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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bible: More Than a Volume of Facts

2 Timothy 3:16


Charles G. Finney believed that Bible teaching without moral application could be worse then no teaching at all and could result in positive injury to the hearers. I used to feel that this might be an extreme position, but after years of  observation have come around to it, or to a view almost identical with it.


There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Theology is a set of facts concerning God, man and the world. These facts may be and often are set forth as values in themselves; and there lies the snare both for the teacher and for the hearer.


The Bible is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon these facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God as set forth in its pages.


Actually, no man is better for knowing that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. The devil knows that, and so did Ahab and Judas Iscariot. No man is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption. In hell there are millions who know that.


Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine to to secure moral action!


~A. W. Tozer~

A Calamity: Accepting This World as Our Home

1 John 2:15


Of all the calamities that have been visited upon the world, the surrender of the human spirit to this present world and its ways is the worst - without doubt!


No monarch ever rules his cowering subjects with any more cruel tyranny than things - visible things, audible things, tangible things - rule mankind.


That we who were made to communicate with angels and archangels and seraphim and with the God who made them all - that we should settle down here as a wild eagle of the air come down to scratch in the barnyard with the common hens - this I say is the worst of anything that has ever come to the world!


It seems incredible that we who were made for many worlds should accept this one world as our ultimate home.


Man was made in the image of God and is now a fallen being that has left its place in the celestial world and has plummeted down like a falling star. Now, in this world, he has all but forgotten the place from which he came.


That is why the devil sees to it that we seldom get alone with time to think and meditate on the reality of the other world. For when a man really gets alone, he senses often that this life in this world is not the answer - it is not the end.


Actually and simply, a Christian is one who dedicates himself to God to inhabit another and better world!


~A. W. Tozer~

The Book of 2 Kings

2 Kings continues to trace the moral, spiritual and political decline of both Israel and Judah. The book records the two national tragedies that led to the fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. 1. The destruction of Israel's capital, Samaria, and the nation's deportation to Assyria and, 2. the destruction of Judah's capital, Jerusalem, and their deportation to Babylon. 2 Kings covers the last 130 years of Judah's 345 year history. Many Old Testament prophets ministered during the time recorded in 2 Kings. As God's representatives, they reminded, warned, challenged and encouraged the kings concerning their responsibilities to God. Amos and Hosea prophesied in Israel while Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephanial and Jeremiah prophesied in Judah. Their prophetic books provide important revelations not found in 2 Kings.


The history of 2 Kings divides into two major eras: 1. the history of both kingdoms before the collapse of Israel and 2. the history of Judah after Israel's downfall until Judah's own collapse. In comparing the two kingdoms, Israel had a more constant succession of kings who "did evil in the eyes of the Lord" than Judah did. 2 Kings records that during Israel's continuous rebellion, God raised up mighty prophets such as Elijah and Elisha to challenge the nation and its leaders to return to God and once again be faithful to His covenant.


In contrast, Judah had some godly rulers like Hezekiah and Josiah who made great efforts toward turning the nation back to God. Still, such kings were unable to permanently prevent the people from following false gods, behaving immorally and committing violence. After Josiah's death, Judah's move toward destruction was rapid, ending with Nebuchadnezzar's capture of the people and the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.


Five major features characterize 2 Kings. 1. It emphasizes the importance of the prophets as God's main messengers to the kings and people of Israel and Judah. Among these godly individuals were Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Isaiah, and Huldah. Elisha's miraculous ministry is highlighted throughout much of the first half of the book. The book describes only two kings in all of Israel and Judah who received God's complete approval for being faithful to Him and the people: Hezakiah and Josiah. It reveals that unrighteous leaders will in the end, lead people to ruin. This portrays the enduring principle that "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).


2 Kings clearly reveals that the sin and unfaithfulness of Judah's kings resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the kingdom of David. The New Testament makes it equally clear, however, that God was faithful to fulfill His covenant promise to David through Jesus Christ, "the Son of David" (Matt. 1:1; 9:27-31), whose reign and kingdom will never end.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Book of 1 Kings

1 & 2 Kings follow immediately upon the history recorded in 1 & 2 Samuel. Together, the four books cover the entire history of the kings of Israel and Judah. 1 & 2 Kings covers four centuries of that history. This would range from the time of King Solomon to the time of the Babylonian exile.


1 & 2 Kings were written to provide the Hebrew people in the Babylonian exile with a prophetic interpretation of their history. The record was to give them the reason for the dividing of the nation, why the northern kingdom of Israel was defeated in 722 BC and also why the Davidic kingdom and Jerusalem were defeated in 586 BC. The book emphasizes that the division and defeat of Israel and Judah were the direct and unavoidable results of idolatry and unrighteousness on the part of the kings and the nations as a whole. Thus, he evaluates the success or failure of each king according to his faithfulness or unfaithfulness to God and the covenant. No matter what success a king had politically or economically, he was judged a failure if he did not uphold the covenant. This prophetic understanding was presented so that the captives might forever turn away from idolatry, turn to God and obey His commands in future generations.


