Answered Prayer, Fresh Start, Hearing from God, Mid-life Crisis, Overcoming the impossible, Sign of Revival

Friend, Foe or Lord

God might be described as a Sovereign who will not allow His purpose to be crossed or thwarted. God has a Plan! Like a great and awesome river, He is going somewhere. Can we remain friends if our wills are momentarily wrangled like Jacob and the Angel of Jabbok? The man proceeded with a limp and that is no light matter. As some saint of old might comment from his heavenly bleacher, “I served with Jacob. I knew Jacob but you… You, my fellow saint are no Jacob!”

The patriarch also came away with a name change but no one seem to immediately notice not even Jacob, aka Israel! What was noted was seemingly, a loser’s limp.

Reading the passage from Genesis 32, the imagery is of a believer, uncomfortably bent over on his knees struggling in prayer due to his own evident shortcomings and self-inflicted problems. Back and forth he mentally weighs the issues of faith; His God appointed calling, his unworthiness compared to his predecessors, his lack of confidence; his fear. Jacob invited God to the tete-a-tete and as a Gentleman, when it was time to leave, God made it clear that He would be going only at His host’s release. God allowed Himself to be bound, in a sense, by decorum. This polite allowance is limited when He is likewise asked His name, just as He previously asked Jacob his name. With condescension, the angel replied with a royal snub. “Why do you ask?”

God is both Friend and Lord. As Jacob’s battle within transcended into the spiritual, God willingly joined the fray. Scripture reveals three areas that marked significant change as Israel, formerly Jacob continued his life’s sojourn. First, he prevailed spiritually speaking and the evidence is recorded and validated by a name change: Cheater to Prince of Power. Next, his *hurple, a war wound. God goes from being Friend to serious Enemy when His Sovereignty is questioned by unbelief. That wound was not gained by friendly fire! And yet, perhaps only eternity revealed to Jacob what he as Israel accomplished, seen on this side of the veil as that earthly limp. Finally, putting the man’s fears and doubts to rest, the Holy Ghost interchange went from mere dialogue, a tete-a-tete to a vis-a-vis. A face to Face encounter with the living God, at times a Foe but also, a Friend and forever the Lord.
*Contrary to popular English literary legend, the word, purple does have a rhyme.

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Answered Prayer, Dominion, Happiness, Key to Happiness, success-in-the-new-year

Fatigue

Weariness of mind, emotions, body and even, soul has become commonplace in this oh-so-fast world we live in. Ever present fatigue has crept into many lives and sleep nor vitamins nor exercise nor fasting will drive it out. Motivation, inspiration, purpose have to overcome lurking fatigue which threatens to divert the enthused.
“For heaven’s sake, I am just trying to have a good life,” you bemoan. Scripture gives us a complete outline of how to have a great and fulfilled life in Proverbs 3; the entire chapter. What a list! Everyone and I mean everyone, is knocked out of the running at the first verse. “Child forget not the law and keep the commandments in your heart.” This advice is beneficial only if the reader is superhuman, an immortal. Expounding on these two parental suggestions, the next 34 verses are filled with do’s and don’ts so that the “child” may live a well rounded, successful life. There is no backdrop description mentioning the condition of the economy, politics, public health alerts, terrorism, crime statistics or weather patterns. In fact, the undisclosed environment surrounding the reader is the very medium in which the success of this advice is measured. If the world were paradise, this godly counsel is moot. But are there immortals living among us? Those who have endeavored to take this sort of advice and succeeded? Weary and frustrated souls is the typical outcome as history reveals and our own experience proves. Who hasn’t meant an overwhelmed person that spews bitterly, “I’ve tried all that and look where it’s got me?”

The nature of the human beast is to default to all the don’ts in this list and also, to commit most of the do’s to our emotions; we do right when we feel like it or it is not an inconvenience. “Don’t envy”, “do trust in the Lord”, in verses 5 and 31 for example. But are there immortals among us? Those who have worked this list and succeeded?

The answer to this question and to the human dilemma is found in scripture. Flip forward from the Jewish proverbs to the Jewish New Testament.

We read of those who have been born spiritually into the great God’s family. This extra layer of life added to the reborn allows freedom to move beyond the constraints of physical defaults like envy, greed or malice. The propensity toward these unhealthy desires are often still present although no longer controlling. The letter to the Romans in chapters 7 & 8 gives the reborn direction about allowing the spirit to lead rather than defaulting to selfishness. 

Driving an automobile gets one to any place much faster than if one was walking or even riding a bike. Not everyone has access to a motorized vehicle. Especially in third world countries, a disparity of wealth or family connection makes this obvious. Conceding to the spirit to live a successful life is not possible for those who are not a part of God’s family. Certainly, there are areas of individuals’ lives that are morally successful but without the rebirth, one cannot fulfill the commandments or the law… Impossible to do so and therefore, one’s endeavoring is a labor without true success. Jesus said that he will take that burden when you concede it and also, take on His own burden. Body, soul and spirit makes up the complete person. Without the spiritual rebirth, the body and soul are frustrated. Fatigue sets in.

What is Jesus’ burden that one must take on? Faith. The people asked Jesus, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” and Jesus replies, “The work of God is this: Believe in the one he has sent.” That discourse is record in chapter 6 of John and later, John 14:1 records Jesus stating, “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.” How refreshing!

Is fatigue vanquished entirely? No. If we walk in the spirit we must feed the spirit. The physical aspect must be cleansed and refreshed to proceed. Even immortals but be reenergized!

Faith is the catalyst for rebirth. Rebirth is the conduit for engaging both soul and flesh to success. Rebirth allows the child of the great God to walk by faith conceding to the spirit at will. Yes, immortals walk among us!
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 1 Thes 5:23

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