“He that watereth shall be watered also himself.”—Proverbs 11:25.
We are here taught the great lesson, that to get, we must give; that to accumulate, we must scatter; that to make ourselves happy, we must make others happy; and that in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be useful, bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and dormant faculties, which are brought to light by exercise. Our strength for labour is hidden even from ourselves, until we venture forth to fight the Lord’s battles, or to climb the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we possess until we try to dry the widow’s tears, and soothe the orphan’s grief. We often find in attempting to teach others, that we gain instruction for ourselves. Oh, what gracious lessons some of us have learned at sick beds! We went to teach the Scriptures, we came away blushing that we knew so little of them. In our converse with poor saints, we are taught the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into divine truth. So that watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace there is where we had not looked for it; and how much the poor saint may outstrip us in knowledge. Our own comfort is also increased by our working for others. We endeavour to cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Like the two men in the snow; one chafed the other’s limbs to keep him from dying, and in so doing kept his own blood in circulation, and saved his own life. The poor widow of Sarepta gave from her scanty store a supply for the prophet’s wants, and from that day she never again knew what want was. Give then, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and running over.
On August 6, according to the Jewish calendar the month of Elul began. This month is significant because it is in preparation for Rosh Hashanah which begin at sunset Wednesday, September 4, 2013 and ends at nightfall Friday, September 6, 2013. It is a time of repentance, reflection, and forgiveness. It calls us to clear our minds, souls and bodies of the things which separate us from God. As I’ve been studying this significance of this month, I’ve learned special prayers will be offered for past sins committed not only by the individual, but also for the entire family. I am reminded of Nehemiah, who upon his return to Jerusalem, asked God to forgive him, and Israel their past sins. It is a beautiful prayer. It recounts everything Israel did in the past, and include the sins of those present at the time of the dedication of the temple. No one was exempt.
As this month continues, Jews will offer special prayers, recite the 27th Psalm, and be awaken by the shofar[ram’s horn]. The major focus is, however on repentance. On turning away from the sins that so easily beset us, and going before a Holy God and seeking forgiveness with a sincere heart. And as we do, our souls are restored, and “He will lead us beside still waters, and anoint our heads with His oil.” Then “goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives where we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I’ve taken to heart the significance of this month, and asked the Lord to forgive me, and my family for our sins. This is a holy time, and because of it, I will be taking more time to reflect on His word. So dear readers, my posts will not come as often as before. (You probably noticed) I encourage you to do the same. Don’t miss this special time. Cover yourself in His word. Spend time only with Him. Turn off some stuff. Get quiet and listen for Him. Repent. Reflect. Forgive those who wronged you. Prepare for the coming season with joy, love, appreciation, and anticipation. It is Elul.
“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Exodus 14:13
These words contain God’s commend to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand still.” It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in his love and faithfulness. Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the world’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.” But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What, if for a while thou art called to stand still, yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time. Precipitancy cries, “do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once-we must do it so we think-instead of looking for the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything. Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle.” Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands. “Stand still;” –keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Phil 2:5
“The detachment from the confusion all around us is in order to have a richer attachment to God. Christian meditation leads us to the inner wholeness necessary to give ourselves to God freely.”— Richard Foster, *Celebration Of Discipline* 2nd ed. (Harper, 1988), p.21
Have you taken noticed to the start process for each new tech gadget and app? The gadget are boxed with a nifty set of instructions. Every app has to be installed, verified, screened for authenticity. Once properly installed, we sit waiting for the gadget or app to load. The icon comes up with a message it’s loading, loading, loading. Then finally, it is ready.
We’re like those gadgets and applications. We also came with instructions, and we were installed to do the Master’s work. Since our initial installation, and upgrades we’ve been loading, loading, loading. Here’s the question of the day, are you ready to launch? Ready to be used by God? Ready to fully implement the upgraded version of you?
“God who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord who is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 The promises of God are true, and can never, ever fail. Our initial installation may have been a bit rocky. We may have been buffering, sputtering trying to get re-connected to the main power source. But despite our shaky start-up, God has been true to his word. He provided everything for our successful launch.
Stop loading and load. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 You can do it! You can be it! With each upgrade, old data must be renewed or removed to complete each assignment. Need more wisdom – God gives it liberally to the person who asks for it. We have not, because we ask not. Check the instructions. Feel uncertain – God said He would never leave nor forsake us. Check the instructions. God told Joshua to be “Be strong and very courageous“, and as He was with Moses so He would be with him. God was with Joshua, Moses, David, Ruth, Deborah, Mary, and the Apostle Paul, and He will be with you. It’s in the instructions.
Our instructions are clear and powerful. The authoritative word of God – The Bible provides all the data for correcting faulty wiring (our thinking), and repairing damage done by years of false starts. Paul wrote, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind.” Our internal wiring is connected to the direct power source, and it is always on. That power, love and sound mind can defeat any giant or an army of Amalekites. God is our very present help. He is our failsafe. It’s in the instructions.
