More To Know

Jun. 3, 2021

The definition of "goodly" for the purposes of this discussion is the Archaic or the ancient or the Old Testament, biblical use of it. That definition is “attractive, excellent or admirable”. 

In contrast, the definition of the word “godly” that we are using is “the quality or practice of conforming to the laws and will of God without any known resistance. If resistance is made known, it is immediately corrected.”

Godly is the practice, the habit, not just an occasional occurrence, of following and obeying the will of God without any known deviation in thought, word and deed.

In many social circles it is popular to be involved with certain charity organizations. And that is the only reason some people are contributors or volunteers: because it is the ‘in’ thing to do according to their peers. Some years ago, it seemed to be a ‘thing’ for many Hollywooders to adopt children from foreign countries. Another trend was to rescue abandoned animals from the impound or the shelter.

Some of these good deeds were probably goodly but not godly. It is admirable (one of the synonyms for goodly) to bring a child from a life of poverty into a country, a home and a life that far exceeds anything they would have ever known in their native land. It feels good to rescue an animal that was destined to be put down. Instead of their life coming to an untimely end, they find themselves on the gravy train, living in the lap of luxury.

People feel good about themselves when they are able to make a significant difference in someone else’s life. But every seasoned believer knows that goodly does not always mean godly. Not every act of kindness yields considerable results.

Some good deeds or acts of kindness are useless. They don’t make a positive difference in any way. An example of this is a group that I belong to makes blankets, hats, mittens and also purchases items like socks, gloves and so on. The group partners with organizations that serve the homeless community and others in need. We enjoy getting together to make or purchase the things and donating them. Most of the places and people who receive them are very grateful and appreciative. Not too long ago it was discovered that one of the places that we had donated to threw the items in the dumpster in back of their building. What we viewed as a good deed was useless. No one benefited from our efforts, our time or the money we spent to purchase and/or make the items.

That was a useless endeavor. But there are also actions that are perceived by most as very spiritual and godly but they are actually evil. Matthew 7: 18-23 records Jesus’ warning on this very subject. This is the AMP version.

18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, by their fruit you will recognize them [as false prophets].

(In other words, What are they producing? What are the results of what they are saying and doing?)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 

22 Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ 

23 And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’

This says that disregarding the commands of the Lord is wickedness. There are people who are in the limelight preaching, performing and practicing. But the Spirit of the Lord is telling them to sit down, submit themselves to a wise, spiritual leader or mentor and learn some things. But they are hearing and obeying ego, pride, zeal and immaturity more than they are hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord.

Years ago people talked a lot about the permissive will of God as opposed to the perfect will of God. Meaning that there were some goodly pursuits that the Lord will allow folks to do and persist in but those things were not the perfect will of God for their lives. In my immaturity and ignorance, I never believed that there was such aa thing as the permissive will of God. And I got sick of hearing people talk about it. You know how it is when a saying or a phrase gets popular it seems like EVERYBODY is saying it. Not only was I irritated that so many people were saying it, I was doubly agitated because I didn’t believe that such a thing existed. In my mind a thing is either the will of the Lord or it isn’t. If something is not the perfect will of God, then it is not the will of God at all, or so I thought. Then one day I was listening to a recorded message that Kenneth E. Hagin had preached. I believe this ‘permissive will’ phrase became popular because of him. He was so well respected and well regarded in ministry. He passed away in 2003. In the message he said he had pastored different churches for a total of 12 or 13 years. I forget the exact number. During the course of a conversation with the Lord, the Lord said to him that he never called him to pastor. The Lord allowed him to do it and blessed him while doing it and blessed the ministry and the people but that was not his perfect will for him. It was his permissive will. At the time of this conversation the Lord was having with Brother Hagin, the Lord had called him and directed him into his true calling. It wasn’t going as well as Brother Hagin expected and he was questioning the Lord about it. I learned something that day. I was completely wrong in my way of thinking.

The point here is that during the 12 or 13 years of pastoring, Brother Hagin was praying, fasting, visiting the sick, praying healing and restoration for scores of people. The ones that Jesus talks about in Matthew 7 that are mentioned above were completely out of the will of God. They were not in His perfect will and they were not in His permissive will. How do we know that? Because Jesus said, “I NEVER knew you.” That indicates that these spiritual do-gooders were operating out of their own will and their own desires. They never consulted the Lord about what to do next or where to go next. They only did what brought them attention, glory and whatever else satisfied their flesh and/or egos.

There is a saying, “You might get by, but you won’t get away.” One sister remarked to me how she used to think and pout before the Lord about people, supposedly Christians, who were behaving poorly, in a manner unbecoming for a believer, and seemed to be getting away with it. This is Matthew 7: 21-23 AMP again.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’

One of my natural dad’s favorite sayings was, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” There will be people standing before the Lord, just like the ones described in Matthew 7 who will declare that they didn’t know what was expected or required of them. They will want to be excused from their lawlessness based on that declaration. 

