Why is it man has this tendency to think God is messin’ with him…and not take God at His word? Or, only believe He is either with us or against us?
Our God…who parted the Red Sea, rained manna from heaven, toppled the walls of Jericho, quenched the fire and closed the lion’s mouths. God…who healed the sick, raised the dead and calmed the storm! Our heavenly Father.
Psalms 89:34 My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.
When some less than desirable event takes place in our life, the first thing that pops into our mind is, “God is mad at me today. He let me get away with it last week, last month, but today it’s all catching up with me and He’s getting even.” Ever thought that? How about this, “God is waaay over there…He’s been way over there for a time now because I did this, or that…and well, some things I have to work out on my own.”
In Hebrews, Paul quotes, and reiterates, God’s promise to us prophesied nearly 500 years before,
Jeremiah 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Hebrews 10:17 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
How is it we come to believe we have some part of our life which flows with the Spirit and another part of our life we have to figure out? Do we just become complacent with what Jesus has done for us? Well, here’s a hint: When Peter attempted to rebuke Jesus for saying He didn’t have to die, Jesus answered him with,
Matthew 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Could it be we are more mindful of the things of men? Trying to live our lives in some rational box, we often are more mindful of the reality around us than the things of God.
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
There was a time when you couldn’t trust your heart…this verse in Jeremiah is commonly used out of context to excuse our actions and surmise…”Well, that’s just the way it is…”. Have you heard this?
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Like so many other verses of scripture quoted out of context, the quote fails to read into what was written before…
Jeremiah 17:5 “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. And this… Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord.
Even so…we, along with them, need a new heart!
As a believer, God gave us a new heart! A heart which plans a way…BUT the Lord is directing our steps! Prophesied by Ezekiel and fulfilled in Christ:
Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Wow…the deceitful heart, a heart of stone, will be replaced! A heart that reasons God is a myth, Jesus was just a man, you’re doing fine and the grave is final. This is a heart that won’t believe it until it can be seen, tasted, touched or smelled. That’s an unbelieving heart.
But just pick up a rock and imagine it was your heart; dead, cold and hard. Do what you can do to soften it up; warm it in sunlight; put it in the ground, water it and make it grow! Try it! Didn’t work did it? No, and without the miraculous and outrageous grace of our Father, that was your heart. Now, God has replaced that stone with a heart of flesh…a new man transformed from glory to glory. And a God who will be merciful and never again remember our sins…
Hebrews 8:12 …For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
There was a time God remembered sin but now, ”…I will remember no more.” So why do some believers spend so much time remembering what God says He won’t? Why do some believers think God is mad at them for things they are forgiven? Blaming God for everything bad that happens to them in their lives! Why? Because they are sin conscious…and not forgiveness conscious; spending more energy on what they can’t do than on what they can do…missing so many blessings. Not realizing some things are just natural consequences…
If you put your hand on a hot stove, you know it will burn you right? So, when you chose to put your hand on the stove, and it burns, how is that the stoves fault? See what I mean? When a traffic sign says 55 miles per hour and you drive 100 miles per hour and get a speeding ticket…is God punishing you? Is God mad at you? Has God pulled His blessings and cast you aside? No, it was simply a consequence of a choice you made. Most likely in opposition to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Knowledge of God’s Word can help discern whether or not our desires come from the Holy Spirit. Just test your inclinations against Scripture—the Holy Spirit will never prod us to do anything contrary to God’s Word…the Holy Spirit will never talk you into divorcing your spouse. If it conflicts with the Bible, then it is not from the Holy Spirit and should be ignored. But how will you know unless you read it?
One of the most important ways to recognize the Holy Spirit’s guidance is to be familiar with God’s Word. The scriptures are the ultimate source of wisdom. The more you read, the more you search and meditate, the more apt you are to “plan your way” expecting blessings. You have probably heard the Word is the “sword of the Spirit” right?
Ephesians 6:14-17 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Did you notice the armor of God? Your waist girded in truth, the breast plate, your feet shod, wearing the helmet of salvation and holding the shield of faith…all defensive; to protect you. But the word of God, the sword of the Spirit is a weapon of attack! With all that protection, what kind of a fight do you suppose you are you going to put up without a sword?
One of the first things Jesus said after His resurrection, at the tomb…
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
“My Father and your Father…My God and your God.” He is your father! He is your God! The creator of the universe is your Father…who is merciful, loves you more than His own Son and has promise after promise to take care of you and never leave you.
Did Mary have faith at the tomb? After all, Jesus made no secret He would be resurrected on the third day. Yet, when the angels from heaven ask,
John 20:13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
No she didn’t show much faith…but she had a heart for God and it manifested. She loved the Lord. Here she is, talking to two angels from heaven- angels dressed in white, then a man appears behind her who she believes is the gardener. It was Jesus but she didn’t know it. And what does she do when He ask her what she was weeping about? She lets him know quick she needs to find the body of Jesus…
John 20:15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Mary might not have had a lot of faith…but she sure had a love for the Lord. There are so many lessons here for another time and another writing.
So stop all the petty blame game. There is a hymnal written by Luther Bridgers back in 1910 called, ”There’s Within My Heart A Melody”. The chorus of the song is, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…sweetest name I know”. Instead of blaming God for something He didn’t have anything to do with, just let this little chorus remind you how much God loves you…and He didn’t get up on the wrong side of the bed! When things get off in the ditch, and yes we all know God will chastise us at times, but understand sometimes we just make a bad choice. Stand under a tree in a lightning storm? Well…you get it. But don’t ever think for a minute God has pulled away from and abandoned you…
Forget human things…forget facing the reality and hopelessness of your situation. Forget human beliefs and human advice…especially when you might be at your lowest. Remember and trust in this…God will NEVER leave or forsake you so,
Hebrews 13:6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
And remember your amour…Jesus is your truth to gird your waist…Jesus is your breastplate of righteousness...Jesus is the peace you shod your feet with, your shield of faith and your helmet of salvation…Jesus is your total salvation and protection. And not just your heaven and hell salvation, but your daily walk salvation
But hey, if you really want to get into the fight? If you really want to do some hard core damage to the enemy…pick up your sword.
BETHEL ASSEMBLY OF GOD
In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1:4)
With Your Hand On The Plow
"Sometimes human beings—individuals or communities—are confronted with something that they must reject outright or that, if they accept it, will demand the remaking of their worldview." (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope)
"Hope, for the Christian, is not wishful thinking or mere blind optimism. It is a mode of knowing, a mode within which new things are possible, options are not shut down, new creation can happen." (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope)
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The Blind Man And Zacchaeus, Part 2
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"If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever." (Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor)