“Is Your Imagination of God Starved?”

Is your ability to really see God being blinded by something? Is something blurring your minds eye? Imagination is a good thing for a believer in Christ if it is from God! It is the ability to form mental images of things that are not present to the senses or to confront and deal with reality by using the creative power of the mind. I love Isa. 26:3, it is one of my favorite verses, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace (shalom-shalom) whose mind (#3336) is stayed on thee.” Whose mind/imagination, this word (yetser) is translated one time mind and five times imagination in the Hebrew scriptures. So if your imagination is stayed upon Yehovah, He will give you perfect peace. Peace on the inside and peace on the outside.

Isaiah chapter forty is one of the most powerful chapters in Isaiah and we are all familiar with it. However, in v.26 God says, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things, who bringeth out their host by number; He calleth them all by name by the greatness of His might; for He is strong in Power. Not one faileth.” However, today we find our eyes locked in on television, cell-phones, iPads, Kindles, and a host of other electronic devices.

Chambers said, “The people of God in Isaiah’s day had starved their imagination by looking on the face of idols, and Isaiah made them look up at the heavens, that is, he made them begin to use their imaginations aright.” You see nature, God’s creation to a born-again believer is almost sacramental. If you are truly born-again you have a tremendous treasure in God’s creation. As Ozzie puts it, “In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and withering of the earth there is a real coming of God to us, if we will simply use our starved imagination to realize it.”

Just take the time to examine the snow flakes, every one of them is different. How does He do that? Because He is omnificent! Phil. 4:8 tells us to think on these things, “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue, praise” but do we? Or are we tuned into Fox News or Disney or Hulu? I think it is time to re-calibrate our minds.

Ozzie says, “The test of spiritual concentration is bringing the imagination into captivity.” Sounds like II Cor. 10:5, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” He goes on to say, “Is your imagination looking on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Your work? Your conception of what a worker should be? Your experience of salvation and sanctification?” Today’s main idol is money! Or maybe your idol is just being idle! You need to get off the couch you potato and do something with God. Maybe you just don’t know (Yada) God like you should? Hos. 6:3. Jesus said in Luke 19:13, “Occupy until I come!” And He did not mean space or a pew or a couch; the word occupy is the word (pragma) do something practical for God! But do it for Him!

As Chambers says, “If your imagination of God is starved, when you come up against severe difficulties you will have no power, and you can only endure in darkness. If your imagination is starved, do not look back to your own experience; it is God whom you need. Go right out of yourself, away from the face of your idols, away from everything that has been starving your imagination. Rouse yourself, take the derisive remark that Isaiah gave the people, and deliberately turn your imagination unto God.” I love Charles Spurgeon and I am constantly buying his books, but the verse that brought him to Christ was Isa. 45:22, “Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth/ for I am God, and there is none else.” So we are to focus our attention, interest, and imagination on God!

Ozzie goes on to say, “One of the reasons for impairment or deadening in prayer is that there is no imagination, no power of putting ourselves deliberately before God.” Meditate on Isa. 6 or Rev. 4 as you go into prayer and imagine His throne, then begin to pray. Ozzie says, “We have to learn how to be ‘broken bread and poured out wine’ on the line of intercession more than on the line of personal contact, Imagination is the power God gives to a saint to situate himself out of himself into relationships he never was in.”

Take some time today to smell the roses, or watch a butterfly; pick a flower; feed a bird; touch the snow; eat an apple; walk on a beach or a path; lay in the grass or sand; read a book; talk to God; focus on Jesus; just meditate on creation! Imagination is a great thing for a saint if it is truly from God. Now use your imagination, its a gift from God, one we don’t think of often. In fact all of nature, all of creation is a treasure to a saint, enjoy it, all of it. I hope your imagination of God is not on a diet, or being starved! Feed it, exercise it, go for a walk or a drive, talk to God, read the psalms, pick a flower, smile, eat an apple, count the seeds. The imagination of your mind is a powerful thing created by God. Feed it, develop it, expand it, exercise it, it is a gift from the Creator. 1Chron. 28:9-10 says, “God understands all the imaginations of the thoughts.” So have fun with it, God is listening to your thoughts, every one of them.

One of the reasons for our sense of futility in prayer is that we have lost our power to visualize! Can you see the throne when you pray? Can you see Jesus sitting on it? As I said, “Visualize Isa. 6 and Rev. 4 before you enter into prayer and meditate on them, memorize them, they will revolutionize your prayer life.” Look unto Me and be saved” said the Lord;” Isa. 45:22; “Look unto Jesus;” Heb. 12:2; “Looking for that blessed hope;” Tit. 2:13; Look at God, what do you see? Close your eyes, be very still! Now envision God- What do you see? Heb. 4:16- Can you see the throne of Grace? Can you see Jesus on it? Or do you just see clouds or fog or water vapor? I hope you don’t see an old man with white hair, a beard and a robe. I hope nothing comes to your mind because He is Spirit! John 4:24. Let me close with Chamber’s title- “Is Your Imagination of God Starved?” Then fix it!

…Till next time – we’ll see you between the lines…

 

Is Your Imagination of God Starved 3/10/2020

Salt Ministry est. 1989

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“The Principle of Lost Privilege” Deut. 3:21-22

“The Principle of Lost Privilege”

“And I commanded Joshua at that time saying, ‘Thine eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done unto these two kings; (Sihon King of the Amorites and Og King of Bashan) so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms where thou passeth.  You shall not fear them; for the LORD your God shall fight for you.”    Deut. 3:21-22

Moses final prayer and plea to God to allow him passage into the “Promised Land” may be one of the most profound prayers in the Hebrew Scriptures and the least studied.  It seems to catch the reader by surprise because Moses usually prays for his people and for others to the point of sacrificing his own life.  Ex. 32:30-34; Dt. 9:19-20; 25-26, etc.  Numbers 20:1-12 gives us the background for this prayer where he took the rod out of the Ark “from before the LORD”, and struck the ‘Rock’ twice instead of speaking to it.  Paul seems to indicate in 1 Cor. 10:1-15, that the Rock was Christ, contrary to many Bible critics, but we will leave that for another day.  Num. 27:12-14, probably gives us the context for Moses’ prayer but the only clue Moses provides is in Deut. 3:23, “at that time,” that is after the defeat of the Amorite Kings.  He is 120 years old, his strength is not abated, his eye sight is not dim, they have just defeated two great kings and their armies, giants at that, and he is standing across the Jordan from the ‘Promised Land.’  So, he pleads with YeHoVaH to be gracious and let him pass over in vv. 24-25.

In Dt. 3:23 Moses says, “I besought (cha-nan – to show favor and pity, to be gracious) the LORD (3068 YHVHYeHoVaH) at that time (eth), saying, “O Lord (Adonay) Sovereign GOD (3069 – YHVH (and Moses expresses his subordination before God by referring to himself as a Servant (eh-bed).  This word is frequently used as a ‘Servant’s Servant’ or a slave.  A servant beneath a servant.  Moses also addresses God by name, which was made possible by God Himself revealing it to Moses in Ex. 3:13-15 and 34:6-7 by His grace.  Moses has the privilege to address YeHoVaH by name because of his personal relationship with Him.  Hos. 6:3.  If you don’t have a personal relationship with the LORD-YeHoVaH, then you can’t bring your petitions to Him in person, you need a Mediator.

Notice how Moses begins to approach YeHoVaH in v.24, “Thou hast begun to show Thy servant (eh-bed) greatness, (go-del – 1433, Your Magnificence, Your Magnitude, Your Greatness) and Thy Mighty (Kha-zak -2389 – Strong, Stout, Mighty) hand (yad – 3027 -hand, strength, power).”  Moses has been seeing God’s provision and providence for 40 years but he just saw God wipe out two giant powerful nations in front of his eyes.  Then he asks a rhetorical question; “For what god is there in heaven or in earth, who can do according to Thy works, and according to Thy Might?”  Of course there is no answer, because there is no GOD other than YeHoVaH Elohim and it is a rhetorical question not requiring and answer!

This is not flattery, this is an expression of respect.  Obviously there is no God like YeHoVaH and Moses will elaborate on that in Deut. 4:32-40 when we get there, Wow!  He is not trying to set GOD up, or bait Him, he knows he has only been able to witness the beginning of YeHoVaH’s great work of giving Israel the ‘Promised Land.’

Now we come to Moses’ petition in v.25, “I pray Thee, let me go over (abar #5674 Passover through) and see (ra-ah #7200 – look at, inspect, perceive) the good (tov) land that is beyond the Jordan, that goodly mountain, Lebanon. #3844-(The white mountain, the mountain of Snow).”  The word “Lebanon means, whiteness.”  Moses makes a final, passionate plea wanting to see the good/fertile land and the fine/fertile hill country and Lebanon.  How do you paint your “Portraits of Prayer” for God?  Do you use all the adverbs and adjectives you can? Moses sure did!

However, the LORD’s response had not changed since Numbers 20:9-11, and He was adamant about this matter and would hear no more about it.  Listen to Moses words describing the LORD’s response to his prayer in v. 26, “But the LORD was wroth #5674- (abar the same word Moses used in v.25 when he asked GOD to “let him go over – abar.”  Here it has a different meaning, here it means ‘to pour oneself forth in wrath, to burn with anger.’  This expression is very strong, in fact some commentaries translate this verse, “God told Moses to Shut Up!”

Moses isn’t telling us all that transpired here, he is just giving us a glimpse.  Notice how he passes the buck in v.26, “But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes; and would not hear me; “(Shama – #8085 – even listen to me, to hear with attention or interest).  And the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; #7227 – (rab – much, many, great, one continuous thing, ‘enough is enough). “Enough Now!”  “Speak no more unto Me of this matter!”  I get the idea that God has had it with Moses pleading and from the Hebrew it appears he has done it repeatedly and GOD put His foot down here and said, “Enough!”  Moses did not lose his eternal security but he did lose in measure some of his opportunity for further service and rewards – obedience brings blessings – disobedience brings confusion, conflict, and even a curse.

