There’s Another Day Beyond This One–and It’s A GIFT!

The GIFT is already here!
The GIFT is already here!

During the Holiday Season, so many people like to emphasize the GIVING experience.  We even quote Scripture to punctuate our giving experience:  “For God so greatly loved and clearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son…” ~ John 3:16.

But what I want to discuss in this particular blog-Post is,  how we can we thoroughly partake in what God has already given?

The GIFT — God gave to us all and now… we need to reach out and receive.  We’ll never know what’s on the inside unless we RECEIVE!

Scriptural Text:

EXODUS 15:22-27 AMPLIFIED BIBLE:

[22] Then Moses led Israel on-ward from the Red Sea and they went into the Wilderness of Shur; they went three days [thirty-three miles] in the wilderness and found no water.

[23] When they came to Marah, they could not drink its waters for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah

Oasis of Marah (Bitter Waters)
Oasis of Marah (Bitter Waters)

[bitterness].

[24] The people murmured against Moses, saying,  What shall we drink?

[25] And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree which he cast into the waters, and the waters were made sweet.  There [the Lord] made for them a statute and an ordinance,  and there He proved them,

[26] Saying,  If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey  His commandments  and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord Who heals you.

[27] And they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters.

HOW GOD REVEALS TO US HIS CHARACTER, HIS NATURE IN THE BIBLE:

GOD has revealed Himself in various ways in the Bible for us to better understand His character–who He is by indication in His name.  [See Footnote [i]- source for the following names listed.]

*  ELOHIM=Creator, Preserver, Keeper of His Covenant.

*  EL-SHADDAI=Almighty God, Our all-sufficient supply, Restorer of power, gifts, and the One Who makes us fruitful.

*  ADONAI=Lord–Owner of all!

*  JEHOVAH=LORD–holiness (Truth Revealer), righteousness, redemption.

After being married to my dear wife for over fifty years, our relationship has grown even closer; utilizing the names we have for each other: honey (sweetness), sweetheart (character; heart), babe (physical attraction), and other descriptive qualities that will go unmentioned.  The names we’ve chosen shows the endearing relationship we have for one another.

GOD REVEALS HIS NATURE IN SCRIPTURE:  (*Footnotes [i].)

The names of God which He progressively reveals Himself in the OT is a response to His people’s progressing needs:

*  ABRAHAM in his test to offer up his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah.  JEHOVAH- JIREH=The God Who provides.  God provided a SACRIFICE.  And there, caught in the thorny bushes, a ram.  The GIFT had been provided and Abraham gladly received.

*  The PASSOVER LAMB, who would be slain so God’s people could go free (from Egypt) and Christians could be set free from the power of sin through “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”.

And from this experience came the expression “on the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”  And so it was, 2000 years later (Now 2000 years ago!) – on Mt. Moriah, which is, geographically CALVARY–“That’s where Jerusalem was built.”

These stories are all lessons to us.  In fact…the whole of the OT is!

“Now these things befell them by the way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period)”  (1 Corinthians 10:11 amp).

I hope this study will speak to you as you’re reading and meditating on the application in your life.

JEHOVAH-ROPHE:

GOD REVEALS something else of His nature.

*  That He is the HEALER.

*  The LORD who HEALS.

In the verses above from Exodus 15, basically, God’s people have made it out of Egypt through the Red Sea.  After 400 years captive in slavery, and God providing the way of escape, they came out with Excitement, Expectation, and Energy!  This carries them on day one into the desert (they don’t notice the heat or thirst at this point).

Then comes day TWO…and their throats become progressively dry and parched.

Then comes day THREE…and they really start to moan!  I wonder in the story who or what was bitter here!

Then they see the water!  Yippee!!  An Oasis!!!  “God, you’ve done it!”  UP! – But the water taste foul.  DOWN – Undrinkable, Bitter, Frustration, Disillusionment.  They get more bitter from the experience and decide to take it out on Moses.  He then takes it out on God.

“Bitterness”

Bitterness described in the Bible as a spiritual poison (Hebrews 12:15).  It can be tricky to recognize because it’s NOT a symptom that’s visible on the surface like anger.  Bitterness is an underlying problem that often goes unnoticed in the believing Christian.  It doesn’t manifest on the outside and yet it sours the inside spirit of man.

