Daniel: The Work Drama and Workplace Violence.

Daniel was favored by the Lord, and throughout his life the Lord blessed him and watched over him. Yet there were times where he faced adversity.

Daniel excelled so much, the people he worked with seemingly grew jealous and resentful of him and the Scripture says:

“It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” (Dan 6 Vs 1-4)

They seemed to most likely that these men were jealous and did not like the fact Daniel was promoted over them. Insecurity or desire for control can be quite a point of contention. In workplaces people are often disgruntled when they are not recognized and these men felt most likely upset that Daniel who was an exile from Israel’s captivity and invasion managed to rise above them. So they plotted against him. They could not criticize his work ethic or integrity so they concocted a way to use Daniel’s faith in God to create problems between him and the king of Persia.

—-“Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing. Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?” The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” (Dan 6 Vs 5-15)

In the Persian law, if even a king made a decree, it could not be revoked. So the king had to follow through. However not even the king who was fooled into it wanted to do this.

“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” (Dan 6 Vs 16-23)

Daniel had God working for his behalf and what seemed like the end for him actually became God’s way to challenge those who wanted to take his life. Romans says “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And Daniel was faithful to God and risked his own life to not show more alliegiance to a king’s edict over God’s law. He did not deny his true King even though it spelled a death sentence. God miraculously preserved Daniel and honored him for his faithfulness!

“At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly! “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel 6:1-28 –

Through this event also, Darius appears to turn to the Lord also! God was stil masterfully working out his plans inspite of opposition.

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The Two People Reconciled

So much deeper to me then ever! God is at work doing amazing glorious things!

Saw something when looked toward the door and saw the cross design but also noticed, how it is like Jesus is stretching out his arms wide to pull two offended parties close to one another. Also the cross has an verticle way too. So Jesus not only horozontaly brings two offended parties together but also brought us close to God who also has been offended by our sin. The Cross of Christ both atoned for sins of people against people, but just as much also, sins against Holy God!

Two people- The Lord Jesus suffered at the hands of of, Jews and Gentiles. Not only was The Lord rejected by His beloved Israel whom he delighted to lead out of the cruelty of Egyptian captivity, she rejected her Savior whom the Lord long ago prophesied would come for her. She then conspired with Gentiles- the Romans. They beat him, stripped him and divided up his clothes, mocked him, taunted him as he bled to show how much he loved both Israel and pagan peoples who were once scorned by Israel ans rejected as being a people of God. Yet they tapped and tapped nails through his hands and this time the life of God in human form was sacrificed and not an animal. Yet they crucified the LORD who had brought them up from the lands that enslaved them. He found Israel in the desert of her captors and brought hef into the land he had for her. Yet she scorned him and ran to the arms of gods who offered her no salvation or help. Many times he forsook her in anger yet as it is written “When he could bear Israel’s misery no longer” he rose up deliverers to save hrr from the enemies whom preyed upon her- yet when the judge died they prostituted themselves with other gods and idols of wood and stone. Though he had loved His own like a daughter and was faithful to her like a husbsnd to a woman whom he adores, she deserted him in her prosperity and forgot him in her abundance, so the Lord gave her into the hands of those nations she prostituted herself with. Then He came, the Deliverer, Jesus Christ the Very image of The Lord their God.

He lived among his Beloved and in compassion he walked in her midst, he taught in her streets and healed her sick, and performed miracles for His beloved people. Yet he failed her expectation of what she wanted Him to do, indeed she thought he came to free her from Rome. Yer He came to bring her close to His heart once more and though in ancient time he struck her people with plagues, war and captivity, blight and mildew- to turn her to Him, He knew that no matter what He did, the day would come where he had to let himself be in her hands to suffer for her. He allowed his throne of glory to be abandoned for a little while for her sake and those who are now redeemed as beloved, adopted by grace and mercy, that not by our acts of righteousness ans loyalty to God dod any of us receive this adootion but “Because he loved them” he gave himself voluntarily to her cruelty. Then by her redeming Savior he made it possible for all to receive His goodness and salvation! Through her rebellion , the World has been included by means of faith through our Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to God who has worked yhroughout the ages to accomplish His will and no man has frustrated this.

Incense

There are things that when lit on fire produce a stench yet other things the exact opposite, in order to let the frangrance truly permeate the air fire must be used. We may look at our suffering in life as Christians even with a wrong view. Because we often think God is able to use us best when we feel able, strong, and things seem to be going well, when we think we are being most effective for Christ may be actually less then when fiery trials set our lives ablaze. Yet through the hope, joy and peace being produced by The Holy Spirit we may be actually letting off more of a fragrance then when we seem to have few problems.