1 Kings divides into two major parts. Part one describes the reign of King Solomon (chapters 1-11). Part two describes the dividing of the kingdom under Solomon,s son, Rehoboam. Then it records the next 80 years of the political and spiritual decline of both kingdoms under their separate succession of kings.


Four major features characterize 1 Kings. 1. It presents the prophets as God's representatives and spokesmen to the kings of Israel and Judah - Ahilijah, Shemaiah, Micaich and especially Elijah. 2. It emphasizes prophecy and its fulfillment in the history of the kings. 3. It contains many well-known Bible stories - the wisdom of Solomon, the dedication of the temple, the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem and the ministry of Elijah. 4. It includes large amounts of chronological data about the Kings of Israel and Judah.


The New Testament records what Jesus said to His generation that the importance and purpose of His life and His kingdom was greater than the wisdom, authority, glory and splendor of Solomon and his reign: "now one greater than Solomon is here" (Matt. 12:42). Moreover, the glory of God that filled Solomon's temple at its dedication came to live among the human race in Jesus, the One and only Son of the Father. The Holy Spirit of God now lives within each believer through God's Son, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Book of 2 Samuel

2 Samuel continues the prophetic history of Israel's theocratic monarchy. The account of David's kingship and personal life clearly illustrates the terms of God's covenant with Israel as written by Moses in Deuteronomy: obeying God brings blessings; forsaking God's law brings curses and judgment.


2 Samuel begins with King Saul's death and David's anointing at Hebron as king over Judah. David reigned over that portion of the kingdom for seven and a half years. The rest of the book focuses on David's next 33 years as king over all Israel with Jerusalem as its capital city. The dividing line, or main turning point of the book and of David's life is his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, her husband. Before this tragic instance, David clearly represented many of the ideals of a godly king.


After David's tragic sins of adultery and murder, moral decline and rebellion plagued his family and the entire nation for years to come. Although David seriously repented and experienced God's mercy and forgiveness, the results of his sin lingered throughout his lifetime and even beyond. However, God did not reject David as king like He had rejected Saul. That is because David's failures, in the end, did not cause him to turn from God. David's passion for the Lord and hatred of anything that took away from true godly worship made him the example by which all other kings of Israel were measured. 2 Samuel ends with David purchasing the plot of land that became the future site of the temple.


Five major features characterize 2 Samuel. 1. It records key events in King David's forty year reign, including how he captured Jerusalem and completely changed it into Israel's political and religious center. David's life falls right in the middle of the time frame between Abraham and Jesus Christ. 2. The turning point of the book is the record of David's tragic sins. The prophetic historian of this book emphasizes that though David committed adultery and murder in secret, God judged these sins openly. Every level of David's life was affected - personal, family and national. 3. The book teaches as important and lasting principle of leadership in God's kingdom: the more favor, power, responsibility and opportunity God places within a leader's life, the more harshly God will judge that leader if he or she morally or ethically violates God's trust. Scripture speaks highly of David as a man after God's own heart. But it also reveals that God's favor changed to judgment and His blessings to curses after David sinned. This was just as Moses had warned Israel. 4. The chapters describing the far-reaching effect of David's sin on his family and the entire nation show us how the well-being of an entire nation is connected directly to the spiritual and moral condition of its leadership. 5. It highlights the moral lesson that success and prosperity can lead to moral carelessness, which in turn lead to spiritual failure.


David's righteous rule as king described in chapters 1-10 is a type, or prophetic representation of the Messianic King, the Messiah, Christ. David' establishment of Jerusalem as the holy city and the prophetic promise of an everlasting kingdom all point ahead to the greatest "Son of David", Jesus Christ, and to Christ's present and future kingdom as revealed in the New Testament.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Book of Samuel

The prophet Samuel was highly respected as a strong spiritual leader of Israel. He was the one God used to guide Israel in establishing their kingship under God's authority. 1 Samuel covers nearly one century of Israel's history - from Samuel's birth to Saul's death. The book forms the main historical connection between the time of the judges and the first of Israel's kings. 1 Samuel covers three major transitions in national leadership: from Eli to Samuel, from Samuel to Saul and from Saul to David.


First Samuel describes the defining turning point in Israel's history from rule by the judges to rule by a king. The book shows the tension between the people's desire for a king and God's pattern of a theocracy, in which He was already their rightful King.


The content of 1 Samuel focuses on three key national leaders: Samuel, Saul and David. Samuel was the last of the judges and he had a recognized position of authority as a prophet. As a godly man with strong prophetic gifts, Samuel wisely directed Israel in a revival of genuine worship, laid the foundation that gave true prophets their rightful place in Israel, and clearly established Israel's system of government as a kingship based on God's authority and regulations. Samuel's influence as spiritual leader during a period of major change in Israel's history is second only to that of Moses during the time of Israel's exodus.


