The Importance of the “Muster Drill” in Life

5153669326_13321d38f2Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia tell us what a “muster drill” aboard ship is:  “A muster drill (also sometimes referred to as a lifeboat drill or a boat drill), is an exercise conducted by the crew of a ship prior to embarking on a voyage.  The purpose is to prepare passengers for a safe evacuation in the event of an emergency while on board the ship.  In this MUSTER DRILL, passengers are educated on the use of Life Vest and escape routes from the ship.”

My wife and I have been on two different ships for a vacations in the Caribbean, and yes, the muster drill was mandatory before leaving the dock.  All we wanted to do was to get underway, not stand on an outside deck railing, waiting for instructions, with a life-vest on.  I always felt like a kindergartner, standing in line, holding hands with other kindergartners , then going out for RECESS.  All I wanted to do was go out on the swing sets or Monkey Bars to play.  But somehow, we muddled through the well-meaning information on each trip  (some had to “muddle” more than others).

Scripture:  Habakkuk 3:17-19 (New International Version).

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE WAY:

In today’s world we see overwhelming number of people moving from one position to another at the drop of the hat.  When life’s circumstances get a little tough…the water gets “choppy” and we see the white caps from the gale force winds increasing around us; everybody wants to immediately ABANDON SHIP!  There are very few who will stay the course and get through the bad times.

More Bad News!

FEAR grips the hearts of the UNSAVED, the heathen, with the release of every bad news article; the Stock Market will crash because of one day of business.

The question is this: Will we, as God’s people, stand for Jesus when everything around us is failing?  When jobs fail, when the economy goes under, when sickness strikes, when shortages occur or when storms are on the horizon,  will we stand up and be counted as Faithful in Christ?

Habakkuk said,  “We’ve got troubles, but I think I’ll just thank God anyhow!”  It seems evident to me, the Prophet had been to the “Muster Drill” before.  He knew what to do in case of an emergency…when the alarm bell sounded aboard the ship and the Captain gave precise instructions in exactly what to do.

The Captains Instructions Given, but Not Heard and Understood!

And on that day, when evening had come, He [Jesus] said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.”  And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was in the boat; and other boats were with Him.  And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.  And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him,  “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”  And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.”  And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.   And He said to them, “Why are you so timid?  How is it that you have no FAITH?”  (Mark 4:35-40 NAS).

The Captain had already conducted the “muster drill” when evening had come.  His  instructions to the crew and passengers before stepping one foot in the boat was,  “Let us go over to the other side”; the instructions were perfectly clear–WE ARE GOING TO THE OTHER SIDE…and yet, when trouble came their way in the middle of the journey, they forgot the Captain’s promise; and their lack of understanding, their FAITH, had abandoned them in the midst of the storm.

Sunset on the Sea of Galilee
Sunset on the Sea of Galilee

It seems amazing to me how life plays itself out; one moment everything seems to going so smoothly and then…

Rembrandt Painting
Rembrandt Painting

Habakkuk Knew that Difficulties Were On the Horizon–

The mention of the fig tree, the grapevine, the olive, the grain, and flocks covers the entire range of agricultural produce on which the nation depended on.  It is reasonable to assume the failure of the crops would be due to the Chaldean invasion.  Enemy troops not only lived OFF the land, but deliberately destroyed what was left behind.

In these last days, we know that times will become more difficult.  We’ve already seen many economic problems and shortages arise causing fear and panic in our society.

When the Scriptures say that in the last days, men’s hearts would be failing for fear, they mean what is said literally.  We are truly living in a perilous time this world has ever seen and yet…the worse has yet to come.

Are we going to praise Him when the times get tough for us?

Satan will bring circumstances that will sometimes overwhelm you:  [a] Financially – bill piling high [b] in your marriage [c] with your children [d] in the Church [e] in your witness for JESUS.

Will you praise Him when people turn against you?

Habakkuk knew that when God’s judgement fell on Judah, it would also include him.  He would not be spared because he was a prophet of God.  In fact, he could be treated worse than any other prisoner because of his trying to warn Judah of its coming doom.

