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We Had The Sentence of Death In Ourselves

July 2, 2009
It goes without saying that tomorrow is a mystery. We tend to live our lives as though dawn will arrive with no surprises in tow, but we cannot be assured that such will be the case. From a logical standpoint, we know that even the best laid plans are preliminary and can be altered without warning by a host of circumstances. Yet somehow this truth tends to not enter the heart, nor do we learn to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Consequently, we not only expect the current perimeters to continue unabated,  we will even take it for granted. Every evening we fulfil our devotional obligations, brush our teeth, set the alarm, turn off the lights and drift off to the land of nod. We do this with little consideration that we could possibly awaken to brave new world that bears no resemblence to life as we knew it just a few hours prior.
Extreme departures from our definition of “normal” in the form of trials and tribulation are not something that we can pencil in on a calendar. They arise; often without warning and unleash unpredictability into the comfort zone that we have so intensively labored to establish. In a single moment, the wall is breached and the illusion of being in control is dissolved. With nowhere to hide, we immediately understand where our confidence has been residing and discover the current state of our faith in the Creator of all that is. And therein lies one of the priceless benefits of any trial. It offers up a spiritual snapshot of our present state and reveals those areas in need of reinforcing.
Romans 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.”
during seasons of continuance, there are two different attitudes that we tend to shape our outlook on tribulations and both of them can be dangerous.
( 1 ) Denial. This is the most common approach. Many simply refuse to contemplate such an issue as they love their lives in this world. If the topic arises, they will quickly assemble all of appropriate bible verses to proclaim a gospel of smooth sailing and endless prosperity. This approach will ultimately facillitate a lusting after the things of this world while leaving one woefully unprepared to face any level of adversity.
( 2 ) Romanticism. This is equally dangerous. A person of this camp will appear to almost look forward to seasons of trying; emphasizing this outlook with grandiose statements of enduring hardship without actually contemplating what this may involve. In other words, the issue is more of an amplified theological profession than a serious preparation for what may lie ahead. This is an area where I have to be careful. I tend to pray dangerously when it comes to this household. “Lord; please do whatever it takes to bring them all to faith in Jesus.” That phrase “whatever it takes” is all-encompassing. Yet the souls in this family are so important that I offer up this prayer without regards to “whatever it takes” might entail.
When standing in the perimeter of peace and stability, while protected on every side by the highly touted chariots of Egypt, we can make the loftiest of proclamations. We’ll boast that we’re prepared to let go of everything in this world, be cast into prison, endure gruelling interrogation practices, and finally give our body to be burned. We’ll claim, and actually believe that we are prepared to endure anything that comes our way. But until these proclamations are actually tested, they’re little more than rhetoric. They may indeed be scripturally sound as we are called to love not our lives in this world. However the level to which these precepts have entered our heart will not be readily forthcoming; so long as the hedge is about us.  
Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
It’s a entirely different world, however, when long-standing perimeters collapse and life as we know it is turned upside down. This can take on any number of forms. The untimely demise of a loved one, a sudden life-threatening illness, the breakup of a home, loss of income, the list of lifestyle altering senarios is seemingly endless. (It’s imperative to always be thankful to God for his immeasurable blessings, while understanding that he is our source of life; regardless of our circumstances) Add to this listing those issues of prophetic fulfilment. Intense persecution of the true saints from unexpected venues, economic collapse: engineered to bring about a single world governing body, a numbering system in the form of a “mark” that will be required of anyone desiring to conduct business, and all of the physical catastrophies that are to transpire in the time of the end. It takes only a single unexpected alteration in the ambience and, suddenly, our Saragasso Sea of monotonous calm can be consumed by a full-blown spiritual Euroclydon.
Acts 27:20 “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay upon us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”
Initially we tend to focus on the enemy and we may begin to blanket-rebuke all that he appears to be engaging in. Without a doubt, the devil and his minions continuously work to kill, steal, obscure the truth, force compromise, and bring forth chaos. For the saint, such ongoing attacks are generally evidence that we are considered a threat. But this is only one side to the trials that come into our lives. (Revelation 2:10 just came to mind as I was typing) We are all familiar with the account of Job; how the devil brought forth accusations and desired to destroy this servant of God. But he could only proceed as far as the Lord permitted. This holds true today as God is unchanging. Therefore, something much bigger and more profound must be in play.
II Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
The Lord can allow, situations to enter our lives that seem completely contrary to our best interests, but are working in us something far greater than temporary satisfaction. Firey trials will kill “me.” They will carry us to our wits end; until every fragment of self-sufficiency, pride, and mechanical religion has been removed. They will cause us to abandon all confidence in, and allegiance to this temporal world. These firey trials will strip away all of the dead weight that’s hindered us for so long while exposing all of our misplaced securities. In the end we will a vessel fit for the Masters service. We’ll find ourselves in a place where our only desire is to be alive unto Christ; spending time in his presence, serving him faithfully, and being continuously transformed into his image. Our primary occupation in this world will be “a servant of God.”
Philippians 3:10-11 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
Being in the presence, and perfect will of the Lord is worth any complexities that may come into our lives. Compared to that which lies ahead, even the most astonishing of circumstances are as nothing. I need to close because this has become quite long and it’s now past 4:30 There are some very unsettling times ahead insofar as the physical world is concerned. May we all abide close to the Lord and have our affections firmly upon things above.
Blessings always in Jesus name
II Corinthians 1:8-10 “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, and above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:”
SURROUNDED BY A WALL OF FIRE (Scottish Warrior) Please read this post. It touches on some things that have been on my heart for a long time and is imperative for the times in which we are living in.
LEFT STANDING – ASHAMED OR GLORIFIED? (Stirring The Deep) This post admonishes us to ensure that we are truly following Jesus and not another. There are so many teachers and voices these days that one can easily fall into a pattern of following a person. Teachers are good, but we should remember Jeremiah 33:3.
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14 comments

