By Bev Herring
Recently some scriptures stirred my spirit to think beyond my imagination as my husband likes to say.
Have you noticed when writers of the New Testament authors like Peter or Paul or John begin to make a point in scripture they give us information but we pass over it because it is not a part of the point they are making?
In the very opening of 1 Peter 2:11 in the New King James Version Peter puts these words:
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims….”
God’s Word Translation of that same verse says: “Dear friends, since you are foreigners and temporary residents in the world….”
How many of you have heard this expression used in a sermon or conversation: “We’re in this world … but not of this world.”
The Bible actually tells us this in the opening of Philippians 3:20 of the New King James Version: “For our citizenship is in heaven ….”
So, if we are pilgrims, foreigners, temporary residents of this world and our citizenship, our real residence, is in heaven … consider this:
Is anyone in heaven is sick?
Do citizens of heaven lack money?
If we are citizens of heaven, we should really be totally blessed here on earth!
Here are 4 keys to help us along.
# 1 God Gave Us a Pattern
The Bible says the story of the Children of Israel was God’s way of showing us by example what to avoid and how to be blessed by the New Covenant through Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 10:6 AMP
“Now these things are examples(warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they [The Children of Israel] did.”
Hebrews 10:1 MSG:
“The old plan was only a hint of the good things in the new plan.Since that old “law plan” wasn’t complete in itself.”
Their physical journey was written down to show us a parallel for our spiritual journey.
A. Egypt Represents Spiritual Slavery
When we become born again we are delivered from the slavery of sin but we don’t lose the slavery mentality immediately.
Romans 6:6 says:
“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
B. The Wilderness Represents Maturity in Christ
The Children of Israel had to go through the wilderness and so do we.
It’s where we learn to lean on the Lord instead of trusting in ourselves. Deuteronomy 8:2 says:
“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.”
Being born again … we have been delivered from the influence … from the dominion … from sin’s ability to rule and reign in our lives.
Romans 6:5-7 in the New Living Translations says:
“Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”
C. The Promised Land Represents Walking in God’s Full Blessings
Ephesians 4:21-24 in the New King James Version:
“if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
The Children of Israel received their promises by taking dominion over their enemies.
We have the promises but we will have to take dominion to receive them.
# 2 Kill the Giant Called Offense
I can remember all our children coming home from school with one event or another where someone did them wrong. Offense is a part of living. They would walk in pretty worked up about it. I remember telling them the easiest way to get rid of an offense is when it first begins.
Most people cringe and pull back when they hear that … because when you are first offended, the fire burns the hottest.
But … it’s a lot easier to take an acorn and throw it away then it is to uproot an oak tree. Think about it.
One of my favorite memories is overhearing our oldest daughter, Abby, sharing that concept with a friend on the phone. I knew then that God would deliver her from a lot of pain.
Not even the best Christian you know is exempt from offense trying hard to take over. One of the best examples I know is straight out of the Bible.
In 2 Samuel we read the story of Ahithophel. He was a very close trusted advisor to King David.
The description of Ahithophel is one any Bible character would have been proud to have described about his life.
This is how he is portrayed in 2 Samuel 16:23 in the Living Bible:
“Absalom did whatever Ahithophel told him to, just as David had; for every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.”
Unfortunately, that isn’t how he is memorialized in scripture.
When Absalom usurps the throne of his father, King David, Ahithophel joins with him. The scripture never explains why but you will soon find out how deadly offense can be.
Absalom has crowned himself as King and has David on the run. Then in 2 Samuel 16:20 he says:
“Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give advice as to what we should do.”
“And Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house;
and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.”
So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.”
2 Samuel 17:1
“Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight.
Remember the specific things that Ahithophel wants done. Then, see what happens in verse 14:
“So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the Lordhad purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lordmight bring disaster on Absalom.”
2 Samuel 17:23 continues:
“Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father’s tomb.”
What would make a man whose wisdom was like hearing the voice of God Himself … go home and hang himself?
The reason becomes clear to us if we read 2 Samuel 11:3 and then 2 Samuel 23:34:
So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
2 Samuel 23:34 explains who Eliam, Bathsheba’s father is:
“… the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.
So we learn that Bathsheba was the granddaughter of Ahithophel. King David was far from right in what he did … but he repented and lived. Offense kills!
3. Kill the Giant Called Self
The only way Jesus can increase in our lives is if we decrease.
If our personal desires are replaced by God’s desires -- He can make us successful in everything we do.
Colossians 2:6 in the Living Bible says:
“And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.”
When we have a problem, the scripture says we are to ask God for the answer.
I was recently confronted by a very stressful situation. I woke up one morning with this problem on my mind and I was telling God I really needed His leading on this.
That sounds spiritual enough doesn’t it? But when I settled into my chair with my favorite daily devotional this is what it said for that day:
“Guidance you are bound to have as you live more and more with Me. It follows without doubt. But these times are not times when you ask to be shown and led, they are times of realizing my presence…”
I stopped and said, “WHAT?” I thought we were supposed to ask for leading… but He showed me a better way as I kept reading:
“Does the branch continually ask the Vine to supply it with sap, to show it in what direction to grow? No, that comes naturally from the very union with the Vine, and I said, “I am the true Vine and you are the branches.”
Think about this for a moment. If we are spending every day in the Lord’s presence … then guidance will come as naturally as sap flowing through the branches on a vine. I immediately looked up John 15 where Jesus goes into detail about the True Vine and the branches.
It is well worth a study here are a couple highlights. Verse 5 says this: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Verse 7 says: “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!”
It pays to stay attached to the vine… or put another way … to keep the Lord involved in everything we do!
Colossians 3:15 in the Amplified translation gives us this command:
“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”
The Message Bible says it this way:
“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing…”
God’s Word Translation says:
“Also, let Christ’s peace control you….”
Self is the biggest problem we face because it gets us in the most trouble. James 3:16 says: “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
Philippians 4:6-9 in the Message Bible sums it like this:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
4. Faith is the Answer to Every Giant We Face
Ephesians 2:8,9 in the Amplified Version of the Bible says:
8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
We are saved because of one reason… our faith that God was telling us the truth about His Son.
There was nothing good about us.
… nothing we did or could ever do to make God love us.
… no amount of good deeds will qualify.
… no amount of anything… !
So … if there was nothing we could do to get ourselves saved except believe God what makes us think that any of our good works … our wonderful personality … our good looks is going to carry us further now?
Everything we have is based on one thing.
Romans 5:1-2 in the New Living Translation says:
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.”
God never runs to meet our needs.
But He will always run to meet our faith.
Hebrews 11 is the Faith Chapter:
Verse 6 says: “And it is impossible to please God without faith.Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
We don’t often think about it but the Old Testament was full of people exercising their faith … and faith gets God’s attention.
4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did.
5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying
7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood.
8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home
9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—
11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old.
17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him
20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.
22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt.
23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born.
24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…
28 It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover…
29 It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground…
30 It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down…
32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.
33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.
Faith is what will meet every need we have.
If you feel you don’t have anything right now … no worries … you don’t need anything but faith to change everything around!BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS