Thinking is Hard Work

Lazy Brain

Four years ago, hubby and I were traveling across the state of Florida on a business vaca destination. Besides the over-the-top barbecue joint we found mid-state, there was time enough on our hands to suss out a plan, a 5 Year Plan. Having recently resettled into a new groove, we realized the sands of life were shifting under our feet, so to speak and we needed to reconnoiter. In essence, our intrastate discussion formed up a barebones financial outline. The life of that skeleton was and is, God’s involvement. Would one take a trip to the bottom of the sea without air? Or a desert trek without water? Etcetera. Without factoring God, there is no wind in the sail. One proverb says that there are many plans in the heart of a person but only God’s counsel prevails. Another wise saying makes the point that people can map out a plan but it is God who directs the steps. And finally, 2 Chronicles 12 establishes the reason for the king’s evil – he didn’t prepare his heart to seek God. A simplistic definition of evil is “in opposition to good;” good takes effort and planning while “evil” moves to the lowest level or easiest path. Evil is the result of defaulting to our natural tendencies, unraveling productive effort until there is no good thing remaining. True, some inspired-by-hell plot evil but in general and as commonly reported, when (good) people do nothing, evil is the result.
So fast forward, four years in, and we have hours of preparatory labor while adjusting to the 5 year goal ever so slightly as we live day-in and day out. One actual financial acquisition is established that seemed at the time to fall into our orbit but now in hindsight, we understand it was God’s doing. That wink from God would have been very difficult to see and to move upon if we had not done the prep work in the interim. Our plan includes 5Xs this acquisition and so, mistakes being made now will be experience fodder for the other investments.
Interestingly, not only do we see our faith at work but also, God’s divine intervention. Like planting an oak tree, nothing seems to be happening  and then, when the ground erupts with a speck of green pushing through, nothing seems to be happening! Unless God nudges a different direction, faith maintains the course.
One pastor says about money, “Make as much as you can; give as much as you can; save as much as you can.” I love this philosophy because it undermines poverty and greed and laziness. Laziness often masquerades as something else; busy work, disobedience or unbelief. Like evil, laziness must be overcome by considering God. The God factor animates everything we do and without considering Him, all we do is a bit of a gamble.
Lazy brain is the result of excluding God from our calculations. Thankfully, God is not hindered by time or space and so, once He is included into our plans, time and space become tools in your bag of tricks. In truth, you cannot of yourself appropriate said tools just as a toddler cannot get online and skillfully manipulate her/his college fund… But as an adult living as a citizen of a moral universe and incorporating the Sovereign’s existence and right to rule, suddenly His abilities become your possibilities. Some unbeknown favor pushes forward at God’s direction out of our past, to meet us today. Or a realtime disastrous misstep is circumvented, protecting our future.
Unlike a democratic Republic, God needs no votes to maintain his leadership position. Nor does He need advice from mentors, constituents or followers. He has no peers unless one wants to consider the Godhead as such. Instead, He sovereignly influences people to align themselves with His purposes. Once on board His ship, you’re going places!
All things are possible to those who believe… Humans are made in God’s image. That explains a lot. Lazy brain refuses to consider the wisdom of God.
In the historical instance from 2 Chronicles, the king’s determining fault was his lack to seek… Apparently, God is not asking for moral superiority or innocence or godly perfection. It seems, intelligence, DNA, social upbringing and/or formal education have very little to do with lazy brain. Once God is sought, there is no going back to the void of ignorance. When the reality of God is considered, faith becomes the intangible instrument that moves the mind forward. Lazy brain unplugs faith. Faith without works is lifeless. It is work to think. Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. (Another from Proverbs, 6:6)
Faith is not walking on water. Faith is considering God and also, obeying His direction. Confidence is born from faith to faith. Make a plan; adjust accordingly; faith in action.

Standard
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.

Standard
Dominion, Fresh Start, Hearing from God, Mid-life Crisis

Mid-Life Catalyst

I read the picture caption of former military officer, David Petraeus who was sidelined in his career by carelessness on his part and ruthlessness on the previous administration’s part; he was conversing with the top Israeli security advisor, his equal. In the photo, what stood out to me is the fact that the retired general was no longer in uniform. I thought to myself, “Here is a man who was overturned in the prime of his life and career but has gratefully taken up another baton offered.” His new job, his purpose is shaped by all his past experience, including headship betrayal. The helm has new leadership and Petraeus’ assignment is proof of his worth in their eyes. Going forward, confidence in his own ability or lack thereof will be the impetus of his future mettle.

If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? As asked in Jeremiah 12:5 or something similar, might be a worthy question, any person having gone through a midlife earthquake crisis should contemplate. Is it possible to get up and go on, succeeding in tougher circumstances than previously encountered when one was young and passionate about a cause?

