It takes as much faith to stay where God has brought you to as to get there in the first place.
When He told you to go, you obeyed in faith, like Abraham, unquestioning.
It was hard to go, to leave behind all that you knew, even though it was a place that became too small. But the sense of the unknown, the anticipation of adventure ahead led you to follow Him to the promised land.
But you didn’t know there would be giants there.
You were shocked at the size of them as you entered the gates.
The fruit of their unrighteousness was massive.
One by one they came against you. Blow after blow. Cut you down till you thought you would never recover. Till you were sure your body would be always broken, your mind might just go.
One more giant and you will be broken for good, you think.
You begin to look back longingly to Egypt. You forget the slavery and hard bondage and remember the flesh-pots and the yummy cucumbers you enjoyed there.
You thought the promised land would be different.
What am I doing here?
It takes as much faith to STAY where God has put you as to get there in the first place.
It takes vision to see past the giants and the constant battering to see the beauty, the freshness, the new thing that God is doing.
Occasionally you catch a glimpse before the next blow lands.
Sure you’d heard the stories of the children of Israel…but you didn’t know you would actually have to face a fierce battle to take new territory. They were just Bible stories right? Nah, it’s actually real, you discover. A picture of what is happening in the spiritual realm when God moves you to a new place.
Will you stay?
Or will you go back?
Then one day the last giant is gone. Of course you didn’t know at the time it would be the last giant. That was the biggest one. The last-ditch effort to destroy your faith and send you packing.
And then as you lie on the blood-soaked ground, not wanting to examine your wounds, wondering how or if you will ever recover from this… God sends a messenger to you out from Himself. A kind one who sits with you, tends your wounds, listens to your trauma, acknowledges what you’ve had to face. One who looks like he’s faced a few beatings himself.
He helps you up and walks with you.
Did I fail Lord by even wanting to go back?
No, He says, you have overcome: because you are still here, and you are still following Me.
Eventually you look up and see the sunlight bouncing on the leaves in the promised land, you notice the air here feels freer.
You don’t just believe God is good anymore, you know it, deep within your being. Because every time you thought this giant was the one who would kill you, a Man with scarred hands would show up on your behalf.
And now you have scars too.
And then the people start coming to you, one by one. There is need here too in the promised land. And suddenly you see that the scars and the desolation is what will be used to help others to overcome and bear their Master’s scars too.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
Don’t give up my friend, the Lord Himself fights for you. He sees you, He loves you, He will carry you. Keep looking ahead, moving forward. Don’t look back, forget the former things, He wants you to stand in the new thing He is doing. He has much for you to do.
“I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry…” Psalm 40:1
God is always on time
He is never early, He is never late. He is a punctual God.
He is also a miracle-working God.
We see the evidence of God’s miraculous and perfect-timing in Esther.
Haman’s wrath against Mordecai had grown steadily by the day. This Jew who refused to bow or pay homage to him! How dare he? Who does he think he is anyway?
Finally the day came when Haman’s hatred is unleashed. Queen Esther invites Haman to a feast, and when he, being filled with pride and his own self-importance, is once again confronted by this humble man who will simply not bow to him in the gate, he has had enough!
He builds a gallows with the intention of suggesting to the King in the morning that Mordecai be hanged on it.
Haman goes to bed happily.
But God had other plans….
“That night the king could not sleep….” Esther 6:1
That one little sentence sets the ball rolling for the events to follow. The king not being able to sleep is seemingly insignificant, yet it is the very thing that God uses to set in motion the overthrow of the enemy. But even more than that, that seemingly insignificant event is the beginning of the honouring of God’s servant.
The King calls for the book of records to be read before him. It is found in the records that a man called Mordecai had uncovered a plot by two of the king’s eunuchs to “lay hands on King Ahasuerus”. Mordecai had saved the king’s life.
“Then the king said, ‘What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” Esther 6:3
Mordecai had been overlooked, but the king wanted to rectify that.
“So the King said, ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman had just entered the court of the king’s palace to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.” Esther 6:4
We see God’s amazing timing here. We see God’s hand upon His servant, Mordecai. While the enemy was plotting for his downfall, God set events in motion that end up having Mordecai honoured and the enemy being brought low.
“So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ Afterward Mordecai went back to the King’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered.” Esther 6:11, 12
Brothers and sisters, we do not need to fear when we have the Lord on our side. Our Father knows how to look after His own, and if you are a child of His then He will not let you down. Remember that ultimately Haman was killed on the very gallows that he had built for Mordecai. The very thing the enemy is trying to destroy you with will be the very means of his downfall.
Whatever your circumstance is, whatever your prayer need, the God who is outside of time, is always on time.
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you knot know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
This is strong language…..Adulterers….Enmity with God…
Obviously friendship with the world is serious business in God’s eyes.
