Psalms 30:7-12 LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled. 8 I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Attitudes that Nullify or Qualify

There are times we come to some very hard places in our lives. Some of us have lived in those places for a very long time. We have no doubt cried out to God to remove our mountain, whatever form of adversity and trial it may take. I found it interesting that the Psalmist David says here, “Lord, you have made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face and I was troubled.” There is no doubt a lot of us that have been, and maybe still are, in this place. The question is, “have we viewed it as the Lord’s favor?” One thing God often does with us is that He puts us between a rock and a hard place. We find ourselves in such a pit that the only we have to look is up. Our resources dries up. Our strength fails. We are left with two choices: forsake our faith, as we mummer and complain, or encourage ourselves in our God and the power of His might. We see two examples in the Word. We see the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and led into a wilderness where there is no food and water. A great many of them choose to murmur and complain when they find themselves against the mountain of adversity. They want some one to blame for their trials and problems. They focus on death and what they left behind and how bleak the picture is before them. They are always looking at how big the problem is and not at how big their God is. On the other hand, we have someone like David. Here is a man who has seen and experienced the reality of God and yet finds himself seemingly forsaken as King Saul pursues him to take his life. I believe the reason David found such favor before the Lord is because he refused to allow his fears to be the giant that conquered him. He saw himself in God in the sense that he knew God would not deny or forsake Himself. He expresses the fact more than once that he became discouraged in his soul, but in his spirit he would rise up and say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Forget not all of His benefits.” It is the favor of God that causes our mountain to stand strong. It is not that He may beat us down, it is so that He can build us up. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Until we develop the eyes of the Spirit our fleshly mentality will keep us just going around and around our mountain. It is with the eyes of faith and by the Spirit that we will, in due season, go through the mountain and that mountain will be cast into the sea. Our mountain is our place of spiritual preparation and the place where God is honing us for a greater purpose. We have two choices: murmur and complain or praise and worship. Which do we think will bring us more quickly into the purposes and plan of God for our lives? Philippians 4:6 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our problems and our mountains aren’t always going to go away like we might like them too, but we are not alone in the trial. Enter into your God and His mighty promises. He will, in His time, turn your mourning into dancing. He will put off your sackcloth and clothe you with gladness. Encourage your soul today, “How great is our God.” He will never fail us or forsake us. “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”

Blessings,

#kent

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When Lose Equals Gain

November 1, 2012

Matthew 10:39
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

When Lose Equals Gain

When we came to Christ we made a decision to invest our lives in what God had invested into us. What we come to realize in this investment is that I am willing to invest and lose me, that I might gain Him. My loss becomes my gain. It is a paradox. In saving my “self” and living only to my temporal life, I neglect the greater gain of not only an eternal life in God, but also the resources, promises and the power of a life lived out of Christ, rather than out my efforts and abilities.
When we come to Christ we are saying, “Your ways, I may not fully understand, but I am willing to believe in You and be a part of Your plan.” In doing so, I think most of us are optimistic in seeing that we have a great and awesome God who has given us a Bible full of great and wonderful promises and that we now belong to a God that is all powerful and can do anything we ask or anything that He wants. What about when what we ask and what He wants aren’t the same thing? What about when we summon all of our faith to believe and declare something and it doesn’t come to pass? What about when God says, “no”, when we thought He should say “yes”?
Then we are left to reconcile our faith, with His will. Even Jesus asked the Father,
“If it possible let this cup pass from Me.” But Father said, “No, it is not possible, it must be if you are going to do My will.” What was the condition Jesus put on that request? “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.”
As humans we operate out of finite minds and flawed natures. We have numerous limitations, faults and shortcomings and yet, somehow, we presume to know better than the infinite, all-powerful, all-wise, and omnipotent God what is right and wrong, what is just and fair, what should and shouldn’t happen. Does anybody see something wrong with that picture?
Life does not often operate on principles of fairness as we might define them. Bad things shouldn’t happen to good people. Innocent people shouldn’t be abused, hurt and killed. In our black and white world we only see and perceive through the light of our limited understanding.
God, I believe, often operates out the principle of loss for gain. It is as simple as a seed must die to produce the life of what is in its genetic code. Job endured the loss of all that he had and his health, to later gain back a double portion. Jesus, God’s own Son, died. God allowed the unlawful, unjust atrocity of His own Son being tortured, mutilated and crucified, because through that loss, through that death, through that seed, many sons would be brought into glory and through those sons, all of creation would be set free. A loss often equals a greater gain.
When we lost ourselves, we found the greater gain of Christ, but even in that we are told, ‘if we suffer with Him, we shall also be glorified with Him’. Still there is a loss to a greater gain.
In life we are going to experience some of these losses and they are not going to always seem just, fair or right in the light of our understanding. We have to see that in God’s economy, the willingness to lose is often the price to gain. So, like Jesus said, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.”

Blessings,
kent

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