  1. Hi my Friend, I havent emailed you in a long long time I know!!! 😦
    I been very very busy at my job and have hardly time to get online as much.

    I do however have a questiond a request……..
    Since you are a god fearing person and know the Lord so well…..here it is……..my supervisor is a christian and he also preaches “on the side” in a church. He quit his job to pursue been a pastor in this church and will go from a regular paycheck to an unsure one. He is a bit concerned, he does trust in the Lord. But you know how it is, we are still humans and he said to me “I do it in faith, and I do it afaid, but I do it for the Lord!”
    What I am asking you is this……do you know of any wise words, poems, etc. that you can guide me to? I would like to make him a card to encourage him and his wife.

    Any help????

    Love and Blessings
    Andrea 🙂


  2. Hi Timbob,

    It seems for me, that the uncertainty of tomorrow becomes more of a reality each day. This has been a year of real financial struggle for our family, and there is a possibility that we could lose our home. There comes a time in our lives when we need to “live out” certain verses that we like to quote. One of my favorite is Proverbs 3:5,6. God does know where my family and I are at, and we just need to trust in Him and not be worried or fretful about how things are going to work out. While there is a little bit of stress over our situation, we are all still sleeping well at night, and I thank God for that. I also know that there are worse things we could go through other than financial struggles, so I’m thanking God for this “light affliction” and standing on Romans 8:28.

    Blessings to you and your family,

    Carol


  3. Timbob… first may I respond to Andrea, that sometimes the most authentic thing to say is what comes to mind from your heart, showing you respect your ex boss’ decision will encourage him as much as someone else’s words!

    second… I love your openness to viewing different perspectives and their own dangers and positive spins… I would love to share the NIV version of Romans 5:(end of)2-5…

    “And we rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God. Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverence; perseverance,character; and character, hope. And hope does not dissappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
    other translations use the word ‘exhault’ instead of rejoice… to lift up. nice.

    So, what decisions and interpretations are we left to understand? Does God cause our suffering? Is it generational… Death through Adam, and we can expect Life through Christ? Paul speaks of baptism in this context.

    Like any good ‘prophet’ Paul lifts up hope in an understanding of a God of justice. God gave us Christ, what more do we want? (vs 9)

    We must learn to identify sin and the trickery satan is willing to go to for us to commit it, but we are fallible to this sort of thing. However, to pay sin, death and evil too much lip service is a sins master’s trick indeed, taking our eyes off hope, love… Christ.

    Your conclusion, excellent… eyes on Christ. offering your life for the Lord. God offers us hope in this world because in heaven we won’t need it. excellent post Timbob! as always!!


  4. Great points, Timbob–thanks!

    I know that fiery trials lay ahead for all of us, and in the flesh, I’m terrified that I won’t be able to stand, but I know Him in whom I have believed, that He is able to carry us through–even me. The ones I worry about are those who feel certain in their own strength that they’ll never deny Him (bring anyone to mind?)

    But again, though we are weak, He is strong. I know I, by myself, would turn out to be a complete dud, but with Him, I trust in His strength that He is able to, and will, make me stand.

    Love, Cindy


  5. Hi Andrea. It’s so good to hear from you. I have to agree with Cindys comment that your encouragement and prayers for your former supervisor will be of immense comfort. I was, however, thinking of Matthew chapter 6 where jesus tells us to seek the Lord first and take no thought for tomorrow. It’s always easier to say when someone else is stepping out in faith, but it remains true.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.


  6. Hi carol. There is indeed a rest to those who are in Christ that rises beyond the current situation. In previous times I would be fearful of what might happen in the physical. To say that I’m comletely delivered would be dishonest, but I’m determined to hold fast my profession of faith in Jesus; regardless of what happens in this world. (Again, these are things easy to say when sitting in a comfy chair)

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.


  7. Hi Cindy. You hit on something that’s really imperative; that being to have an awareness of the devices of the enemy, but to not allow them to dominate the spotlight. (Sorry to paraphrase; it’s 3:30 am and I’m rushing.) I know that when trials come, there’s always an initial tendancy to “lament the departure of our normal” and focus our attention on the enemy. We mus, however, look steadfastly unto Jesus and not the storm. (and once again; easier said when all is comfy and warm.)

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.


  8. Hi Cindyinsd. This is a healthy and necessary pondering. “Am I prepared spiritually for what lies ahead?” As you state, it’s easy to proclaim a readiness but to actually be relying on our own strength. I know that this is a constant danger in my own life. This was one of those posts that, in writing, it was also causing a searching of myself.

    Truly the only way to be prepared is to be close to Jesus and knowing that his grace will be sufficient for anything that we face. (and again, as in all of the previous replies, it’s very easy to say when sitting at a desk while all is calm.)

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.


  9. “Romanticism…This is an area where I have to be careful.” I absolutely agree. This is an area that I, too, fail or struggle with. I have this idea, “No matter what happens I’ll survive…I’ll manage…I’ll get by just fine.”

    Last February (2008) I acquired thyroid disease, which really messes with both the body and the mind. Suddenly I couldn’t rely myself anywhere and, living away from my family, I had to depend on my friends and Christ like never before. I learned how much the thought “I can get through this” is a lie. What shocks and saddens me even more is the realization of, now that I’m physically and mentally better, how quickly I’ve gone back to relying on myself.


  10. Hi Newmaldon. It’s so easy for us to resort back to trusting in our abilities; even when history has proven this to be impossible. We all wrestle with it and while those seasons that are completely out of our hands can be very humbling, they ultimately work out something much greater.

    I have to get back and catch up on your blog when time permits. The ongoing story is fascinating and it causes one to think about various situations. Thank you.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.


  11. “Firey trials will kill “me.” ”

    Excellent!


  12. . Hi Born4Battle. To daily become less like us and more like Jesus. The trials are merely a temporal inconvenience compared to the benefits that they yield.

    Thanks for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.


  13. I have found your post very encouraging. I am in a health situation where I cannot sleep but a few hours a night. I have spent much money at doctors and sleep centers and tried so many medications to no avail. I am a Christian and have been struggling with God answering my prayer for healing. I often find myself online again trying to find another medicine or something in my own power to fix my situation out of desperation. I have exhausted all my resources and am non the better. I realize that I must trust the Lord for my health and to give me strength one day at a time. I cannot change my situation but God can if he decides to. I know that he has a purpose for this but it is so hard to let go when I feel horrible and my mind is drained and I am daily sick in my stomach. I never thought my faith would be tested like this but I know that I must push on looking unto Jesus. I pray God would grant me grace to keep on. I can tell you that all worldly pleasures (games, movies, eating out) mean nothing to me now. Please pray for me that my faith will be strong and for grace. Thank you all so much, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


  14. Hi Don. I am keeping you in prayer and believing for a deliverance from this situation. Truly the Lord can carry us through any circumstance and I pray that he will bring about a complete restoration in Jesus name.

    Thank you for taking time to stop by. I’m kind of at a loss for words at the moment as you have been enduring something that I cannot imagine. Oftntimes we’ll pray, but wish that we could do much more. And yet, when we are in prayer, we are talking to the very one who created all that is and has the very hairs of our head numbered. I really believe that a miraculous thing is in the workings.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.



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