Get up to the top of Mt. Pisgah and look North, South, East and West and behold it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan.  However, charge Joshua, encourage him, and strengthen him for he shall go over before this people and inherit the land which you shall see.  We must keep in mind that prayer is an act of worship and true worship involves reverential acts of submission and homage to our ‘Divine Supreme Being’ in response to His gracious revelation of Himself in accordance with His will.  When Moses addressed GOD as his “Sovereign LORD,” and referred to  himself as a ‘servant’ or a ‘servant’s servant’ he was acknowledging the spiritual posture and position required to receive an audience with the Almighty.

Prayer has also to be grounded in correct theology which is expressed through adoration of God, and doxologies of praise for His gracious acts of benevolence towards His creation.  King David took Moses’ doxology to a new level in 1 Chron. 29:10-13.  “Blessed by thou, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.  Thine, O LORD is the greatness and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine.  Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.  Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”

But this is a prayer of praise.  Although it is longer and more detailed the prayed by Peter and John in Acts 4:24-30 follows the pattern of Moses’ plea and gives us a Biblical pattern for prayer much like the one Jesus taught His disciples in Matt. 6:9-13.  This helps to remind us who we are in relation to God and who He is in relation to the universe.  Strong, fearless bold prayer is based on a relationship that God has graciously established with His people.  Prayer is really an incredible privilege and of all the nations only Israel was chosen (ba-char Deut. 7:6) by GOD and is so near Him that He hears them whenever they call, and you, if you are ‘Born-Again.’  However, He is still ‘Sovereign and Supreme’ and retains the right to say, “Yes, No, or Wait!”  Interestingly many times prayer does not change things; prayer changes you and me and we change things.  The hard part about prayer is that sometimes, God’s ‘NO’ is final!

Even though GOD says no to His servant, He is still gracious to him and directing him, up the Mountain to see His plan, down the valley to anoint his replacement, and charge God’s people, then up Mt. Nebo where GOD Himself conducted his funeral, and the children of Israel sat (Sheva) not for 7 days but for 30 days, Dt. 34:8.  However, there is a lot more to learn from this friend of God’s prayer life.  But remember, he still lost his greatest privilege of entering the ‘Promised Land’ due to his disobedience at Meribah/strife in the wilderness of Zin in Num. 30:7-13.  Pray and obey for there is not other way to be happy in your walk with the LORD. So, till next time, I’ll see you “…Between The Lines…”

“The Principle of Lost Privilege” (Deut. 3:21-28) 11/16/17

 

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“Study To Show Thyself Approved” II Tim. 2:15

“Study To Show Thyself Approved” II Tim. 2:15 (#16)

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Tim 2:15

That verse was in bold, carved letters in front of me for three years at “Moody Bible Institute” in ‘Torrey Grey Auditorium.’ It was drilled into our soul and spirit , not just the “AWANA” leaders in our churches. What is it we are to study, algebra, history, english, no! His word! O.C. said, “If you can’t express yourself on any subject, struggle with it until you can. If you don’t someone will be the poorer for it, all their life.” As he explained we need to study God’s word in a wine press, why? So that we may be put in trust with His Gospel, that’s why! “But we have been allowed/approved (dokimadzo – same word as in II Tim 2:15, have been approved) of God, to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who continually test/proves our hearts.” I Thess. 2:4. We are ‘open heart surgeons’ for eternal life, not just physical life. You can impress mankind with gumdrops, but only ‘Blood Drops’ will impress God! The blood drops of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary! If the fruit of the vine is not used quickly it will ferment and turn to vinegar. The same is true with you and me, if we are not used we will ferment and turn sour. We are to be used and if need be abused for the glory of Jesus Christ. ‘Spend and be Spent’ that was Paul’s motto, and it should be ours, II Cor. 12:15. After all, Jesus spent every last farthing of strength for you and me, didn’t He?

As Ozzie said, “We need to struggle to express the truth of God to ourselves, then God will use that expression for others. We need to go through His winepress where the grapes are crushed, and struggle for expression, experientially for His word in us, then that fruit will become the expression that will strengthen others.” However, if we fail to struggle to express God’s word and what it means to us and in us and for us and just borrow what we say from others, off the internet or from books, then our expression will not only be of no use to us but it will be of no use to anyone else either. I have known pastors who just download other pastor’s sermons and preach them from their pulpits, shame on them! Don’t ‘Borrow – Burrow!’ Dig until you hit pay dirt, and then preach until they know! Dig, dig, dig, for God’s pearls, they are in deep water, like diamonds that are in the deep mines, not just laying on the surface. The same is true with pure gold, God’s gold, you have to dig for it and then refine it, seven times in the fire to get all the dross out, and make it yours. As O.C. said, “Try to state to yourself what you feel implicitly is God’s truth, and if you do you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you.”

I like Ozzie’s little stinger’s like this one, “Always make it a practice of provoking, or prodding your own mind to think through what it accepts so easily.” Did you get that? Don’t just accept everything as fact! Think it through until it makes sense to you, as Chambers said, “Our position is not ours until we make it ours (Listen) by suffering!” Until you bleed a little, until you feel its pain, its birth pangs! Get this, he said, “The author who benefits you the most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before; and it’s not the author you have to struggle with, reread, or read over several times, NO! But it’s the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance!” WOW!!

You say, “I never knew that!” Yes you did, you just didn’t know that you knew it or you didn’t know how to apply it or express it and now you know! Now, the Holy Spirit has quickened His word in you, that’s all; He has made it alive! Now you know how to pray, “Come Holy Spirit and quicken Your word in me!” Make it live, give it life! Remember, man gave Christ vinegar to drink on Calvary when He said, “I thirst!” Ironic isn’t it? And He gave up His Spirit. What is that on your sponge right now? Fresh juice pressed from the grapes you picked from the vines, and pressed in your winepress, or vinegar? Is that all you can offer Him after all He has done for you, after all He gave up for you, after all He suffered for you, ‘VINEGAR?’  Paul tells us in I Cor. 9:24, “Know ye not that they who run in a race run all, but one receives the prize?” So run, that you may obtain (the prize). But what’s the prize? He tells us in Phil. 3:14, “I press towards the mark (skopos – goal) for the prize (bra-beus – prize, medal, crown) of the high or upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The prize is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, or Eternal Life! How do I know that? Well king David sought the same thing, listen to his words in Ps. 17:15, “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” WOW! However, Paul tells us in I Tim. 6:12 to, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life unto which thou art also called…” That’s how I know for sure!

Ozzie started with II Tim. 2:15 so let’s finish with II Tim. 4:7, where Paul the apostle and finisher tells us three things we need to remember: 1 – “I have fought a good fight…” (faith) Your faith in Christ Jesus is the one thing worth fighting for. Jude tells us that, “We should earnestly contend (agonize) for the faith, that was once delivered unto us…” Study it, labor over it, defend it, suffer for it, and even die for it if need be, but don’t ever let anyone take it away from you! 2 – “I have finished my course…” Literally ‘the course’ the word finished is the Greek word (teleo) to complete, to end, to conclude, to get an honorable discharge; Paul served his ‘full-time.’ The word course is (dromos) for race, career, course, there was no retirement on Paul’s calendar only a Cross or an executioner’s sword. 3 – “I have kept the faith…” He never turned his back on Jesus, ‘NEVER!’ Why? Heb. 13:5, Jesus never, never, never, never, never, turns His back on us, that’s right! There are five nevers in that verse, two double negatives and one single negative; and yes I believe Paul wrote Hebrews.

You need to read Hebrews 12:1-2, in fact you need to memorize it and stick it on your frig. especially v.2, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” WOW!! We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses/martyrs (martus – to die a violent, valiant, victorious death for Christ, for witnessing to or refusing to renounce/deny their faith in Him). “Henceforth, there is laid for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” II Tim. 4:8. (nai erxou kurie Iasou) “Even so come Lord Jesus.”Rev.22:20. Question? Do you love His appearing? Are you looking for Him, expecting Him like a man waiting for a train looking down the track and looking at his watch, that’s what the word ‘Looking’ means in Titus 2:13 (pros-dec-omai – to look towards with anticipation). Are you a student of His word? Do you study to show yourself approved unto God? How large is your library? Do you chew the meat, drink the milk or lap the water? I Cor. 3. Till next time, I’ll see you, “…Between The Lines…” 

“Study To Show Thyself Approved” II Tim. 2:15 (#16)

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“Follow Thou Me” John 21:22

“Follow Thou Me” John 21:22 #15

“Lord what shall this man do, Jesus said unto him, “If I will that he should tarry or abide till I come, what is that to you? Follow thou Me!” John 21:21-22

One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is to stop being Amateur Providences,” to stop playing God in other peoples lives. We can quickly turn a clear-pool into a mud-puddle if given a chance. Amen?  As O.C. points out, “We see a certain person suffering and we say, ‘I shall see that they don’t suffer;’ and we put our hand to their plow, or our oar in their water, right in front of God’s permissive will and God says, “What is that to thee?”  Is there stagnation in your spiritual life?  As Ozzie so pointedly asks, we can’t allow it to continue, it only breeds disease, algae, sickness, slime; we need to ‘Practice The Presence‘ of God and find out the reason for the stagnation.  Usually the problem is, you have been practicing being an Amateur Providence and proposing things you had no right to propose or advise when you had no right to advise as O.C. so delicately puts it.  In other words, ‘putting your nose in other peoples business or suffering.’  How is your relationship with God right now, are you a son or daughter or just a distant relative?  It is relative you know, and you can fix that in about 3 minutes or less!

Listen, when God needs to work through us He will do it through the Holy Spirit but we have to be in the right relationship with Him so He can use us.  Too often we are on a different channel and His blessings can’t be directed through us to His flock.   Like He told Peter in John 21, “Don’t worry about John, you just follow Me!”  Don’t look at how God is using others, just follow Jesus!  We used to play a game when we were kids called “Follow the leader,” now it is no longer a game, it is the Christian life, and we only have one leader, Jesus Christ!  Don’t worry about Peter, Paul or Mary, just follow Jesus!  Just, “Practice The Presence” of Christ in everything, all day long and He will constantly use you.  That’s the key to the Christian life, the presence of God in all things, at all times, for His glory.