Six major features characterize 1 Samuel. 1. It clearly reveals God's holy standards for Israel's kings. These leaders were to obey God's laws and submit to Him as the true King of Israel. They were also to accept guidance and correction, when necessary, from God's prophets. 2. It gives explanation for how the role of a prophet in Israel became established and recognized as spiritually equal to the priesthood. 3. It stresses  the importance and power of prayer, God's Word and true spiritual prophecy. 4. It provides special insights into the lives of three key leaders of Israel - Samuel, Saul and David. 5. The book is full of well-known Bible stories, such as God speaking to Samuel, David and Goliath, David and Jonathan, Saul's jealousy and fear of David and Saul and the witch of Endor. Also, it is the first Old Testament book to use the phrase "the Lord Almighty."


First Samuel records two prophetic types of Jesus' ministry as prophet, priest and king. Samuel - who was God's main prophetic and priestly representative to Israel in the Old Testament - was a sign of, or foreshadowed, Jesus' ministry as God's ultimate prophetic and priestly representative of the New Testament. David's life also laid a prophetic foundation for the future ministry of Jesus Christ. David, who was born in Bethlehem, served as a shepherd and became God's anointed king. He served God's purposes for his own generation. In this way, he symbolized the roles Christ world fulfill as Israel's ultimate King and Messiah. The New Testament speaks of Jesus Christ, the eternal King of kings", as "the son of David", a descendant of David," and "the Root of the offspring of David."

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Importance of Waiting on God's Timing


fithout question, one of the hardest things for many Christians to do with the Lord is to wait on His timing to make certain things happen in their lives.
In the very fast-paced world in which we all now live in, things are set up for maximum speed and efficiency. Fast food restaurants are a favorite for many people because they like to be able to go through a fast drive-thru and receive their order in just a matter of minutes. Computers are now moving faster than ever before and they are allowing news events to hit the screen just right after the news event has actually occurred.
We are so used to everything moving at break-neck speed, that we then have a very hard time in adjusting to the slower ways that God will work things out in our life. One of the things I have found out in my own personal walk with the Lord is that many of the times, He will have a much slower way of working things than I ever thought He would.
It is very nice that we can have fast-food restaurants, computers, and the rest of the technological inventions that we now have in place so we can make our lives that much better and that much easier to navigate through. We can now get much more done in a day’s time than we ever could in the past due to all of the new technological gadgets and devices we now have at our disposal.
But where you can get into major trouble with the Lord in your own personal walk with Him is to take all of that break-neck speed in being able to get things done and accomplished, and then try to throw that in the middle of our walk with the Lord with how He will want to work things out in our lives.
Again, God usually has a much slower time frame and a much slower way of working things out in our life than we do. And if we do not learn how to adjust to His slower time frame and the slower way He likes to work things out in our life, we could easily get ourselves knocked right out of our calls and our divine destinies that He has set up for each one of our lives.
I have personally found in both my walk and those who I share my walk with, that timing is an absolute crucial factor with the Lord. Try to move ahead of God’s timing with what He wants to do in a particular area of your life, and you will find very quickly that everything will fall apart and completely unravel.
Here are some examples of where you can get yourself into major trouble with the Lord as a result of not properly relying on His perfect timing:
  • Marry the wrong person you are dating because you could not wait for God’s perfect timing to bring you the mate He has chosen for your life, and you could end up finding yourself in a miserable and unfulfilled marriage, not to mention the possibility of your marriage ending up in a divorce, which the Lord hates
     
  • Take the next, new, wrong job because you could not wait for God to promote you into the next, new job He will want you to have, and you could end losing valuable years in reaching the call that God has set up for your life, if not lose the entire call all together
     
  • Attempt to do a deliverance on someone with demons before the Lord tells you to do so, and you could get yourself opened up to an unnecessary demonic attack
As you can see from some of these examples, timing is absolutely everything with the Lord. Move ahead and out of God’s timing and you will throw a big, fat monkey-wrench in the middle of what God is trying to do with your life.
As I have stated before in some of my other articles, I like to use the chess board analogy with how God will run our lives – except the chess board of our life belongs to the Lord, not to us. This means that not only will God be the One who will make all of these big chess moves in our life, but He will also make those chess moves at the prescribed times that He has all of them set up to occur in our lives.
If it is in God’s perfect will that you get married in this life, then not only will He bring you the person He has picked out for you to marry in this life, but there will also be a timing element with it – which means He will bring this person to you at the exact time that He has it set up to occur in your life.
If God is calling you to be a pastor of a church, then He has the exact time set up as to when that will actually occur. And if you try to make it happen before God is ready, then you will cause major delays and disruptions to occur, along with possibly adding extra time as to when it will occur since you will now have messed with God’s timing with how He was wanting to work out this call in your life.
When God gives you what your divine call is going to be in Him, He will expect you to properly obey Him all the way up the ladder as you are progressing towards that call. This means you will take the different jobs He will want you to take, along with staying with His perfect timing as to when you are to move into each one of these new different jobs.
If you stay with God’s leadings on which new jobs to take and when to move into those next new jobs, then the time will come where you will then be promoted into the true, divine destiny that God has set up for your life. But disobey God anywhere along the line with the steps He will be asking you to take for Him, and you could either cause a major delay to occur as to when you will be reaching that call, or you could literally lose the entire call all together if the consequences end up being too severe with what you have disobeyed the Lord with.
God will not have His authority and His ways tampered with by what we think is right for us. Since God is perfect and we are not, we always have to realize that God will always know best as to what specific chess moves that will need to be made in our lives, along with whenthose chess moves will need to be made. This is one area that we cannot try and do things our way. If we do, it could cause God to pull back on us and from there, we could find everything starting to fall apart because God is no longer in control of our life.