It seems people you meet these days, just don’t believe that times could get any harder.

People seem to be sticking their heads in the sand and try to ignore the problems.  I want you to know that it can and will get worse!  We are living in a dangerous World–just let on Hurricane or Typhoon come, and see how fast the shelves empty.

THE “FAITH BOAT” IS READY TO SAIL:

"THE LOVE BOAT"
“THE LOVE BOAT”

I was a big fan of the American television series set on a cruise ship.  It aired from September 24, 1977, until May 24, 1986.  The one-hour sitcom was usually set aboard a Princess Cruises cruise liner nicknamed, The Love Boat.  Each episode contained several simultaneous story lines of the passengers on board; people’s romances, their failures, disappointments, etc., and were all played out by guest actors on The Love Boat.

Embarkation Instructions…

When the world turns on you, will you still praise Jesus?

When your friends won’t have anything to do with you, will you follow the crowd?

When your family won’t have anything to do with you because you are just “to religious”, will you quit and abandon ship?

When the community you live in turns against you, will you want to put one foot on the ship’s guard-rail and bow to political pressure?

Habakkuk Knew the Importance…

Habakkuk knew when it was all said and done, GOD was the only real salvation he had…his life-preserver was secure and tight.

Habakkuk knew that GOD would be his strength:

Vs 19…”and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet

and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”

GOD WILL deliver us through every trial, every test, and every circumstance and He will lift us up above the rocky shores.

A Little Deer…

A HIND was a little deer able to climb even the steepest of cliffs, walk through the roughest places, and leap over deep chasms.  The HIND lived in the high mountains and cliffs and always stayed above all circumstances that involved people on the ground.

GOD has the POWER to lift you up, right where you are, today.  POWER to change your lemons into lemonade and make your tests and trials into greater victories.

A BAR OF STEEL:

A $5 bar of steel cut into ordinary horseshoes is worth $10.

A $5 bar of steel cut into needles is worth $350.

The same bar of steel cut into delicate springs for watches becomes worth $250,000.

So the next time you get discouraged at what God is putting you through…you’re about ready to abandon The FAITH Boat…think of that BAR OF STEEL.

The “Muster Drill” of Instructions Have Already Been Given!

Have you been in the valley long enough?  Are you ready for a change of scenery, perhaps even an Ocean Cruise?

We can dwell above our circumstances and live on a higher plane than the rest of the World.  We don’t need to be concerned with those things that threaten to destroy the World.  It begins with a spiritual REBIRTH; a “born-again” life experiences that will set you on course.

GOD is our refuge and strength; our High Tower; the Captain of our ship of FAITH.  He is our Deliverer and will get us safely to our final destination!  So, let’s get aboard the FAITH BOAT and experience the LOVE Cruise of a lifetime!

The Yacht REBORN or The FAITH BOAT
The Yacht REBORN or The FAITH BOAT


www.powerandmotoryacht.com/megayachts/broward-reborn/

Coming Out of The Land Called Lo-debar

Scripture Verses for this POST:  Amos 6:1-14; II Samuel 9

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The Land of Lo-debar

Lo-debar is a real physical place; it means “not a pasture” (2 Samuel 9:5);  or, Lo-debar was a place of “nowhere’.  But it provided safety and a good hiding place for the people.

It was a town in the Old Testament in Gilead, not far from Mahanaim in the Transjordan.

“THE BADLANDS”–

About 2 1/2 hours east of Rapid City, South Dakota (Mount Rushmore). are the beautiful formations that look like a miniature Grand Canyon.  These buttes are called “The Badlands”.  They derived their name from early American settlers and their difficulties and hardships crossing them on their journey west.  Also, it was a great place for robbers and criminals to hide out from the law.  I have visited this area on a family vacation at the age of 19, and knowing what I know now…you might just call it a place of “nowhere” or “Lo-debar” from all appearances.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND: THE PEOPLE OF THE NORTHERN KINGDOM (ISRAEL).

Even while thinking themselves secure, stood doomed for their rejection of the Lord and His ways.

“WOE TO those who are at ease in Zion and to those on the mountain of Samaria who are careless and feel secure”  (Amos 6:1).