Power, giftedness, anointing and authority are likely to be used wrongly when a person lacks humility and spiritual understanding. Look at the Corinthian church as an example.

 1 Corinthians 14: 36-38

36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

(The Corinthian church got carried away with themselves. Paul is asking them if they are now thinking and acting like they are the originators of the Word of God or that they are the only ones who have received the truth of God. They had begun to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think. They were tremendously blessed with spiritual gifts and they began to celebrate and exalt themselves rather than to celebrate and exalt the Lord.)

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

(They started believing that they were better than any other fellowships and that they had a deeper understanding of spiritual matters than any other group of believers. The Spirit of the Lord was working mightily with them and His presence was evident among them. But they began acting like the folks Jesus is talking to in Matthew 7. They quit hearing and operating according to the word and will of God. They became impressed with the gifts God had given them and were using the gifts without the Lord’s order, instruction or direction.)

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

(This was another verse my dad was fond of quoting. Except he would add the word ‘still’ at the end of it. Meaning, if you choose to be unlearned and not knowing. If that is your decision and you want to continue in that state of being, have at it. Go right ahead.  Paul was saying that what you need to know and should know has been provided for you. It isn’t hidden. It is all right here out in the open. If you choose to be ignorant, go ahead. I won’t try to stop you. Because making that choice says something profound about that person. It told Paul trying to enlighten a person who obviously chooses ignorance over knowledge when knowledge is rich, plentiful and readily available - - - trying to school that person, mentor that person, enlighten that person is a waste of time and breath. Paul was saying, “I won’t do it. Let them be ignorant still. Let them stay in that state or condition if that is what they choose. I will not drain myself of energy trying to get a pig out of the mud when the pig is telling me he likes mud and wants to stay in it. I won’t keep pulling and tugging on that one when there are plenty of others who do want out and will receive and quickly act on the Truth that is shared with them.)

Believers are charged with being good stewards over everything the Lord has given us. Our bodies, our time, our resources, our influence, our spiritual gifts, our voices, our words and so much more. Our responsibility is to engage in the godly pursuits not just those things that are goodly. Remember the definition we are using for goodly is attractive, excellent or admirable. A lot of what people are doing looks good. It is attractive. It draws attention and accolades. People pat them on the back for their contributions. A lot of what is done is excellent. Their projects boast the latest technology and the highest natural standard of distinction. The causes they champion are admirable. They are worthy causes that boost the local economy and get them and their community featured on the nightly news. Those are goodly things.

Acts 5:17-29 AMP shows the difference when godly is happening instead of just goodly.

This is what you may experience when you follow closely the will of God.

  1. Religious folks won’t like you. (17)
  2. Their attacks against you are unwarranted and excessive. (17)
  3. They will use whatever power or influence they have to shut you up, discredit you and embarrass you. (18)
  4. They will go way beyond what is normal behavior and speech to lash out at you. (18)
  5. God will send you divine assistance. (19)
  6. God will provide specific instructions. (20)
  7. Those who feel threatened by your obedience and fidelity to the Lord will form an alliance against you. (21)
  8. What God does for you and through you will confound and confuse them. (24)
  9. God will make sure they hear about and see your successes in the Lord. (25)

10. At some point they will realize you are no ordinary individual serving an extraordinary God and they will have to acknowledge those facts publicly. (26)

11. They will still try to act like they are in charge. (27)

12. They will try to get you to stop talking about Jesus, who He is and what He has done. (28)

13.  They will blame you for the wrong that they have done or created. (28)

14. You will stand strong in the Lord, remain faithful and receive eternal rewards. (29)

Concentrate on what is godly. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He directs our efforts and pursuits. He is never wrong. He is trustworthy. Engage in what is godly, not just goodly. Many activities are attractive, excellent and admirable but they have no eternal value. We are living this life, to live again. Everything here is temporary. We are to focus on what is eternally significant. Be godly.

Colossians 3:17 NASB Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

May. 13, 2021

Psalm 126 probably refers to when the Jewish people were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and taken captive by the Babylonians. Not all of the biblical commentators agree with that thought. In researching, I did not find enough documentation to support the idea that this psalm refers to a different captivity. The Israelites were in captivity at other times but I am of the opinion that this psalm refers to the Babylonian captivity.

Not all of the Jews were carried away from their homeland as a result of this invasion but many were. Some of the Israelites were left in Jerusalem but the city was ransacked and the temple destroyed. To give some perspective of how devastating this was for them, think about how the United States was overwhelmed with grief and shock and fear when the Twin Towers were attacked in New York. Most U.S. citizens didn’t live in New York or work there or even anywhere near there. And yet the effect on us as a nation and as individuals was catastrophic. Israel’s beloved city was left in ruins and the temple that was the epicenter of their worship was disrespected in a horrific way. The invaders had no reverence, no regard at all for a monument that meant so much to the Jewish people. Being victims of such an ordeal crushes the people’s spirits, causes mass confusion and totally disrupts the stability of everyday living.

Although the Jews were under tremendous pressure while they were held captive, they were able to maintain their cultural customs and religious identity. They were allowed Elders who supervised the Jewish communities. Ezekiel, Ezra and Isaiah (45:1-3) are three of the biblical writers who wrote about this part of Israel’s history. This might have been the time when synagogues were first established so the Jews could keep their religious observances since there was no temple, of course, in Babylon. Prior to this, all of their formal religious practices were done in the temple.

 Eventually when Cyrus the Great, the Persian ruler, is in power over Babylon, he makes a proclamation and sets the Jewish people free. He also said that “The Lord God of heaven” charged him to build the Lord a house or rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. No specific details are given as to why Cyrus says that he was “charged” by God to rebuild the temple. It sounds like he had some kind of direct unction, message, visitation or possibly a dream that communicated this assignment to him. The information that we do have is written in the Old Testament book Ezra 1. Not only does Cyrus decide to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem but he also sent back all the temple treasures that Nebuchadnezzar had taken. All the gold and silver vessels that Cyrus sent to Jerusalem were 5400 items. That is a lot of gold and silver!

Some scholars differ on the timeline but according to Jeremiah 29:10, they were in Babylonian captivity 70 years. For some people that would have been their entire lives. Some of those Jews were born in bondage and died in bondage. Some of them never got to ever see, let alone live in, their precious homeland. Others who were very young children when they were captured, were now well advanced in age. All of this sets the stage for the rejoicing that is expressed in Psalm 126.

I don’t know when this psalm was written but it had to be sometime after the Jewish people were released to go back home to Jerusalem. Some of them went and some of them didn’t. Because remember, some of them had been born in the locations where they were. That was the only home that they knew. Others had gotten comfortable and were established in that place. Maybe all the family they had still living were there in that area. So, they stayed. But to be free, no longer under the Persian ruler’s reign was almost unbelievable to them. This is how the psalmist expressed their feelings about it.

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion (Jerusalem),
We were like those who dream [it seemed so unreal].

Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”

 They were in absolute awe that suddenly, they were no longer prisoners. As mentioned earlier, many of them had been in bondage their entire lives. They had NEVER lived as a free person who could go where they wanted to go and do whatever they wanted to do…NEVER! They said it seemed like a dream…almost too fantastic to be real. And then the joy came. Have you ever gotten news that was so unexpected and so far from what you ever expected to hear that you just began to jump and laugh and were just beside yourself with gladness? That’s how these people were. The joy was so great it was overwhelming! The excitement was probably to such a degree that they really didn’t know how to express it.

When something phenomenal happens for someone, other folks talk about it. Other people get excited about it. It changes the atmosphere. Even neighboring countries and other foreigners were talking about this freedom that had been decreed for the Jews. It was big news!

The Lord has done great things for us;
We are glad!

Sometimes when something really out-of-this world happens for someone they try to keep cool. They don’t want to seem too overly excited. So, if you ask them about it or want them to tell you what happened they try to downplay it a bit. But not these people! They are so happy to be free and they are acknowledging that exuberance in every way they can. They know only God initiated and caused the actuality of their emancipation. They are not shy about giving Him the glory!

 

Restore our captivity, O Lord,
As the stream-beds in the South (the Negev) [are restored by torrents of rain].

All of the captives didn’t go back or weren’t released at the same time. Those who have been set free and returned to their native land are offering this prayer for the ones still in Babylon and the other places of captivity where they settled. This waterway that is referred to is unique in that it is a dry bed for almost the entire year…about 11 months. Then during the rainy season, it fills with water and is a strong and rushing stream. The prayer is for the return of the others to be swift, sure and strong.



They who sow in tears shall reap with joyful singing.

He who goes back and forth weeping, carrying his bag of seed [for planting],
Will indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

 

These last two verses are a sure promise of the Lord. He has established the principle of sowing and reaping. It is a spiritual principle and it is a natural principle. One application of verse five may be that while they were prisoners, away from their homeland, they still had to work and eat. They still had to farm and plant gardens and do all the daily requirements for living. They sowed or planted with tears because they were in a foreign land. There was no enjoyment while they worked and there was no sense of satisfaction after the field was planted or the beans were picked and the potatoes pulled. When tilling your own field, planting your own garden and reaping your own harvest there is a sense of accomplishment that accompanies the work. But laboring under duress does not produce those same feelings. The work seems harder, longer and most of the produce belongs to and goes to the ones who own the land. The Jews did all the work and the Babylonians got all the profit.

