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Be honest... are you living life by your own effort? When things aren't flowing our way we cry out to God: help me, show me, answer my prayer! That's when we try faith, try to read and try to pray even more. But the instant things start looking up, we STOP looking up to the hills from whence our help came. And we rub our hands together with glee as if it were our own hands that made the change. Deut. 8:17-18: And you say my power and my hands got me this. But remember it is the Lord that gives you power to get all that you have. (DCJ translation! :D)
Get honest! Stop living by YOUR effort! If you pray for change, then don't think its you who made the change when it comes!
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 specifically says, "And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day."
If we believe that we are the seed of Abraham by out faith in Jesus Christ - then the father of the Israelites is our father too - Abraham is the father of faith. But even more so - Jesus came to give us the spirit of adoption that we might cry, "Abba, Father!"
You have to believe that God is your Father and that He wants the best for you - better than anything you want for yourself!
In Deuteronomy 8:16, God is telling the Israelites it was He who brought them into the wilderness to humble them, and that he might prove them, to do them good at their latter end.
When we experience our own wildernesses of life, we get there in 1 of two ways: 1st and most frequently - our own stupidity (or fault...); 2nd - the enemy sets us up in order to steal something, kill something or destroy something in us. But in either case, God ALWAYS uses that circumstance to bring humility to our lives, prove out our character or faith and move us towards some kind of good in the end of it.
Yes, Romans 8:28 is really true - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose"
That's ALL things. The good things. The not so good things. And the bad things too. It's not just the things we work out for ourselves. Uh, hello!? Haven't you figured out what you work out for yourself generally ends up like filthy rags?
The problem is, we are so caught up, intertwined, trained and shaped into the pattern of our life as we know it, that we truly do not know how to let God lead it. And when we do try, we don't fully trust that He will come through. And unfortunately, we think we've got enough past circumstances and experiences to prove that maybe be won't.
I mean, look at the Israelites... they really were hungry, thirsty, scared and tired of packing that stuff, hauling it around and then setting everything up again every time the cloud of God's glory moved or stopped. I'm sure it was EASY to forget they were FOLLOWING THE CLOUD OF GOD'S GLORY when their stomachs were grumbling and their throats were so parched they could no longer sweat!
And so maybe it's easy to forget that you believed enough to pray to a God that lives inside of you, ordering your steps towards the desires He's given you, when creditors are calling, or the grace period is about as short as the money is for your mortgage, or another night has gone by and you don't know where your child, or husband or hope for the future is.
This is how we are proven by God. Are we really, really, really going to trust and believe - even when it hurts - and not grumble or complain? Because it was the grumbling and the complaining that got the Israelites sentenced to keep wandering until that generation of grumblers and complainers died out!
It is at the very time when we are weary, scared, confused and hurting that we need to dig into our faith, open our mouths and speak whatever shred of faith in God we can muster - like the 2 Israelite spies who said, "Ok, maybe there are giants in the land, but with God we are well able to take the land He's promised us!"
The problem is we don't know his promises. Or, we don't really believe his promises apply to us. I Corinthians 1:20 says, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." And if you are only reading this verse of text here, and you don't pick up your own bible and study it and meditate and pray over it yourself, you won't get the revelation of God's promises any more than those Israelites did!
But once you get it - really get it - that God's promises are for you, and that He has nothing but good planned for you, and that those good things WILL come to pass when you pray and believe and do not doubt (Mark 11:23-24), then you will recognize that God's promises are coming to pass when they do.
In other words - when you struggle, cry and pray to God for help, don't get so caught up in the grief, complaints and struggles of the problem that you miss the answer through His promise! If you do, you will continue to wander in your struggle until the next time God can prove you out.
Here's the scenario: Your life is frighteningly tough and difficult in this economy, so you pray for a new job. You finally get the interview. You do very, very well at the interview. You impress the people, say all the right things, looked awesome in your best suit and you know that job is yours. Then when you don't get the job, you go back to God reminding Him how frightening and tough your life is, and you ask Him why didn't you get that job? Inside you have stepped a little further away from believing God's got your best for you and that He's going come through and answer your prayers.
Now, here's the spiritual truth about that scenario: Life is frightening, but you don't remind yourself that God says, "fear not." You speak about the fear rather than the perfect love of God that cast out all fear. (1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.") And when you pray for the job, you pray out of fear, not faith. But God loves you and so He sets up the interview for you. Jesus lives within you so He ignites the mind of Christ in you and all you say during the interview. And the Holy Ghost surrounds you with His favor like a shield so that interviewer can't help but respond to you. But when you get home, you pat yourself on the back. You tell your friends and family how good you did and you never recognize the cloud of God's Glory that surrounded you. And you never go back like the leper and thank your Father for blessing you and giving you the power to do so well in that interview. And so the favor fades from the Interviewer's sight. And then as the days go by, you continue to remind yourself that you rocked that interview and when the job comes through all your fears and struggles will be over. Instead, what you should be doing is opening your mouth and reminding the devil out loud everyday that "no weapon formed against you shall prosper." And so your prosperity steps further away, and the company calls and says they've chosen someone else. The promise of an answered prayer slips away simply because we did not walk and talk in the faith-fueled power of God's promises to us. Let me remind you once again what that power is:
"And you shall remember all the ways which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, (for YOU) to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live. (speak the word!)
Your raiment waxed not old upon you, neither did your foot swell, (provision and health were maintained) these forty years. You shall also consider in your heart, that, as a man chastens his son, so the LORD thy God chastens you. Therefore you shall keep the commandments (Christians: keep the faith!)of the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to fear (reverence) him. For the LORD your God brings (this is a promise coming:) you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein you shall eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig brass. (to "a place" of blessing, provision and abundance in all things!) When you have eaten and art full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which he has given you. (We only thank, praise and rejoice when we've gotten what we wanted.)
Beware that you forget not the LORD your God, in not keeping his commandments (His faith!), and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command you this day: (the very day you are reading this!) Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when your herds (investments) and your flocks (livelihood) multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied (money), and all that you have is multiplied; Then your heart be lifted up, (you are excited and happy) and you forget the LORD your God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; (bound to your bills, job, responsibilities, etc.) Who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, (attacks from the enemy) and drought, (lack) where there was no water (no spiritual anointing); who brought you forth water out of the rock of flint; (into praise when you didn't feel it) Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers knew not, (sustained you when you didn't know how) that he might humble thee, (bring you to prayer) and that he might prove you, to do you good at your latter end; (In the end it will be all good!)
And (or but) you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth. But you shall (WILL!) remember the LORD your God: for it is he that gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto your fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if you do at all forget the LORD your God, and walk after other gods,(the beliefs of the world, the economy, need for degrees; the unemployment rate; Obamacare, etc.) and serve them, and worship them, (or trust them more than God Himself) I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish (or the things you're hoping for will die out, not pan out or come to pass)."
If you don't see the truth in the word of God - you will wander in the wilderness of your own struggles even longer! Read His word! Speak His word! Have un-wavering faith in His word! Praise Him with His word and thank Him for His word! And do it because YOU LOVE HIM and not to prove whether He loves you!
Then His love will push out the fear and bring all you're hoping for to pass. The POWER is in your relationship with Him!!
Power, love & peace, ya'll! (II Timothy 1:7)
~Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones