And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Rom 1:28); Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)~~ At times we may feel that we do not need God, but on the day when the storms of disappointment rage, the winds of disaster blow, and the tidal waves of grief beat against our lives, if we do not have a deep and patient faith, our emotional lives will be ripped to shreds. There is so much frustration in the world because we have relied on gods… rather than God. We have genuflected before the god of science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate. We have worshiped the god of pleasure only to discover that thrills play out and sensations are short-lived. We have bowed before the god of money only to learn that there are such things as love and friendship that money cannot buy and that in a world of possible depressions, stock market crashes, and bad business investments, money is a rather uncertain deity. These transitory gods are not able to save us nor bring happiness to the human heart. Only God is able. It is belief, faith and reliance in Him that we must rediscover. With this we can transform bleak and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of joy and bring new light into the dark caverns of pessimism! (Martin Luther King, Jr- Strength to Love) God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways! Until we stop trying to show Him our plan and get to know His plan, our lives will be in turmoil as a result of our own choices! ..Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven (Matt 6:10)…His Will is THE will; His way is THE way!
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)
I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil 4:13)~~ A little boy was trying to pick up a large rock, but couldn’t budge it. His father, watching the struggle, decided this was a good time for a lesson. “Go ahead, son,” he urged. “Pick up that rock.” “I can’t, Dad. It’s too heavy.” “Sure you can, son. Pick up the rock.” The boy grabbed the rock again, puffing and straining, but he couldn’t move it. “It’s too heavy, Dad.” “Son, the reason you can’t pick up the rock is because you’re not using all your strength.”This really puzzled the boy, so he grunted and groaned some more. Finally he said in frustration, “But Daddy, I am using all my strength!” “No, you’re not,” came the reply. “You haven’t asked me to help you.” And with that, the father leaned over and picked up the rock.
I think I know that rock, because I’ve tried to pick it up a few times myself! How about you? Are you huffing and puffing, grunting and groaning in frustration, trying to move a boulder in your life when Jesus is standing there saying, “You haven’t asked Me to help yet”. We struggle so much when God is waiting to show His power in our lives-power and help far, far beyond anything we can ask or imagine. In our pride we try to hold on to our independence and we want to attach our own ‘person’ to the accomplishments and successes of life and when a trial comes we struggle with the concept of not being able to do it ourselves to the point that we feel diminished if we have to ask aside of ourselves. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean NOT UNTO THINE OWN understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge HIM, and HE shall direct thy paths (Prov 3:5-6). Pride makes us worry about how we look to others. Forget that.. I ain’t too proud to beg when it comes to asking…because I know where my help comes from! The Lord is absolutely ready willing and certainly able to move not only boulders but even mountains out of our way… if we would just exercise that smallest amount of faith… to ask and trust in Him.
…for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed (Ps 37:25-26)~ The blessing of God is the spring, sweetness, and security of all earthly enjoyments. And if we are sure of this, we are sure not to want any thing good for us in this world. By His grace and Holy Spirit, He directs the thoughts, affection, and designs of His children. By His providence He overrules events, so as to make our way plain. He does not always show us His way for a distance, but leads us step by step, as children are led. Sometimes He allows us to fall…just a little, but God will keep us from being ruined by our falls, either into sin or into trouble. Though such a fall will sorely hurt, there is much wisdom and dependence on Him to learn from and His grace and mercy to experience. I have yet to see a consistent believer, or their children, reduced to abject, friendless want. Because God doesn’t forsake us in affliction; and in Heaven only the righteous in Him shall dwell for ever; yes..that will be our everlasting habitation (Ps 37:18). A good man may fall into the hands of a messenger of Satan, and be sorely buffeted, but God will not leave us in His enemy’s hands!
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:
for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand (Ps 37:24)!
