God disciplines those he loves

WHEN GOD SAYS “NO”

Image result for FREE pictures of ancient sacrificial altarsHave you prayed very hard for something you want, only to find yourself waiting and waiting while nothing happens? You didn’t get the thing you prayed for and wondered why? After all, you’re a good little Christian who attends church services regularly, you may even be involved in the ministry of your church. You might be spending countless hours in intercessory prayer for others, and yet, your desired answer hasn’t materialized. You begin to question the Lord, or wonder if you’re praying amiss. Fact is, you might be, but it’s more likely that you’re not seeing the thing you’ve prayed for because the Lord has simply said “No” to your request.

Now, I know from personal experience that there are some things in life which we feel we just CAN’T live without if we’re to be happy and fulfilled. Many years ago I made a difficult decision that deeply affected several people possibly for the rest of their lives. The situation called for it, nevertheless I was emotionally distraught over it, and while my pain has lessened with time, it hasn’t gone away; it may never go away completely. In the midst of my crisis however, the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me that He was ‘doing something’ which I wouldn’t understand now. He spoke this scripture verse to me verbatim, “You do not know what I do now, but you shall know hereafter.” [John 13:7] How did I know it was a word from God? His words always fill you with His peace, and I know the voice of the Holy Spirit who lives inside me. Despite that word, years later, that decision came back to ‘test’ my devotion to the Lord, to see if I would keep Him FIRST place in my heart, or succumb to bitterness and anger over the loss I’d suffered, and possibly “draw back” from Him. It wasn’t an easy test; I so badly WANTED what I had given to Him (someone I loved dearly) to be a part of my life, but it was not to be – GOD SAID “NO.” At least for now, that’s His answer, and I must accept it if I’m to remain in the center of His will, and be at peace with Him and myself. When we fight against God’s decrees He may withdraw from us or we may find ourselves withdrawing from Him, and for those who know Him intimately, that brings pain far worse than the loss of any person or thing on this earth! No human relationship can meet the deep needs of your soul and spirit like the Lord Himself. In His presence is fullness of JOY, and everything that you need. Need doesn’t exist in God, for He fills all things with Himself. On another note, it’s perfectly acceptable to God for us to express our feelings whatever they are, to Him. He actually wants us to bring everything which concerns us to Him in prayer —-

Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

When we pour out our hearts to the Lord, we release our emotions in a safe place, to a safe Person, Who takes our inner turmoil and restores our souls with His peace. This is something I’ve experienced many times in my spiritual sojourn. Psa 147:3  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 

So, the truth of the matter is that we can live without those things we feel we MUST have in order to be happy. God will test us from time to time, to see if He’s first in our lives and if we’ll trust Him, or throw a fit and rant and rave at Him for not giving us our ‘dues’ so to speak. Who hasn’t on occasion, yelled at God in anger for some imagined neglect on His part, of his or her needs? While there’s ”no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” [Rms 8:1] one still needs to repent and ask God’s forgiveness when he realizes his error in falsely accusing Him of wrongdoing.  God is simply incapable of being mean, petty, selfish, cruel, unfair, etc.; for ”God is Love” in the purest and fullest sense. God deeply CARES about our needs and wants, but He sees the BIG PICTURE and the Future which we can’t see. Oftentimes, what we want so badly and get, brings us nothing but trouble, heartache, and loss. God allows us to have this experience again and again if necessary, until we LEARN TO COMPLETELY TRUST HIM WITH OUR LIVES.  He always has our best interests at heart, and “works all things together for good for those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose” [Rms 8:28].

God has a higher purpose for those who have received Him as their savior than just getting saved. Most haven’t been taught what that higher purpose is or what it entails. Apostle Paul wrote about it in Philippians, Romans, and Hebrews, but it seems this vital teaching gets little, if any, attention these days. God’s higher purpose for His called ones, is to conform them to the image of His Son Jesus Christ –

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  God won’t be satisfied until He sees His image fully formed in those whom He has chosen to rule and reign with Him when His Kingdom is established on Earth. But not all will qualify for that position. Those who are ‘chosen’ must undergo the strictest training and testing now, to prepare them to rule then; there’s no getting around this. The ‘many’ are all whom God has called, they comprise the general body of believers, while the ‘chosen’ are those who are willing to pay any price to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” [Rev 14:4]. Their entire lives are “living sacrifices” unto God – Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. This means that they hold nothing back from God. All that they are and all that they have, want, or need, is laid upon the altar as a sweet smelling offering unto Him, to do with as He pleases! That is full consecration, and it’s what Yahweh is looking for in each of His called ones. Yet, not all who are “called” will advance to “chosen” status – “Many are called, but few are chosen” [Mt 22:14].

