The Wilderness

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The Wilderness

trees-light-serenity

 

Terry Meeuwsen – cbn.com

The term “God Adventure” sounds kind of intriguing and exciting, doesn’t it? Even a little mysterious! If you have an adventuresome spirit, just those words may make you want to explore what a God adventure is – learn more about it!

A God adventure could be following God’s leading to take a new job. It could be a missions trip or a move to a new city. Maybe you’re actually going to commit to leading a Bible study at your church or reach out to a needy family in your area. How about working on reconciling a broken relationship with a family member or friend?

Not all God adventures are so positive or encouraging. Sometimes a God adventure comes your way uninvited and unexpected. It can come in circumstances that involve loss, unfair treatment, illness, or broken relationships. These are the wilderness places that God uses to shape, refine, and carve character into us, if we’ll let Him. The process is so painful, but the result is pure gold.

Some dear friends of mine, a married couple, have been through this recently. A cancer diagnosis brought surgery, radiation, doctors, doctors, and more doctors. Pain, loss, rehabilitation, fear, and uncertainty.

Who’d sign up for that? But, now let me tell you what I saw this “wilderness” produce in their lives: a sense of God’s presence that over-rode all the circumstances, a trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness (which is never really fully experienced until you find yourself in the furnace of affliction); a deeper love and appreciation for each other as a couple; and peace, real peace, in the midst of the storm.

They were not delivered from the experience, they were lifted above it and carried through it. Isaiah 40:31 outlines the promise of God to those who are walking through trials.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (NKJV)

The Bible is filled with the stories of great men and women of faith, and almost all of them had one or more defining wilderness experiences that God used to prepare them for even greater use. My favorite is the story of Joseph. Sold into slavery by his brothers, wrongly accused by the wife of his employer, thrown into jail for something he didn’t do, and seemingly forgotten by those he had helped. In all of this, a span of 13 years, the Bible never once records that Joseph complained or railed against the Lord. Read this amazing story yourself–Genesis 37 through 47. Through his years in the wilderness, Joseph learned humility, obedience, patience, and responsibility. In God’s perfect timing, he became ruler over all of Egypt, delivering the Egyptians and his own family from the famine in the land.

How can you turn your wilderness into a God adventure? For starters let this Scripture sink deeply into your heart and mind – Romans 8:28:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

ALL things—even your trials and afflictions.

Give them to God with a sense of anticipation. You are being refined–prepared for something. Look for the lessons.

Surrender your “rights,” your arguments, and your confusion to Him. God never makes mistakes.

Rest in Him–climb up into his lap and let Him refresh you with His strength.

Trust His timing–He’s got it all together. Jeremiah 29:11 says this,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

Stay close to Him and watch your wilderness become a God adventure!

 

Streams in the Desert – January 18

  • 202318 Jan

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).

God gets His greatest victories out of apparent defeats. Very often the enemy seems to triumph for a little, and God lets it be so; but then He comes in and upsets all the work of the enemy, overthrows the apparent victory, and as the Bible says, “turns the way of the wicked upside down.” Thus He gives a great deal larger victory than we would have known if He had not allowed the enemy, seemingly, to triumph in the first place.

The story of the three Hebrew children being cast into the fiery furnace is a familiar one. Here was an apparent victory for the enemy. It looked as if the servants of the living God were going to have a terrible defeat. We have all been in places where it seemed as though we were defeated, and the enemy rejoiced. We can imagine what a complete defeat this looked to be. They fell down into the flames, and their enemies watched them to see them burn up in that awful fire, but were greatly astonished to see them walking around in the fire enjoying themselves. Nebuchadnezzar told them to “come forth out of the midst of the fire.” Not even a hair was singed, nor was the smell of fire on their garments, “because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort.”

This apparent defeat resulted in a marvelous victory.

Suppose that these three men had lost their faith and courage, and had complained, saying, “Why did not God keep us out of the furnace!” They would have been burned, and God would not have been glorified. If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conqueror, and a glorious victory will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places God brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His name.
–Life of Praise

Experience

By: Todays Devotions

  COLOSSIANS 1:3-14

We . . . ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all . . . wisdom and understanding. . . .

—  Colossians 1:9

Is there a car or truck you would love to own but probably can’t, for one reason or another? Some years ago, I thought it would be wonderful to have a Hummer H3. It wasn’t practical or fuel efficient, of course, but I was intrigued by it. I talked about it a lot, saying that if I was independently wealthy and not creation conscious, I would probably own one. Whenever I saw an H3 on the road, I would dream.

Then one day a generous friend who owned a dealership treated me with a chance to drive an H3. He knew it had been a rough week for me, and when I came home that day an H3 sat in front of my house with a set of keys in it. He said, “No off-roading, but enjoy!” Wow! The experience was more than I had imagined. Parking was a little tricky, but just driving that vehicle was an amazing experience. It was no longer just an academic look at an H3.

Paul wants us to realize that knowing about God is not the same as experiencing God and all of his fullness. This passage is a part of Scripture that I have prayed over my children and grandchildren. Like Paul, I want them to enjoy the full experience of all that God has given. God has offered each of us the chance to adventure with him, assuring us of the full life he has in store for us. Are you ready for a test drive?

Today’s Devotions

Morning

January 18

Genesis 17:17 17Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”

18:12 12So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

When the LORD came to Abraham, before the destruction of Sodom, He promised that Sarah would be the mother of the son of promise. Abraham had already had a son through Sarah’s servant Hagar. He had “helped” God out by using a custom of the time. The help he gave God was going to end up being a great heartache. As children of God, we have customs that are different from those of the world around us. We are separated as citizens of heaven and need to live in the ways of our new culture and not that of this passing world.

When the LORD told Abraham that it was through Sarah that the promised child would be born, Abraham laughed at the thought of 100-year-old man and a 90-year-old woman having a child. When you think about it, it is kind of funny. But God delights in the impossible, so that we know it is God’s doing and not man’s.

When Sarah heard, she laughed too. The difference is that Sarah was laughing at God. God responded, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? Genesis 18:14 What can we learn from the two laughs? I think God delights for us to see how impossible it is for man to do something. Go ahead and laugh at the impossibility of what He has promised you. He has promised to make you into the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29) Ha ha ha! No man can do that! What a wild thing to do! Can you believe God would take a person like you or me and do such a thing? Sarah’s laugh said, “No. It is not possible even for God!” God says, “Nothing is too hard for me! Watch and see, for in My time it will come to pass.”

Meditation: The One who brought it pass for Abraham is the same capable God who promises to make you like His Son.

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