Probably the single worst torture that men and women deal with in their daily lives is dealing with all the personal beliefs they hold about who they are and what’s wrong with their lives. If we are all completely honest, all those doubts and negative messages we grow up with affect us all our lives. It determines why we make choices about who we partner with, what we do to make a living, whether or not we get education and whether we put up with abuse either from family, friends or mates. It is the nagging self-doubt or negative belief system about ourselves that leads to much of our sin, bad choices and sorrow in life.
No one will have love to give someone else, if they don’t first learn to love and appreciate themselves. Anyone running on empty in this department of human spirit can’t give what they themselves desparately need. It is a never ending cycle, much like the person who can never get enough to eat, they will come to the table anytime it is spread, but will have nothing to contribute because they ate it all on the way to the meal.
Women and men alike, suffer from the same emptiness, but this is from a woman’s viewpoint I write. We live in a society that doesn’t gear women to have a true idea of their worth. All our worth was measured in things outside of ourselves. Whether or not we won a beauty contest, was a prom queen, or was a cheerleader comes to mind. Whether we had a date for an important function at school. Whether we could cook, whether or not we had a husband by a specific age, whether we had children, and so on.
So many women have grown up thinking their worth is measured by the approval of others, men in particular. Whether or not they could offer great sex or whether they could take a “man with issues” and fix him, all meant they had value. Divorcees, as they were called, were looked upon as “failures” and “bad women nobody really wanted for more than a good time” when I was growing up, but divorced men were always men who just needed the “right woman”. Then there are the negative messages women get that start at a young age… “Oh honey, you can’t do that… you’re a girl”!!! Anyway, this is about what I have discovered that God offers women.
God, if you reach the point of trusting him, hand over control to him, will fill you with the Holy Spirit and with his Word. He changes everything and does indeed fill those holes in your heart with the truth… the truth being that you have real value in his eyes, he sent his Son to die for us all and he will reveal to you what you can do with your value to glorify Him. He purges out all the negative messages that you have believed since childhood… that love has to be earned by superhuman acts on your part, that you are not worthy of unconditional love. This is Satan’s message and therefore it’s a lie. He heals the hurts and pain, and makes us whole and ready to recieve his blessings.
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
That verse is the standard God sets and inspires me in my walk of faith. This is how God fills us all, through reading His Word and trusting him to take care of all our needs.When He promises to make us “New Creatures”, rebuilding the self-esteem, healing our pain and giving us an understanding of our value, is all part of it. He frees us to trust and live for him without fear. Praise Him, and may God bless you as he has blest me.
Remember the Basics
As we continue down God’s path of sanctification, “being transformed into His likeness” (2 Corinthians 3:18), moving from milk to solid food (Hebrews 5:12), and growing in grace and “all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9), it’s wise to return often to the basics of our faith. As we learn more of our Heavenly Father and ponder His “deeper truths,” we must never forget that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The truth of all scripture is that God loves us and is inviting us to join Him – to know Him and enjoy Him – for all eternity.
The Apostle Peter understood the importance of fundamentals. He wrote his second letter to warn us against false teaching and to remind us that, as we step out in faith, we have been given all the necessary tools to accomplish what God desires for our life; “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Peter taught that when we place our trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, we receive everything we need to live a victorious life; “so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4). The real challenge of our Christian walk is not in acquiring new and “greater” gifts, but in learning how to best utilize what we have already received.
Peter also wanted us to remember that Salvation is not the end of our journey; rather, it’s the beginning of a long and wonderful walk which begins in faith and continues by growing ever closer to Christ. Since we have been given such a wonderful gift, we should “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7). We must continue to grow such that the end result – the highest quality of our Christian life – is love!
Peter believed these to be fundamental truths, but truths which were necessary to often repeat!
2 Peter 1:12-13
“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live.”
To ensure we don’t wander down side paths filled with self-effort and self-importance, or stumble in the world’s temptation of corruption and evil desires, we must continually return to the starting point of our faith. We must never forget that God loves us and desires to walk with us each and every day. All that we do must be directed by God and accomplished with the tools He has provided. Let’s dig deep at every opportunity, but let’s remain lovingly close to His side and always remember the basics.
I am grateful to the true “Rock”, the apostle Peter for seeing fit to remind us all of these important fundamental truths… HoosierArmyMom.
