The JOY of Blessing AND the Necessity of Diligence

I have been a home gardener since I was a child–vegetables, fruit trees, flowers…you name it, I’ve tried growing it!

But I’m not a child any longer, so a few years ago, I decided to transform my small backyard lawn into a raised bed, natural food garden endeavor.

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Natural Food —

Although the size of the vegetable garden is somewhat small, I still have to make time and effort to either grow something or… go to the store and buy the food, then prepare to cook it–to get gas, I must allocate time to make the effort to go to the station to fill of the car–to get clean, I must set aside the time and make the effort to have a shower each and every morning and my wife is thankful on all counts.

But somehow, we want to get God and His BLESSINGS on the fly without any daily effort or commitment of time on our part.  And as a result, we get nothing and we find our spiritual condition begins to start wilting, goes limp and deteriorates, as lack of attention does to the produce in the garden–which it cannot help but do.

We will experience a loss of PEACE, a loss of JOY, and a loss of TRUST in God, and instead, we find increasing doubt, irritability, confusion, anger, criticism of others, worries.

We find ourselves making poor decisions and PRIDE begins to take over as weeds in a garden, which means a fall is on its way.

Also, we become totally unable to bear any spiritual fruit of living words into other people’s lives.

When all this happens, we are prone to complain a lot about where we find ourselves–and indirectly, we are complaining against God, which is music to the ears of our enemy.

All this because we wouldn’t invest adequate time and spiritual effort [work] to seek and find God, to be fed by Him with our essential, daily, spiritual food.

I am referring to the study and reflection on the Word of God; not casually reading a chapter a day in your bible–and that’s not wrong–but that’s not a full meal.  It’s a ‘spiritual snack.’  And, a snack now and then is okay, but a steady diet of “snacks” won’t make you physically fit.  See how long your physical body can be sustained on nothing but snacks each and every day!

The Word of God is the only spiritual nourishment that will sustain and grow our reborn spirits–the real us that will survive our natural bodies.

BLOG’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE – 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (naturally or spiritually).

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The JOY of the Blessing and the necessity of DILIGENCE when it comes to connecting with God.

THE NECESSITY OF DILIGENCE–

According to the Oxford Universal Dictionary, DILIGENCE is…

“Careful attention, unremitting application, persistent endeavor.”  A “diligent person” ids one who is “industrious, conscientious. thorough; not idle, not negligent, not lazy.”

God takes DILIGENCE seriously! 

I love the writer of Hebrews words of explanation of due diligence–Hebrews 11:6:

[6]  “And without faith it is impossible to please Good, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV)

Even more than our physical endeavors, God EXPECTS us to be spiritually diligent–spiritually fed!

That old belief that God will accept you “as you are” is simply not true.  

God will not accept just anybody into His family–but only those who will respond to His calling and choose to diligently follow Him.

Psalm 77:6:  “I call to remembrance my song in the night; with my heart I meditate and my spirit searches diligently:”

Proverbs 12:27:  “…the diligent man gets precious possessions.” 

To constantly find God requires constantly searching for Him with my heart and not quitting.

Jeremiah 29:13:  “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart (NIV).

1 Chronicles 28:9:  “…If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity] you will find Him…”  (AMP)

Acts 17:27:  “…so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him.  He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us.  He’s not remote; he’s near”  (MSG).

The earlier I SEEK Him and find Him, the sooner I will start my day with the JOY of Blessing of trust.

Psalm 63:1:  “O GOD, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirst for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water (NIV).

Isaiah 26:9:  “My soul yearns for You [O Lord] in the night, yes, my spirit within me seeks you earnestly…”

Hebrews 4:11:  “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest…”  (KJV).

Hebrews 4:11 (AMP):  “Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest…”  

HOW DO I DO THAT?

Proverbs 4:20-22:  

[20] “My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.  [21] Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.

Consider all of these ACTION WORDS (attend, consent, submit…) God uses that all imply some effort on my part.

[22]  For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.

If I’m hungry for God, I’ll always find Him and He will always feed me with Himself.

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Jeremiah 15:16:  “Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart…”  

Isaiah 1:19:  “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.”

Psalm 34:4:  “I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me…”

10cd8e4f7c408c0b6556656dcd665155Matthew 5:6:  “BLESSED are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”  (NIV).

Proverbs 27:7:  “He who is satiated [with sensual pleasures] loathes and treads underfoot a honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

Psalm 37:3:  “Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.”

Job 23:12:  “I have not gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed and treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

THE HOLY SPIRIT, when guiding my spirit, always leads me to today’s necessary spiritual food.

There’s a big “IF” here.

IF… I give God adequate, quality time with due diligence in SEEKING Him with ALL my heart, by getting quiet in my thought life, by ceasing from all other activities, and by BELIEVING that, just as He promises, HEAR HIS VOICE–then I can expect to find Him and be fed.

John 16:13:  “But when He, the Spirit of Truth *the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth)…”

Matthew 6:11:  “Give us this day our daily bread…”

Father, by your Spirit, breathe life into your words–so giving us our daily spiritual bread.

John 16:15 –  Jesus–who is the Word of God, speaking about the Holy Spirit, says…  

“He [the Spirit] will take the things that are Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.”

I would love to hear from you in regards to your DILIGENCE to be fed, or the lack thereof,  for the encouragement to others who read this blog.  Leave your comments in the REPLY section.

 


CREDITS –

Photos:  Backyard Vegetable Garden by Mel Thompson; Google Image Search.

Commentary:  Final Expectations Regarding Idleness in the Church (2 Thes. 3:6-18), by J. Hampton Keathley, III @ Bible.org

*The NIV Complete Concordance.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

 

 

 

 

Living Your Life With Intentional Expectation

Intentional-Living

Scripture Study Verses:  Isaiah 29:16 & Ephesians 5:15-16

“INTENTIONAL LIVING” BEGINS WITH “CONVICTION”:

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“CONVICTION” Definition:  “the act or process of convincing,” “the state of being convinced,” or “a fixed or strong belief”.

So then, “BIBLICAL CONVICTION” applied to a true believer, can be said to mean… a person whose convictions are derived from Scripture and whose convictions affect him spiritually.”   *[See footnote [i] ].

My Testimony of Living Under Godly “Conviction”–

Years ago, while trying to live out my Christian life… God was convicting me to a need in my spiritual life.  A need to be a person who does not live by default, but lives by decision.

To be a person who ‘determines’, is a person who STARTS at the beginning –

“I will do what it takes to know God better, to love Him more, so that He can work in and through me to be more Christlike.”  

Once I became aware of God’s plan in my life…not my plan…as prompted by the Holy Spirit, I became determined; determined to live my spiritual life intentionally.

THE CHALLENGE –

I have read somewhere in my studies over the years, that there are…

THREE TYPES OF PEOPLE:

  • Those who make things happen.
  • Those who watch things happen.
  • Those who wonder what happen.

My challenge?  Becoming INTENTIONAL in ALL areas of life.

I believe it was Dr. Randy Carlson of Family Life Radio who once said, “To be intentional is knowingly choose your direction and shake up the routine…or the autopilot of your spiritual life.” 

“SPIRITUAL GROWTH requires an intentional effort on our part, while SPIRITUAL STAGNATION and decline requires no effort at all”  

[See footnote [ii] ].

So if you find yourself in a state of godly conviction, of needing spiritual growth, let me try to help you understand how to be intentional; strengthening your relationship with God.

Living Redemptively–

God has redeemed you not just from SIN and its penalty, but He has also redeemed us from an empty life.

1 Peter 1:18-19 says,

“You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold,  But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”

A FEW STEPS TO LIVING WITH “DECISION”:

THE PROBLEM.  Too many people end there.

“Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)”  (Ephesians 5:15).

*Note:  DETERMINED PEOPLE…strive to make wise decisions based on the Bible’s wise decisions, no matter what your coworkers, your neighbors, or family say.

THE NEED–

To put DETERMINATION on the Front Burnernot the back burner, then turn the flame on high!

stovetop

Being DETERMINED to live decisively–elevate correct priorities.

“He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]”  (Colossians 1:18).

YOUR PRIORITIES should…

  • HONOR GOD
  • HONOR YOUR FAMILY
  • HONOR OTHERS

Being in COVENANT compliance in all areas of your life; to submit to His authority.

One way that The Fear of God can be explained is “To honor God, with the audacity to obey”  [Creflo Dollar sermon notes].  

Not in a “submissive” frame of mind?  If your answer is “no”, then you are living in rebellion.

Isaiah 29:16:

[Oh, your perversity!]  You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be considered of no more account than the clay? Shall the thing that is made say of its maker, He did not make me; or the thing that is formed say of him who formed it, He has no understanding?

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QUIZ TIME:

Who CREATED you?  GOD.

Who has the right to tell you what to do?  GOD.

Setting Aside Our AGENDA and Looking at God’s AGENDA –

Another STEP to look at, is we NEED to recognize that only by God’s grace, we’re even here.  

Surely, we should be so grateful, to allow the Ruler of the earth and heaven to have His way in our own lives.  He deserves that much.  He is LORD whether we want to admit it or not.

Allow Him to not only be the SAVIOR of your life, but the LORD, the boss, the C.O.O. (Chief Operating Officer), or whatever title you might give Him.

BUT…He is the One we need to SUBMIT to, above all others, especially ourselves.  Tell Him you are serious about following Him as LORD.

NEXT STEP…

Increase your time in the Bible and Prayer…

Colossians 3:16 says to…

“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness…”

It makes sense to me, if I wanted to LIVE a life more decisively, seeking to please God, then I needed to know what pleases God.