“BITTERNESS” IN THE DESERT:   

It becomes a test–

Not of them to God (as they think: “will He come up with the goods?”), but God to them.  He has a lesson for them to learn.

“GET…(receive)THAT TREE…THE WOOD”

‘Throw the tree in the water and you’ll be okay.’  In fact: follow the LORD’s commands and statutes (decrees) and NONE of these diseases will hit you, for I AM JEHOVAH-ROPHE:

ROPHE meaning in the Hebrew language:  “Restore to heal, to make healthful – in body, mind and spirit”  (*See Footnote [ii].).

HEALING is in the Name and Nature of God–

Psalm 103:1-3:

“BLESS  (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise)  the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!  [2] Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] ALL His benefits–  [3] Who forgives [every one of] ALL your iniquities,  Who heals [each one of] ALL your diseases,…”

So if this is so in God’s nature, why is there so much sickness?

It boils down to why God’s first name was revealed–SIN.  I’m not saying specifically because I, you, have sinned (though that may be the case and the cause)  Cf John 9.  BUT because of the PROBLEM of sin in the world.

–  The world going away from Him.

–  Us going away.

–  The pollution of power of sin.

That is the real problem!

THE SOLUTION TO SICKNESS:

It’s the hand out–

1.  For reaching out and taking and receiving…

2.  It’s the wood nearby…

3.  The tree.

The PROBLEM just might be “Bitterness”–

–  Of heart, of life.

–  Within you.  Your name is “Marah.”

–  Maybe a death in your family that goes unexplained.

–  Perhaps what you’ve done to others…or what they’ve done to you.

–  And there’s a need for forgiveness–one way or another.

–  Your experiences, memories?

–  Who did what?  Who hurt you?  It’s all tied together.

–  And so is the SICKNESS:  spirit, sin and unforgiveness affects the mind, which affects the body.

And the ANSWER is there to RECEIVE–THE WOOD–THE CROSS.

THE "WOOD" of the CROSS
THE “WOOD” of the CROSS

FORGIVENESS from God through repentance releases God’s hand in your life.  What WATER has flown through your life?

“You have made me drink bitter waters!”

The ANSWER IS JESUS:

JESUS answering the Samaritan woman at the well when He was asked, “You being a Jew, how is it that you are asking me for a drink of water?”  Jesus answered her,

“If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift

and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink,

you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you

living water.”

~ John 4:10~

If you find yourself with a dry, parched throat and DOUBT of the OUTCOME…

5583389970_d676214c49

John 4:11-12:  “She said to Him, Sir,  You have nothing to draw with [no drawing bucket] and the well is deep; how then can You provide living water? [Where do You get Your living water?]  [12] Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also?”

John 4:13-15:  “JESUS answered her,  All who drink of THIS water will be thirsty again.  [14] But whoever takes a drink of THE water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more.  But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling)  [continually]  within him unto (into, for) eternal life.  [15] The woman said to Him, Sir, give me THIS water, so that I may never get thirsty nor have to come  [continually all the way]  here to draw.”

John 7:37-39:  “Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!  [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.  [39] But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed cr(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).”

Revelation 22:1-3:  “THEN HE showed me the river whose waters give life, sparkling like crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb  [2] Through the middle of the broadway of the city; also, on either side of the river was the tree of life with its twelve varieties of fruit, yielding each month its fresh crop; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing and the restoration of the nations.  [3] There shall no longer exist anything that is accursed (detestable, foul, offensive, impure, hateful, or horrible).  But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall worship Him [pay divine honors to Him and do Him holy service].”

Revelation 22:17:  “The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, the true Christians) say, Come!  And let who is listening say, Come!  And let everyone come who is thirsty [who is painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened]; and whoever [earnestly] desires it, let him come,  take,  appropriate,  and drink the water of Life without cost.”   

IN GOD’S WISDOM, THERE’S A PRIORITY LIST TO FOLLOW:

#1.  Getting right with God comes first (and getting right with others).

#2.  The healing of the Spirit.

#3.  Then the healing of the mind.  PEACE!  How often is that mentioned in the Bible?  365 times!

