Reaching the Tipping Point

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. ~ Psalm 118:13-14 NIV

Even if we think that God has never done anything for us, His Name is worthy to be praised!

Sometimes in the midst of life’s defeats, people may curse God; blaming Him for calamity. When I passed this historical home in Old Town, Kenai, I had to stop and reflect: Who lived here so long ago?  Who cut the trees, and hewed the timbers?  Most likely the neighbors helped out, since that was still the culture when I arrived in Alaska over half a century ago – and this house is much, much older than that.

How did they survive the harsh climate?  There were no modern appliances or conveniences to ease their daily burdens.  Did they attend the old Russian Orthodox Church around the corner?  Were they people of faith?  Old Town is situated on the bluff overlooking Cook Inlet.  It is an old fishing town.  Was God their strength when loved ones perished at sea; or when the hunt for moose produced no meat for the winter?  How many families lived there before it had to be abandoned to the wind and snow?  It most certainly rode out the great Alaskan earthquake of 1964 also.  But finally, it succumbed, and is now teetering on the brink of collapse.

I am thankful to the Father of all, that He sent His Son, Jesus, who is the cornerstone and will never be shaken.  He is my Rock of Salvation.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Lord save us! Lord grant us success! ~ Psalm 118:22-25 NIV

I sat there a long time, reflecting upon my own life’s defeats.  There have been too many to count.  Through it all, the Lord has been with me.  He picks me up, and sets me upright with my feet pointed in the direction I should have been headed – always drawing me nearer to Himself – to safety.  He does not want us to fall.

I still stray into circumstances that test my abilities to cope.  At times I feel that I am reaching the tipping point and only then remember to call upon Jesus to save me!

“What are you doing here?” He lovingly inquires.  He does not accuse me in my desperate state of exhaustion over fighting some battle on my own – in futility, without Him.

“Am I the only one?” I cry to the Lord, “Where were You?” – still casting my cares upon Him; not as an obedient servant, but as an afterthought; the bleating of a wayward lamb who lost its way again.

Are you reaching the tipping point?  Cry out to God – and quickly.  He will not linger, but rush to save us from any circumstance.  Trust in Him, for He is right there; waiting for us to call upon Him.  He is mighty to save and deserves our praise:

You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, and I will exalt You. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. ~ Psalm 118:28-29 NIV

 

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God’s Purpose vs. Man’s Panic

The Lord Almighty has sworn, Surely, as I have planned so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen ~ Isaiah 14:24 NIV

This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? ~ Isaiah 14:26-27 NIV

The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty. The Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. Your throne was established long ago; You are from all eternity. ~ Psalm 93:1 NIV

Do we trust what we see with our own eyes?  Or do we trust in God’s Word?  If we trust God’s authority over all, what business do we have giving in to feelings of panic during adversity or catastrophe?  Anxiety is the playground of the evil one.

Help us, Father, to recognize your sovereign power over this earth, our lives, and our enemies. Give us peace from torments as we trust in Your power over all things real or imagined, living or dead, spiritual or natural, past or present. Thank You in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

God has plans for this world, not problems. There is never a panic in heaven.
W. Ian Thomas

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When Nothing Makes Sense

When nothing makes sense, we can completely trust that God is in control of all that matters.

Reading scriptures Habakkuk 1-3:

The prophet Habakkuk lives in a time around 600 B.C., when Babylon is about to invade Judah.  He is extremely troubled about the time in which he lives.  For him, it is the end times.  Christ followers believe that we also live in the end times.  Habakkuk questions the Lord in chapter one about world evil much the same as believers do today:

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but You do not save? ~Habakkuk 1:2 NIV

God gives Habakkuk a revelation in chapter two – just as the Apostle John was given The Book of Revelation in the New Testament by Jesus Christ – the last book of God’s Word, our Bible:

Then the Lord replied, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay… Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” ~ Habakkuk 1:2,3,5 NIV

As I watch what is going on in our world today, and the perplexing changes taking place in the nations, I am utterly amazed, just as the Lord predicted.  Nothing makes sense anymore, except God’s Word.  We must continue to watch, wait, and pray for strength like Habakkuk.

Easier said than done.  Watching the world crumble is heartbreaking.  Waiting does not mean we should complain as we wait.

Prayer: Forgive my impatience, Father, and replace my complaints with faithful expectations from Your Word. Nothing makes sense anymore but I will rejoice and trust in You. Help me to glorify You with a willing and cheerful heart for your service as I stand watch. Prepare me in Your strength with courage to face battles yet won. May I run with the fleetness of the deer as a herald with Your revelation given to a lost world and seek Your Presence at all times.  In Your Son Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him. ~ Habakkuk 2:20 NIV

If you are seeking God’s Truth, His Word has the answers.  If you have never trusted in Him, click this link.

Leading Quiet Lives

Keeping our focus on living the way Jesus lived; humbly and with solid purpose for doing the will of our Father in heaven.

TLP

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1Thessalonians 4:11-12

What great advice! Paul’s instructions here need little amplification from me or anyone else, but I might just add this…

Leading quiet lives is out of fashion these days with tweets, texts and people sounding off all the time.  I used to tell my kids that their friends don’t need to know about every little thought that passes their consciousness.  Of course teenagers tend to think their parents don’t know anything and they texted or posted or spoke frequently, and frequently got a face full in return… Hardly an example of leading a quiet life.