The best way to learn what makes my Heavenly Father smile (pleasing Him)…is to read and study His Word.

Some need to increase some, while others need to just plain start.  That’s okay.  START!

  • READ 5-10 minutes a day.  It doesn’t have to be an hour.
  • CHOOSE a time that works best for you, and stick to it!  

Since retirement, I choose the morning.  The issue isn’t when you do it, but the fact that you do it.

It’s best to be consistent on the time.  If you are not in the habit of daily reading the Bible, then start off small.  But START!  Don’t procrastinate any longer.

Dr. Charles R. Swindoll says, “The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of JOY.  Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind–jump in.”

And if you are in the habit, then bump it up a little.  PRAY while you are reading the Bible. as the Holy Spirit prompts your spirit into responding to what you’re reading, and then, just do it!

NEXT…Daily Renew Your Walk with God –

I have to make this decision every day, before anything else I do.  Setting aside a special time [before my bible reading] to meet with Him, to tell Him I LOVE Him and His Word.

Renewing Your Covenant Promise…(Daniel 9:4):

And I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession and said, O Lord, the great and awesome God,  Who keeps covenant, mercy, and loving-kindness with those who love Him and keep His commandments.

EXPECT GOD TO MOVE…

If you might be thinking at this point of study, that the RESULTS of living by DECISION is brought about by your own effort, you’re missing the point.

In fact, it is only by God’s Grace that He decides to move and work in yours and my life.

The STEPS presented in this blog are not an attempt to jump through a bunch of spiritual hoops, trying to please God with our spirituality.

The ideas, the concepts, the steps, are only tools that I use to gain insight into God’s LOVE & CARE, not because we’ve done everything just right, but because He is honored in doing them.

God Sees the BENEFITS it brings us…

So, He blesses the efforts, because it brings HIM glory, not us.

We put forth the EFFORT because it pleases Him and blesses us!

BUT…let me point something out here.  Even if God did nothing in your life because of your decisive efforts to become closer to Him, have you really lost anything?  I don’t think so.

Your clearer view of correct priorities will help you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself and your family.  God honors that.

God Brings the RESULTS, not us.

We do these things, trusting God will be pleased to mold us and to be more like Him.  And by the way, before you start thinking, that it’s easy for The WORD Detective…I was in the working world most of my Christian life.  These principles have worked for me and still working for me, whenever I put them into practice, no matter what situation.

Living By DECISION Instead of DEFAULT!

JESUS is our example, for He did nothing by default and was decisive about everything.

Nothing shows that better than Luke 9:51:

“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem”  (NIV).

The King James Version says that “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”

4021b34d6feda5c5bac210ace5682ca1JESUS was decisive here, but more than that, is found in the first part of that verse:

“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven…”

He knew what was coming up.

He knew that going to Jerusalem would bring about DEATH.

BUT the book of Hebrews, 12:2, tells us that Jesus went to Jerusalem and faced the cross, rejecting its shame, for the JOY set before Him.

Huh? The “JOY”?

How could the thought of being tried illegally in secret be joyous?

How can knowing that He would hang on a cross for hours and hours, suffering in the most agonizing way of capital punishment cause JESUS to see JOY?

ANSWER:  Because He saw beyond Jerusalem.

He saw the result–Pardon, Forgiveness, Freedom, Opportunity for you and I to know Father God on a personal level.

He knew what would be needed to be done before time!  And, He decided that He would do it.  That my friends, is being “intentional”!

JESUS waited for just the right time, and then He came to make it happen!!

In comparison to what JESUS has done for us, is it really too much to ask ourselves that we spend a bit of time each day to deepen our relationship with the One who made that RELATIONSHIP possible?

Believe me, it isn’t easy.  But God works and makes it worth it.

Making A Bold Decision of Commitment to Live Decisively–

In study this past week, I came across a Bible verse that brings out the heart of this blog’s message:

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him…”  (2 Chronicles 16:9).

If you’ve been LIVING a life on autopilot, of “default”; a failure to fulfill an obligation as a result from ignoring the conviction presented by Abba, Father, you are going to have to make a choice.  You don’t have it all figured out right now, but you need to decide to be determined with a decisive effort to deepen and strengthen your walk with God, so it affects every area of your life…24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

And I guarantee that if you make the effort, God will change your life as He has changed mine. Believe me, He wants to do that for you.

But you need to be INTENTIONAL about being “INTENTIONAL” about that!

Expecting God’s PROMISE…(Romans 4:18-22 READ)

Abraham is called “the father of us all”  (Rom. 4:16).

From the standpoint of FAITH, Abraham was certainly the epitome of a man with ‘biblical conviction.’

When all odds were stacked against him, and even though at times he tried to give God a hand by taking matters into his own hands, he was DECISIVE in holding on to the PROMISES of God.

It’s up to you.  To decide today to start Living With Intentional Expectation! 