From “Freedom in Christ Ministries”
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him . . . follow Me
Seeking to overcome self by self-effort is a hopeless struggle. Self will never cast out self, because an independent self motivated by the flesh still wants to be God. We must follow Christ by being led by the Holy Spirit down the path of death to self-rule. As Paul wrote: “We who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11).
This may sound like a dismal path to walk, but I assure you that it is not. It is a tremendous experience to be known by the Shepherd and to follow Him as obedient, dependent sheep (John 10:27). The fact that we are led by the Spirit of God, even when it results in the death to self-rule, is our assurance of sonship (Romans 8;14). We were not designed to function independently of God. Only when we are dependent on Him and intent on following Christ are we complete and free to prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).
Self-rule is motivated by self-interest and supported only by self-centered resources. When we come to the end of our resources, we discover God’s resources. God will let us do our thing and patiently wait until self-interest and self-rule leave us spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. We can turn to God any time we weary of trying to run our own lives independently of Him. He doesn’t force Himself on us; He just simply says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him . . . follow Me.” Are you willing to forsake self-rule and follow Him?
This is by far, the greatest lesson I have had to learn. Being a prideful and an “I can do it all” kind of gal, I have foolishly pursued the things in my life that mattered most to me “myself”. Surely God is way too busy helping the billions of souls in need and I can do it myself… All I did was run myself into utter depletion of spirit and hope. When I hit rock bottom and truly handed over control to God, so many great blessings burst forth. He has healed my body, mind, soul, and life. He has given me a rebirth of confidence and love that I have never felt before. I now know what it means to be “filled with the gifts of the Spirit”, as I think in a better way and my heart feels the communion with God when I pray. I always felt that giving God the control, or handing him the steering wheel, was a sure sign of weakness. But it is the sign you value your relationship with God and that you truly love and trust him with all your heart! My blessings have been great and I am truly where I need to be. God cannot work His perfect will unless He has control to heal our pain and insecurities and fix our broken heart and spirit. Our pain and despair, at the moment of surrender, is the fire he uses to forge us into “new creatures” (as promised in the Bible) and fill us and all those vacant places deep inside with the “gifts of the Spirit”. It is merely the commitment that you want to love and trust the Lord and walk with him and recieve the blessings his perfect will brings. We mere mortals are made human so we can rely on Him and he can bless us fully. When we rely on everything else but him we increase the distance and He can’t reach out and bless us. Hard lessons for a bullheaded, prideful woman from the heartland to learn, but I am so blessed to know it.
Prayer: Loving Shepherd, I desire Your will for my life, and I purpose today to follow You in obedience and dependence.
Stay Off The Roof
Bathsheba and then tried to cover up his sin with lies and murder. How could someone described by God as, “A man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22), make such a bad error in judgment? Sin is rarely the result of a single poor choice. Most often, the is caused by a long drift away from the and several specific decisions made outside His will.gave in to temptation with
2 Samuel 11:1
“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.”
David had become complacent about his duties as King. When the rest of his men were off at war, David stayed home with not much to do. He could have spent time drawing closer to God with prayer and study of the Word, but apparently David allowed himself to become quite restless.
2 Samuel 11:2
“One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful.”
David walked on the roof and (much to his surprise?) he saw a naked woman in a bathtub! Remember that David built this palace – he knew every detail of the architecture. He knew exactly where the bath houses were and knew the preferred times of bathing! “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (James 1:14-15).
David’s sin began long before he climbed into bed with Bathsheba. It began with letting down his guard of self-discipline and wandering from God; it then continued by entering an area of compromise – an area where he was enticed.
We must all recognize our “roof” where we become susceptible to temptation: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Many times, our way out of temptation is simply to not visit the place where we know temptation resides – to not allow temptation to even germinate in our heart.
Is there a restlessness which is causing us to drift from God? Are we spending time and energy on activities, in places or conversations (physical or virtual), which we know are not honoring to God? Let’s remain in His presences and ask God to open our eyes to the vulnerable areas of our life; let’s commit to walk the path of purity and stay off the roof!