THE SCRIPTURE VERSES

So you can see how important the timing factor is with the Lord, here are 25 very good verses from the Bible all emphasizing waiting on God’s timing as to when He will want to make something specific happen.
  1. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)
     
  2. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5: 6-7)
     
  3. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)
     
  4. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning …” (Psalm 130:5-6)
     
  5. “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season.” (Psalm 145:15)
     
  6. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
     
  7. My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.” (Psalm 31:15)
     
  8. Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved … My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 62:1-25-6)
     
  9. “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Deliver me from all my transgressions …(Psalm 39:7-8)
     
  10. I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” (Psalm 40:1-2)
     
  11. Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land …. ” (Psalm 37:34)
     
  12. “For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more …” (Psalm 37:7)
     
  13. “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:5)
     
  14. “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.” (Psalm 25:21)
     
  15. Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Habakkuk 2:2-3)
     
  16. He has made everything beautiful in its time … God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there shall be a time there for every purpose and for every work.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11,17)
     
  17. And I will wait on the Lord, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him.” (Isaiah 8:17)
     
  18. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40: 31)
     
  19. “Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; so he who waits on his master will be honored.” (Proverbs 27:18)
     
  20. ” … in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching …” (Titus 1: 2-3)
     
  21. Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.” (John 7: 6)
     
  22. Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1: 14-15)
     
  23. And He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” (Acts 1:7)
     
  24. ” .. that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords …” (1 Timothy 6:14-15)
     
  25. “And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed …” (2 Thessalonians 2: 6-8)
As you can see from reading each one of these verses, God does like to work on a specific set timetable – and even Jesus Himself had to wait for God’s timing on some of the things He ended up doing. And not only did Jesus, the apostles, and many in the OT have to abide by God’s specific timing on when He wanted them to do something, but there are verses showing that God will still continue to run things according to His own set timetable in the years ahead, including how He will work your life and when He will want to make certain things happen in your life.
So the sooner you can understand this is one of God’s ways, the easier it will become for you to adjust to His set timetable as to when He will make things happen in your life.
Here are some specific examples from the Bible showing you how God made many of them wait for what He was wanting to do in their lives:
  1. Jesus Himself had to wait until He was 30 years old before God baptized Him with the Holy Spirit and anointed Him with His power to go on His three and half year miracle ministry before He went to the cross to get all of us saved
     
  2. Jesus had to wait again for 40 days before He ascended to the Father after His resurrection from the grave
     
  3. Moses was in the backside of a desert for 40 years before he was sent in by God to rescue the children of Israel from the Egyptians
     
  4. The Israelites had to wait for 430 years before God delivered them from the Egyptians
     
  5. David had to wait for 13 years before he became king of Israel
     
  6. Abraham had to wait 25 years for the birth of his son Isaac
     
  7. Noah had to wait for 120 years from the time God told him to build the ark until the time of the flood actually occurring
     
  8. The apostles had to wait 10 days after Jesus had ascended before they had received the Holy Spirit in the upper room
As you can see from these specific examples from the Bible, God likes to make us wait for some of the major chess moves He will be making in our lives.
I believe the reason God likes to make us wait from time to time is to not only test our faith in Him and to properly prepare us for what He is making us wait for, but to also develop the fruit of patience and determination in us. The fruit of patience is one of the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit, and it is one fruit that He loves to try and develop in all of us, especially in the fast-paced world in which we all now live in.
Since the fast pace of our world is probably reducing a lot of our own natural patience, I believe God will try and work this quality back into our personalities so we do not lose this very valuable quality in our personalities, especially since it lines up with God’s own character and how He likes to work things out.