#4.  The body.  Because that does matter to God.  The Israelites in the desert needed a DRINK, here!  And, God knew that.

#5.  Look at all the physical healings of Jesus.

All Christians get HEALED 100%–

Healing of the spirit comes first and if that’s true, and Scripture backs up the percentage, there should be no more fear.

It’s when we get taken to be with the LORD.  The Lord’s GIFT has already been given.  It is time to reach out and RECETHE ACTION COMES WITH THE GIFT:

Every man and woman must have their MARAH moment to drink; sour or bitter tastes in the mouth.  Life is full of disappointments, trouble, stress, losses, conflict, sickness…

But GOD had a remedy for Moses.  God told Moses to get that tree over there, toss it in the water and the act of God created SWEETNESS out of BITTERNESS.

BUT THERE’S MORE!

The Elims of Life–“And they came to Elim…” (VERSE 27)

ELIM WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW MARAH
ELIM WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW MARAH

What every one of us must realize, just as there are the “MARAH’S”, the bitterness of life, there are also the “ELIMS” of life.  “Elim” will always follow a “Marah”.

“…where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters”  (Exodus 15:27).

The LIVING WATER is there for you to partake of.  Now you need to go and RECEIVE the sweetness and encamp there in the midst of your doubt.

LIVING WATER
LIVING WATER

 


FOOTNOTES:

[i]  Names of God/Bible.org – https://bible.org/article/names-god/

[ii] Expository Dictionary Of Bible Words.

PHOTO CREDITS:

– Photo Pin.

Unknown (Wood Cross)

– Lessing Images.com

– The Exodus Route: Marah/Elim @ www. bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology/-exodus-route-marah

CREDITS:

AMPLIFIED BIBLE translation.

VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS

Young’s Bile Dictionary by G. Douglas Young, PhD

 

 

 

Christmas Behind Us…So What’s Next?

– THE MIRACLE BIRTH –

Christians just celebrated the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the World.  Every year my wife and I re-watch the DVD of The Nativity on the night before Christmas.  There lies in a manger, a crib between Mary and Joseph as they lay the baby Jesus gently down in a bed of hay.

10810578894_f922494b07
Baby Lying In A Crib

One night a wife found her husband standing over their infant’s crib.  As she watched him looking down at their very first baby, she saw a face with mixed emotions…disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism.  Touched by this unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, she slipped her loving arm around her husband.  “A penny for your thoughts,” she said.  My wife occasionally asks me the same question, “A penny for your thoughts,” even after 50 years of marriage while I stare into an empty space of a room.

Her husbands response?  “It’s amazing” he replied.  “I just can’t see a crib like that for only $46.50.”  

Now in the original Christmas Story, I’m positive that Joseph and Mary’s dialogue never considered the costs involved of a borrowed crib in the manger.  They were thankful that they had a place at all!

Here, in both stories, lay one of the greatest MIRACLES in God’s creation.  In the first story I shared, all the father saw was a CRIB.  As baby JESUS lay in His crib…Joseph and Mary saw what lay within.  Not the uncleanliness of barn animals, the town’s people reactions, the cold of the night.  They were focused on the Miracle!

Many times people FOCUS upon God’s handiwork and only see the outside manifestation…never the MIRACLE of the birth of a new baby… or, the MIRACLE BIRTH OF A NEW CHRISTIAN!

SOMETHING EXCEPTIONAL HAPPENS DURING THE SPIRITUAL REBIRTH.

Something very exceptional dies within each Christian when we obey Jesus; by repenting of our sins and being buried in Christian Baptism and a new life is born.

We receive a promise…

“Repent  (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it)  and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”  (Acts 2:38 AMP).

There are those who believe that the Holy Spirit is some kind of inanimate object – like the crib that held that baby – AND they see only the crib, NOT the miracle within.

What the Bible Tells Us that the Spirit of God Does Within Us–

~ helps us in our prayers

~ guides us

~ teaches us

~ AND empowers us

BUT perhaps the most captivating thing that the Holy Spirit was sent to do was implied in Acts 1:8:

But YOU shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and YOU shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.

Notice the Bible verse says first, they had to receive Holy Spirit – and then they would be His witnesses.  The Holy Spirit came first – then the witnesses.

