"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD...He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." Micah 4:2

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Who is boasting on You?

My reading in The Daily Light abruptly stopped at these words...
"my feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside". 

Wow. Imagine saying this in your SMALL GROUP when asked about your week.
In most "christian" circles today, those words would be met with scorn. Rebuke would follow, some being appalled at the pride and boasting, and perhaps even Bible verses would be thrown to refute the reality of anyone standing firm with such a testimony!
Discussion and questions dispute our ability to follow closely in His steps, lecturing often on how our weakness causes our feet to turn aside from His Way!
Afterall, they say, "we're only human"!

These constant opinions often puzzle me for they are argued by those who have been promised the Presence of the Comforting Guide, constant and continual, and One who is "able to keep them from stumbling".
To many, "Stand firm in their faith" becomes wishful thinking, and it is obvious there is not the applied belief in their God who IS "able to keep them from stumbling" (Jude 24).
Yet we read this shocking testimony from an Old Testament character, from an account which happened long before the Law was given, ages before the Cross claimed victory, or even the Covenant of promise. He stood without the Guide and Power who is given to believers today. In his testimony, Job saw through eyes of faith God's declaration, cry of Victory, and he stood firm in his faith, knowing for sure he saw reality.

Just as many times we find ourselves in a circle of more worldly wisdom, Job was surrounded by more human experience and educated knowledge. He faced the same accusations thrown around today when someone stands firm in faith.

I found it imperative for me to read the full account of Job in one sitting, recording repetition of advice, and folly. As I read his story, I also found an:
in spite of a circle of friends who scolded, rebuked, reproved, and basically corrected Job.

They fired every shot of humanism with arrows of pragmatism, relevance, comfort, experience, happiness, moderation, obligation and even personal responsibility.

This ancient man stood firm in his Faith. In his saddest moments when companionship would have been refreshing, he was verbally rejected by "friends". When comfort could have been extended, he was corrected and rebuked by elites and youth alike. Yet, Job held firm to faith.
God boasted of him!

The Scriptures tell us that "powers and authorities in heavenly places" present themselves before the LORD where God boasts to his enemy about his servant!!

That is so awesome. I wonder how often this scene plays out in heaven today! Here is now the scene I believe described in the New Testament:

Ephesians 3:10 " that through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our LORD."
From Job, I learn the dangers of opinions, and determine to build my faith in Christ alone through the Word of God given to me. I've learned to say "Give me Bible." because:

Misleading Lesson Prep for Small Group 
Comforters distort God and falsely declare...

1. God is hard task master, unable to please, full of wrath, ready to punish.

2. God is only known through life's experiences and physical explanations, therefore, rely on perceptions.

3. God will exact less than what we deserve because he knows we're human, so just try to do your best, realizing perfection is unreasonable.

Each "friend" of Job's ends his piece of advice seasoned with "hear, and know it is for your own good"... 5:27, 8:21, 11:15-19

Although each argument sounded plausible, Job refused to turn aside and doubt God.
Testimony printed to carry everywhere with me

Very weary of their comforting advice,
Job stood firm and testified...
He had a Redeemer.
He had a witness before God, testifying for him.
He knew he would see God for himself.
He knew he was upright and that his hands were clean, making his strength stronger.
He knew his God watched the way he chose... and
He knew when his God's purpose was fulfilled, he would be shining as gold.
Job stated firmly the substance his FAITH held, in unseen evidence.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, 
the evidence of things not seen."  Hebrews 11:1

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Discipline: The Glad Surrender

I find reading for personal development opens the door for the Holy Spirit to bring Scriptural truth into my spiritual walk with my Lord, Jesus Christ.
Such is this small book I chose from Elizabeth Elliot, one of my faith heroines. Not many in our modern culture appreciate this topic, but for me, it has cemented some conclusions already drawn from my own personal biblical studies.

Although, Elizabeth has trekked many miles through authentic jungles, it was her consistent pilgrimage with her Savior that drew me to DISCIPLINE: The Glad Surrender. Her character and lifestyle lured me to learn more from her writings. Enduring stories of physical pain, trials, and suffering, yet leaning toward surrender in gladness made me know certainly that she spent many journey hours on her knees, asking for wisdom and the measure of her Savior's grace. Lessons in God's grace taught her patience and endurance. Gladness is her triumphal cry of victory. A gladness found surrenderng to discipline. This is the victory I also want to be my legacy.

I thank my Lord for servant examples who have left footsteps for me to follow on this journey. With a humble heart looking for encouragement and affirmation, I believe the Lord led me to open this book of wisdom. I've been discouraged by "hireling" discussions for too long. I needed the wisdom of true disciples to help me discern Truth from the common "sharing" found in most assemblies' circles today. I believe instruction of righteousness needs to infiltrate once again "the household of God, the church, the pillar & buttress of Truth" 1 Tm 3:15, to enable the "call to arms" to be sounded.

Elizabeth Elliot challenges her readers to look beyond this culture of "I believe-ism" to the reality of discipline in genuine Christianity.
To be a Christian in New Testament terms is to be a disciple.  More than 'just getting wet', one must die and be raised to "walk in newness of life". It is the one who has been "placed under orders", or disciplined. We have a Savior who not only died to save us from the penalty of our sins, but also he saved us from our sins. We cannot hang on to "unrighteousness and worldly passions" (Titus 2:11-12) and think we are following Him. We cannot barter and change the definitions of righteousness, His forgiveness, discipleship, and discipline; while holding onto personal wants, comforts, preferences, SELF-absorbtion and continue to think we are "approving what pleases God".

Jesus said, "If any one desires to be my disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me." Luke 9:23

"I cannot be saved from my sins unless I am also saved from myself, so Christ must be "commanding officer" of my life." Elizabeth Elliot
I have been placed "under orders".

It is the believer's response to God's call.
It is his career and his response to the Creator.
It is reality.