Monday, March 2, 2020

Now...not later...

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Isaiah 61:1a-2b 

God's timing is perfect! When He speaks, the time to respond in obedience is now. We often act as if we have all the time in the world to obey Him, but history doesn't wait on our commitments. There is no such thing as postponing a decision with God. Either we obey, or we disobey. It is either faith or unbelief, obedience or disobedience. When God announces that now is the acceptable time, what you do next is critical. How often people have been unprepared when a word came to them from the Lord. God said, “Now is the time for you to respond to Me” and their response was, “But I'm not ready. I have some things I need to do first. I'm too busy!” (Matt. 8:21). God's timing is always perfect. He knows you, and He is fully aware of your circumstances. He knows all that He has built into your life until now, and He extends His invitation knowing that His resources are more than adequate for any assignment He gives you. That is why Scripture tells us God is concerned with our heart. If we do not keep our heart in love with Jesus, our disobedience when God speaks could affect the lives of others. When God speaks it is always out of the context of eternity. We don't have to know all the implications of what He is asking. We just have to know that it is a word from Almighty God. “Now” is always the acceptable time to respond to the Lord. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Add this devotional too...

"So whenever the Israelites needed to sharpen their plowshares, picks, axes, or sickles, they had to take them to a Philistine blacksmith. 1 Samuel 13:20 NLT

We are engaged in a great war with the Philistines of evil. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving—all must be brought into action, and the talents we’ve thought too humble for service must now be employed. Picks, axes, and sickles may all be useful in slaying Philistines; rough tools can deal hard blows, and killing need not be elegant as long as it is effective. Each moment of time, in season or out; each bit of ability, educated or not; each opportunity, favorable or unfavorable, must be used—because our enemies are many and our army is small. Most of our tools need sharpening. We need better perception, tact, energy, promptness—in a word, complete adaptation for the Lord’s work. Practical common sense is very scarce among many Christians. If we could, we should learn from our enemies and have the Philistines sharpen our weapons. This morning, if nothing else, let us sharpen our zeal by the aid of the Holy Spirit. See the energy of the cults, how they travel sea and land to make one convert. Are they to monopolize spiritual earnestness? Note the tortures the tribes endure while serving their idols. Are they alone to show patience and self-sacrifice? Observe the prince of darkness, how much he perseveres in his endeavors. See how unabashed he is in his attempts, how daring in his plans, how thoughtful in his plots, how energetic in everything! The demons are united as one in their disgraceful rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God—we scarcely ever work with unanimity. Oh, that from Satan’s hellish diligence we might learn to be good Samaritans, seeking people to bless!" - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Living for Jesus.  Think about that.  It's not just on Sundays or for a few hours a week when we meet with other believers.  It's a life. Indeed, how WILL you answer when asked why you buried the talents that He bestowed upon you through the Holy Spirit?  There's a whole range of unacceptable excuses to choose from!  "I was too busy" on to "I was afraid!".  Also included are the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.  Selfish desires.  Living to make money rather than living to reach others for Christ.   

Every single Christian has a special, specific to them, mission from God.  Look at that parable of the talents again.  Each was given something specific to each of them. In Christ we are His workmanship. God only creates masterpieces.  Each unique in their own way. Indeed God's timing is perfect.  Now is when we should be living for Jesus. Living in obedience. 
Not later, not when we think we have our lives in order.  Not when we think we are holy enough to participate in whatever it is God wants from us.  Certainly not when our level of Spirituality is waiting to be as great as a Billy Graham or a Spurgeon. 

Jesus called YOU my friend.  Where you are in the situation you are to live for Jesus.  

I really like how Spurgeon puts it "Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving—all must be brought into action, and the talents we’ve thought too humble for service must now be employed."

Every one of those is an action word. 

What are you doing?  Still only looking in a mirror at yourself seeing nothing but a filthy person?  Look. See yourself as your Savior sees you.  He doesn't see a person in filthy rags.  He sees one whom He died for and has replaced the filthy rags with whiter than snow robes. All dirt of sin cleansed.  Why do we insist upon throwing dirt onto what He cleaned?

If indeed you are saved in Christ, you are a new creation.  Old things past away new things have come.  Scripture says so. It also says to put off the old self and put on the righteousness of God.  Renew your mind. 

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

It's not to be taken lightly. 

"so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word," Ephesians 5:26.

He did the work of cleansing us when He saved us.  Each day we need forgiveness to wash off that day's sin.  

We have a mission and you don't have to look far to see that the enemies of God know it better than you do. 

Every sly seduction will be employed against us. Every small sin that we can be made to delve into changes the course of lives.

Any river can have its course changed just by adding a single pebble at the right place upstream.  A single life can wake up one morning to wonder how it got to be this way!

My friend, rely on Christ.  Seek Him first in your life.  Employ those weapons to combat the schemes of the enemy.  As Blackaby points out we are either obeying or disobeying.  There is no middle ground. 

The greatest regret that I have is not putting more into my walk with God earlier in my life. 

I am not the man of God that I could have been.  But I am indeed the man that God is working in and using for His mission for me.  Being willing to let go is huge.  Yes there's a great many temptations and opportunities in this life for endless joys and sorrows. But I need to remember Paul's words when he said he counted it all as loss for the sake of knowing Jesus. 

Do you?  To take up your cross means to be focused on the mission.  To be firmly involved in holding onto what it is you have been called to do.  We in the United States may be living in the land of opportunity but it's also a land rich with distractions from holding onto our cross.  We believe lies just as anyone in any other country.  Lies of what we deserve.  We do not deserve lots of money, a fancy house or car. We don't deserve rich vacations or living on a whim, going everywhere we want to go. We deserved death on a cross.  We are to live for the one who took our place. 

To find a peace that passes all understanding means living for Jesus. Then we find a peace, a contentment that isn't found anywhere else. 

Look again at what Blackaby said "How often people have been unprepared when a word came to them from the Lord. God said, “Now is the time for you to respond to Me” and their response was, “But I'm not ready. I have some things I need to do first. I'm too busy!” (Matt. 8:21). God's timing is always perfect." Or we are so looking into ourselves that we don't look up at Jesus. 

We live for Jesus because He first loved us.  Jesus is returning soon.  What will you say when He asks you how you invested what He gave you?  Think on that long and hard because everyone will be asked that question. 

Let go of your past. It doesn't define you. 
If you are indeed a child of God, have been saved by the blood of Jesus, then THAT is who you are. Live like it!  Quit with the constantly telling the Great Physician "But God, this can't be right! You don't realize how filthy and sick that I am!"  You do realize that words like that are you saying that when Jesus said, "It is Finished!" that you are calling Jesus a liar?  Your saying those kinds of things is saying that His perfect sacrifice wasn't so perfect after all. 

Let go of your past.  Take it to the feet of Jesus and leave it there. One and for all. Leave it there.  

Live for Jesus today.  Start your day with Jesus.  Be reading your Bible. Find a Bible believing, Bible preaching Church. Grow with other believers, be in prayer.  Be who God is making you to be.  Don't trust your feelings. They will be used against you. Trust in Jesus and follow Him as the Disciples did.  Find your mission and do it.
Don't be like that servant that went and buried that which he was given. 

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