All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify (1 Cor 10:23)~ just because it’s the thing that everybody is doing doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Just because there’s a law supporting it and it’s the ‘way the world is’ doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that you have to conform to it! Our ‘freedoms’ are often enjoyed beyond their intent because we see them as a limitless path to a desired activity. The constitution grants us freedom of speech – and we sure enjoy THAT freedom because there is NO FILTER these days on what people will say, post, tweet or blog! A law that allows for legalization of marijuana doesn’t mean everyone should go out and get high. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it (Rom 6:1-2). Our freedoms are not intended that we just go and do as we please; but they are set in place that there will be no laws or restrictions set in place that imprison us to the contrary or impose a specific movement or view. they liberate us from the oppression of unjust laws. When we go to these extremes ‘expressing our freedoms’ – we are in essence imprisoning ourselves. God’s grace gives us freedom from sin and life to the dead ‘in Him’, but when we continue in sin and lawlessness under the impression that God’s grace forgives us, we abuse what He has given us and we misconstrue its purpose – we allow ourselves then to be enslaved from that which we were already freed! So if you use grace to enslave or impoverish yourself by making dumb decisions, and indulging the flesh and doing and saying whatever “feels good”, then you are setting aside grace. You are not using it for its intended purpose. Grace and freedom liberate, but if you use this freedom to discard your freedom, then what was the point? You are no better off than when you started. Even with our freedoms, as children of God, we ARE the example of Christ! We are allowed broad freedoms to live as we choose, and God grants us the free will to make decisions for our lives. But we need to understand that everything we do is still accountable to the statute of God’s righteousness. Furthermore, all of our actions are an example to someone that is going a certain way. Each day, you are sending a message to the people around you and some of them are extremely impressionable. Is your message one you are proud to deliver? Do you have any behaviors that might have a negative influence on others? You are the only Bible some people will ever read, and your life is under scrutiny every day. Do they see an accurate picture of God in you? What example will you follow? What example will you set? Will they see you imprisoned by your freedoms or will they see you liberated in the truth and righteousness of God’s grace?
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Gal 5:1)
Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.’ But Naaman was furious and went away and said, ‘Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’’(2 Kings 5:10-11)~~
God’s healing is not some magical incantation or illusionist trick and He doesn’t just go around changing us in a puff of smoke or catering to our whims because we call Him God! There must be an act of faith, often aside of our comfort zone and it may even put us in an out of character or undesirable condition.
Looking for a quick cure, Naaman came to Elisha and was told to bathe in the Jordan, never a river known for its clear waters! This command filled Naaman with rage, and he shared his desire that the prophet just speak an incantation, wave his hand over the leprosy, and provide instant healing. Not only did he demand his healing but he insisted it should be done with a specific pomp and circumstance.
Instead here the rich man was told to enter into probably one of the dirtiest and most disgusting conditions he’d ever seen – a place he likely considered beneath him. Not only would he require faith but humility! Those who come to God must have faith in who He is and only when we are humbled in His presence, will God exalt us! Without faith we cannot please God but the smallest of such can move mountains. Without humility, we cannot see God for who He is because we are too busy seeing ourselves!
How often do we want to tell God how to do His business? The old saying, “beggars can’t be choosers” fits well here. Naaman (like many of us) forgot that he was the beggar, at the mercy of God Almighty. Until Naaman could humble himself to take a step in faith, he would not find healing.
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble!