Not to say God wont use us when things go well but a light or candle always is most visible in a pitch black room.

The Psalmist said “Let my prayer come up before you like fragrant incense.”

God is pleased when we are expressing praise and thanksgiving even when life is hard. God is pleased by our faithfulness and love shown to him when things are not peachy. It is often far easier to thank God when all is well then the exact opposite. And that takes His power working inside.

Other things when fire burns against them produce odor or noxious fumes. So if someone who is suffering grumbles and is cynical, that is odor.

The work of grace is supernatural. Our human tendency is to groan and gripe when life gets set ablaze with fires of hardship but as believers we have hope, and can have joy and peace inspite of the hardships we face!

The Rock and The Light

My brother got this for his birthday yet I am amazed at how the Lord used this seemingly ordinary present to speak into my life. Jesus even said “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Luke 19:37-40

So indeed, it was late at night then felt the Lord drawing my attention to the glowing rock lamp and impressing truths in my heart. Darkness in the room yet light eminating out of the rock. Can we also say that we go through dark places in light yet the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ follows us there as the rock in the days of Moses went with the children of Israel? Yet out of darkness he glows ever brighter and through his presence in our lives we to let his light shine forth toward the ones who have yet to step out of darkness to receive the “Light of the glorious Gospel.”

Jesus the Rock and Light of the World

Throughout the Bible, Jesus has refered to himself as both a light and the Rock, also he has said “The stone the builders rejected has become the corner stone”

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)

Many think this passage Jesus is primarily talking about Peter- but on the contrary he revealed his identity to Peter and first asked “Who do men say I am” and we see Peter answer correctly, “You are the Christ”

This revelation of Jesus’s identity is the foundation of our faith as Christians. The secret was first entrusted to the Apostles who helped start the early church movement but nevertheless it is about Christ, not his servants who he entrusts his work to.

He still loves her-

“‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’ For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’”

Jeremiah 33:15-18 –

The prophecy here is pertaining to Christ Jesus. He came into the world to atone for his people’s sins and the world’s also. Jesus is both King and High Priest of God who’s sacrifice for sin always serves before God that the righteous demands of God have been met. He has become also the King through David’s line that will one day return and set up His Kingdom in Jerusalem. He though unlike David and kings of old wont die but will reign forever.

“Jerusalem will live in safety” and the nation throughout thousands of years has been metaphorically like a woman who every man around her wants to get their hands on and have their way with. For countless years she and her lands have been looked upon with envy and the Gentile nations have throughout the years tried very hard to make her theirs and seizs her lands.

However, though Israel has been harassed over the span of time, there is One who has his eyes ever upon her and is very jealous for her. Though many modern Christians say in arrogance that Israel is not really God’s chosen, they make a grave mistake and I think this is offensive to God. Because though Israel in Christ Jesus days on earth as a nation failed to see that their Savior had come to redeem them- it is not as though Israel is entirely rejected. The Apostle Paul clearly explains that do to Israel’s unbelief she has been temprarily hardened until the age of Gentile conversions is complete- however their is coming a time where that period is over and the remnant of Israel will start to see what they have done, and many will respond to their Savior also.

Israel is a mass of people as is any other nation, so their will be a number of her people who do turn to the Lord in time. So when we think of how this corresponds to the metaphorical New Woman- The Church, we must consider that this body of people has been pulled from two races of people for one- the elect of Israel and then also the Gentiles [Non Jews] who have now been made clean through faith in the Lord Jesus also.

Through two- there became one- so in a since from a Biblical standpoint all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will be the people of the New City in the future- present day Jerusalem – yet presently she as current city has not yet been fully redeemed as a people who will respond. Yet it is a privilege for us as modern Christ followers that he has blessed us through Himself to also partake from her blessed heritage as the people of God. And the Apostle Paul says: If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! {Romans 11:17-24 }

To use an analogy, it is like a father who has a natural born daughter but she runs from home- yet in the process he adopts another daughter yet when his naturally born child returns, he welcomes her back to his family treats her again as someone who is his child. Yet he does not replace her. He receives her back as an heir and child of his and does not reject her upon her return just because she was wayward and stubborn. Does He still love his people? Of course. Did he just cast her out forever because he by grace gave rights for other people to become children of his by faith also? No.

For if God delighted to save a people who were once alien and enemy- yet became loyal, how much better is it that Israel has also decided to return to the family. Are not two better then one? If you lost one child yet had adopted another would you not be happier if you then had all your children finally under your roof as well.

