Monday, July 22, 2019

Chapters of My Life: A Time For Everything

(July 18, 2910 A.M.) 
     "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying; 'This is the way, walk ye in it; when you turn to the right hand or to the left.'"  Isaiah 30:21 KJV 

    Father, help me to be content. Content with what I have, whether up or down, rich or poor. Teach me I can be content because I have You. I am constantly in Your presence. No matter where I go, no matter what I do, say or think; Your grip is strong around me. I am hedged in, I am hedged around. Only what you allow to get through the hedge does. (Job 1:6-12). As long as I have You, what more do I need? You are my everything. I depend solely upon You. I always have. I just never saw it like this before. You have shown me the path of wisdom, now it is up to me to walk in it. 
     You have shown me the promise; the desire of my heart. You are preparing me to walk into it. But wisdom is a seed, it must be sown. It takes time for its fruit to grow. God must give the increase. Wait for it. In your waiting you will find wisdom. Don't rush. Be still. To every season there is a purpose under heaven. 

 "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:"
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

     Be content. He is with me. I am His and no one can snatch me out of My Father's hand. Everything has a purpose. Nothing is outside of His knowledge. He sees all and is all. He is God the Almighty. I am His. I can rest in this. This is the way, walk ye in it. His grace has me right where I belong. Amen.

    Him. If you seek Him, you will find Him, when you search for Him with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
 I am beginning to understand what His sovereignty means. I don't think I will every be able to fully grasp or understand it to its depths, but I can seek to understand, and that my friend is what He is asking. Seek to know Him. Seek to understand His love, grace, mercy, sovereignty; seek
     God is in control of everything. There is, and never will be (because it never has been) out of His control. The world has gone to hell in a hand basket; but if you read His Word- He shows you it is all in His control. There is a reason, a purpose, and a place for all that is happening in my life. I do not completely understand it, but it is where He has me, and it is where I will stay. I will continue to wait, and hope and put my trust in Him. My faith has got me this far, I know He will get me through. Amen? 
     When I read through Ecclesiastes 3, I see a reflection of my life. My ups and down, my highs and lows; all my sorrows, all my joys- my lessons and my blessings. It is all there, written down. Within every single season, there is great joy and grace to behold, so much to learn and time to grow. Every season in nature has one purpose; to nurture, grow and reproduce the fruit God has planted within His creation. Our lives are no different. Every season of our lives has one purpose; to nurture us through His Word, to grow and abide in His grace and to produce fruit for His glory. What greater purpose is there than that? Amen? 
     I have been praying to God to teach me to be content in whatever season I am in. And He is answering me. He is showing me His sovereignty over every  single season of my life. No matter when I am up, or down, near or far; He knew where I was, where I would be, and where I am going. He prepared the path I am on specifically for me. He knew, He saw, He planned and He prepared this season especially for me. Seek Him in this season and you will see His sovereign hand withholding, upholding, protecting and providing, every step of the way. He will never cease to amaze me. I am in awe. For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. 
     He is in control. We are the hands of His time piece. He is the watchmaker. We are His creation, working together to move the hands of His time. You are always a part of His plan. Amen? He has sent us out as laborers among the harvest. But while we are in this season of waiting for the harvest to grow, let's prep the barns, clean the threshing floors and prepare to reap what we have sown.

   "Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains."

     Be patient. Keep doing the work. Make ready and be prepared. God will equip you and provide the necessary rains to help grow the seeds of faith and hope that you have planted. Be patient. Soon you will reap a harvest that will overflow your barns and fill your heart with joy. Be patient. Be faithful. Tend to your acre and let God do what only God can do. Amen? 

Be still and know that I am God.

(July 18, 2019 P.M.) 