From American Thinker by Bruce Walker
Sin is an unpopular topic. In Hollywood today, unmarried pretty faces procreate and then splash baby pictures on the front of every women’s magazine in America. No one dares question if the parents of this child have sinned, but, of course, they have. Indeed, they have sinned in several ways. They have conceived a child out of wedlock, which is a sin. They have also provided an example for millions of young women who lack the money to hire nannies and who imagine that their idols would not lead them into miserable lives. These unwed mothers, their children, and the unwed fathers too have rejected not just the rules of God, which — amazingly! — do not just deliver us from evil but also make our lives happier, healthier, and more successful.
Psychologists and other social experts take the sting out of sin. If sexually aroused young people make a child, this inconvenient debris can always be snuffed. If the pregnant mother chooses to have her baby, a host of government programs, from WIC to child support enforcement, will insure that the biological sperm donor is relegated to irrelevance in the life of the child. The idea that both parents have done something fundamentally wrong is as absent as the idea that people still sin. Even the word “sin” makes many of us uneasy. Who are we to say what is right and wrong? “We” are, indeed, nothing. Sin is a principle of God, not men.
But put faith aside for a moment. Take God out of the picture. What are the consequences of a child growing up with only one parent, a mother, who is dependent upon government largess and coercive child support programs to survive? Poverty, for one thing, is much more likely in this fatherless home. The child is more likely to grow up contemptuous of work and of school. He is more likely to be crippled by drugs, alcohol, depression, and delinquency. Rather than taking care of society, as we have expected new generations to do, this child is much more likely to need society to take care of him.
More and more people and politicians have come to couch every issue into economic terms. This is a flawed viewpoint, but say we accept the premise anyway. What is the biggest economic problem in America today? It is simply sin. Everyone now agrees that the best way to a productive society is to have people emotionally well-adjusted, physically healthy, well educated, temperate drinkers, good and interested parents, strategic financially (e.g. people who save rather than always spend), and who provide for family members and others a private social safety net.
A society that condemns sin and urges people to reject sin produces just that sort of people. Couples marry before they have children; they raise children in a two family home; they work, stay sober, care for family members and members of their church or synagogue, draw happiness and confidence from religious faith, plan ahead, study (how quickly we forget, in our infatuation with public education, that the idea of literacy was uniquely religious in origin – Jewish boys and Scottish girls and boys were the first children compelled to become literate, and the reasons had entirely to do with religious injunctions. Sins of omission and sins of commission bring us into a society which must be supported by props of massive social programs, huge public relations campaigns, and an enormous amount of our energy. And all this does not work. Pseudo-morality simply makes us feel better for awhile. When people begin to believe that sin is a myth, then they lose all immunity to the soul disease which will slowly kill them.
from June 6, 2006
Put On The New Self
How does (or should) a Christian live? We might say a Christian is “made” by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and we might define a Christian as a child of God who will spend eternity in Heaven. And while these are true statements, it still seems there ought to be something about a Christian that makes them different from the rest of the unbelieving world; “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The moment we truly believe in Jesus Christ and accept the forgiveness offered through the sacrifice of His death, we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and become a “new creation.” But at the very instant of what we call our new birth, there is little recognizable difference between the old creation and the new. The transformation is done on our heart and there needs to be a process where we mature and allow this transformation to consume every area of our life.
Much of the letters written by Paul were devoted to this same subject. He spent most of his ministry preaching the good news of Salvation through faith in Jesus; but most of his writing was to Christians, instructing them on how they should live.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
These verses are part of a three chapter passage (Ephesians 4-6) which begins with “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1) and includes teaching about unity, love, humility, anger, purity, husbands, wives, parents, children, slaves, masters, and the full armor of God – all teaching about what is meant by the new self! Some find it hard to understand that a Christian must be taught and urged how to live, but Paul understood. In fact, it’s clear in the original language that Paul is saying to put on the new self…and to KEEP putting it on!!
This is perhaps the most important, yet also the most neglected, teaching of the church today. We seem to have lost the understanding that the Christian life is designed to be a radical transformation which lasts all the rest of our days. The call to “come as you are” is also a call to prepare for change.
The new life we’ve been given is not like the old – it’s “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Let’s rise up every day and be determined to put away the old and live according to the new. Let’s show the world that our walk is different – that we walk hand in hand with Jesus – that we have indeed put on the new self.