Now that might sound rather peculiar at first reading.  These people gathered here had been with JESUS from the beginning of His ministry. They had been schooled, taught by JESUS and sat at His feet.

BUT Acts 1:8 implies they should become witnesses AFTER receiving the Holy Spirit.  Why should they have to wait?  Why not just start witnessing right then and there?

WELL, they could have…but they would have been lacking the “DUNAMIS” — the POWER to effectively witness.

We get the English word “dynamite” from the Greek word “dunamis”.  

In other words, they could have begun witnessing in the surrounding communities without the Holy Spirit but it wouldn’t have the same exploding power.

My wife gave me a wonderful surprise Christmas gift this year–an Electric Hedge Trimmer!  I’ve been trimming the hedges along side of our home for years with only hand shears.  Now the shears got the job done alright, but with the POWER  TRIMMER…the task becomes less difficult.

FRUSTRATION Can Come With WITNESSING:

Have you ever felt frustrated in witnessing…inviting someone to church…talking to them about JESUS?  Trust me, it can come with FRUSTRATION and INTIMIDATION.

Understanding  Prevents Frustration–

It’s my belief that part of our frustration in our sharing JESUS (“witnessing”) can come from NOT UNDERSTANDING the pivotal role that Holy Spirit can play in helping us share our faith with others.

JESUS said:  “However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable for you that I go away.  Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you,    And when He comes, He will CONVICT and CONVINCE the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness and about judgement”  (John 16:7, 8 AMP).

It is NOT our job to CONVICT and CONVINCE the World… 

One of the primary jobs for God’s Spirit in this world of ours is convicting people of their sin; their need for righteousness and the impending judgement.

You and I don’t have to convict people (change their hearts) regarding SALVATION.  That’s the Spirit’s job.  According to Scripture in Acts 1:8, we are to be WITNESSES.

Courtroom Testifying
Courtroom Testifying

Let me give you an Illustration:  In a courtroom, there is a judge, prosecutor, defense attorney,a defendant, AND witness.

Who gives TESTIMONY in the courtroom?  The witnesses do.

Do the witnesses prosecute the defendant?  Do the witnesses convict the defendant?  NO!  WITNESSES…witness…and they do their best to give honest and true testimony because they realize that the verdict may hinge on how well they give an account.  BUT their only job is TESTIFYING.

CONVICTING OF PEOPLE of their Sins & of the Need of Righteousness & the Closeness of Judgement…is the Spirit’s job–NOT OURS!

OUR TESTIMONY IS IMPORTANT:

In Romans 10:13-15, the apostle Paul says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be SAVED.”  How then, can they “call” on the one they have not believed in?  How can they believe in the one of who they haven’t heard?  And how can they he”ar without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

God’s Mandate 2000 Years Ago Is Still In Effect…”Be witnesses”

GOD has given every one of us (NOT just pastors), a MANDATE.  What’s a “mandate”?  According to the On-line Dictionary:  The noun is…”an official order or commission to do something”; the Verb is “to give (someone) authority to act in a certain way.”

So when Jesus says “you shall be My witnesses”, He is given us the AUTHORITY and the COMMISSION to be His witnesses here on earth after receiving the given POWER to do so.

Now I found it interesting in Acts 1:10, 11 after JESUS was caught up, and a cloud received and carried Him away out of their sight, what the disciples were found doing:

“And while they were gazing intently into heaven as He [Jesus] went, behold, two men [dressed] in white robes suddenly stood beside them”  (verse 10).

The messengers (angels) question becomes one to be asked to all of us:  “…why do you stand gazing into heaven?”  

JESUS had already said, “you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  

The angels were encouraging the disciples (and us too!),  “Don’t just stand there and think about what’s in the ‘right now’, GO!”   Their words sunk into their hearts and in verse 12,  “Then [the disciples] went…”

Who Are the Preachers Today?

UNLESS someone preaches (witnesses), people cannot hear the Gospel Message…the Good News.

AND, if they don’t hear, they can’t believe…

AND, if they don’t believe, they don’t call…

AND, if they don’t call out, they won’t be SAVED!

