Monday, February 10, 2020

In everything in life

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. Philippians 4:12 ESV

There are many who know how to be brought low who have not learned how to abound. When they are set on a pinnacle they grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall. Christians more often disgrace their profession in prosperity than in adversity. It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the refining furnace of prosperity. Oh, what a leanness of soul and neglect of spiritual things have been brought on through the very mercies and bounties of God! Yet this is not the way things must be, for the apostle Paul tells us that he knew how to abound. When he had much he knew how to use it. Abundant grace enabled him to bear abundant prosperity. When he had a full sail he was loaded with much ballast, so he floated safely. It requires more than human skill to carry the overflowing cup of earthly joy with a steady hand. But Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Philippians 4:12 ESV). It is a divine lesson to know how to be full, for the Israelites were full once—but while the quail was still in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them (see Numbers 11:31–34). Many have asked for mercies that they might satisfy the lust of their own hearts. Abundance of bread has often made people careless, and that has led to an undisciplined spirit. When we have much of God’s providential mercy, it often happens that we have little of God’s grace—and little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full and we forget God; satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven. Rest assured, it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry—the tendency of human nature runs desperately to pride and forgetfulness of God. Take care that you ask in your prayers that God would teach you how to abound. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening.

It actually is a precarious position to be in.  The balance between prosperity and poverty.  Especially in a country such as the United States.  It seems as if you can dream it, it can happen in most cases. 

But the having isn't always the best thing. 

We who have much available to us aren't always the happiest.  The easiest temptation of Satan for us is just a little more.  Just that one item. That one more bite. That...well you get the idea.  Status plays heavily into that ideology.  We want to appear to have it all together.  Appear to not be in want of anything.  Appear to be in control. 

Lies and illusions.  Realizing that the truth is we are in a war for souls changes everything.  Satan wants nothing more than to get Christians to be at ease.  Indulge on themselves.  Work for their earned vacations.  Fool them into overspending so they work harder and strive to find rays of hope and happiness. 

It's not quail in our teeth but it's results are similar. We are not thinking in Spiritual terms when we live this life. 

I say we became this is as much to me as anyone else.  

Stuff. One of the largest industries in America is storage units.  So much so that there are television shows on it.  People default on paying for them so others make a living off their hardship. 

In recent years it's been something of a visible lesson for me.  To get rid of stuff.  It's interesting that when I look about and see stuff that the passage that comes to mind is the one on sin that easily entangles.  And so stuff is.  What's interesting is the freedom that comes when I let go of stuff.  What's interesting still is the fake emptiness that comes from dropping off a load of stuff to donate.  

Years ago I helped a friend with getting rid of game cards of a demonic nature.  Several boxes of them.  I wasn't sure I was strong enough to go through with burning them but I knew that God was.  Prayers went up before, during and after that hour or so of burning those cards.  

I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that voices cried out when I began burning them.  I was on the front lines of a battle.  I heard voices cry out "Nooooo! Don't!" All the while I heard others as well while I used a shredder as well telling me to hurry that they are holding back the forces of darkness.  One of the few freakiest moments of my life.  Oh but they are just cards right?  It must have been a figment of my imagination right?  Not if you understand and believe the Scriptures that we are in a war for souls. 

It doesn't even have to be stuff like that.  It can be anything that takes your mind off your walk with God.  It can easily be you convincing yourself that you deserve the freedom you will get from the having. 

It can be you so worried that you make rash decisions to obtain something that you see as your ticket to freedom.  

What I am learning is that to let go is where freedom is.  My friend nobody is taking anything to Heaven but themselves when they are in Christ.  All Christ took to Heaven when He ascended was Himself. 

I confess that my mind wanders across many thoughts on how to do things.  I get ideas then I buy things to make them happen.  Then something comes up and it doesn't get made or fixed.  Time passes then I get other ideas and fixes and stumble upon what I had already bought and didn't finish.  I wasted time, energy and effort.  Because I forgot I went and spent money again on the same stuff.

There's several sayings that are appropriate.  Too many cooks spoil the stew.  Too many irons in the fire.  We can come up with more.  

Scripture says we shouldn't owe others. Yet we live in a land let alone a world that makes an industry out of making sure people do. Using every form of temptation possible. 

The more I simplify my life the more freedom that comes.  The more freedom that comes the more Satan tries to add temptation to clog it up again. 

Know your enemy is the first rule of combat.  It's a struggle to have a creative mind and make myself not do things. 
But I am brought to Scripture yet again. 
2 Timothy 2:4 "No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier."

It's also said and is easily proven that you simply cannot end a bad habit.  You must replace it with a good one, intentionally, or you will go back to it.

Look at your life.  Where are you entangled?  I had to let go of a great many things to even begin to see how many knots were entangling me.  They are still there but they are fewer in number. 

You can be fooled into spending money on yourself quite easily rather than on the mission God invites you to.  You can convince yourself quite easily on what you desire and deserve in your life.  That's not even of Satan.  That's your sin nature. 
You can even believe that you deserve a worldly idea of retirement.  Hate to break it to you, but God only has one retirement plan.  It's when HE says your life is ended. 
In this past week one of the most Godly men I've ever met who was in his 90's, the night before God called him home, was still working on the mission God gave him.

When God calls you, will you be found doing what God really called you to be doing or found living for yourself?

Think today about your priorities and your life.  How can you become less entangled so that you can learn more about your Savior and serve Him more?

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