“WOE” is a word of regret, sorrowfulness, sadness.  Amos is lamenting over the wicked lifestyles of those in Zion, resulting in captivity and destruction noted in the last part of this chapter.

The inference, “at ease” means– the people were complacent with a false sense of security.  Amos preached in a time, similar to ours in many ways.  The people of Israel felt that they were the greatest nation on earth; the same as many feel about America.  The people of Jerusalem felt secure because of their Temple and their fortress of Samaria, but they were living an entirely different lifestyle;  living to steal, murder, commit adultery, oppress the helpless, follow other gods.

In America today sin runs rampant;  abortion (the killing of the unborn), has all become a way of life.  As a whole, our people are more concerned about material possessions, money, entertainment, the pursuit of pleasure, increased leisure time, etc., than they are in anything about God or His Church.

Realizing we’ve been grafted into the vine and now part of the Body of Christ, the Church, I’m going to paraphrase the verse in Amos slightly:  “Woe to them who are at ease in the Church!”

THE CHARGE IS COMPLACENCY:

Amos 6:4  “WOE to those who lie upon beds of ivory and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat lambs out of the flock and the calves out of the midst of the stall.”

Amos 6:5  “Who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and invent for themselves instruments of music like David’s.”

Amos 6:6  “Who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest of oils, but are not grieved and sick of heart over affliction and ruin of Joseph (Israel)!”

What actually does the word COMPLACENT mean?  Well, to start with, it is a place in life that’s much like Lo-debar.  Complacent means, “smug, self-satisfied”…’I can do this thing without anyone’s help, including God!’  (Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form).

There is a description given at this point in the above verses, where COMPLACENCY is described in detail in God’s Word:

1.  Their homes, furnishings and clothes were the best!  v4a.

2.  They ate the BEST of food, and as much as they desired!  v4b. 

3.  Their attention was primarily on things of entertainment and pleasure!  v5.

3191261-woman-drinking-a-bowl-of-red-wine4.  They drank “booze” (wine) by the bowl full!  v6.

Now PROSPERITY isn’t all a bad thing.  No one wants to live their lives in poverty.  But JESUS tells us one reason for which He came was for us to “find pasture”; so that we might ENJOY LIFE…in abundance, to the full, till it overflows.  He certainly doesn’t come into our lives to steal, kill and destroy.  That’s for the thief  (John 10:10).

BUT, in saying all this, it also becomes OBVIOUS to me in Amos, it’s a lot like one description of America today; much of it could even be applied to the CHURCH.

We must have the best ‘stuff’…it will make feel much better and happier in life.  We eat the best food, and plenty of it!  Our attention is primarily on entertainment and pleasure.  And, there is much drunkenness and drug addiction in our land today. [*Purdue University Police Department Report;  July – October 2013]:

Drug Offenses – 40

Drunk Driving – 18

Liquor Law Violations – 45

Public Intoxication – 39

What Started All of this Complacency?

The people of Israel as described in Amos, had enjoyed a time of Great Prosperity; they could have one of two reactions:

#1.  They could react as most were doing; showing pride and boastfulness.  They were living extravagantly, while taking all the credit for their prosperity themselves.

#2.  They could have reacted in humility, realizing that God’s blessings was the source of what they were enjoying.

Where has the people’s TRUST gone?

— Their TRUST was in their military might (v. 1 – the mountain of Samaria).

— They had no serious thoughts (v. 3 – The evil day…the day of judgement).

— They made the pursuit of prosperity their primary objective (v. 4).

— They were not grieved or concerned with the condition of their nation (v. 6 b – the affliction of Joseph).  Joseph is a type of Christ, rejected and afflicted by the world; and perhaps today we are not grieved for the world…the unsaved in the community…the Lost!

*NOTE:  Is there causes of COMPLACENCY in the Church?

The causes of complacency in the Church today is very well described here in these verses in Amos.  We’ve been raised and live in the most affluent nation in the world.  We’re accustomed to A LIFESTYLE viewed by the rest of the world as EXTRAVAGANT.

