Learning from the past

“Then it came to pass, in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went down to visit the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, but we hesitate to take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?” So he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight at Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my hourses as your horses.” Also Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire for the word of the Lord today.” 1 Kings 22:2-5

The story goes on to tell of how Ahab would not listen to the prophesy of Micaiah the prophet and went out to fight, ultimately being killed. Jehoshaphat meanwhile narrowly escaped after crying out to God.

“Jehoshaphat made merchant ships to go to Ophir for gold; but they never sailed, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion Geber. Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my servants go with your servants in the ships.” But Jehoshaphat would not. 1 Kings 2:48-49

Learning from his mistakes, I’d like to think that Jehoshaphat preferred to steer clear of involvement with Israel who was given to ungodly practices.

What associations do I need to cut ties with?

 

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Separation for my elevation

“Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South.”

“Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.

“And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first.

“And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.”

Gen 13:1-4

Abram had left all that was comfortable to him, and journeyed with his family for some time going around Bethel – but things were not going well.

“And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.”

Gen 13:7

Being comfortable and putting up with ‘strife’ or stretching out?

“Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.”

Gen 13:11

“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are- northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.”

Gen 13:14-15

What do I need to separate from in order to see the extent of God’s intent for me?

A Saturday morning

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor 12:9

Infirmities/weakness: astheneia in Greek – refers to an ailment that deprives someone of enjoying or accomplishing what they would like to do, focuses on the handicaps that go with the weakness, expresses the weakening influences of the illness or a particular problem, especially as someone becomes wrongly or overly dependent.

Strength: dynamis in Greek – power through God’s ability, is needed in every scene of life to really grow in sanctification and prepare for heaven

perfect: teleo in Greek – to complete/consummate/qualitatively finish the necessary process, with the results ‘rolling over’ to the next level/phase of consummation, like a pirate’s telescope (unfolding one stage at a time to function at full-strength/capacity)

rest/dwell: episkenoo in Greek – power radiating from Christ as He comes upon someone, so that He dwells in the committed believer

Our perceived power is all God – not originating from us, but as Christ dwells within us via the Holy Spirit, we radiate that power outwards.

This God-based ability is fully functional and complete when we have allowed God to fully come into, and take over our unfinished business, our dependencies/addictions, and the source of our discomfort/unhappiness/discontent

 

grace: charis in Greek – favor from God, referring to God extending/inclining towards people

Random thoughts

but now, thus says the Lord, your creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name;you are Mine!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.

Isa 43:1-2

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light 1 pet 2:9

Where can i go from your Spirit? Or where shall i for from your presence? If i ascend to heaven, you are there! If i make my bed in Sheol, you are there! Ps 139:7-8
I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us rom 8:18

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal 2 cor 4:17-18

But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord jer 30:7

And he answered, pursue and you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all 1 sam 30:8

Such love

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A compact ball composed of a swirling mass of dirty colours, pulsating, threatening to explode. Malignant in nature, raw and exposed. Nothing tidy about it at all. Fear, anger, regret, shame, disgust, envy, pride, they’re all in there somewhere, contained in that ball Inside Out-style. It feels warm to touch in my hand, like a kettle about to boil over.

Not for the first time, I’m self conscious as I approach the throne. Not even thinking about anyone else in the room looking at my hesitant steps forward. Because once I’ve looked at Him, nothing else commands my attention. It’s everything I’m not. He’s everything I’m not. Radiant, resplendent, regal, white and with a light that’s not quite painfully bright but seems to lay my soul bare. I know I can’t hide anything away.

So I continue my walk towards Him, painfully aware of the pulsating ball in my hands, of my clothes, once my best suit now torn and stained – stains that I can’t seem to get off easily.

Words echo through my mind. Grace. Faith. I’m not afraid. Nor condemned. I know where I stand with Him. I just wish I had something better to give, to show for myself. Even though I know he won’t ever be disappointed in me, I’m disappointed in me. But I want rest.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8-9

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

I reach the throne. Looking up, I try to meet God’s gaze and suddenly we’re alone. At the last moment, I feel like taking back the swirling mass in my hands, and being anywhere but here. But I stick out my hand and give the ball over to Him.

He takes it in His hands – I want to tell Him not to look, not to examine it, to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Not bearing to look, I close my eyes. I feel a hand on my shoulder. “My son.”

“Never doubt the extent of my love for you. I created you and know you through and through and am not finished with you yet. There will be battles and victories, joy and sorrow but remember this: you are my son, and I love my children.”

Opening my eyes I see a ball of gentle blue and gold in His hands, and looking down, notice the stains and tears in my clothes are gone, in fact, I wonder if they were ever there before.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:37-39)