From June 1, 2006
His Work of Art
Do you ever wake up and wonder if you’re where God wants you? Do you ever wonder if you’re really following God’s plan for your life? These are normal questions and ought to be asked by every true believer in Jesus Christ. We should desire to follow His plan; and the only way to know is to ask, listen for direction, and obediently follow.
The most important part of God’s plan is that we trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin; “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God wants us all to repent, turn to Jesus and receive His gift of Salvation – He wants us to step from eternal death to eternal life!
But many people receive His gift and then continue life with no real change, no new direction. This should not be! When we receive God’s gift of Salvation, something wonderful occurs; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we place our life in His hands, He wipes away the ugliness of our sin and begins to grow and mature us into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29). This process of maturing growth is His plan!
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When we become a new creation in Christ, we become God’s workmanship. The Greek word for workmanship is “poiema” – it’s where we get the word poem. And though it might be difficult to think of our life as a poem, the idea being presented is that God is creating something beautiful, something almost poetic which touches the heart of God.
It might be easier to switch analogies and think of God as the Master Painter. When we give Him our life, we hand Him our old canvas – a canvas covered with the grotesque ugliness of sin. But by grace the canvas is wiped clean, and the Artist begins to paint a work of art with Jesus as the model. Every stroke of His brush is to make our canvas look more and more like Christ.
Are we where God wants us? Are we following His plan? To help find the answer, we should ask: Is the likeness of Christ beginning to form or is my canvas still filled with ugliness and confusion? Am I allowing Him to paint or am I trying to take the brush at every opportunity? Do I even trust Him with my canvas?
God really is the Master Painter, and He really does know what He’s doing. If we will allow Him to finish His work, the end result will be better than anything we can imagine!! Let’s give Him our canvas and allow Him to paint. Let’s follow His plan and allow our life to become His work of art.
From May 30, 2006
Hiding Among The Baggage
When Samuel became too old to be an effective judge, the leaders of Israel asked for a new kind of ruler; “Appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have” (1 Samuel 8:5). This request was actually an indication of the sad decline of God’s people. By requesting a king, “as all the other nations,” they were rejecting God’s plan and choosing to follow the ways of the world.
God was disappointed with the heart of His children; but He granted their request and told Samuel to anoint Saul as Israel’s first king. Saul was “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites – a head taller than any of the others” (1 Samuel 9:2). Saul’s external appearance was a perfect match for the superficial values of the nation.
When Samuel spoke with Saul, he was quite surprised to hear he had been chosen by God: “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” (1 Samuel 9:21). Saul’s insecurities were so great that when it came time to officially anoint him as king, he was nowhere to be found.
1 Samuel 10:22
“So they inquired further of the Lord, ‘Has the man come here yet?’ And the Lord said, ‘Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage.'”
Although Saul made many mistakes as king, we must not forget he was specifically chosen by God and empowered to do His will. But Saul lived with a great sense of inadequacy and was never able to effectively lead. He continually stepped out of God’s will because his focus remained on his own limitations rather than on the limitless ability of the One who called him to serve.
Each of us who enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are also chosen to do His will – empowered by His Spirit to accomplish everything He desires for our life; “His divine power has given us everything we need” (2 Peter 1:3). Unfortunately, most of us enter this relationship carrying bags from our past which weigh us down and hinder our ability to serve.
What baggage are we still carrying or using to hide from God’s call? There may be sins and failures in our distant (or even very recent) past which make us feel unworthy to serve. We may still carry the pain and mistrust of a broken relationship. We may have even made a sincere attempt to serve but taken a few wrong steps and fallen flat. But NOTHING must keep us from doing His will. Nothing must keep us from following where we know He is leading. Let’s trust Him with all our heart and answer the call today. Let’s keep our eyes on Christ and stop hiding among the baggage.
From August 4, 2006
Rend Our Heart
Every prophet in the Bible proclaimed a message which called the people to repentance. From Moses to John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles, the message was consistent: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Repentance is essential to a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father – essential to Salvation. Repentance is a condition of our heart whereby we recognize our sin and, in desperation and sorrow, turn and cry out to God for help.
“‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.'”
In the Old Testament times it was common for someone to tear (or rend) their clothes when they were expressing great sorrow. For example, when Jacob thought that Joseph had been killed by wild animals, he “tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days” (Genesis 37:34). When the Israelites were beaten when attacking the city of Ai, Joshua “tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord” (Joshua 7:6).
Tearing your clothes was an outward expression of sorrow. But all through Scripture, God makes it abundantly clear that He looks deep into our heart; “These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is made up only of rules taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13). Jesus referenced this exact passage when He confronted the hypocritical worship of the Pharisees (Matthew 15:7-9).
We must never even hint that repentance involves “right” outward behavior. We have no ability to do right in the eyes of God without receiving, by faith, His gift of Salvation and allowing His Spirit to transform us into a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Only through His power can we be set on a path of being “conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Romans 8:29) – only in His strength can we ever do “right.”
God has more grace to forgive than we can possibly imagine; but our loving Father expects – even demands – true repentance. He’s fully aware of the many ways we sin and fall short of His glory; but until WE understand how far we have fallen and genuinely desire to change, we will never appreciate His grace in making us clean – never experience His “times of refreshing.” Let’s seek His forgiveness and walk in closer harmony with our Heavenly Father. Let’s confess our sins and, with repentant sorrow, stand before Him today and rend our heart.
From August 7, 2006
Clean From Within
In the message “Rend Our Heart” we saw how God commands us to recognize our sin and tear our heart in sorrowful repentance as we cry out for His gracious and abundant forgiveness. The instant we first place our complete trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born of the Spirit and released from the bondage of our sinful nature. Sin may still war within us and sometimes cause us to stumble, but it no longer has dominion and control over our lives – we have been set free!
Jesus often taught of this radical transformation in terms of our need for a clean heart.
“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'”
Our heart pumps life into all the other parts of our body. If our heart is made clean through the forgiveness of Jesus, the rest of our life will also become clean as His life flows through us; “First clean the inside…and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:26). But if our heart remains soiled by an unrepentant sinful nature, no amount of outside scrubbing and polishing will ever make us clean.
Jesus presented the above list of “evils” for our self evaluation – as an outward test of inward cleanliness. Our lives may be free from the obvious stealing, murder, and adultery; but the rest of the list requires us to look a little deeper. Folly is the lack of good sense. Arrogance is an overbearing confidence. Slander is making false statements against someone. Envy is discontent due to another’s good fortune. Lewdness is indecent language or action. Deceit means to conceal the truth. Malice means to cruelly tease, and greed is excessive desire.
A transformed, “circumcised of the heart” (Romans 2:29), believer in Jesus Christ should never be characterize by this type of behavior. As the Spirit of Jesus makes us into a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and begins to flow through our life, these old sins ought to slow to a trickle and eventually pass away.
Is the cleansing power of Jesus flowing into all areas of our life? Or are there areas we still claim as our own? If we desire to offer our lives as “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1), then we must allow our sacrifice to be completely cleansed – we must place our heart more fully in His hands. Let’s come before our Heavenly Father, confess our sins, and allow the transforming forgiveness of Jesus to make us clean from within.
Never Trade The Blessing
When Isaac was sixty years old, his wife Rebecca gave birth to twin sons. Esau was born first, followed immediately by Jacob; “with his hand grasping Esau’s heal” (Genesis 25:26). Esau grew to be a skillful hunter while Jacob stayed more around the tents with his mother.
In the days of, the firstborn son was given a special honor called the birthright. The child having the birthright received a double portion of the family inheritance as well as the eventual privilege of family leadership. The birthright could be traded, but all future birthright blessings were then lost.
“Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, ‘Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!’ Jacob replied, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ ‘Look, I am about to die,’ Esau said. ‘What good is the birthright to me?'”
Esau was a young man who lived “in the moment” and traded his birthright for a bowl of stew. He placed much greater value on immediate gratification than on future blessings; and he exaggerated his immediate need in order to justify the future loss. The mighty hunter may have been hungry – maybe even VERY hungry – but he certainly was not about to die.
Esau’s decision to let go of his birthright was based on the temporary needs he could see and feel. His focus on the immediate caused him to lose the blessings which were greater and long lasting, but unseen. Jacob would later steal Esau’s final blessing from their father, but Easu freely gave away his birthright because he never understood its true value.