We have too many, “Amateur Providences” in the church today, instead of interceding they are interfering!  They think they know God’s will for everything and they can’t even make a rock!  God figure!!  Good test!  When you can make a rock on you own, talk to me and I will listen, till then______  Oh yeah, and get your own dirt!!  Dr. William Sangster known as Wesley’s successor in London and was esteemed as the most beloved British preacher of his era and he had four rules for facing illness and death which show us the sufficiency of God’s grace displayed in Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” and in Sangster’s, especially in his final three years.  He was diagnosed with progressive muscular atrophy and for three years he slowly died, becoming more paralyzed, finally able to move only two fingers but his spirit and attitude never faltered.  He composed four rules for dying most people compose rules, goals, visions, etc, for living but Sangster knew he had a terminal illness so he composed four rules for suffering and dying: 1 – I will never complain; 2 – I will keep my home bright; 3 – I will count my blessings; 4 – I will try to turn it to gain.”  He did all those things and the work of God was displayed in his life and God’s strength was made perfect in his weakness.

William Sangster was born in 1900, saved in WWI, and pastored ‘Central Hall’ in London England for 16 years. He followed Dinsdale Young, whose protege was Oswald Chambers. Young died in 1938 and Sangster took over his 3,000 seat church. He worked with Billy Graham, Stephen Olford and Alan Redpath and served through five years of Nazi blitzes, in bomb shelters. He was diagnosed with an incurable disease in 1957 and died in 1960. He could not even speak for the last year of his life. He died when he was 60, pastored a church of 3,000 in London, ran bomb shelters, orphanages, wrote books, got a doctorate during WW II, ran Crusades, and died of a debilitating, crippling disease, triumphant! What have you done in 60 years? Here is what one writer said about him, “His message when he was president of his conference on, “Offering Christ To His People” left his hearers breathless, but buoyant. In my nominations for the, “Fifteen Most Significant Sermons In Church History,” I have included his powerful one, “This Britain: What would a Revival Do For Britain.” Which made front page headlines in large type at an especially vexing time for the nation. Sangster was unquestionably part of the royalty of the pulpit in the last century; and though long silenced, we would profit by reading his works.”

I love the way Ozzie wrapped up his thought on this point, I had to read it several times for it to sink in, but it was very profound as are all of his 52 books and writings. He states that, “Most of us live on the borders of consciousness; consciously serving; consciously devoted to God.” Did you get that? Let that sink in for a moment. He says, “This shows immaturity and the fact that we’re not yet living the real Christian life.” Why, because we are always conscious of everything we are and do for Christ. He says, “Maturity is produced in the life of a child of God on the unconscious level, until we become so totally surrendered to God that we are never aware of being used by Him.” A mature believer is never aware that God is blessing others through him or her; “We become so abandoned to God that the consciousness of being used never enters in.” As Chambers said, “When we are consciously aware of being used as ‘broken bread’ and ‘poured-out wine’ there is another level to be reached; a level where all awareness of ourselves and of what God is doing through us is completely eliminated.”

We all have an ‘eye’ problem or an ‘I’ problem, ‘prIde;’ many times we try to play God, instead of praying to God, “Thy will be done!” We try to rescue Jesus! He does not need a savior, He is the Savior! Broken bread and poured-out wine, the loaves and the fish, the motzah, the middle wall, Christ’s own body, the natural branches, the alabaster box, Mary’s vial, the little boy’s lunch, etc, etc; All these and many more had to be broken before they could be used by God, including ‘YOU!’ I don’t know who said it but, “Little in the hand of God is much!” And, “God only uses broken things!” And, “Suffering glorifies God!” And as O.C. said, “A saint is never consciously a saint; a saint is consciously dependent on God!” Well put Ozzie! Till next time, I’ll see you, “…Between The Lines…”

“Follow Thou Me” John 21:22 #15

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“Live Incredibly Like Yeshua” Matt. 6:28-29

“Live Incredibly Like Yeshua” #14

“And why are you anxious for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not; neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.” Matt. 6:28-29

A ‘LILY’ is not a simple thing, it is a very complex, beautiful creation of God, they just simply are! The moon, the stars, the planets, the air we breath are not simple things, they just simply are! You are not simple, you are a very complex creation, yet you simply abide in Christ or you should anyway. Ozzie says, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they simply are! Think of the sun, the sea, the universe, the stars, all these are, and what a ministration they exert.” We try to hard to ‘BEE’ something, when we just need to ‘Be’ something or someone! Birds, fish, animals never sow, nor reap, and yet God provides all their needs, even a winter coat when needed! 🙂

So often we make a mess out of God’s design for our lives by our own efforts to make something of ourselves for Him, to be useful for His kingdom work. As O.C. points out, “Jesus says, there is only one way to develop spiritually, and that is by concentrating on God! Do not bother about being of use to others, believe on Me – pay attention to the source and out of you will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38. We just need to bloom where we are planted, that’s all! Simple things, No! They just simply satisfy, that’s all! Focus on Jesus – He satisfies – Not Pepsi, or Coke – Jesus satisfies! Webster says, “Like a lily, as in whiteness and purity.” That describes Him but does it describe you and I? You see that phrase or title “Live Incredibly Like Yeshua” forms an acrostic, taking the first letter of each word it spells, “LILY.” You see if we follow Jesus, imitate Jesus, mimic Jesus then we too will be like a lily in the field, white and pure.