Ephesians 5:15-16:

“Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise–sensible, intelligent people;  Making the very most of the time–buying up each opportunity–because the days are evil.”

**NOTE:  If you feel liking sharing with other readers, a new decision of walking intentionally in your life, please do so in the comment section of this BLOG.

 


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Footnote [i] : Bible.org. – Mark #6 by J. Hampton Keathley, III ;  Footnote [ii] : from C. S. Lewis – Screwtape Letters.

Scripture quoted from the AMPLIFIED BIBLE, except where noted.

Photo Credits by Google Images Search.

 

 

“Soul Fasting” (Part One)

TRUE FASTING–

Is there a difference between REGULAR FASTING and TRUE FASTING for the Believer?  When pastors call for a church to fast during the year, do we understand the differences, or are there differences?  Is the idea of FASTING an Old Testament practice and not for todays Church?

Isaiah 58:3-12 NIV translation:

“Why have we fasted, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.  You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.  Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?  Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?  Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?”

A Bending Reed
A Bending Reed

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear, then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say:  Here am I.  If you do away with the yoke  of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will become like the noonday.  The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” 

GOD’S CHOSEN FAST:

I’ve been re-reading a terrific book written by one of my favorite authors, Mr. Don Nori: SECRETS OF THE MOST HOLY PLACE.  He asks a question that really caught my attention (pg. 175),  “Are you content to fast food, or is your desire to become God’s chosen fast?”

He goes on to say “Most of us know what the Scriptures call the true fast,” but few of us know the power and significance of this most unusual form of fasting.”

Now I don’t know “most Christians,” but I know I was unfamiliar with this form of fasting.   So, the Word Detective investigation into God’s Word began.

Over my Christian life, I’ve heard many times by different pastors who call for an annual “CHURCH FAST”; not a mandatory ritual, but a strongly suggested activity for a week or two in January.

Being a DIABETIC for over 56 years, ‘doing without food’ and adjusting my insulin wasn’t an option, so I just passed.  Now my actions might be an excuse or just a misunderstanding of the term FASTING, in either case I simply ignored the pastor’s request (I do pray!).

FASTING FOR WRONG MOTIVES:

In Isaiah 58:1-2, we can see the seriousness of the people’s self-absorbed religious practices.

[1] CRY ALOUD, spare not.  Lift up your voice like a trumpet and declare to My people their transgression and to the house of Jacob their sins!

{2] Yet they seek, inquire for, and require Me daily and delight [externally] to know My ways, as [if they were in reality] a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinance of their God.  They ask of Me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God [in visible ways].  (Amplified Bible)

The people delight in the nearness of God; they thought of themselves as righteous–right with God.

THE PEOPLES PRESSURE (3-5):

In Verse 3, the people now voice their complaint in difficulty, though they were doing what the Law required.

Why have we fasted, they say, and you have not noticed?  Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  (NIV translation)

The people present how they view their RELIGION.  They were observing the activities as laid down by the religious leaders (priests), even engaging in FASTING (Lev. 16:29; Zech. 7:5-6).  They thought their FASTING in and of itself was humbling before their Lord.

Their FASTING though, was thoughtless or done as an attempt to obtain a selfish conclusion.  It was employed only for RELIGIOUS SHOW or to engage God to act on their behalf (See Mt. 6:16-18).

THE ACT OF SELF-DENIAL IN OUR FASTING:

Self-denial is a process to draw us closer to God, allowing us to hear Him better.  The prescribed annual fast, the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29) was to afflict one’s soul for the purpose of mediation on the seriousness of one’s sins and the greatness of God in making ATONEMENT for them.  (See Footnote [i]).l

They saw FASTING as denying themselves of God so they might gain something worldly from God in return.  Neither FASTING nor REPENTANCE should be to get something from god in return.  REPENTANCE nor FASTING should be to get God to do anything.  They are expressions, the conviction that my ways are wrong and God’s ways are right whether He does anything for me or not.

Their FAST was simply an affliction of body, not an affliction of soul.

REAL MOTIVES BEHIND OUR BEHAVIOR IN FASTING:

VERSE 4 continues to lay open real motives behind the people’s behavior:

Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.  You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.  (NAS)

The reason for their FASTING was to make their iron-fisted, controversial acts more successful.

Fasting was to be the cause for God to effect or enact their covetous desires.  When it became obvious that their FASTING wasn’t having the desired effect in their lives, they FASTED to know why not.

So God told them that the purpose of their RELIGION was to acquire more and not to improve their closeness, their relationship with Him, as it was originally intended.

VERSE 5 relays that their motives, their purpose for fasting focussed on the external rather than on the realization that they need to be changed:

Is such a fast as yours what I have chosen, a day for a man to humble himself with sorrow in his soul?  [Is TRUE FASTING merely mechanical?]  Is it only to bow down his head like a bulrush and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him [to indicate a condition of heart that he does not have]? Will you call this a fast and acceptable day to the Lord?  (Amplified Bible)

Because they had been focusing on their selfish ends (even their fasting) rather than a change of heart, attitude, and action…their prayers went unanswered.

