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Our Wits End

January 24, 2007

Acts 9:15-16  “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way:  for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of israel:  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my sake.”

In my younger years, I would get rattled everytime something came up in which there was no physical resolution and I would simply have to trust the Lord.  It was always things which in hindsight aren’t as earth shattering as they appeared then.  Nonetheless, I would have to trust the Lord for the resolution, I knew that it was a test of my faith, and my thought was always “Oh no!  Not again.”  The prosess of not seeing the outcome used to rattle me and is probably one of the many factors that brought about the season of rebellion that I was in during the 90s. 

This is a side paragraph here, but I’ll elaborate for a moment.  The 1990s for me, were a paradox of sorts.  I met my wife, all of my children were born and I sucessfully made the transformation from a “single dude” to a family guy.  These were the high points of the decade.  Unfortunately, I also became very backslidden; a situation that I’m determined to never allow to take place again.  In hindsight, I can see exactly the situations in my earlier years that led to it and today, I’m more careful to not allow those situations to ever come about again.  So while the season of rebellion was very depressing, a lot of understanding came about as a result of my wandering in the desert.  (a silver lining of sorts)  A carefulness and a love for God like I never had previously.  I’m really venturing down a rabbit trail here, but one night while coming home from work, I was thinking about some of the misfortunes that had taken place as a result of this rebellion.  The Lord let me know, as I was approaching the stoplight in Constantine, that it could have been a whole lot worse.  His longsuffering is on a scale that we cannot even fathom and I praise him for it.  Sorry about rambling.

Being in times of trials and tribulation are never pleasing to the flesh.  Seeing the Red Sea before you and the host of pharaohs army coming up from behind reveals a very real; sometimes frightening truth.  You really have very little control over your situation, and when you find yourself against the Red Sea, you are completely helpless.  It’s these types of situations when God, who never fails or arrives late, can be glorified as he provides a deliverance that only he could do.  I heard a pastor from North Carolina over two years ago, who had been through adversity when they arrived in the state.  Absolutely no funds, and a point arose where they had literally no food for their next meal.  I forget how many kids they had, but such a situation will definately cause you to cry out to God.  The Lord was able to make a deliverance in this situation and this Pastor (Ted Erskine; I just remembered his name) had an incredible testimony about the faithfulness of God.

II Corinthians 1:8  “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.”

Paul was in situations that were beyond his physical limitations.  “beyond measure” and “beyond strength.”  In other words, if he was relying only upon physical ability, the journey would have ended right there and the second letter to the Corinthians would have never been recorded.  Therefore, one of the most important verses that sustained me after the season of rebellion (II Corinthians 7:11) would have never been made manifest. 

II Corinthians 1:9  “But we had the sentance of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”

God performed a mighty deliverance in this situation in such a fashion that there was no disputing that he is “a very present help in trouble” as Psalm 46:1 declares.  In 2004, we went through a layoff in which we weren’t certain as to its outcome.  (sorry to keep talking about me.)  Quickly, an uncertain future from a financial standpoint devloped.  At one point, foreclosure looked like a forgone conclusion.  It was at this time when Job 13:15 became real in my life.  I told the Lord “whatever happens, I love you, and I’m determined to live for you.  I’ll love you in a house or I can love you in a van down by the river.”  I was serious then, and it still holds true.  Well, things did work out at the time, but this world offers no firm foundation.  The money can fail tomorrow. 

Here’s another side paragraph, but I’m not certain if I should bring it up.  About a year ago, I was with a church that loves the Lord Jesus Christ, without a doubt, but has a prosperity twist to their preaching.  I relayed the story about the van down by the river to the pastor and his reply was “Oh, God doesn’t want you in a van; he wants us to have nice things.”  The point that I was trying to make became lost as the focus shifted from “loving the Lord Jesus Christ no matter what” to the “van down by the river” that’s going to end up just like the house, the school building, the remaining factories, and every feat of engineering that has been achieved.  It’s all going to burn.  I have no problem with nice things until they become a god unto themselves.  When you continually focus on a particular item, it becomes an object of worship.  One may not bow down to it and pray with it, but it sits upon the throne in their heart.  I’m not certain if I should even brought this up.  I think that it might be helpful, but it seems very critical.  I would ask for input on this. 