This Is Our Service to God–

The SALVATION of the people we care about around us hinges on our FAITHFULNESS in our witnessing.  This is such a valuable SERVICE to God, that He regards even our feet (those who give testimony), of how they came to Jesus… as beautiful!

HOLY SPIRIT OPPORTUNITIES:

I believe that God’s Spirit gives each Christian believer opportunities to talk to others, IF…and that’s a big IF, if we just ask.  I’ve been reading of late in the Gospel of John, when I came upon 3-verses about “asking”.

John 14:12-14:

“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, IF anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.    

“And I will do [I will grant] whatever you ask in My Name, so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.

“[Yes]  I will grant [I myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My name  [as presenting all that I AM].”

Now most of the things we seem to ASK FOR, are things that will benefit us: food, clothing, roofs over our heads, a good job…  But how about asking for OPPORTUNITIES…opportunities to talk to other about Christ Jesus this coming new year.

SO, WHAT’S NEXT AFTER CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR?

We need to:

PRAY, ASK for God’s Spirit to prepare the hearts of people we want to talk to.  We don’t go out “witnessing”, we “witness” as we go after praying earnestly first.

TRUST the Holy Spirit to do His part as we go.

LISTEN for God as He guides you to people to speak with.

AND SPEAK about what God has done specifically for you and what He means personally to you.

We are truly living in the LAST DAYS.  The BAD NEWS is always hitting you in the face.  The GOOD NEWS should be always in our hearts, minds, and souls as we go.

JERUSALEM FIRST…our neighborhoods, our workplace, our communities.

JUDEA…the towns, cities, counties all around us.

SAMARIA…the bordering States, Provinces, Countries…

TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!

What’s next?  The Time Is Now!

But you shall receive POWER (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be MY WITNESSES in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.

Where is your JERUSALEM?

A Momentary Spark in the Shadows of Darkness

[10]  Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, YET WHO WALKS IN DARKNESS and deep trouble and has no shinning splendor [in his heart]?  Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God.

[11]  Behold, all you [enemies of your own selves] who attempt to kindle your own fires [and work out you own plans of salvation], who surround and gird yourselves (surround yourselves with a belt) with momentary sparks, darts, and firebrands that you set aflame!–walk by the light of your self-made fire and of the sparks that you have kindled [for yourself, if you will]!  But this shall you have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment.

~ISAIAH 50:10-11 AMPLIFIED BIBLE.

Surrounded by momentary sparks!

Making Scripture PERSONAL!

The Lord obviously wanted me to receive and understand His message in the above verses in The Book of IsaiahWhat do I mean by “personal”?  That’s when a Scripture verse, written to the WORLD, suddenly becomes MINE (or in your case, YOURS).

I recognized that the Holy Spirit had something specifically He wanted communicated.  I roughly understood what the verse meant!  As Mrs. Charles E. Cowman said in one of her books,  “It means we are in darkness” (in relation to some situation we do not understand) “and the temptation is to find a way without trusting in the Lord and relying on Him!”  Instead of waiting on the Lord’s plans, we try to figure it out ourselves.

Serving God in the Midst of Darkness–

There are times in our lives that we find it difficult to see very far ahead.  I remember one time driving home from a retreat with my wife in the local mountains near us.  We had a late supper out and on the way home, the headlights of the car went out.  I couldn’t see a thing!

Doing what men usually do in such circumstances, I pulled the car over to the side of the road.  I then raised the hood of the car, pretending I know what I was doing, then proceeded to tell my wife with all wisdom and understanding: “It’s just an electrical short that had caused the headlights to fail.”  Of course after forty plus years of marriage, Dianne knew I had no idea what the problem was–but kept from making her response, making the situation worse.

Going Ahead in the Pitch of Night!

I decided I couldn’t wait there along side of the road all  night and pulled out into the night.  Dianne’s reaction to my fool-hearty decision was, “You can’t drive home in the darkness without light!”  And of course I had anticipated her question in advance and blurted out, “At least the parking lights are working!” 

As I drove down the dark mountain highway, the Lord whispered in my ear “Mel, try turning the knob on the dashboard back and forth,” or something to that effect.  I did so and guess what?  Yep, the headlight’s ‘dimmer switch’ or whatever you call it had been inadvertently been turned off(who did that?).  We got home finally, but with all the car’s lights working.