SPECIFIC AREAS WHERE YOU WILL HAVE TO WAIT ON THE LORD

For those of you who are newborns in the Lord and at a fairly young age, expect God over the course of your life to try and work the quality of patience into your personality by making you wait for certain things to happen in your life.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that God will sooner or later make a move to work patience into your personality, and one of the ways He will do it is by making you literally wait for Him to make something happen in your life. There will be times that you will feel your patience and faith in Him get literally stretched to a point where you feel you can no longer hold on, and then He will come in with the big breakthrough you have been waiting for.
Again, just realize that God’s time frame is much different than our time frame, and your patience will sometimes be tested, especially if you have been spoiled by the fast pace in which things now get done in our world today. To those of you who have been walking with the Lord for years, I am sure you know exactly what I am talking about, as I have yet to meet a mature and seasoned Christian who has not had their patience tested sometime in their walk with the Lord.
Here are a few good examples in your life where God could ask you to wait on Him so He can work the quality of patience into your personality.

1. Waiting For Your Soulmate

If it is in God’s perfect will that you get married in this life, then you will have to wait for His timing as to when He will want to bring this person into your life. Do not try and rush this. God knows best as to who you should be marrying in this life, and He also knows best as towhen this person should be brought into your life.
You and this other person may need some preparation for marriage before God will want the marriage to occur, so you have to let God do what He wants with each one of you in the time frame that He wants to work all of this out.
Not waiting for God’s perfect timing to bring this person in your life could cause you to marry the wrong person you may be dating, all because you did not have the patience to wait for the person God has in mind for you. I have seen this happen to several girls in the past, and both were divorced within a year after marrying the wrong person. And this was all due to the fact that they got too impatient while waiting for God to bring them the right person He had in mind for them.

2. Waiting for God to Release You Into Your True Calling

If God is telling you exactly what your call is going to be in your life before you actually reach that call, then you will have to wait for God’s timing as to when that call will be brought into your life.
Many of these calls will take a certain amount of time before they are actually released into your life. The reason being is that God has to properly prepare you for the call He will have on your life, and that preparation usually takes years, not months.
So be patient while God slowly and methodically raises you up in the calling that He has set up for your life. If you do, then you will be fully ready to move into that call once the door opens up for you.

3. Waiting for God to Promote You Into Your Next New Job

As you are waiting for that big call to come into your life, God will have you take different jobs along the way before you actually reach that call. Once you step into those different jobs, you will have to wait for God’s timing as to when you will move into the next new job.
And not only will God guide you as to what different jobs He will want you to take, but He will also be guiding you as to when to take those specific new jobs. These different jobs will be very important for your growth in Him, as they will all be used by God to train you and build you up into what your true calling is going to be in Him down the road.
This is why you have to make sure that you stay in each job long enough so God can work into you what He wants too, as each one of these different jobs will be actual stepping stones and building blocks that will help lead you into your true calling with Him.
God knows exactly how long you will have to stay in each job so He can work into you what He needs to. If you stay in each one of these jobs long enough so God can properly complete your preparation, then you will be fully ready to go when your true calling is given to you by the Lord.

4. In the Area of Spiritual Warfare

If God wants to raise you up in the area of spiritual warfare, you will need to choose your battles very wisely and very carefully, and be guided by God as to which deliverance cases to take on and exactly when to move into combat to deliver someone from demons. God is our Commander-in-Chief and we now have to follow His orders and directions as to how to handle each one of these types of cases, along with staying with His perfect timing on when to move into action.
Not waiting for God’s perfect timing could get you into serious trouble with Him. God may want you to wait for a certain period of time before sending you in to deliver someone from demons. There may be something He will have to prepare the person for before He is ready to deliver them. If you move ahead of God’s timing, that person may not be properly prepared to receive their deliverance from Him.

5. In the Area of Sanctification

As we have showed you in article titled, “Sanctification,” God’s highest and ultimate aim for all of us is to make us into a better and more holy people. He wants to transform us into the express image of His Son Jesus. He wants to set us apart and consecrate us to Himself so He can make us into more holy instruments of righteousness for His use.
However, what you have to realize is that this sanctification and transformation in the Lord will not occur overnight. God will sanctify you slowly and progressively over the course of your entire life. It is not something that will be done overnight. As such, we have to have patience with the way God will want to work out this part of our walk with Him.
You have to let God build you up in the way and in the time frame He will want to use. If a teenager grows to fast during puberty, they will get stretch marks on their skin. In the same way, true spiritual growth in the Lord is a slow and progressive process. As such, we have to learn how to have patience with the Lord in this area and not get too frustrated when we are not changing and transforming as fast as we would like in Him.

