Sunday, June 22, 2014

Specialize In This!

There are a couple of things, which, if you specialize in them--in wholly committing to their truth and being subject to such truth, then the troubles of this life are veritably crushed.  No longer do the shifting winds toss you about.  On a raging, stormy sea, you are anchored in place and need not be continually fighting your way back to the safe harbor of proper understanding.

Especially in times such as these, it is the only way to go in order to avoid much anxiety, fretting, depression, hysteria, wallowing and covetousness.  Covetousness indeed is at the core of all sins, for when we do not put God in His proper role as Lord of the whole of life, then we begin casting about pining for different circumstances, better "fortune" . . . ANYTHING, it seems would be preferably to the position we find ourselves in.  It's as if God made a mistake or is not hearing our requests (or more usually--DEMANDS.)

" . . . he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered."   --Prov. 28:25-26

"Prosper" in what?  It can't mean worldly riches, for look at the apostles, the many martyrs--look at Christ.  Certainly they trusted in the Lord; but in what way did they prosper?

Well, there is only one kind of riches that have any lasting and true value and these are the riches, the treasures, stored in Heaven.  SPIRITUAL prosperity is what this must mean.  But, while people give lip service to the importance of "spiritual" treasure . . . their day-to-day lives prove the contrary.  Practically every waking thought and action is aimed at securing temporal advantage and security.  Where the heart is (where one's thoughts, emotions, will, hankering is) that is where the treasure they actually value lies.  And far more often than not, it is on the things of this world.  Heaven is a distant, hazy concept, barely worth considering in the heat of the present moment.  But this is where one's faith is truly exposed. . . .

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil."  --Prov. 3:5-7

Who walks "wisely" . . . to be "delivered"?  From where does true wisdom come?  From "fear of the Lord" which is the beginning of wisdom!

This is the difference between the fool who reasons his way TO God, versus the wise one who reasons FROM God.  When God is the Lord of your reasoning; when you have at last submitted to His rule, His reality, His sovereignty . . . only then do you begin to experience that unique and powerful "peace which Christ gives."  Only then are you anchored to the Rock in the midst of the tossing waves and fiery darts from the evil one and the wrath of fallen nature.

Learning to reason FROM God, from His Lordship, is one of those things to specialize in, day in, day out.  

An example of this in action goes something like this:  Let's say somebody close to you makes a mistake.  They do something which causes lots of trouble and a mess which YOU are then expected and must help clean up/fix.  Once the mishap is done you can be angry, frustrated and in your mind and to others be complaining how IF ONLY this or that would have happened a different way--if the mess-maker had only listened and done such and such . . . all would be so much better!

But when you are under the Lordship of God, and you have finally and fully submitted to HIS sovereignty and rule in ALL things . . . and you truly believe that not a sparrow falls but that His hand and knowledge is in it . . . then WHATEVER it is that has happened up to this very moment IS GOD'S WILL!  AND . . . you can know and trust that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Do you really believe that?  Or do you "lean on your own understanding" and think that sometimes God makes mistakes or misses things--isn't paying close attention or doesn't really care about "small" things?

Here is another example which shows how reasoning FROM God helps in understanding scripture and some of the so-called "harder" things written in the Bible.

When God commands the Israelites to "utterly destroy" the Amorites, the Canaanites etc., and to "not leave anything that breathes" . . . the person who reasons TO God, "leaning" on their own understanding . . . is confused and begins to doubt the goodness of God.  These are the typical kinds of passages that atheists, pagans and cultists attack and use to malign God's character.  Why?  Because they have their own idea of what is "good", "moral" . . . which they use to project onto and judge God with.  THEY have set themselves up as judge, jury--indeed, as "god" of the universe, using their own reasoning and feelings to be the ultimate standard of how God "ought" to behave and be.

But if you are already submitted to His Word, and reason FROM God, then you first of all know that God is good.  And that He does not--can not--do ANYTHING which is evil.  You also know that He is love.  And you know that "all things work together for good to those who love God."  So, if we see evil in the world, in the Bible, in this life etc., we know that while God is NOT evil and is only holy and good . . . He must have a holy and good and even loving purpose in allowing it!  In the case of the Amorites, et al, we know that they were a horrifically wicked people who sacrificed their children and committed all kinds of atrocities amongst themselves and upon others.  They had been repeatedly warned to repent and abandon their vile and violent rebellion against the God who made them.  He was even patient with their stubbornness and allowed the cup of the iniquity to wax full.  And then, as He has every right to do, He punished them, using His chosen people, just as He has every right to use whatever means He chooses.  And WHATEVER He does or wills others to do on His behalf, is by definition "GOOD"!  So what's the problem?

There is only a problem if you, using your own, finite, fallen, limited, self-loving, idoltrous, ignorant reasoning, judge and accuse God.  What fool does that?  Oh, the fool, who in his heart says "there is no God." 

Do not take your own, personal, fallen, highly limited "intelligence" and use it to define, challenge, judge the God of the universe. . . . 

Instead, submit to His Word--let HIM be the judge and king and sovereign ruler, Who is wholly GOOD, Holy, righteous, perfect, all-knowing, merciful, gracious, loving, whether we understand His ways or not!

Specializing in this way of approach and understanding . . . is the key to peace in this life, despite the storms, persecutions, challenges, disappointments and present chaos. . . .


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