     I have been  reading God's Word for 20 years. I have spent hours pouring into it; digging into it and writing it all down. But one simple truth humbles all my pride- I am only able to understand His Word if He chooses to reveal it to me. His Word is only spiritually discerned. Even His Word, spoken to me, is timed perfectly so that it will not return to Him void. (Isaiah 55:11)  It serves its purpose.
     For instance, I have read James 5:7 many times- even wrote and taught a bible study on James. But until today, I never understood it. I'll be honest- it always kind of stumped me. It didn't seem to make any sense to me, no mater how deep I dug. But now I know why. Because I didn't need it then. I needed it now. He spoke His Word at the perfect time, at the hour of my need and it produced fruit for His glory because this little sapling just grew a new leaf! He takes great delight in every step we take, no matter how small or how great. Amen?
     Again, He amazes me. He is perfect. There is no doubt about that. He is the I Am. He is the Father who is so excited to see His baby girl taking her first steps. He is the Father who is holding out His arms, walking before me; eyes full of joy, ready to catch me if I fall. That's my God. He is Lord of all. Amen.
     He is sufficient. Even His Word is timed perfectly, giving me exactly what I need the moment I need it. I can be driving in my car, hear a song on the radio, think of a scripture and - boom- there it is. My eyes are opened and I get it. I understand what He has been trying to show me in His Word. I get it. Even over our thoughts and the very song we need to hear, at the moment we hear it....come on, now tell me there is no God! Or tell me then, if you say He is God, why don't you follow Him?
     I am going to hop down a bunny trail and say this- if you say you love God, that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then show me your faith. James said it best! "...Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (James 2:18 ESV) We shouldn't have to tell people we are saved; it should be evident in every area of our lives. So, when you say you love God, you are a follower of Jesus Christ, all I ask is that you show me. I believe you. I believe you believe. Who am I to question your salvation? I will seek to know Jesus in you. If you say you are a follower of Him, then I will see Him in you. Show me your faith  by your works. It is that simple.
     Back to my original point- sorry! God is in control. My very breath is in His hands. Rest. You are on the right path. If you are not sure- read His Word. Shut off the world; shut out the distractions and get real with Him. He's got His hands on you. He is sustaining your whole life. I can be content, whether I have need or lack- why? Because He knows exactly what I need to get through every single season of my life. He's seen it; prepared for it, and mapped it all out. All I have to do is have a faith that walks and trust in the One who is leading me. Take those first steps. He's waiting. He is so delighted in you.
     May we not forget to seek the treasures of His Word. May we not neglect so great a gift ever again.  To everything there is a season, a purpose for everything under heaven. God's got you. Amen?

(July 19, 2019) 

     Keep my word to myself, and to God. That is the secret to obedience. If you say you are following God, then He anticipates your integrity. He will place you in situations and circumstances to see how sincere your heart is before Him. If we speak it, sing it, read it or think it, then He is looking at our hearts to see if we believe it, and if we walk in it.
     In the book of Job, Satan comes before God and God asks him a question about His servant Job. "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil? (Job 1:8 ESV)  And then again, even after the suffering God allowed Job to endure, God still speaks of his integrity, and is delighted in him. "...He still holds his integrity" (Job 2:3)
     Something I think we forget when we are suffering and are under attack, is that Satan does not  know the outcome. Only God the Father knows the times and seasons. When Satan went to God to "incite"  Him, God allowed Satan to think he had some control, and allowed him to inflict Job and test him, because God knew the outcome. God had already used this moment in Job's life to show forth His glory. God even wrote a book about it! He truly has the victory over all evil- even our enemy. He has already written down and spoken from beginning to end. There is nothing you, nor I, nor Satan can do about it. All things are under His feet! Amen!
     Integrity. It is what God is looking for. Integrity is keeping your word, doing the work, while trusting God's Sovereignty over your life. That's integrity. That's obedience. If I know, and tell myself I need to walk, do, or go in one direction, and I don't. I have no integrity. I have not kept my word to God or to myself.
     If I can't even keep my word to myself, how am I ever going to keep my word to God? Integrity is what God delights in. As I walk, He teaches me how to walk more upright, more stable. He helps me walk a little farther, and then He teaches me how to jump hurdles and how to go the distance. Every athlete trains and disciplines themselves. We cannot be obedient without self- discipline. (Galatians 5 calls it Self- Control)
      I must keep my word, my vows, promises, and the knowledge to do right before my God. This is obedient faith: the knowledge to do right, walking in it, and having confident faith in the One who told you to go that way. That is the kind of Faith God is looking for in those who call upon His name. That is obedience. That is the "faith by my works" that James is talking about. That is the integrity God is seeking in us who are called by His name. Amen?

