Philippians 2:14-16 KJV
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
This scripture very enlightening and exciting as we are living in these last days. When we pray, “Lord, help me to walk in integrity in all facets of life.” We may find that we cannot take the liberties that other people take because the Lord speaks to us and says, “no”. When we give our word that we are going to do something a certain way, the Lord will help us regardless of the judgment of those who do not hold the same conviction. It doesn’t mean they are bad but that God is simply empowering us to walk in his ways according to our prior conversations with him. He is faithful to answer all of our prayers even when we do not remember what we prayed. We must be faithful to listen to the still small voice training to walk in obedience to his direction in every aspect of life. This makes every day is an exciting adventure with Jesus.
Studying Genesis 49:1-10 about the blessings which Jacob gave his sons before he died I realized how prophetic the blessings of a father are and that when we repent, our sins are forgiven but may impact the areas of our lives.
Reuben sinned with his father’s concubine 40 years before receiving this blessing so it was a little different because of his choice. (Genesis 49:3-4) His father saw the instability in him and still blessed with excellency of strength and power.
The next two sons were Simeon and Levi, who were very close as brothers and seemed to encourage each other in mischief. They both had cruel anger issues expressed in their killing of the Schechemites as revenge for sin committed against their sister. (Genesis 34:24-30) They were not cut off from blessing had to share it. Simeon had to share his inheritance with another tribe. While the tribe of Levi eventually regained honor by standing with Moses when he asked, “Who will stand with me?” (Exodus 32:26-29) It was because of this loyalty that the tribe of Levi was given a special inheritance of becoming a priestly tribe. Although, they did not inherit land they inherited a privileged place in history.
I still find it amazing that Judah being the fourth born son carried the line of Messiah. It appears that the odds were greatly stacked against this happening when you look at his history. Judah had three sons: Er, Onan and Shelah. Er married Tamar but he was so sinful that the Lord took his life (Genesis 38:6-7) Judah asked Onan to marry Tamar and bear children but he refused, then Judah asked Tamar to wait for Shelah to grow up and marry him. Jacob deceived Tamar by not keeping his promise. Tamar decided to dress as a prostitute and entice Jacob thereby tricking him into getting her pregnant. She asked for his staff, signet and cord as collateral for her services. Sometime later she was found with child and Jacob was going to kill her, she gave him the articles which saved her life.
Tamar gave birth to twins who established the genealogy necessary for Jacob’s blessing over Judah’s life. The line of one of those twins, Perez became the line of Messiah through which God blessed the earth with Jesus Christ, “The Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Matthew 13:16) Genesis 49, Jacob blessed with the promise that Messiah would come through his family line.
The rest of the blessings Jacob bestowed upon his other sons are written in the book of Genesis 49:1-10.
This short study of blessing over just a few of the patriarchs brought me to the conclusion that: first, the prophetic word of the Lord over our lives will be carried out even though innumerable circumstances appear to hinder it. Second, a father;s blessing impacts the destiny of their children.
Hebrews 11:1-10 KJV
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
This is a profoundly power-packed book and this portion of scripture says so much that is pertinent to us today.
Faith is a tangible expression of what we hope for and actually brings what we do not see into the realm of this physical world. I wish my faith was that strong in every area but I must remember I rest in God’s faith not my own. He rewards us as we diligently seek him. There are some areas that we all seem to excel in and other areas that may cause us to wonder why things are not turning out the way we hoped they would. I cannot speak into those areas but can tell you that I also have these struggles.
We know that God spoke and created all things and that his word his alive, powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. It is as we move forward in our Christian walk there are areas of life that our faith grows as the Word of God grows in us and other areas that seem more perplexing causing us to dig deeper for these truths. As I grow in faith, I find areas that were once easy to me are now more difficult and are areas that I used to struggle with that I do not give a second thought to because they are now a part of my life.
When I first met Jesus, my life completely turned around and everything in the world’s ways seemed empty and lost but at the same time there was such hope and joy that I wanted to share it with everyone around. That has not changed although my approach in doing this has changed. I was single, working, had a great deal of time to spend in prayer/worship and went out with others in prophetic prayer and evangelism teams downtown anytime of the day or night. I was young, strong and probably thought I was invincible but seasons of life change. This is a good thing as the Lord says, “to everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven.” I think of it just as seasons of the earth itself changes such as the ice age, the great flood, other ages in between and now a warming trend. There are seasons of Winter, Summer. Spring and Autumn; likewise, there are seasons in human life: conception, birth, infant, toddler, child, teenager, young adult, maturity and death.
Marriage brought a change to my season of life and new responsibilities. Michael and I began to grow in relationship with God, each other and the people around us. There were new challenges some were very difficult and some were fresh and exciting. Even struggles in financial areas, it seems that when you combine households your bills double. I do not know if that is really what happened but it was an opportunity to trust God in new areas of life. I remember when Michael’s truck broke down and we took it to the shop with no idea of how we were going to pay for it. When the owner of the shop called and said it was ready for pick up we did not go to get it until he told us that if we do not come and get it he will start charging us rent. Michael called me and said, “I am going to pick up the truck and all we have is $5”, so we prayed together and he walked about a mile up the road to get it. I was at work at the time praying and I knew that labor was at least $50 per hour plus parts. It was only a few hours later when Michael called and said, “you are not going to believe this but they only changed me $5 for parts and labor!” He did not tell the shop owner of our struggles, only God knew, were so excited and thankful.
