Saturday, January 25, 2020

Realities of the Christian

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7 ESV 
Can’t you do this? Haven’t you experienced mercies? Though you are sad and depressed now, could you ever forget that blessed hour when Jesus met you and said, “Come to me” (Matthew 11:28)? Can’t you remember that thrilling moment when He snapped your shackles, threw your chains to the earth, and said, “I came to break your bonds and set you free”? Or if you have forgotten your earliest love for Jesus, there must surely—somewhere along the road of your life—be some precious milestone, not quite grown over with moss, on which you can read a happy remembrance of His mercy toward you. What? Have you ever had a sickness like the one you’re suffering now, and He didn’t restore you? Were you ever poor before, and He didn’t supply for your needs? Were you ever in dire straits before, and He didn’t deliver you? Get up—go to the river of your experience and pull up a few reeds. Weave them into a basket like that of Moses, in which your infant—faith—may float safely on the stream. Don’t forget what God has done for you; open your book of remembrance and consider the days of old. Can’t you remember the hill Mizar, or did the Lord never meet you at Hermon (Psalm 42:6)? Have you never climbed Bunyan’s Delectable Mountains? Have you never received help in time of need? No, I know that you have. Go back, then, just a little way, to the sweet mercies of yesterday. Though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past—they will glimmer through the darkness, and you will trust in the Lord till the day breaks and the shadows flee away. “Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old” (Psalm 25:6). C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” John 6:65
Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He never seemed intimidated by the crowds. Instead, He looked into the multitudes and focused on those whom His Father was sending to Him. Jesus knew that because of sin, no one naturally seeks after God. Sinful man's inclination is to hide from God, rather than to come to Him (Gen. 3:8; Ps. 14:1–3). Therefore, whenever Jesus saw that the Father was drawing a person to Himself, Jesus immediately began relating to that person. Jesus observed the great lengths to which the despised tax collector, Zacchaeus, had gone in order to see Him pass by. In response, Jesus immediately left the crowd and spent time with this man in whom the Father was obviously working (Luke 19:1–10). Likewise, every time the disciples experienced a new insight into the truths of God, Jesus recognized that it was the Father who had been at work in their lives (Matt. 16:17). As the multitudes gathered around Jesus, He spoke some truths that were difficult for the people to grasp (John 6:60). So challenging were His words that many of His listeners departed, but Jesus did not become discouraged. He saw that the Father was working in the lives of His disciples, and that is where Jesus invested His time. As you desire to spend time alone with Jesus, recognize that this is the Father drawing you to His Son. You do not seek quiet times with God in order to experience Him but because you are already sensing His activity. As you read the Scriptures and pray, trust that God will honor your response to His leading by teaching you more about Himself. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Pretty much in their entirety you read both sections of what was this morning's reading.   While Spurgeon didn't use titles Blackaby did "The Father Draws You". 

These two really come together in regards to life as a Christian.  Whereas those who aren't among the saved in Christ who have nothing to draw on for helpful reminders, Christians do.  

We have the milestones in our travels to think of when we face yet another challenge.  We have the knowledge that when we focus on the things of God, our lives move in accordance with the work and word of God. 

Despair is easy when we are being buffeted by winds and storms.  When will it end?  Why is it lasting so long?  Where's the promised deliverance?  Ok...hold onto that one.  Deliverance is subjective in Biblical terms. To quote Doc Brown from "Back to the Future", we need to think 4th dimensionally.  We consider relief in terms we see. God considers them in those terms PLUS what we don't see.  After Jesus died and was resurrected, the sting and power of death was done.  Death actually is an answer to the winds and storms of life.  For the believer it's merely leaving here to immediately be in the presence of Jesus.  One second here, the next you are before Christ.  

Life for the believer, as Spurgeon points out, has places to help us handle future events. Look at what David's response to Saul was when talking about Goliath.  "Your servant killed both the lion and the bear. This uncircumcised Philistine will be just like them".  David was trained in the storms of life.  He faced a lion and prevailed. That confidence learned helped him with other life or death situations like the bear.  He remembered his Spiritual history with his God.  Christians ought to do the same.

Then we enter into the deeper.  The part Blackaby talks about. The deeper is the work of the Father in our lives through the Spirit.  We are indeed promised we would never be alone. dear reader, we are not promised to not face trials or hardship.  If the greats of the Bible didn't, God's grace, God's power, wouldn't have been revealed. 

A tree is has more in common with your life than you know.  Oddly ironic that before the days of fancy ones, caskets were referred to as pine boxes for burial. 

Trees record their history internally.  Outwardly they can be majestic and awesome to behold.  But look at a cross section.  Those growth rings tell the story of its life. The deeper the hues of the rings the deeper the story.  Light rings that really have no spacing don't say much about the life of that tree.  Storms create the rings, winds create the rings. Facing them and surviving taked that tree into another season.  Likewise storms force the roots deeper.  The tree wants to survive.  The tree knows it's life is in the water and soil. That it owes its existence to its Creator who provides both.

We who are believers have much to lean on in our lives to see us through that next storm.  The storms will do what they do, but bear in mind, they show no partiality. 
Storms don't care if it's man, woman, child or animal.  But for the Christian, we are on the mind of our Savior all the time.  He is with us all the time.  Nobody may understand our heart but He does.  Nobody may know our hurt but He does. Nobody but Jesus. 

So when things are unfavorable, consider that the Father is at work in you. Consider that Jesus has already been on the road before you, look down see His footsteps?
There is nothing you will face that He is surprised by.  He has already been through it all.  The Bible says we do not have a High Priest that doesn't understand.  We have one that had been through and seen it all, including death and resurrection. 

Our sorrows are real, for sure, but Jesus promised that these storms will not go on forever, they are for our growth. Some may mean it for evil but God will turn it for our good.  He has your hand. He is with you. 

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