If God has blessed you, erect an altar and give the blessing back to God as a love-gift. If we hoard our blessings, they will turn to spiritual dry rot.
If we imagine we have any strength apart from God, we will have to break the neck of our strength over some obstacle before we are willing to rely upon Him.
Many of us do not go on in our spiritual life because we prefer to choose what is our right instead of relying upon God to choose for us. Only when we act in accordance with real faith in God, does God speak to us.
The trial of our faith is precious before God. We should embrace the trial. We should be of good cheer because Jesus overcomes all things. Once we understand this, it should be a delight to meet opposition.
We only have to remain true to God, and when His word is fulfilled, we will know it because it will be supernatural fulfillment. We must learn the difference between helping God and God helping us.
God's method always seems to be vision first, and then reality, but in between the vision and the reality there is often a deep valley of humiliation. How often has a faithful soul been plunged into a like darkness when after the vision has come the test.
Os Note: I have noticed this principle in the lives of so many. First the vision, then there seems to be a death to the vision, then God raises up the vision in a different way. I have personally experienced this.
Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, he puts the saint in the shadow of His hand, as it were, and the saint's duty is to be still and listen. We must not listen to "good advice" in the dark instead of waiting for God to send the light.
When God gives a vision and darkness follows, waiting on God will bring you into accordance with the vision He has given if you await His timing. Otherwise, you try to do away with the supernatural in God's undertakings. Never try to help God fulfill His word.
Os Note: This becomes challenging for most of us in business. A mentor gave me a good principle to follow in this regard: "You almost have to withhold your natural gifting to insure that God is in it." How I translate this is that I no longer push hard on a project unless God specifically tells me to. I let him open the door after I pursue for a time.
When God puts the dark of "nothing" into our experience, it is the most positive something He can give us.
Os Note: When we are in the place of the valley, our temptation is to seek to deliver ourselves. We must be careful not to deliver ourselves before it is time for the deliverance. This requires a spiritual maturity to learn the difference between self-deliverance and God's deliverance of us.
When we put our natural life out in the desert, resolutely cast it out and keep it under, then God is with it. It requires stern discipline and rigorous severity to the last degree. But when we comply, God will be with the natural life and bring it to its full purpose.
At times, it appears as if God has not only forsaken His word, but has deliberately deceived us. We asked Him for a particular thing, or related to Him in a certain way, and expected that it would mean the fullness of blessing. What we got was just the opposite-upset, trouble, and difficulty all around - and we are staggered, until we learn that by this very discipline God is bringing us to the place of entire abandonment to Himself.
Os Note: Oh, is this so ever true! It seems sometimes God calls us to something, then deliberately thwarts our efforts. Moses went out of obedience to tell Pharaoh to free the people. It took many plagues, great hardship for Moses and persecution from the people before this freedom was manifested. Moses complained to God, "You called me to go to Pharaoh, but you are not freeing the people." There is a purpose in the silence from God on our manifestation of our vision. It teaches up perseverance and obedience and patience.
The natural must be disciplined and turned into the spiritual by sacrifice. Otherwise, it will produce a tremendous divorce in the life.
The test of a saint is not success, but faithfulness as in steward of the mysteries of God in human life as it actually is. The one thing glorifying to God is the glory of God manifested in ordinary human lives.
When you hear the call of God and realize what He wants, obey Him, because away in some other part of the world there are other circumstances being worked by God that may depend on your circumstances. Half of sentimental pious folks that strew the coasts of emotional religious life are there because they would engineer their own circumstances.
God's omniscience, God's order, and God's opportunity all work together in individual lives, and Jesus Christ enters into our lives right into the midst of seemingly haphazard circumstances. Sanctification is not the end of redemption, it is the gateway to the purpose of God. Christian extreme is not the purpose of God. Christian experience is not the purpose of redemption; it is the gateway to the purpose of God. God's own plans are the purpose of redemption.
If our testimony is weak, it is because we have gone through no crisis with God; there is no heartbroken emotion behind it. It is essential to go through a crisis with God, which costs you something; otherwise, your devotional life is not worth anything. You cannot be profoundly moved by doctrine; you can only be profoundly moved by devotion.
Sanctification means that I become a child of God. Consequently, my common sense decisions are God's will unless He gives the check of His spirit. I decide the things in perfect fellowship with God, knowing that if my decisions are wrong, He will check. When He checks, I must stop at once. It is the inner check of the Spirit that prevents common sense from being our God.
It is our wisdom to follow providence, but folly to force it.When you obey the call of God, the first thing that strikes you is the irrelevancy of the thing you have to do.
Much of modern Christian enterprise is "Ishmael," born not of God, but of an inordinate desire to do God's will in our own way - the one thing our Lord never did.
Os Note: Boy, is this ever true. I have worked with so many organizations who seek to birth something through the flesh. This is the body of Christ's greatest weakness. We don't know how to be led by God so that we discern His will in a matter versus leaning on our natural inclinations. The root of this is impatience and a selfish desire to "get it done" at the expense of God's perfect plan.
Personal Observations for People in the Pit
As you enter this time, ask God if there are any direct sins that He may be judging in your life. It is important to understand when we go through trials whether the source of the trial is from our own sin, or simply the purging process of molding and shaping for something God is doing in our lives. It will be important to make sure relationships are right. Satan has a legal right to sift us of there is sin.
When the Lord takes us through deep waters, there will be fruit from the deep water that we cannot see at this time. You must press into him with all you have during this time.
God uses the deep water to frame our lives to create a nature change, not just a habit change in us. The depth and width of our adversity often is an indicator of the level of calling and influence we will have on others in the future. Our adversity is not just for us, but others who will be in our future path of influence. This is not very comforting when you are in the middle of the storm.
If you find yourself in the pit, you will discover there is little you can do to stop the bleeding. Don't spend too much time trying to stop the bleeding. There is a purpose in this. This is not taking a fatalistic view, but the reality of a deep pit experience. There is nothing Joseph could do to deliver him from the pit. It was only when God created circumstances that allowed him to be delivered that he was delivered. You must learn when to move and when not to move. This, too, is the lesson you will learn in the process.
Watch the destitution of wits that follows quickly on the heals of a divine revelation. Whenever you get a revelation from God, you will be starved at once-starved, that is, in your wits. You can see no way out. Every time your wits compete with the worship of God, you had better take a strong dose of Isaiah 30:15: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Beware of restlessness and wits persuading you that God has made a blunder: "God would never allow me to fall sick after giving me such a blessing." But He has!
No matter what revelations God has made to you, there will be destitution so far as the physical apprehension of things is concerned. God gives you a revelation that He will provide: then He provides nothing, and you begin to realize that there is a famine-of food, or of clothes, or money-and your common sense says, "Abandon your faith in God." Do it at your peril. Watch where destitution comes. If it comes on the heels of a time of quite confidence in God, then thank Him for it and hold fast, and He will bring a glorious issue.
Whatever centers attention on anything other than our Lord Himself will always lead astray. The only way to be kept cleansed is by walking in the light, as God is in the light.
Abraham's aberrations sprang not from disobedience, but from trusting in his own wits. As soon as God's command was made known to him, he obeyed; when there was no command, however, he was inclined to trust his wits, and that is where he went wrong.
All the transactions entered into by both Abraham and Isaac; no matter how temporary or casual, were based on their relationship to God; that is, they used their wits in their worship of Him. This recognition of God began to be lost during Jacob's life, and the children of
Note: I see this as the major problem we business people have in learning to walk with God in our work lives. It is very difficult to hold back our intellectual strategies to allow God to move in the midst of our lives.
Depth and Width of Your Call
Several years ago, a mentor explained to me that the depth and width of our faith experience is directly proportional to the level of call God has upon our life. In other words, if God takes you through deep waters you can expect God to use those experiences to fulfill His purposes in your life. If you have had great adversity, you can expect God to use that adversity to frame your life for the message He will speak through you.
Chambers alludes to this concept in the following excerpt:
The more we have to sacrifice for God, the more glorious will be our reward. We have no right to choose our sacrifice, however; God will let us see what our "Isaac" is to be. God is always at work lifting up the natural and making it the spiritual one. Yet, most of us want to cling to the natural when God wants to put a sword through it. If we go through the transfiguration of the natural, we will receive it back on a new plane altogether. God wants to make eternally our own what we only possessed intermittently.
In the beginning we do not train for God, we train for work, for our own aims; but as we go with God, we lose all our own aims and are trained into God's purpose. Unless practical work is appointed by God, it will prove a curse. "At any cost, by any road," means nothing self-chosen. The Bible does not say that God blessed Abraham and took him to heaven, but that He blessed him and kept him on earth. The maturity of character before God is the personal channel through which He can bless others. If it takes all our lifetime before God can put us right, then others are going to be impoverished. We need to rise as early as we can and climb our
Note: I will never forget the day when a mentor said to me during one of my deepest valleys, "You must not give up. There are too many depending on you to come through your adversity." It was a prophetic word describing how my process and experience was going to bless others. But, I had no idea what he was talking about at the time.
God rarely rebukes us for our impulsive plans because those plans work their own distress.
It is always easier not to trust. If we can work the thing out for ourselves, we are not going to trust in God. We work out a plan and thereby try to force God's hand; and when He does what we said we knew He would do, for an exhilarating moment we think we have made Him do it!
Always beware when you can reasonably account to yourself for the action you are about to take, because the source of such clear reasoning is the enthroning of human understanding.
The reason we know so little about God's wisdom is that we will only trust Him as far as we can work things out according to our own reasonable common sense.
Remember, trust in God does not mean that God will explain His solutions to us; it means that we are perfectly confident in God, and when we do see the solution we find it to be in accordance with all that Jesus Christ revealed of His character. It is nonsense to imagine that God expects me to discern all that is clear to His own mind; all He asks of me is maintain perfect confidence in Him. Faith springs from the indwelling of the life of God in me.
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Making Godly Decisions, by Os Hillman
Every day men and women are faced with life-changing decisions that impact their future. What method should they use for making those decisions? How can you know if you are making a decision that will be blessed by God? In Making Godly Decisions, Os Hillman provides a thorough look, through scripture and personal experience, the principles for making good decisions that are also godly decisions.