Ancient Hostilities- Must Go.

#VengeanceIsTheLord’s

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will wipe out the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast. I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I take vengeance on them. ’”

Ezekiel 25:15-17 –

“Malice in their hearts”

“Ancient hostility”

“Sought to destroy”

These are all tale tale indicators that can help us identify what is in our hearts as individuals. When “Malice” or ill will is there, or it is derived from “Ancient hostility” and the desire is to “destroy” we know that this does not please the Lord. Ancient hostility as it relates to 21st century reader of this text could be like some historical baggage we all have carried before or maybe still wrestle to overcome. For instance many may struggle with a strong dislike to a particular class, sex or people group not because everyone in these collections of people truly harmed them but because they have for predominantly all their lives as early as childhood suffered emotional wounds they in the present associate with that “People” or “That race” or “That gender”

And for me my ancient hostility used to be women because I associated them with rejection growing up and had formed a very unfair stereotype about attractive looking women as being always arrogant, stuck up, conceited and desiring to use their looks to wield power over ever men who would look their direction. However, over time the Lord has by His work helped me overcome so much of my struggles. Another people group I had grown to think were just so very difficult for me was non Christians because of some incidents that took place where one in particular who I truly was doing my best to be a friend to called me up drunk on the phone and started slandering me and calling me an idiot and accusing me of things I was not attempting to do. Yet at the time it cut deep into me because I really thought I had been making the best effort I was able to show my care for this person but it shocked me. At first I thought it was a joke but then I realized some how his inebriation took away his restraint and revealed how he truly saw me.

Of course part of why this was so personal was he attacked me at a point of insecurity at the time, my intelligence. And being someone who had grown up in a special education system do to minor intellectual disabilities I took it far more personally then I should have.

The point is, people have issues and for many non Christians they may harbor ancient hostility toward all Christians because of the few who may have early on left a bad taste in their mouths. There are many who have grown up in supposedly Christian circles [And of course some of these are not too reflective of Biblical Christ centered life, some others are making an effort but fail as we all do as human beings, other may have good intentions yet be misunderstood.] there are collectively issues with everyone even those making an effort to follow Christ’s example laid out in what He taught. And then there are yes those who have fairly lived up to the hypocrite label.

Another example is people who grow up in a certain socio economic upbringing- they may have a slant of not liking or unfairly judging those who have had a different life experience. Some people who have had great challenges growing poor up may automatically struggle to think all people who have wealth are bad, greedy and terrible- and in contrast those who may have it monetarily well off may unfairly judge all poor and underprivleged people as being lazy and addicts of drugs.

Bad apples spoil a bunch- there are bad people rich, poor, male, female, black or white – the truest decider of this though has nothing to do with outward circumstance (Though both suffering and prosperity and power seem to test what people are made of) but the fact of the matter is the heart is the decider of how anyone acts. What we cherish in the heart for good or bad eventually comes out in all other areas of our lives!

That is why Christ came to save us from what we are bent toward by nature- sin and seemingly we see most of the time people seem to gravitate to negative thinking, criticizing, complaining and arguing. Why is that? There is a pull of sin. And a Christian is called to “Put of whatever belongs to your earthly nature” [Natural pull- revenge when wronged, putting self first, doing what just feels good at the moment- good examples]

But a Christian must behave totally different, and Romans 12 tells us how

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:1-21 –

Renewal of the mind is not quick fix, but takes an effort by God’s grace and strengthening power and the Word. Often it takes years to overcome some negative default mindsets, beliefs and inclinations to think and respond a certain way that seems so ingrained. It is worth it though to find freedom!

The Repentance of King Manasseh.

–But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites. The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. Afterward he rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, west of the Gihon spring in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate and encircling the hill of Ophel; he also made it much higher. He stationed military commanders in all the fortified cities in Judah. He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city.

2 Chronicles 33:9-15

Manasseh for most of his life had been a wicked king, prideful most likely also. He has often throughout scripture been one of the most wicked ones the nation had aside from Jereboam and Ahab. However, Manasseh found repentence, though it took a very harsh way to finally bring him down to his knees. We see it says “In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly.” He proved his repentence as genuine when it says “He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city.”

This is a great example from the Old Testament scripture to liken to the conversion of a sinner. Though the nation of Israel and Judah were called to be God’s people, often there were people and kings who behaved more like the heathen nations then God’s people. So for one, we also know that in our day and time it does not make one a true follower of Jesus Christ to just say they believe in Jesus yet do nothing as a result of this. God was not happy that Manasseh had foreign gods put in the temple. How many professing Christians there are also indeed in our days that have a Bible on their shelves but have other gods in their hearts. They may attend a church Sunday but worship their other gods on Monday and the rest of the week.

