the fool has a need…he meets the needs of another. When his hands are empty…he offers his hands instead. When his storehouse overflows he remembers that life is a vapor and counts giving a much greater privilege than making his future a little safer. When he is maligned he is kind and when he is about to faint from depression, he offers high praise to the Lord and for others he makes petition. When he’s counted by men as foolish in faith, lazy when things look tough and lucky when things seem great, he rejoices, gives thanks and reflects on these onetime foolish things:


God made a way for Noah to escape, Sarah to conceive, Isaac to leave the altar and Abraham to father nations, Jacob to prosper over Laban, Joseph to feed the nations, Moses to deliver a nation, Joshua to win the promised land, Gideon’s three hundred over more than a hundred thousand. And God gave David the favor for an everlasting throne, Elijah the speed to outrun a chariot and power to feed a widow for months from a single meal, Jeremiah the zeal to stand alone, Daniel the conviction to pray out loud and face death, Esther the favor at just the right hour, Nehemiah the vision to rebuild, and ultimately He made a way for the birth, sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord, Savior and King of everything to exchange Himself for a bride.


If the prospect of living entirely by faith (in the One crucified entirely for us) is academically risky, impractical and even foolish…then our fork in the road is clear:


To one side, these bold men and women of scripture are like wonderful cartoon characters that we quote on occasion for practical wisdom. To the other, they are real people with blood and; gut testimonies that have become the victories of our inheritance. To one side, we see a Savior pointing to our bootstraps who is willing to help if we’re willing to grab them first. To the other, we see that only momentary affliction is able to burn away such a Christian centered veneer. To one side, we see that practical wisdom aims to make life safe by storing up treasure for later and avoiding risky mistakes. To the other, we see that wise decisions are not even possible when made by the spirit of fear. To one side, we see the more sensible answers from the minds of men. To the other, we see the truth as it rings sincere through the veil of Christian ease:


Only when God becomes all that we want do we truly see that He is all we need.


Final Note:

My wife and I began learning to trust the Lord for our every need about four years ago. Within that time He has met them all abundantly and in His generosity, increased our lives exponentially – teaching us the sound of His voice, freedom from fear, and how to step into our identity. He has set our children are on fire, unified our marriage, and prepared our hearts with zeal for service. But none of our growth came without testing – testing that teaches us to rest in the Father’s arms like happy children, no matter how ugly the circumstance or radically foolish His instructions appear before men. In short, God has used the struggle set before our eyes in 2008 to remove a thousand from within our hearts along the way.


Today, having our last resource stripped away at the eleventh hour, when all is lost without it, the most difficult test we’ve faced since the journey began has arrived. And honestly… we are worn out, having no taste or patience for the superficial. Never the less, we do well to remember that living by faith is the only way to know who we really are – any of us. The more we are willing to courageously trust Him with our life, the more willing He is to trust us with His plan.


Through the continued encouragement of publishers and others, I’ve been working diligently on my writing project and remain excited. Good things are just around the corner. Until then, please pray that we might endure gracefully. And please take courage in your own testing that you are not alone in the fight of faith – affliction is momentary, rewards are overwhelming.


Lord, today, when all seems lost, as we face our own Red Sea moment, we boast in your mighty works and offer thanks for your good plans. We lift up our praise and declare that the same God who delivered Moses from Egypt and delivered us these past four years will deliver us again for the sake of His glory. Vindicate us before all men that our testimony would prove us weak and helpless and that You alone are our salvation.


For all who are tired of relying, even a little, on something other than God, today you can rest in His arms like a happy child. But if you need living proof then come along and see what He does next.


For prayer or encouragement please contact me by email: wakeupmyfaith@att.net Or connect on

facebook and Google+

About Kevin Adams

As a student of God's word, photographer and writer, my chief aim is to help followers of Christ apprehend a real and passionate faith through the study of His word, by simple illustration, and regular encouragement. And by this faith they might catch a vision of who God shaped them to become. This blog is an account of my own journey toward that real and passionate faith, starting at ground zero. I hope it will offer some encouragement to any who've set their mind on seeking God's face, whatever the cost.

 


Friday, March 8, 2013

I Love To Learn God's Ways!

 

 
 

 

 Isaiah 56 : "9Come, all you beasts of the field, come and devour, all you beasts of the forest!"

 

 
 

Can you imagine a cow attacking a tiger? Well, then how about a sheep feasting on a bear? Or a pig about to eat a mountain lion? Of course not...however, in the Kingdom of God this is exactly how things are done.  Metaphors and Opposites, and more.....all to give us clear pictures of God and how He does things!

 
 

Isaiah 55: 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."

 

 

When God says His thoughts and ways are as high as the heavens are from the earth, He means it! Therefore, they are so much higher than we can even imagine! Yes?  

 

 

 

When we think of the heavens, we think of the night sky that are filled with twinkly stars...but no, the heavens are way past what we can see. Therefore, the contrast here is immeasurable.

