God intends for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Then we tend to fall back into self-examination, a habit that we thought was gone. Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives. Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once, and it is not rectified by being ignored but only by coming to Jesus Christ. If we will come to Him, asking Him to produce Christ-awareness in us, He will always do it, until we fully learn to abide in Him.
Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Beware of allowing the influence of your friends or your circumstances to divide your life. This only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth. Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one— “Come to Me . . . .” The intellectual, moral, and spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words. Yet in every detail of our lives where we are found not to be real, we would rather dispute the findings than come to Jesus.
by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Isaiah 33:6 Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the Lord is His treasure.
As California enters its third year of an intense drought, with nearly 60 percent of the state now in an “exceptional drought”, it reminded me of a story that happened in Israel.
It was 1986, in the midst of a three year drought, when two brothers who lived in a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee made an incredible discovery. As these two fisherman monitored their equipment on the lake, they noticed something glistening in the sun covered in mud. It was a fishing boat. Upon deeper examination, archaeologists determined that these two brothers had discovered an ancient boat from the time of Yeshua (Jesus). It’s was called the “Jesus boat” and is now located in a museum next to the Sea of Galilee.
Hidden under water for centuries, the only reason it was discovered was that the severe drought had lowered the lake surface so drastically; so that even when no one was looking for it — this treasure was discovered totally unexpectedly.
You may have noticed — it’s becoming more and more spiritually dry in this world and sometimes I wonder, will anything good ever come out of this mess? Yet I think the same thing can happen for us as happened to those two fisherman. When things get low, and dry, and sparse, suddenly when we least expect it, God can reveal treasure that we couldn’t see or know about because everything was abundantly okay. Maybe it’s a friendship that blossoms because of the pressure or need … or, maybe just a new and deeper insight into the Lord’s own sufferings; or maybe a new spiritual gift of encouragement … there are many possibilities, and I think we ought to be looking for them, though they might appear when we least expect it.
by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Bill Bright tells an amazing story in his book, “How You Can Be Filled with the Holy Spirit”.
During the Great Depression, poverty swept across America like a whirling tornado, ripping up dreams and scattering hopes to the wind. One such poverty twister hit a small part of Texas where a man named Yates ran a sheep ranch. Struggling even to keep food on the table, Yates and his wife did all they could to survive. Finally, they had to accept a government subsidy or lose their home and land to the creditors.
One day, in the midst of this bleakness, a geologic crew from a large oil company came knocking. With Yates’ permission, they wanted to drill a wildcat well on his property, promising him a large portion of the profits if they struck oil. “What could I lose?” thought Yates, and he signed the papers.
The oil crew immediately set up the machinery and began drilling. Five hundred feet down, they came up dry. Eight hundred feet, dry. One thousand feet they sunk the shaft, and still no oil. Finally, at a little over eleven hundred feet, they tapped into one of the richest oil reserves in Texas. The hole sprayed its black wealth high into the air, and soon the well was pumping eighty thousand barrels of oil a day.Overnight, Yates and his family became millionaires. His property, once called Yate’s Field, became known as Yate’s Pool. And soon hundreds of oil wells dotted the land where once only sheep grazed.
Hmm. What if they had stopped at a thousand feet?? I believe that there is a well of blessing within us that is just waiting to be found. And the victory will only come when we dig for it. We need to to press in when the circumstances look their bleakest! We need to believe that the blessing is there for the taking and not stop when we get discouraged and don’t see the fruit of our labor! We need to expect great things and rich oil in the Spirit! Because this is what the Lord has for each one of us!
Our breakthrough is just under our feet! Be encouraged! Keep digging! God has more in store than you can imagine!
A PROPHET OF THE LORD
From: Through the Bible
2 Chronicles 28:9-11 (NIV) 9But a prophet of the LORD named Oded was there, and he went out to meet the army when it returned to Samaria. He said to them, “Because the LORD, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand. But you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. 10And now you intend to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But aren’t you also guilty of sins against the LORD your God?11Now listen to me! Send back your fellow countrymen you have taken as prisoners, for the LORD’s fierce anger rests on you.”
After Jotham died, his son Ahaz reigned. God gave the people a king that they deserved so that hardship would turn them back to Him. Ahaz’ army was defeated by the Arameans. Their treasures were robbed, and many of the people went into captivity. Then the Northern Tribes inflicted heavy casualties and took two hundred thousand women and children captive and a great deal of plunder.
As the army of the Northern Tribes returned to their capitol Samaria, a prophet of God named Obed met them. The message from God was that their victory was due to God’s anger against Judah, but they had gone overboard in executing it. God’s question to them was this, “Aren’t you also guilty of sins against the LORD your God?”
There are times when we find ourselves with the upper hand over those who oppose us, but we take it to the extreme. We should consider that it may not be so much that God is favoring us as God punishing them. God’s justice is always tempered with mercy, but man’s justice rarely is. We should consider that we could be in their shoes, and that we are to apply the Golden Rule. If we desire mercy, then we will act with a great deal more mercy. Aren’t we also guilty of sins? The Northern Tribes showed great wisdom and fear of God when they listened to the prophet and returned the captives along with the spoils of war.
Remember: How you act gives permission for others to act the same way toward you. God says, “To those who show mercy, I will be merciful.” (Matthew 5:7; James 2:13)
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Whenever you see the word “therefore”, you should read before it to find out what it is “there for”. In the case of our passage for this evening, Paul has been expressing the wonder of God’s grace in the world drawing both Jews and Gentiles to Himself. Because God is so very gracious and merciful, the only appropriate response from us is to present ourselves like the Jews presented a sacrificial animal. We give our physical bodies to be laid upon the altar of God for Him to do with as He pleases. This means we no longer claim the right to do as we please.
Unlike the animal sacrifices, we remain living and functioning at God’s direction. It is wonderful to become God’s tool for His use, but the problem with being a living sacrifice is that we can climb off that altar.
The sacrifice is holy. In the Old Testament, the altar was most holy and sanctified the gift. We cannot pollute God when we are surrendered; He sanctifies us. That means He makes us completely His and only for His use. This process is pleasing to God.
Since we are to be for His use alone, we should not conform to the ungodly pattern of the world. The process of being sanctified begins with the transformation of our minds. As our way of thinking is renewed, we begin to see life in a different light. We see ourselves as servants and not masters. We see fulfillment in serving God and not in serving self. Only when our minds are renewed are we then able to test and approve of God’s will. Before that we think our own will must be God’s will. Once our minds are transformed by His Spirit and Word, we can discern His good, pleasing and perfect will. Then we truly begin to live life as He meant us to live it.
Consider: Are you on the altar?