The SACRIFICES of God are a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  If they call their bodily sacrifice alone a FAST, they were badly mistaken.

Bowing one’s head like a reed was a sign of humility; putting on sackcloth and sitting in ashes were symbols of FASTING and signs of submission. But unless they go hand-in-hand as an inward submission to God and turning away from sin, they mean nothing!

THE ABSENCE OF THE BLESSING:

During the days of ISAIAH, God’s people were not experiencing the Lord’s Blessing–His favor on their lives.

They went through the MOTIONS OF WORSHIP and couldn’t understand why God wasn’t noticing their religious efforts.  But while they were FASTING, they were also exploiting their workers and fighting among themselves (vv 3-4).

8222922317_2cce0295b3Isaiah condemned their HYPOCRISY and told them they needed to change.  If they would free the oppressed, share with the hungry, house the homeless, and clothe the naked, God would BLESS THEM with…

 

HEALING,

ANSWERED PRAYER,

GUIDANCE,

STRENGTH,

JOY!

RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY is no substitute for an OBEDIENT HEART.

THE PROPER PATTERN, 6-7:

FASTING is to let go of the normal and natural daily nourishment of this world in order to reach out and grab the empowering of God that is needed and to live righteously in this world.

In VERSES 6 & 7, we learn the desired outcome of FASTING:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:  to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?

-GO TO PART TWO TO CONTINUE-

Photo Credits by Photo Pin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting With Expectancy

A Study in the Book of Job 1:13-22; 42:12:

THE “DIFFICULTIES” THAT CAN ARISE IN THE WAITING ROOM–

The WAITING Room
The WAITING Room

A few years back, my wife was given the news after her yearly scheduled mammogram, that there was a lump found in her breast.  Her doctor explained that it had to be removed BUT with the diagnosis…he wouldn’t know for sure if a mastectomy or lumpectomy would be performed until the actual surgery.

It is hard to wait!

The ‘not knowing’ can definitely play tricks on ones’ mind.  You can pretend to be “spiritual” in times like these, but PRETENSE doesn’t last for long.

My wife and I began listing numerous Scriptures on pieces of paper, then placed in our bibles and even on the refrigerator–constantly reminding us of God’s promises of healing.

However, the difficulties of waiting for the results; the process of upcoming Radiation Treatments after surgery tends to erode the concept of being “spiritual” through it all.

Job found himself in God’s waiting room…

The most famous man on earth; extremely wealthy; the best of the best.  But Job lost it all.  Not only did he lose everything, surrounded by carnal, judgemental friends…even his wife urged him to curse God and die!  Job found himself in the waiting room.

Some of you reading this POST can identify with Job.  I certainly did as I read, studied and mediated everyday.  You’re waiting to hear from God…you can’t see what’s going on in your difficulties whether it is personal or someone who is close to you.  But you find yourself in the WAITING ROOM.

FAITH is believing God is at work in a GIVEN situation, even when we can’t see His hand (Psalm 46:1-2):

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,” 

Not understanding all that is going on is frustrating.  I remember sitting in an enormous hospital waiting room the day of my wife’s surgery, looking at an electronic display on the wall with her name listed and the time of the surgery, updates were posted regularly, but the results were absent.  I trusted God’s hand guiding the surgeon’s hands, but it was still frustrating.

God chose not to explain the “whys” while Job was in the waiting room– 

The “waiting” is a place of delay as I found out while I fidgeted in the hospital waiting room.  My two daughters were waiting as well, as my oldest daughter kept patting me on the shoulder to comfort me.  “It will be okay dad.  Mom is in good hands.”

God is never late! 

As I discovered and as Job realized later on, God’s greatest work in and through you may be “soon” and the worry and anxiety that may arise during the anticipation of the results won’t change a thing. “WORRY” is convinced that God doesn’t care and not

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TRUSTING THE ONE WHO IS IN CHARGE–Directions posted while waiting…

Job 13:15,  “Though the Lord slay me, still will I trust Him”

Job 42:2,  “I know that You can do all things…”

Job 41:33,  “Upon earth there is none like Him”

Psalm 46:1,  “God is our refuge…”  Able,” …a very present help in trouble…”Available!” “The Patience of Job” while pacing in the waiting room–

IMPATIENCE…

I’ve always wondered about that old cliché, “The Patience of Job.”  For the more I read and study the book of Job, the more I see how impatient he really was.

—  He couldn’t understand what was going on.

—  He didn’t like how his life was going.

Aren’t our lives at times so very similar to Job’s?

One day we are secure in a profession–friends and family surround us–a “roof over our heads”–“good health”–and then all of a sudden… everything is snatched like a rug under our feet.  And yet Job still had the sense to WORSHIP God in the midst of the pain and agony.

