In William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well, he says that many writers suffer from “the tyranny of the final product.” They are so concerned with selling their article or book, they neglect learning the process of how to think, plan, and organize. A jumbled manuscript, Zinsser believes, is produced when “the writer, his eye on the finish line, never gave enough thought to how to run the race.”
Author and minister A. W. Tozer applies that principle to our spiritual lives. In his book The Root of the Righteous, Tozer describes our tendency to be “concerned only with the fruit . . . [and] ignore the root out of which the fruit sprang.”
The apostle Peter reminded first-century believers that Christlike living and effective service result from a process. He urged them to grow in eight areas of spiritual development: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, Peter said, “you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.8).
God calls us to a wonderful process of learning to know Him, with the assurance that it will lead to productive service in His name and for His honor.
solutions here and now. But You work graciously in
Your good time. Let Your goodness and patience and
virtue shine through us so that we may bless others.
From: Through the Bible
1 Kings 20:27-28 (NIV) 27When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside. 28The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.'”
The patience and mercy of God is amazing. God is still trying to convert evil Ahab. Israel is only a remnant of what it once was. When a king came to plunder Israel, the LORD told Ahab that He would give him the victory so that he would know the LORD was God. He had already seen fire from heaven, saw the end of a three-year drought at the prophets word, and seen the prophet miraculously preserved. Why would God continue to deal with him? The answer is because God is not willing that any should perish. He seeks after the hardest hearts and gives them more proof.
He gave him one victory, but the enemy came again. This second time the enemy was doomed before they started. The people had begun to return to Jehovah because of the ministry of Elijah. The enemy said that Jehovah was a god of the hills and not the plains. Oops! Limiting God is a sure way to end up with your foot in your mouth. He is God over all and will gladly prove it.
In spite of being vastly outnumbered, the little bands of Israelites defeated the army of the Arameans. God caused a wall to fall on 27,000 of them. Ahab listened carefully to the prophet’s instruction going into the battle but did not seek his advice on what to do once he had the victory. He reverted to leaning on his own wisdom and made a costly mistake. How like us! Under pressure in an impossible situation, we seek God and He delivers us. Then we go back to our own ways. Keep seeking! Keep obeying!
Remember: We need God’s instruction in difficulties, but we also need it when things are going well.
John 14:19-21 (NIV) 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
Jesus is no longer physically manifest among us in the form of the incarnation. The world no longer sees Him, but do you see Him? He promised His disciples that they would, and I don’t believe that He meant the short time between His resurrection and ascension. He goes on to say that they will realize He is in them. That happened after the ascension. How did the disciples see Christ after the ascension?
They saw Him as the body of Christ functioned throughout the book of Acts and onward through time. You see Him every time you see the church ministering in all its varied forms of service. When Ananias touched Saul of Tarsus, Jesus touched him. When Peter and John laid hands on the Samaritans, Jesus touched them. When the transformed Paul spoke the words of life, his hearers heard Jesus. And when your church acts in the Spirit, Jesus is acting in your world and seen by those who love Him.
Not only that, but you also see Him at work in the details of your life. If you are one that loves Him and obeys His command to love, then He promised to show Himself to you. When the world says “coincidence”, you see the hand of God. When a verse of Scripture is spoken on the radio, and then comes up in your devotional time, speaking to your current situation, you hear the voice of Jesus. As you observe the beauty of nature, you see lessons from Jesus to give you insight as to how He is working in your life. The world doesn’t see it and might think you are one card short of a full deck, but you know He has shown Himself to you. It is then that you realize that you are in Jesus, and He is in you.
Consider: Have you seen Jesus today? Watch for Him, and you will see Him!
“I say—where’s Edmund?” There was a dreadful pause, and then everyone began asking “Who saw him last? How long has he been missing? Is he outside?” and then all rushed to the door and looked out. The snow was falling thickly and steadily, the green ice of the pool had vanished under a thick white blanket, and from where the little house stood in the center of the dam you could hardly see either bank. Out they went, plunging well over their ankles into the soft new snow, and went round the house in every direction. “Edmund! Edmund!” they called till they were hoarse. But the silently falling snow seemed to muffle their voices and there was not even an echo in answer. . . .
