With God, You Don’t Fall

There will be attacks on our reputations by people who are mean-hearted, envious or just don’t like seeing anyone else full of joy.  These attacks are inevitable, but your best bet is to not retaliate as much as you may want to, just let Him handle it.

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Have you ever faced a situation where someone was working against you?  They full well know they are doing wrong out of spite, out of anger or perhaps they are just a malicious person.  I have known the situations many times and each time, because I sought God, yielded to Him and ask Him to be on my side about it, I’ve managed to come out relatively unscathed.  I say relatively because, as I spoke about in yesterday’s entry, there are times I’ve tried to go ahead of God…and of course managed to slip up.

Esther 6:12-13

12 Afterward Mordecai went back to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. 13 When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”

Alright, quick history lesson, Esther is set 30 years before the nation of Israel is set free from captivity.  Esther is queen, Mordecai is her uncle and had just informed about an attempt on the king’s life and finally, Haman had just duped the king into signing a decree to eradicate the Jewish people.  We all caught up now?  Alright good.

The king had asked Haman to honor the person whom had given the information about the attempt on his life and Haman did so.  Notice he went home whining and crying to his wife and friends about how Mordecai had been honored.  And in verse 13 really take notice of what his wife specifically says, paraphrasing here, “If Mordecai is of Jewish descent, you are going to lose.”  The Jews were God’s people at the time, so He had their back.  There was nothing Haman could do about it either.

Fast forward to today…we are God’s people as well, grafted onto the vine, adopted into the family of God.  What does this mean?  It means we let Him handle the people who are coming against us.  There will be attacks on our reputations by people who are mean-hearted, envious or just don’t like seeing anyone else full of joy.  These attacks are inevitable, but your best bet is to not retaliate as much as you may want to, just let Him handle it.  I have recently faced two such situations and both times I have wanted to lash back.  But I have lifted it up to Him in prayer and now I am just waiting.  And that’s the hardest part, to wait on what He is going to do.  But again I bring to memory Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

You Have a Plan…that’s cute.

You see, God’s plans for us are infinitely better than our own. But we, as humans, repeatedly and often, gum up the works. We get impatient, we think we know better than God, or we simply don’t want to listen to Him.

Today’s entry comes live from Express Laundromat in Port Jervis, NY.  Why, well because it’s laundry day.  See this was part of my plan for today.  Last night, while we were running some errands, Catherine and I had a discussion about plans for the future where I let her in on the fact that I had a five-year plan.  She responded with a very convicting, “Let’s just get through the next few days.”  It made me really start to think about how often we make plans where what we plan may not necessarily be what the Lord plans.

Psalm 33:10-11

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.  11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.

Today’s reading really brought home to me the idea of not making long and extended solid plans.  I have OCD, not terrible mind you, but when I make plans and a wrench gets thrown into them, it throws me off.  It can be anywhere from a few hours to even days that it takes my mind to get right again.  All because I was so rigid in my own plans and didn’t consider mishaps, contingencies or simple human error.

Now, this is not to say making plans is not a good thing.  It actually is important to keep yourself organized.  However, let’s go to the Scriptures to see what the Lord has to say about making plans.

First we will go to the book of James:

James 4:13-15

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

And then in Proverbs

Proverbs 16:9

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs His steps.

So what is the key here?  Well if you look at the commonality between the two verses, it should be obvious.  Our plans need to line up with His plans for us.  As I have said in previous entries, I often picture heaven as a giant office and every office has a planning department.  My personal planning department is filled with at least 1,500 dry erase boards.  Why?  Well I’m human.

You see, God’s plans for us are infinitely better than our own.  But we, as humans, repeatedly and often, gum up the works.  We get impatient, we think we know better than God, or we simply don’t want to listen to Him.  As Christians, we need to yield to His plans for us.  He loves us and knows what’s best for us.  We can’t get so caught up in our plans, that we don’t make sure they line up with His.  If we do, our humanity will get the better of us and the enemy will use that against us.  So before you plan, pray.  After you plan, pray.  While executing your plan, pray.  Continually make sure your plans are still lining up with His after all, Romans 8:31 tells us, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” 

Which Side of the Cross?

When it comes to what Christ has done for us and the matter of God’s law, we are all on the same level, the foot of the Cross, it’s just a matter of what side of the Cross we are on.