We are not always in the situation that we would like to be. Circumstances are not always ideal, but we have to keep going. We have to keep doing what is necessary. Sometimes we might be doing the laundry with tears on our faces and tears in our hearts. We may be driving to the workplace or to pick up the kids or going to the grocery store while burdened with a sorrowful spirit. But these things still have to be done. So, they did what they had to do. They weren’t happy about where they were physically but they kept doing what needed to be done and eventually God brought them out.

The message is to keep sowing. Keep spreading God’s precious seed. Not everyone wants to hear it. Not everyone will receive it. We may lament as it seems like none of what we are doing or saying is making a significant difference. But the psalmist has confidence in the promises of God and so should we. He is saying, “Don’t stop planting. Don’t stop doing good. Don’t stop sowing seeds of kindness even when conditions aren’t the best. Because the Lord is the One who gives the increase.” You will be singing and rejoicing and realizing a huge harvest eventually. It may be at a time when you least expect it. Sowing and reaping originated and have been established by our Creator. The principle doesn’t fail. Don’t give up on God. He has not given up on you.

I don’t know if you are or were ever part of a fellowship that sings or sang the hymn “Bringing In the Sheaves”. *The song was written in 1874 by Knowles Shaw. Knowles Shaw started preaching at age 26 and became known all over his home state of Indiana as the ‘Singing Evangelist’. Brother Shaw was killed in a train accident at the age of 43. Sometime during his short life, he wrote the words to this song “Bringing In the Sheaves” based on Psalm 126:5-6. Sheaves are bundled crops. (Genesis 37:5-6)

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness, sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve, waiting for the harvest and the time of reaping - - We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves.

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows, fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze, by and by the harvest and the labor ended - - We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves.

Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master, tho the loss sustained our spirit often grieves, when our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome - - We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves.

Praying that the psalm and the song will help encourage you to keep sowing for the Master. There will be a great reward afterwhile. Blessings to you.

 

*Reference: thescottspot.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/bringing-in-the-sheaves-written-in-1874/

May. 2, 2021

The Lord’s way of doing things and humanity’s way of doing things are vastly different. Without illumination from the Lord or without His perspective, we cannot see correctly or gain understanding.

Mark 8:31 – 33

Without a transformed mind and a changed heart, the God way of doing things makes no sense to us. We need clarity from the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for humans to grasp the concept of the God way of doing things without the help of the Holy Spirit.

We will look at one biblical example of the differences between how humanity tries to accomplish something and how the Lord does it. The two methods and outcomes are very different.

Luke 22:47-51 relates Peter’s attempt to interrupt an unjust situation. 

While John 19:31-37 is the narrative of part of what Jesus endured on the cross. These passages reveal that Peter resisted the will of God even though he didn’t know it. But Jesus fully submitted to God’s will.

Here are 12 observations about the differences between Peter’s approach and Jesus’ investment concerning a very intense circle of invents.

  1. Peter drew blood. Jesus gave His blood.
  2. By cutting off the ear of the servant of the High Priest, Peter caused pain and anguish. Jesus restored the man’s ear. Jesus provided restoration and healing.
  3. Peter created chaos. Jesus brought peace.
  4. Peter used carnal or fleshly means in an attempt to accomplish desired goals. Jesus followed the divine plan of God without deviating from His Father’s perfect will.
  5. Peter’s actions were rash, impulsive and explosive. Jesus’ actions were methodical, measured, controlled, purposeful and obedient.
  6. Peter was operating according to his own power and impulses. Jesus was only moved and influenced by the Spirit and will of His Heavenly Father.
  7. Peter’s way of addressing what was happening didn’t accomplish anything helpful. Jesus’ submission was the greater part of a divine plan that affected the whole world.
  8. What Peter did had a temporary effect. What Jesus did produced eternal results.
  9. Peter’s attempt at justice was reversed: the man’s ear was restored. The redemption Jesus made possible can never be reversed or negated.
  10. Peter’s interference didn’t cost him anything. Jesus’ commitment was an extreme sacrifice and cost Him greatly.
  11. Peter was moved by feelings and emotions. Jesus was guided by determined and intentional assurance and peace.
  12. Peter was disturbed and upset. He did not understand why these things were taking place. Jesus had perfect understanding. He was not surprised or unprepared for anything that occurred.

There is a natural or carnal blood and there is divine blood. The shedding of natural blood can lead to death but the shed blood of Jesus brought and bought life. Peter’s way of dealing with matters impaired life. What Peter did would have diminished the quality of life for Malchus, since he would have been missing one ear. In contrast, Jesus’ way enhanced the lives of all who would and will embrace Him and what he did.

Peter’s rash actions may have possibly negatively affected one or two generations of Malchus’ family. However, what Jesus did positively affected all generations (past, present and future) of every human family. Peter’s decision took away, diminished and degraded. Jesus’ decisions enhanced, added and were beneficial.

