ACTION STEPS UP MUCH MORE AS GOLD TRIED IN THE FURNACE
Match our hearts to our ACTION so we are the same inside and out.
Where do your steps lead?
As the Songs of Ascent and the Feasts of the Lord illustrate, life is about being on a Journey to Worship
As God brought His people out of bondage
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments,
and His paths beyond tracing out!
‘Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counsellor?’
‘Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?’
For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.
To Him be the glory for ever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)
ACT on What You Hear
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. (James 1:19-21)
“Up to the time of Samuel the prophet, God provided judges to lead them. But then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, out of the tribe of Benjamin. After Saul had ruled forty years, God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: ‘I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.’ (Acts 13:22)
But there is JOY In the JOURNEY even though we must needs pass THROUGH various situations, circumstances as they try and test
our faith and patience to bring forth (show) if we really believe what we say we do. Because actions speak louder than words.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits (the thoughts and intents of the heart). (Proverbs 16:2)
Moses: Don’t be afraid. These powerful manifestations are God’s way of instilling awe and fear in you so that you will not sin; He is testing you for your own good. (Exodus 20:20)
ALL THESE THINGS HAVE COME TO SEE WHETHER YOU WILL SIMPLY RELY ON GOD OR NOT
GOD IS FAITHFUL AND WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO BE TEMPTED BEYOND ENDURANCE
BUT YOU HAVE NEED OF PATIENCE
THAT AFTER YOU HAVE DONE THE WILL OF GOD YOU WILL RECEIVE WHAT HE PROMISED.
GOD’S WAY OR NO WAY
DON’T LET FRUSTRATION LEAD YOU INTO ANGER, DO NOT GIVE YOUR ENEMY A VANTAGE POINT LIKE THAT
WAIT ON GOD AND HE WILL ESTABLISH YOUR HEART.
REMEMBER IT WAS ANGER STEMMING FROM FRUSTRATION OVER THE PEOPLE’S IMPATIENT MURMERING AND COMPLAINING
THAT DISQUALIFIED EVEN MOSES!
HIS PURPOSES FULFILLED HIS WAY FOR HIS GLORY IN HIS TIMING THROUGH THE ANOINTED ONE AND HIS ANOINTING THROUGH US
In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. (Rom.12:6-8)
The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what He is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
But if God Himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of Him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome Him, in whom He dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, He’ll do the same thing in you that He did in Jesus, bringing you alive to Himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and He does, as surely as He did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With His Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name. After He called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with Himself. And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8)
I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
“All across the country”—God’s Decree—
“two-thirds will be devastated
and one-third survive.
I’ll deliver the surviving third to the refinery fires.
I’ll refine them as silver is refined,
test them for purity as gold is tested.
Then they’ll pray to Me by name
and I’ll answer them personally.
I’ll say, ‘That’s My people.’
They’ll say, ‘God—my God!’”
When all this transpires, you will finally have the answers you have been seeking. I tell you the truth, anything you ask of the Father in My name, He will give to you. Until this moment, you have not sought after anything in My name. Ask and you will receive so that you will be filled with joy.
I have been teaching you all of these truths through stories and metaphors, but the time is coming for Me to speak openly and directly of the Father.
The day is coming when you will make a request in My name, but I will not represent you before the Father. You will be heard directly by the Father. The Father loves you because you love Me and know that I come from the Father. I came from the Father into the cosmos, but soon I will leave it and return to the Father.
All His disciples mourn Jesus’ refusal to take His rightful place as a king and lead a revolution.
Jesus knows political might, brute force, and earthly governments are not helpful tools in a battle for hearts. Spiritual revolutions are subversive.
They are led by defiant acts of love (for example, healing, foot washing, and martyrdom).
Laws do not change hearts, and violence induces hatred and fear.
But a sincere community of faith in which love and hope are demonstrated
even in the darkest hours will lead a spiritual revolution.
It is time to go forward with open eyes and continue to labor as Christian citizens, placing hope only in the redemptive work of the gospel.
Disciples: We hear You speaking clearly and not in metaphors. How could we misunderstand? We see now that You are aware of everything and You reveal things at the proper time. So we do not need to question You, because we believe You have come from God.