Definition of “The World”.
We all know John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
So God does love the world. However in this sense the scripture is talking about the world of people that Jesus died for. It was God’s love for all men under heaven that prompted Him to send His Son into this world to redeem us from the curse of sin and death that entered in with Adam.
However James 4:4 is talking about “the world” as a system. A system that is opposed to God.
The World is Opposed to God
Just as the devil is opposed to Christ and the flesh is opposed to the Spirit, so the world is opposed to all that is of the Father.
It takes its place in the “unholy trinity” as the very antithesis of all that is of the person of God the Father. This opposition to the Father manifests in a determined effort to undermine the Bible, especially Genesis. The creation account, the Flood have come under heavy fire in the last few years, even from Christians.
The World is Independent of God
The world system is not only opposed to God, it is also independent of God.
It is the spirit behind this system that attempted to build the Tower of Babel as a way to reach heaven without God. It is the spirit of independence. It is the same spirit that drives the UN and all other organisations that attempt to play “god” in this world and to re-define “good” and “evil” independent of His laws. It is the reason that God warned Adam and Eve about partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” Psalm 2:2,3
Choosing the way of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the way of opposition, independence and rebellion to God. Remember that to eat of that fruit was a sin, a breaking of a direct command of God not to partake of it.
The world is a system that is totally separate and apart from God. It’s a system that says “we don’t need God and His laws” and then makes their own.
The World is in Rebellion to God and His Laws
It is a system that rises up in defiance of God the Father, as Creator and Sustainer of Life.
God created male and female in His image and told them to be fruitful and multiply. This world system calls into question gender and sexuality. God says there are two genders. The world says there is a sliding scale with multiple gender possibilities. God says to male and female to pro-create, to bring forth life. This world says homosexuality is fine and promotes it as a way of keeping the human population under control.
This world undermines the very laws of nature. Breaking the laws of nature always brings death.
The Tree of Life and the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of one is Life, the fruit of the other is Death.
This world is in open defiance to God. The spirit behind it knows that God is its enemy. God knows the world is in enmity to Him. It seems that it is only the believers who struggle to realise this truth.
The World System Has its Own Philosophies and Principles.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
God has His principles, laws and the way of salvation clearly laid out in His word, the Bible. But this world rejects God’s Word and instead promotes the philosophies of man, which are opposed to Christ. Atheism, psychology, nihilism, post-modernism, you name it, they are philosophies of man and each are totally opposed to God and His Word.
These philosophies of man essentially become counterfeit gospels which are opposed to the true gospel of Christ. Satan promotes them through the media, social media, books, TV, Hollywood and false Christians.
And yes that includes psychology. This deception has infiltrated the Christian church and taken the place of true Biblical counselling, deliverance from demons and healing. Do not be deceived, it is a counterfeit of the gospel of Christ and brings believers in to bondage rather than setting them free. I am aware at how deeply this has rooted itself in the Church and so I encourage further study of the roots of psychology. Briefly, it is founded and rooted in atheistic philosophy and no amount of applying Biblical words to this philosophy will change the fact that it is of man and is opposed, and therefore in enmity, to the gospel of Christ.
Man’s principles in his “gospel” include: tolerance over truth; love over sin; self over Christ; and the salvation of this planet over the salvation of man.
This World is Under Judgment
This world is under judgment my friends.
No amount of recycling and “climate change” theory will save it. It began in the garden of Eden. When man fell into sin, so too the creation fell with him. God cursed the ground at that point. Praise God that Jesus came and redeemed fallen man from the curse of sin, but this world has not be redeemed. This world and all its systems and man-made philosophies are under God’s judgment and are reserved for fire.
Jesus said “Now is the time for judgment on this world…” John 12:31
The unleashing of God’s wrath on this world because of sin is only being held back by one thing – His Word.
“…the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
But at the moment we can see the birth pangs of judgment are beginning all over the world. Jesus warned us of increasing earthquakes, pestilences, wars, rumours of wars and huge deception in Matthew 24.
Friend of God or Friend of the World?
God considers friendship with the world spiritual “adultery”. We cannot be divided, we are either a friend of God or a friend of the World.
Jesus is ever faithful to His Bride and He in turn wants us to be faithful to Him – the lover of our souls.
Just as a husband would be jealous if his wife had eyes for another man, so too “the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously” (James 4:5) for our undivided, wholly devoted love. And who can blame Him? He has laid down His life for us! How much more should we be faithful to such a loving and gracious God?
Therefore “come out from among them and be ye separate.”
We are in the world, but we are no longer of the world. We are other-worldly now. Our true home is in heaven, not on this earth. Therefore I encourage you to look up, enlarge your vision. Be a Friend of God, rather than a friend of this world.
Let us be like Paul and be able to say:
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galations 6:14
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