6. In the Area of Divine Healing

Another major area in our walk with the Lord where we have to learn how to have more patience is in the area of divine healing. Many of the times when God will want to heal someone, He will want to do it progressively over a certain period of time. People call this a progressive type healing when they see this occur with the Lord.
There are times when God will move to heal immediately and instantaneous, and these types of miracles are always very dramatic when they occur. But sometimes God will choose to heal someone more slowly over a certain period of time. And if He chooses this kind of route with any of us, we have to have patience to stay the course, along with keeping our faith and trust fully intact with Him so we do not lose the healing with Him.
Just realize that God will heal in many different ways, and in each one of these different ways, there again will be a timing factor as to when He will want to actually do it. The Holy Spirit will help guide you through this so you do not get too impatient while waiting for the actual healing to manifest for either you or the other person you may be praying for.
Many people have walked out on their healings with the Lord before they would have actually occurred, all due to impatience and frustration at not getting the healing fast enough.

7. In the Area of Specific Prayers

As we all know in the arena of prayer with the Lord, sometimes we will get our prayers answered very quickly with the Lord, other times we will not. And when God does not answer some of our prayers as fast as we think He should, we once more tend to get very impatient.
Again, this is another major area where you have to completely rely on God’s perfect timing as to when He will want to answer some of your prayers. God can see perfectly into the future, we cannot. As such, God will always know best as to when to answer your prayers.
Some of our prayers may be very specific chess moves God will want to make with our lives, so we have to wait on God’s perfect timing as to when He will want to actually answer some of our specific prayers.

8. Specific Chess Moves to be Made on Your Job

Whether you are actually in your calling, or in one of the jobs that will eventually lead into your true calling, one of the things you will find occurring is that the Holy Spirit will lead you as you go through your normal every day activities on the job.
You will sense Him leading you in various tasks and duties on the job, as the Bible calls Him the Helper. In other words, the Holy Spirit will actually help you do your job and be very good at it if you can learn how to recognize His leadings and what He is guiding you to do.
What you will find in this area is that God will sometimes have you wait on certain tasks He will want you to do on the job. If you can learn how to wait on God’s timing on when to move and when not to move, you will end up being very good and successful in each one of the jobs that God will have you work at in this life.

9. Waiting for God to Bring Children in Your Marriage

Another area where I have seen God make people wait for a certain period of time before He actually makes it happens is in the area of when a married couple will get pregnant and bring children into the world. You saw how long God made Abraham wait for his son Isaac to be born – a good 25 years.
If you have fully surrendered your entire life into God’s hands, along with your entire marriage, then God will make the pregnancy or pregnancies occur on His set timetable just like He did with Abraham and Isaac. This again is another area where you will have to fully trust the Lord, especially if you have been trying to get pregnant and nothing has happened yet.
Let God bring the number of children He will want you to have in this life in the time frame that He will want to do all of this in. Again, there are always reasons for the things God will want to do, and we always have to be guided by His wisdom on when these types of heavier prayer requests will be answered by Him.

10. Waiting for God to Deliver You From a Trial

Per our article, “Trials and Tribulations – The Testing of Your Faith,” there will be times that God will allow a certain amount of trials to occur in your life. We give you in this article some of those reasons, and the major verses from Scripture as to why we all have to go through a certain amount of trials and tribulations in this life.
But one of the things that will occur on some of the trials that God will allow into our lives for the reasons mentioned in the above article, is that some of these trials will have a certain amount of length to them. In other words, God is not going to quickly deliver you from some of these trials. They will have a date and time stamped on them as to when God will finally deliver you from the trial.
And if God wants a particular trial to last for a little season in our lives so He can work in us what He needs to for our own spiritual growth in Him, then we will need to have the patience to wait on His timing as to when He will deliver us from the trial. Try to pull out of these trials before God is ready to release you, and you could end up stunting your spiritual growth in Him in the sanctification realm, along with possibly disrupting His well laid out plans for your life and the call that He has set up for your life.
Some of these trials will be used by God to train you and toughen you up for what your call is going to be in Him. Pull out of these trials before God is ready to release you, and you could end up causing a major delay to occur as to when His call will be finally given to you, as you did not allow Him to properly complete what He was wanting to get done with you in the trial.

11. Many Different Miscellaneous Matters in Your Life

As you can see from some of the above examples, there are a number of major areas in your walk with the Lord will you will have no other alternative but to wait on His perfect timing as to when He will want to make certain things happen in your life.
In addition to some of the above examples, there will also be many other smaller to medium type matters that will occur in your life where you again will have to wait on God’s perfect timing to get something done, or wait for Him to bring you something that you will need to solve the problem you may be dealing with.
You will need to rely on God’s timing on many things that will occur in your marriage with your spouse and children, along with all of the interaction that will occur with the good friends you have in this life. Just learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit as to not only what to do in certain situations, but when to move with what He is guiding you to do.
God’s wisdom and timing will always be perfect in every single situation that you will ever face in this life – so learn how to rely on it, as it will help keep you safe and out of harm’s way, along with keeping you on His divine path for your life, and making your life that much more productive in Him.

CONCLUSION

As we said at the top of this article, I believe that learning how to be patient with the Lord, and learning how to wait for His perfect timing to make certain things happen in your life is one of the most frustrating things in our walk with Him.
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will sometimes tell us things to come before they actually come. And when God gives you a direct word that a specific thing will occur in your life sometime down the road, you can get really impatient while waiting for it to come to pass.
Your flesh will really act up and try to get its own way, and it will try and get you to make it happen before God is ready to bring this event into your life. When your flesh starts to act up and try to get you to move before God is ready, you have to learn how to override it with self-control, which is one of the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit. If you listen to your flesh and try to make it happen before God is ready to release this event into your life, you could seriously jeopardize this event from ever coming your way from the Lord.
Again, this timing aspect that God has in His ways and personality is something that we have to strictly abide by. If God is totally perfect and we are not, then God will always know best as to not only what He will want to bring into our lives, but He will always know best as towhen to bring those certain things into our lives.
In the fast-paced world in which we all now live in, our flesh has really become spoiled to a certain degree. That is why so many of us get impatient when we do not get our order fast enough at a fast food restaurant, or get checked out fast enough at the grocery store. How many times have you seen people start to grimace, squirm, and moan when things start to slow down more than usual in a check out line? The fast pace of our world today has so many of us mentally wired, that we end up getting too angry and impatient when things do not go as fast as we think they should.
That is why when God tries to work the quality of patience into us by making us wait for certain things, it can be a bit painful and stressful at times, as we are not used to doing it in the type of fast-paced world we live in today. But God will not let this world, the things in it, or the way it wants to run itself mess with His divine plans for our lives and how He will want to run our lives.
God’s ways and timings are absolutely perfect – and no man and no fallen world is going to tell Him how to sovereignly run things, both with our world and our own individual lives. So the sooner you can understand this aspect of God’s personality, the sooner you can get with His program for your life, and from there, learn how to have patience for the things He will want to do and bring into your life.

~Copyright material used with permission from Mike Bradley - Bible Knowledge Ministries

The Book of Judges

The book of Judges is the main historical connection between the time when Israel took possession of the Promised Land and the time when Israel began to have kings. The book gets its name from the individuals God used at particular times to lead and rescue the people. Israel would have rebelled against God and, as a result, suffer oppression of a neighboring nation. When they cried out to God, He would send a judge to deliver them. The judges (13 mentioned in this book) came from different tribes and functioned as military leaders and civil magistrates.


Historically, the book of Judges provides the main record of Israel's history in the Promised Land from Joshua's death to the time of Samuel. Theologically, it reveals the spiritual and moral decline of the tribes of Israel after they settled in the Promised Land. The book clearly reveals the disastrous results that always came upon Israel when they forgot their covenant with the true God. Forgetting God led to following false gods into a lifestyle of rebellion and immorality.


Judges is divided into three basic sections: Section one records Israel's failure to complete the conquest of Canaan and remove ungodliness from the land. As a result, Israel suffered moral and spiritual decline after Joshua's death. Section 2: Covers the main body of the book. It records six examples of Israel's recurring cycle of rebellion, foreign oppression, crying out to God for help and God rescuing them through leaders empowered by the Holy Spirit. Among the 13 judges, the best known are Deborah and Barak (as a team), Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson. Section 3: Closes with detailed stories that show the depth of moral and social corruption resulting from Israel's spiritual rebellion. The book of Judges reminds us of how slowly people learn from history and how quickly they repeat the same mistakes again and again.


Several major features characterize the book of Judges. It records events in Israel's dark history during the time between the conquest of the region of Palestine and the beginning of the monarchy. It highlights three important truths: being God's people means accepting God as King and Lord; sin is always destructive to God's people; when God's people humble themselves, pray and turn from wickedness, He will respond by restoring their relationship with Him.


The book of Judges reveals a lasting spiritual principle: when God uses a person in a powerful way to fulfill His purpose, it must be clear that the power comes from God's Spirit. At the start of Jesus' ministry, the Spirit came on Him at His baptism (Jesus already had the Holy Spirit within from the time He was in His mother's womb. This second filling of the Holy Spirit was for Christ's work and service). Before leaving earth and returning to His Father, Jesus instructed the disciples to wait for the gift promised by the Father. That gift was and is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit's purpose is to empower God's people to accomplish God's purposes and to take His message to others. Under both the old and new covenants, God's way of overcoming evil and advancing His purposes is by the guidance, strength and power of the Holy Spirit working through people who are surrendered to God's purposes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Book of Joshua

The book of Joshua records Israel's crossing the Jordan River into Canaan - the Promised Land - after Moses' death. It is also the record of the conquest and settlement of Canaan by Israel's twelve tribes under Joshua's leadership.


The book follows the life and service of Joshua as the leader who steps in as God's chosen man after Moses dies. Joshua's background as Moses' apprentice prepared him well to lead the conquest of the Promised Land. As Moses' assistant, Joshua demonstrated a deep and strong devotion and heart for God, often spending long periods of time alone with the Lord. He surely learned much from Moses about the joys of following God and the difficulties of leading the people. For many years before replacing Moses, Joshua proved himself to be a man of faith, vision, courage, loyalty, obedience, prayer and dedication to God and His Word.