Dianne asked me a question after we pulled into the garage:  “Would you have driven all the way home in the darkness without any lights?”  And my definitive answer…”We would have been just fine, regardless.  We were in God’s hands and protection.  My answer sounded convincing.

Our DESIRES Can Sometimes Be Confusing–

Are you experiencing a dark time in your life?  Do you have a wayward child?  Have you experienced financial reversal?  Has someone broken your heart or taken advantage of you?  Are you not able to make sense of what’s happening in your life?

As Christians, we DESIRE to be “overcomers”.  We DESIRE to go to heaven but rather mot die to get there.  In its very substance, LIFE is tragic without JESUS CHRIST in our lives.

Questions We Asked Ourselves In Life–

Life as we know it is filled with “sweetness” and misery; high times and hard times.  As Christians, we desire to be “overcomers” but don’t want much to overcome.

–Do you have a wayward child?

–Have you experienced financial reversal?

–Has someone broken your heart or taken advantage of you?

–Are you not able to make sense of what’s happening in your life?

Thinking We’ve Got It All Figured Out!

We’ve studied our lessons, learned our formulas and memorized the promises of God’s Word.  We think that we’ve got it all figured out and suddenly…we are plunged into a deep, deep darkness.  Why does such darkness come to a Christian?

The question we ask more than any other is “Why?”  WHY did God allow sickness to come to me or a loved one?  WHY did God heal that person and not heal me?  WHY?  WHY?  WHY?

What Do We Do When the Lights Go Out?

When we went to school, we received lesson first, then learned the lessons second.  “Premature Deliverance”…from a situation is when man frustrates God’s work of grace in our lives rather than committing the whole situation to Him; willing to abide in darkness, so long as you have His presence.   REMEMBER, “it is better to walk in the dark with God than walk alone in the light” (Mrs. Cowman).  And that’s what it means.  Often, we have prayed prayers and don’t understand at all what happened.  When in fact, God actually has ANSWERED those PRAYERS. 

PRAYERS like, “Oh God, use me”, or “Increase my faith Lord”, and “Thy will be done”.  And of course, He does have a will for your life, as He has for all of our lives.  But His will is likely to go in directions we never anticipated; areas we never ever thought about or desired.  He will answer those prayers, and all to often we haven’t understood His answers.  This is all consistent with His Word:  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).

GOD has directions and plans completely outside-you and that’s the point!  It’s not about you and I.  When He answers those prayers of ours, He begins preparing us for the life and work ahead.  Be abundantly clear here, the work is His and not yours!

THE DEEPEST DARKNESS (ISAIAH 50:10):

This passage of Scripture is not talking about someone who has wandered away from God.  This person fears and loves the Lord: Who is among you who fears the Lord…”

This verse is addressing the person or persons who fears and loves the Lord.  “Fear of the Lord”  MEANS, “love on its knees”.  The person who FEARS God the most–loves God the most.  This person OBEYS God’s voice (v. 10).

There is a distortion of the truth today when a person becomes a Christian–everything becomes like honey and no bees; all sunlight and roses with no rain and weeds.  There is no reason to deny it.

Tens of thousands of Christians across the world fear and love the Lord, yet are experiencing darkness.  More than 150,000 Christians were martyred last year all over the world.

Job said, “Even young children despise me; when I get up, they speak against me” (Job 19:18).

Habakkuk shouted,   “Oh Lord, how long shall I cry for help and You will not hear?  Or cry out to You of violence and You will not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2).

John the Baptist sent messengers from prison and asked JESUS,  “Are you really the Messiah or should we look for another.”

Each one of these men of God came to a “lights out” time on a ‘dark road’ in life and didn’t understand or comprehend why and what was fully happening to them.

FAITH BORN IN THE LIGHT IS OFTEN DEVELOPED IN THE SHADOWS:

Someone once said that FAITH is like film:  “It’s better developed in the darkness.”

QUESTION:  When have you grown the most spiritually in your life?  When Mr  Trouble comes and knocks at your front door–becoming more mature in the spirit becomes better developed than other times.

So, How Does God Develop Our FAITH In The Darkness?

