Have you ever thought about how many times God would have to show up in your life to settle the question of knowing that He is God? Knowing that God is God is a familiar struggle that we can all relate to. And knowing that God gives us His ‘grace space’ to settle our struggle with unbelief once and for all is also comforting, as long as we realize that it is not His will for us to remain in doubt.
The Israelites struggled to believe that God was God in their lives during their 40 year wilderness experience. Even with the parting of the Red Sea, bread from heaven and numerous miraculous deliveries from their enemies many still could not embrace the All-Sufficient One. We see from their example that even God knows when we reach a point that we should know that He is God as when He said to Moses:
“How long will this people despise Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?” (Numbers 14:11)
God was speaking about a people who had experienced His supernatural intervention in their lives for many years and yet still did not believe. God knew that He had provided ample evidence of His presence and they had reached a point of compromising their inheritance in Him. He was ready to strike them with a pestilence and disinherit them from His covenant promises! (Numbers 14:12)
We have another example in the story of the widow and her son of Zarephath in prophet Elijah’s day whom God miraculously kept alive by not allowing her flour and oil to run out, as along as she fed the prophet during a period of severe drought. But it was not until Elijah raised her son from the dead did she believe that the prophet was sent from God.
“And the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.'” (1 Kings 17:24)
Are you still within God’s ‘grace space’ of wavering in unbelief? If so, it’s not because God has not shown up in your circumstances a time or two, it is because of unbelief. Don’t waiver so long in unbelief that you forfeit your covenant promises from God. Believing God is just a prayer away.
Before Jesus healed the boy with the unclean spirit, his earthly father gives us a glimpse of his struggle with unbelief when he asks Jesus:
“…But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:22, 23)
And the father of the child cried out – “I believe; help my unbelief!” And the boy was healed.
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe His prophets, and you will succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20)
(Photo by Goodfon-su)
Love wins. It triumphs over all things. And this is possible because God loved first and through His all-powerful love He caused His light to shine upon the just and the unjust. We all enjoy the daily benefits of the light of His grace and love.
“The Lord is God, and He has made His light to shine upon us.” (Psalm 118:27)
God is love. We can know His love by placing our trust in His Son, Jesus, who is the light of the world (John 8:12), the bright morning star (Rev. 22:16). This Jesus, who loves us is the rock and anchor of our faith, the answer to all that we will ever need, the Savior of the world. He died and rose again in order to offer eternal life by taking our place on the cross. He is the Stone that the builders rejected who in triumph has become the Cornerstone of faith.
“This is the Lord’s doing, it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:23)
Jesus said that we can know that we have come to know Him and God’s love if we keep His commandments. We can know that His love is being perfected in us. (1 John 2: 3-5) Our new nature in Christ removes the right to be selective in the commandments that we keep, our new nature delights in responding like Jesus would respond in everyday circumstances. His love did not leave us as orphans to work this out for ourselves, He gave us a Helper, the Holy Spirit who empowers us to walk in God’s light.
“And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)
We are called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) as we pursue fulfilling a lifestyle of obedient faith in love.
“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15: 9-11)
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Have you ever questioned God’s presence in your life? If the answer is yes you are in good company. God knew that you would struggle with this dilemma. He provides an illustration that sheds light on and gives application to you knowing that He is with you. We can see it in the life of King Saul and King David.
“The word of the Lord came to Samuel: I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not performed My commandments.” (1 Samuel 15:10)
We can know that ‘God is with us’ when we walk in obedience to His commandments. King Saul had a rebellious heart and was more about doing what was right in his own eyes rather than obeying God. A true God follower delights in obeying His word. And this delight in obedience God promises to bless because obedience shapes our heart after God and His ways.
“And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him.” (1 Samuel 18:14)
“And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him.” (1 Chronicles 11:9)
God departed from King Saul because of his disobedience and unwillingness to follow Him with his whole heart, Saul broke faith with God. The prophet Samuel was instructed by God to seek out a man after His own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14)
True success in your life is measured by obedience to the God of the universe. You can count on His daily support in every area of your life and the blessings of obedient living.
“Blessed is the man…his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalms 1:1-3)
You can know that ‘God is with you.’
Arriving into the land of promise is often preceded by a clearly defined path laced with life instruction and spiritual maturity along the way. Maintaining the promise land lifestyle is often far more difficult.
The land of promise showcases God’s blessings. He promises abundance and multiplication far beyond what we can produce through our own efforts. Blessing our households, our offspring and all the work of our hands.
“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And He will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 28:8)
He promises to give us favor with mankind by placing us in positions of leadership and will make us prosperous in what He has called us to do and to become with only one condition…to faithfully obey His voice, being careful to do all His commandments. (Deut. 8:1) Herein lies the dilemma of maintaining the land of promise.
It is one thing to arrive into the land of promise, it’s another thing to maintain it. And God knew our tendency to wander into disobedience and provided a way back before we had to ask.
