Are You asking God “What have You Done for me Lately? - Purity 937
Purity 937 01/10/2023 Purity 937 Podcast
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Today’s photo of a blue cloud dotted sky reflected in the waters of the River Torrens somewhere in the Parklands of Adelaide, South Australia comes to us from Dave Baun photography as Dave shared this scene back on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) on August 2nd of 2022.
Well it's Tuesday and as I was recently looking back and reflecting on the year that is now history I discovered that I still have a lot of awesome photos from the past year in my phones photo archive and while I am fully committed to looking forward am still willing to draw from blessings from the past to empower my walk today.
Like any relationship, our relationship with God is not only strengthened by what He is doing in our lives today, it’s richness is also increased when we consider and appreciate the things we have experienced together in the past. Whether it is a human relationship or our relationship to God, we do a great disservice to it if we are overly focused on “what have you done for me lately?”
While I can understand the disappointment and frustration of human relationships that cool over time because one or both of the parties take each other for granted and stop “trying”, we would do well to establish a balance in our relationships where we don’t forget all that we have been through and at the same time remaining fully engaged in loving our loved ones by being intentional about being present in the here and now and not just resting on the laurels of the things we have done in the past or by assuming your ”not leaving” and being in the general vicinity of one another equals intimacy.
“I’m here… ain’t I?”
If you feel the need to defend your place in your relationship by saying something like that, you may have unwittingly checked out or have failed to see the needs of the other person in the relationship. If you come to a point where you have to declare your presence in your relationship , whether because of a lack in you or the other person, that’s a red flag that something is wrong.
Someone’s taking someone for granted. Someone isn’t trying. Or someone is putting unrealistic expectations on the other to fulfill them.
If there is one thing we should know as Christians on the pathway of faith, it is that seeking to be fulfilled by anything in this world other than the Lord is doomed to failure.
Other people or favorable circumstances may be able to give us pleasure and even peace but unless we address the elephant in the room, our sin and separation from God, we will only be living in denial.
And even if we make a profession of faith in Christ, if we fail to foster our relationship with God our lives can easily become spiritually dry and resemble the dissatisfaction and discontentment that is common among the rest of the world.
If we are seeking happiness and fulfillment with the things of this world, even in our close interpersonal relationships, without God, we will either realize the hard truth that these things can’t satisfy us or we will have a nagging feeling that something is missing.
The sooner we come to this realization or existential crisis, the sooner we can stop the madness of seeking happiness in the world and the sooner we can rest and find our peace and joy in the Lord.
However just like in human relationships, the beginning of our relationship with God can be very exciting but if we aren’t careful we can become just as frustrated with God as we are with our human relationships.
As I stated above if our relationship with God is not what it used to be we should examine it by the same standards we would with any human relationship and ask:
· Is one of us taking the other for granted?
· Did someone stop trying?
· Is someone putting unrealistic expectations on the other to fulfill them?
Unfortunately, although we can use these questions to examine our relationship with God, the fault in our relationship with God will undoubtedly fall on us. God is perfect and we are not.
When our relationship with God goes stale, we can use these questions to see where we have gone wrong.
In the early stages of our walk with God, we are full of joy at the realization that we have been forgiven and been given eternal life and often new believers are highly satisfied with their church communities and with all the lessons they learn about their new found faith and about God.
But as time goes on, we could take God, our church, and our “knowledge” for granted and develop dissatisfaction because we “already know all there is to know” and nothing new or exciting is happening in our walk and we can ask “What has God done for me lately?”
OOF, I pray that is not you because if it is I have bad news for you, you have gone astray and need to ask yourself the next two questions on our list.
Is someone not trying?
The number one instruction that I give, that I have tested with years of practice, is to “seek the Lord”.
If you are asking What God has done for you lately, you have at best become passive in your seeking the Lord. I suspect that anyone complaining about spiritual dryness has failed to seek the Lord in one way or another. I stress the need for a daily spiritual practice to keep us present and engaged in our relationship with the Lord. Our seeking the Lord happens via daily prayer and Bible study and simply conversing with God as we walk through life. A daily spiritual practice keeps us “trying” and present with the Lord every day.
