Can’t God Just Wrap Us All Up In “Bubble Wrap”?

Scripture:  2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

When was the last time someone prayed a prayer over you? What kind of things do you like to hear prayed for you? Blessing? Prosperity? Good health?

Sometimes I find myself praying for my kids and grandkids and asking God to keep them safe and healthy and happy in the Lord. I definitely want those things for them, but they aren’t the greatest needs in their lives. Some needs can only be met by going through those “hard times.” It’s through struggles in life we learn to TRUST God and develop the unshakable faith that the Bible speaks about.

You Can’t Go Through Life in “Bubble Wrap”!

 

So, instead of praying that God would just wrap us all up in bubble wrap so that we never feel any pain or have any problems, it might help for us to look at the PRAYERS that are prayed in the Bible. When I’ve been asked to pray for certain people and don’t specifically know how to pray for them, I often open my Bible and pray Scripture that pertains to their needs and requests. After all, it’s God’s WILL, His words that I’m praying for and not my own.

 

So as we look together at these 2 verses, 11-12, Paul writes, “With this in mind…”

 

What is Keeping this in “MIND”, mean? (Vv. 1-10)

 

The fact that your faith is growing, your love is increasing, you are hanging in there during the hard times, justice and judgment is coming to those who reject God and abuse and mistreat you, and final and ultimate salvation is coming for those of you who trust in Jesus!

 

“With this in mind,” Paul says, “WE ARE CONSTANTLY PRAYING FOR YOU”

What does Paul pray, and what can we learn from it?

“That God would consider you WORTHY of His calling.” 

What does that mean?  How can we be considered WORTHY of God’s calling?  Is this then like being a paying customer, not just taking up space and using up oxygen in the room?  Does it mean to make yourself useful?

“GOD’S CALLING” –

Here, it’s likely a reference to the ultimate and final salvation of God’s people.

In another of Paul’s letters to the churches (Philippians), he talks about the upward call of God.  To be considered WORTHY of His call and to be with Him forever means they will keep trusting God to the very end. 

His CALLING ISN’T TO JUDGMENT, but to life and joy with Him forever!

There are some requirements needed, according to Paul in his letter:

In the context of both letters to the church in Thessalonia, and in this chapter, ENDURANCE and KEEPING THE FAITH are necessary for one to be considered WORTHY of God’s calling into His awesome presence, especially in the face of persecution.

WORTHY doesn’t mean that we can earn our way into heaven.  Eternal life with God is the FREE GIFT of God.  We can’t earn it or do we deserve it!

That God would fulfill every good purpose (“all the good things”) of yours (by His POWER).

God does have a PURPOSE for our lives!

There may be a number of purposes for your life; God’s, Satan’s, yours, and other people’s.  This is all about bringing your purposes or intentions, your views, into alignment with God’s!  It has to do with moral conduct.

I know, good moral conduct can’t SAVE us and make us right with God, BUT…it’s part of God’s purpose for us!

“For this is the WILL of God, your sanctification (separated and set apart for pure and holy living)” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3 AMP.

So the Thessalonian believers had shown perseverance (a never give up mentality) in the face of their persecution for their faith having demonstrated their faith, love and Godly living in the midst of it.  What Paul seems to be praying here is that God would help them followthrough with these things of being faithful to Him to that very day! 

WHAT “DAY”?

2 Thessalonians 2:3  “…for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first”

NOTE: Apostasy comes from the Greek word, Apostasia – The falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come.

That God would fulfill every faith-prompted act (by His POWER).

“…and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (a faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness).”  (Amplified Bible)

I really like this phrase.  You’ve no doubt heard of acts of random kindness.  Well, these Christians had begun doing continual acts of faith!

Faith-prompted actions are things we do because of our trust in God. 

We learn to be generous with those in need because God is like that, and we want to be like Him!

Acts of obedience are considered faith-prompted acts.  We obey God because we love, honor, and trust Him in His promises! 

But it wasn’t enough!

These Christ-followers didn’t simply begin these faith acts and then let them taper off.  No.  Paul knew they would need God’s help to keep them obeying Him, in loving others, being generous, and serving those around them.

QUESTION:  HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR LOVE AND FAITH HAVE COOLED OFF?

When it becomes more about you and less about those around you.  We need God’s help in carrying out our good intentions and obey and please Him fully.

So Paul’s words here in his letter required them to realize that they aren’t alone!  God is at work in their lives, and when He works in us, it’s powerful!

