Archive for the 'God’s Will' Category

Sep 15 2010

Our choices and our actions can have far more ‘far-reaching consequences’ than we may ever imagine…

This ‘began as a devotional with commentary’ but as it evolved… became such a very powerful study of God’s interaction with His creation… and His perfect plan…

and how there is ‘supernatural warfare’…with Satan and his minions trying their fiendish best to corrupt, destroy, or delay God… then…in the beginning… and now…

But praise God… He is Sovereign… and thus…in control… and everything works out ‘according to His “determined” will (as differing from His “desired will”)…

***yes to me it seems ‘God has both’… a ‘determined will’ which NOTHING CAN STOP or CHANGE… and a ‘desired will’ such as His will is for all to come to Jesus and to be saved… but He knows… and by His Word we see…that is not being done… but that is another study…

So…lets proceed… and my hope is it will stimulate and challenge you in so many ways…

and also impress upon you that ‘your choices, your actions’ can have far more ‘far-reaching consequences’… either good or bad…than you may ever even have considered… and thus…YOU can be a influence that can impact the world…

“I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” — Jer 33:3

Here I have placed expanded Scripture framing the above Devotional verse but used the New American Standard Bible:

Jer 33:2-9
2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name,
3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
4 “For thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword,
5 ‘While they are coming to fight with the Chaldeans, and to fill them with the corpses of men whom I have slain in My anger and in My wrath, and I have hidden My face from this city because of all their wickedness:
6 ‘Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.
7 ‘And I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and I will rebuild them as they were at first.
8 ‘And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me, and by which they have transgressed against Me.
9 ‘And it shall be to Me a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear of all the good that I do for them, and they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’
NASB

And now… written by a man of God — Charles Spurgeon — who wrote this over 115 years ago in England …but his illumination of the Scriptures are still so relevant even today…as God’s word never changes…and this only shows again that His Holy Spirit…who has illuminated His word to saints preceding us…is also faithful to do so for us…if we will but search His word diligently…

Now, there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment.

There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers.

We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven.

There are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which He takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers.

Prevailing prayer is victorious over the God of mercy, “By his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto Him: he found Him in Beth-el, and there He spake with us.”

Prevailing prayer takes the Christian to Carmel, and enables him to cover heaven with clouds of blessing, and earth with floods of mercy.

Prevailing prayer bears the Christian aloft to Pisgah, and shows him the inheritance reserved; it elevates us to Tabor and transfigures us, till in the likeness of his Lord, as He is, so are we also in this world.

If you would reach to something higher than ordinary grovelling experience, look to the Rock that is higher than you, and gaze with the eye of faith through the window of importunate prayer.

When you open the window on your side, it will not be bolted on the other.

As I began reflecting upon this devotional… somehow I was led to consider so much more… as I started taking his text… and then ‘finding the actual verses’ from which he had taken it… as this one… and in this presentation…you’ll see ‘world-wide effects’ still ongoing…that also should show you…that ‘your choices and decisions too can affect so many’… thus each of us can be ‘an influence for good or for evil’…

Hos 12:3-6 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial. Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.
KJV

This was the story of the birth of Jacob… a ‘twin’ with Esau… his ‘older and thus the elder brother’ if only by a matter of a few moments… still in the family of Israel as God’s Word traces the lineage of Christ…

the eldest son — the firstborn son…was given great responsibility and the blessing of his father… and if there was ‘great wealth’…he was given the largest portion… and his ‘siblings’ were affected too by his position in the family… as he carried on the headship of his father…he became the patriarch… 

Historically and Biblically… this is more of this fabulous story… and in it too… we see this evolving fulfillment of God’s plan… and too…we can see Satan’s attack trying to thwart God’s plan… and disrupt the lineage of Christ… this ‘supernatural battle’ between ‘good and evil’… between light and darkness…

which is still being fought…but we have tremendous advantage for those of us who believe God’s Word… we know how it ends…Christ VICTORIOUS!