As Oswald said, “We cannot get at the springs of our natural life by common sense and Jesus is teaching that growth in spiritual life does not depend on our watching it, but on our concentration on our Father in heaven.” God knows everything, He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnificent. He knows our muck, mire, mess, mud, and even our ‘mud-puddle.’ Ps. 110:7. So, delight in Him like a sun-flower bending toward the sun in the morning and following it all the day long: Is. 58:13-14; Ps. 37:4-11; Job 22:26; 27:10; Is. 55:2, (anag – #6026, strong’s – soft, pliable, delicate). God knows your circumstances, your dilemma or tri-lemma and if you stay focused on Him and on Jesus you will grow spiritually like lilies in the field.

Remember, like O.C. pointed out, “The people who influence you the most are not those who buttonhole us and talk to us in a corner, but those who quietly live their lives like the stars in the heavens and the lilies in the fields, perfectly, simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mold us and shape us and have a strong important influence on us.” If we want to be of use to God we need to get rightly related to Jesus Christ and He will make us of use to God, unconsciously, every minute we are alive. So, just “Practice The Presence of Christ”and you will have it covered like ‘Brother Andrew’ did.

You are of more value than all the lilies, all the birds, all the stars, and all the fish, and all the flowers; Why? Christ died to save you, not them! So, stop belly-aching, and trying to ‘Bee’ something, and just ‘Be’ a “LILY” and not a “Button-Head!” (S.S. 2:1-2; 16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2-3; 7:2; Hos. 14:5; Matt. 6:28; Lk. 12:27). Remember, lilies just simply are, and they are beautiful and glorious in their splendor bringing majesty to their Creator and we need to do the exact same thing. Christ said, “Just follow Me, just believe on Me, just be of use to Me, just worship Me, just serve Me, just focus on Me, Jesus the Christ! Where ever you are, whoever you are, whatever you are, just be a ‘LILY’ and bloom where you are planted and glorify Him. Question, are you molding other lives into a Christ-likeness or are you just making other lives more moldy than your own? Those words are spelled exactly the same; one is a model, a pattern after which something is formed; to have a strong important influence on. The other is a furry growth caused by mildew and fungi, better known as plant disease; So, which mold are you for Christ? A strong important influence, a model Christian, a Lily! Or the other mold, a warm fuzzy Christian, caused by mildew or fungi better known as plant disease? They both breed in the body of Christ, one gives life, the other takes it, think about it! Till next time, I’ll see you, “…Between The Lines…”  

“Live Incredibly Like Yeshua” #14

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“The Friend Of God” Gen. 18:17 #13

“The Friend of God” #13 – 6/15/16

Three men appear unto Abraham by the oaks of Mamre (communion)  as he sat in his tent door in the shade praying or having communion with God. Actually, two angels and ‘The Angel of the LORD.” In Gen. 18, God gives us a beautiful chapter with many lessons on prayer and intercession for those praying attention. In v.17-18 the LORD, YeHoVaH says, “Shall I hide from Abraham, that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” WOW! What a statement, and in our day, since May 14, 1948, on the Sabbath, they have become a nation again speaking Biblical Hebrew, living in their ancient land and over six million now reside in Israel, more than any other nation in the world and they possess Jerusalem again since 1967; and they have been gathered from the four corners of the earth just like God promised. Only one promise remains, for their Messiah to rule and to reign the world from His throne in Jerusalem, and it won’t be long. Amen?

As Chambers says, “This is a chapter that brings out the delight of real friendship with God as compared with occasional feelings of His presence in prayer.” Do you delight (anag) in God? Do you bend towards Him like a sunflower bends toward the sun throughout the day? Isa. 58, is a beautiful chapter on this thought. If you delight yourself in Him, He will delight Himself in you and give you the desires of your heart, because your desires will be His desires! Amazing! What is it you really want or need, just delight in Him and ask!

As Ozzie points out, “To be so much in contact with God that you never need to ask Him to show you His will, is to be nearing the final stage of your discipline in the life of faith.” Imagine, walking so close to God that when He stops you bump into Him! 🙂 Think of walking down a country lane with God, holding His hand and just communing, just you and God. That’s the relationship Ozzie had with God, what’s that verse in Amos, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (ya’ad) engaged, betrothed, united. As O.C. said, “When you are rightly related to God, it is a life of freedom, liberty and delight; you are God’s will, and all your common-sense decisions are His will for you unless He checks!” It’s like a chess game, check is not ‘check-mate’. The game is not over, you just have to be careful how you move your King, so He can’t be captured. God just got your attention, that’s all. As Ozzie points out, “You decide things in perfect delightful friendship with God. Knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will always check; and when He checks you need to stop at once and reposition yourself for your next move.”