I have a confession to make to everyone who reads this blog.  I’m a no good, dirty, rotten sinner.  Just like my neighbors next door to me, the people across the street from me and some of the folks I work with.  “Oh but you don’t do [insert generic term for some sort of wrong doing here].”  Do you really think that matters?  When it comes to what Christ has done for us and the matter of God’s law, we are all on the same level, the foot of the Cross, it’s just a matter of what side of the Cross we are on.

Today’s reading comes from Romans 7:24-25.  The entire chapter, and I strongly, as always, urge you to read it, speaks about the difference between the Old Testament law and how we would not have known we were sinners without the law.  It also speaks with regard to how as much as we, even Christians, would like to be obedient to the law, we are still creatures of flesh.  That is why we all need Jesus.

Romans 7:24-25

24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Now this is just a morsel of what the entire chapter speaks about with regard to the law.  The Old Testament law was a way to show us how to live, to recognize sinful behavior within ourselves.  So what did it naturally bring?  Well as the Jason Gray song says, “Give me rules, I will break them.”  Our flesh will always, and I mean always, war against what our spirit wants to do.  We may make every effort to do good in this world, but without salvation, it’s all for naught.
You must understand the good that we will be doing, without the Cross, will always have some selfish desire attached to it.  Our spirit wants to do the right thing all the time, but the flesh is a strong tool of the enemy.  From our hearts, that withhold valuable information that can aid someone in their personal efforts to find the Lord, to our tongues, which join with others in gossip and creation of drama in the lives of others.  So how do we fight this enemy?  Simple answer, Jesus.
Jesus was fully God and fully man.  He knew what He was facing at the Cross.  He knew His disciples would abandon Him.  He got irritated at them, overturned tables in the temple when He got angry at the money changers.  He was fully flesh, yet He never yielded to its desires.  Even when they were putting the nails in and He could have stopped it.  No, He was obedient to God to the last.  That is the example we have to follow.  We seek the Father like Jesus did.  We put off what our flesh wants us to do and obey the Spirit.  It’s not easy, but it shows those around us that we aren’t just lip service Christians.  It may even make them want to join us on our side of the Cross.

Abraham, the Father of Faith

God doesn’t see time like we do, we rush too much and try to get everything done ourselves. What we need to do is simply give God time to do what He does best, take care of His children when He sees the perfect and right time to fulfill His promise.

You know there are times when you are going to be questioning God.  In addition, there are days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months, when your faith will be tested.  These will be the times that will make or break you as a Christian.  When these things happen; and God doesn’t speak to you through His Word from the New Testament, then it’s important to go back to the beginning.  You need to go back well before God sent His only Son to die for us and look at those who were accounted faithful before Jesus ever came on the scene and read about some of the testing times they went through.

Romans 4:1-4

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Romans 4 goes into a great amount of detail about Abraham’s faith.  David is mentioned, but ever so briefly because this chapter focuses primarily on Abraham’s faith.  But I’d like to briefly mention what I spoke about in my first paragraph and remind you that you are in good company.  Abraham faltered ever so briefly.

You see Abraham was 100 years old with no heirs.  Sarah suggested he make an heir with one of their servants and Ishmael was born.  It was in that moment that Abraham’s faith faltered because God had promised Abraham an heir through Sarah.  And God fulfilled His promise albeit later.  Abraham tried to make God’s promise become fulfilled through his own work, rather than waiting for God to work.  Now this was a brief synopsis of how things went down, and if you want further study on this read through Genesis 16-17.

Abraham.  The father of faith.  Why is he considered so?  Why is he considered a friend of God?  Regardless of how many times he faltered, he always came back to faith in God and His promises.  So how does this apply to us?  Well look back at the first paragraph I wrote today and ask yourself how many times you have doubted.  Examine how many times God has made you a promise and you tried to make it come about on your own.  I know I have, instead of trusting and waiting on Him.  God doesn’t see time like we do, we rush too much and try to get everything done ourselves.  What we need to do is simply give God time to do what He does best, take care of His children when He sees the perfect and right time to fulfill His promise.  To quote J.R.R. Tolkien, “A wizard is never on time, nor is he late.  He arrives exactly when he means to,” and if this is the case for a fictional, non-existent character, how much more so is it true for our living and real heavenly Father?