That the NAME OF JESUS Be Glorified In You – (2 Thessalonians 1:12)

The RESULT of following through with our good intentions to remain FAITHFUL to God–even in the midst of persecution–is that people will see Jesus in us!  Instead of doing good things so we can receive attention and praise from others, we must live so that others will notice Jesus at work in us!

People need to see Jesus being GLORIFIED or spotlighted in your life–in your words, and your actions.

Matthew 5:16 (AMP)

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”

That you would be glorified in Christ Jesus.

Finally, Paul shows that Jesus also helps accomplish OUR GLORIFICATION (present/future).  It all begins when we call on the Lord and the Holy Spirit that it all begins to work in our lives.

2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us,

 

Our glorification comes to fruition when Jesus comes back for us, as He promised!

He will give us new bodies, transforming us into His likeness!

 

God has called us to a higher place.  Are you trusting and growing in Him?  Is Jesus being glorified in your intentions and your actions?

PRAY FOR YOUR CHURCH AS PAUL PRAYED FOR THE CHURCHES.

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CREDITS:

Images/Photos:  Google image search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); New Living Testament (NLT); Interlinear Bible.

Dictionary:  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old And New Testament Words.

Learning To Be Patient from the Life of A Preteen? Really??

Scripture Reading – Luke 2:40-52 (AMP):

[40] And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of God was upon Him.  [41] Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Passover Feast.  [42] And when He was twelve years [old], they went up, as was their custom.  [43] And when the Feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem.  Now His parents did not know this.  [44] But, supposing Him to be in the caravan, they traveled on a day’s journey; and [then] they sought Him [diligently, looking up and down for Him] among their kinsfolk and acquaintances.  [45] And when hey failed to find Him, they went back to Jerusalem, looking for Him [up and down] all the way.  [46] After three days they found Him [came upon Him] in the [court of the] temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

[47] And all who heard Him were astonished and overwhelmed with bewildered wonder at His intelligence and understanding and His replies.

Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Feast of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, today known as a “preteen”, the family all went according to custom [Exodus 12:1-11].  PASSOVER was a New Year’s celebration on the Jewish Calendar for Israel.

A traveled day’s journey in Biblical times was estimated 20-25 miles [Bible Study Tools – International Standard Bible Encyclopedia].

My idea today for celebrating New Years is to watch the fireworks at the Seattle Space Needle…on television.  Are we spoiled or what?

And when the Celebration has ended, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem.

His parents didn’t know it, but supposing him to be in the group, traveled approximately 24 miles before they noticed his absence.  In today’s culture, they would have sent out an AMBER ALERT.

Joseph and Mary then began to search for him among relatives and acquaintances in the caravan and when they couldn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

After three days…

After a frantic search, they found their boy in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

The childhood and youth of Jesus were normal in many ways.

As a Jewish boy, he experienced the same things that other children experienced at his age.  It was customary for Jewish families to go to Jerusalem for the Passover each year.  Even though it was required only of men, many times it became a family excursion.  So the family of Jesus followed this Jewish custom.

During the twelfth year of a boy’s life, they begin to assume the responsibilities to the LAW.

On the 13th birthday, a Jewish boy is accepted as a full “son of the Law” [Bar mitzvah – son of law].  He became responsible to obedience to the law.

Normally a boy would be taken to the Passover during his twelfth year preparing him for the responsibility of observing the law.  This is the significance of the incident in the life of Jesus at the age of twelve.

Leaving Jesus Behind.

The leaving of Jesus behind in Jerusalem is a kind of thing that could happen to any family in a large, overcrowded environment.  It didn’t suggest neglect on the part of his parents.  Ordinarily, the women would leave before the men on a journey because they walked slower, and the men and boys would follow later.  So Mary assumed that Jesus was with Joseph and the men, while Joseph assumed that he was with Mary and the children.

It wasn’t until they met at the end of the day that they noticed Jesus wasn’t there.   It made it necessary to return to Jerusalem and search the city for three days until they found him.

The unusual thing about THIS twelve-year-old was where they found him.

But there he was!  In the Temple taking advantage of the opportunity of learning from the teachers of the Law.

What more than likely amazed the learned teachers gathered about was that any twelve-year-old boy knew the Torah.  But this twelve-year-old boy not only knew the Law, he knew it inside out understanding the meaning–THAT was remarkable!