Their are those who say they know Christ but live like those who outright deny our Lord and Savior. Unfortunately a large percentage of professing “Christians” do live like the rest of the world, living in sexual sins and living with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Their are are some that say they know the Lord but it they do not allow him to reign as Lord of their lives and decisions. Some say they know Christ but lie as much as non Christians do, act as spitefully towards others like the World does, and they put Jesus in a place where they can feel safe to do their own thing without changing what they have no wish to change.

Now I am not posting this in judgement on anyone because only God truly has the final assessment on who is truly saved and who is not. Yet I did used to be one of these folkes before Christ invaded my life and have not been the same since. The transformation is first inside but works outward. Jesus said, “Unless a man be born again he will not see the kingdom of heaven.”

Born again? That is God humbling us and revealing by conviction of His Spirit our true nature in sin. He then beckons us by His Loving Grace through the revelation of Jesus Christ to respond by repenting of our sins and exchanging our mess to follow Him as our King, Lord and Savior!

Neuroplasticity of Christian Faith

It can often be necessary to remind ourselves when suffering is a part of our lives, God is truly not being unfair or unjust to ask us to joyfully endure it and praise Him in the midst of it. Why? Because He suffered so much to grant we could have eternal life! I have to remind myself of this because my human nature wants to grumble and pout often but because God has given us His Spirit we can say no to the fleshly pull of grumbling and complaining! The more we choose to deny our flesh- the sinful pulls of our natural earthly nature, the more we allow God to reshape us into something far more glorious as a result. Of course He gets all the credit for this but asks of us that we yield and joyfully accept what His hand has allowed.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:16-18 –

When we come to know Christ and are truly made new by our faith, this does not mean we become sinless cyborgs. However, what becomes possible is an alternative to sinful default tendencies, He gives us the Holy Spirit to aid us to do God’s will, so we have been granted Spiritual power through Christ but this takes us yielding to His way over our own natural way of doing things, reasoning, and thinking.

Romans 12 tells us “Do not be conformef any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”

Scientific study shows there is a thing called neuro plasticity, and this means the brain has a remarkable way of reprogramming and rewiring. Often we get in our heads such an ingrained default way of reacting and thinking whether for good or bad, but often bad, but it becomes so ingrained it just becomes almost th natural mode of opperendae for our minds to think certain way and it is almost as if thought trails are burned through the mind that cause us by default to start down thinking trails that pull us a certain way everytime.

Yet Biblically, we are not left without options.

—The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 –

Often we can snap, respond or start thinking a certain way as reflexive it seems, yet the way we as Christians war against these patterns of sin is by learning the Word of God and practicing it in situations where we have two options, our natural response driven by sin, or how God’s Word would have us respond. Apart from God empowering us then knowing what is the better response is only half of it, but when God’s Spirit breaths on His Word it gives us power to

—-For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. [Titus 2:11-14]

Wait-Training

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. [Romans 8:24-25]

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

[1 Corinthians 13:4]

“Patience is a virtue” as the quote says, and Biblically often the term “Long suffering” is used for the word patience. Yet think of how it is to endure waiting. That can bring a certain amount of suffering. For some it is waiting for a child and hoping God will provide, others it is waiting for the Lord to provide a spouse that is compatible. Others it may be suffering a desire that goes on unfulfilled for some dream or calling one feels the Lord put in their heart!

Lets look back to some Biblical narratives that are great examples of waiting and suffering as they waited! We have Abraham who longed to have a son and God had gave him a good promise but he had to wait 25 years to see this happen. There was Joseph, the great grandson of Abraham who had dreams in his heart as a 17 year old young man but these were not fully manifest till he was 30.

In Psalm 105, it says:

“and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.

Psalm 105:17-19

We have David who as a young man had been annointed next king over Israel but waited a significant time, he was a young man, most likely in later teenage years but did not become king until 30 years also.

What is God often doing while we wait? Growing us, developing our faith, refining our loyalty to him above all else. So easy it is for us as Christians to get our focus too much on the “Blessing” rather then God the one who gives it, and of course God loves to give good gifts, Jesus taught this in (Matthew 7:11) and Psalm 84:11 says “The Lord is a sun and shield, he bestows favor and honor, no good thing does he withold from him whose walk is blameless”

So it is obvious God is not witholding good- but, he knows when it is best for us to receive what he has planned for us, that is good!