Staying Close in waiting… Job 42:5,  “I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You.”

Don’t desert the WAITING ROOM. That is where you are the most likely to hear from God.  [Illus. Elijah at Cherith].

PRAY… In the midst of our long-suffering, we are misguided in our thinking by the enemy…“God isn’t going to act here”, and we stop PRAYING for answers  (Job 42:1-5 a).

God doesn’t do His deepest work in the shallowest parts of our lives. Get alone with God in a time of reflection, evaluation, correction, and dedication.  Remove yourself from all the distractions.

All the while my wife was going through surgery two floors above the waiting room, I forced myself to walk outside for a few minutes to refocus on Dianne and not on myself by having a conversation with Abba Father.  Afterwards, I returned to the waiting room refreshed and with a new direction of anticipation.

Be still…and wait!

This is really hard.  All the WAITING…the “where, when, and why’s”…

WHERE ARE THE RESULTS OF THE TESTS?  WHEN CAN I SEE MY WIFE IN RECOVERY?  WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO OUR FAMILY?

Psalm 46:10,  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Literally, “Let your hands hang down.”  We want to always do something;while God may need to do something in you before He does something special for you or through you.

ANTICIPATE GOD’S RESPONSE…

“Anticipate” means to expect, hope, bargain for, foresee (EXPECTATION, FORESIGHT); predict, augur...[i]

When waiting and praying, do you EXPECT…FORESEE…even EXPECT a response from God?

Job 42:10.  “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job…”

Psalm 46:10,  “I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted (lifted up!) in the earth.”

God never left Job alone in the waiting room, nor will He ever leave you alone in the “waiting”.

DISCOVERIES FOUND IN “THE WAITING”: A New Perspective…

“And it was so that after the Lord had spoken these words to Job…”  (Job 42:7)  [NOTE:  Romans 5:3-5; 8:18].

God gave Job a new perspective, one he would never have had if he had abandoned the waiting room.

Sometimes, when we find ourselves lying our backs, we are forced to look up and have a dialogue with Jesus:  “Lord, I feel so helpless in this moment. I need your help and comfort as I lay here in bed.”

A New Provision found in waiting… Job 42:10,  “And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before…”

In GOD’S WAITING ROOM, the Apostle Paul found…

JOY…  “In every prayer of mine I always make my entreaty and petition for you all with JOY (delight)”  (Phil. 1:4).

PURPOSE…  “I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward”  (Phil. 3:14 AMP).

PEACE…  “Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me…and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you”  (Phil. 4:9).

POWER…  “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]”  (Phil. 4:13 AMP).

That particular verse in Philippians (Phil. 4:13), [ I wrote it down on the top of my special list of Bible verses claimed], gave me special encouragement while my wife went through her surgery and through the six weeks of radiation.  She told me afterwards, this same verse gave her peace and expectancy as she was prepared for the operation.

Dianne and I were “empowered” by Christ towards the outcome, while at the same time, I waited with expectancy.  God was about to do a mighty work!

And PLENTY…  “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”  (Phil. 4:19).

As a WAITING HUSBAND on that one day, I spent many hours in the waiting room of the hospital; not knowing all that was going on during Dianne’s surgery; not understanding it all, not being able to control the situation as I normally try to do in everyday life while pacing the floor… until it seemed I had worn the color off the tiled floors…trying to conceal my worry and anxiety from our adult children.

I trusted in the doctor’s hands, stayed close to the nurses station for expected good news, prayed, and waited… anticipating the results, knowing God had this.

When the doctor met with us all in a side room while my wife was in recovery, the good news came as expected.  The cancer had been totally removed–and a lumpectomy had been performed in lieu of a mastectomy.  The surgery had gone even better than what was expected by the physicians.  But the JOY I had received eclipsed all the difficulties of the WAITING!

Finding yourself in God’s Waiting Room…

TRUST HIM, STAY CLOSE, BE STILL… and with ANTICIPATION, with EXPECTANCY…and get ready for some wonderful DISCOVERIES!

 

Footnote:  [1] The New Roget’s Thesaurus In Dictionary Form

Researched Source: Commentary– http://www.jackiekay.org.  *An outline published November 1997 “In God’s Waiting Room”.

Scripture: Amplified Bible; NIV Bible.

 

Drinking the Cup of Wine, Top to Bottom!

Psalm 75:8-10:

[8]   For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine foams and is red, well mixed; and He pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth must drain it and drink its dregs.

[9]   BUT I will declare and rejoice forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

[10] All the horns of the ungodly also will I cut off [says the Lord], but the horns of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall be exalted.

JOHN 3:16:

For God so greatly LOVED and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life  (Amplified Bible).

Most people recognize this Bible verse.  I remember a few years back when watching a football game on television, in the end zone crowds, someone would hold up a banner reading….JOHN 3:16.