Children brought a wonderful, new season of change to our lives. Michael never wanted to know what sex the child we were having was and I did, so I would find out then, keep it a secret (well, sort of, the whole church knew but they honored his wishes not to know. Come on you have to share this kind of exciting news with someone!) Anyway, when I went for the final sonogram with our first child, the doctor said, “there is a problem, since you are almost full term I scheduled you to have labor induced tomorrow morning because his kidneys are full, his testicles are full and apparently there is something not functioning properly, we must get him out”. I immediately called Michael at work and told him, he said, “let me guess, it’s a boy!” What clued him in on that? LOL. Next, I called our wonderful community of believers who were prayer warriors and they began to pray. I woke up the next morning already in labor with contractions seven minutes apart and headed for the hospital with kidney specialists standing by and I gave birth three hours later to a healthy 8 ½ pound boy. Overjoyed and thankful I knew God’s hand was on him all through pregnancy. Children bring new joys and challenges to life.
The empty nest season was difficult even before it occurred. I remember when Derek was in high school, I was driving down the road with Valery in the car, when a song came on and the gentleman began to sing, “there goes my life, there goes my future…” which brought me to tears. I looked at Valery and said, “Derek is graduating.” She said, “Mom, that is six months away and you’re going to be a basket case”. I cried a lot that year for joy and sadness. The years went by so fast, what happened to the tiny baby I brought home from the hospital, it seemed like yesterday! Then, three years later Valery graduated and went away to school at University of Florida. We cried, prayed together and departed with both joy and sadness of yet another great change in life.
Now we are empty nesters and do not know what God has planned for us in the future. Currently, we are enjoying the community of believers to which God has connected us, involved in various prayer groups and enjoy encouraging the younger believers to move forward in the callings God has upon them. We are blessed.
Considering our lives today and looking back at the lives of the people written in the Bible I am sure they had similar struggles in life. People learned to listen to God and follow him through various seasons of life.
Noah had his work cut out for him and as he listened to God and lovingly shared with people the things to come. He was mocked, harassed and if there was a daily newspaper I can only imagine the wild stories that would be told about him and his family. Thankfully, he obeyed God or there may not be any of us here today. Interestingly, Matthew 24:37 says, “As it was in the days of Noah so shall the days of the coming of the Son of Man.” When I see the things surrounding us today and read about what is to come, I feel sad that only eight people entered the ark. I continue to ask Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me daily as Matthew is very clear that a great falling away will happen before the end times.
Noah also faced seasons of life, marriage, childbirth, family cares, lawlessness around him and daily pressures but he trusted God through them all.
If we read the story of Abraham we see he also had many seasons of life to which he learned to trust God and walk in faith.
I think sometimes we see these names and their great faith as written in the Word and we tend to forget these people had to face everyday life just as we do. So, whatever season of life you are in, be encouraged, you are not alone and you are not a strange person because you seek God, for He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek him. It is his faith we are standing on and not our own.
27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 I weep with sorrow;
encourage me by your word.
29 Keep me from lying to myself;
give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. Psalm 119:27-29 NLT
Reading this verse struck me with the realization that it is a privilege to have God’s Word, to have His Spirit residing in us and speaking to us throughout the day. We know this but do we really comprehend the magnitude of honor the Lord has bestowed upon us? I do not know if it is possible to understand this in this age but we can remain awestruck by the Word of Lord as we read and ask for revelation of what he is saying to us.
Every time we read his word there is a new treasure to be discovered, a deeper in sight from Holy Spirit to our hearts to the receive the love of God. This is a privilege and honor that causes me to be grateful that I have accepted God’s invitation to become a child of God.
You are glorious and more majestic
than the everlasting mountains.
5 Our boldest enemies have been plundered.
They lie before us in the sleep of death.
No warrior could lift a hand against us.
6 At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob,
their horses and chariots lay still.
7 No wonder you are greatly feared!
Who can stand before you when your anger explodes?
8 From heaven you sentenced your enemies;
the earth trembled and stood silent before you.
9 You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God,
and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude
10 Human defiance only enhances your glory,
for you use it as a weapon. Psalm 74:4-10 NLT
This is an amazing passage of scripture!
I was particularly intrigued with verse ten about human defiance enhancing his glory while he uses it as a weapon. It brought me back to verse nine, where he says he rescues the oppressed of the earth.
The first person that came to mind was Saul who went about breathing out threats against Jesus and how God sovereignly displayed his mercy by blinding Paul, speaking to him, saving him and then using him as a testimony of Jesus.
Then, two other things caught my attention, the first was that he rescues the oppressed of the earth and the second was human defiance enhances his glory. This immediately turned my attention to Jesus who came to this earth as a man, chose to forever live in a human body, he walked on this earth in obedience to Holy Spirit, was crucified for our sin, died, was buried, rose again on the third day and now sits at the right hand of the Everlasting Father. This specific choice of mercy toward human defiance continues to bring him glory and he uses it as a weapon against the enemy who attempted to abduct man and corrupt him as rebellion against God.
Imagine the love God must have for human beings to create a plan of redemption designated specifically for mankind. He did this for no other creation: not for angels, not animals, not alien life forms or any other creature you can imagine. He came to earth specifically as a man, a Jewish man and he will come again as a Jewish man but this time he will return with such glory that nations will be astonished, they will recognize him as King of the all creation and he will reign forever.