Everything needed to properly launch is available and ready for use. Everything! There is a whole world waiting for the 2013 version of you. So stop loading and LOAD.
“Let the people renew their strength.” Isaiah 41:1
All things on earth need to be renewed. No created thing continueth by itself. “Thou renewest the face of the year,” was the Psalmist’s utterance. Even the trees, which wear not themselves with care, nor shorten their lives with labor, must drink of the rain of heaven, and suck from the hidden treasures of the soil. The cedars of Lebanon, which God has planted, only live because day by day they are full of sap fresh drawn from the earth. Neither can man’s life be sustained without renewal from God. As it is necessary to repair the waste of the body by the frequent meal, so we must repair the waste of the soul by feeding upon the Book of God, or by listening to the preached Word, or by the soul-fattening table of ordinances. How depressed are our graces when means are neglected! What poor starvelings some saints are who live without the diligent use of the Word of God, and secret prayer! If our piety can live without God, it is not of divine creating; it is but a dream; for if God had begotten it, it would wait upon Him as the flowers wait upon the dew.
Without constant restoration we are not ready for the perpetual assaults of hell, or the stern afflictions of heaven, or even for the strifes within. When the whirlwind shall be loosed, woe to the tree that had not sucked up fresh sap, and grasped the rock with many intertwisted roots. When tempests arise, woe to the mariners that have not strengthened their mast, nor cast their anchor, nor sought the haven.
If we suffer the good to grow weaker, the evil will surely gather strength and struggle desperately for the mastery over us; and so, mayhap, a painful desolution, and a lamentable painful disgrace may follow. Let us draw near to the footstool of divine mercy in humble entreaty, and we shall realize the fulfillment of the promise, “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” Amen.
Spiritual Disciplines are practices which strengthen the believer, and creates greater intimacy with God. An intimacy which defines and provides a platform for the ultimate expression of who and what we are. One such practice is solitude. A time of quiet, soft stillness and calmness when hearts and minds become clear, and can hear our Creator. Solitude involves separating oneself from people and things, but namely people so the spirit can re-connect with the heart source – God. Various groups of people have practice solitude, and reported its benefits – clarity, spiritual resolve, increased faith during times of testing and trials, etc. Scripture also mentioned how Jesus went to solitary place to pray, speak with the Father, and even went into the wilderness at the beginning of his earthly ministry resulting in power and divine obedience.
Our lives are far too cluttered. We have so much on our plates, we hardly have time to think. We need solitude for our souls and our minds. Begin the year by practicing solitude as part of your spiritual disciplines. I believe it will result in your having a closer walk with God.
Here is a link to a good article on http://www.soulshepherding.org/2012/08/solitude-2/.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
“Behold, I make a covenant:before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord: for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.” Exodus 34:10
God told the children of Israel Behold, everyone around you, will see how great and marvelous your God is. They will know without a shadow of doubt I am God. The Great I AM is with you; his wonders to behold.
Behold says to pay attention, look up or around, pause, and stop what you are doing. Even when reading the word, it feels like an exclamation point automatically should follow it. Because something of importance is about to happen, and it is going to be spectacular. And when our God speaks, it is always breathtaking, astonishing, magnificent. So take the words spoken to the children of Israel during their journey to the promised land, and linger in the certainty of this covenant. For we have an even better covenant; one written in the incredible righteousness of Christos, Jesus Christ our redeemer. For it was/is an awesome thing God did for us through Him our precious Behold.
Listening to God requires that we first listen for God, Robert Benson once said. We have to be in a position to want to hear from God, by being still and knowing God is God.
“Has God trusted you with silence-a silence that is big with meaning? God’s silences are His answers. Think of those days of absolute silence in the home of Bethany! Is there anything analogous to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking for a visible answer? God will give you the blessings you ask if you will not go any further without them; but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into a marvelous understanding of Himself.” Oswald Chambers Are you satisfied with the silence? Make no mistake that silence is also God speaking.
We are to listen for Him, and not be concerned about the manner or method He chooses to speak to us. Remember that burning bush. God spoke to Moses on the backside of a mountain in a bush. Scripture is filled with different ways God spoke to His people. Our responsibility is to be attentive when He speaks, and obey. His voice is unmistakable. It is like the dawning of the sun. It fills the soul and spirit with hope, joy, love and warms your heart. He is probably speaking to you right now. Telling you don’t worry about this day; He has everything under control.
St.Teresa of Avila said, “We should accept with simplicity whatever understanding the Lord gives us; and what He doesn’t we shouldn’t tire ourselves over. For one word of God’s will contain within itself a thousand mysteries.” The value of listening to God is that we will finally hear him as He is – God. All those questions are answered, we cease from struggling over the mundane and trivial. We seek Him knowing all is well with our souls. Peace, Power, Presence. Are you listening to God?
Listening to God provides our way home.