History and recent history, reveals that even in the midst of a snowflake snowstorm, the answer to this query remains, Yes! There is no sound evidence that the majority of people who trip at midlife, never spring back to press forward but it seems so. People become leary, weary and cautious after a stumble. Only a fool does not. Having spent the majority of your wealth of time in a given pursuit, only to realize that a thief has come in the overlooked unlocked window, inspires a modified outlook. True, your house has been overrun but do you flee to watch from the back 40 as the overset goes from bad to beyond repair? Or maybe you take a stand and maintain your territorial dominion from an overwhelmed parapet? Mulligrub your way to the study to pen vindicated memoirs? To the detached garage, tinkering at a new business? Or into the kitchen to mix your last bit of flour and smidgen of oil as the widow planned, recorded in 1 Kings 17:12? Whether God inspires the person without their knowledge and consent, or the person retreats to a prayer closet to touch the hem of His robe, staunching the psychological hemophilic bleed-out, one can arise from seeming defeat to run with horses.

Overturned, overran or overwhelmed take yourself to your prayer closet; your catalyst to destiny.

Standard
Eleven, Hearing from God

11 11 11! Eleven and What it Means

Eleven  signifies transition.
What is it with the whole 11:11 thingy? Many have wondered and almost as many have shrugged, continuing to wonder. Including myself as I was not satisfied with vague reasonings or best guesses. IMHO, EW Bullinger misses the mark with his conclusion concerning eleven. I prayed about it off and on, not so much for myself but having had people ask – mostly rhetorically and also, having read about the phenomenon. I have a curious mind and this morning, the enigma popped into my thoughts as I sat down to read my Bible. My conclusions are Holy Ghost inspired… And important to myself as well.

Placed after the number ten of which it cannot be  argued, ten is God’s perfect number for relating the heavenly idea of completion to humanity, and placed before twelve we have the number, 11. Using scripture to understand both 10 and 12, we find twelve represents government. Jacob’s twelve sons evolve into the twelve tribes that make up Israel as an ethnic group and Jesus’ twelve disciples eventually manage the New Testament church at it’s birth. When the spiritual curtain is pulled back in John’s revelatory writing, The Revelation – we understand that not only on earth but in heaven these two groups of twelve govern(Whenever one reads ten in scripture, we get the understanding of completion; Ten Commandments represents all of the law; ten toes make up your feet; giving tithe is God’s entire portion of what one possesses – anything less than a tenth makes you a thief and anything more is considered your offering… And so on.)

If a personality, Eleven would glance back at number ten as a reference point and perhaps comment, “That is done and over.” Looking forward, with twelve as God’s numerical representation of “governing,” one can conclude that Eleven representing transition or transcension, would ask with anticipation, “Yes, that is done and over and so, what position do I qualify for?”

In scripture, the rule of first mention is useful: And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. From Genesis 32:22, the number 11 is recorded concerning Jacob’s sons before the twelfth was born and also, emphasizing the crossing over. Surely, they crossed other streams before Jabbok? The other fording of streams and rivers is not mentioned; God has purpose for His wording.
Eleven is significant of change; a threshold. Even the phrase, ford of Jabbok gives this imagery as ford is translated from “a passageway or crossing” and Jabbok means, “emptying.”

Eleven is neutral. If ten represents earthly completion and twelve heavenly designation, eleven is the transition. One can sort through the baggage and empty oneself of unwanted stuff even like Jacob who wrestled with his identity along with the angel before he crossed. Arriving at the other side, you have what you have and you are what you are… “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” 11,11:11 (aka, 22:11 Revelation)

How does 11 affect the common person? In truth, if a person has never arrived at the number ten, earthly completion, the transitioning at 11 is a moot point. Earth is where we are born and reborn; if we do not have the first, we will not need the second! To understand the heavenly realm, God’s kingdom, the rebirth is a must and to be placed anywhere in the kingdom of God, rebirth is a necessity. Rebirth gives you citizenry in God’s Kingdom. Rebirth is Ten. To see, to understand the eternal realm, one must be born into that realm by the spirit. The caterpillar cannot see what it sees as a butterfly although as a butterfly, both realms are seen and hopefully, both are understood. The spiritual sensors are tuned to a different frequency when a human goes from mere humanity to being a new creature in Christ. If our rebellion and carnality dull God’s voice, He will awaken us with other methods… Thus, the number 11 becomes a marvel!
Cross-over you will. There may be many lifetime crossings that are significant but the big one is most important and cross-over you will.
God’s grace is experienced via the number 11. He is getting your attention!

 

Standard