Posts Tagged With: Bible

Time To Rejoice

rejoice

 

There are nearly a dozen hot button topics that have come up over the past week that I had hoped to expound. It would have drawn a lot more readers. But life kept on happening, effectively robbing me of the time I needed to plant my butt in the seat and type. But then again…

Today I want to block out all those other things bouncing around in my thinker, to relate what the Lord spoke to my heart this morning, through His word. Hold onto something now, we are entering my brain.  ☺

We hear the verse often, and most every Christian is familiar with it. I think there’s a danger in over using popular verses. When we hear them, our minds believe we’ve already received the full impact of that particular passage of scripture in the past, and so we don’t really think much about it. Opening my bible this morning, I turned to one such verse.

“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

I can say with confidence, I’ve read that verse lots of times over the years, and have heard it quoted even more. But let’s dig in, and see if we can draw some deeper meaning than what appears on the surface.

First, let’s list the topics that this verse includes. Certainly it speaks of God’s sovereignty: God is in control. He can do as He pleases. I’m thankful He is a good and loving God, aren’t you?

This verse also proclaims that the Lord is the Creator of time.

Trusting God through whatever the day might bring is another grand principle we need to apply to our minds, which this verse implies.

God is working out His grand plan for mankind corporately. He also has individual, personalized plans for each one of our futures. (Jer. 29:11) He is aligning circumstances and events so that His plan for you will be brought to pass. This verse shouts the topic of Divine Providence.

We should rejoice.

When we can rejoice in the Lord, regardless of what is transpiring around us, or happening to us, God is very pleased. It reveals that we are trusting the Lord, and acknowledging His sovereignty. We are showing our understanding of His providence. We are acknowledging His provision of all we need, and we are joyful over His love. So here’s the thrust of the message I received today. God led me to the book of Job to make the connection.

“He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” Job 2:10

You should already know the story of Job, so I won’t get into that, but suffice it to say that God allowed Job to suffer horrendous tragedies in his life

Yes, it is easy to trust God in the good times of plenty and health. But what about the days when my sciatica is raging, causing terrible pain in my back? What about the days a migraine headache forces me back into bed? Can I rejoice then?

Often, I think I know what needs to be done in order for me to continue growing in holiness. I have mapped out how to best serve the Lord, and what I need to accomplish in order to minister to others. I have my days all planned out. But sometimes God interrupts my plans, with His plan. He might say, “No, Sheldon, today you need a headache.” Will I trust Him still? Will I rejoice in the fact that God knows what he’s doing, and that it’s all for my own good? Can God show love to me by allowing me to have a splitting headache? Yes! I may not enjoy the pain, but I can rest assured that God’s love for me remains intact. I can rejoice because I trust in His wisdom, which eclipses my own.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think people should shout, “Praise the Lord, I have cancer!” I’m not going to actually thank God for my pain. But I am going to thank Him that He is using my pain to shape me into the image of His holy Son, just as He has promised. I will praise Him for aligning events to coincide with, and bring about His perfect will, because His will is better than good.

Another popular verse states, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

If I am going to rejoice in the Lord at all times, even during a sciatica flare up or a blasting migraine, I will need to trust God. I must accept the bad along with the good, as did Job. I must believe that in His providence He is working all things together in a way that will bring about all that is good for me. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

Perhaps I needed to be reminded today that God is in control, and that He loves me very much. Maybe I required a refresher course in remaining joyful over my relationship with Jesus. But then, maybe God simply wanted me to write all of this out so that you would be reminded of these things. Whatever the case, the Lord is working.

Not perceiving or acknowledging God’s loving control does not hinder His plans from progressing, not in the least. But it will harm us, and steal off with our joy. Let’s lift up the mighty name of our glorious God today and rejoice in Him! Because, as we all know, God is good, all the time!

Pray with me:

Heavenly Father, we praise you that you are a holy God, and we praise you for your goodness and your sweet love. May your mighty name be forever exalted. We especially thank you for sending your Son, Jesus to pay for our sins and reconcile us unto Yourself. What an awesome plan of salvation! It is so wonderful that we have this precious relationship with you, and with Your Son, through Your Spirit within. We pray for your will to be done in each one of us, and across the earth. Teach us, oh God, to recognize your Lordship over all things, and to rejoice in the fact that you love us so much. Thank you for providing everything we need to grow in goodness and in godliness. We praise you for nurturing us along, as we become more and more like Jesus. We love you, Lord! We praise your mighty name, Hallelujah! In Jesus’ glorious name, Amen.

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Categories: Growing in Faith, Ministry, Providence, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Unstressed Servant

unstress

As the multi-plenteous things I needed to accomplish today swirled in my head, and blood pressure began to rise, the Spirit spoke to me. You better spend some time in prayer and bible reading first. I was stressed with a capital “S”. There are just not enough hours in my days to accomplish all I hope to do. It’s possible that I have two hairs left which have not yet turned white.