Jesus: So you believe now? Be aware that a time is coming when you will be scattered like seeds. You will return to your own way, and I will be left alone. But I will not be alone, because the Father will be with Me. I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order. (John 16:23-33)
AS GOLD TRIED IN THE FURNACE (THE VICTORIOUS FURNACE)
“But He knows where I am and what I’ve done.
He can cross-examine me all He wants, and I’ll pass the test
I’ve followed Him closely, my feet in His footprints,
not once swerving from His way.
I’ve obeyed every word He’s spoken,
and not just obeyed His advice—I’ve treasured it. (Job 23:10-12)
But He knows the course I have traveled.
And I believe that were He to prove me,
I would come out purer than gold from the fire.
Keep walking in the Light, No looking back
remember Lot’s wife
But if you will go on through the crisis, your life will become a hymn of praise to God
My Utmost For His Highest
It’s perfectly natural to envy those who are successful. It’s even natural to want to imitate them.
But what about those who’ve gotten ahead by doing the wrong thing?
Sometimes it seems crime does pay, the good do die young, and the wicked do have more fun.
But it only appears this way; it is not reality. In reality the success of wrongdoers is short-lived.
God is against them, and their house is built on the sand.
Even if it seems to be a grand house, it will soon come crashing down.
Gather, children, to hear your father’s instruction.
Pay close attention so you will understand,
For I am passing down to you important precepts.
Do not abandon these valuable life lessons.
Back when I was young—the very image of my father,
and yet from my mother’s view, still her only boy—
My father, with his years of experience, became my teacher.
Father: Son, grab on to every word I say to you—hold them close—
stay true to my instructions as you live, and they will serve you well.
Whatever it takes to gain Wisdom, do it.
To gain understanding, do it! Never forget this!
Never stray from what I am telling you.
If you don’t forsake Lady Wisdom, she will protect you.
Love her, and she will faithfully take care of you.
Gaining sound judgment is key, so first things first: go after Lady Wisdom!
Now, whatever else you do, follow through to understanding.
Cherish her, and she will help you rise above the confusion of life—
your possibilities will open up before you—
embrace her, and she will raise you to a place of honor in return.
She will provide the finishing touch to your character—grace;
she will give you an elegant confidence.
Hear my words, my son, and take them in;
let them soak in so that you will live a long, full life.
I have pointed you in the way of wisdom;
I have steered you down the path to integrity.
So get going. And as you go, know this: with integrity you will overcome all obstacles;
even if you run, you will not stumble.
Tighten your grip around wise advice; don’t let it slip away.
Protect Wisdom, for without her, life isn’t worth living.
Do not start down the road of the wicked—
the first step is easy, but it leads to heartache—
do not go along the way of evildoers.
Stay away from it; don’t even go past it—
and if you find yourself anywhere near it,
turn your back and run as far as you can in the opposite direction.
For evildoers are so twisted they cannot sleep unless they have caused harm;
they’ll lie awake all night until they figure out a way to cause someone to stumble.
For they feed on evil the way most eat bread;
they drink violence the way most guzzle wine.
Yet the way of those who do right is like the early morning sun
that shines brighter and brighter until noon.
Evildoers travel a dark road because they love to hide their deeds in darkness;
they can’t see the perils ahead that cause them to stumble.
Fathers have a crucial role in instructing their sons. It’s easy and natural to teach children about some things: how to take care of a car, how to hit a ball, or how to mow the lawn. But what about deeper things, the kinds of things that make life worth living? These are much harder. They must not be left for someone else to do. Paul wrote, “And, fathers, do not drive your children mad, but nurture them in the discipline and teaching that come from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Instructing children in the ways of God is crucial work.
My son, pay attention to all the words I am telling you.
Lean in closer so you may hear all I say.
Keep them before you; meditate on them;
set them safely in your heart.
For those who discover them, they are life.
They bring wholeness and healing to their bodies.
Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it
because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life.
Do away with any talk that twists and distorts the truth;
have nothing to do with any verbal trickery.
Keep your head up, your eyes straight ahead,
and your focus fixed on what is in front of you.
Take care you don’t stray from the straight path, the way of truth,
and you will safely reach the end of your road.
Do not veer off course to the right or the left;
step away from evil, and leave it behind.
I FOLLOW CHRIST
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Revelation 7:17
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'”
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”