Our seeking the Lord can also spill into our hobbies, instead of secular music and entertainment, we can seek the Lord with Christian worship music, Christian books, podcasts, and television programs.
And of course, we can seek the Lord at church. I would encourage you to not only go to church but to seek some way where you can be fully engaged by serving the church in some way. If you are bored at church, you probably aren’t participating in the church and are just watching.
However, in all of these activities, we need to attach relationally with the Lord. We need to tell the Lord we love Him and pursue Him out of and because of our love for Him. You could have a daily spiritual practice, go to church, and surround yourself with Christian media but if you aren’t doing it with the genuine affection to “seek the Lord” and know Him more because you LOVE HIM, you may dry out quicker that someone who is passive.
This brings us to the last question:
“Is someone putting unrealistic expectations on the other to fulfill them?”
This question can cut two ways.
While God has done and continues to do miracles, even in the Bible they are rare. Some of us can be “praying for that miracle” with such ferocity and tenacity because WE BELIEVE, that we can be sorely disappointed when our prayers are not answered.
There is distortion of our faith commonly known as the “word of Faith” movement where essentially God is treated as a heavenly slot machine who only has to be manipulated with “great unquestioning faith” and the “right words” SPOKEN OUT LOUD IN THE NAME OF JESUS, in order to get what you want. The prosperity gospel lives here. The attitude in these circles places the blame on the individual for not having enough faith or be “foolishly” praying that God’s will be done.
Although we are directed by God’s word to pray about everything, we deny God’s sovereignty and set ourselves up for disappointment when we expect that all of our prayers will be answered perfectly.
The other thing that this question reveals is that we may be “consumers”, that we are in this thing just for what we can get out of it and if God doesn’t come through and we stop receiving blessings, our hearts grow cold, and we can walk away from the Lord. If consumers are not receiving what they want or need, if they are not excited and entertained, or are asked to actually do something, they take their “business” elsewhere or stop being a “customer” and go elsewhere, usually back to the world, the flesh, and the devil.
In my walk of faith since 2010, I have seen people go in and out of local churches to the point where I would almost suggest installing revolving doors. I have seen people come in, get excited, proclaim the congregation as “my church”, share scenes from worship services on social media, and then all but disappear.
While I am sure that many of these “Christians” would have reasons for their departure, I suspect that if we examined the circumstances surrounding their leaving we would discover that”
· Someone took the other for granted.
· Someone stopped trying.
· Or someone has unrealistic expectations.
We don’t bless God for coming to Him. He blesses us.
We don’t have to go to church and follow the Lord, we are BLESSED to go to church and FOLLOW HIM.
If we are asking what God has done for us lately, we have forgotten what we have received.
And regardless of what negative circumstances that surround our walk of faith, if we love the Lord, we will continue you to follow Him because we know like Peter, that there is no where else to go. When Christ challenged his disciples to leave after one of His more shocking and puzzling teachings: Peter said:
68 … "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
When we know who we are in Christ and when we know who God is, we don’t take Him for granted. We continue “trying” by showing up and by seeking and following Him, where ever HE leads. We also seek to know Him more so we don’t have false expectations. And we don’t follow Him because of the things we get, we follow Him because we love Him. We love the One who created everything but somehow decided that He wanted us to be with Him forever.
So keep walking and talking with God. Stay engaged in your faith by seeking the Lord at all times as an expression of your love for Him
If you are local to the capital district I am sharing the link to this week’s “Pray Together prayer event. ( https://starpoint.church/events/?fbclid=IwAR2Bi4rGW8KfvIZKXwIe8njRlmmYvMb8MRTESB5b2WDLvRdCytqKB9_oQ-g?sapurl=LytlMzE4L2xiL2V2Lyt3MzNoM3ljP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZSZyZWNlbnRSb3V0ZT1hcHAud2ViLWFwcC5saWJyYXJ5LmNhbGVuZGFyJnJlY2VudFJvdXRlU2x1Zz0lMkI5emdrZ3I1) Consider it my invitation to you to “Come and See” what the Lord may do in this event.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
6 Then he said to me, “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
Today’s verse reminds us that it is by God’s Spirit that many of His work will be done and that many victories will come.
Its not by the sweat of our brow that we are transformed it is by coming into alignment with God’s Spirit, by knowing who we are in Christ and by following His Spirit who will lead us into all truth and comfort and guide us as we go.
