Saturday, January 24, 2015, 5:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Believe Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 13-14 (selected vs. NASB).
Understanding Our Ways
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord,
But he who is devious in his ways despises Him…
8 The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way,
But the foolishness of fools is deceit. ~ 14:1-2, 8
I think that many times, if we are not careful, we can just let life happen to us, and we might give no or little forethought to where we are headed or to how God would have us spend our time, which he has given (allotted to) us on this earth. Many people live like this. They go to work, come home, eat dinner, and then sit and watch TV, read books, play games, surf the net, or just hang out and do whatever it is they do, but they don’t really think about their lives in terms of them being here for a purpose and that God has an assignment for them to do. They aren’t really going anywhere. They are just existing and putting in their time and making the best of what they have been given, or so they think.
Yet, if we are wise, we will give thought to our ways. We will realize that we are not just here by accident, but that there is purpose in us existing on this earth. We will understand that God created us with a plan in mind. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He has something he wants us to do, and he created us to be someone very specific, and for a very good reason (See: Ps. 139). And, we will seek God out to find out why we are here, who he made us to be, what our purpose is in life, and what assignment he has for us to do.
And, then, we will begin to be and do and say what God has planned for us to do and be and say. We will be purposeful in what we do, and not just exist and fill up time with lots of junk. This is not to say we can’t enjoy life, or that we can’t have fun or that we can’t relax and take it easy sometimes. Yet, there needs to be focus and intention in who we are and in what we do, because there is a very good reason we exist. “For such a time as this I was placed upon the earth.” So, wisdom dictates that I find that reason I am here, and that I begin to build on the foundation God/Jesus has laid for me – all in the power, wisdom and strength of His Spirit who lives within me by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
Heartaches and Grief
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. ~ 13:12
10 The heart knows its own bitterness,
And a stranger does not share its joy…
13 Even in laughter the heart may be in pain,
And the end of joy may be grief. ~ 14:10, 13
There are many reasons why we sometimes go through difficulties in this life of ours. One of the reasons is that the first humans God created sinned against God, and thus our flesh bodies and this earth were put under a curse, and so we get sick and hurt, we sin, bad things happen to us, people do evil against one another, and disasters sometimes occur. As well, we sometimes bring trouble upon ourselves because of our stubborn rebellion against God, and our refusal to listen to his words of counsel, because we think we know best, and thus we sin against God, and often we must suffer the natural consequences for our sin.
Yet, not all suffering is a result of deliberate sin against God. Job is an example of a righteous man whom God permitted to go through tremendous anguish. Jesus Christ travailed excessively for our sin, although he did nothing wrong. The prophets of old and the apostles of the New Testament went through boundless difficulties for their faith in God/Jesus, and for their commitments to be his messengers, often to people who did not want to hear what they had to say, and who often treated them with contempt, ridicule and much abuse. Jesus said that we would be hated and mistreated as he was so dealt with, and because we are his followers, and for the reason that we stand for what is true and right, and because we are ministers for his gospel message.
Yet, our suffering is not without purpose. One of the reasons God allows us to go through hardships and persecutions is to mature us, to make us holy, and to conform us to the image of Christ. Through our trials and tribulations we learn perseverance, patience, waiting on the Lord, wisdom, discernment and good judgment, and we grow in our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We also learn obedience through the things we suffer, just as did our Lord. As well, through hardships we learn compassion and mercy, and we are able to comfort others in their suffering with the comfort we received from the Lord. Another purpose of affliction is so we learn to not rely upon ourselves but on God. When we go through such times of distress, we call upon the Lord. When we submit to him, then he is able to teach us his will.
Yet, we are human beings in flesh bodies. We are clay vessels in the potter’s hands. We are sometimes weak, and we grow weary, and we cry out to God in our distress seeking him for answers as to why we must go through what we are experiencing, or to gain understanding into what purpose there is for such painful situations to exist in our lives. We may get tired of waiting for God’s intervention, and we may cry out for God to move in our circumstances in a way which would give us relief from our suffering, or to move in the lives and hearts of those we love who are far from God or who are not walking in fellowship with him. Sometimes we are truly seeking wisdom from above in knowing how to respond to such situations when life kicks us hard. Yet, other times we truly lack faith in God’s absolute sovereignty and control over our lives, believing that he has a purpose in it all.
Trust in the Lord
26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.
27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
That one may avoid the snares of death…
29 He who is slow to anger has great understanding,
But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
30 A tranquil heart is life to the body,
But passion is rottenness to the bones…
32 The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing,
But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.
33 Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding,
But in the hearts of fools it is made known. ~ 14:26-33
So, whether we are struggling with life’s difficulties, or we are seeking God for answers to why things happen the way they do, or if we find that we are in a situation where we need to stop just existing and find the purpose God has for our lives, the answers we are looking for can be found through us living in the fear of the Lord. To fear the Lord means that we love, respect, honor, reverence, obey, and submit to him and to his will for our lives. It means we trust him with our lives and our circumstances and with the people he has in our lives. We believe in his sovereignty over all things, and we accept that God has a purpose in all that he allows and in all that he does, knowing that he is working all things for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose (See: Ro. 8:28).
Many times I have to remind myself that God is absolutely in control, and that he has the people in my life he wants there for a reason, and that he is working in their lives, too. I have to believe that he has my good in mind always, and I must trust him even when I don’t understand his purposes. As well, I am learning to wait on his perfect timing, knowing that he is working in ways I cannot see. Sometimes we want God to just remove the thorn from our lives when his response back to us is, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in your weakness” (See: 2 Co. 12:9). In other words, sometimes these things we want gone from our lives serve a greater purpose than we could ever possibly imagine. So, it is essential we submit to God’s purposes, believing that good will come from it all.
Believe Him / An Original Work / July 15, 2013
My heart cries: Lord, won’t You hear me
Seeking You for the answers
To my heartache and questions
I have concerning my life?
Speak, Lord, to me right now.
“Oh, dear one, why don’t you trust Me
With your life’s circumstances?
Give your all on the altar
In submission of your will
To My purpose for you.
“Surrender your life completely
To your Lord and your Savior.
He has all things planned for you
For His glory and honor.
He’ll work all things for good.
“Believe Him. He will fulfill all
Of His promises to you
For your life and your future.
Trust Him. Rest in His love.
He’ll give you peace from above.”