God says in Isaiah’s passage, it takes two steps:  We are to look to the Lord first—“trust in the Lord” (verse 10).  The Amplified translation uses, “rely on,” “trust in,” “be confident in”.  I like what Warren Wiersbe said, “We live by promises, not by explanations.”

Just because it doesn’t make sense to us at the time, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to our Heavenly Father.  We must continue to stand on God’s Word, regardless of what’s going on in our lives.  GOD’S WORD never changes and remains constant in ALL of the seasons of life.

The Second Step:

Lean upon the Lord–“let him lean and be supported by his God.”

When you find yourself in the dark and along side a lonely isolated road, you don’t need an explanation–you need God!  It is more important to be with God in a valley of darkness than to be on a mountain peak in sunlight without Him.

There are some things that I want in life that I don’t need, and some things I need that I don’t want.  Only GOD can really discern between bad and good–good and best.  God wants to develop our FAITH; never to doubt in the dark what you have learned in the light.  The TEST OF OUR CHARACTER is not what we do in a worship service but what we do in the dark.

FAITH’S DANGER:

It is better to be serving GOD in the darkness than to be standing alone in “man-made” light (Isaiah 50:11).

One of the most dangerous temptations is to be tempted to light our own fire in the darkness.  If God has permitted the darkness, then we must wait upon the Lord.  We must never get the idea that darkness can overcome light; darkness will run from light.

If you don’t believe this is the truth, then turn on the light in a darkened room and open the closet.  You will find darkness is hiding in the closet!  The only way that DARKNESS can enter is that the light be removed.

So, if the LIGHT has been removed from the situations of your life, then God in His wisdom has allowed you to be in the darkness.  If God is the One who has allowed darkness to come your way, don’t be foolish and light your own fire.  Don’t try to undue what God is already doing.

A man-made fire is deceptive.  It’s like a man getting up in the middle of the night, hearing a disturbance in the house and grabbing a flashlight beside his bed.  And with his flashlight, he goes over to the sundial to see what time it is.

God says that if we light our own fire–[work out our own plans AMP] in the midst of God-planed darkness, then we will suffer.  For an example, God told Abraham and Sarah they would have a child of their own–God gave them a promise.  However, God didn’t fulfill that promise immediatelyAbraham, in the middle of his darkness of doubt, created his own fire with Hagar.  Ishmael was born.  Think about the suffering that followed Abraham and the world because he did not wait on God in the midst of darkness.

IF YOUR SUN HAS SET, IT WILL RISE AGAIN:

Faith’s Daybreak–Psalm 30:5

“For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime or in His favor is life.  Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning.”

Psalm 30:5

“[The Servant of God says]  The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.  He wakens Me morning by morning.  He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught]”  (Isaiah 50:4 AMP).

“Come And Light My Fire Jesus”–

God will awaken us in the morning, even though you may be in the dark shadows now, there’s a better day coming!  If you are in darkness, then TRUST GOD, and He will turn every tear into a pearl, every hurt into a hallelujah.

There is a better day coming.

For non-Christians, this is as GOOD as it gets.  And as Christians, this is as BAD as it gets!

A PERSONAL CHALLENGE TO TAKE:

Take a walk and enjoy the warmth of a sunny day.  And while you are lifting your face, enjoying the warmth of the rays, the sun-rays of sunlight are already 8.3 minutes old when they reach you.  Even though you can experience the warmth of the sun, you’ve never seen the full power of the sun.  You have felt its warmth but never really seen the sun.

In a like manner, we can feel the warmth of God’s presence, but we’ve never fully seen the glory of God.  But there is a time coming as a child of God, that we will see the face of JESUS.  We will fully see what we slightly experienced in this life.  Just remember when the lights go out, GOD is still there in the midst of your darkness.

There Are Treasures Of Darkness–

Have you ever heard someone say, “The stars are out tonight”?  The fact is, stars are out in the daytime, but we can’t see them because of the sunlight.

The stars are there for us to praise the Lord (Psalm 148:3).  We would never have a star to praise the Lord without darkness.  GOD wants to give you a star so you can praise Him even more.  Our trials become stars in order to praise the Lord in the light that He gives us.

So, when the lights go out…reflect on our faith’s devotion, development, discernment, danger, and daybreak (Light),  in the POWER of the Holy Spirit’s fire.