Similar trades are being made today. We just don’t understand (or believe) the value of blessings. When a child leaves home in rebellion, they trade the blessing of an honoring relationship with their parents for perceived pleasures of immediate freedom. When a spouse pursues a relationship outside of marriage, they trade the blessing of a God-honoring union for perceived pleasures of the flesh. And when we fail to “wait upon the Lord” with decisions, we have allowed our impatience to trade away the blessing of walking in God’s perfect will. We may spend a lifetime understanding the value of this blessing!
What bowl of stew are we trading for today? God has promised a blessing for those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, for those who trust in Him for the forgiveness of sin and walk daily in His light. He has promised to set us free to live a life of true peace, purpose and contentment, and anin His presence when we die. ALL worldly pleasures will one day fade away; “For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Let’s devote our lives to worship and obediently follow wherever He leads. Let’s keep our eyes on the eternal and NEVER trade the blessing.
God’s Plumb Line
Amos was a shepherd when God called him to preach to the. For more than one hundred and fifty years, the northern kingdom had worshipped by their own set of rules and even began to worship other gods. Amos was sent to reveal their sin and call the people to repentance. He warned they must return to God with all their heart or face certain judgment.
“This is what He showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in His hand. Then the Lord said, ‘Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people ; I will spare them no longer.'”
A plumb line is simply a string with a weight on one end which will hang straight because of the unchanging pull of gravity. Plumb lines have been used for thousands of years as a guide. Building a wall seems relatively easy: stack one brick on top of another until the proper height and width is achieved. But without a reference line, it’s nearly impossible to determine when the wall is straight. Without a true standard as a guide, our well-intended efforts produce a jagged mess which will soon crumble and fall.
God used a plumb line to show that the people of Israel had once been true, but now they were building their lives without a reference. God had established clear guidelines and preserved them within His Word. He was
now bringing judgments according to His unchanging standard; “I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line” (Isaiah 28:17).
The people did not listen to Amos’ plea. They continued to live outside God’s will and were guided by their own evil desires. God’s judgment came thirty years after the end of Amos’ ministry as He allowed the Assyrian army to march through the northern kingdom and bring complete destruction in 722 BC.
God is making the same call to us today. We cannot continue to build using the world’s system of values as our reference. This is a standard in constant change, sinking deeper and deeper into the slimy pit. We may try to justify our actions by remaining slightly “above” the standard of the world, but as this standard continues to sink, we will follow it right down. This should NOT be our chosen path!!
Our lives need an unchanging reference to call us back when we stray. This reference must be the Word of God which calls us to a life of absolute pure devotion. When we build on the foundation of Christ and determine to love Him with ALL our heart, His Word ensures we will rise tall and not be found leaning to the left or right. Let’s build a life which is true and does not . Let’s live by His Word and build according to God’s plumb line.
The Living Word
In the message “God’s Plumb Line” we were encouraged to build our lives upon the absolute and unwavering standard of. His Word is truth and holds the answer to every problem we will ever confront. If we search for answers and prayerfully reflect on the truth of God’s Word – if we indeed consider His Word as absolute and unchanging, and apply it directly into our life – we will find the solutions have been available long before we were born.
“For the is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Without changing in content or meaning, the Word of God adapts to every situation. If we maintain the habit of reading and reflective study, we will find new insights in what appear to be the peeling back of multiple
layers of understanding. But it is actually us who are being peeled back and laid bare by the ever present truths of His Word.
The passage, “and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), will have a much different meaning after we’ve obediently followed God for several years. Each time adversity strikes and doubts arise, we will find an ever deeper calling in the phrase “with ALL your heart.” And though we walk with Him for all the rest of our days, we may never fully appreciate the words; “God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). How our lives would change if we could ever fully understand His love!
We do not truly “dig deeper” into the Word; rather, the Word digs deeper into us! Scriptural truths are not revealed until our hunger is so great that we are willing to place our life on the table and allow the Do we really desire to know God, His Word, and His Spirit? Do we really want to understand the depth of God’s love and the implications of His justice? Then be advised: even necessary and beneficial surgery can be painful. When our chest is opened, the condition of our heart is revealed; and that which is dark and displeasing must be cut away and burned. to cut deep inside.
But fear not! Our Heavenly Father is a skilled surgeon who can make our heart new and prepared to yield to His Spirit. The solution to our most complex problems is always found in His presence, and He has given His Word to show us how to draw near. Our lives are in need of some divine surgery today! Let’s allow our heart to be cut by the truth – to be exposed and purified by the Living Word.