 
 

 

God is light...and He has no dimmer switch! He lives in "unapproachable light"(1 Tim. 6:16). In the following section of Exodus, God allows Moses to see just the back of Him after He passes by...because He is just too bright to look at - to the point where Moses would die.

 

 

 

 

 

So, think about the sun, it is millions of miles away, yet if we look at it for too long we can go blind. This gives us a perfect picture of God's brilliance...a brightness that darkness can not even look at, let alone be anywhere near! So, if we think we can willingly partake of the things that reside in darkness (as in Gal. 5: 19-21) and it would be OK with God...then we don't understand Him, His word or how different His ways are!

 

 

 

Meaning, if we do willingly partake, then in due time we'll be lovingly disciplined unless we decide to judge ourselves and do an about face in the opposite direction ~ and give our attentions back to God. 1 Cor. 11: 31"If we were judging ourselves correctly, we would not be judged. 32But when the Lord judges us, he disciplines us so that we won't be condemned along with the rest of the world."




 
 
 

 

Exodus 33: 17 "The LORD answered Moses, 'I will do what you have asked, because I am pleased with you, and I know you by name.' 18Then Moses said, 'Please let me see your glory." 19The LORD said, 'I will let all my goodness pass in front of you, and there I will call out my name 'the LORD.' I will be kind to anyone I want to. I will be merciful to anyone I want to.

 


 
 

 

20But you can't see my face, because no one may see me and live." 21Then the LORD said, 'Look, there's a place near me. Stand by this rocky cliff. 22When my glory passes by, I will put you in a crevice in the cliff and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will take my hand away, and you'll see my back, but my face must not be seen."

 


 
 

 

Something I find so wonderful about God, and what I read in His written word...and see in His Son Jesus, is that when He says something, anything...it is heavy with meaning. His words are weighty. He is thrifty and therefore packs a lot of meaning into each word. Weighty to the point where He clearly wants us to understand the reasons He makes these contrasts about Himself!

 

 

 

OK, so, what are the reasons? For one, that He is nothing like the human-fallen nature, and thinks nothing like our human nature thinks. In fact He is the opposite. Therefore, if the world is going south, then He is going north, for no better way to put it.  

 

 
 
 
 

 

Take any given set of verses...and you will most likely see some of these contrasts and words heavy with meaning that God has made about Himself and His ways. The following section of scripture in 1 Timothy verse 11, there are many such verses in scripture like this one instructing us to 'flee from', or 'lay aside', or 'make no provision for', or 'turn from', and 'die to'...the ways of sin and the flesh. 

 

 

 

 

Victory comes when things are done God's way. Man's way (and the reason we could not successfully keep the law) of dealing with sin is to set our minds on working hard at trying not to sin...but because of the weak human nature we have to try very hard over and over and over again to get even a little success! But then the law said that even one sin is too many! So, it is a hamsters wheel going no where!!

 

 

But our human nature still wants to give a lot of our attention to the sin we are struggling with....urgh!...to think and talk about it, muse over it, then try to discipline ourselves not to do it, then memorize scriptures pertaining to it, then pray and agonize over it and remind ourselves that it is sinning against God to do it, and it grieves Him to do it...and then on and on and on it goes. 

 

 

 

But, as usual, God's way is opposed to human nature's way...typically the direct opposite! God's way is to put it to death! Not talk about it over and over again! No, but giving the sin NO attention, and instead giving your full attention to the things of God whereby starving the sinful nature!  Gal. 5: 16 "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

 

 

 

 

The following verse in Romans is a good example. Romans 13:14 "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." 

 

 
 
 

It says to make no provision for the flesh's survival...so, I turn from it and give the sin none of my attention...I starve it! OK! Good! But now what do I do?? "Put on' the Lord Jesus! Yes, put Him on! Think about His great love, Talk about Him, talk to Him, serve Him, imitate Him, rest in Him, think about Him, enjoy Him, learn from Him, think about the things that come from Him, talk to others about Him...and love others as unto Him!  The following verse is telling us to give these things our full attention (instead of giving it to sin).  

 

Phil. 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."




 
 
 
 

 Can you name some other things of God to give your full attention to?  How about what comes from the Holy Spirit? 

 

Gal. 5: 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (given no attention to the flesh - starved it!)  with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (given full attention to the fruits of the Spirit!).

 

 

1 Tim. 6: "11But you, man of God, (give no attention to) flee from all, and (give all your attention to) pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12*Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

 

 

When God tells you and I not to do something, He is telling us to not give those things ANY of our attention ~~ then to turn and give your full attention to those things He wants you to do! Yes!? THIS is the primary way we deal with sin now, by not dealing with it! Please consider keeping this in mind when reading scripture. :)

 

 

 

 

17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

 

 

 

18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

 

 

I would encourage you to keep these things in mind when reading and deciphering scripture...so you will "take hold of the life that is truly life." 

 

 
 

*Fighting the good fight is still not paying any attention to sin....but to God - because we are fighting a spiritual warfare, where all our attention is still on the things of God.