Saturday, January 20, 2024
by David Brenneman
Our Saturday Group is working through Dr. Charles Stanley's Life Principles book. This last week was for us to work on 7,8 and 9. I have these as MP3's as well as could watch online. For those interested they can be found at www.intouch.org.
For me, number 7 has been one that I keep coming back to. Which has been good in that it's getting me to be more bold, I guess, in my prayers.
Our perceptions make up who we think we are. Not all of them are right and true. We are in constant need of knowing what we don't know in order to get through choices and decisions.
Dark times come to everyone. We are in them individually and sometimes in them with others.
But just as Dr. Stanley said in #7...they are only going to last as long as is necessary to achieve the will of God for us.
Scripture cannot be broken. Let's just get that out of the way first. Satan's tried since before time began and he's discovered it cannot be done.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" Romans 8:28-31.
"For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11.
My darkest times, and it would be very presumptuous to say that they are behind me, are not meant and will never be meant to punish me. Same goes for you.
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Romans 8:1-2.
It has been a very good thing to go through dark times, as the Scriptures show. It certainly was God's timing, but He had me go through this study of Dr. Stanley's at the same time as Dr. David Jeremiah's Study on Romans 8.
In this seventh Life Principle, Dr. Stanley tied in heavily with Romans 8.
We are not, I am not, being punished. Get that thought out of your mind and my own mind. Jesus said His will for us is our sanctification. Our being made in the likeness of Jesus Christ. This is going to take time. Sometimes long, drawn-out, time. Beautiful river scenes we find in this world only came to be because of the work of God in nature. Storms, sunshine, gentle rains, dry spells, rapid currents all worked towards what we see today. Soil, rocks, debris all taken away by the 'dark times' of that river to bring about the present beauty.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s never left us nor forsaken us. He isn't punishing us. He's promised to be at work in our lives and keeps that and all other promises. It's on us to trust and obey.
Our persistence needs to be appropriate.
Persistent about what the right plan for us is in God's eyes is healthy.
Persistent about what we want instead of God's plan for us is certainly not.
This is what the Bible refers to about being stiff-necked people. People who pray to God for things or things to happen that He's never going to say yes to, and since He won't, they go and do it anyway.
When God's made up His mind...and you clearly can see and understand that He's not taking you a certain way...stop persisting in going that way.
We are to keep pace with Jesus, not lagging behind, not getting ahead nor sitting down when He's moving forward.
Jesus is always moving forward. Your destination is Heaven and your full sanctification is His goal for you.
I am struggling greatly with feeling worthy of asking Jesus for desires of my heart. In and of myself I am not worthy. It's only because of the righteousness of Jesus that I am able to approach the Throne of God.
Something that we need to realize is Jesus IS always listening. His answers aren't meant to be mean. Yes, no, not right now and wait...I have something better in mind are holy responses. They are not judgement responses.
If Joseph thought he was being judged by Jesus he wouldn't have persisted in strengthening himself in his God.
I wrote of struggling with being worthy. Another is accepting God's timetable. Accepting blessings that are potentially a desire of my heart when I see so much of our circumstances that could go towards those things. I do have desires of my heart...but just don't feel right about asking when so many other needs are pressing.
But...I know that He is listening.
We had a talk last night, my Savior and I right here in front of my fireplace. Talking about the struggles of my heart. About my fears and my anger issues. About the desires of my heart. This is what Jesus wants of us. To have the heart-to-heart talks. His door is never closed.
Take time today and be alone with Jesus.
Take time not only to share your heart with Him but to listen as well.
I am praying for a new job that better suits me, that pays more, with better benefits with which we can get out of the bandage of debt that we are. So that we can instead be a blessing to others. I have fears of career path changes. Jumping out of one type of job to something wholly different. But to look at the life of Joseph...that's what Jesus took him through. Just listen to Life Principle #7.
Take heart...whether you feel it or not...Jesus is listening and does have a great plan for your life.
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.