JESUS Is Our Model –

First We Can Learn About Our Priorities In Our Lives (vv. 48-49 KJV):

This exchange between Joseph and Mary with Jesus needs close attention.  

It was a REBUKE by Mary, because of the anxiety she felt from Jesus’ disappearance–losing your child’s presence and then finding them.

Naturally, Mary was very upset and worried when she finally found Jesus in the Temple (v. 48).  She might have said even more had the circumstances been a little different.  It may have diluted her response a little because they were in the Temple in the presence of scholars of the Law.  But her words expressed how she felt.  Real ANXIETY looking for him.

Evidently, Jesus had been so absorbed in the experience of listening to the teaching in the temple that he was oblivious to almost everything else.  He was amazed that his parents wouldn’t understand his interest in and presence in the Temple (v.49):  

“Why is it that you were looking for Me?  Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”  (NAS Bible)

This statement reveals the RELATIONSHIP THAT WILL RECEIVE PRIORITY.

Mary spoke of Joseph as the father of Jesus.  Joseph was the one who had the fatherly responsibility for him, but Jesus reveals a much deeper awareness.

He speaks of “My Father”.

The words spoken by Jesus suggest that He is committed to giving relationship PRIORITY over every other relationship of His life.

As the adult life of Jesus’ life unfolds, this is obviously the PRIORITY by which He lives; but it didn’t begin when He was an adult.  It began in the early days of His life voiced by Him when he was twelve!

In VERSE 49, Jesus is emphatic when He says, “I had to be in My Father’s house.”  

Literally, it would read “My Father’s things.”  This meaning is the same essentially whether you understand “things”, or “house”.

“Had to be” in some translations is a strong word from the Greek language.  It’s the word that speaks of “divine necessity.”  

The word “MUST” is the better idea.

Jesus realizes at the age of twelve that his first responsibility in life is to do the will of His Heavenly Father–and His first interest must be the things of the Father.

The most important house then must be the Father’s house!

I learned when I was a young father many years ago that children can begin to determine their PRIORITIES very early in their lives:  Going out to brunch after church on Sundays; cleaning of their rooms before going outside to play…

We are not told that Jesus established them at twelve, but we are allowed to see they are already in place.

For all of us, and especially young people now is the time to determine what comes FIRST in your life.  If you’ll get the PRIORITIES in place, the other decisions that arise in life will fall into their proper position.

What We Can Learn from Jesus about the Value of Submission (vv. 50-51 NLT):

[50] Yet his parents did not understand the remark he made to them.  

[51] Then he went with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.  But his mother kept all these things in her heart.

This action doesn’t conflict with the PRIORITIES that have already been established.  In fact, they are an expression of the priorities that He has just stated.

The FIRST submission of Jesus was to God, and then to His parents.

Jesus’ submission to His parents was voluntary.  And children who do not learn to SUBMIT their lives to God, usually have difficulty submitting their lives to their parents.

There is no suggestion that Jesus’ response to His parents was to the pressures they put on Him.  Rather, as a part of His daily life as a twelve-year-old, He voluntarily gave Himself to a life of OBEDIENCE to His parents.  This is the only kind of submission that has any value.

SUBMISSION that is forced can actually have the same qualities as REBELLION.

Every young person, every child needs to learn a valuable lesson here from Jesus.  His parents were not perfect, but He knew that they were God’s appointed GUARDIANS of His ways, so He submitted to them.  This SUBMISSION was part of the preparation for what God had sent Him into the world to do!

We Can Learn from Jesus about Growth in Our Lives (v.52)

[52] And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in the favor with God and man.  (NIV Bible)

In VERSE 40, Luke had written,  “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”

This faces us with the mystery of Jesus’ life.

We know that He was the INCARNATION of the living God, the Son of God. Yet the incarnation was such that growth was necessary for His life.

He grew just like every other child must grow and we can learn from His growth the importance of balance.

LEARNING TO USEFUL –

Dr. Luke points out that He grew physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially:

  • He grew physically for “he grew in stature.”  Physical growth is important.
  • He grew mentally for He “grew in wisdom.”  Through His study at the feet of Mary; His involvement at the local synagogue; His visits to the Temple as He grew in His understanding of the Truth of God.
  • He grew spiritually, for He grew “in favor with God.”

Never a moment was He not totally pleasing to God, but in order for that to occur, He must continually GROW SPIRITUALLY.

