As I sit here in the outdoors this evening enjoying an unusually cool and brilliantly moonlit sky, I am stirred to speak openly and transparently about the things that God is not only dealing with in my personal journey with him, but also some of the trends and presumptions that occur in the world of “Christendom” when it appears and feels as if the Father God is far off and seemingly unresponsive to the cries of those who are desperate for relief and merciful compassion.
Through his own personal agony, David came to a new understanding of what it really was that God required from man.
ENMESHED INTO DECEPTION
God is not interested in our outward sacrifices or “offerings.”
This does not necessarily mean that God never requires outward forms of worship or expression or observances. Many lines of Scripture prove that at times he does. But it does mean that these are not the things that he requires first. If our religious practices contain nothing more than outward actions and performance, then God takes no pleasure in them.
God always looks underneath what goes on outwardly, and looks to the motives and the attitude of the heart. What does He look for there?
David tells us in Psalm 51:16 -17
“For you delight not in sacrifice, or else would I give it; you find no pleasure in burnt offering. The sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise.”
BROKEN AND CONTRITE
These are not common words to our ears these days!
Just what does it mean when God asks that we have a broken spirit?
Does he want us to be beaten down and humiliated?
I am sure that this is not his plan.
What is a broken spirit?
It is an “inner self” that has come totally to the end of itself. It makes no claims, and offers no arguments. All independence, all self-will, self-promotion, all self-righteousness have been pruned away.
Such a spirit simply turns and trusts completely upon God, not trusting in his own skill, merit, popularity, or ability to influence. This one who has willingly allowed the disciplining of his soul knows that he or she must only trust in God and his unrelenting mercy.
If we will ALLOW Him to guide us, HE knows how to produce this brokenness of spirit in each of us. Just remember, he treats us as individuals. And he would never abuse our individuality. He uses just the right amount of intensity needed to accomplish his desires, that we would relinquish our mistrust in his plan and fully step into total abandonment, willingly accepting his plan.
“For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men”Lamentations 3:33.
AFFLICTION ALSO KNOWN AS – “DISCIPLINE”
If there was ever a man who had to face affliction also known as “discipline” – it was David. I am amazed that he never became bitter. He even admitted that it did him good! God allows us to come under afflictions/discipline, not because he is mad at us, nor because he has rejected us. It is actually a demonstration of his faithfulness.
When he sees us taking a wrong turn that will lead to our own harm and damage, he allows difficulty and affliction/discipline to turn us back to the way that leads to peace and blessing.
When I say affliction, I am not accusing God of bringing about harsh and devastating blows in order to knock us down and break our arms in the process. No! No! No!
In Psalm 119:67,71,75 it says:
“I used to wander off until you disciplined me;
But now I closely follow your word.
My suffering was good for me,
For it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
I know, O Lord, that your regulations are fair.
You disciplined me because I needed it.”
WHEN WE ARE “THROWN A CURVEBALL”
How do we respond when we are “thrown a curveball” and everything we carefully planned out and prepared for suddenly takes a turn we did not expect?
David did not view afflictions/disciplines as disaster. He saw it as a form of correction – something to adjust his life. He was saying, “Before I was afflicted/disciplined I went astray and I suffered for it. Now I’ve learned my lesson! It pays to obey your word!”
ARE YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF DIFFICULTY, LOSS, OR AN ADJUSTMENT?
May I caution you? Don’t fight back! And whatever you do, do not argue with God!
Admit that God is dealing with you and allowing an affliction/a disciplining, a difficulty or disappointment, to address major issues of stubbornness, lazy spirituality, dependence upon others for water from the word, and more than often – a sour and willful independence that does not like accountability in every area.
ASK HIM, “WHAT IS IT THAT YOU ARE DOING?”
“Am I off the pathway that you have planned and have willfully gone my own way?”
The Lord is seeking, looking, longing for you to turn away from things that are harmful and to bring you back to things that are in his purpose and plan.
If we are willing to learn from these afflictions/disciplines, there will come a time when we will indeed look back with gratitude for the things we have learned and matured in.
My dear friends, we were not created to serve ourselves or to meet our own needs.
Whatever we need, the Lord will see to it that we get it, as we move along the pathway that he has chosen. You may be asking the question, “Why is it so hard for me to hear from the Lord at first when it comes to difficult issues and decisions?”
We must understand we cannot instantly “unlearn” what we have lived our entire life. We must as the Scripture says be “transformed” from who we are to what we want to be.
We need to understand with our whole heart that we were intended to be godly in every way. In our relationships with others, and above all, in our relationship with God the father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. If one is out of order then both will be.
But! As a dear brother in the Lord by the name of Larry Reese says, “We are not to fear the passing of time or fear that we are wasting time by spending time with the Lord, searching out his word, and being still in his presence. You will never lose anything by doing these things!”