Joshua was written as a record of God's faithfulness in fulfilling His covenant promises to Israel. The conquering victories are portrayed as God's acts of redemption for Israel and His acts of judgment on a corrupt Canaanite culture. The war and violence described in the book must be viewed from this perspective. Archaeology confirm that gross immorality and cruelty characterized the Canaanite people whom Israel replaced in the land.


Seven major features characterize this book. 1. It is the first of the Old Testament historical books to describe Israel's history as a nation in the region of Palestine. 2. It provides insight into the remarkable life of Joshua as God's choice for completing the work Moses started. 3. The book describes numerous miracles God performed for Israel, the two most dramatic being the fall of Jericho and the prolonging of daylight hours during the battle at Gibeon. 5. The book emphasizes three truths about God's relationship to His covenant people. 6. It highlights the importance of passing on the testimony and heritage of God's saving acts from one generation to the next. 7. The book's lengthy account of Achan's sin and punishment - along with other challenges, warnings and penalties - emphasizes the importance of the fear of the Lord in the hearts of God's people.


Joshua's name is the Hebrew equivalent of the name "Jesus" in the New Testament. In his role of leading Israel into the Promised Land, Joshua is an Old Testament type, or prophetic symbol of Jesus, whose role is to bring "many sons to glory."

The Personality of the Holy Spirit

2 Corinthians 13:14


"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit ..."


The Holy Spirit is identified with the Father and the Son in such a way as to indicate personality.


There are two great arguments here. The first is the baptismal formula: "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). Here He is associated with the Father and the Son in a way that of necessity points to His personality.


The second argument is based on the apostolic benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit ...". Obviously the Holy Spirit is a person in line with the person of the Father and of the Son.


A most interesting way we can prove the personality of the Spirit is by showing that He is identified with us, with Christians, in a way that indicates that He is a person. In Acts 15:28 we read, "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden that these necessary things." This was a decision arrived at by members of the early church, and as they were persons, so He must be a person. You cannot say, "It seemed good to a power and to us," because the power would be working in us. But here is someone outside us - "It seemed good to Him and to us."


Personal qualities are ascribed to the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. He is said, for example, to have knowledge. Paul argues, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:11).


A Thought to Ponder: The Spirit is identified with us, with Christians, in a way that indicates that He is a person.


~Martyn Lloyd-Jones - "Walking With God"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Book of Deuteronomy

The title "Deuteronomy" comes from the Septuegint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It means "Second Law". The book consists of Moses' farewell message to Israel in which he reviewed and renewed God's covenant for the sake of the new generation of Israelites. They had come to the end of their desert wandering and were now ready to enter Canaan - the Promised Land, the land promised to their ancestors. With the death of their parents and grandparents and so little teaching, this new generation had no personal memory of the first Passover, the Red Sea crossing or receiving the law at Mount Sinai. They also needed a reminder of the blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.


Moses' original purpose in addressing Israel's new generation before turning the leadership over to Joshua was to challenge, encourage and instruct them about God's powerful acts and promises; their own covenant obligations of faith and obedience and; their need to reverence God and set their lives apart for His purposes. Moses wanted to remind the people of the awesome responsibility of loving and honoring God with all their heart, soul and strength. 


As a covenant renewal document, Deuteronomy is organized like other ancient Mid East covenant treaties of that time: preamble; historical prologue; main requirements and condition; curses and blessings; and arrangements for its continuation.


Four major features characterize Deuteronomy. 1. It provided the new generation of Israelites with the necessary foundation and motivation for inheriting the Promised Land. It did this by focusing on God's character and His covenant with Israel. 2. As "The Book of the Second Law", it restated what God had spoken to the people through Moses' four preceding books. 3. It is also the "Book of Remembrance". Throughout Deuteronomy the people are challenged to "Remember ... and never forget." Rather than telling the people to look for or discover some kind of new truth, Deuteronomy urges them to hold on to and obey the unchanging truth God had already revealed to them. 4. One of Deuteronomy's main emphases is the "faith-plus-obedience" principle. It confirms the need for people to trust God completely and obey His commands without compromise. "Faith plus obedience" would enable the new generation of Israelites to inherit the promises with God' full blessing. However, the absence of faith and obedience would lead them into a cycle of failure and judgment.


When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He responded by quoting passages from Deuteronomy. When Jesus answered a question about the greatest commandment, He referred to Deuteronomy 6:5. The New Testament books quote or refer to Deuteronomy nearly 100 times. A clear prophecy in Deuteronomy about the Messiah (18:15-19) is mentioned twice in the book of Acts. The spiritual principles in Deuteronomy are foundational to New Testament revelation.