(July 20, 2019) 

     I have made a lot of mistakes in my lifetime. I mean, in all reality, my life has been  a succession of mistakes. Everyday I screw up. I  do not give my best. I am not perfect. Praise God, I don't have to be! Because of what Jesus did for me, I am free. Free from the penalty of my mistakes. Every. Single. One. (Yeah, let that sink in!)
     God does not say that I am free from the consequences of my mistakes. God forbid. Remember, "God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sow, that he shall also reap." (Gal.6:7) Thankfully, through Jesus Christ, even though we may have to suffer for a moment the consequences of our mistakes; we do not have to suffer an eternity for them. One day we will be free. We will be perfect, because He is perfect. Amen?
     Because of what Jesus did, my sins; my everyday mistakes are gone. They are washed away the moment I confess them before my God. When my head hits that pillow at night, and I wake up the next day, yesterday's sins do not get back up with me. They are gone. Washed in the blood. "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV) His mercy is NEW  every morning. God does not look at your yesterday- so why are you? As far as the east is from the west, amen?
     However, there will be consequences. One thing I am learning is to confess quickly and the consequences are much lighter to endure. We weigh ourselves down in sin when we choose not to confess and make right. If I am convicted for something I say, or do, or think; then I need to get before my God and confess it. If I have wronged someone according to His standards, then it is my responsibility to make it right with them.
     I don't really care, to be honest, if you think I am weird when I ask for forgiveness and you think I have done nothing wrong. God said I did, and that is enough for me. When I am convicted by God for trespassing against someone or against Him, if I do not confess it and make it right with the other person, it eats away at my soul. It chews up my insides until I become sick. Unconfessed sin will kill you. It will eat away at you until all that is left is an empty shell of regrets. But, it is your choice.
     Integrity, plain and simple. If God says you have trespassed, then confess it, take responsibility before your God and before man. Learn from it. Become a better person for it. Confessing our sins is the first step towards sanctification from that sin. If you do not confess it, you can not learn from it. You limit God's ability to bless you when you carry around unconfessed sin. Keep your word to God, yourself and you will keep your word to man.
     The beautiful truth out of all life is that all my mistakes have taught me how to be the person I am today. They have taught me how to be more Christ-like. They have humbled me, and many times the consequences of my mistakes have wounded me deeply; but His great wisdom and foreknowledge, saw me and used all these mistakes to shape me and mold me into a clay vessel, fit for the Master's use. All my mistakes have worked together for my good; and He is using them for His glory. Just like His Word promises. How awesome is that?! I am who I am by the grace of God living and working in me; nothing more, nothing less. A Father who loved me and gave His Son for me- my mistakes and all. Amen.
     My friend, we live in a world who has heard enough about "Christian Jesus". They need to see it. They need to see pure, sincere, Christ followers living out a life of faith and reverent fear. Proven by their works of integrity. Above all else, seeking to please God, and not man. Be in the world, not of the world. I am having a really hard time distinguishing sincere Christ follower from the world around me today. My friends, these things ought not to be so!
     God is the judge of what is wrong or right- that's why we get convicted. God is your judge, whether you like it or not. Be obedient and let God take care of the rest. How do you know it's conviction and not condemnation? Because God never condemns. He always loves, even in His discipline. Condemnation will never lead you to confession, only depression. Conviction, on the other hand, draws you closer to God. You see your great need for Him to help you through your mistakes, and it leads to confession. When the conviction of the Law comes upon us, we know we have trespassed. We have set off the alarm, we are caught trying to sneak in past our Father, and He was waiting up for us the whole time. No sneaking around now. We were caught red handed.
     Conviction will take that trespass that God has shown you and give you directions on how to make it right. It is up to us to step out in obedient faith and do what He is showing us. Conviction  will prompt you to confess, and if you let it, God will use that confession and that mistake to grow you and strengthen you. If you only have faith. You will learn how to get past this hurdle and when faced with it again, you will glide over it and He will be glorified because of it. You will repeat the same mistakes many times over and over- we are sheep who like to wander around the mountain a few times before we learn! But how we choose to handle the conviction of sin will determine the weight of the consequences we will endure.
     We have a choice to do what is right or wrong; to follow sin or God. If we deny our sins, we will fall into condemnation because no matter how far you run, or how good you think you are hiding- God sees. God knows. And your enemy is lurking around trying to find a reason to go before God and accuse you to Him. He wants nothing else then for God to let him have you. Do not let his condemnation keep you hidden. And besides, whether you want to believe it or not, you will stand before Him and give an account. If your name is not written down in the Lamb's Book of Life- then the Great White Throne of heaven is all you are going to get to see for all eternity. Only those who are His get to enter into His Joy. You must believe.
     Whatever you choose, I pray you will walk in integrity. For mankind's sake, walk with integrity. For your neighbor, your co-workers, mom, dad, even the cashier at Wal-Mart- be a human being with integrity, and let them see the real Jesus. It is so desperately needed. Stop pretending and start walking. Integrity is the result of walking in faith. You can't have faith and not have works. Show me your faith, by your works. Amen? God bless you.
Thanks for reading all the way through! Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated. Lord God, may  you be magnified. Amen.