Jesus was perfectly where a twelve-year-old should be in spiritual growth at the age of twelve.  But at the beginning of a ‘teens’ life, He was perfectly where a thirteen-year-old should be.  And as it was always.

  • And then He grew socially, for he was “in favor with men.”

His ability to relate to others in an acceptable way grew normally and perfectly.

Many of our children today, including our church kids, are not growing in this way.  They may be growing physically and mentally, but the social and spiritual way may be stunted.

JESUS MODELS GROWTH for us all and it should be balanced.

The Growth of The Preteen Jesus Teaching of Patience –

  • Jesus was PATIENT for the process of life to take its course.  He was PATIENT to keep on growing until the Lord God said that it was time to begin His ministry.  He didn’t get ahead of God but waited on Him.  He waited until the age of thirty before He started the mission that the Lord God had given Him and continued not to be impatient for God’s timing in His life.

“My Hour Has Not Come”

This is such an important lesson, one that I continue to learn, and one to learn, especially for young people today!

DO NOT GET IMPATIENT with God and with life.  

Just keep on establishing the right priorities, submitting to the rightful authority and go on growing as a person, and in God’s timing (not yours), He will launch you forward on His mission.  He will open the right doors for you!

No detail of the life of our Lord and Savior is without significance.

The little details are significant for all of us to take in.  It helps us see the PLAN of God for His children and youth today.  Jesus walked the way we should all walk in these matters.

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CREDITS:

Commentaries:  Dr. G. Flattery – Luke 2:41-52; “My Father’s Business” – Global Christian Center.

Growing Up God’s Way by Jeremy Meyers.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations Used:  The New International Version (NIV), except where noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Important Times in Our Life…in the Meantime!

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Whatever happened to Mercurochrome?

Although dating myself somewhat, okay, a lot–moms had been daubing Mercurochrome antiseptic on their kids’ owies since the Harding administration.  Then in 1998, the U.S FDA, put out a report that the generically known merbromin (Mercurochrome) was “not generally recognized as a safe and effective” over-the-counter antiseptic.

No Scars Here!
No Scars Here!

Now when my kids we growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, my wife Dianne used a O.T.C. ointment Neosporin – (from Neo, (Greek) new; Sporos (Greek) seed).  According to my wife, and much public proclamations, Neopsorin not only helped in the healing process but prevented scarring as well.  How accurate that claim might be medically, we used it (and still do) on every wound and “owie” that came along.

My God is like Neosporin–

Applied on a wound, a week later, there will be no evidence of a wound or a scar.  When the Lord heals, you are healed without scars and no evidence of ever being wounded, ever been down and out, ever being sick.

Ecclesiastes tells us,

“TO EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven;  A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,  A time to kill and a time to heal…”  (Ecc. 3:1-3 a. AMP).

In studying the well-known verses, I found that the most important time is…in the meantime; while you’re waiting on your own blessing; waiting on a miracle.

You have said for GOD I live and for GOD I die…but, in the MEANTIME, are you going to sell your body to make ends meet?  Are you going to rob someone to pay your bills?  In the MEANTIME, are you going back to work at a part-time drug dealer, going back to your wicked ways?

Always looking in the rear-view-mirror in the meantime…

When you are spending so much of the present, focusing on the past, you totally ignore your future.

The Lord goes beyond time…

He sees our past…

He knows our future because…

He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,

The Author and Finisher of our Faith (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; Hebrews 12:2).

NOTHING BUT LEFTOVERS:

There used to be a time when people gave their EVERYTHING to GOD.  But now, we don’t seem to want to give Him nothing but leftovers.

GOD has a right to give you a “leftover blessing”–

We want to show up late, leave early.  We want to be ‘average Christians’–doing ‘average things’–GOD has a right then to give you an “average blessing.”

I don’t now about you folks, but I need the LORD “to do exceeding and abundantly above all that I can ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Thank GOD I don’t look like what I’ve been through–“You see the glory but don’t know the story!”

There were many of nights in my past where I laid awake in tears with the problems I was to face the next day.

A DESPAIRING CRY!

Have you ever had a “despairing cry”?  You cried until there wasn’t any tears left.  You got so upset until you couldn’t eat and then your body starts to get sick.

But look at you now.  You are healed without scars; you don’t look like you’ve been through what you have gone through.  You have been healed without scars; I have not been through what you have gone through but, we all have a story to tell about.  How I never would have made it if…it had not been for the LORD who was on my side.

