Friday, May 29, 2009

Doing Right!

Photo borrowed from

Today, I am going to share a teaching which the Lord has expanded and developed within my heart since Wednesday night. This is not anything which I have really every taught on or thought about, but somehow, the Lord began speaking to me and dealing with me regarding this theme and I have chewed on it like a cow chews their cud for about 36 hours.

Several events in the lives of people, whom I love and care for, has precipitated the development and thought process of this study. The circumstances surrounding these “friends” and their relationships with their family members, spouses, spouses’ family members and friends has finally developed into a festering sore, as they fight for their right to “do their own thing”. It is because I have seen the degeneration of the spiritual life of these people that I am saddened and for this same reason, sadness, I feel compelled to share this recent insight. For those of you who follow my blog, you know this is really out of character for the blog, however bear with me for today and know that the next blog will be lighter and may even have a recipe or two.

There comes a time in the life of all of us, when we must take a tough stand when people lie, steal or attempt to destroy us, our family or our friends and/or those whom God has given us to care for. This predicament is one of the hardest struggles we must all face in life.

Some of you know me, some do not, but in my life, like I am sure in everyone else’s life on planet earth, oft times I am placed in a position where I must fight for what is right.

Deuteronomy 6:18 Do what is right and good in the Lord's sight, so that it may go well with you.

I have asked myself this question a million times if I have asked it once. Am I “IN” the will of God? Am I doing what He wants me to do? Do I know what His will is for my life and those He gave me to care for? Paul tells us:

Ephesians 5:10 Find out what pleases the Lord

This is a simple statement, but it is at the same time an extraordinarily profound statement. If you know what pleases the Lord—and then you do what pleases Him — you will be positive that you are in His will. When you are where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to do, you feel good inside! It is the Spirit of God inside of you will make you feel good and make you sure when you are in God’s will.

I know people which refuse to speak to their brothers or sisters, mothers or fathers or children and yet somehow they pretend think they are in the will of God. I know pastors who refuse to speak to family members and yet they pastor and expect to be blessed. Yet, according to the same Word of God which they preach from the pulpit, IF you are in this position of strife, you are in sin.

There are three ways to be in sin like this:

If you are not in His will it is because you either didn't obey God's explicit Word for you and your life and ministry, like Jonah

Jonah 1"1-3 (NIV) 1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 "Go to the great city Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." 3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.

or if you have moved out, before God’s timing, like Joseph and Mary did in

Luke 2:41-44 (NIV) 41 Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Festival, according to the custom. 43 After the Festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.
or you have simply done the wrong thing, done what seems right in your own sight and not obeyed the explicit Word of God. Without fail, if you are in this position, God will allow things to happen to you until you become so frustrated that you make the needed adjustments in your life. When someone is in this position, they KNOW deep down inside that their prayers will be frustrated and many times go unanswered, even though they may be praying according to the will of God. We will only find rest and confidence when we return to Him and His will.

Isaiah 5:21 (KJV) Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

1 John 5:14-15 (KJV) 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him

Isaiah 30:15 (KJV) For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

For example, the word of God is very clear that you are to “honour your father and your mother”. If you honour one and not the other, are you in the will of God? Can you pray and expect your prayers to be answered? NO! Because your own heart condemns you, you do not have confidence. Why do you not have confidence? Because you are completely sure what you should do and you know no matter what the excuse, your excuse will not stand up when scrutinized in the light of the Word of God.

1 John 3:19-21 (KJV) 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

“If” your heart does not condemn you then and ONLY THEN will you have confidence towards God. About now, you might be saying, “But I have good reason.” But the Word of God says…

Proverbs 14:12 (KJV) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
The Word of God is also clear that only a fool picks up and carries the offences of others. How many times have you known people that got mad at someone else, because a friend or family member was mad?

Proverbs 26:17 (KJV) He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

Proverbs 16:25 (KJV) There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Shakespeare "all's well that ends well," or as my dad says, “It will all come out in the wash” or his other saying “In a hundred years, it will not matter” are all so very true, however many people do not take into account the lost time as they continue on in their stubbornness.
In the end, but not before having strong words with the Lord, Jonah ultimately “allowed” God have His way. But even later, he grumbled and complained to God. Somehow, Jonah in his infinite wisdom thought that he could out-maneuver God. Have you ever been there or done that?

Jonah 4:1-10 (NIV) 1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "Isn't this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." 4 But the LORD replied, "Is it right for you to be angry?" 5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a gourd and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the gourd. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the gourd so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." 9 But God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry about the gourd?" "It is," he said. "And I'm so angry I wish I were dead." 10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this gourd, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?"

A similar thing happened with Joseph and Mary

Luke 2:45-52 (NIV) 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." 49 "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And as Jesus grew up, he increased in wisdom and in favor with God and people.

Both of these Bible stories have several things in common—the people were temporarily outside of the will of God, but by the end of the story they were reconciled to the fact that in order not to be miserable, they MUST make adjustments, because God doesn’t change and He is NOT going to make adjustments to His plan and His Word.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

We humans in our finite wisdom tend to allow ourselves to get sidetracked. But eventually, unless we are really hard headed we will come around to God’s plan. Wouldn’t it be much better if we did it the easy way instead of the hard way?

There is a very funny yet very informative story in Numbers about a prophet of God who was going to do what he wanted to do for money. Money became a very important priority in his life and come “hell or high water” he was going to prophesy against Israel.

Numbers 22:21-40 (KJV) 21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24 But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. 25 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again. 26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. 28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay. 31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. 32 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: 33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive. 34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.

Whether you have sinned grievously like Jonah in refusing leave all to be a missionary warning people of impending judgement, or whether you have run ahead of the Lord like Joseph and Mary, or whether you have refused to honour your father and your mother for whatever reason, or whether you have taken up another’s offence, or whether you are willing to do whatever or take a stand against the people of God all because of money, no matter what your sin, God will not desert you. His intention is to teach you His "ways"— if you will listen. As long as you can hear God's voice when He rebukes you, it means you are not totally deaf to the Spirit of God. Not only is God not finished with you, but He has better things in store for you.

If what I have written has made you angry and made you think to yourself, “I am justified in what I think or in what I am doing, there are always exceptions to the rule,” then you are pregnant and waiting for an “ass speaking” experience, a near death experience or something similar. God will do all He can do to help you to understand that in the end it is an exercise in futility to “kick against the pricks”. Now or later you will make changes or wish you had. I know I speak from experience.

Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

On the other hand, if you are the “speaking ass” the one who sees the danger in the road and tries to warn another about that impending disaster, be prepared to be the beneficiary of a few swift kicks and several unkind words from hard headed, self willed people. There comes a time in the life of all of us, when we must take a tough stand when people lie, steal or attempt to destroy us, our family or our friends and/or those whom God has given us to care for. This predicament is one of the hardest struggles we must all face in life. But if you are looking for wisdom, knowledge and joy remember this…

Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God.

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