Back in Paul’s time, working with your hands would…

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Keep His Commands

Reblogging this posting on love from God’s Word:

TLP

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Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

1 John 5:1-5

As we begin the final chapter of John’s letter, John continues to tell us that we must love God and love each other. He’s been doing this for dozens of verses now; for some who read this, John is going to throw you another curve.

The curve is in verse 2:  This is how we…

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God is Love

God is love. What exactly does that mean? This posting explains that if you are living in Christ, you are living in love.

TLP

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God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:16b-18

This short text is tricky; we need to be sharp to get the full benefit of it.  “God is love.” OK, so far, so good, this part is easy.  Them John says, Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  For us to live in love is to also live in God, and when we do that, God lives in us because God and love are the same thing: They are inseparable.  Here comes the curve: John is building again.  Because…

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What Are You Doing Here?

And the Word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” ~ I Kings 19:9-10 NIV

Read Bible scriptures I Kings 18-19.

The prophet Elijah has just experienced two miraculous spiritual victories: God miraculously defeats the false prophets of Baal and Asherah at Mt. Carmel and then He answers Elijah’s prayer for rain.  Queen Jezebel is hopping mad at Elijah for ordering the death of her favored false prophets so she threatens Elijah’s life.  What is Elijah’s reaction?

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” ~ I Kings 19:3 NIV

The prophet Elijah is hiding out in a cave   He is exhausted, so God sends an angel to feed him and allows Elijah a period of rest before dealing with Elijah’s defeated spirit.  How often has God shown such patience and love in the lives of His servants?  Probably innumerable by man, but our Father knows the exact number, of course.

So many times I have experienced a period of defeat after victory or completion of a task.  When will I learn to spend that time praising God for His blessings and seek His will?  Perhaps when I remember what comes next in this story:

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also anoint Jehu son of Nimishi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” ~ I Kings 19:15-18 NIV

Well!  Jehovah God is not wasting any time raising up new leaders of His choosing; two new kings and a new prophet named Elisha to replace Elijah.  God also declares that Elijah is not the only faithful one left in all of Israel.  God has seven thousand more ready to serve!  Elijah must have been very embarrassed thinking that he was the only faithful believer left in the country.

So now comes the most remarkable part of this story – at least for me.  It is known as the Calling of Elisha:

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant. ~ I Kings 19:19-21 NIV

Elisha commits to serving God without reservation.  He quits plowing, slaughters the oxen, burns his farm equipment and then barbeques up the oxen in the blaze.  Elisha invites the neighbors to eat the feast and then he follows Elijah.  What an example of obedience to God’s calling!  Elisha makes sure nothing is left behind – no temptation to return.  He is all in; totally committed to serving God.  His eagerness to get started is obvious, since he doesn’t hang around selling anything – burning is more expedient.

So often we hear God’s calling, but never get past saying our family goodbyes or clinging to our stuff instead of showing up for God’s work.  When Jesus called His disciples to follow him, they dropped what they were doing and obeyed.  There is no other way acceptable to our Almighty God – His work must come first.

How often has the Holy Spirit asked me, “What are you doing here?”  – I cannot count the number.  In this case, Elijah was so despondent and tired of running from Jezebel’s wrath that he sat under a bush and prayed that God would kill him.  “I have had enough, Lord,” He complained.  Little did he know that God would answer that prayer in a miraculous way, for Elijah would never die.  God later took him to heaven in a chariot alive!  Only one other man, Enoch, was granted such a privilege.  In the meantime, God provided not only Elijah’s replacement in Elisha, but a servant to help Elijah.  God’s grace is more than sufficient:

“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14a NIV

As the deer pants for the water:

Prayer:  Father, forgive me for putting other people and my own plans ahead of Yours; for indulging in depressive, doubting thoughts which cause me to be of no service to You.  Thank you for reminding me that Your plans are perfect.  Thank you for giving us Your Word full of love, instruction, and wisdom that strengthens my faith.  May You never have to ask me again, “What are you doing here?”  Keep me at the earthly location of Your choosing and obediently doing Your will.  Remind me to call on You and to seek You with my whole heart – longing like the deer for Your Living Water.  Thank You for promising that You will listen and be found.  In the name of our blessed Savior Jesus, Amen!

God’s blessings on all readers of ImportantStuff.live, and thank you for following.

Feature photo credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Ariec

 

 

A Wasted Life

My story is starting, fizzling, and seldom finishing what God has expected me to accomplish. Why? This post explains it perfectly.

THE RIVER WALK

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a wasted life

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. (Luke 12:48)

Read: Deuteronomy 32:28-52, Luke 12:35-59, Psalm 78:56-64, Proverbs 12:24

Relate: Scatterbrained. That is one way to describe the man, but I don’t think it quite fits. Brilliant. It is a word far more accurate but again I think it falls far short. There is an abundance of brilliant people past and present and none of them are anything like him. While not one of my favorite historical characters, I would say that he is one of the ones I am most intrigued by. He accomplished so much that can easily put him in the pantheon of greatest and most gifted individuals of all time, but there was also so much more that he could have, should have done and just didn’t. Over and…

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