Yesterday I finished my planned bible reading, and so this morning I realized that I’d failed to plan where to read next. I’ve been through the bible many times, yet it continues to teach me new things, as if it’s growing along with me. So, I did that thing that perhaps others have done at some point. Allowing my bible to fall open, I simply read whatever passage my eyes fell upon.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

That’s all it took to remind me that God is in control, and He has my situation well in hand.

As I began praising God, and thanking Him, another passage flashed through my memory. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  

My thoughts were: Christ is the one doing the work, not me. I’m just a tool in His hand. My breathing slowed to become deeper inhalations, and I began to relax. The fact that the work I do is actually Jesus’ work took a considerable amount of pressure off of me. Nobody expects a tool to rise up all by itself and accomplish this or that each day. I must simply yield myself to Christ and be available to do as he directs. He’s the one controlling and empowering the tool (you and me).

Then I flipped the pages of my bible to another random scripture and looked down to read this: (May God) equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ…” Hebrews 13 (Parts of 20 &21).

“Okay Lord, I get it. Forgive me for taking your job onto myself. I’m getting back behind you—help me to follow closely. Please use me for your purposes today, and lead me. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

We can step into each day with confidence, knowing that as long as we are following Jesus everything is going to work out fine. There are still some projects I need to complete, but now I’m relaxed and confident in Christ. Whatever situation you find yourself in today, know that the Lord is with you. Make certain that you are following His lead, and remember, He never fails!

At this juncture in my day a second cup of coffee is calling my name. Mine is always fresh ground, but it would taste much better if you were here having a cup with me.

Faith, hope, love & peace to you today, and may God Bless You.

 

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The Silent Years

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

It was on an elementary school playground during recess that I first heard the little rhyme, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” It didn’t take long to learn the fallacy of that statement. Words can, and do inflict much damage and pain.

There is something else, however, that may have even a more profound impact than words, and that is ‘silence’. One poetess, Phyllis Mc Ginley rewrote that little rhyme to say: “Sticks and stones are hard on bones aimed with angry art. Words can sting like anything, but silence breaks the heart.”

When a loved-one gives us the silent treatment and refuses to speak to us, we can be assured we’ve probably said or done something wrong. That silence can bother us so badly that it awakens a desire to restore our relationship with that person and make things right.

During the four-hundred year interim between the Old and New Testaments, God remained silent. No signs or wonders from heaven, and no communication through prophets—nothing.

The last words of the Old Testament are Malachi chapter 4, which delivers a stern and frightening warning in verse one. Then verses two and three are a gloriously wonderful promise. And then in verse four God gives a direct command. Finally, verses five & six closes the Old Testament with the prophecy of Elijah coming again through John the Baptist. Upon whom the spirit of Elijah rested. Many, myself included believe Elijah will also return to earth bodily as one of the two witnesses for God, during the Great Tribulation.

Four-hundred years is a long time to give mankind the silent treatment. Hunger for a word from God was finally at its apex. That’s when the Lord chose to break the silence. And oh how gloriously He did so! For it was in preparation to fulfill the last two verses of Malachi. And to announce both the forerunner of our Messiah, and the wonderful coming of that Messiah, the long awaited Savior, Jesus the Christ.

An angel of the Lord appeared to Zachariah, to announce that he would have a son. He would be John the Baptizer who was to come in the spirit and the power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the people back to God and to herald the coming Christ. Six months after Zachariah’s wife became pregnant with John, the messenger angel, Gabriel visited Mary to deliver the splendid news that she was to be the mother of the God-man, Emmanuel (God with us), Jesus. Her fiancé Joseph was also informed of this coming virgin birth in a dream. What an awesome way to break the silence.

God’s timing was and always is perfect. World events were aligned in just the right way for prophecy to be fulfilled. So that, these happenings would have the greatest impact upon mankind. And what a tremendous impact Christ Jesus has made in our world. His powerful work offers eternal and abundant life, victory over the enemy, and a matchless love that lasts forever.

Today, we may get a little uptight when we can’t seem to hear anything from the Lord. But regardless of that, we can continue to trust that God is faithful. He always delivers on His promises. We can be confident that the Lord is in control and He has our individual situations and circumstances well in hand. God is not bound within time as we understand it. Peter wrote: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

This season as we prepare to celebrate that awesome event when the Christ child was sent into our world, I hope you will take the time to do something a little different.  Before you read the usual Christmas story in the first two chapters of Luke, please read the last chapter of Malachi. Think about the long silence from God, and imagine yourself living your lifetime during that inter-testamental era.

You and I no longer have to hunger for a word from God. We have His complete word in written form, and we also have His Spirit joined with ours to lead, guide and comfort us. We are truly blessed to be living in this age of grace. Emmanuel (God with us) has come. He may have gone back to the Father bodily, but He has not left us as orphans. Remember Jesus parting words to you.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

      (Psalm 46:1b NIV)

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. (Psalm 86:5 NLT)

 

Have a very Merry Christmas!

 

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