Divine Wilderness

A wild, empty, or remote area (wilderness) is what most people rarely frequent.  Wilderness is mostly inhabited by untamed animals that thrive in a mysteriously desolate, yet awesomely beautiful place.  It is a place without highways; crisscrossed randomly by well-trodden game trails.  When I meet with my Heavenly Father in such a place it morphs into a Divine Wilderness.

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Ramon Crater at Negev Desert, Israel

I must come alone.  But I will not be lonely, as the Holy Spirit will be there with me.  In fact, He is my guide – just as Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to pray.

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, ~ Luke 4:1 KJV

Jesus was always our perfect example in every aspect of His life in the flesh:

  • He always retreated from others when He prayed.
  • He sought isolated places to be alone in prayer with His Father; often ending up in the wilderness just like Abraham, Moses, and John the Baptist.
  • Multitudes followed Jesus into the wilderness and He spoke The Word to them.  He fed them out there – bread and fish (about 5,000 men plus women and children).
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.      ~ John 6:33-35 KJV

Since I am a night owl, my wilderness is located somewhere in the far distant gloom of night.  It’s sometime between midnight and four a.m.  Others speak of morning devotions and I have never been successful finding time with God in the morning (I’m talking crack-of-dawn morning).  But while others sleep, I become unfettered to the cares of this world.  I am free to be alone with my Father with no interruptions.  Mind you, I am not saying that I have made every appointment – far from it!

But that is my weakness, not His.  He awaits in perfect faithfulness to me while I am wasting all that Divine Wilderness on nothingness.

“Father, forgive me for not making our time together the highest priority each night.  I am often absent when I should be searching Your Word nightly in the Divine Wilderness of Your love.  Thank You for patience toward me, and for giving me another chance to work on this, as I need Your Wisdom and Presence to recharge my soul every night so that I can shine for You every day.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.”

No matter what time of day or night, are you spending time alone with your Father in His Divine Wilderness?  If not, will you join with me in re-dedication to daily devotions?

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PC: ©CanStock Photo Inc/Flik47

Growing Up

I recently read a post that stated simply, “The first 50 years are the hardest part of growing up.”

Can I get an amen?

After living over half a century my response is, “Still working on it!”

I used to think that growing up was so complicated.  I took life’s challenges seriously and wore myself out trying to live up to public opinion instead of what God’s Word has to say about it.  My moral compass was skewed by the changing times.  I was more intent on meeting expectations of the world system than I was on finding out what God’s plan was for my life.  Decades passed and after my nest emptied I began to realize that getting an education, raising a family, and making a living was just getting me older.  I did not feel as grown up as my image reflected in the mirror each morning.

Thank God for not giving up on me!

He has not given up our nation, either.  Nations also struggle with growing up.  Our United States is groaning under the stress of moral decline.  It’s time to grow up!  We as believers are part of the problem, but we can be part of God’s solution, too.  I want to be part of God’s plan for my own life and for that of my nation.  I want my nation to turn away from foolishness, repent, and place our government once again under God.  Our loving, faithful Father has delivered us and shown us the way:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  ~John 16:33

It starts with me.  It’s time to grow up spiritually.  It’s time for me to be His Voice and spread good cheer in a time of national tribulation.  His promise is that in Me you may have peace.  Praise and thank you, Lord!god-is-good

Silver – Not Gold

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” ~ Psalm 12:6 KJV

Purity is absolute:  Pureness means flawless and undefiled.  God’s words are Truth.  They can be tested for eternity and never change.  God wants us to know that we can rely on His words.  God’s words stand up to any test.  God’s words are a testament to who He is.  That is clearly understood by man, as throughout history, even an imperfect man is known by whether or not he keeps his word:

“For I am the LORD, I change not: ….” ~ Malachi 3:6 KJV

Properties of silver:  The more times heat is applied to silver, the more pure it becomes.  This is true of any metal such as gold. Why does King David describe the words of God as being pure “as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” instead of gold?  Well, not all silver is pure silver unless the impurities are removed by the process of smelting.  The heat of a furnace (or crucible) extracts silver or gold from the slag (bronze, iron, lead, or tin), leaving the desired metal in its pure state – undefiled.  Only silver that is refined in a furnace of earth (in those days) seven times is pure enough to describe God’s words.

The number seven: In God’s Word the number seven is known to be symbolic of completion; i.e. the priest sprinkled the blood of a bull before the Lord seven times at the veil of the sanctuary in the tabernacle (Leviticus 4:6); the leper was to be sprinkled seven times for cleansing from leprosy (Leviticus 14:7); the Israelites marched around the city walls of Jericho seven times before the Lord caused the walls to fall, giving His people a complete victory over the Canaanite city (Joshua 6:4) – it was the first battle victory of many  to follow that enabled God’s chosen people to inhabit the land that God had promised to them.  God’s words are complete.  They are final and unchangeable.

Value of silver:  We understand that gold is more valuable than silver even today – just as it was in the ancient world.  So why not describe God’s words as being pure as gold instead of pure as silver?

Durability:  Who was David’s audience?  A people whose economy was based upon silver currency would understand the high value placed upon silver as a traded commodity and also its availability to the common people in everyday life.  God inspired David around 800 B.C.E to describe His messages to man in common terms that man could understand across the millennia of time.  Even today silver is more commonly minted as coinage than is gold, so the average person is more familiar with its monetary value than gold.

Most coinage is silver, since gold is softer than silver.  Gold is good for beating into stunning and valuable temple ornamentation or jewelry, but its soft properties do not meet the standards of coinage. It is so awesome that God’s Word never fails to explain His messages to man in terms that man can best understand.  God’s message here is to the ancient generations of Hebrews living during King David’s rule of Israel.  Yet it is also easily understood in modern times.

Silver as a symbol: Silver symbolizes wealth and position.  Palaces, temples, kingly furnishings and other royal objects of wealth have been adorned or traded in silver.  One example given at the link below of traded silver is that of Solomon’s Egyptian chariot bought with 600 shekels of silver (I Kings 10:29).

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Old Israeli Agora Shekel Coin

The smelting or refining of silver as well as the trading of silver assigned a symbolic value to the virtue of wisdom for the Israelites:

“For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver.” ~ Psalm 66:10 NIV

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” ~ Proverbs 3:13-14 NIV

God’s Promise and our hope:
“So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” ~ Hebrews 6:18-20 NASB

Prayer:  Abba, Father, thanking You today for drawing us a picture using silver to explain how Your words are pure, absolute, complete, lasting, valuable, and worthy of our attention.  We accept Your words as holy and full of wisdom.  Help us to remain faithful to read Your Word, the Holy Bible, daily; and keep Your words in our hearts.  Give us opportunities to share them with others, and to apply Your words to our lives.  In the Name of our our Redeemer Jesus, King of Kings and LORD of Lords, Yeshua Messiah. Amen.

Further information on the values of gold and silver to the ancient Jewish people can be found at The Library, Encyclopedia Judaica: Metals & Mining.
Feature Photo courtesy ©Can Stock Photo Inc/HOMONSTOCK
Old Israeli Agora Coin photo courtesy ©Can Stock Photo Inc/asafeliason
Quote

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.

The Life Project

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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