We need to ask ourselves often, “Why do we pray, to get things, or to get to know (yada) God better, intimately?” Why should we pray? We pray to come into union and communion with the Tri-Unity of the God-Head that’s why! We pray to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we say ‘GOD’ three people say, “What?” In fact God already knows what we have need of before we even ask, then why ask? Are you paying attention? ‘Unity,’ that we might be ‘ONE’ as He is One, John 17. The power of ONE is powerful! C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we are not alone.” Jesus said, “We pray to know we are not alone, and to know we are ONE!”

O.C. asked, “Why did Abraham stop praying when he did?” Probably because he was not as intimate with God as he could have been to go boldly on until God granted his desire; “It seems there was something more to be desired in his relationship with God.” Whenever we stop short in our prayers and say, “Well I just don’t know, maybe it’s just not God’s will.” Then there is another stage or level to go and we are not as intimately acquainted with God as Jesus wants us to be.” You need to read and meditate on John 17 and then you begin to see Jesus’ heart, for us. Why do you pray? Most of us pray for the wrong reasons; why did Jesus pray? He could heal, create, save, supply; He was God; Then why did He pray? To get things, He could speak them into existence. Jesus prayed to be ‘ONE’ with His Father, John 17; Matt. 6, tells us to go into our prayer closet and shut the door and get alone with God. A prayer list is good, a prayer journal is better, but a prayer log is best! God knows everything on your list, but He really wants to get to know ‘YOU’ and He especially wants ‘YOU’ to get to know ‘HIM’ and there is no better place than in your prayer closet, alone with your heavenly Father. He is still waiting – wont you go and meet Him today?

As Ozzie said, “Think of the last thing you prayed about, were you more devoted to your desire for that or to God? More determined to get an answer or to get at God? Matt. 6:8 says, “Your Father knows what things you have need of before you even ask Him.” The point of asking as O.C. points out is to get to know God better. Ps. 37:4 says, “Delight (anag – to be soft, pliable, bendable) thyself also in the LORD and He shall give you the desires (requests, petitions) of thine heart.” Isa. 58:13-14. So be soft, pliable, bendable in His hands and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Importunity is a word we need to implant in our prayer logs from Luke 11:8, in other words, we give up too soon! As Ozzie said, “Keep praying in order to get a perfect understanding of God Himself, don’t stop!” Abraham left off at 10, why? Why didn’t he go to 5, or 3, or 2, or 1? Ps. 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.” George Mueller used to add, “And the stops too!” Why do we stop? How many prayers go unanswered because we stopped too soon? Not because God failed to answer, but because we failed to pray through! 

Remember that phrase, ‘We Need To Pray Through” from Matt. 18:19, “If two will agree (sym-phon-eo – in sumphony, or harmony) as touching (peri – to pierce through) to the other side.” We used to use that phrase in prayer-meetings, when we attended prayer-meetings that is. We need to pray through! Through what? Through to who? Through to where? Today we pray about, or for, or we have a moment of prayer, or a word of prayer, what is that anyway? Arn’t you glad Jesus never prayed for you like that or the Church, especially in the Garden of the Olive Press or on the Cross? Elijah prayed seven times till a cloud the size of a man’s hand formed on the sea; David prayed for seven days until his no name son died; Daniel prayed for 21 days until Gabriel came with his answer; Moses prayed for 40 days twice and the list goes on and on, and we pray for 10 to 12 minutes and we are bored. ‘God help us!’ We talked a lot about being delighted in the LORD, but has He been delighted in you lately? That’s the real question isn’t it? In Num. 14:8. Joshua asked the people that after returning from searching the land, “If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.” If the LORD delights in us, He will give us the desires of our hearts. I guess the real question is, “Does the LORD delight in ‘YOU?'” Maybe, just maybe that’s why your prayers are not being answered and your prayer time lasts only 6-10 minutes. Think on that, till next time, and I’ll see you, “…Between The Lines…”

“The Friend Of God” #13

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“How I Met Oswald Chambers” #12

“How I Met Oswald Chambers”  #12

This is a story about a man, a common man who crossed my path a hundred times, though we never met and we lived a century apart and on different continents, he changed my life. We first met in 1976 in Chicago, Illinois in a classroom and his book which is a classic, changed my life forever, which he never wrote and he has become my best literary friend and his book has united me with friends all over the world. To touch a life through a multitude, is indeed incredible but to impact or change a multitude through the life of one person, is indeed miraculous and that is what this ‘plain vanilla man’ did who died of a ruptured appendix at the age of 43 in Cairo, Egypt in 1917 because he wouldn’t take a soldier’s bunk during the first world war.

He was not a mystic, but he was mysterious at times, hard to explain, difficult to understand, and a bit beyond us but worth the effort of going after. He is like his book, just beyond you, but worth the mastering, you might have to read it several times to understand it, but it’s worth it in the end. He gnaws at me like an aching tooth needing a root canal and I keep coming back for more novocain! I spend over 500 hours every year reading and meditating on, “My Utmost For His Highest” and I never get tired of coming back to it year after year. I have been reading it now over and over since September 1976 so that would make 40 years this fall. What is it that draws me to that little ‘Orange Devo’ like a moth to a flame? (Now a leather-bound journal) It’s not its deep theological genre, or its profound world views or even its life changing philosophy.