#1.  We TRUST MUCH in our military might.  Many in our country seem to have no serious thoughts about anything, least of all about their own relationship with Father God.

#2.  We PURSUE RICHES and things as if they will last forever.  Most in our country, in our churches, are not grieved with the sins of or country or our churches.

What do I mean when I say “not grieving”?  The King James Version Dictionary gives this definition of GRIEVED:  To feel pain of mind or heart.  To be in pain on account of evil; to sorrow; to mourn and weep.

#3.  Even in the church, we trust most in our wealth, our reputation, our buildings, our Youth Programs, our successes, our abilities (“what I can do!); rather than TRUSTING GOD.

#4.  Many of us seldom stop to think about our personal relationship with God–what He requires of us.  You’ve got to have conversation in any true relationship or there is not a relationship at all, perhaps leading to divorce.

And, we are not grieved for the lost!  The unsaved in our neighborhoods.

COMPLACENCY COMES WITH A CURSE! 

In Amos’ Day: 

COMPLACENCY led to the death on the nation – vs. 7-14.

COMPLACENCY caused people to reject, fail to carry out, their divine mission.

COMPLACENCY denied them their destiny as a great nation.

In Our Day:

#1.  COMPLACENCY may lead to the death of some local churches.  Revelation 1:20 Jesus said:  The seven Lamp-stands…the seven churches.  Then in Revelation 2:5, Jesus said to the church at Ephesus:  “Repent and do the works you did previously, or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.”

#2.  COMPLACENCY robs the church and God’s people of many energetic servants.

#3.  COMPLACENCY also robs us of our JOY and all of our rewards after this life.

The Cure…the exiting of Lo-debar!

The FIRST STEP in the cure is, to understand the LOVE and MERCY of God:  He loved us enough to send His Son Jesus to die on the Cross for our sins.

He delights to show MERCY to the repentant soul.

His LOVE and MERCY are eternal!

We must then search out the issues and values of Eternity.

WE MUST REALIZE…the soul; who we are…our personality, the UN-camouflaged religious self, lives forever!

WE MUST THINK ABOUT…where we will spend eternity!

WE MUST BEGIN…to live for eternity than for the right now!

WE MUST THEN ACT…not just think; it is necessary to accept Christ Jesus, dedicating our lives to Him!

We must hear and obey the commands of our Savior.

WE MUST SEEK…His will, His Word, His command for each one of us.

WE MUST LEARN…to recognize Him, when He talks to and with us–sheep will always recognize the voice of the Shepherd!

WE MUST THEN OBEY…His directions, or…we can remain in The Land Called Lo-debar.

Which is it going to be for you?  Live in COMPLACENCY, or like Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, the son of Saul?  Mephibosheth came out of Lo-debar to live forever at the king’s table:

“David said to him [Mephibosheth], Fear not, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your father [grandfather], and you shall eat at my table always”  (II Samuel 9:7 AMP).

AS FOR ME, I will be seated at the Lord’s banquet table, my eternal King, forever and forever!  Amen!

WeddingFeast
The KING’S Table

 

“Buffet-Style Spirituality”

OUR TEXT:  Joel 2:28 and Romans 8:14.

“And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

So many choices
So many choices!

Well, THANKSGIVING DINNER will soon be upon our family once more.  No matter which one of our homes the dinner will be at, there always seems to be too much food!  My wife and I have often asked ourselves over the years “What are we going to do with all the leftovers?”

My son-in-law…“bring your famous stuffing”, or my daughter-in-law–“I just love that dessert you make.  Could you bring that again this year?”  And on and on.

All the dishes, including the carved turkey (and ham for the ‘patriarch’–that would be me], along with everything else being served “buffet-style”, all because the table can’t hold all the choices.

What does all this have to do with “Buffet-Style spirituality”?

It simply means, it’s where you pick and choose… a little of this and that of what you like from that RELIGION…and others; a little of something else from here and there.  If that’s the case, you are probably going to exist in the future with a lot of “leftovers” that will have to be freezer-wrapped for months, then warmed for another time when too lazy to prepare a new meal.