I’m not sure why so much attention is given to John 3:16 and not so much to John 3:36:

“And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life.  BUT whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the Son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the WRATH OF GOD abides on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.]”

Here is one idea.  It is much more palpable and sweet to discuss God’s LOVE and MERCY for sinners.  We appreciate sermons on heaven and what it might be like, but we don’t want our minds to dwell on HELL, at least not very long.

BUT what we need to get straight in our thinking about who GOD is…where there is LOVE, FORGIVENESS, and MERCY….there’s also anger and judgement.

I am not, in this POST, going to write for your reading all the aspects of hell.  But I am going to give some healthy attention to the judgement nature of GOD.

Psalm 75:8:  “For in the hand of the Lord there is a CUP…”

There are some 32 cups mentioned in the Bible, and 12 of these are symbolic:

4 deal with GOD’s JUDGEMENT…

4 deal with BLESSING and FELLOWSHIP…

And the others deal with…

REWARD or PUNISHMENT to those who side with the enemy (the devil).

Personally, I like to hang my hat, so to speak, on the idea that GOD is a GOD of LOVE, GOD is LOVE (1 John 4:8).  He would rather SAVE than JUDGE.

But to prove His love and mercy, He demands and carries out justice against sin.

THREE OF THE CUPS:

CUP OF WRATH
CUP OF WRATH

The CUP of WRATH:  “Upon the wicked He will rain quick burning coals or snares; fire, brimstone, and a [dreadful] scorching wind shall be the portion of their CUP”  (Psalm 11:6 AMP).

In my spirit, I’ve often asked in conversational prayer the question,  “With all that is going on around us Lord, what would cause Your judgement to be poured out on the disobedient, the ungodly?”  And as I patiently waited for answer, I was prompted by this thought; “when the innocent come under attack, God always responds”–when babies are killed by the millions in the name of abortion, GOD will respond!  When the aged are a “problem to society” and euthanasia becomes a solution, GOD will respond!

What is the SIGN of a Wicked Generation? 

Is it Drugs?  Is it Gang Violence?  Homosexuality, perversion?  It begins when the sign of a people, moving toward judgment of GOD has no ability to defend themselves.

GOD will pour out the Cup of Wrath–

If we listen carefully, we just might hear the blinded mob from Sodom and Gomorrah crying out from the pit of Hell,  “America Repent!”  

GOD IS a GOD of JUDGEMENT! 

His WRATH on Display:

God is a just God,   And God is angry with the wicked every day. ~ Psalm 7:11, NKJV

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.  Then He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath ~ Psalm 2:4, NIV.

Arouse yourself, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, who have drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His wrath, who have drunk the cup of intoxication and staggering to the dregs. ~ Isaiah 51:17, AMP.

Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the Lord sent me. ~ Jeremiah 25:17, NAS.

…to make her drain the cup of His furious wrath and indignation. ~ Revelation 16:19 b.  AMP.

And the RECIPIENTS of God’s Wrath:

For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against ALL UNGODLINESS and UNRIGHTEOUSNESS of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. ~ Romans 1:18, AMP.

Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them. ~ Romans 1:32.

The Cup of SALVATION:  “I will lift up the cup of salvation and deliverance and call on the name of the Lord”  (Psalm 116:13).

The BLESSINGS Salvation brings…

Assurance –  (John 6:37-40).

Joy – (Matt. 18:13; John 1:45).

Seasons of Refreshment – (Acts 3:19).

SALVATION CAUSES…

Heavenly beings to stand in amazement – (Ephesians 3:10-12).

SALVATION CHANGES THINGS…

Not just behavior but… (Romans 6:17-18).

SALVATION GIVES YOU…

A position of authority – (Luke 15:22-24).

An Abundant life…”I came that they [YOU] may have and enjoy life, and have it in ABUNDANCE (to the FULL, till it OVERFLOWS)”  (John 10:10 AMP).

Salvation gives you the PRIVILEGE of being chosen and appointed by GOD Himself ~ (1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:13).

SALVATION MAKES ONE WHOLE...Gives meaning.

“If we are being put on trial [here] today and examined concerning a good deed done to benefit a feeble (helpless) cripple, by what means this man has been restored to health”  (Acts 4:9).

Opens one;s eyes – (John 9:1-7).

Saves and hides a multitude of sins – (James 5:19-20).

Saves one to the “uttermost”  [completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity] – (Hebrews 7:25).

The Cup of BLESSING:

Psalm 16:5:  “The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion,  my cup;  You hold and maintain my lot.”

Psalm 23:5:  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.”

1 Corinthians 10:16:  “The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s Supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ  (the Messiah)? “ 

So there you have it.  THREE CUPS mentioned in God’s Word and the significance they have to all mankind.

BIBLICAL WINE DESCRIPTIONS AND THEIR MEANING:

Several years ago, my wife and I traveled to Central Texas to visit family and get my 98-year-old dad resettled in an assisted care facility.  And while we were there,  my niece’s husband Marc, took us to his place of employment at Inwood Estates Winery where they make wine from Texas grown grapes.