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A “In the Meantime” Story–Joseph was a tattle tale!

Genesis 37:2 says, “and Joseph brought to his father a bad report of them”  (the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s [secondary] wives; AMP).

His brothers hated him for several reasons.  If being a “tattle tale” wasn’t enough in the family, being the FAVORITE child, because he was born in Jacob’s old age, didn’t help the situation either.

I had a brother who was 7 years my junior.  I certainly wanted a little brother, a companion to do things with–but with such differences in age, we had little in common and I’m sure many harbored jealousies in growing up.  Later in adulthood, we became closer and still so today [another story on another day].  There was a lot “…in the Meantime between childhood and adulthood.

Then Joseph had a dream…

Now having a dream and sharing with the family is not a bad thing, but when Joseph’s sharing involves the future; where he is going to be the “ruler over them”…they hated him even more.  Joseph’s father loved him more than the other children and when he shared even a second dream… they were jealous and fully of envy.

When ungodly people see GOD’S favor, they will hate you.  Keeping it real, when some church folks see GOD’S FAVOR on you, they become “favor haters”.

Joseph’s Special Coat wasn’t by Armani, but by Jacob!

Joseph was given a special coat from his father.  A normal coat in those days was cloth about ten feet long with a hole in the middle and no sleeves.

Joseph’s Coat had sleeves and dyed in many colors (Gen. 37:3).  I think Joseph more than likely wore this distinctive coat where ever he went and this fit in nicely with the brothers plans to get rid of their problem (Gen. 37:23).

Father Always Liked You Best!

“Then they took him and cast him into the [well-like]pit which was empty; there was no water in it”  (Genesis 37:24 AMP).

And …in the Meantime…

Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver to a caravan of merchants that were passing by and at the age of seventeen…he was sold in Egypt to Potiphar, and officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the [royal] guard (Gen. 37:36).

Joseph didn’t know the details at the time, but because of GOD’S FAVOR on his future… he was but 13 years away from a promotion.  At the age of 30, when Joseph appeared before Pharaoh, Joseph would be placed in charge of all of Egypt’s grain conservation programs.

But in the Meantime..

Consequently, Joseph spent a total of 13 years in Potiphar’s house–then in Potiphar’s prison.  A long time for a proud, intelligent young man to have to “waste” time in servitude and in prison.

But in the MEANTIME…in GOD’S PLANNING, Joseph was but two years away from a promotion,  Then one year away, one day, one hour, five minutes away from a promotion.

In GOD’S PLANNING...in the Meantime, nothing was wasted in Joseph’s life.  Just the necessary preparation for a great position of leadership and deliverance.  GOD’S CALLING is always specifically arranged and in Joseph’s case…there wasn’t an exception.

Young People, take note of , “in the Meantime!”

Often, young people feel they should be promoted to positions of leadership and recognition in the Lord’s work–especially those who feel they have spiritual gifting–evangelists, teachers–almost as soon as they become witnessing Christians; acquiring rudimentary knowledge in the Bible.  They tend to become impatient with what they regard as irrelevant attitudes of programs in their churches.  They would rather develop new methods of their own and get immediately out into active ministry.

Looking back now at what I thought was the most important time in my life (I was 30 years old when I accepted Christ as Lord and Savior), I was certainly becoming impatient with the church establishment.

I knew I was gifted in Evangelism in 1972, but when attempting to develop my own methods of moving forward, I fell flat on my face– without what I thought should be successful.  But in the Meantime…I pressed on with even more confidence, knowing of GOD’S FAVOR on my life.

Even today, some 40+ years later, I am finding myself often… in the Meantime.  Maybe days, hours, minutes away from a promotion!  But now that I’ve matured spiritually, I know GOD is working for me in the MEANTIME!

Impatient Christians…

What I am saying to all such impatient Christians today, the story of Joseph is proved useful:

— He thought himself ready for leadership at seventeen…in the Meantime–the Lord had to punish him; put him through a rigorous training program before…he was ready at the age of 30 years of age.

But in the Meantime!

When the Lord brings you out of a situation, you don’t have to look like what you’ve been through.  Joseph was 17 and just 13 years away from the most important time in his life:

Thrown into a dry well by his own family…

Sold into slavery…

Then put in charge of Potiphar’s household–falsely accused of promiscuity with the bosses wife…

Thrown into prison for two years…

And in the meantime, you don’t have to look like all the hell you’ve been through.

