Favor and Light

Psalm 44:3

For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them.

Here is a good example of partnership with God and I hope you find it encouraging because the favor of God was sufficient weaponry to possess the land.

What land are you trying to take? Is it a new job, financial security, a big project? How about raising kids? Whatever your big goals, you don’t have to do it in the power of your might. We kind of know that but we often know it intellectually rather than experientially. I find that I can have very strong theology when we sit and chat but that in the moment of everyday happenings, my inner self does not always act out those intellectual beliefs. I may even hold to those beliefs very strongly and would argue adamantly about them but still not instinctively employ them in day to day life. This partnership with God theology is one of the largest ideals I write about. However, the practical application can be somewhat enigmatic. How do we actually allow God to be our strong right hand? How do we come to own Canaan if not by our own sword? Is our Puritan work ethic a hindrance to walking by faith or is it what makes for quality individuals? Better still, do we misuse our work ethic?

I believe in setting goals, determining what is required in order to reach them and then setting realistic activity goals. If one wants X, what will be required in order to attain X? Secondarily, am I willing to do what is required? However much I admire this approach I must recognize that it is still a worldly process. That is not to say that I recommend rejecting it, it just means that it is only the beginning of the method. The more important step is taking all of this to God, talking with Him about it and then, more importantly, listening to Him. If we seek the goals He has for us then we will start off on the right track. Second, once we have God’s vision for our future, then we should enquire of the course. What would He have us do? He will tell us our part if we listen. Then we don’t run off half-cocked making a mess of big dreams.

I want God to win the goal for me. That sounds infinitely better than toiling. God will hand Canaan into our hands if we will follow Him. Most interesting of all, today’s verse reveals that His presence was the key to obtaining the goal. We have only to walk in the shadow of His glory, follow along in the footsteps He leaves as He leads and the next thing we know will be the Promised Land.

What do you want? What do you really, really want? Is there a goal out there that is almost too big to even dream? Maybe your dream is even too big to talk about but the light of His presence can bring it to pass. This takes some meditation. Today’s verse is really poignant, and I hope you will ponder it. When we learn to walk with God such that His hand delivers the victory then all things shall be possible. Remember, the Israelites defeated a city by walking around it. God’s way is not usually our way but we can learn to hear Him and follow His direction instead of launching out in the power of our might and when we do, even those biggest of dreams will be yours!

Prayer

Job 22: 28

You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; And light will shine on your ways.”

I want to change the way you and I think about prayer. As we charge into year 2020, I believe this is a great time to do so. I hope you have big plans for 2020. We are beginning a new decade and one that has been dreamed about for years. Science Fiction books and movies looked forward to this coming year and now it is upon us. Let’s have a great year and a great decade. If you are 85 years old this year, 95 or 15 set a new goal, a big goal and strap on your rocket boosters. 2019 was for sitting. Now is the time for setting an ambitious goal and going for it with gusto.

To make 2020 different from its predecessors we are going to have to look at things differently and do things differently. We might as well begin with one of our most sacred strongholds: prayer. If we keep praying like we prayed last year, we will get what we got last year. If you got what you wanted, that is great. If you didn’t then we should look at growing our understanding of working with God so that 2020 becomes a year of fabulous results and tremendous memories. I want for you the best of everything so let’s begin today preparing for a super year and decade.

For many of us, prayer amounts to asking God for what we want. We ask Him to do something for us. That is not an incorrect perspective, just an incomplete one. There is a lot more to manifesting our partnership with Yahweh than just asking Him to fulfill our wish list. The Christian experience has sometimes reduced prayer to little more than begging God to do something in our lives. We are active partners with God, so we need to learn our role in His way of doing things and then be fully prepared to step into that role in 2020. Today’s verse is the clue we need to send us on our way.

God did not create us so powerless that all we can do is beg Him to be active in our lives. He has spent eons pouring out His power and teachings so that we can be His partners. That means that He has empowered us to say something and have those decrees established. So, what does that begin to look like? You can pray for God to heal you. Good but let’s not pray a begging prayer, “Oh God, please heal me. Please, please God, touch my body with your healing.” That sounds good but, actually, it is unbiblical. God said he already has healed us (1 Peter 2: 24). So, we need to move to the next step – declaring. That is where today’s verse speaks to us. Decree a thing and God will establish it. We already know God’s will, it is for us to be healed, now declare God’s will, “I am healed. By his stripes, I am healed. Healing, manifest in my body.”

Whatever you need or want works by this same principle. The power to create whatever solution you need is resident in you right now (Romans 8: 11). We’ve got to start saying something. Once we do, the angels and the Holy Spirit can bring it to pass. We already know that all of God’s answers to our prayers are, “Yes” (2 Corinthians 1: 20) so what is stopping us from having all He agrees to? it is our not taking the next step, decreeing. We say, “Father, heal me.” He responds, “Okay, speak it and it shall be done according to your word.” That is the part we are missing.

Let’s get ready for a big year in 2020 by preparing ourselves now. Begin speaking the desire of your heart. The power is already in you. The answer to your question is already there. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring it up out of your spirit to your mind. Go inside yourself and understand that the power which created the universe is resident within you right now. It’s only a matter of letting that out now. God has already given you the answer to your prayer, it is the Holy Spirit. Start working with the spirit to get what is inside you right now, to the outside.

Arise and Live

Proverb 6: 6 – 11

Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest” – and your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man.

When it is time to rest, rest but when it is time to work, do your work heartily as to the Lord. I am preaching to myself today. I, like many of you, must manage my own time. As you know, having discretion can create a challenge. It is easy to decide I am tired and roll over instead of rolling out. I usually regret such a choice. If I had only read Proverbs, right? Well, of course, I have read all of the proverbs, many times but that does not mean that these lessons are not new each day.

One of the many lessons I have learned is that God did not make us to be lazy. We are not fully satisfied or even happy when we adopt the sluggard’s life. If we no longer feel the guilt of our bad choices, it only means we have conditioned ourselves so as to anesthetize those feelings. If we persist in the unfavored behaviors, we will eventually become immune to the Holy Spirit’s voice within us. At that point, we even convince ourselves that we are not doing anything wrong. I have heard people justify adultery as easily as I justify sleeping in. Simply and honestly stated, we are both just wrong. Father wants better for us than those behaviors and the lies we tell ourselves.

I believe it is important for us to realize that God has made us to be heat-seeking missiles. By that I mean that we are designed as goal oriented, success seeking organisms. Our souls are engineered to pursue excellence. Our design is not as sleepy, lazy, lay abouts. No matter how much we may try to convince ourselves, the truth is that we are not fulfilled and are not happy when we are not in pursuit of some goal or hobby. In today’s proverb, God warns us away from apathetic, passive lives. He wants us to live with the throttle open. With him, there is success and in that success not merely accomplishment but joy and service to others. There is so much to do in the earth, so much which needs doing. We really don’t have time to sleep in. We’ve things to do, things to see, words to speak.

It only takes a little folding of our hands for our lives to begin to leak out. Life is for living. At the end of our days on earth, what do you wish your resume to look like? Do you want to say, I watched television or I took my grandkids to the park. Do you want sleep to fill the largest time block or is there something else you would rather be known for? Arise O sluggard. Seek new heights, new goals and pursue new ambitions. Read another book, paint a painting. Make your life worth the living every single day and while you’re at it, call me and make sure I am awake. I want to run with you!