What is it that Ozzie has written in his 52 books 100 years ago, that draws the human psyche like bees to honey? I have over 7,000 volumes in my personal library and over 9,000 in my computer, but why am I drawn to this man’s shelf and what has drawn me to that worn, tattered copy of his devotional for 40 years? Is it just blind, raw habit or is it something deeper, something more, something calling me like a zephyr, like a small still voice? Or is it what my Jewish friends call the “Kavanah” the inner man! He is more than an author, I have thousands of those, some good and some that are not so good. He is a friend, a good friend, a deep friend, a bosom friend and some days we don’t agree and some days he makes me angry, but we stay friends and I am back in his book the next day. Like he said, “Books are the chloroform of the mind.” He said that before television, the internet and face-book. 🙂

When I was at Moody Bible Institute all of our professors had years of experience in the field and they taught more from their hearts than from their books. Mr Wise my Greek Professor who took over for Kenneth Wuest went out to his car and wept after accepting the position because he didn’t want to leave his pastorate.  Miss Turner spent over 10 years in the jungles of India on the mission field and over six years in Team’s office before coming to Moody to teach missions. As married students we were not interested in dating or flirting but learning so we sat in the front row and I preferred to sit in front of the lectern.  So, if the teacher spit, you got hit and you could smell their perfume, perspiration and after-shave lotion or as the Talmud says, “We might be covered in the dust of our Rabbi,” indicating we were following their example.  50% of a teacher’s lecture is learned from their facial expressions and gestures and if you sit three rows back you fail to see it or catch most of it and learn from it.

Miss Turner began every class by reading from a small, worn, tattered book held together with a large red rubber band.  She would read ever so slowly and with thought, punctuation, feeling and expression and if you were not sitting in the first row next to the lectern you would not see the tiny little tears well up in the corners of her eyes as she read. Then she would lead the class to the throne of grace in prayer and you would have to peek to see if angels were standing near by and as I was peeking, every once in awhile one of those tears that welled up in the corner of her eyes would fall and splash all over that worn out little book she had been reading to the class.  Then she would turn, put the red rubber band around that worn out book, wipe away her tear, put the book back on her dest and begin teaching on missions, all in one slick movement and if you were not sitting in the front row, right under the lectern, looking up, watching carefully, from ‘the worm’s eye point of view‘ you would have missed it all.  We waited every day with bated breath not just for the lecture but for her devotional and prayer.

One day I stayed behind after class and asked her what it was that she read every day, and she picked up that old worn out copy of “My Utmost For His Highest” and handed it to me. As I removed that red rubber band and opened that little book I began to tremble inside; it was worn, and stained with tears, underlined, written in, highlighted, and difficult to read. You could tell it had been read many, many times.  Miss Turner said she bought it in England on her way to India, to serve as a missionary and it had become her best friend next to her Bible.  I asked, “If they were still available” and she said, “They were for sale in our book store.”  I don’t know what was racing faster down the hallway that day, my heart or my feet as I made my way to the book store and there was a whole shelf of them in orange hardback for $3.95.  I must have stood there for an hour reading page after page like a thirsty man, lost in a desert for days who happened upon a well of cool water, but I had absolutely no money, none, not one red cent!  I rushed home to my wife and told her the exciting news but she didn’t have any money either, and $3.95 to a Bible School student in 1976 was a lot of money; that’s milk, bread, eggs, hamburger and gas.  I went back to the book store the next day and read some more and it was even better than the day before, but still no money!

However, in Conn. at my home church, ‘Clinton Baptist Church’ a woman named Lorraine Ferrier went to the grocery store and they forgot to charge her for some chicken.  So she went back to the store to pay the clerk who refused to take the money because she already closed out her register, so she went to the manager who also refused to take the money because it would throw the book-keeping for the day off.  Lorraine felt guilty because the chicken didn’t belong to the clerk or the manager so she put $3.76 in an envelope and mailed it to us in Chicago. Well, all I needed was a quarter which I borrowed and went right to the book store and bought our first orange copy of, “My Utmost For His Highest.”  Now it is glued, duct taped, tear stained, highlighted, under lined, written in, and falling apart with a rubber band around it but it’s not red.  I am on my fifth copy after 40 years and my fifth Bible and all my notes have been transferred, so when I leave this earth, if not by Rapture they will be laying on a table near by for my four children and my wife Ann, so as they do their devotions they can do them with me and O.C. from heaven.  Inside of the first copy it says, “Donated by Dave & Lorraine Ferrier, September 1976, with Chicken Money! MBI…”   Thank You, Miss Rosemary Turner, for introducing me to a life long friend.  I am still covered in your dust and Ozzie’s and will be forever indebted.  Now join me as I write a blog with Oswald Chambers using his devotional and my scribbly notes after 40 years of enjoying it entitled, “Fellowship Of The Pierced Hand.Com” So I hope I will see you, “…Between The Lines…”

“How I Met Oswald Chambers”  #12

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