Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stand firm, when storms rage around you

7/21/11 Thursday
It’s going to be another hot one. You would think I would be used to that by now. I guess I am used to it, but that doesn’t make things any less uncomfortable. There are things going on spiritually with both Cherie and I, good things. Our faith is increasing and with that comes a greater peace about the finances and other things we see around us. We are nearing the end of our college classes on building performance analysis. What do we do with it? How can we get the ten thousand dollars worth of equipment needed to put our certification to use? God will provide, you just watch. And when He does it will be evidence that God is, and that He is a provider for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Our bible study this morning was particularly good. I opened the bible up randomly and it opened to Zechariah 10. It said “The diviners see lying visions and tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep, They are afflicted, because there is no shepherd. My anger is kindled against the shepherds”. I read the next three chapters, where it foretells of Jesus coming and of the last days. This required more time to get into than I had for a morning devotional, as Cherie was heading out to do laundry in Midland, so I turned to the gospels and came to Luke 12. Here I found Jesus saying “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. . 2 "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 3 "Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

How fitting these scriptures are to us now. We are seeing things that should not be, stubborn hard hearts that refuse to listen to reason, or to anyone at all, and push forward in pride and arrogance down a path that leads to destruction. We pray, we intercede, and we hope for the best, but we also fear for them and their future, along with those that follow blindly, trusting without looking as sheep led to the slaughter.

Cherie said something that brought to mind a scripture that says “Stand firm” so we looked it up. It is in Ephesians 6 and reads 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore , take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE ; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

We understand clearly that there is a battle going on all around us, good versus evil in that classic conflict that has raged since man was created. And with that understanding we realize that those who are in error have been deceived, so it’s not them we are fighting, but the spiritual forces that are at the root of their error. The problem with deceit is that the person deceived is convinced they are standing on truth, when it’s a lie, and thus they, confident in their righteousness, resist all attempts to correct the error. In fact they often get angry and in the process accuse the one trying to bring truth of working for the devil. Thus you have the blind leading the blind.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord ; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth ), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
All these pictures are of a storm cloud that raised up on June 24. We hoped for rain but it went another direction.

The prophets of old were the ones that, through proclaiming the truth, exposed the works of darkness, and because of that were often persecuted and killed. It is an unpleasant position to be in, to put it mildly, and one that comes with great difficulty. But no one said following Christ would be easy, (actually, there are many who say just that, but they are among the false teachers who say “Peace” when the truth is a sword is coming) in fact Jesus said many times that the way of the righteous would be exceedingly difficult. Hear what Jesus said in Luke 12:51 "Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth ? I tell you, no, but rather division ; 52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53 "They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

So the promise is one of fire and purification, not a pleasant prospect, but the end is eternal life in heaven. This is our hope and the goal we live to obtain, and the reason we sacrifice so much.

Time to get some farming done. Then I am determined to spend more time studying and also writing the books and bible lessons I have neglected.


Phelan said...

I wish I was as strong as you two.

Bob said...

Phelan, I've read your blog, (though I must admit, not recently) and have been impressed by your strength as you battle various circumstances. Our strength comes from above, and is an evolving thing, increased by difficulties just as exercise increases ones physical strength. We are not there yet but look forward to a blessed hope.