Gen 25:21-26 And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.
NASB

Thus we have the birth of ‘two nations’… one in Jacob continues the lineage of Abraham… and Isaac… and thus Israel… through which is also the lineage of Christ…the ‘seed of promise’…

***(Also… previous to Isaac… Abraham sired Ishmael through Sarah’s handmaiden… who became the father of all Arabs… also enemies of Israel… and that is who the Muslims trace their lineage through)…

But the ‘birth of these twins’… Jacob and the other Esau…which became the nation of Edom…and the Edomites… who became bitter and deadly enemies of Israel…

Gen 36:9 These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.

in fact… Esau even married a daughter of Ishmael… in ‘direct opposition to his father’… and aren’t we too…so ‘rebellious by nature’… haven’t each of us ‘rebelled against our parents’…or ‘against God’… (all sin is rebellion against God)…

Gen 28:6-9 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram, to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram. So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.

Now let us ‘fast forward’ to the time of Christ… and see just how this situation with Esau has evolved… since Esau became the ‘father of the Edomites’… who became deadly enemies of God and Israel (out of Isaac and then out of Jacob)… as we see in Matthew…that Herod the Great was a descendent of Esau… and of Edom… and still an enemy of God! (his father was Antipater and his mother Cypros, an Arabian woman…so she had to be from the lineage of Ishmael (father of the Arab nations)… if my facts are straight…

Matt 2:1-6 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
KJV

God warned the ‘wise men’…so…again there is ‘divine intervention and interaction’… and I believe there still is today…

Matt 2:12-13 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
KJV
We see here the evil of Satan and of his minions…their merciless slaughter of babies 2 years old and under… (***and compare that to our ‘allowing…even protecting’ abortion’…the ‘murder of unborn babies!’)…

Matt 2:16-18 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. ***(My note: as Satan’s instrument trying to destroy the Christ-child) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
KJV ***see this was even prophesied in the OT years and years before the birth of Christ… in Jer. 31:15…when one sees ‘all the prophecies of Christ’ that He fulfilled literally… His birth, His life, His ministry, His death, His resurrection…years or even centuries before He was born… how could anyone doubt?!

Other mentions in the devotionals text are worth study too… such as Bethel… as each of these have special ‘spiritual meaning and significance’…
Bethel…a special place of worship…first mentioned here…

Gen 12:7-8 And the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.

***Note later when Abraham had sinned against God in reference to ‘giving his wife to a Pharaoh’ and telling him she was his sister… God did NOT punish him… but rather took him to Bethel to worship…

Carmel…is often mentioned in the OT…but here is a verse I love…

Isa 35:2 It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, The majesty of our God.

But lets go back to these moments in Biblical history… of Isaac… and his twin sons… Jacob and Esau… (preceded by Abraham’s own sin… complicited by his wife…when they ‘tried to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham…by him siring a son through Sarah’s handmade, Hagar… who was named Ishmael…the father of all Arabs)…

Gen 16:2-4 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight.

Gen 16:11-12 The angel of the Lord said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. “And he will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

Gen 16:16 And Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

But here is where God ‘again’ promises Abraham that he would be the father of many… and a great nation…though whom ‘the whole world would be blessed’… and here is how the whole world would be blessed… the birth of Christ… and His sacrifice for our sins on Calvary’s cross…

Isa 9:6-7 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Here again is the blessing validated…

Gen 18:17-18 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?

Gen 22:17-18 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

This blessing again promised to Isaac… Abraham’s ‘son of the promise’…

Gen 26:1-4 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;

This blessing also given to Jacob… the ‘son of Isaac’…the ‘twin of Esau’…

Gen 28:10-14 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. And he had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Here…after the birth of Ishmael…when Abraham was still confused… as he and Sarah had tried to fulfill God’s promise through the flesh…

Gen 17:1-2 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”

Gen 17:15-17 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

And here even Abraham questions God…concerning Ishmael… and God tells him that Ishmael is NOT the seed of the promise… but that God will still bless Ishmael… but Ishmael IS NOT OF THE COVENANT!