The Number One Religion in America and Perhaps the Country Where You Live:

Numero Uno is… we are fiercely independent thinkers; we have a John Wayne/Clint Eastwood mentality.  “Don’t tell me what to do – and “if you think you can, well, just MAKE MY DAY, PILGRIM!”

The problem with that way of thinking, when it comes to spirituality, you can be sincere in what you think – it just doesn’t mean you’re going to be right in what you think.  Your words determine your thinking…right or wrong!

And when it comes to God’s way of thinking…

Just because you’re SINCERE about what you think, certainly doesn’t make you right–or acceptable in God’s eyes.  You can’t pick what you simply want, to believe about God.

In fact, SINCERITY aimed in the wrong direction can get you in big trouble.  GOD decides for Himself how He is to be worshiped; THAT is the issue and the whole idea of God.  He alone is Sovereign…in charge…or He really isn’t God.

GRASPING THE OBVIOUS.

9056343278_e45991ba2cSherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were on a camping trip.  They had pitched their tent under the stars and went to sleep.  Sometime in the middle of the night, Holmes wakes Watson:

“Watson, look up at the stars and tell me what you see.”  Watson says, “I see millions of stars, and even if a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might be life.”  Homes replies,  “Watson, you’re an idiot, somebody stole our tent!”

Grasping what is obvious to the command,  WORSHIP HIM, and not our own IDEA of who He is or what we think!

Somethings Are Obvious–

Like Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, if we are going to grab hold of the obvious, about what Joel and Paul said living life is, as led by the Spirit of God, then what is it we will grasp?  What can be said about a Spirit-led life?

It’s a Life of Dreams and Vision…

It is important to define our terms at this point.  On the way into the city I live nearby, I have noticed a sign posted in front of a well-kept building: Psychic Readings Available.  You know, someone who says they can interpret your visions and dreams–connect you with the departed.

The Word “VISION” in the Bible: 

The Hebrew word is “chizzaoyoon, literally, a revelation.  It means we “plan” or “contemplate” tomorrow.  Animals can’t do that.  They react to their surrounding influences; they respond to instincts from within–to build a den or protect cubs.  Only humans set GOALS; dream of tomorrow’s possibilities!

Being Led by Holy Spirit…

Being LED by the Spirit is to bend your will to His and allow His already revealed Word (as we have in the Scripture); to inform your human mind and spirit–to shape you into the image of Christ Jesus:

OBEDIENT,

YIELDED, 

USABLE.

A Spirit-led Life–A Life of Dreams and Visions:

AND…it’s a LIFE in the LIGHT–

DARKNESS is for bumping into things.  We’ve all made our share of mistakes…we’ve all jumped to the wrong conclusions at one time or another…we’ve all played the jerk!

LIGHT is a matter of finding-out, we don’t have all the answers; sometimes we are chasing a dream that may not exist.  Reality has disappeared, and we are on the run with it.

VISION is Good!

God’s LIGHT on that VISION tells us if we have been in the sun too long, or not on the right track.  James helped me out here in understanding:

“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him”  (James 1:5 AMP). 

I like the way the New Living Translation puts it.

“If you need wisdom–if you want to know what God wants you to do–ask him, and he will gladly tell you.  He will not resent your asking”  (James 1:5 NLT).

Is your VISION, your DREAM a pipe dream; “a hope, wish, dream that is impossible to achieve”?  Does it match with God’s will, His written Word?  How do we bring the light of God’s Word to bear on our VISION?  Again, how do I do that?

Question #1 is always,  Does it line-up with God’s Word?

Another way to bring your VISION to light is to share it with respected leaders in the Kingdom.

The Scripture says,  “Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety”  (Proverbs 11:14).

Clarifying our VISION and GOALS by sharing in the light of Godly believer’s counsel is God’s way of sharing wisdom.  We can’t live without VISION!

“Where there is no VISION the people perish”  (Proverbs 29:18 a).

Being led by the Spirit–It’s a Life of Growth.

Every living thing is born, grows and dies.  That’s the life-cycle.  Yours and my Visions and Dreams are living things.  If nurtured and tended to…they will grow!