The fool has said in his heart “There is no God” (Ps 14:1); The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the Hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? (Ps 24:1-3)~~ In the beginning, God began the beginning. He did not begin WITH the beginning, He IS the beginning; He BEGAN the beginning; God existed before the beginning began and when the end is over, He will still be God! He is Alpha and Omega – He exists on both ends of eternity – everything starts with Him and nothing ends without Him; and everything in between, He did. He never had to consult with you or I in His creation or when He put the sun, moon and stars in the sky. He didn’t need our permission to determine where to put grass or water or mountains; yet they are all perfect! He didn’t need our advice on how to create our bodies and make us unique; yet we all function and contain more intelligence, greatness and un-duplicatable specialty than the greatest human mind could possibly imagine or understand. Yet in all these things we as His ‘creation’ have the audacity to question His authenticity as our creator! We look to things that man has ‘crafted’…from the creations of God (by the way)… and with our “God-given” talents we dishonor Him. We take a negative situation to use as ammunition to question the very presence of God and we seek answers to our curiosity as if looking to disprove His existence and we play around with intelligence and then credit ourselves with the creation of life itself. Our own efforts become our source and salvation. Ultimately, We as the ‘creation’ put more emphasis on serving the ‘created’ rather than the ‘creator’! We have elevated ourselves to be the gods of our own lives. Some of these ‘unbelievers’ even constantly ponder and challenge ‘us’ with the question: “Who is this God? What if you’re all wrong and after this life on Earth, that’s IT? What if all of this focus and attention on God is part of the longest running scam in history and that all of our focus and guiding our lives with this ‘faith’ and ‘integrity’ and ‘nature of goodness’ does nothing more than rob of us what could be while we have time? Why should I believe in Him?” Okay, so looking at that point, if God doesn’t exist; if living your life under guidelines and decent Godly principles means you’ve wasted your life because when it’s over, it’s over.. then the loss is yours. If that were the case, then your life is what you make it. But here is my question: what if the unbeliever is wrong? What if God’s promises “are” real, what if there “is” a beautiful eternity prepared for us but we decided not to believe? For the unbeliever, nothing changes…when life ends on Earth, it’s over and for eternity there will be nothing for them but separation from God…but for the believer, there is God and all He has promised…forever. Whether it’s true or not, we have not seen and could say we really don’t know, but my faith says yes and that’s what I believe! An unbeliever may think I’m “insane” but I’d rather risk being insane in faith and having my eternity than righteous as a self made god to myself that is counting down to my end. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. (Eph 4:26-27) Would you pick up a flaming hot coal in your hand to throw at someone else hoping to burn them? Better yet, would you drink poison with the expectation that someone else would get sick or die from it?? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t. So WHY would you allow yourself to contain anger or a grudge against someone? Why do you choose to hang on to your wrath rather than letting it go so God can help you deal with and fix the problem? When you carry that anger because your pride and ego won’t let you put it down, you are essentially burning yourself, poisoning yourself and stressing yourself out. And guess what… that person you’re mad at…is moving on..just fine. Your grudge had ZERO impact on them. Tomorrow will have enough problems of its own (should you live to see it) without you bringing today’s bag of issues into it. It’s bad enough to go to bed angry… but why would we want to get up in that same old state? Think about this, to go to bed.. mad, the sleep you do get is not quality because you left your mind and heart to stress all that drama you had too much pride to let go of.. only to wake up…. still mad… keeps you from being truly and fully thankful to God for the day He has given you; cause you’re mad! I hear you saying “oh I’m thankful but I’m still mad!” I hear you saying “I’m not ready to forgive because I’m still mad…” or even worse, the great lie – Yes, YOUR great LIE: “I’ve forgiven but I’m still mad…” (True forgiveness lets go of anger). You so mad you PROUD of YO mad! Really?? How’s that working for you? Who are you really hurting by staying mad??? Does your wrath and anger bring about God’s righteousness (the only TRUE righteousness)? Would God ever bless you and carry anger over you? What devil in hell told you its okay to stay in this angry phase? Well the devil IS a lie! He’s laughing at you because he’s tricked you into slowly stressing YOURSELF to death! Whatever it is… deal with it before the day ends! What if the chance to reconcile never comes (tomorrow)? You think being angry takes a toll on you, try not ever having the chance to forgive or apologize. Don’t let the devil have his day at your expense! God keeps the one in perfect peace whose mind us stayed on HIM; so do whatever you have to do to drop that grudge, that anger, that attitude, into God’s hand!!! Refuse to be unhappy…trade that burden for His peace! And when you give it to Him, DON’T TRY TO TELL HIM HOW TO SOLVE IT… IT BELONGS TO HIM NOW!! When you make that first move, then your heart and spirit are relaxed where you can now rest on it! And do just that.. IN PEACE, sleep on it, You’ll sleep better and live to wake up feeling much better! And watch what GOD does when you are at peace, in Him!