Gen 17:18-21 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!” But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”

(***and herein lies the split too with Islam…who considers Ishmael the seed of the promise with Allah!)… and again…Satan has ‘counterfeited’…and we see a ‘false religion’… delivered by a ‘false prophet…Mohammed’… which is controlled by darkness…and therefore condemns so many to hell)…

So we see how ‘significant our choices can be’… and how too the ‘consequences’ can be’… and how ‘history’ seemingly repeats itself… because as we too see… the Prince of the Power of earth is Satan… and by him are controlled this deep hatred of Israel… as God’s chosen people… and also ‘this hatred of us’ who are Christian…

And it really ‘should not surprise us’… if we but consider that…that Satan’s tactics have NOT changed… because ‘they work’…

and the ‘heart of man’ is still in complete conflict and rebellion with God… until he is ‘reborn into Christ’ by the Holy Spirit…and given a ‘newness in Him’…

(***and then…the ‘internal war begins’…between the ‘flesh’…the ‘natural man’… and the Holy Spirit of God who is now indwelling us…and this ‘internal warfare will continue until He calls us home…but Christ is also ‘victorious in us’)…

There is ‘supernatural warfare’… here Daniel is speaking of the angel Michael…and his struggle with one of Satan’s minions…

Dan 10:13 “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.

Dan 10:20  Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.

Here the NT also confirms spiritual warfare..

Eph 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Eph 6:11-13 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 
***red is my emphasis… to show we are in a supernatural war…

But here is God’s promise in Christ…

Rom 8:37-39 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And there is so much Scripture of God’s promising us ‘victory in Christ’…

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

John 17:1-5 These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.

John 6:37-40 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Here are some things ‘precious to me’…said by others…

“I shall rise from the dead…I shall see the Son of God, the Sun of Glory, and shine myself as that sun shines. I shall be united to the Ancient of Days, to God Himself, who had no morning, never began…No man ever saw God and lived. And yet, I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen Him, I shall never die.”

                                                                                    John Donne

 

 

“Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead.  Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive then ever before.”  D.L. Moody

 

“I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after dark; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.” C.S. Lewis

Thus too…in closing…you can see why this poem means so much to me… as it captures my ‘reality in Christ’…

One of my favorite poems… sure does seem ‘to frame me — the snapshot of me’…because ‘certainly, I am NOT holy or righteous’… so must rely on the ‘blood of Jesus Christ’ to wash away my sins…


 
 

I AM A CHRISTIAN
        by Maya Angelou        When I say… “I am a Christian”
        I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin.”
        I’m whispering “I was lost,”
        Now I’m found and forgiven.

        When I say…”I am a Christian”
        I don’t speak of this with pride.
        I’m confessing that I stumble
        and need CHRIST to be my guide.

        When I say… “I am a Christian”
        I’m not trying to be strong.
        I’m professing that I’m weak
        and need HIS strength to carry on.

        When I say.. “I am a Christian”
        I’m not bragging of success.
        I’m admitting I have failed
        and need God to clean my mess.

        When I say… “I am a Christian”
        I’m not claiming to be perfect,
        My flaws are far too visible
        but, God believes I am worth it.

        When I say.. “I am a Christian”
        I still feel the sting of pain,
        I have my share of heartaches
        So I call upon His name.

        When I say… “I am a Christian”
        I’m not holier than thou,
        I’m just a simple sinner
        who received God’s good grace, somehow.

Bill Watts… a sinner still…saved by God’s merciful grace in Christ Jesus…my Lord and Savior…

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Oct 05 2005

God’s Will Determined and Desired

Published by under God's Will

God’s ultimate purpose is His glory. Because of a limited human perspective that sees only the evil, people wonder how He can allow crime, disease, natural disasters, or war. But we know that “God causes all things to work together for good” (Romans 8:28). Look at the cross—that device of torturous death is the greatest expression of love, of good and glory in Christianity!

God will have His way, whether we believe in His sovereignty or not. His plan is far bigger than we can grasp, and it is designed to highlight our need for Him. Isa 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

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