…in the Meantime for king Jehoash – (2 Kings 13:14-19):

A great hero of the Old Testament was the Prophet ELISHA–

He was a faithful man of God and about ready to die.  He had fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith.

As he lies dying, he thinks of the future of God’s people and in the meantime...Elisha receives a surprise visit from Jehoash, king of the Northern Kingdom.

Now Jehoash was not a godly king, and yet, he has a great respect and admiration for ELISHA.  He even weeps at the thought of losing this godly man, seeking one last word of advice to help him as king of Israel.

Three Words that Help Describe the Meeting–

1.  VISITATION –  How important it is to visit the sick, aged, and dying–SAVED AND UNSAVED. 

…in the Meantime! – we need to take advantage of these opportunities.  JAMES 1:27 says,

“External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world”  (Amplified Bible).

2.  INSTRUCTION – Jehoash… in the meantime, wanted to know what lay ahead of Israel.

II Kings 13:15-17:

[15]  And Elisha said to him,  Take bow and arrows.  And he took bow and arrows.  [16] And he said to the king of Israel,  Put your hand upon the bow.  And he put his hand upon it, and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.  [17] And he said,  Open the window to the east.  And he opened it.  Then Elisha said, SHOOT.  And he shot.  And he said,  The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria.  For you shall smite the Syrians in Aphek till you have destroyed them.

The king shoots an arrow to the east, indicating victory over the enemy before the event even takes place.

Then Elisha tells the king to take his arrows and strike the ground.  Jehoash, perhaps somewhat confused by now, strikes the ground 3 X’s–then stops (verse 18). 

3.  REBUKE – The Prophet scolds the king for stopping too soon.

The king could have had many great victories over his enemies.  But he limited himself on the number three.

I can just see this event happening today; a man dressed in black and a face-mask saying with a loud voice to the batter in front of him”…Three strikes and you’re out!

What happens when we as Christians make this same mistake?  We too lose out on the blessings and victories in the most important time in life.

God wants us to enjoy life:  I came that they may have and enjoy life…” (John 10:10).  When we stop too soon…things take place while we are in the Meantime!

SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS SUFFOCATED!

God’s will is for us to GROW–in Grace and Knowledge of Christ Jesus:

But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”  (2 Peter 3:18 AMP).

Yet many of us stop too soon, and just like Jehoash…strike feeble, half-hearted blows that accomplish so little when so much MORE could happened in the Meantime!

What is lacking in the meantime?

GREAT FAITH in a great God who will never fails us.  What is needed is a ZEAL, ENTHUSIASM, DEDICATION, COMMITMENT...not to stand still but to go forward, not backward; upward to higher ground.

Too many of us are like the Hebrew Christians in Hebrews 5:12-14.  Settling for less than God intended for us to be.

Some ought to be TEACHERS…but are not!  And in the meantime…become LAZY, INDIFFERENT, COMPLACENT, LUKEWARM…Causing us to stop too soon and aim too low.  Like Joseph, we might be but a few minutes away from…PROMOTION!  We don’t see it, but it is there!

WHEN WE STOP TOO SOON, SOUL WILL BE LOST!

After Jehoash did, his nation quickly went down hill.  Glorious opportunity was knocking at his door; to defeat his enemies and turn his people back to God.  Because he didn’t, the Assyrians came in and took the nation away into captivity.

May we never forget…while in the Meantime,

Others are watching our example…following in our footsteps.

Our children will follow what they see from Mom and Dad.

Our friends will see our Christianity is not for real, and be lost eternally because of that.

Our families will never come to know Christ and be an active part of the church assembly, because we stopped too soon and said nothing to them.

DON’T STOP TOO SOON!

One more in the Meantime can make the difference in someone’s life.

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IN THE MEANTIME…DON’T STOP TOO SOON!

In prayer…be constant.

In Bible Study…be diligent.

In soul winning…be persistent.

In godly living…be committed.

In attendance…be faithful.

In giving…be generous.

As GOD was looking at Joseph’s life, GOD is watching Christians with favor–

Keep on going on for His sake…

Not giving up…

Going the extra mile…

Having FAITH that will move mountains…

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough…], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]”  (1 Corinthians 15:58 AMP).

That ENCOURAGEMENT given to us in life is …in the Meantime!  Remember…you could be just a step away from PROMOTION!!