II Corinthians 1:10-11  “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;  Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”

Paul expounds about how God delivered them from certain death in Asia.  Truly no flesh will glory in his presence and it was in this moment when they were at their wits end that Gods power was displayed.  If the children of Israel had reached the Red Sea and found a bridge, God wouldn’t have been glorified by it.  He could have still parted the red sea, but it would have been a show instead of a delivrance.  (Not to mention that Pharaoh would have crossed the bridge also.  This might require some more pondering.)  I fear that too many of us are looking for a show, but not learning to trust in the Lord Jesus no matter what.  Also in the above passage, Paul mentions that the corinthians had kept him in prayer.  “Ye also helping together by prayer.”  He acknowledges the importance of bringing those who risk life and limb to carry the gospel unto the uttermost spaces be continually lifted up. 

It’s important to remember that God isn’t bound by the physical realm.  This sounds very elemental, I know, but we tend to lose sight of it in a world with the sea and the waves roaring along with a generation that’s determind to put God out of their memory.   We learn this almost at the beginning of our relationship with Jesus and spend the rest of our days learning to live by it.  To know that, regardless of what comes our way, he’s bigger than the situation and he’s more powerful than all of the forces of darkness.  If you love him wholeheartedly, you can be asleep on a pillow while a storm is raging outside the boat.  I’m going to wrap this up as I must tend to some things, but I want to encourage all to not allow situations to get to you.  I don’t know any ones situation but I know the one who is able to deliver from all adversity.  His name is Jesus and he is the Rock of our Salvation.  I’ll end with the following passage.

Psalm 107:23-30  “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;  These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth him out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then they are glad because they are quiet; so he bringeth them to their desired haven.”

I apolagize for any grammerical misstrokes.  This was done quickly.

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11 comments

  1. Good morning. This is one of my favorite blogs to read on a daily basis. Thanks for being here!

    On the topic of the prosperity gospel; I used to be acutely aware of every dollar in my wallet and coin in my pocket. If someone mentioned “money” during a service, more often than not I would get up and leave. I was a miserable, penny-pinching miser.

    One night I went to a Sunday night service at a different church in West Virginia. The topic was “money and prosperity.” This time I stayed and asked for help. When I left, it was as if my blind eyes were open and deliverance came. I met Jehovah-Jireh-the God our Provider.

    That was six years ago and I’ve never worried about money, or the lack of it, since. All truth and freedom from God come by revelation. Everything else is just words in a book or noise from the mouth of the person speaking. How do we get revelation and freedom? We ask for it. “You have not because you ask not.” [James]


  2. Thanks Cumby. To just trust and obey. I drive my wife nutty at times, but I don’t get rattled like in times past. I’m determined to live for the lord Jesus and trust him in all things. In my younger years, I was a constant worrier about such things. For me it was the verse in Job. I got to thinking about it. What would I do if it all fell apart? For Job, it all fell apart. Yet he refused to charge God foolishly and in the end, he had far more than in the beginning. The Lord is awesome like we cannot imagine. Thanks for keeping in touch. I likewise always enjoy your posts. You put together a lot of thought out and researched information.


  3. Hi, Timbob, this is my first visit to you….thankyou for visiting my blog and adding me to yours…..You say some really powerful words…very encouraging, very inspiring…Psalm 107 1-43….reading it over and over we can hear Gods wisdom….It makes me think and learn from mine and others mistakes…I give thanks to Him…

    I have bookmarked you..


  4. Hello Timbob!
    Your site is a daily favorite of mine too 🙂

    The Lord Jesus wants our security to be found in Him alone. Not that nice things are bad, but our life in Christ does not consist of the things we possess or the lack of them!

    We went from being very comfortable financially, having a beautiful custom home, the works…
    giving it all up to go into full time ministry; living by faith, and trusting God to provide all, and I mean all, of our needs. It was not easy, sometimes it is still very challenging, but the change in my heart has been well worth the sacrifice.

    The prosperity gospel only works in a wealthy nation like our own and even then, only for some.
    Meanwhile, our brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide suffer from a lack of the basic necessities of life, life safe drinking water, enough food for their children to thrive…
    In Africa, the Muslims are waiting for the powder keg to explode as this message is beginning to bear some very bad fruit, making the poor there ripe for a mass exodus from christianity as disillusionment sets in.
    Islam is waiting with open arms to draw them in, and the ex christians will be the fiercest opponents of the gospel.
    Sorry, but a button got pushed.

    We need the truth, the beautiful, precious gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not about accumulating wealth ( He preached just the opposite of the prosperity message ) but loving the Lord our God with All of our heart, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves!
    It is about caring for one another, reaching the lost with Jesus love and salvation…
    caring for the widows, the orphans and the poor..

    I should have just written a post Timbob!
    Sorry to ramble on so!

    Every blessing to you brother!

    Susan


  5. Thanks for stopping by Susan and please feel free to ramble because it’s always good. As I was reading your comment a thought ocurred to me. You mentioned the conditions that the saints in other countries have to endure while we are busy putting up mega churches with jumbo trons. I can’t help but wonder how this is going to play out on the last day. Without a doubt we must keep our hearts with all diligence.
    About the disillusioned christians in Africa. I had never thought of the situation that you mention. This is something to definately pray about and ponder. In these days we’re certain to see many strange things. Thanks again for sharing.


  6. I don’t normally add my comments to blogs that already have some. ; ) But I found your blog this morning through my friend, Carol’s, and I have to tell you thank you. Thank you for sharing the truth of Christ in humility, it made my morning. I love this: “I fear that too many of us are looking for a show, but not learning to trust in the Lord Jesus no matter what.”

    (Incidentally, I just switched over from Squarespace to WordPress ’cause it’s free, and I chose the same template you did! If it’s all right, I’m going to add you to my links section. I know my husband will really enjoy reading you, too; he always checks what I have on my site from work on his breaks.)

    God bless you.


  7. Greetings Cami. Thanks for stopping by. I will likewise add you to my blogroll. If there’s one thing about blogging that I really like, it’s meeting others of like faith who are serious for the Lord. Plus you can strike up conversations with others and pray that Gods wil be done in such cases. There are a lot of really good folks out here whom I only know through a screen name, but they’ve become a source of encouragement, and fellowship. Many are in the blogroll but I’m certain that I don’t have them all in their yet. I’m kind of slow. Thanks again for commenting.


  8. One more comment… : )

    If you go to mine or Carol’s site you can see “Lindenville Cafe”–I’d LOVE to add you in if you’re interested. If you are, visit my site and the “Contact” page and shoot me an email.


  9. We have a couple of friends who live in Africa and one who holds pastors training seminars and writes books geared to sound foundational biblical teaching ( that was a mouthful ). His book, The Great Gospel Deception- David Kirkwood – is great.
    These are interesting times. The stage is almost set, the show ( or maybe showdown ) is about to begin as the battle in the heavenlies invades our realm.
    We do need to keep our hearts with all diligence!

    The Lord Jesus Bless you timbob!

    oh, I like the new look!

    Susan


  10. I really enjoy your blog also. I love how you interject with examples from the bible (ie. Seeing the Red Sea before you and the host of pharaohs army coming up from behind reveals a very real. I just came upon it (even tho I’m a wordpress member) when I did a google search.

    Trusting God is not inherited; it is learned. And it is soooo hard especially when you’re in the wilderness for so long and start wondering if God is going to show up. However, in those times, we really draw near to God.

    Thank you for this blog entry. It is always encouraging to know other people have experienced the wilderness… and survived! 🙂 New and improved.


  11. Greetings Code6. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll return the favor when I can because I’m on break at work and I have about a minute left. It’s always a blessing to meet saints.



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