Archive for February 11, 2012

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 4)

The Unseen Wager

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb. 11:6.

Faith is believing what is not seen, for once it is seen it is no longer faith but reality. So how do we believe in God when we do not see Him? By faith.

Among other profound and sorely needed lessons, the book of Job presents a vivid and colorful picture of faith. Job believed someOne who he did not see. Job believed God. How can someone see God who is unseen? They see Him in us, through a manifestation of a son of God – through the works of faith.

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2:18.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

And what are these “good works” that our heavenly Father wants others to see? “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29.

The crisis of faith is a crisis of belief, and trust and dependence. What you believe is most often expressed in your ability to produce works in keeping with faith. As James says, to say I have faith is of no value if you do not present works (actions) in keeping with them. Very often faith is proven in a trial where you must deny yourself – that takes faith.

Remember Jesus was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness to be tested. Tested in what way? To see if His faith was all talk, to see if he produced works in keeping with righteousness. Each test was aimed directly at his potential to trust Himself and act for Himself, against His Father’s revealed Word.

First He was tempted to feed Himself, to meet His own needs by His own efforts. Second He was shown all the kingdoms of the world and tempted to have power to provide for Himself rather than trust in His Father. Thirdly he took Him to a high place and challenged Him to throw Himself down in an effort to force his Father’s hand and test Him.

The way through was to have faith in His Father, His Word and His Will. Job too was found in a high place and tempted, different place, same type of temptation. Will you trust God even though you cannot see, hear or understand the purpose in your current suffering? Or will you trust your own ability to reason and decide for yourself forsaking Him and His Word, acting independently? “Hath God said….?”

Job was set up. I can’t say whether this was a random choice of a son of God or this is an example that every son of God will be led into a place of temptation by the devil to test him. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Tim 3:18. It does seem to me that the only way to prove the mettle of the man or woman is in the fire. In a place that no one would stay by their own choice or volition. They would have to determine through faith, “Not my will (getting out of this fire), but Thy will (waiting on the Lord) be done.

Job was a pawn on the battlefield between forces beyond his skill and knowledge. These Titans (not to put the devil in the same class as God but only much mightier than Job) have influence beyond Job’s sight. His piece was moved into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, for real, by the sleight of hand of his most dreaded adversary and with the permission of his Loving Father. Game on.

The reason Job became the subject of the devil‘s attention is because he was the subject of God’s attention, affection and favor. God brought the subject up as a proud Father and drew focus to him. He likes to shine the light on those who best reflect His work and purpose in the earth. God is not ashamed to righteously boast about those with whom He is well pleased, in fact He is always scouring the earth to search them out.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chron. 16:9.

So the question we need to thoughtfully ask ourselves, Is God up in heaven drawing attention to me? Is He well-pleased with me? Is my name known and respected in heaven? It should be. For, “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12. There is absolutely no reason these things should not be true about you. God has, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” 1 Peter 1:3.

You are to: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15.

Trust me on this. There is no excuse for not coming into the fullness of Christ. It is God’s purpose in coming, to redeem you to the state of a son of God. He has made it possible and made everything available to you through faith.

Fair warning though, the tests will come.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Each One Fitted Together in Him Faith is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to organize us into Christ. Tom Van Hoogen
As Filthy Rags I say this so that no one should think we reject or forbid good works. Those who know nothing but the righteousness of the law may still judge this doctrine that is far above the law; yet it is impossible for unspiritual people to be able to judge it. Of course such people take offense, for they can see no higher than the law. But imagine two worlds, the one heavenly and the other earthly. In these there are two kinds of righteousness, quite separate from each other. The righteousness of the law is earthly and has to do with earthly things, and by it we do good works. But as the earth can only produce fruit if it is first watered and made fertile from above, so by the righteousness of the law, in doing many things we do nothing, and in fulfilling the law we do not fulfill it unless we are first made righteous without any merit or work of ours, by Christian righteousness, which has nothing to do with the righteousness of the law or with the earthly and active righteousness. This righteousness is heavenly we receive it from heaven, we do not have it of ourselves; it is worked in us by grace and apprehended by faith, and by it we rise above all laws and works. Martin Luther – Commentary on Galatians – circa 1520; Crossway Publishing © 1998 by Watermark
Let The Internal Judge Bring the Final Verdict Meditation is an intense spiritual activity, it means bringing every bit of the mind into harness and concentrating its powers; it includes both deliberation and reflection. Deliberation means being able to weigh well what we think, conscious all the time that we are deliberating and meditating. My heart consulted in me ( Nehemiah 5:7 , mg) that is exactly the meaning of meditation; also But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart ( Luke 2:19 , rv mg). Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
It s Not the Earthly but Heavenly that Counts “Every man,” the doctor says, “as he grows into life, finds he must employ such an economy of his own account. He is pressed to occupy positions or to engage in work which will prevent him from achieving the purpose for which nature has fitted him. He is offered promotion which seems attractive and has its advantages; but he declines it, because it would divert him from his chosen aim. Continually men spoil their life by want of concentration. They are greatly tempted to do so, for the public foolishly concludes that, because a man does one thing well, he can do everything well; and he who has written a good history is straightway asked to sit in Parliament, or the man whose scholarship and piety have been conspicuous is offered preferment which calls for the exercise of wholly different qualities.”
And Jesus meets such men on their own ground. He offers a new life. “Ye must be born again”! He says. And the birth within me of the man He means me to be necessarily implies the burial within me of the man I have actually been. The vocabulary of the death-bed and the grave-side was constantly on the lips of Paul. Again and again he told the Christians of Europe and of Asia the story of his own death and burial. Almost all his autobiographical references are obituary notices. He had been crucified with Christ, he would say, and he implored his hearers to reckon themselves as dead and buried too.
F. W. Boreham – The Luggage of Life, 1912, published by Kregel Publications
Knowing Him vs. Knowing About Him Your trouble is that you have got a wrong idea of what knowing God is… the plain matter-of-fact knowledge of God’s nature and character that comes to us by believing what is revealed to us in the Bible concerning Him. The apostle John at the close of his Gospel says, regarding the things he had been recording: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book: but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing, ye might have life through his name.” It is believing the thing that is written, not the thing that is inwardly revealed, that is to give life; and the kind of knowing I mean is the knowing that comes from believing the things that are written. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
Good and Bad Masters The sinner prides himself on his independence, completely overlooking the fact that he is the weak slave of the sins that rule his members. The man who surrenders to Christ exchanges a cruel slave driver for a kind and gentle Master whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light. A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God
The Cavalry from Calvary Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes? Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body? These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that someday we may ride bareback, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and the world-shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else — since He has retained His own charger — should we accompany him? C. S. Lewis – Miracles, copyright 1947, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.will one
How Many Times Have You Taken that Class? But usually we want to drive a bargain with God. We would at least like to suggest some limits that we can add to our sufferings. We don’t realize how we are thwarting the purposes of God when we take this attitude. Because the stubborn clinging to life which makes the cross necessary in the first place, also tends us to reject that cross — at least in part. So we have to go over the same ground again and again. Fenelon – Let Go, circa 1690, copyright 1973 Whitaker House
No One Comes to the Father But by the Son When He was on the earth, the Lord Jesus learned, loved, and obeyed the Word of the Father. If you seek fellowship with Him, you will find Him in his Word. Christ will teach you to commune with the Father through the Word, just as He did on earth. You will learn, like Him, to live solely for the glory of God and the fulfillment of His Word. Andrew Murray – Andrew Murray 365 Day Devotional, © 2006 Whitaker House.
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