Tests and trials, often in the form of delayed or unanswered prayers, are required in order for the believer to grow up (mature) into the fullness of what God has for him. As a child I recall hearing that old adage, ‘God knows best.’ At that time I didn’t give it much credence, but now I know it was a true saying. God does know what’s best for each of us, and IF we let Him be Lord of our lives, we’ll end up with His BEST. Sadly, that’s often not the case because we insist on running our lives our way, refusing to let Him correct and mold us. God is supposed to be the Potter and we the clay, not the other way around.

If you have ever had a difficult time accepting God’s “no’s” and fully submitting to his dealings in your life (and who hasn’t?), I highly recommend two books to you, “The Secret of the Stairs” and “Waterspouts of Glory” by Wade E. Taylor. The first is an in depth exposition of the biblical book, The Song of Solomon. Both are anointed by the Holy Spirit, and contain pure, deep spiritual truths which you’ll want to read again and again. I wouldn’t (couldn’t) part with my ‘used’ but almost ‘new’ copies which I found at Amazon for less than ten dollars each. These books give insight into the “why’s” of God’s dealings with those who are being conformed to His Image, chosen to one day rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom.  Anyone who’s been ”called” can qualify to be one of God’s “chosen,” but there is a price to be paid. Dying to SELF and crucifying the flesh is required of those who wish to attain to the highest and best, the HIGH CALL of God in Christ Jesus –

Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

Mat 16:24 – 26 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

Powerful words are they not? Fact is, not all will qualify to rule with Christ, for not all are willing to pay the price. If you are, God bless you as you seek Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. May you submit to ALL of his dealings in your life however painful, that you might become one of His “chosen.” Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. All of God’s dealings are for our ultimate good and His higher purpose, and because God is Love, we can trust Him completely to do what’s best for us.

 

 

THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD

God began to speak to my heart the evening of March 10, 2017, as I sat still and quiet in my recliner. He began to tell me why the ‘fiery trial’ had come to me (earlier in the day I had asked Him WHY so many things were going wrong in my life).

He began by telling me that this trial was sent to refine or purify my soul; as silver or gold is smelted, the junk rises to the surface where the Refiner can then skim it off, leaving pure metal in the pot. He told me that I have two choices, to embrace it and advance, or fight it and stay the same. If I embrace it, the process will be easier to go through, but if I fight it, the process will be harder, and need to be repeated in the future. He said He won’t allow junk (impurities) into His Kingdom. Then He mentioned my impurities and said that they must go! 

He then directed me to Hebrews 12:5, and after meditating on it, He showed me that my walk was uneven; one day walking in the Spirit, another day, in the flesh! He wants our walk to be even and level, living in the Spirit day by day. 

Fiery trials are sent to cleanse the heart and soul of impurities, like wrong thoughts, words, and actions. As metal is purified by fire, so is the heart and soul of a man. When gold or silver was refined in ancient times, it was heated to a very high temperature which caused the impurities (called dross) to rise to the surface. It then could be skimmed off the top of the liquid metal, leaving an unmarred surface that reflected the image of the refiner, a picture of Jesus as the Refiner’s Fire. This trial came to me so that my impurities (which lay hidden most of the time) would surface, so that I would see them, repent, and ask God to remove them. Sometimes these types of trials commence a ‘crisis of faith’ – something else the Lord pointed out to me twice on the same day several days before this trial arrived at my door. Not by accident, I found the phrase, ‘crisis of faith’ in a book title I wasn’t even searching for, and in a book [1] I had in my personal library at home about Moses when God commanded him to lead the Jews out of Egypt. Moses’ encounter with Yahweh brought him to a ‘crisis of faith’ in which he had to choose between believing God and moving forward, or letting his doubts rule and refusing God’s call. If Moses had done the latter, he would have forfeited God’s plan for his life, and God would have found someone else to free the Israelites. Moses would have lost out on his divine destiny. Fortunately, Moses chose to believe and obey God. In like manner, God told me that I could either stay where I was (stagnate), or embrace the purifying process and advance! He said that if I receive and embrace it, the process will be easier to endure, but if I fight against it, it will be harder. The purifying process, like the refiner’s smelting, will be repeated UNTIL all the impurities have surfaced and been removed! In other words, if I fight against the loving, fiery trials the Lord sends for my ultimate good, it will delay my reaching perfection and cause me more pain in the long run. It’s like when a child stubbornly refuses his parents discipline and suffers severer punishments, and or worse consequences further down the road as a result. It’s easier to just submit to God’s discipline when he sends it.