One real hallmark suggestion I’m learning to live with in being led of the Spirit is:  It’s not how many “screw loose” ideas I come up with; nor is it a way a person can pray publicly, or lay out policy and church program changes; it isn’t about having a phony smile on your face as you enter the church doors on Sundays, or singing Kumbayah with feeling.

Being Spirit-led is all about sticking to the PURPOSE for which God placed you on this planet.

It’s about being an OBEDIENT and BENDABLE instrument in the hands of God to accomplish His will.

It’s all about hard work, commitment with no personal agenda, other than being the best servant on earth, approved in Heaven.  My mother-in-law would always tell my wife in growing up:  “If it is worth doing, then it is worth doing right!”  It is all about what the Apostle Paul told Timothy he needed to be about:

“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth”  (II Timothy 2:15 AMP).

Do You Dare to Be A Dreamer?

Our pastor, pastor Kyle, his message to us all included the request… asking God for a VISION in our lives.  Now I don’t know about the rest of the assembly, but to me personally…it became a dare!

Do you dare to have VISION and DREAMS?

Do you dare to bring them into the light of God’s wisdom, sharing them with the family of God?

When we were kids growing up in our neighborhoods, how many times were we confronted with a “DARE”?  “Mel. I DARE you…I ‘double dare’ you to jump off the roof of the house.”  Did I jump?  What do you think?  He “double dared me”!

According to The Free Dictionary, the term DARE means:

To have the courage required for…”jumping off a roof”;  To challenge (someone) to do something requiring boldness; To be courageous or bold enough to do or try something.

You and I can be that way when it comes to asking for a VISION in life…then SHARING the vision with other believers.  God told us Jesus died for that…so we could be living an abundant life, to the full, in the overflow with the poured-out Spirit, the living God (John 10:10 AMP).  He did it because He loves you and I.

John Nash – One of the Greatest Dreamers:

The movie, A Beautiful Mind, is a wonderful and compelling story of a 1994 Nobel Prize winner John Nash.  Nash is a genius and after a decade of productive life, suffers a breakdown.  His life falls apart and the beautiful mind becomes a tortured mind, plagued by schizophrenia.  His lovely wife stands by him, fiercely holding things together as John suffers in a mental hospital, struggling to rid his mind of persons who torture him emotionally.  These people only exist within his mind…not real and yet…he chooses to ignore them and love his wife.  At the awards ceremony, Nash s’ acceptance speech has this statement:

“That search for reason and logic has taken me a lifetime, through the theoretical, the metaphysical and the delusional and back.  And it is only in the mystical realm of love I have found any reason and logic.”

LOVE…the Final, Lasting, Overcoming DREAM!

Do you want something to build a life on?

Do you want to DREAM a VISION that will withstand the scrutiny of light?

Do you want a life of GROWTH with REASON and logic?

Do you want to settle for “leftovers”–left out for you the rest of your life to pick through?

Building Dreams and Visions in God’s Love for you:

“But anyone who does not LOVE does not know God, for God IS Love”  (1 John 4:8 New Living Translation Bible – NLT).

In the Meantime…It’s All About the Dew

“Thou blossom bright with Autumn Dew, and colored with the heavens own blue…”  ~ William Cullen Bryant

brian_carnation_dewdrops
What “DEW” produces

Text: Hosea 14:4, 5 King James Version

(verse 4):  “I will heal their backsliding [“faithlessness” – Amplified Bible], I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him.”

(verse 5):  “I will be as the DEW unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.”

“BACKSLIDERS”, WHO ARE THEY?

Proverbs 14:14:  “The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways,  But a good man will be satisfied with his”  (NAS).

Hosea 14:1:  “RETURN, O Israel, to the Lord your God,  For you have stumbled because of your iniquity”  (NAS).

A church goer often came to the pastor for counseling.  His complaint…“I backslid a few years ago, but now that I’ve come back to the Lord, I just don’t FEEL the Lord like I used to.”

A LACK of FEELING!