TRENDS, BLOGS, AND COMMENTS
It’s no secret that social media has become quite a form of communication! One of the problems that can occur when “listening” to trends, blogs, and commentary from others is that sources quoted and information gathered might well be skewed to interject thoughts and opinions into the minds of those who never think for themselves. Believers in Christ are not to be uninformed, but they are to be wise about what they “ingest and digest” when it comes to the lifestyle of a Christian.
Do not rely upon the wisdom of men to help you to ultimately reach the destiny that God himself paid the price for. He is not an ego- driven maniac looking for his entourage of followers to validate his importance!
He “paid it forward” so that we would have the opportunity to walk upon a pathway, although narrow, that leads to purposeful living and a fruitful reaping of productivity that will only advance us into further opportunities to speak of hope and a purpose for others.
BEWARE OF FALSE HUMILITY AND UNDERTONES OF DISDAIN
If there were one thing that sickens the heart of God it would be underhanded and slippery craftiness oozing from those who resist the full aspect of allowing God to create in them a clean and contrite heart.
It always amazes me how individuals that need notoriety and a place of “mystical” influence seem to be able to cunningly discredit good and godly saints around them who have perhaps lovingly warned them about deceptive practices or micro-management control issues, knowing that they risk the loss of relationship when doing so. It is as if these individuals secretly feel entitled to sidestep the issue of preferring your brother or sister, and humbly listening to their insights and observances.
Equally amazing, are those who listen to only one side of a conflict or disagreement, and then spiritualize-away the facts, that harm or discord has happened.
And so, the Lord allows the difficulties and afflictions to come and expose the areas of favoritism, embracing the “new and exciting”…
…Rather than the narrow and at times – dry pathway to mature godliness.
There will always be among us, those claiming to have “THE” word of the hour, the “message of the forefathers”, and on and on the platitudes and justifications are listed to justify the mocking and putting down of the simple and unique message of self-abandonment.
LISTEN FOR THE SOUND OF MERCY
Listen to the “tone” in the voice of those addressing the crowd, the congregation, or perhaps a small study group. False humility has a highly “honeyed” pitch of barely restrained condescension, laced with heavy doses of unsolicited advice and counsel.
Rarely will individuals who have an exaggerated view of their own importance allow others to warmly and intimately engage in transparent communication and dialogue regarding the unique and yet equal calling and gifting of each child of God.
NOW IS THE TIME — THE TIME IS NOW!
These words have been spoken out from the Lord over the lives of many who seemingly can hardly lift their heads due to delays, betrayals, losses, and a deep, deep internal anguish. It seems as if God sees greater fruitfulness when we are at the bottom of the proverbial “barrel”!
Those who are forever wishfully proclaiming that the “bad times are over and good times are ahead” are sadly attempting to override the ache of the soul when it longs to return to the comfort zone of self indulgence.
“But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless!” Jeremiah 7:8.
Know this. To avoid the chastening and bruising of our souls is a guarantee that not only will you cause devastating and brutal pain to others, but also most importantly, you shall grieve the Holy Spirit.
I encourage those of you reading and listening, to test the fruit
of those who claim to have a special and mystical “in” with the Lord.
The Lord is not one who neither “excludes” nor leaves the broken out in the cold, nor does he invite into his inner courts of wisdom and revelation, those who would use it to their own personal advantage or fame.
IT IS TIME. NOW IS THE TIME! THE TIME IS NOW!
It is time to face the chastening of the Lord in the light of the purpose he has behind it. Growing up and maturing finally in the things he has been dutifully prodding you to do for a long time now.
Procrastination “fellowships” with slothful and sloppy approaches to relationship
with God and with mankind.
For once and for all make the decision to not blame-shift or deflect onto others what God is dealing with in the wickedness of your own soul.
Now is the time to be willing to lose your life, to be afflicted — yes even to the point of having the Lord remove and expose those who have become disobedient, self-promoting, and abusive in the circles you walk within.
“SEE TO IT that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ”Colossians 2:8.
OPEN YOUR EARS
The Lord is speaking! Listen!
He has wisdom to impart to you that may well save and instruct others who might fall into foolish behavior. It is not about your comfort, your “wants” nor even your dignity! It’s about a willingness to be the servant of the Savior, and to emulate His example.
He Is Speaking.
But are we listening?
“The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
To know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
Wakens my ear to listen like one being taught”Isaiah 50:4.
~ Mary Lindow ©
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” THE MESSENGER ” ~ Mary Lindow
Mary has a passion for encouraging others in all generations and careers or vocations to live and express excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She is a sought after keynote inspirational and humorous speaker and teacher throughout the United States internationally in Ministers conferences, International Spiritual leaders Conferences, and in National and International training seminars for various organizations.