God disciplines those He loves –

Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 
Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 
Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 
Heb 12:12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 
Heb 12:13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 

And make straight paths for your feet,…. By “feet” are meant the walk and conversation of the saints, both in the church, and in the world, Son_7:1 and there are paths made ready for these feet to walk in; as the good old paths of truth, of the word and worship of God, of faith and holiness: and to make these paths “straight”, is to make the word of God the rule of walking; to avoid carefully joining anything with it as a rule; to attend constantly on the ordinances of Christ; to go on evenly in a way of believing on him; to walk in some measure worthy of the calling wherewith we are called, and by way of example to others.

Lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; a lame member, as the Syriac version, a lame member of the body of Christ, the church; or a lame person, as the Arabic version, a weak believer; one that is ready to halt, either through the corruption of nature, or through the weakness of grace, or through want of light and judgment, and through instability and inconstancy; lest such an one should, through the irregular walk and conversation of others, be stumbled and offended, and go out of the way, and leave the paths of righteousness and truth. God takes care of, and has a regard to such, and he would have others also, Mic_4:6. The Ethiopic version reads, “that your halting may be healed, and not offended”: that you yourselves may not halt and stumble.

But let it rather be healed; the fallen believer be restored, the weak brother be confirmed, the halting professor be strengthened, and everyone be built up and established upon the most holy faith, and in the pure ways of the Gospel. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” – Prov 3:6

The word ‘acknowledge’ is ‘yada’ – to ‘know, regard, recognize, perceive, experience, observe, be aware, comprehend, understand, learn, be instructed, and more. See Strong’s H2045

In all thy ways acknowledge him,…. Or “know him” (l); the Lord: set him before thee; have him always in view; consider him as ever present with thee, observing every step thou takest; and take not one step without his leave, and without his advice; ask wisdom of him who gives liberally; consult his word, and make the Scriptures thy counsellors, or the men of thy counsel, as in Psa_119:24; take him as your guide; observe the footsteps of his providence; follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes; walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; when things go cross and adverse, and not to your mind, submit to his sovereignty; and be still and know that he is God, that does all things right, for his own glory and his people’s good, Psa_46:10; and when things succeed, give him the glory of all; own his hand in it, and the bounty of it; acknowledge that all you have, in providence and grace, come from him;

and he shall direct thy paths; man cannot direct his own; no, not a man: this is a blessing from the Lord; who steps of his people, keeps the feet of his saints, and directs them aright in things temporal and spiritual, Jer_10:23. (l) דעהו “scito eum”, Pagninus, Montanus. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105
Pro 4:24  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 
Pro 4:25  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 
Pro 4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 
Pro 4:27  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. 

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left – Avoid all crooked ways. Be an upright, downright, and straight-forward man. Avoid tricks, wiles, and deceptions of this kind. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible]

Ponder the path of thy feet,…. Consider well what path it is, whether right or wrong; or weigh it in the balances of thought, as Aben Ezra; or rather in the balances of the word, and see whether it agrees with that or not. The Septuagint version is, “make straight paths for thy feet”; to which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews seems to have respect, Heb_12:13;

and let all thy walls be established; so as to walk on steadily, constantly, uniformly, and not be easily moved out of the ways of religion and truth. Or, “let all thy ways be prepared”, or “directed”, or “disposed” (c); according to the rule of the divine word. Some render it as a promise, “and all thy ways shall be established” (d); when care is taken to look well into them; see 2Ch_20:20. (c) יכנו “dirigantur”, Tigurine version, Mercerus; “recte apparentur aut disponantur”, Vatablus. (d) “Stabilientur”, V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; “constabilientur”, Schultens. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

Ponder the path, etc., Pro_4:26. “Weigh carefully.” Act in haste and repent at leisure! Ask God to keep you back from presumptuous sins; and bear in mind the wise exhortation of Ecc_5:2. [Through the Bible Day by Day, F.B. Meyer]

In other words, consider well the course of your life, or the course of action you’re about to take (ponder the path of your feet). Let all your thoughts, words, and actions (ways) be prepared, directed, and ordered (established), by the Word of God. Ignoring it will yield negative consequences, and could result in ruin. May God’s sons escape such a fate.

May they all make their paths straight, and not despise the chastening of the Lord!

 

Footnotes:

[1] “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby & Claude B. King, Chapter 3