“What on earth are we to do, Mr. Beaver?” said Peter.
“Do?” said Mr. Beaver, who was already putting on his snow-boots, “do? We must be off at once. We haven’t a moment to spare!”
“We’d better divide into four search parties,” said Peter, “and all go in different directions. . . .”
“Search parties, Son of Adam?” said Mr. Beaver; “what for?”
“Why, to look for Edmund, of course!”
“There’s no point in looking for him,” said Mr. Beaver.
“What do you mean?” said Susan. “He can’t be far away yet. And we’ve got to find him. . . .”
“The reason there’s no use looking,” said Mr. Beaver, “is that we know already where he’s gone!” Everyone stared in amazement.
“Don’t you understand?” said Mr. Beaver. “He’s gone to her, to the White Witch. He has betrayed us all.”
“Oh, surely—oh, really!” said Susan; “he can’t have done that.”
“Can’t he?” said Mr. Beaver, looking very hard at the three children, and everything they wanted to say died on their lips, for each felt suddenly quite certain inside that this was exactly what Edmund had done.
CHARLES SPURGEON’S MORNING AND EVENING
“Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
1 Thessalonians 4:14
Let us not imagine that the soul sleeps in insensibility. “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” is the whisper of Christ to every dying saint. They “sleep in Jesus,” but their souls are before the throne of God, praising him day and night in his temple, singing hallelujahs to him who washed them from their sins in his blood. The body sleeps in its lonely bed of earth, beneath the coverlet of grass. But what is this sleep? The idea connected with sleep is “rest,” and that is the thought which the Spirit of God would convey to us. Sleep makes each night a Sabbath for the day. Sleep shuts fast the door of the soul, and bids all intruders tarry for a while, that the life within may enter its summer garden of ease. The toil-worn believer quietly sleeps, as does the weary child when it slumbers on its mother’s breast. Oh! happy they who die in the Lord; they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them. Their quiet repose shall never be broken until God shall rouse them to give them their full reward. Guarded by angel watchers, curtained by eternal mysteries, they sleep on, the inheritors of glory, till the fulness of time shall bring the fulness of redemption. What an awaking shall be theirs! They were laid in their last resting place, weary and worn, but such they shall not rise. They went to their rest with the furrowed brow, and the wasted features, but they wake up in beauty and glory. The shrivelled seed, so destitute of form and comeliness, rises from the dust a beauteous flower. The winter of the grave gives way to the spring of redemption and the summer of glory. Blessed is death, since it, through the divine power, disrobes us of this work-day garment, to clothe us with the wedding garment of incorruption. Blessed are those who “sleep in Jesus.”
“Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.”
2 Chronicles 32:31
Hezekiah was growing so inwardly great, and priding himself so much upon the favour of God, that self-righteousness crept in, and through his carnal security, the grace of God was for a time, in its more active operations, withdrawn. Here is quite enough to account with the Babylonians; for if the grace of God should leave the best Christian, there is enough of sin in his heart to make him the worst of transgressors. If left to yourselves, you who are warmest for Christ would cool down like Laodicea into sickening lukewarmness: you who are sound in the faith would be white with the leprosy of false doctrine; you who now walk before the Lord in excellency and integrity would reel to and fro, and stagger with a drunkenness of evil passion. Like the moon, we borrow our light; bright as we are when grace shines on us, we are darkness itself when the Sun of Righteousness withdraws himself. Therefore let us cry to God never to leave us. “Lord, take not thy Holy Spirit from us! Withdraw not from us thine indwelling grace! Hast thou not said, I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day’? Lord, keep us everywhere. Keep us when in the valley, that we murmur not against thy humbling hand; keep us when on the mountain, that we wax not giddy through being lifted up; keep us in youth, when our passions are strong; keep us in old age, when becoming conceited of our wisdom, we may therefore prove greater fools than the young and giddy; keep us when we come to die, lest, at the very last, we should deny thee! Keep us living, keep us dying, keep us labouring, keep us suffering, keep us fighting, keep us resting, keep us everywhere, for everywhere we need thee, O our God!”