Of which blood are we? Peter reacted according to what his carnal nature told him was the most effective way to deal with the situation. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Peter was of the opinion that he ought to fight fire with fire. The men who came to arrest Jesus had clubs and swords. Peter adopted their combative approach while Jesus stayed calm and controlled. (Mark 14:46-49)

Jesus knew the power of spiritual weapons. They are so much more potent than natural weapons. That is why Jesus kept urging the disciples to pray in the garden before all the mayhem started. He knew they needed to arm themselves spiritually, through prayer. But they did not understand.

Recognizing and appropriately responding in a spiritual arena involves at least three areas of awareness.

  1. There must be a gaining of spiritual understanding. Everything that happens is not always as it initially appears to be. Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. The carnal mind cannot understand the things of the spirit.
  2. Recognize the time. In an Old Testament setting, the prophet Elisha asked his servant Gehazi, “Is this the time for gathering money and new clothes?” Elisha was saying that there is a time when this activity is permitted, even necessary. There is a time for gathering material goods. But this is not that time. The error wasn’t in the ‘things’. The error was not discerning the time. Gehazi’s lack of spiritual sharpness misdirected his vision, blurred his focus and muddled his thoughts. His heart was infected and that malignancy  magnified his desire for material goods. It caused him to go where he shouldn’t have gone, to pursue what he wasn’t due, to hide his ill-gotten gain and to lie to Naaman and to Elisha.

Gehazi would never have been at liberty to wear the clothes or to trade with the silver. The prophet was supplying his wages and so would have known that these items were out of place. This is a mistake that many embezzlers make. Their toys, possessions and lavish lifestyles surpass their annual salary several times over. The numbers don’t jive. That’s how they get caught.

3. Be led of the Holy Spirit. He gives us instruction, warnings, correction and information. We have been given the power to become the sons of God. (John 1:12-13)

Of which blood are we? Of the blood of the flesh that is guided by emotion, fear, irrationality and self-serving motives? Or of the cleansing blood of Christ? Are we of the blood that stains? Or the one that cleanses? The one that indicates pain? Or the one that brought peace? The blood that is tainted with sin? Or the blood that is perfect and sinless?

We were bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20) Jesus purchased us with His own blood. His precious blood. We are the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Everyone of our decisions and actions should reflect and be in harmony with that fact.

Are our daily movements, thoughts and decisions of the Jesus Christ kind of blood that make whole and give people hope and peace? We are to copy Jesus’ example.

If shed blood is present, something serious has taken place. People can and do choose to draw the Peter kind of blood through rash behavior and hurtful words. But we can be the vessels the Lord uses to share the power of His Word and the power of His blood. We can let people know what that blood has done for them. Those who rely on him are entitled to salvation, physical healing, a transformed mind, a cleansed heart, a new way of living and eternal life! If you haven’t already done so, choose to apply the blood of Jesus Christ to your life and live your life under its redeeming power.

Apr. 4, 2021

In Luke 7:11-17 we can read about Jesus raising the widow of Nain’s son. The first part of this 7th chapter lets us know that Jesus was in Capernaum. He left Capernaum and went to a town called Nain. In modern times these cities still exist. If they are in the same location as in biblical times, the two towns are about 32.6 miles apart. Possibly taking about 16 hours to walk from the one city to the other. 

Luke 7:11 AMP

11 Soon afterward Jesus went to a city called Nain [near Nazareth], and His disciples and a large crowd accompanied Him. 

Just think about how these people valued spending time with Jesus, listening to His teachings and gaining insight, clarity and peace from His wisdom. This was a sacrifice for many of them to leave whatever was going on in their homes and families to follow the Master. This wasn’t just around the corner. For many of them it was a long, costly trip. In comparison, think about some people you may know who won’t travel across town in a comfortable, nicely equipped vehicle to gather for worship services. The people following Jesus put their lives and vocations and daily activities on hold to be in His presence. If these locations and calculations are correct, this distance would be like walking from here (Springfield) to Xenia and back. That’s just to get to Nain from Capernaum. This large crowd that followed Him considered what they received from Jesus to be a far greater blessing and experience than what they would have gotten by staying home and tending to their normal activities.

 

Their dedication and sacrifices were supremely rewarded. Let’s read on to see what happened.

Luke 7:12 AMP

12 Now as He approached the city gate, a dead man was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her [in the funeral procession]. 

So, there are two large groups of people coming from opposite directions. Jesus and those following Him are on their way to entering the city. The people with the funeral procession are on their way out of the city, heading toward the burial site.

Luke 7:13 AMP

13 When the Lord saw her, He felt [great] compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” 

Jesus was moved with compassion, not for the dead man, but for his mother. There is no indication that Jesus had any acquaintance with the woman or her son prior to this encounter. It wasn’t like He was friends with them like He was with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. His heart and His Spirit told Him how horrific a tragedy this young man’s passing was for his mother. Jesus didn’t poll the crowd, conduct a survey or ask the woman’s neighbors about her station in life. His heart and His spirit told Him that this young man’s death meant a drastic, unpleasant, maybe even unbearable change in circumstances for this dear woman.

Luke 7:14 AMP

14 And He came up and touched the bier [on which the body rested], and the pallbearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise [from death]!” 

Jesus didn’t make a big show about it because He was not trying to draw attention to Himself. He also was not about prolonging the agony of the woman. He was about reviving, restoring her life and heart and spirit as quickly and as effortlessly as possible.

This should be the desire and goal of every ministry. Some public figures cannot resist the excitement of a large audience. They move from whatever capacity they should be operating in (ministering, serving, working, helping, etc.) into ‘performance’ mode. Jesus stayed focused on what is important and didn’t deviate from the main objective: make someone’s life better, lighter, freer, richer. And He did just that.

Luke 7:15 AMP

15 The man who was dead sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. 

I wonder what the young man was saying when he was brought back to life! Did he know immediately what had happened? Had he been sick before he died? Or had he suffered a terrible accident and suffered excruciating pain before he died? Had he been delirious with a fever or semi-conscious unaware of his surroundings before he died?

There are so many details not shared with this story. There is a lot about the circumstances that we don’t know. But what we do know is that there are some acute differences between this miracle and the one where Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead.

  1. Jairus’ daughter – Jesus didn’t allow the crowd to go in to the family with Him. With the widow’s son there were two large groups on onlookers. But Jesus didn’t disperse them or send them away or take the mother and her son aside, away from the crowd.
  2. Jairus’ daughter – Jesus put all the mourners out because they expressed unbelief. Unbelief throws cold water on a hot flame. Maybe that is why Jesus never said what He was going to do with the widow’s son before He did it. If He had announced that the young man was merely sleeping, no doubt, many in the crowd would have disputed Jesus’ claim. From this narrative we see that it is sometimes best not to share with others what you are doing or what you intend to do. If they don’t have the vision or the faith they may throw cold water on your enthusiasm, your dream, your faith.
  3. Jairus approached Jesus and asked for Him to come and heal his daughter. Mark 5: 21-23 AMP 21 When Jesus had again crossed over in the boat to the other side [of the sea], a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. 22 One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up; and seeing Him, fell at His feet 23 and begged anxiously with Him, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; [please] come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will be healed and live.”

Evidently Jairus had been looking for Jesus. Jairus was seeking Jesus and asked for His help. There is no indication that the widow of Nain knew who He was. Whether she did or not, she never asked for His help. Jesus was aware of the condition and took it upon Himself to restore.

4. In both instances Jesus spoke comfort to the parent. To the woman He said, “Do not weep” because He was going to cure the cause of her distress. To Jairus He said, “Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.” This is the point where some people who are in line for a miracle miss it. They put more confidence in the circumstances than in the Lord. At this point both children were dead. But Jesus charges them, through His words, to expect and keep believing for something different than what the circumstances are saying. Whose voice will we believe? We will believe the voice and the report and the Word of the Lord!

5. Mark 5:41 Jesus took the little 12-year old girl firmly by the hand. In the case of the widow’s son< Jesus touched the bier on which He was laying but didn’t touch the man.

6. Jesus spoke to both of the dead ones and told them to get up!

7. Jesus addressed both of the dead ones but not by name because He didn’t know them. To the girl, He said, Little girl” and to the man He said, “Young man.” When we speak to dead things in our lives that we want to see revived and brought back to life, we need to be specific. Call it by name. Jesus was specific. There was no doubt as to who He was speaking to. When He raised Lazarus from the dead, He called him by name. Otherwise all the dead within a certain distance would have heard Him and would have gotten up.

8. Both of the dead ones were physically healed. In neither case are we told the reason for the sickness or illness or accident that caused the death. But we do know that whatever it was, Jesus healed them and they were fully restored to health and wholeness.

9. Both of those who had died responded physically. The girl got up and walked. The man sat up and talked. That sounds like the beginnings of a good Holy Ghost, praising kind of song!!

10. Jesus gave instructions that the girl needed to be given something to eat right away. But He gave no instructions concerning the young man. Jesus simply returned him to His mother. Jesus may have been operating in a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge, probably knowing that the little girl’s body was depleted of energy and nutrients that needed immediate replacement. Perhaps her family was so happy that they would have been hugging her and taking her around to family and friends so all could rejoice with them. They may not have thought about her body needing fuel. The man who was brought back to life was older and he probably would have said on his own, “Mom, I’m hungry!” Or maybe food was already prepared at the home in anticipation of the crowd returning from the burial site. Whatever the situation, Jesus knows and He has everything under His care.

Earlier it was mentioned some about the costs and benefits of following Jesus. Those who follow music groups and rock bands are called “roadies”. Jesus had some. He had some roadies. They followed Him many places, sometimes for long, difficult distances. But when He went to the cross even His closest converts fell away. John was the only one who stayed during the entire ordeal. Peter emphatically professed that even if all these others leave You, Jesus, I never will. But when things got tight, when they got serious Peter was so fearful, angry and frustrated he declared with cussing that he never knew Jesus.

What about us? In our world, in our culture there is more and more opportunity to deny the One who saved us. We are generally bombarded daily with movies, sitcoms, commercials and advertisements, conversations and opinions that reject the Word, the will and the way of the Lord. How closely are we willing to follow Him? And for how long? Until it gets uncomfortable? Until we are shunned by friends and family? Until our sources of income are cut off? Until our privacy is invaded? Until our lives or loved ones are threatened with death and/or dismemberment? How far are we willing to go? What cost are we willing to pay? Those who stayed close to Him were ultimately never disappointed. They may not have understood or appreciated what was happening at the time it was occurring. But in the end they were glad they stayed.

Jairus stuck with Jesus and kept the faith. Because of that he got to have his daughter back. The crowd that walked with Jesus over 32 miles from Capernaum to Nain got to see and experience something they probably had never seen and would never see again: a young man on the way to be buried given his life back. I don’t recall any other time that the Bible records that Jesus went to Nain. Jesus is willing to go the distance just for you and just for me. He did it. He went to the cross to save us from the power and penalty of sin. He did for us what no other person would do or could do.

Even the disciples were richly rewarded later, although most of them took a pause in their time of distress and confusion. Jesus fixed them a good, hot breakfast on the shore to show that there were no hard feelings. He talked with them and assured them that their less-than-courageous actions did not disqualify them from His Love or His Care.

Go the distance with the Lord. Steel yourself, fortify yourself against giving up when things get tuff. Prepare for trouble because, without a doubt, trouble is coming. Fuel your spirit now. Ingest the Word of God now. Spend time with Him in prayer, meditation, in song, in fellowship, in praise and in worship. Talk with Him and listen to Him. Build your spiritual arsenal now. It is late to start gathering ammunition when the enemy is already shooting at you.

Keep walking with the Lord. The rewards are far greater than anything we may sacrifice in this life. What we see now and what we know now is not all there is.  There is so much more to come! Anticipate with Joy and Gladness whatever is next! Go the Distance. The one who endures to the end shall be saved. Not the one who makes a good start or gets halfway to the goal. 

This is the Apostle Paul's testimony. Let every believer endeavor to have this same declaration.

 2 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Feb. 20, 2021

Genesis 1 records that when God created man on the sixth day, everything else was formed and in place. God had already prepared the environment for humanity. God made a world for man that was suitable. It was pleasant, fragrant, visually appealing and comfortable...not too hot, not too cold...just right. Genesis 2 shares more detail about the environment.

Genesis 2:4-6 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

4) Here is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created. On the day when Adonai, God, made earth and heaven, 5) there was as yet no wild bush on the earth, and no wild plant had as yet sprung up; for Adonai, God, had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no one to cultivate the ground. 6) Rather, a mist went up from the earth which watered the entire surface of the ground.

These verses tell us that only what God formed and what He wanted was there. That is not what we deal with today. If a garden is planted today, all kinds of strange vegetation appears that wasn’t planted. Instead of water coming down to water the earth, in Eden a mist went up from the earth. There was nothing in the ground that God didn’t want there so there was no contamination. There wasn’t anything foreign in the ground that would sprout up, run wild, to overgrow what God had planted and take over.

Genesis 2:7-9 (CJB)

7) Then Adonai, God, formed a person [from the dust of the ground  and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being. 8) Adonai, God, planted a garden toward the east, in ‘Eden, and there he put the person whom he had formed. 9) Out of the ground Adonai, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

When God placed Adam in the garden, everything was in order. No weeds. No wild or contrary vines wrapping themselves around good plants and choking the life out of them. We know, that for some reason, if left unchecked, the weeds will always take over the area. It never happens the other way where the productive, orderly plants outgrow and out produce the weeds and choke them out. It just doesn’t happen.

The text seems to suggest that when the earth began to be watered with rain coming down instead of mist going up, some type of contamination occurred. This could be because satan, the fallen angel, is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). It could be that the rain was tainted or contaminated as it passed through the air. As the prince of the power of the air, the enemy had influence in that realm. This is a possible explanation. Another thought is that perhaps it didn’t begin to rain until after Adam and Eve sinned. The ground being cursed was part of the consequence of disobedience or sin. This is recorded in Genesis 3: 17-19.

17) To Adam he said, “Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, ‘You are not to eat from it,’ the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. 18) It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. 19) You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground — for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

 

But going back to chapter 2, before the fall, the point I want to make is that everything was in order.

The only missing element for Adam was a companion. And for Eve nothing was missing. Everything was there. Everything was in place. Everything was functioning as intended.

Genesis 2:18, 21-22

18) Adonai, God, said, “It isn’t good that the person should be alone. I will make for him a companion suitable for helping him.”

21) Then God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the person; and while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and closed up the place from which he took it with flesh. 22) The rib which Adonai, God, had taken from the person, he made a woman-person; and he brought her to the man-person.

God set them in a situation where there was no waiting. Our topic today is “The Purpose of Process” or “The Worth of Waiting”. Adam and Eve didn’t have to wait. Everything was instant and mature. It was immediately ready for use and enjoyment. God told Adam the trees in the garden were good for food and pleasant to the sight (Genesis 2:9). God didn’t tell them, “Now this isn’t the season for squash or cucumbers.” He didn’t tell them they would have to wait six months for oranges. The trees and fruit bearing plants were already mature. Adam and Eve didn’t have a two-year engagement before they could be together. They were husband and wife right away.

Because of this, I believe that ‘Right Now’ beginning formed an expectation in them that has been passed to all of their descendants. This is why it is uncomfortable for us to wait. I don’t want to go through the stages of the process. I would prefer for whatever I am expecting from God, for it to manifest on the spot, right now, no delay. The manner of living that we experience now was not the original plan. Everything was there. Everything was ready. Everything was already in its useful state. They didn’t have to wait for the flower to bloom, the tree to blossom or the fruit to mature. There weren’t any seasons of waiting in order to enjoy what God had provided.

When we reign with the Lord in eternity, that manner of living will be reinstated. What was lost through Adam and Eve’s disobedience will be restored. We will be comfortable again. We won’t be plagued with what is really foreign to who God created us to be. He did not create us to be sick or infirm or distressed or have mood swings or be in pain or suffer discomfort or be mistreated. All of that is foreign to who God made us to be.

But while we are here, we are subject to process and waiting. God doesn’t do anything without purpose. Even though it is generally not what we want to happen, the process has purpose and the wait has worth. They are helpful and valuable to us in this earthly realm.

In studying this topic, eight or nine benefits of waiting seemed to emerge. To help me remember them I am using this acronym: T-UPLOADS.

T is for Time. Time helps us develop Trust. Our hope and confidence in the Lord develop over time. It doesn’t happen all at once. We have to walk with Him awhile. Time offers opportunity for our Faith to grow and mature.

Psalm 27:14 NIV Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

U is for Understanding. Process encourages understanding. We generally have a much better grasp about a thing at the end of it than we did at the beginning. Life, marriage and parenthood are excellent examples.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Pride says, “Why should I have to wait?!?” Which leads to the next benefit of the process which is

P for Patience. Impatience is related to pride. Patience or longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit. We see that in Galatians 5:22.

L is for Learning. The Lord wants us to know things. None of us did the best job the first time we did something that required skill and knowledge. Through process, we repeat. Do it again and again. We should get better at it each time. This isn’t only for our own well-being. One reason we learn is so we can help and correctly instruct others.

O is for Obedience. If something is uncomfortable, we are less likely to want to do it. As we obey, it often becomes easier. There are blessings attached to obedience.

Isaiah 1:19 NIV If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

O can also be for Observation. Some things we learn by watching. It isn’t necessary or advisable to experience everything firsthand. Paying attention to the process can be very helpful: watch what happens, how it happens, what affect is produced or observe the outcome.

Proverbs 12:23 NIV The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.

A is for Appreciation. If something is given to a person too quickly, too easily and too soon, there is little or no appreciation. Kids who get whatever they want, whenever they want, grow up to be unthankful brats. And it isn’t the child’s fault. It is the error of whoever is raising them. Wise parents know that a healthy balance needs to be achieved. God is a wise parent. Our Heavenly Father always does what is best for us.

Proverbs 20:21 An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end.

D is for Discipline. Waiting helps develop discipline. It is a sign of maturity. I may want a new household appliance. But rather than taking out a loan or putting the purchase on a credit card so I can have the item right now, it is better to save the money and pay cash for it later. If I can discipline myself to wait, I will have saved so much in interest fees and the item is truly mine. I don’t owe anyone for it.

Proverbs 22:6 NIV Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 12:1 NIV Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

It is very difficult for a person who has lived life without boundaries to all of a sudden start reigning in their appetites. There will be an internal rebellion and an intense struggle.

S is for Seasons. Through process and waiting there are seasons. Every season of life has benefits although many people prefer one over the others. Concerning natural earth seasons, some people prefer the chill of winter when the earth is quiet and the air is crisp. Others like summer when there is plenty of sun, heat, picnics and warm weather celebrations and activities. Others would choose somewhere in between those extremes. But seasons are important because each one requires something different. We prepare differently. We dress differently. We eat differently. We travel differently. It is important to know how to maneuver successfully in whatever phase of life we are in. Process and waiting are unavoidable aspects of this life.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4 NIV

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

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