Jul 22 2008

He will do it

Subject: FaithRLW3 @ 6:09 pm

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.  Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit’s ends this passage with the promise that “He will do it.” What will He do? He shall bring about His glorious purposes to pass in our lives. He will bring to pass His desires that He has put in our hearts.

How He does that is His concern, not ours. All that we are required to do is to carry out our duty according to His precepts. He will do what He has promised.

Thy way, not mine, O Lord, However dark it be;
O lead me by thine own right hand, Choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough, It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it matters not, It leads me to thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot, I would not if I might;
But choose Thou for me, O my God, So shall I walk aright.

Take thou my cup, and it with joy or sorrow fill;
As ever best to thee may seem, Choose thou my good and ill.”

C.H. Spurgeon “A Treasury of David”

Jul 22 2008

Trust also in Him

Subject: FaithRLW3 @ 6:09 pm

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.  Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)

Committing our way to the Lord is the beginning of the adventure. The Holy Spirit follows this injunction with and exhortation to “trust also Him”.

Our walk of faith has only begun when we “commit our way to the Lord.” Derek Prince said, “Commit describes a single act of faith. Trust describes a continuing attitude that follows the initial act of committing. After that, God takes over: He will do it.”

For most, it is comparatively easy to “commit our way” to Him. However, trust is an entirely different matter. When it seems that the Lord is delinquent in fulfilling His promises, we are faced with a test: Do we continue to trust in Him or do we ‘take matters into our own hands’?

It is very sad to witness how prone I am to fretting-over my future, my success or lack thereof, my reputation, of being misunderstood, etc. Fretting eventually leads to unbelief. My heart starts accusing God: that He is against me, that He is frustrating me, that His promises are not true, at least not for me, etc., etc.

He is not against me. He is carefully orchestrating my circumstances to bring about what He cherishes the most: a heart that trusts Him.

“When we bear the burden of our own affairs ourselves, and are chastised with anxiety and want of success, and with envying the ungodly who prosper better than we do, the best remedy is first to do our duty, as we are enabled in the use of the means, then cast the care of the success over on God, as the ploughman doth when he hath harrowed his land; and let the burden of it rest on God, and let us not take it off Him again, but put our mind to rest, resolved to take the harvest in good part, as he shall send it.   David Dickson

Jul 09 2008

Commit, roll, cast, toss

Subject: Guidance,HumilityRLW3 @ 12:35 pm

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.  Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)

After we have “delighted ourselves in the Lord” and He has put His desires into our hearts, the Holy Spirit exhorts us to “commit our way to the Lord.”

The word translated commit means to “roll”. We are to roll our way onto the Lord. The same idea is communicated by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV)

The word translated ‘casting’ means to throw upon (lit. or fig.). The same word is used in a natural, physical  application in Luke 19:35.

Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own garments on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. Luke 19:35 (NKJV)

In the same way that they threw their garments on the colt, so we are to cast our cares upon the Lord, to ‘roll’ our way onto the Lord.

Jul 07 2008

Can we get a little more light here?

Subject: Guidance,ObedienceRLW3 @ 9:51 pm

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit compares the word of God to a small portable hand held lamp that was carried while traveling in the dark. It shed enough light to illuminate the next step to make sure that it was safe. This was especially important while crossing mountainous or treacherous terrain. However, it also provided general light on the overall path.

Too often, we are uncomfortable with the dim light that we receive from God. We want the strength of full sunlight making our way unmistakably clear so that we can take whatever steps we want to get there.

However, that is not God’s way. He is always seeking to draw us into situations where we will have to depend on Him. Why does He do that?

Because He loves us. I don’t mean that in a strictly religious or theoretical sense. He wants to be involved with us every step of the way as we go through life. He wants to live life with us. So, He shines on our path so we can get a general idea of where we are headed and see where to put our foot down for the next step.

As we act on the light that he has given us, He will show us the next step.

Jul 05 2008

What is in your hand?

Subject: GuidanceRLW3 @ 12:35 pm

In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.  Ecclessiastes 11:6 (NKJV)

In the previous verse, Solomon declared that we do not know the works of God. Yet, how much valuable time do we waste trying to “figure out” what God wants us to do before actually doing anything?

The overall implication of this verse is that God intends to do us good. If we are  diligent to obey him fully by sowing our seed and the morning and the evening, we will prosper, one way or the other or perhaps both.

How many of us have unnecessary pain and/or privation because we did not use every resource that God had made available to us? The Holy Spirit is encouraging us to push on every door that is in front of us. As we do, we will discover which one or ones the Lord has unlocked.

Too often we effectively lock doors that the Lord has opened for us because we never bother to try them. We assume that we “know the works of God.” (Eccl. 11:5) Instead of applying ourselves to discover where God is working in our life, either because of our laziness or doubt or unbelief or fear or false humility, we forsake the blessing of God by choosing to sow only in the morning or only in the evening or maybe not at all.