It’s not walking in the church or even walking in the Bible, It’s walking in the Spirit because the things of God are spiritually discerned and when we “figure something out” we have to remember that our salvation and our sanctification are gifts from God through the Holy Spirit.
You may have to work hard in life and as a part of this path but remember that it is not by our strength but by God’s Spirit that we will live and grow in His kingdom.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN ADMINISTRATION continues
1. God governs inanimate matter
That God governs inanimate matter, that inanimate matter performs His bidding and fulfils His decrees, is clearly shown on the very frontispiece of Divine revelation. God said, “Let there be light,” and we read, “There was light.” God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear,” and “it was so.” And again, “God said, Let the earth bring forth grass the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” And the Psalmist declares, “He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
What is stated in Genesis one is afterwards illustrated all through the Bible. After the creation of Adam, sixteen centuries went by before ever a shower of rain fell upon the earth, for before Noah “there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Gen. 2:6). But, when the iniquities of the antediluvians had come to the full, then God said, “And, behold, I even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die;” and in fulfillment of this we read, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Gen. 6:17 and 7:11, 12).
Witness God’s absolute (and sovereign) control of inanimate matter in connection with the plagues of Egypt. At His bidding the light was turned into darkness and rivers into blood; hail fell, and death came down upon the godless land of the Nile, until even its haughty monarch was compelled to cry out for deliverance. Note particularly how the inspired record here emphasizes God’s absolute control over the elements—“And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail” (Ex. 9:23–26). The same distinction was observed in connection with the ninth plague: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings” (Ex. 10:21–23).
The above examples are by no means isolated cases. At God’s decree fire and brimstone descended from heaven and the cities of the Plain were destroyed, and a fertile valley was converted into a loathsome sea of death. At His bidding the waters of the Red Sea parted asunder so that the Israelites passed over dry shod, and at His word they rolled back again and destroyed the Egyptians who were pursuing them. A word from Him, and the earth opened her mouth and Korah and his rebellious company were swallowed up. The furnace of Nebuchadnezzar was heated seven times beyond its normal temperature, and into it three of God’s children were cast, but the fire did not so much as scorch their clothes, though it slew the men who cast them into it.
What a demonstration of the Creator’s governmental control over the elements was furnished when He became flesh and tabernacled among men! Behold Him asleep in the boat. A storm arises. The winds roar and the waves are lashed into fury. The disciples who are with Him, fearful lest their little craft should founder, awake their Master, saying, “Carest Thou not that we perish?” And then we read, “And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). Mark again, the sea, at the will of its Creator, bore Him up upon its waves. At a word from Him, the fig-tree withered; at His touch disease fled instantly.
The heavenly bodies are also ruled by their Maker and perform His sovereign pleasure. Take two illustrations. At God’s bidding the sun went back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz to help the weak faith of Hezekiah. In New Testament times, God caused a star to herald the incarnation of His Son—the star which appeared unto the wise men of the East. This star, we are told, “went before them till it came and stood over where the young Child was” (Matt. 2:9).
What a declaration is this: “He sendeth forth His commandment upon earth: His word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoar frost like ashes. He casteth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold? He sendeth out His word, and melteth them: He causeth His wind to blow, and the waters flow” (Psa. 147:15–18). The mutations of the elements are beneath God’s sovereign control. It is God who withholds the rain, and it is God who gives the rain when He wills, where He wills, as He wills, and on whom He wills. Weather Bureaus may attempt to give forecasts of the weather, but how frequently God mocks their calculations! Sun ‘spots,’ the varying activities of the planets, the appearing and disappearing of comets (to which abnormal weather is sometimes attributed), atmospheric disturbances, are merely secondary causes, for behind them all is God Himself. Let His Word speak once more: “And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereon it rain not withered. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto Me, saith the Lord. I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto Me, saith the Lord. I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up into your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto Me, saith the Lord” (Amos 4:7–10).
Truly, then, God governs inanimate matter. Earth and air, fire and water, hail and snow, stormy winds and angry seas, all perform the word of His power and fulfil His sovereign pleasure. Therefore, when we complain about the weather we are, in reality, murmuring against God.
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