Texas Thanksgiving  trip 2010 Diannes camera 101

Marc took us all on a tour through the winery, explaining technical terms to wine making (storage at the right temperature, aging, color, fermentation process, etc.).  At the end of the tour, we all enjoyed a sampling from a wine storage tank.

And the wine is RED–Psalm 75:8–

The Hebrew word used here -chamar-may mean either to “boil up,” or to be red; from the idea of boiling or becoming heated.

The Septuagint (GREEK translation of the Old Testament); “and He pours out from it and all the earth must drain it”–describing that He draws it off, as is done with wine.

The true picture being revealed here is probably the fermentation process; that the meaning may be, the WRATH of GOD seems to boil, fermenting the liquor.

It’s full of mixture–verse 8–“well mixed”.

It was quite common in wine making of old, to mixed the wine with spices, increasing its strength…or as we might say, drugged.  This was done frequently to increase the intoxicating quality of the WINE presented.

So the Psalmist is giving us the idea of the WRATH of GOD, being poured out like WINE, whose strength or power of intoxication was increased in effect by DRUGS.

And He pours it out of a CUP, in order that His enemies may drink it, then stagger under the demonstration of HIS WRATH; as men stagger and pass out under the influence of spiced or drugged wine.

BUT the dregs–the “lees”–the settling s–

The “dregs”– is what remains after the WINE is racked off (Isaiah 25:6).  This would contain the strongest part of the mixture, the idea being, they would drink the WRATH OF GOD from the top to the very bottom of the glass.  To the very last drop!

Drinking from Wineskin        The Montreal Gazette

“drain it” or “wring them out” (AMP & KJV):

In Biblical times, WINE was poured out and kept in skins.  The picture, they would ring out these skins to get out “ALL” that was in them, leaving nothing remaining.  Then DRINK…not merely the WINE, but the “dregs”, the “lee”…all that there was!

Who are the “they s” in the verse?

All the Wicked of the Earth–

WICKED PEOPLE everywhere.  The expression, “The Wrath of God” is not confined to one nation, or one people, but where ever wicked people are found, He will punish them.

God is just in His dealings… to ALL PEOPLE.

Who are “ALL PEOPLE” the psalmist talking about?

The reference isn’t talking about Christian “backsliders”; believers who don’t go to church every week, drink a glass of wine, slip on spiritual banana peels on occasions.  Asaph [A Psalm of Asaph] is referring to the unrighteous, the non-believers, the ungodly in the world.

GOD “EXALTS” THE RIGHTEOUS  (Verse 9-10):

“…the righteous shall be exalted.”

Notice the language here.  It is the testimony of the singer (Asaph).  He is making a VOW…to testify forever…what God has done!  He is singing with JOY in the midst of what’s going on around him–“When the earth totters, and all the inhabitants of it, it is I Who will poise and keep steady its pillars.  Selah  [pause, and calmly think of that]!”  (Psalm 75:3).  

Who is the “I” referring to?  Not Asaph, but JESUS!  Remembering who is in control of what’s going on, certainly brings JOY to my singing!

The word DECLARE in verse 9, means to make oneself conspicuous of the message heard.

John the Baptist was very conspicuous; in his diet of bugs and honey; he wore a leather suit and his MESSAGE was simple and consistent. Because of whom he was, what he did, the world stirred.  Roman kings and religious priests came to him, confessing and repenting of their sin.

Cutting Off the Horns…(Verse 10).

Now the next phrase is really important.  God is going to break or cut off the horns of the wicked.  In my detective work this week, the description given certainly grabbed my attention.

I found in research, that dehorning animals is a tough process and it’s much easier to accomplish when the animal is very small.  Waiting until it’s older, the job is more difficult and risky to the life of the animal.  The animal has to be immobilized, holding the head very carefully.

Now on a younger animal that’s just beginning to grow horn buds, a hot iron is pressed around the buds, and the skin and cells are singed.  With the older animal the horns are carefully cut away and then cauterizing the exposed blood vessels.  Have you got a vivid picture with expression on your face?  I did while researching the process and the Spirit wants to make things clear to the reader.

So the term of DEHORNING is used in verse 10 because it is the ending of the wild nature of the people we are entrusted.  It means they will have to TRUST their care-giver for protection and not to be able to use deadly force on others.  It means that they will have to submit and not fight their shepherd.

On the other hand, the RIGHTEOUS will have their horns EXALTED.  If they have horns, they can keep them because they will be given the responsibilities of watching the flock.  When the horns grow, they are honored.  This demonstrates what’s happening in our lives today.

“WE GIVE praise and thanks to You, O God, we praise and give thanks; Your wondrous works declare the Your Name is near and they who invoke Your Name rehears Your wonders”  (Psalm 75:1 AMP).