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey His voice in all that I command you today, will all your heart and with all your soul…” (Deut. 30:1,2)
According to this passage we can know that obedience keeps us in the presence of God’s blessings and disobedience drives us away from God’s blessings. But thank God that His mercies are new every morning. His hand is always extended with new tender mercies calling us back to Him but it must be with all our heart and soul. On this condition He is eager to restore us again to the land of promise.
“…then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and He will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.” (Deut. 30:3)
When we decide to walk in obedience to God out of love for all that He has done for us, with all our heart and soul, He promises life in His blessed presence. The way into His presence is through Jesus, His Son.
“For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments…when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 30:9,10)
Choose to maintain your land of promise in obedience to God who loves you and desires the best for your life.
Photo Credit: Skilal
Searching for peace in life is a common goal shared by the human race. It can become a life long journey that leads us astray on many misguided paths that seem attractive to our pursuit.
The bible tells us that there is one way to finding peace, happiness and rest for our weary souls and it begins with seeking the will of God. One great man of God said it this way: “Follow the will of God, and happiness and peace and rest will come. The way of obedience is always the way of blessing.” (D. L. Moody, The Overcoming Life, 1896)
Making peace with God brings peace to our souls. The only way to God is through Jesus Christ, His Son. If you have become weary in your search for peace Jesus invites you to come to Him to receive rest.
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
This is the will of God and those who obey His will enter into blessed living. This blessed living is not without trials and suffering but we are promised to never go it alone. Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. (Matthew 28:20)
Those who follow the will of God are promised triumphant living throughout their lives no matter the circumstances that try their faith. With every triumph of faith we take on more of the fragrance of Christ. This is blessed living.
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
When we humble ourselves and submit to the teachings of Christ we enter into blessed living. Jesus beckons us to come under the obedience of His teachings and promises to be gentle in His approach. He knows how fragile and needy we really are.
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
Jesus is Peace.
A spiritual giant of a man that we’ve all heard of at one time or another once said “When the heart sees what God wants, the body must be willing to spend and be spent for that cause alone.” Oswald Chambers was a man completely abandoned to God, he understood what it meant to be a true follower.
A true follower accepts the authority of another and obeys by placing himself in submission to the instruction or orders given. As a Christian we have been asked by God to:
“…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
In other words, I must offer up my life, give it away as a living sacrifice in order to truly fulfill God’s purpose for my life. I have been made holy and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. This is my spiritual worship, a reasonable response to God’s amazing grace deposited into my life.
How does this look in my daily walk and growing relationship with my Heavenly Father? And how will I know that I am fulfilling His purpose and will in my life? We are to follow by setting ourselves apart from this world by renewing our mind with His Word, accepting the tests that come our way that God will use to give us wisdom and discernment to know His will. All this by living in the world and yet apart from it.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Only then can the heart begin to see what it was created to be spent for.
Has something in your life died that needs to be brought to life again? The death of a relationship, dream or vision, a loss or failure in your life that you are struggling through, fighting off what appears to be a permanent outcome? Then you must know in whom you can believe to bring life to your death situation.
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21)
Martha’s first response to Jesus showing up four days after Lazarus died brings this story close to home and our own ‘death’ situations that appear to be utterly hopeless and beyond restoration. Martha had witnessed the Lord’s power and even proclaimed that she knew that whatever He asked from God would be granted to Him.” (John 11:22) Then Jesus speaks to the situation:
“…your brother will rise again.” (John 11:23)
Martha assumed that Jesus was speaking of the resurrection on the last day. Her assumption was lacking obviously when Jesus proclaimed:
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26)
When we believe or place our trust in Jesus, He promises to use all life situations for our greater good in the future, in His time. In other words, every experience counts, every loss, every death and broken dream. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy, even evil plotted against us He will turn around for our good.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1Peter 5:10)
“Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God…” (John 11:27)
Life is the culmination of new beginnings, seasons of growth and change. As God put it, while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)
But there is more to life than just existing on this earth from birth to death. There is a divine purpose to our existence that God desires to fulfill and it begins with acknowledging the source of true life. Moses told the people of Israel to look forward to a future prophet that God would raise up like him, one that they should be careful to listen to.
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is to Him you shall listen.” (Deuteronomy 18:15)
For all those who looked toward the fulfillment of this promise, this prophet, who like Moses would lead the people and the world into new beginnings of eternal life through Him, would take center stage in the world as we know it.
“…behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.'” (Matthew 17:5)
Today presents an opportunity for new beginnings. There is more to life on this earth than merely existing aimlessly, void of purpose and a life left wanting. Jesus said that those who believe in Him would have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) His desire is for us to know Him, not only in His death on the cross (seedtime) but in the power of His resurrection (harvest) in newness of life. (Philippians 3:10)
“I am the good shepherd, I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father;and I lay down My life for the sheep…and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, One shepherd.” (John 10:14,15)
New beginnings begin with listening to Jesus!
Bold, Italics are mine.