His “lack of feeling” was producing anxiety in his salvation, his doubts in whether God had accepted him back.  I guess if you read again the story in the Gospel of Luke, where the prodigal son returns and a party was held in his honor by his father (Luke 15:20-24); or you read where it says the angels rejoiced when a backslider returns (Luke 15:10).  You can come away with the idea…when a person REPENTS, they should “feel” like a party is going on in heaven about them!  The SALVATION EXPERIENCE is not marked by “FEELINGS”.

“SPIRITUAL DOWNPOURS OF JOY” or “THE DEW OF HEAVEN”:

WATER is used as a symbol of God’s work in Scripture–

“WATER” used as an illustration of a “cleansing agent”:

“Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word”  (Ephesians 5:25, 26 AMP).

“WATER” used as an illustration of a “cleansing agent”, and of the Holy Spirit:

“He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing (bath) of the new birth (regeneration) and the renewing of the Holy Spirit”  (Titus 3:5).

“WATER” used as an illustration of the Holy Spirit:

John 7:37 – “Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice,  If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!”

John 7:38 – “He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said,  From his innermost being shall flow  [continuously]  springs and rivers of living water.”

John 7:39 – “But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed (trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive.  For the [Holy] Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor).”

Verse 38 is interesting, and even might suggest there would be FEELINGS involved in the salvation experience because of the use of the word “rivers”.

How could someone who had rivers flowing out of your innermost being not feel it

If you think that way, you’ve divorced the text from the original meaning.  The meaning is, not that you will feel something, but that God will give you a superabundance of the Holy Spirit.

I remember after the pastor left our home; after my wife and I received salvation, we went out to the kitchen and asked each other,  “Do you feel any different?”  And our answer to each other was: “NOPE!  I don’t feel any different.”  Jesus never suggests what you may or may not feel.

If you judge your salvation by your FEELINGS, you will be SAVED one day and LOST the next.  It doesn’t work that way.  You might use the EXAMPLE OF MARRIAGE:  If you don’t FEEL LOVE today, doesn’t mean your marriage is null and void.

SALVATION is the same thing, it’s a COVENANT, not a FEELING!

A SPECIFIC FORM OF “WATER”:

We’ve discussed “WATER” as emblematic cleansing and the Holy Spirit.  

5098915061_ce1afe65e5
God’s Blessing

So, what is “DEW”?

In Hosea 14:4, 5; God says He will be as the DEW to Israel, and especially to backsliden Israel when they have returned to Him.

“Dew” in Scripture–

Dew is used in the Bible as an example of God’s blessing [Isaac and Jacob]..

Genesis 27:27:  “And he (Jacob) came near, and kissed him (Isaac, his father); and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed;

Genesis 27:28:  “Therefore God give thee of the DEW OF HEAVEN, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine;”

In an arid climate, moisture is a valued commodity.  Isaac spoke of the “DEW” as the “dew of heaven,” and in the desert land, it is viewed as a BLESSING, a sign of FAVOR.

“DEW” WITHHELD, LIKEWISE, IS CONSIDERED A CURSE OR JUDGEMENT:

“ELIJAH THE Tishbite, of the temporary residents of Gilead, said to Ahab,  As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years but according to My word”  (1 Kings 17:1).

[9] “You looked for much [harvest], and behold, it came to little; and even when you brought that home, I blew it away.  Why? says the Lord of hosts.  Because of My house, which lies waste while you yourselves run each man to his own house [eager to build and adorn it].  [10] Therefore the heavens above you [for your sake] withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its produce.  [11] And I have called for a drought upon the land and the hill country, upon the grain, the fresh wine, the oil, upon what the ground brings forth, upon men and cattle, and upon all the [wearisome] toil of [men’s] hands”  (Haggai 1:9-11 AMP).

DEW is used as an example of being BLESSED by the Word:

“My message shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the DEW, as the light rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb”  (Deuteronomy 32:2).

Too many Christians today get hung up wanting the “Showers of Blessing”, and yet, don’t understand the value and greatness of the “Dew of Heaven.” 

THE “QUALITIES” OF DEW: How They Relate to a Genuine Work of the Holy spirit–

1.  DEW falls gently.

In the Gospel of Luke (Luke 24), we see two disciples traveling on the road to Emmaus after the death of Jesus.   Now they meet Jesus and carry on a discussion with Him for quite a while, failing to recognize Him at all.  After all, the new of Jesus death on the cross was the talk of the land.

Later, their eyes are opened, to see after He leaves; and when rehearsing the events experience, realizes the whole time, Jesus was there, opening the Scriptures to them, their hearts burning for…(My doctrine shall distill as the DEW).

Spending time in the Bible allows the dew of heaven to saturate you in ways that may not be perceptive at first.

2.  DEW is cooling and refreshing.

DEW is cooling and refreshing to the tenderest of plants as opposed to the potential dangers of a torrential downpour.  The drooping plant can be revived without…being overwhelmed!

The DEW feedsproduces growth, sustains it, completely satisfies ALL…without “overwhelming”.

3.  DEW is penetrative.

“It is like the dew of [lofty] Mount Herman and the dew that comes on the hills of Zion; for there the Lord has commanded the BLESSING, even life forever more [upon the high and the lowly]”  (Psalm 133:3).

I read that a visitor to Mount Herman said, the DEW penetrated everyone and everything.  It saturated everything; the floor of the tent was soaked, their beds were covered, guns were dripping and DEW DROPS hung everywhere.  The area around Mt. Herman is drought stricken, yet its base is surrounded by beautiful orchards and gardens…because of the DEW.

Mt. Hermon
Mt. Herman

Lets not ever underestimate the POWER of God’s DEW meeting our needs as fully as His torrential downpours.

4.  DEW usually falls in times of low visibility.

DEW falls most generally in the pre-dawn hours, while we’re asleep, in the darkest part of night.

Even in our darkest times in life, God is moving, even when we can’t see our hands in front of our faces, nor see the hand of God…His DEW is forming and moisturizing in unseen ways.

THE “DEW OF HEAVEN” and THE “SHOWERS OF BLESSING”- “RIVERS OF LIVING WATERS”:

Rivers of Life Flowing
Rivers of Life Flowing

Charles Spurgeon gave us his words to ponder while we sometimes struggle in our lives in staying TRUE to God’s Word.  Even in the darkest hours as we wait for the Holy Spirit to quench our thirsting from His living waters; to start flowing in us once more after being absent for so long.

“How greatly do I need it!  Without the Spirit of God, I am dry and a withered thing.  I droop, I fade, I die…  How sweetly does this dew refresh me!  When once favored with it I feel happy, lively, vigorous, elevated…I want nothing more!”

What a PROMISE this should be for us, while waiting in the meantime for the “Showers of Blessings”!  “His heavens shall drop dew” in the meantime.

He who has made you and I to live, as the grass lives in the meadow and treating each one of us like the grass… with the refreshing moisture from above.  Grass cannot call for dew as we can.

“Surely the Lord who visits the unpraying plant will answer to His pleading children!”

EZEKIEL 34:26:

Sowers of Blessings
Sowers of Blessings

“And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing, and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing  [of good insured by God’s favor].”

As it is RAINING while writing this blog, God tells us that ‘showers will come in their season.’  

So in the MEANTIME, even in your low visibility of who He is…the DEW FROM HEAVEN is penetrating your spirit; refreshing your moments of thought as it falls gently on your life with the BLESSINGS guided by the Holy Spirit.

“I will be like the dew and the night mist…he shall grow and blossom like the lily…”  ~ Hosea 14:5.

“Who is wise, that he may understand these things?  Prudent, that he may know them?  For the ways of the Lord are right and the [uncompromisingly] just shall walk in them, but transgressors shall stumble and fall…”   ~ Hosea 14:9 AMP.

…and in the MEANTIME–

Where are you in your relationship with God right now?  Have you found yourself in a dry place spiritually?

Because of your past and present circumstances, have you turned your back on your salvation?

Difficult questions to answer, but in the MEANTIME, know this:  The DEW is forming where you are in the ‘right now.’  The “showers of blessing” are on the way!

“I will give you the RAIN for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil”  (Deuteronomy 11:14).