The Holy Spirit is quite clear: “for you do not know which will prosper.” History is full of examples of “great plans that couldn’t fail” doing just that. On the other hand, your have benefited this very day from “accidental” discoveries.

The Holy Spirit’s directive is to act on what we know, to use what He has already given us, just as He did to Moses.

Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’ “ So the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A rod.” Exodus 4:1-2 (NKJV)

People would ask me what was I going to do for work when I moved to Kansas City. I really didn’t know. I had a desire to either start or buy a business. That is what I was most excited about.
However, I have never done that before. Additionally, someone had offered me a job. Also, a recruiter had just contacted me.

The truth is that I did not know which would prosper. Therefore, I chose to sow my seed in the morning and again in the evening. I decided to send the recruiter my resume and call the man who offered me the job. I did not know which would prosper but I decided to act on what God had put into my hand.

It took TEN months longer than I planned to finish remodeling my house and then to sell it. Over time, the man who offered me the job stopped returning my calls. The recruiter didn’t seem all that interested after I gave him my resume.

So, what do I have in my hand? I still have this course on buying a business that my wife and I paid for. We paid for it because we thought that it was the right thing to do at the time.

What if my plan on buying or starting a business doesn’t work out? It wouldn’t be the first time that I have “heard God” and ended up with a less than favorable outcome.

However, it IS in my hand. I am going to pick it up and use it! Perhaps God has or will open a door!

Jul 04 2008

What a relief!

Subject: Guidance,HumilityRLW3 @ 11:53 am

As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes all things.  Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit states two natural truths. We do not know or really understand the way of the wind or how bones are formed in the womb. In the same way that we do not understand the two aforementioned wonders, the Holy Spirit tells us that we do not know or understand the works of God.

This is not a rebuke. This is a statement of fact.

His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 (NKJV)

He does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous thing without number. Job 5:9 (NKJV)

How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Romans 11:33 (NKJV)

It is such a relief to know that my lack of specific understanding of what God is doing in my life or wants to do does not mean that I have some serious spiritual defect. I don’t have to understand everything that God is doing in my life. In fact, this Scripture says quite plainly that even when I think I know, I don’t.

While I may not know the works of God, I do know that He loves me and wants to do good to me because He IS good. 

My lack of understanding of what He is doing or how He is going to accomplish His plans for my life is not an obstruction. He is able to guide my steps even when I don’t understand.

Jul 02 2008

The timing is not good!

Subject: Faith,GuidanceRLW3 @ 5:51 pm

He who observes the wind will not sow…  Eccl. 11:4a

The man described in this verse can never find a good time to sow because the wind is blowing. If he sows today, the wind will blow the seed where he did not intend it. Therefore, he should wait for the wind to die down.

Frequently, we, like this man, don’t start new projects because of what might happen. We cannot be certain that our “sowing” will work out the way we have planned. So, we do nothing because something might go wrong. The timing is not quite right. Why? We don’t really know. It just doesn’t “feel” right.

At the root of this behavior and view of life is an erroneous belief that all of our success depends on us. God, who controls the conditions or circumstances, cannot be trusted. Our unbelief prevents us from launching out on the new venture that God has put into our hearts.

…and he who regards the clouds will not reap.  Eccl. 11:4b

If you talk to enough people, you will soon discover that there is never a “good” time to make any change. You can ALWAYS find dark clouds that might soon empty themselves.

People are always talking about the surrounding economic conditions and using it as a justification for inaction. “Well, what’s the market like?” “I’ve heard that we are going into a recession.”

However, if we look, there are always people who prosper during adverse economic conditions. Microsoft was launched in the midst of terrible economic conditions during Jimmy Carter’s presidency. Fabulous marriages are being both started and enjoyed right now even though many segments of our culture have accepted and even applaud immorality and divorce.

We also have many examples of people going bankrupt in the midst of a booming economy. There was a time when our culture held marriage in very high esteem yet marriages still failed.

We should be aware of our circumstances and the season that we live in. However, we should not make them our god. The environment doesn’t determine either our success or failure.

If we find ourselves endlessly observing the wind or regarding the clouds, we might do well to question ourselves. We shouldn’t be surprised if we find that the root of all our much “observing” is not “wisdom” but rather fear.

Change represents the unknown. Although the present conditions might be unbearable, we frequently prefer to remain in them rather than face the fear of making a mistake and the uncertainty of change.

Is it really better to live as a slave in Egypt than to venture out into the unknown trusting in the God of heaven to lead us into the land that He has marked out for us?

Jul 01 2008

Life happens

Subject: GuidanceRLW3 @ 9:49 pm

All of this talk about trying to discern God’s will for our lives brings up a very important question. Am I advocating that God’s people stay in their prayer closets until they are sure of God’s will?

Unfortunately, I have done this myself on more occasions than I care to admit. However, Solomon’s writing in Ecclesiastes helped me develop a much more complete perspective on this topic.

If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.   Ecclesiastes 11:3

The Holy Spirit basically says that life happens. If the clouds get full, it is going to rain. If a tree falls, then wherever it fell, that is where it is going to stay until someone moves it. Life happens.

There is not much value in trying to figure out why it rained when it rained or why the tree fell where it did. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out why our circumstances are difficult or contrary, we should just accept them for what they are and figure out our next step. The tree has fallen. It rained…or its going to rain. What am I going to do?

It is our responsibility to “walk by faith.” We cannot walk without taking the next step.

Jun 30 2008

Acknowledge Him???

Subject: GuidanceRLW3 @ 7:48 am

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; :6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  Prov. 3:5-6

As we discussed earlier, one of the most important skills in life is the ability to recognize change and respond properly. Too many people refuse to recognize change. They live in the world as they think that it “should” be.

When we set out on a venture for the Lord and encounter difficult, confusing, contrary or conflicting circumstances, we are tempted to withdraw in unbelief because things did not turn out the way that we thought they would.

However, the Holy Spirit instructs us in the Scripture above to ” in all our ways acknowledge Him”. Keep in mind that this follows His admonition to “trust in the Lord” and His instruction to “lean not on our own understanding.” 

Acknowledge means “to accept or admit the existence of truth of.” (Put your mouse over the word ‘acknowledge’, right click, select “Look up in Dictionary” and you will see for yourself!) Is the Scripture instructing us to give God a spiritual tip of the hat, to just admit or accept that He is real? I do not think so.

The Hebrew word translated acknowledge means a bit more than admit or accepting the existence or truth of. The word is yada. It is the same word used in a very different context in Genesis.

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain…  Gen. 4:1

As far as I know, it takes a little more than acknowledging our wife’s existence to produce a child! Clearly this is more than a passing acknowledgement.

It is an intimate word. Young’s Literal Translation renders this passage as “In all thy ways know thou Him.” We are to “know Him” in all of our ways. The Holy Spirit is directing us to follow Jesus example.

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.   John 5:19

Every step along the way, we should hold the question in our heart: “Lord, is this what you want me to do?”

How can we be sure that we are making the right choice or doing the right thing? I don’t know that we can be absolutely certain. In the same passage where the apostle Paul declared that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” he expressed a realistic goal:

“Therefore we make it our aim…to be well pleasing to Him.”. (2 Cor. 5:9)

Jun 28 2008

Software you can eat!

Subject: UncategorizedRLW3 @ 1:18 pm

This morning, while eating a slice of watermelon, I had an epiphany. It seems to happen more with watermelon than any other fruit.

This wonderful fruit that I am eating grew from a seed. Everyone knows that. However, it is worth a little more consideration.

A seed is essentially a little package of software. The shell is comparable to the CD/DVD etc. that carries the software. As we insert the disk into our computer, so we put the seed into the ground.

Just as computer software will not be installed until triggered, so the program inside the seed’s shell remains unused and undiscovered until the heat and moisture of the soil crack open the hard shell. When that happens, the program inside the seed begins the installation process.

Once installed, computer software’s programming begins to interact with the operating system. Likewise the seed’s program, once the shell is cracked, begins to draw nutrients and moisture from the soil.

After software loads on our computers, it waits to take our input, energy and thought and convert them into something more useful (a design, a painting, a document, a chart, etc). The seed’s plant breaks through the soil into the sunlight and begins to convert energy from the sun and into matter! The particular program that I enjoyed this morning (watermelon seed) converted the sun’s energy into an intricate, fleshy, sponge-like web that absorbed up this very sweet tasting water until it was completely saturated!

Software is usually valued by two primary factors: what it does and how easy it is to use. When we witness the amazing things that a good piece of software will do, we indirectly honor the programmers who created the software by buying the software. The easier it is to use, the more people that will honor the programmers by buying the software.

How delicious and nutritious are the edible “documents” that the Great Programmer’s software produces every day, year after year! How difficult would it be to make the same things without His incredible programming and special, protective packaging? How easy is it to both install and use the Great Programmers innumerable software programs (seeds)?

Yet He offers them at such a deeply discounted price!

We would surely question someone who regularly used great software on their computer yet concluded that this particular configuration of electrons just happened by random chance; that no programmers were involved. Yet, everyday untold numbers of people partake of God’s brilliance and goodness and conclude that He does not exist.

The next time that you are in the company of such a person, share a great piece of fruit with them!

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