In Abraham’s story God seems to refine his character as he waits for a son, and strengthen his faith. He used time to develop Abraham as well as fortify his faith, and he reaffirmed his promise many times over those years as Abraham waited. Though Abraham from a visible sight standpoint had reason to doubt, it says “Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness”

1.) Strengthening Our Faith

How does God test faith? How do we work a muscle, through resistence of weight. And so is faith, requiring us to trust what God says when visible circumstances become heavy weights to challenge the muscle of faith. There is a test of believing God when the odds seem impossible but another test is believing God when time makes temptation to doubt God said.

2.) Purify Our Loyalty—-

There is also, the test of undivided loyalty to God alone. So often as we mature in the faith and walk with Christ, God seems to test where our greatest desire is! Is it in our longing and dream that he puts in our heart? Or totally rooted in Jesus Christ? Now God indeed has given us desires that are not sin that indeed often fit his will for our lives but through waiting he works to purify our hearts so we will love him above even our greatest earthly dreams, desires or goals! From just my limited experience, this takes time, and won’t say I am by any means perfected but see how God has done so much in my heart to purify it over the years. We all can make idols of the heart out of things that are not bad, but if they are misplaced or overly loved then they can grow into idols. So God must work to realign our hearts over time to make it so our trust and delight are more in Him then any good thing he could give.

Proverbs 10:22 says “The blessings of the Lord make one rich, and he adds no sorrow with them”

What can cause sorrow? Getting what we want before God has in mind to give it!

An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end.

(Proverbs 20:21)

Would a wise father hand his son the keys to a car before he knew how to drive a vehicle. Likewise God is not unwise to bless us with more we can handle at the moment.

3.) Perfecting Our Character

As we see described in Psalm 105 with Joseph, it says “Till the Word of God proved him true”

Joseph had to grow into his calling and dream, likewise we too must grow to be able to carry God’s dream for us. An example of this I suppose we could use is a woman who wants to find that special man, and God has not necessarily witheld as much as been working on that man, so when he is ready to be a good husband, father, and role model to his family he will fit the bill. Yet men are not made over night, neither are women in the Lord, but God calls mainly men to be the role model to their wives and a reflection of Christ’s love for his Church. Now many young men who have recently gotten saved have to mature in their faith and love and grow in their new identity as a man of God. This is not a quick process but can take time. “Love is patient” – maybe God is testing the patient love of some who may read this and showing them that love must give grace to those that must have patience to develop into who they can truly become im the grace of our Lord Jesus!

4.) Finally, God is Patient With Us.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

The Church, The people who are saved by the grace of The Lord Jesus, are refered to metaphorically as “The Bride of Christ.”

Lets camp out on this, lets ponder, what suffering did Jesus go through to lay hold of us? How long did God patiently wait for each of us to see our error and sin and realize we needed his salvation. And also, isn’t God incredibly patient with us as Christians who so often miss the mark, yet he grants we have grace to grow into what he has called us to become. Praise the Lord!

Warning Sirens

There was an incidence at work last night that later became a parable to me. Well aparently there was tornado sirens going off and right before we were supposed to leave at 9, for saftey, we had been detained in the hall. I do get a little antsy in confined spaces with lots of people but it was not the end of the world. I am the kind of person who likes to make like a bannana and split when the clock strikes 9, that magical moment. Yet that was not how it went down last night. I was confined there for nearly 45 minutes.

Later I got to thinking. As it relates to my life, I have been in a situation (Trial) that seems to confine and hem me in. In a metaphorical sense these seasons of life do this and what we do not often realize is trying to manuever out of what God is trying to do in us or through our situation is for good not harm and if you have ever had a cast on a limb you know that it is for good but you cannot wait for it to come off. Well long ago as a teenager I tried to do that with a cast and was not a great idea but that is a long story there altogether.

—-This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:15-18

These people in Isaiah 30 were not willing to repent of their sins and then quietly wait for the Lord to act in his time. Not all trials are result of sin but same principle applies, blessed are they that wait on The Lord and trust him as they wait.

A story came to mind also

—-Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor. ’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing, ” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. (1 Samuel 13:7-13)

Samuel had given Saul specific instructions to wait a 7 days till he arrived and Saul did that but when Samuel had delayed slightly longer then Saul thought he would, he sinned by offering a sacrifice he was not authorized to.

Things may seem critical but it is never so much so that it is a good idea to not obey God. Those moments may be a test in the sense that God wants us to still have faith he can and will come through even at the very last moment- but disobeying out of fear shows lack of faith God can or will help us.